Thursday, March 31, 2011

App World and Research

Research. That seems to be the story of my life lately, which is fine with me because I actually really like research! Tomorrow begins my journey into phase II of III in my PhD program. It feels good to actually feel like I am making some progress! Tomorrow begins the research courses for my dissertation. There are 4 classes and they end with the semester long comprehensive exam that moves me into phase III - actually conducting research for my dissertation. I am excited and terrified since I feel like I still really have no clue what I am doing. Hopefully, these next four classes will help me feel much more prepared for the dissertation phase. Guess I better nail down a topic, eh?

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, because my good friend Cristi told me (and all of you!) about something that is going to make my research classes oh so much easier! She put a few apps for her new iPad on her blog a few weeks ago and one of them was called "Goodreader". It is an app for reading PDFs. Big deal, right? Well, since I read so many PDFs (research articles) I decided to give it a try because I really hate reading these on the computer, they aren't very easy to organize and I can't manipulate them at all.

Enter Goodreader. At first, it seemed pretty overwhelming BUT, after reading a few directions (silly, I know) I had it up and running and was uploading research articles and categorizing them. But the BEST part? I can highlight, make notes, free draw and all kinds of stuff IN the PDF!!!! I am in heaven. Seriously, it does not take much to excite me. Hellooooooo.............perfect for patterns too! You can even sync it with your Ravelry patterns in your library somehow but I haven't quite figured that part out yet.

I knew that I was going to have to be printing out a ton of articles for my research classes so that I could highlight on them and make notes. Now I don't have to waste one single sheet of paper for that!!!! I can do all of that in my iPad AND be able to carry all my articles and research (and knitting patterns) with me all the time! YAY!!!!

In addition to that, I also purchased "Pages", "Numbers" and "Keynote" from iTunes so that I can open and upload Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents to my iPad and work on them. These programs have some amazing capabilities and I have only scratched the surface. They are kind of pricey at $9.99 each but as much as I use these programs and travel around, I think it will be worth it.

I was using HD Notetaker (another pretty cool app) to take notes at meetings and such. I was doing this with a wireless keyboard or my iPad stylus. Now, I can type notes directly into a Word document though and don't have to do any converting and can also work on the same document on my computer.

All of this, in addition to my much coveted Kindle app, make my iPad WELL worth the money. I also uploaded Vavoova, which is an awesome app for creating your own zen/meditation music! It's only $2.99. My good friends Bob and Sandy (hockeymomknits) wrote that one. I couldn't even tell you where to begin with writing an app! More power too them!

So, do you have an iPad/iPhone? What kind of apps make your life easier?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nessie Update

Remember this?

And this?

Here are a couple of updated Nessie (and Petey!) pictures!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


We have had a lot of stuff going on around here lately, as you saw yesterday. Unfortunately, one of the things that is suffering is dyeing yarn for Knit Witch! We have managed to get some done though and put on the website. You can find it HERE! There are still some yarn bowls available on the website as well HERE.

Here's a few of the yarns we put up:

Of course, there are a few others there as well.

I'm also trying to get some yarn dyed for SAFF and Club Dragon Witch. April is going to be a crazy month for us so I figured I better get the June club shipment dyed! We hope you all enjoy the new yarn colors!

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Projects

We have a new project going......surprise, surprise, right? A couple of my students are involved with the Atlanta Day Shelter and started a rudimentary garden for the people who come there. The Atlanta Day Shelter is a place for women and children to go during the day who stay in the homeless shelters at night. Here is what the students put together for a garden last year:

Not necessarily beautiful, but functional! The women and kids there really enjoyed growing a few things and enjoyed working in the garden. Then, my students got the idea to actually build some raised bed gardens that would be a bit more aesthetic and more permanent. Here's where we (by we I mean Wayne) come in. We started with a few pieces of wood:

Wayne worked all day on Tuesday while I was at the hospital with students and he got all of this cut:

On Wednesday, I went with him and we started building the 4x4 boxes. The students wanted to break up all the asphalt and actually put in a garden. We nixed that and suggested the much easier project of raised bed gardens! Here's Wayne putting one together.

