Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year!

OK, I'm way behind in my posting. So much has happened, and I didn't get them up here. I've officially finished my EMT course and passed my National Exam! I'm currently waiting for my State Certification, because I can't start working as an EMT until I get it. It's been 2 weeks, and I know in the middle of the holidays isn't helping, but I'm anxious to get the mail from them ASAP. Dh scored .09 point higher than I did, in spite of my highest final exam grade for the whole class, he takes his National exam tomorrow afternoon.

I did get some nice fiber-y gifts for Christmas. Some yarn from my Secret Santa, with a really neat gadget holder. It has cable needles, scissors, stitch markers of 3 different types, darning needles, crochet hooks, dpns, and even a circular needle as I just cast off my latest pride and joy!

This is my Rose Heart shawl by Elizabeth Matthews, I made it from a black, gray, white wool blend yarn, but the colors hid the design. So off to the dye pot it went, green, with a hint of blue made a lovely teal. It's actually still some variegated, but my queen sized bedspread hides that muted color variation.

Here is a close up, trying to show the design in the pattern. It's hard to see, but the photo above and this one are the same beast. I did run into a bit of trouble with the bind off, I ran out of yarn 81 stitches from the end. I was doing a very stretchy bind off, and by reverting back to a normal bind off, I was able to get it to make it to the end with yarn to spare. I have 2 more shawls planned for this pattern, one in another variegated yarn, but it's more subtle, and a rose colored cotton boucle. Still trying to find a suitable carry along yarn to add to that.

I'm needing to focus on the shawl for my sister, it's getting closer to completion, and I need to get it in the mail to her. Her wedding was in November, and Christmas is past... I'm nearly done with the main shawl, just need to finish the last repeat and do the edging. This does have a white acrylic carry along to go with this cotton boucle yarn. It's turning out very pretty. This is Wildflowers shawl, a free pattern by Posh Yarns.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Secret of the Stole is looking GOOD!

This is clues 5 and 6-- COMPLETED!!!! On to clue 7, which is the current clue, so I'm caught up on it! I need to play catch up on Mystic Waters, as it has languished while I zoom thru this one. Oh, well, I'm proud to see the progress on my work. Minimal mistakes, few tinks back, NO frogging back to the lifelines. I feel good!

Update on the EMT front. I have only one more shift at the hospital that is required, with 2 more patient contacts. That should be easily done during that shift. The past 2 shifts with EMS haven't been active. I have enough patient transports, but no contact means no learning, so I'm thinking of requesting an additional shift this week, just for the experience, and the study time.

I got the highest grade in the class with Exam #3 last week! Even beat out my husband, who usually does better than I do. I have a lot of trouble remembering things from the time I read them to when we test. Still, I'm holding a decent GPA, so can't complain. We are off from class this week, because of Thanksgiving, back next Monday, will review for the Final, which we take on Wednesday! So I should be studying all this week. National testing is Dec. 12. We have 2 practice tests right now that we are to be going over, with the book, and that needs to be turned in by Dec. 1. I am about 100 questions into the first (150 total on each). Haven't touched the second test yet. Lots of work yet to do! We'll see how much I accomplish while on call with my local EMS-- I'm currently just an ambulance driver, not an EMT, with lots of down time to study and knit.

We should be licensed to practice before Christmas, if the testing goes well, the contact with the State and their acknowledging our grades quickly happens.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Recent acquisitions

OK, got a little crazy-- for me, anyway. I hit Webs, Knit Picks and Wally World and got some fun stuff. I have a million projects going, with plenty of yarn to use during the next 4 lifetimes, but I go buy MORE!

6 balls of Bollicine from Cascade yarns. Am thinking this may lend it self to a nice, warm shawl. Still looking for the pattern I want to use.

One ball of On Line Supersocke 100 yarn in Holiday colorway. I just printed off a sideways sock that might look cool in this yarn. Haven't tried a sideways sock yet. It's an adventure!

