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#1 mando621

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 05:23 AM

Hi,

I just read a marvelous book, The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood. I sure wish I could come up with a knitting circle here of support people.

Are there any knitters out there? I've been going nuts knitting things for gifts, scarf-hat-mittens for daughter in college, hand warmers for just about everyone, now I'm knitting myself a pair of wool socks (at least I hope they will be a pair!!!) I've noticed I'm getting a callous under my right hand pinkie from holding the needles and yarn. I thought this wouldn't be good for my hands, but actually I think it has been keeping my fingers warm by moving them while I work. I need to remember to take stretching breaks.

Knitting has been a great way to keep my mind off things lately too. I really find that I am much better at blocking out some of my issues if I'm busy doing something.

Mando.

#2 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 07:10 AM

Me! Me! I'm a constant knitter. I have a basket beside me right now that holds 3 different projects: a lace "shawlette" knit out of very fine alpaca with beads and Estonian nupps to challenge the dexterity; a hat, mitten, and neckwarmer set I'm knitting out of merino wool/silk/bamboo 40/40/20% in two shades of blue and a cream for moderately cold days; another hat, mitten, and neckwarmer set knit out of black and cream alpaca for seriously cold days. There are two pairs of socks in progress (toe up, on 2 circular needles, Cat Bordhi rocks!) and one pair is in a bag next to my car keys and O2 bottle, the other is in a bag hanging from the drawer pull on my nightstand.

I've been knitting all my life it seems, although I probably made it 5 full years before my Gran stuck the first pair of knitting needles in my hands. So I reckon I've got 57 years worth of knitting pleasure under my belt. It's so bad that every empty container in the place has had knitting wool stashed in it. I even bartered for half the price of my first border collie by teaching a weekend 'retreat' class in Shetland lace knitting.

So why do I knit, other than habit? Well, it is calming and meditative. It helps immensely with manual flexibility and dexterity. You are right about it being warming, Mando. If the project is big enough and far enough along, it even warms my knees. Knitting is a great ice-breaker in the social sense too. It satisfys a creative urge in me. It produces useful items. And, importantly to me, it keeps history, traditions and knowledge/skills, and a connection to all the knitters who went before me alive.

I love to knit. I always give anyone who admires my knitting and says something along the lines of "I'd love to be able to do that" a non-business card and tell them to call me. I'll teach them to knit for free. I'd like to think of a long chain of knitters stretching back through time and reaching forward into the future.

Posted Image That's not sleeplessness, that's counting knitting wool on the hoof!
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#3 mando621

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 12:45 PM

Hi Jeannie,

Once again, we should be closer so we could actually get together for a spell of knitting and Irish music. Actually my kids have been teasing me that I can only have one hobby active at a time, and since I've been knitting, I'm playing less music. Probably. I also have a stack of books I just got from the library that I should get through. Of course, I checked out books on knitting and stories about knitting. Ha.

I'm using self patterning yarn for my sock, 100% wool, which I'll have to be careful not to felt! Should I make the second sock match the first, or just go with the flow of the colors? I'm hoping they will be warm, and then I'll have to knit myself a whole arsenal of wool or wool blend socks.

Is Cat Bordhi a knitting pattern person?

Mando.

#4 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 03:34 PM

Hi Mando,

Yes, it would be really neat to be closer - good music, good knitting, cups of tea, perfect! Think of the trouble we could get into.

I usually get sock yarn that has a small percentage of a synthetic or else a 'superwash' wool yarn so I can toss them in the washer and then dry them on a towel rail. There are some that are cotton/wool blends that seem to be the best of both worlds. The only sock yarn I have tried that I have hated was one with bamboo in it. My feet were always cold! It hasn't washed very well either. I have some corn fiber blend that I bought at the same time and am curious to see if it will be as disappointing. I've been knitting the whole sole in the heel stitch (*K1, slip1* on one round and knit all stitches on the next one) because it gives a little extra padding and insulation.

