August 30, 2009

Second SP14 Package Arrives

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , at 6:02 pm by Jenn

This post, as man of my posts these days is overdue.  What can I say?  I’m lazy and I ‘m also sharing a computer with “the fam” these days so blogging time is hard to come by.

My second Secret Pal package arrived during the week and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the contents…see, I took pictures and everything!


The box.


Pre unwrapping.


Post unwrapping.  Starting at the bottom right there is a fold up travel pack that I will most likely use for knitting notions.  Atonement, the book.  I watched the movie just a few weeks ago and loved it.  Now I’m going to tackle the book to see which I like better.  I’m betting I like the book.  The card explaining what everything is and why she chose it for me.  A mesh bag of stitch markers, hand made by a friend of hers.  Under the stitch markers is a notepad with a ball of yarn, some knitting needles and my name.  A stuffed coaster.  When you put your mug on it, the heat from the mug releases fragrance from the goodies stuffed inside.  A box full of gift tags for my handknit items.  There is space to write care instructions, etc.  I’m sure I”ll get a lot of use out of these (and there are a LOT of them in that box).  Lastly, notecards and envelopes that match the notepad and gift tags.  VERY COOL package.  Thanks Pal.

Also in Secret Pal news we have a contest going on to post our favorite baby pattern.  Well, it just so happens that I have a friend out there who is expecting so I’ve been skimming the pattern browser and have a few cute knits in mind.  I’m hoping to make Phazelia’s mitered baby jacket (ravelry pattern), and the 8 hour baby afghan (ravelry pattern) for the little bundle – but my friend reads this blog so that being said – you never know!

In my other craft related news this weekend was a fiber filled as usual.  Friday was the Spinners Guild meeting and Saturday there was an impromptu meeting of the Bowie Maryland Knitters Group (ravelry group).  I had a great time at both as usual.

I’m working on the Poppy, V-neck pullover and I’m ALMOST FINISHED.  I’m putting the final rows on the second sleeve, then I just need to attach the sleeves, sew in the loose yarn and I’ll be finished with my second sweater!  AND, Friday evening I purchased the yarn for my third sweater which I thought would be the Whisper Cardigan, but that will be my fourth because my enabler (Jolene) turned me on to the Featherweight Cardigan which is made from Malabrigo Lace.  This yarn I might add is only $9.55 a skein at Cloverhill and the pattern calls for 3 skeins.  So that’s a sweater for less than $30, which makes it my kind of sweater!  The color I chose for this sweater is called Marron Oscuro which is a beautiful reddy brown.

Lastly, I sent out my package for the Knitting Whodunnit Swap.  This swap has been a lot of fun so far and I expect that with packages going out and alibis starting to get posted the real fun is still to come.  Stay tuned for more on that – for now I’m off to finish that sleeve.


August 23, 2009

Scales and Arpeggios

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , , at 4:46 am by Jenn

Yesterday Heather and I took a spinning class at Cloverhill Yarn Shop.  It was a small group, but it was well worth it and I learned a TON about my wheel and what it’s capable of.  I was really impressed with the yarn that I’m able to create.  I’m even more impressed that I was actually able to create a laceweight plied yarn!  YAY ME!  Finally!

Here is my pile of scrap/trash fiber at the end of the day


My wheel has 4 ratios and here is are my scales and arpeggios using those ratios:


From left to right using 64 micron Merino – the yellow is the 6:1 with brake and then no brake, the red is the 8:1 with brake and now brake, the blue is 11:1 with brake and no brake, the green is the 14:1 with brake and no brake and that white….wait for it –

that is also the 14:1 with no brake but the fiber is 80 micron vs 64 micron….what a difference the fiber makes!  All of these are 2 ply and yes folks, I can make lace weight yarn if I use the right ratio!  DUH!  I’ve been spinning on the 8:1 with brake so no wonder I wasn’t able to get the finished product that I wanted.  I’m so happy that I went to this spinning class.  Understanding what my wheel is capable of is probably the most useful information I’ve gotten in my 3 months of spinning.  Now I feel like I’m ready to tackle some actual spinning for projects!

Speaking of spinning….I plied some yarn last week and I have no idea what I did, but I somehow plied unevenly, so now I’m going to go back and add some extra twist to try to fix the uneven pieces….see


Some of it is plied just fine,but other sections are just not good.  After I finish that task I am going to try spinning some of the fiber from the “bag of crap” that I received in the mail this week.

On Ravelry I belong to the Spin or Dye Swapping group.  Within this group is a “bag of crap” swap.  You claim a bag that has been offered and then offer to send a bag with a value of around $10.  The person who was supposed to send my crap, backed out so the crap angels came to my rescue and I received this wonderful crap from Vermont.


The taupe colored fiber is Cormo/Alpaca, the white is East Freisien and the Dark Brown is Border Leicester/Alpaca.