Knit Picks, new 60" cables plus size 5 and 10 tips for them. Size 0 dpns in the Harmony wood. We'll see how they work out...

Knit Picks Shadow yarn in Campfire Heather. Unfortunately, it looks very University of Texas, burnt orange... Dh went to Texas A&M, so this color isn't allowed in my house. However, the Flavor Aid, in Tropical Punch red may be able to salvage it for me. I soaked all 3 hanks, mixed in the Kool Aid, and did a purposely uneven dye job. It's now draining, I'm not really impressed with the minor difference in the wet colors I see, but will wait until they are dry to see if we need to attempt another coloration.

It looks more brown in the picture than it does in real life. I like it here. It looks like sable in the photo.

I'm also attempting some knitting bags, the kind you hold your yarn in on your belt loop and can knit while you walk. I got the spring closures for that. My fabric store has them on sale for $ .13 each this week so I think I need to go back and pick up some more!

Another sewing project for our EMT uniforms, as well as the knitting bags. Iron on velcro, bias tape, and jean type snaps. Should be fun.

Clearance yarn from Walmart! The Bernat Super Stripes was more than 1/2 price, so it jumped into my cart. These will probably become hats for charity, so one ball of each was plenty.

These are good non-gender colors, so will be nice for either boys or girls, infants or kids on the Reservation that I send hats to, as well as the ones that go to the hospitals locally.

Strata, also at $2 each. I've started a scarf with one of these already. I'm hoping I can get a whole scarf done out of a single ball. We'll see if I can do 2 or 3 scarves from these.

Friday, October 26, 2007

catching up

OK, it's been quite a while since I've "done" anything to show off, but I am working on projects as well as my EMT training is taking a lot of time. It has become a full time job, in effect, but I get paid in knowledge, not cash.

For a fun photo, here is my 16 yo son, wearing a ball on his head. At least he is smiling under that thing, I think. It was his idea to do this, not mine. I just took the picture.

This is the combined yarn for my Mystic Waters Knit Along. Finally found something I like that was in stash, came up with 2 that I thought would look cool together, so plied them on the spinning wheel-- Her name is Rapunzel because she has long flaxen hair. My oldest son calls her Steve-- Watch Over the Hedge movie, and you may understand. Or not, I don't try to understand college students. The 2 yarns are a BRIGHT royal blue and a teal/brown, when blended together, it's brighter, but muted for a cool deep water color. I'll do the swatch and get started on clue one and try for a photo in the sunlight. My camera chose not to use a flash since we were outside, so it's very shadowed.

This is the beginnings of a lap afghan for charity. It's a silver rayon chenille with a cotton boucle in purple/black/white. The photo doesn't do it justice. It's a cool blend. I like to use large needles, multi strands of yarn to make bigger patterns and make faster projects. This is done in a basketweave stitch.

This is the beginnings of my Secret of the Stole Knit Along. I'm WAY behind everyone, as clue 4 came out today, and I have just finished clue 1. The yarn is white with gold metallic thread running thru it. The beads, which are pretty invisible-- see the nearly clear things just above the needle? Those are my beads. They are clear with an opal lining. I couldn't find a neat gold I liked, and the multi shaded browns I liked, but not the quality of the beads, so passed on those.

This is the beginning of another lap afghan, which is actually nearly completed. I did this stripe in burgundy in basketweave stitch, followed a cream using Angel Wing Lace pattern, and now am about 1/2 way thru a Colonial Blue using a fireman's ladder pattern. I'll seam them together as soon as the blue stripe is completed. This will go to Brook Army Medical Center to one of the soldiers being treated there after returning from Iraq.

So, now back to my studying, I hope to get some knitting time to get into clue 2 of the SotS and finish the plying together of some of the Mystic Waters yarns, so I can start the swatch for that and see how that turns out. One of these days, I'll actually get started on knitting that!

Friday, October 19, 2007

latest newspaper publication!