Cat Bordhi invented sock knitting on a long circular needle and that evolved into using 2 x 24" circular needles. It's a lot faster than double-pointed needles, and really nice for stranded colorwork like caps and mittens. She has a number of videos on YouTube that are funny to watch, as well as having a lot of great techniques. Actually, there are a huge number of knitting tutorials on YouTube and elsewhere on the Web. It's wild. I never knew there were so many ways to cast-on and off.

Warm hugs,
Jeannie McClelland
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#5 jefa

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 05:09 AM

So interesting to read all of your comments on knitting. I admire those of you who have the skill and patience. I have tried it off and on over the years, and my mind wanders too much, so counts are always off. ALWAYS. Fortunately, I am pretty good at faking it when I goof up, but I never got to the point where I could say I enjoy knitting. I have made a dozen or so scarf and hat sets, a small baby blanket, and about 50 pairs of slippers made with multiple threads. When I finished the last pair of size 13 slippers with three threads for my father-in-law I gave all my equipment away.

Hubby just bought me a pair of lovely hand knit fair isle style socks and I have been wearing them every day for the past couple of weeks - that is until the right one developed a hole in the toe and a small one on the heel. It seems to be worn through the threads, not stitches undone. I am going to have to **** them and figure out a way to add a reinforced sole because I love them.

I have also been imagining how nice a cowl thingie would be. Something like a big tube that covers head and shoulders but is soft and light enough to wear around the house. I would guess that would be easy for the circular needles. I did the baby blanket on circular needles - it took forever as it was a tiny gauge.
Warm wishes,
Jefa

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#6 mando621

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 06:43 AM

Hi Carrie,

I wouldn't say I'm an excellent knitter, but I make up with my inexpertise with inventive fixes too. Just added an extra row to my sock, couldn't face taking it out, so instead I k2tog early to get back on pattern. I've actually gotten pretty good at reading the knitting so I can go back and count from the stitches. I got that idea from "Tale of Two Cities" where the French woman knitted to record events.

Well, this morning I was knitting away when I decided to go into the kitchen. I stood up and started walking into the kitchen when I stepped on a dpn size 2. OUCH!!!!! It puntured my foot and bent the needle. It got stuck in the carpet and I stepped on it and it went through my slipper into my foot. I can just now start to laugh about it because it isn't throbbing like it was. I put antibiotic ointment on it, and it did bleed some so I hope it won't end up infected. I am already learning from this. Look before getting up to make sure all the needles are put in a safe place! Wow, talk about really feeling clumsy and just a little stupid. I had a cold pack on my foot for as long as I could stand it, and I've taken some ibuprofin to try to reduce the swelling. I sure didn't need this. I took a shower with my foot up on the tub edge so it wouldn't get wet. The wound is on the side of my foot luckily so it isn't too bad walking on it. I'm wearing different slippers since I'm not sure I want to put my foot in a shoe yet. I did go back to knitting, I'm finishing my second sock. They will be great to wear with slippers while my foot is healing! Ha :lol:

At least there is one week before spring semester classes start. I hope this is better by then.

Unfortunately, in one of my other posts, I suspected I had a hernia. That has been confirmed and I have an appointment with a surgeon for next week Thursday. I hope I can put off surgery until summer.

Mando.

#7 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 11:58 AM

Did you know when you have to undo knitting it's called frogging? That's because you rip it, rip it. Get it? And if it's so bad that you have to give up on the project and complete undo it to salvage the wool, it's called sending it to the frog pond. :D

Mando, my family will not ever reach into any bag/basket I might have lying around because of concealed sharp objects. I keep telling them it would be worse if I were quilting! Actually, minimizing the number of pointy ends was the main reason I use circular needles for almost everything. I had visions of our youngest and most boisterous border collie impaling herself on my knitting. I hope your foot feels better soon!

Carrie, they do have patterns for those cowl things that go down over your shoulders too. I'm sure I saw a free one using a bulky yarn and big needles (I'll send a link if you want) that would be really nice out of a big soft acrylic or the like. Cozy and warm. Mmmm, nice.