Making progress:

Presto! We got all the boxes built before we left on Wednesday!

Now we just have to put them together, line them and put some dirt in them and start growing! I'm really looking forward to finishing this project! The students are going to do a little research project around whether or not the gardening improves the mental health and happiness of the residents. Each of the boxes will have a couple of benches around them so that people can go out there and just sit or tinker around with the garden.

We'll bring you more pictures as we have them! We should be able to finish up in a couple of weeks. It's taking several weeks just because we have to load up all of Wayne's tools, store them in the Atlanta apartment, haul them over there and then haul them back. We can't do that if it's raining because his tools will get all wet! But, hopefully, the weather will hold out enough for us to get finished up in the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


A VERY cool friend of mine recommended this awesome new product to me called a Roku box. Have you heard of this? It's a little box that you hook to your tv and can stream hulu, netflix, and a variety of other streaming channels through. She told me it was SO easy to set up and worked great and just works with your wireless internet.

I was like "RIGHT". Nothing works that easy when it comes to setting up technology crap (well, especially for me). I always know to expect some level of frustration, alcohol consumption and foul language. I didn't believe her, not one bit.

We came home and looked up the info and purchased one from Amazon for around $80 or so. It came and we started the daunting task of hooking it up. We LITERALLY had this thing up and running with no problems what-so-ever in 10 minutes. I couldn't believe it! I had my iPad out and signed up for all of our accounts on the iPad and it was instantly registered on the Roku box. I was totally impressed. I had to text message my very special friend right away.

The only thing that would have kind of ticked me off is that it didn't come with an HDMI cable to hook up to your tv. Luckily, we already had one of these so we were all set. But, that is something you would want to know if you get one.

Since we have hooked it up we haven't watched cable AT ALL. We are calling to disconnect our cable tv and home phone service. Seriously, I am sick to death of paying for telemarketers to call our house. Helloooooooooooooooooooooo extra 75 bucks a month!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hooray for DK!!!

I got this new yummy MCN (80/10/10 merino/cashmere/nylon) DK weight yarn and decided to see what this would look like knit up in a sock. I like it! I'm telling you, you can shave YEARS off of your life by knitting socks with DK weight rather than fingering weight yarn! The problem, usually, is that the fabric ends up too dense to be a comfortable sock. I knit these on size 3 needles and they are a little dense but the yarn content really makes them very nice. They are squishy enough to pass I think. We'll see when I get to start wearing them!

I have knit this much in 3 nights of TV watching, which is amazing progress for me. I may actually have one pair of socks completed within a year at this rate!

The pattern is one I am just making up as I go along and the yarn was the yarn for our February Club Dragon Witch shipment. This one was mine, not Kate's. I find it ironic that as soon as we stop doing sock patterns with the club, I start knitting socks instead of other stuff with the club yarn! The pattern for February was a beaded scarf but I just really wanted to try this yarn with a sock. So far, so good!

I have a new group of nursing students starting with me tomorrow. Wish me luck!! :)

Monday, March 14, 2011


Yay! Wayne's sweater is finished and I think it looks pretty darn good myself! This is the Rugby sweater in a past issue of Knit Simple. I have knit this pattern twice now so I know it's a good pattern. The only modification I made on this one is that I made the collar brown instead of green on Wayne's. I came PRECARIOUSLY close to running out of green yarn but I actually like the brown collar better! I know I could have dyed more but, of course, it would have been a different lot and not matched.

The yarn is, of course, Knit Witch Ancient World (DK weight) and the colors are Artemis (green) and a brown that I just made up as I was dyeing along. I WAY overdyed yarn for Nathan's sweater and I had JUST enough to make another one for Wayne. Fate anyone?

So, Wayne is very excited to finally have his first hand knit sweater from his wife. We are married so the whole boyfriend break-up thing because of the hand knit sweater does not apply, right? I did warn him about this and let him know that if he wanted to break up with me I was taking the sweater back and finding someone else to give it to!!!

My handsome husband!

And Petey!