Local firefighters attend certification training sessions
Members of volunteer fire departments in Sutherland Springs, La Vernia, Eagle Creek, Stockdale, and Kicaster, as well as members of the Longhorn Volunteer Fire Department and Instructor Jason Scheel, commemorate a Phase III firefighter certification-training event in Seguin with a group photo.
Members of volunteer fire departments in Sutherland Springs, La Vernia, Eagle Creek, Stockdale, and Kicaster, as well as members of the Longhorn Volunteer Fire Department and Instructor Jason Scheel, commemorate a Phase III firefighter certification-training event in Seguin with a group photo.

Wilson County had a good showing at recent firefighter training sessions. The Guadalupe County Fire Training Field north of Seguin hosted Phase III training for many Texas-area firefighters. Six Wilson County volunteer departments sent firefighters; most expect to complete their basic firefighter certification before the end of the year.

Basic certification consists of four segments or phases held throughout the year over two weekends each. Phase I was held in Refugio in January and February, and Phase II was held in Beeville during March and April. Phase III was scheduled in Guadalupe County in September and October. Phase IV will be in Port Lavaca in November and December, with a classroom-only option available in late October in Stockdale.

Subjects covered in Phase III are live fire; fire alarms and communications; inspections and public fire education; apparatus familiarization, records and reports; salvage and overhaul; fire cause and origin; and fire protection systems and water supplies.

Wilson County firefighters attending included Leona Barnes, Will Barnes, Leslie Roberts, Gene Roberts, Mike Abbott, and Bryan Crasher from the Sutherland Springs Volunteer Fire Department; Casey Stewart and Tammy Worthington of the La Vernia Volunteer Fire Department; James Roberts, Steve Olsen, and Daniel Jones of the Eagle Creek Volunteer Emergency Services; Brian Deason and Mallorie Deason of the the Longhorn and Stockdale volunteer fire departments; David Rice Jr. and Christa Gelhaar of the Stockdale Volunteer Fire Department; and Bruce Engelke, Rodney Zacek, Danny Zacek, Greg Smith, and Laurel Smith of the Kicaster Volunteer Fire Department.

This is from this week's Wilson County News and the article with picture I wrote to go along with our firefighter training series we are doing this year. We start Phase 4 tonight. We will be done with our training by the end of this weekend for the year.

I will have plenty of knitting time, as it's all classroom, so expect to make progress on the lap afghan I'm working on for the soldiers at Brook Army Medical Center. One of the charity groups I knit things for donate to the soldiers who are receiving treatment there.

Anyway, time to get ready to leave, I need to get some pictures uploaded and update on the latest knit alongs I'm involved in. Those are going slow because of schooling and volunteer work. Still making some progress, so I'm OK with that.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I wrote an article for my local county paper, the Wilson County News, here in Texas. I emailed them their copy, and they actually printed it on the Editorial Page! The fire depts. are listed each week in the paper, and they printed that listing right below my article. I was told they would use part of what I wrote, but I think they used the entire thing. Much have been a slow news week. ;-D How cool is that????

Support your Local Emergency Services

Written by Laurel Smith
firefighter, EMT in training
wife of a firefighter, EMT in training
mom of a firefighter & a jr firefighter

Wilson County's EMS and fire services are staffed completely by volunteers. Many of those volunteers hold full time jobs in San Antonio, and elsewhere, but they take time out of their lives to protect and serve their neighbors.

Our local fire departments are busy training their members to become better at their jobs. They are always happy to meet fresh faces who are interested in learning new skills, sharing in the fun and excitement and helping their neighbors.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units also need new volunteers to help protect and serve our county residents. Training is provided for new volunteers, from ambulance drivers to transport and help as needed, to those willing to undergo higher training. The minimum age to participate in EMS is 18. Several families and couples are working together as EMTs here in the county.

Jr. Firefighters, teens 14 years and older, with parental permission, can be a good way to start to see if public service may become a career. It is a good community service project, as well. Several families have gotten involved together in their local departments. Dad, Mom, or both, with one or more teenager work together caring for your home and family.