Have you ever heard of faux isle? You knit the main part of the pattern in a solid color, then the background in one of those self-striping or hand-painted yarns. One of our local yarn shops had a neat flap-cap done that way and it looked like someone had spent months on it changing colors every row or two. I flipped over it and bought a ball of really wonderful multi-colored stuff (sort of fiesta colors) and one of black. Now to knit it!
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#8 mando621

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 02:09 PM

Hi Jeannie,

Well, I broke down and frogged then. I figured out that I'd not reduced as many stitches as I should, and the second sock was going to be much wider than the other. So, rip, rip, rip. Now back to knitting. I ended up going with the flow of the yarn rather than finding the same point in the colors to start the second sock. There are so many color changes that it isn't so noticable, and I saw in one book on socks where the two were intentionally knit differently. So, I'll have a whimsical pair of socks.

Mando. :jump-for-joy:

#9 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 01:55 PM

Hi Mando,

I once saw a woman knitting 2 socks, toe-up, at one time on 2 circular needles AND she had matched the self-patterning start points so that the 2 socks were absolutely identical!! Talk about an obnoxious over-achiever. She was a drop-in knitter at the yarn shop I had gone in to buy more sock wool. I wanted to slink out before anyone could ask to see what was in my knitting bag, but my rotten daughter spotted the socks and was doing the very loud "Hey, Old Woman, can you knit me socks like those? Yours are SO plain!"

Thinking about knitting support groups and Ann Hood's book, have you read any of Kate Jacobs' Friday Night Knitting Club novels? They're great.
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#10 mando621

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 01:31 AM

Thanks for the book idea. I'll have to save it until later since I've checked out about 5 books from the library right now.

First pair of socks done and they actually fit! Yay! :emoticons-yes:

I'm knitting some more of course, it seems to be addictive. The yarn I bought has 25% bamboo in it, and it is definitely different than 100% wool. I kept loosing stitches and had to do quite a bit of frogging when I dropped a stitch. Well, I took matters into my own hands and roughed up my needles slightly with a piece of very fine sand paper, and Voi'la' the stitches are staying in place, and I'm about to do the heel tab for the first sock. Of course, other things in the house are slipping! A good reason I say is that I can't be on my foot too long. At least it is getting better.

One thing that I'm struggling with, you can't knit and read at the same time, unless you could find some way to grow more arms. I can knit withoug looking for one stitch, but I can't take my eyes off it for very long so it is just like reading. I have to take frequent eye breaks and remember to make myself blink more often since I've got eyes like the Sahara.

Have a great day.

Mando.

#11 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 10:29 AM

Hi Mando,

Congratulations on your first pair of perfectly fitting socks!

Roughing up your needles was a very clever idea! I've rubbed my needles with waxed paper to make them slippery, but wouldn't have thought about using sandpaper to add more grip to a pair that are too slippery.

Reading and knitting - you'll come to it! I learned in college. What I do is use a couple of giant bulldog clips, one on either side of the book. The weight holds the pages open. A book stand works well too.

One more thought - it's often easier to frog and pick up a single stitch if you use a crochet hook. That was my mother-in-law's method. She showed me how one day when my language was, um, salty because I'd dropped a stitch and it was rapidly making its way down to the cast-on.

Well, I guess if I go cycle a load of laundry, I could get a couple of rows in before thinking about fixing supper. ;)
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#12 mando621

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 01:45 PM

Hi again,

I have used a crochet hook many times to pick up a dropped stitch, but unfortunately I couldn't find the loose thread, just a hole when I found the problem. I have many sizes of crochet hooks, and I found a lace hook very helpful with the slippery sock yarn.

Well, the hernia can just stay where it is unless it gets to troubling me or gets larger. The surgeon was great and said that he doesn't talk people into surgery unless it is necessary. He said thanks to a small bit of fat in my belly, that the hernia is stable and not a risk. Well, I'm glad I can put this off to sometime much later.