Cande if you are out there I have your fiber ready to go…I just need your address : (

If you don’t send it soon, I’m afraid I won’t be able to control myself…spin spin spin : )

August 22, 2009

The Three’s of Me

Posted in Journal at 3:44 am by Jenn

My friend Jen tagged me of Facebook, so here goes:

Three names I go by:
1. Jenn
2. J Mack
3. Jenn McKinley

Three Jobs I have had in my life:
1. Bartender
2. Recruiter
3. Dietitian

Three Places I have lived:
1. Belarus
2. Azerbaijan
3. North Carolina

Three Favorite drinks:
1. Wine
2. Beer
3. Mojito

Three TV Shows that I watch:
1. Grey’s Anantomy
2. Breaking Bad
3. Survivor

Three places I have been:
1. Vilnius, Lithuania
2. Warsaw, Poland
3. Garmisch/Partenkirchen, Germany

People that text me regularly:
1. Formerly – Allison
2. Formerly – Vangie
3. Formerly – MarieAnne

Three of my favorite foods:
1. Japanese
2. Thai
3. Mexican

Three friends I think will respond:
1. Monica
2. Missy
3. Dawn

Three Things I am looking forward to:
1. Wednesday night crabs
2. Moving to Chile
3. October – fiber festival

If you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with the 3’s of YOU. At the end, choose 10 people to be tagged. You have to tag me so really you just need 9 more people. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you – but not in a creepy stalker kind of way. Well, maybe

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your Facebook profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 3’s of Me, tag 20 people – in the right hand corner of the app – then click publish.)

So, there you have it!

August 15, 2009


Posted in Journal tagged , , , at 4:28 pm by Jenn

This was my third week back at work and I’ve been having a great time.  I really love working for DaVita and it feels good to be back with a patient population and making a difference.

I try to provide not only patient education, but a little bit of laughter for the teammates and patients and this week proved to be a LOT of both.  I have 60 total patients at this clinic and 10 of them are Spanish speaking.  A few of them speak and understand English well enough that I am comfortable speaking to them in English but a majority of them really need to be spoken to in Spanish to ensure that the message is getting across to them – great practice for me before heading to Chile.

I had one patient who’s labs were really great and I just needed to give him his report, find out what meds he was taking and tell him to keep up the good work.  Here is how the conversation started –

Me:  Извините пожалуйста.  Mi nombre es Jennifer, soy nutriciónista.  Как дела?

Patient:  ¿De dónde es?

Me:  Los Estados Unidos, pero en octubre voy a vivir en Chile.

Patient:  Oh!

Now, that seems like a pretty good start to the conversation right?  Well, what I said to him was:

Me: Excuse me please (in Russian).  My name is Jennifer, I am a dietitian (In Spanish).  How are you (in Russian)?

What he asked me – Where are you from?

What I said – The United States, but in October I will live in Chile.

What he said – Oh.

After his comment I realized what I had done and then I started laughing, which made him think I was even crazier.  My Spanish isn’t good enough to tell him that I had been living in post soviet Europe for the past two years, so I just left it alone.  I went on to tell him in my best Spanish, that his labs were very good and to keep up the good work.  I got his meds and got the heck out of there….Chile, here I come?  Oh lord.

August 13, 2009

My Medallion

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , at 1:27 am by Jenn

Well, here they are – as promised.  Pictures of my finished Botanica Medallion Cardigan.

I put the seam under the right arm instead of down the middle of the back.  The yarn I used was Berroco Ultra Alpaca.



And this is probably the most unflattering picture of the decade, but I’m putting it out there anyway


So there you have it!  My first finished sweater.

And for all you Max fans – here is a picture of the boy cooling off with an ice cold Frosty Paws.


August 12, 2009

Knit Happens

Posted in Journal at 1:11 am by Jenn

There’s been a lot of knitting going on around here lately and I finally have a finished object to show for it.  Yesterday I finished my Botanica Medallion Cardigan and today it’s blocking!  It should be photo/model ready in the next day or so!  Until then, follow this link to see the original design.  I decided to use an alpaca/wool blend in a heathered green color and I LOVE the way it turned out.  I’m really proud of it and it’s my first finished adult sweater.

Today I kept the knitting momentum going and swatched (yes, I swatched) and cast on for Poppy.  I’ve been wanting to knit this since I saw it on the cover of Yarnplay and now I’m doing it.  I’m using a solid black for the body and Noro’s Taiyo for the sleeves and top.  It’s a quick knit so far – stockinette with occasional garter ribs and stockinette stripes thrown in.  I want to finish a sweater that I have to piece together with set in sleeves so that I can get some practice with fit and finish while I’m here in the US with so many resources to fall back on.  So that being said, I need to finish this “poppy” by mid October!  Hopefully it will be cool enough that I’ll be able to wear it before I leave too.

It’s quiet around here now so I’m going to take advantage of that and ply some singles that have been sitting around for about a week.  I need to free up the bobbins ’cause Friday night is Sit and Spin at Cloverhill Yarn Shop.

Lots of other knitting related, swap related stuff going on (I mailed package two to my Secret Pal partner this week) but I’ll have to catch you all up on that next time….off to spin.

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