If you do not feel physically able to help out in your area, then please support your local departments emotionally and financially. Pay your annual dues and visit during the various fund raisers. Pancake breakfasts, auctions, craft shows, whatever is happening, we all need to be a part of the community events. Administration help, grant writing knowledge, donations and corporate sponsors are also desired. Wilson County isn't able to totally support our various departments. To fill the gaps and upgrade the equipment to better serve the public, these fund raisers need the support of their neighborhoods and friends.

Check with your local contact person for your local fire or EMS department to see how you can help out. All fire departments are listed in the Wilson County News each week. EMS units can be found in La Vernia, Stockdale, Floresville and Eagle Creek.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Playing Catch Up!

I am behind, have a couple new pics to add. My Hemlock Ring KAL blanket is FINISHED!!! I love how it turned out, you can't see a whole lot of the detail, because I knit it in black/dark gray, which isn't photographing well, but you get the idea.

This is my latest doily pattern turning into a blanket! The pattern comes from and there are TONS that I printed off. I'm using mostly cotton yarn, there is some wool mixed in to the peach. The pink is a much thinner cotton-- all is machine knitting yarn, but I'm multi stranding, to make it work better with my size 10.5 Knit Picks circular needles. This is called "doily with spiral". It worked up to 66 cm using the original rayon thread, so I figure the cotton/wool on size 10.5 needles will make a really nice baby blanket.

Still doing the EMT classes, I got an 85% on my first big test! I'm passing all my skills tests and start doing ride outs with the EMS service that hosts our Academy starting next week. Will also be doing several shifts at one of the hospital Emergency Rooms, and am still very much on track to graduate in December!

OK, back to studying.

Friday, August 31, 2007

MS3 is DONE!!!!!

It's DONE! It's DONE! It's DONE! Why would I be excited about it at all??? Who knows? but it's DONE!

I know my camera tends to take rotten pictures, to get a good view, the distance is enough you can't see details well (maybe it's the photographer's fault more than the camera's)

Anyway, it's getting blocked out on my bed, laid out on towels-- would have been better to had 2 solid colors behind it, I know. Oh, well. My beads don't show up well, but they are there!

Not bad for some acrylic yarn from my stash, huh? It's not your normal acrylic, I'll give you that, it's very soft, and doesn't feel like acrylic at all, anyway. It will be nice to wear for church and other activities.

EMS duties have been somewhat heavy, tho really non-existent, this week, that's a weird thing to deal with. I live far enough away that I can't stay home during my volunteer shifts, so I hang out in town. Studying for my EMT classes, exercising, shopping-- what little is available in my little town, and exercising at the fitness center, or walking in the park. My normal 12 hour shift is on Tuesdays, I substituted for 6 hours on Wednesday, and a whole shift Thursday. I get a lot of exercising done, and I've noticed some weight loss, finally. Maybe doing hours of crunches on the Bally Ball while watching TV is paying off? My muscle tone is much better, and my back doesn't hurt nearly as often as it used to, as well as my heel spurs don't act up-- that is mostly from changing work environments, I'm sure, getting off my feet at Wally World like I used to do.

Today is my "day off". Yeah, right. I'm doing home based stuff, for once, getting a few things caught up on with the kids-- even my teens were asking when I'd be home this week. Both dh and I were very busy all week, he's taking EMT classes along with me, so we aren't making it home Mondays and Wednesdays until nearly 11 pm!

Was playing phone tag with the college boy; he'd call, I'd be in a meeting, I'd call back, he'd be in class. Dad called, and I ignored him, also, as I was still in a meeting. Need to make phone calls today, don't I?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

update on craftiness

OK, heavy on the pictures today. This is what is keeping me from getting more knitting done-- or blogging. I need to take pics of my sewing projects one of these days.

DH and I are studying to become EMT-basics, it's a lot of work, and study, so it's biting into my knitting time greatly. I should be studying NOW, instead of posting this. I promise to get busy right after this, really, I promise. This shows how thick my book is I'm studying.