Saw the eye doctor today, and I have a bit of calcium deposit on my cornea, band keratopathy. That is from the dry eye probably Sjogren's related. I'm suppose to keep my eye moist with drops. I usually forget to use drops until it is quite bad.

Mando.

#13 Buttons

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 08:35 AM

Hi Everyone

I've just started hand knitting again after 26 years of using a knitting Machine! I began hand knitting at about the age of 8 and knit my first cardigan by the time I was 10, I had to because my mum couldn't keep up with knitting for all the family (I have a twin sister, 2 more sisters and a brother) and she sewed for us as well. I carried on hand knitting until I was about 27 when I bought my first knitting machine, I made the switch after knitting my husband a very complex Aran pattern in a pure heavily oiled wool which took it's toll on my fingers. I then began designing my own sweaters etc for all my family but using a machine. The reason I have just started to knit again is because my older daughter has taken it up and it's inspired me to do a bit again. I can't do it like I used to because it does cause quite a bit of pain in my fingers and hands but I have just finished knitting some fingerless mitts in pure Merino wool which are lovely and warm to wear.

Buttons

#14 mando621

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 01:42 PM

Hi Buttons,

Congratulations on finishing the mitts, they are pretty fun to make. I find that wearing the mitts without fingers would probably be nice, but what ends up too cold are the finger tips. I find that keeping my main core warm does more than I thought.

I've never used a knitting machine and I thought it would only be good to make stockinette stuff. Can you use it to make different types of patterned stitches? Is it like weaving would be where each row would need something reset if you don't want just knit?

I finished a pair of socks that were just plain in a patterned yarn. I didn't get the toe quite right. I was trying for a wedge toe, but ended up with more of a pointy toe than a star toe. I'm going to have to try that again. The socks fit, so I couldn't face frogging it out. I like small projects right now. I have yet to finish a sweater. Well, I take that back. I finished one sweater but I got the sleeves too long and now it is sitting half taken apart with the intention of fixing it. That was about 5 years ago. I should take it in to the yarn shop where I bought the yarn and get some help. It was an incredibly expensive yarn that is not worsted so it is terrible to try to take it apart. Maybe I could just put it back together and shrink it to fit? Oh well. I was at the yarn shop the other day and a mouse was visiting so needless to say my stay was not too long. The clerk was getting really freaked out by the mouse.

Mando

#15 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 02:04 PM

Mando, I laughed when I read your sweater trials. I have a beautiful tweedy green sweater in a basket weave pattern, drop shoulders and a standing collar fastened by a sentimentally priceless green stone button. I'd wear it all winter long, but the wretched sleeves are miles too wide at the top, giving me a real Batwoman appearance! (Flap, flap. Can you hear my wings flapping?) I knit it 10 years ago this year and have yet to work up the nerve to take the sleeves out and fix them. What's even worse is that I hoarded that yarn for 12 years, moving it from Germany to the UK to the USA, before even getting it on to the needles~
:blush:

Buttons, do you have Raynaud's? A couple of places sell wrist warmers specifically for us Raynauders, but I've seen scads of patterns for wristlets of varying lengths. I'm thinking about trying out a set or two of those. They'd help eat up some of my stash too. You could probably make a set out of the leftover wool from a pair of socks.

Congratulations both of you on those FO's (finished objects)!
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#16 Buttons

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 11:47 PM

Mando, I used an electronic knitting machine and used to design my own patterns. You can do weaving, lace, large pictures and fair isle designs using as many colours as you like. You can also do cable patterns etc, you are limited to using wool which is 4 ply or less on a standard gauge machine but you can also buy ones which do chunky wools. I did make woven jackets, sweaters, cardigans, and even made pleated skirts! I also made babies blankets which I finished off with crocheting around the edges. I only got rid of it a couple of years ago and I must admit I'm regretting it now. I always like to knit with pure wool but it is so expensive now that you can go to the shop to buy sweaters for less money.

Jeannie, I do have Raynaud's and have bought a few pairs of wrist warmers which I wear in the house but the ones I've just made do have the thumbs in which I find are better. The pattern I'm using comes about half way down my forearm so they make you feel warmer. I am now knitting a pair for my 25 year old daughter who thought mine were rather 'cool'.