Friday, March 11, 2011

More video information

I guess I should have given you the link to the videos in the previous blog post, eh? You can view the new (and old) videos HERE. We re-uploaded a couple of them because the video quality was a little wonky so they are better now. All together we ended up with 11 new videos - woo hoo!!

I am still planning to do videos on:

Entrelac knitting
Short rows

These will have to be on a future upload. It takes a lot of darn time to do these videos but we really love making them available for you.

Can you believe we have had almost SIX MILLION views on our videos?!?!?!?! We will probably hit 6 million this week or next week. As of this writing we are at 5,835,870 video views and we have over 11,000 subscribers. We are just amazed by this and we thank you all so much for your views, comments and suggestions for the videos. I can't tell you how much we appreciate the amount of support these videos have received!

We get a lot of questions from the videos and we try to get to all of them and answer them. If for some reason I have inadvertently neglected your email or your question, please let me know. It is certainly not intentional. It's just that between nursing students and knitting students and all the other email, we get a lot of messages to sort through each day!

On another note, I received an email yesterday from Google/YouTube wanting me to participate in a 2 hour survey of their products since we are frequent users of things and YouTube partners. I think they are looking at redesigning some of the features. I am pretty excited about this! Anyone have any glaring comments for Google or YouTube that you would like for me to pass along?

Sweater on Monday, I promise! I also started (and amazingly have almost finished) a sock so I need to upload some pictures of that too!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Hello out there! Wayne and I have been hard at work on some new videos. We SERIOUSLY need a new video camera because the one we have sucks (you know, ancient technology from like 5 years ago). So, as soon as we get everything downloaded and edited (THANK YOU wonderful husband for doing all of that so that I may remain ignorant and less stressed about the videos) we'll have them up on YouTube. Some of them may already be up by the time this posts!

We did videos on:

Adding new yarn
Working with DPNs
Provisional cast-on method
Applied i-cord
Using a cable needle

We tried to do one on regular i-cord but the battery kept crapping out. Hopefully we can shoot that one soon since I have everything all ready to go for it.

I have also completed Wayne's sweater! Woo hoo!!! I'll have to get him to put in on so I can take a picture for you. I'll try to have that up for tomorrow.

In the meantime, check out the new videos when they are up and tell us what you think. Any suggestions for additional videos? We might need to get a new video camera first, grrrrrrrrrrrrr................

Friday, March 4, 2011


On the way to Clarkesville, we stopped in Helen, GA. If you have never been there, it is a quaint, interesting little town. The whole place it set up like a little German village (or at least what Americans perceive a little German village would be like).

Sort of a weird thing to find in the middle of GA but, there ya have it! This place was packed with people and it was pretty chilly outside. This place gets MOBBED during Octoberfest!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


We came home the other day and drove up the driveway to this.

Aren't they funny? We have had a pair of Mallards hanging out in our pond for the last few weeks - fun!!! I think they feel happier seeing the chickens roaming around. Now, if I could just get the dog to quit barking at them. It's the weirdest thing, he does not bark at chickens or geese or cats or kingfishers or fish but for some reason, those ducks freak him out!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Well, sheep wool anyway. Where have we been? Oh wait, I know - all over the place! A couple of weekends ago we had the pleasure of going to visit Jen and Jared at the Fleury Sheep and Wool headquarters in Clarkesville. What a fun day! It was made even more fun by the extra company that we met up there! Grace and Regan had me laughing so hard that my face hurt on the way home!

We took a few pictures of the operation for you. Lemme tell ya, this is the cleanest fiber processing place I have ever been in!

I got my cria and alpaca yarn back and I have to tell you, they did a SPECTACULAR job with it! I cannot believe that they were able to make such soft, plushy yarn out of my dad's yard alpacas! They didn't even blend it with anything. I can't wait to figure out what to make with it! Here's me holding a couple skeins of it while Grace and Regan take pictures of Wayne.

First though, I have got to finish my husband's sweater! I only have about 4 inches left to go on the sleeve and then I can seam it all together and put on the collar. I'm running precariously low on yarn so that's making me a little nervous. I foresee a brown collar in his future rather than green. He says he doesn't care though, so that is good! I'm going to try and get the sleeve finished up tonight. We'll see.