Here's a pic of the front cover. No cheap junk for us! Chapter 4 is tonight-- Anatomy-- I need to study alot! to get a decent grade on the quiz tonight. No stress, what so ever, is there???? I want knit and relax, not study!

Here's the progress on dh's fire fighter's socks. The pattern is called fire fighter's because the person who came up with the pattern thought the design looked like ladders. I'm nearly done with the first ball of yarn.

Kind of dark, but you can see I'm working 2 socks at a time. Dh's feet are big enough and his ankles wide enough that 2 balls aren't going to make it, so I'll use yarn from my pair that I planned to make for me. Guess that means I'll have to BUY MORE Yarn!

This is an entrelac scarf I was trying out the pattern. I ended up ripping this out, but it was interesting to do. May make it again in some other yarn. See below to find out what that yarn ended up turning into.

This is the latest hat I'm in the process of making. I'm nearly out of the yarn, so it's close to completion. I'm making it out of navy Bernat Denim Style yarn. It's looking cute.

I'm not finished with my MS3 stole, I am into clue 6, so I'm making more progress. I should do another temporary blocking and take a picture of how far along it is, but that takes away from my knitting time. Had to start a new shawl, and am making good progress on it. It's called Honeycomb, as it looks like that in the design. I actually took a scarf pattern and widened it. It will end up with an "S" look to it as it will slowly grow toward the left as the length progresses, and then when you add the end decrease, it resembles the top curve of the letter.

I got these pictures reversed. This is how far along I am on this shawl. It's bunched together, as it's wider than my needle will let it stretch out. I've done 2 YO "V"'s in it, so far. I'm nearing the end of the second skein of yarn, and have one more available for me to use on it. Right now, it hangs from shoulders down to my rear end. I want it longer. So will keep knitting.

Here's the beginning of that shawl. I love the color striping of the yarn. It's Lion Brand Color Waves, a boucle yarn that I got on clearance at work, so it is a fantastic steal as far as cost of shawls go.

My bunny-in progress- is what that yarn ended up being. I don't have enough to do the whole bunny, so the green, which matches the green in the yarn will become the legs and ears. It may be ugly, but will be cuddly for a child needing something to snuggle with. I knit this much yesterday while on call for EMS. I hung out at my fitness center, and in between riding the stationary bike a total of 30 miles over the course of the day, studying for tonight's class, and watching TV, I knit this guy up.

I'm going to be teaching some beginning classes in knitting and crocheting next month. I have info at my work, for sign ups. Only easily available if you are in the San Antonio area. I'm also doing advanced crocheting and jewelry making. Hope to get sock knitting classes going next month. Depends on the EMT fun I get to have.... I'll be studying until almost Christmas before I get to take my certification test. It's going to be a long and book filled fall!

Monday, August 13, 2007

2 in one day!!!

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Noble Excellency Laurel the Winsome of Melbury Bumpton
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

OK, I know, weird for me to actually post twice, but I came across this, and had to get my own Aristocratic title, and therefore, put it up! So, short post, but you know us aristocrats, we have our own set of rules.

The latest kniting progress

Here are the latest fun things I've been working on around here. This is an Entrelac scarf. This is just a sample to try out the stitches and how it ends up looking. It's a 1/1 rib, and I think would look better with a longer repeating striped yarn. Like how some sock yarns are colored. This basic variegated yarn is bright and hides the stitches. If I take this further with a different yarn, I'll take new pictures to show off the detail of the design better. I'm just using leftover stash yarns to play with right now.

This is a honeycomb scarf pattern I've widened to make a stole. I think it will block out to be a nice width when it's done. I'm using stash yarn for this, it's a wool blend with nepps in multi colors. It will end up being kind of elongated "S" shaped, the point here on the end gets offset as the body of the stole works it's way to the left with every honeycomb motif completed. So when the finishing off happens and the point there is completed, it's not quite centered on that end, or so it looks.