What is it about knitters having stashes of yarn? I have my own stash of fine wools that I felt I could not give away after getting rid of my machine, I have some lovely Guernsey pure wool so am on the lookout for a hand knit pattern so that I can get it used.

keep knitting

Buttons

#17 mando621

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 01:53 PM

Hi,

Well, I finally finished a vest I started back in 1984. I found that I liked to knit at my in-laws because I could visit but I didn't have to worry about never watching a tv show to completion. My father-in-law is a huge channel surfer. We never would watch an entire show while we were at their house. I'd really rather read, but then I couldn't visit and looked like I was rude. Thus, I started knitting. Well, my daughter said if only I'd used a different color it would be great. It is peach. I guess peach isn't an "in" color now. Too bad I didn't make it black, she said. It is a nice piece. I can't believe I made it looking at it now. It has a lace like pattern and there is only one minor issue that the front pieces don't exactly match. I only had the ribbing around the left side to complete and I finally dug it out and finished it. Now, I'm at a loss as to what to start working on. I have made 4 pairs of socks so far, and I'm all sock-d out.

I met with some other knitters and crochet'ers last Tuesday on campus. There was a sign up at work announcing Tuesday evenings in February people could come and knit or crochet. I missed the first session. I ended up inviting someone that was sitting next to me at the school concert. We had a group of 5. Not too bad. I think we are going to try to keep it going. So, I've followed my doctors orders and found something to do to meet new people.

I've been battling depression, and the counselor I saw said I should get out and get involved in groups where I could meet more people. Other than that suggestion, it was a pretty useless exercise to see the counselor.

Way to get to those UFO's. One down, about 5 more lurking in my sewing room. Some of the sweaters I started years ago no longer have the yarn for it, since I decided to use the yarn rather than have it sit there getting dusty. Oh well. I don't think I'd want to wear the acrylic yarn sweater now anyway.

Mando.

#18 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 02:50 PM

Hi Mando,

How about a nice pair of fingerless mitts or may try some Fair Isle colorwork in the form of a cap? I've got a neckwarmer thing on my needles at the moment. It's just a tube with a sort of broken rib pattern. It's almost brainless knitting and excellent for watching the Olympics. I found I was getting so excited during my favorite events that I'd bent my sock needles into a curve!

If you like the knitting group, you might see if your local yarn shop has 'open' days/evenings. One of ours does a potluck dinner every month and a weekly open day.

Warm hugs,
Jeannie McClelland
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#19 mando621

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 07:35 AM

Hi Jeannie,

Well, mitts don't really appeal to me right now, I made about 6 pairs around holiday time. I've thought about a hat and scarf for myself, but I don't have the yarn I would want to use.

Our local yarn shops aren't really in town. One is at the house of the owner out in the country. The hours of the shop are rather weird. They have people in on Wednesday afternoon to knit, you have to pay a $1 for the session. I work then, so I've never been. The other yarn shop is about 20 yards away from that one in a small building set back from the country highway. It is the shop with the mouse above. They don't have any room to put knitters, so they don't do anything.

Other than that, there is Wal-Mart down the road. They only have acrylic yarn. It is rather tough being in the rural area of south central Wisconsin. Mostly farm land around us. About an hour drive to get to a metropolitan area, so I don't do that very often just to go to music sessions, so a knitting session probably wouldn't work.

Well, last night during the olympics, coincidentally, I started on another doggie sweater. Acrylic yarn is best because it is machine washable. So far, it is maroon and white, slight checkerboard pattern just at the shoulders. I'm probably going to add a little gold, and then it will be in honor of our daughter at the University of Minnesota. Maroon and Gold. She will get a kick out of that.

Then someday, I might splurge on some wool yarn to make a hat and scarf for myself. Got to get my hubby a job before I dive into a new yarn project that takes more than a few dollars. He has an interview tomorrow and it will be a long drive. Hopefully the snow won't be too bad.

Mando.