I started this yesterday, and it was my car riding project. I took out my entrelac felted tote I'm working on-- need to order more yarn, as the balls I'm working on aren't lasting thru a whole round. Fortunately, it's Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks, so isn't expensive. I was wondering about putting some red only one round away from a fuschia pink, so we swung by a Walmart the other day to see about buying some Lion Brand Wool, and they didn't carry it! The ONLY place near me at the time that might carry a little bit of wool, and that store doesn't carry it at all! So, we went ahead with the red. Now it's nearly out, and the round has several more segments to be knitted up. Guess that means I get to order several other items I "need" to make the order worthwhile. I don't think I'll order enough to get the free shipping, but still, make it worth the shipping cost. Most shipping costs are well worth it, compared to the cost of gas these days, anyway.

I don't have any new pics of my MS3, as I haven't worked on it since Thursday, so I should take time to get some more rows worked on that. I'm still in clue 5, and should be moving into clue 6, at least. I've done well to keep up with the main crowd on the Knit A Long, so I feel good about that, at least. I have a feeling Clue 7, the last one, will be similar to a repeat of clues 1-3 or so. We are supposed to be over 60% done, 5 and 6 have basically turned a corner, and my mind thinks there should be quite a bit more to make this complete. But there's only one more clue left.

Non-knitting news: My oldest son is leaving for college this coming weekend! OK, he'll be across town, but he's staying at the dorms there, instead of commuting. We went to Open House yesterday, he's at Orientation today and tomorrow, and SOMETIME, we have to pack, shop and Sunday afternoon, we'll move him in to his room. We met his room mate yesterday, he doesn't have a whole lot of space, so that makes shopping easier-- cafeteria eating for all 3 meals, no nearby fast food places, unless he rides the bus to get there.

Dh and I start EMT classes tonight! So he and the son are driving across to meet up with me by 5, I hand over my car to the son, and ride with dh to classes. This week, we have Monday, Wednesday and Saturday classes, most weeks will only be Mon/Wed. classes. We were helping out Saturday with EMS at the La Vernia BBQ cook off in the city park. We both got to go on a call (separate calls). Mine wasn't nearly as exciting sounding as dh's, but I'm sure, eventually, I'll be in the middle of some exciting calls. We heard them getting toned out about 1 am last night for a burning car, didn't feel compelled to jump into clothes and offer to help out. We'll get enough of that as we get more involved. We have our shirts and stickers for our cars-- We've lost 2 already, so only have one vehicle marked right now.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

entering the scary zone!

I'm getting very personal here, and it is high in photos, so beware where you step... LOL.

Pictured here is my stash-- in high need of organization and upkeep. On the left, is my corner that I sit in most of the time to knit and watch TV. It needs work, but it holds my current projects. So that works for me. The other pictures have my stash, mostly from my bedroom corner where most of my stuff gets crammed. I am going to clean it up, so this is my official "BEFORE" pictures. Told you is was a scary zone! Can't say I didn't warn you. This isn't ALL of my stash, mind you, I'm not taking you into my closet, which is a big walk in closet, and you CAN'T walk in it because of all my my stash in there. Few clothes, mostly yarn and wool roving, fleeces and such. These aren't even all of the corner, there's a big table for my other knitting machine, boxes and baskets under it, a dresser full, a set of shelves beyond that, and then there's the dining room overflow.... YIKES!!!!

Top drawer on left

Second drawer on right
Third drawer is above on left

Left pic is the whole corner area that will be gutted and reorganized, hopefully, mostly this week, yet. Wish me luck!

Now, we get into a fun photo "technique" called Kinnearing which refers to trying to get pictures of famous people without them realizing you are taking their picture. We've taken it beyond that and were just shooting for fun within the family. The lovely shot above is my oldest daughter.

This is my younger daughter and one of the kittens on my lap-- it's too straight, isn't it to be a "real" Kinnear shot...

This is my second son, on one of the computers

My oldest daughter and my toes then my oldest son was taking pictures of himself holding our ferret, Sheba.