Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's Been A Long December....

I don't do New Year's Resolutions. I've never seen the point. Easy StorageWhy bother making promises that no one expects you to keep? It feels like a lie. Even if the only person you're lying to is yourself. Declaring "Next year I'll drink more water" while deep down you know you'll stick with diet coke is a waste of breath. It's a small little lie, but it is far from harmless. It undermines your mental image of who you are, you become a person who tells little lies. It chisels away at your integrity. It's never a good idea to lie especially to yourself.

And I must confess I've never really seen the point of a big New Year's Celebration. It's an arbitrary date to start the new calender year. It doesn't coincide with the start of the school year, the fiscal year, the Chinese New Year. It's just a day, a day some men a million years ago decided would mark the start of a new year. It's just book keeping. So why throw a party to mark a book keeping event? If that were in fashion we would throw a parade each time I balanced my checkbook.

BeautifulBut I need a New Year this year. This year has been marked by several events that forever altered my existence and divide my life into before and after categories. Before my Mom died, and after my Mom died, before I moved and after I moved, before when I was happy and after...when I wasn't.

I need a New Year. I need a new line in the sand, a line in my life, a new before and after. I need to to circle a date and forever say this is where it all changed for us. I need a red marker on a calender, a line in the sand, a New Year.

I don't have resolutions but I have hopes.

I hope to jump on the trampoline with my children.Someone got a trampoline for Christmas

I hope to laugh again.

I hope to make new friends.

I hope to stop crying.

I hope I knit less (no really, I do, stop laughing, less knitting more living in 2007)

I hope things get better, and we can live the next year with love, laughter and happiness. I hope the same thing for all of you.

So I'm drawing a line in the sand. I'm demanding of the universe that it gets better from here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I must confess, its all a bit much right now.

So I am going to take a little break.

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I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

FESS UP!!!!!

The Greatest went to get the mail today. I was expecting some yarn in the mail, so I was unsurprised when I saw him return with a squishy looking envelope. Shunning what I knew was an envelope containing the cable bill, I eagerly grabbed it from him (don't judge me and my yarn greed) only to discover the envelope was a bit, well, flat. I remember thinking the yarn must be unballed to be this flat. But why would someone send me unballed yarn. What the heck was in it? I opened it to discover not yarn, but this

Cutest Freakin Shirt EVER!

How cute is this? *squeal* I love it. But there was no information at all about it's origin. The return address was I went to the website and discovered that the shirt is called "Yarn Core." This is what they say about it:

"What does it mean to be hardcore about something? We think it has nothing to do with fighting and everything to do with knitting your own socks."

Yes, I am Yarn Core.

The explanation of the shirt makes me love the shirt all the more.

So....does anyone care to tell me where this shirt came from?

Well, to whoever sent the shirt. Thank You! I absolutely adore it!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How could I have forgotten

the magical power of a fresh batch of homemade play dough?

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This should buy me an hour of laying still with an ice pack. My flu has turned into a constant sinus headache. If I take any more medicine I'm going to get a migraine.

I love the holidays.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I am sick today

Oh so sick.

Please send reinforcements.

They will only play in the tub while I lie in bed for so long.

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Might I suggest sending Mary Poppins, or Supernanny, or Dora to come watch them.

If they are unavailable some chocolate, yarn, or this book will do.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The plot thickens

Evil Returns

I for one would like to know just what makes her so sure there wasn't a plot after all.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Behind the scenes at a photo shoot

Meaty wasn't too sure about having his picture taken in his new hat.

Not sure about this

"Why does she always do this?"

When in doubt make a silly face.

Silly face phase I

"If I ruin the picture maybe she'll leave me alone."

Or two

Silly face phase II

"Sometimes the scrunched face works better."

Once he got started he couldn't stop laughing


"Alright this is kind of fun, but don't tell her that."

Then he lost interest

What's that over there

"Do I hear Elmo?"

And he wandered away.

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"I don't know about you lady, but I'm out of here."

Pattern: No pattern, just your basic roll brim hat based on his head measurements.

Yarn: 1/2 skein Malabrigio

Needles: size 6 circulars, 16 inches, bamboo

Modifications: None since there wasn't a pattern.

Review: I'm in love with this hat. When I went stash diving the only blue boy yarn I found that wasn't already ear-marked for a sweater was the skein of Malabrigio. When I was first gifted with the Malabrigio I dreamed of a one skein wonder. But I never got around to buying the pattern. You know how that goes sometimes. I decided the yarn could be sacrificed for a warm hat for my son, besides I wanted a One Skein Wonder with longer sleeves, and for that you needed two skeins. So the yarn was destined to be a hat.

Where do I begin to speak of the yarn? This yarn is DREAMY. So soft, it flows through your fingers. Perfect stitch definition. Makes the most beautiful fabric. The more I knit the hat, the more I started to resent my son and his need for a boy hat, denying me my One Skein Wonder. Why couldn't he just wear a pink hat like everyone else. It was a plot I tell you. A plot to keep me from having a nice something from such yarn perfection. H must have hid all the other "Blue Boy Yarn", leaving me with only the Malabrigio for his hat. Such a devious deceitful little boy. Stealing my yarn. He was ruining my life I tell you. RUINING MY LIFE.

Then I got back in touch with reality.

The hat is a smidge too long, because I couldn't bear to stop knitting with this yarn. It was especially nice after the evil pink slubby acrylic. I vow to someday own enough Malabrigio to make a sweater for ME. It really is yarn perfection. In the meantime, he has a very nice, warm, blue boy hat.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Combining both worlds

Man, 22 comments on my brown sweater, but not a single one about my cute kids. I understand that this is a knitting blog, and when you come here you expect to see some fine-ass knitting. I do, I get that. I'm a fairly steady knitter, so I can churn out finished objects on a fairly regular basis. You come here to see sticks and string, not my toddlings. You want the money shots.

But you must understand, my gentle reader, that I have violently ripped my children from the loving bosom of their Grandparents, dragging said children across the country. If I don't offer up some token pictures to said Grandparents every once in a while, I fear my Christmas presents may be dismal and filled with coal instead of yarn, or this book (hint, hint).

But I love you all so much. I want everyone to be happy. Therefore I must find a way to incorporate my children into my knitting. A way that pleases everyone. I think having them serve as props to display the knitting might be one way to go. An example would be this picture.

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The picture is really of the washcloth. But notice how nicely it sits on Meaty's head. I could artfully drape many of my knitted things on the children.

Or I could stick the children in the background of pictures, like set props.

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See how the real focus of the picture is the brown sweater. But there Bird is in the corner, looking small, and cute, and slightly startled. That might be enough Bird to feed the Grandparent's need.

Or I could just knit for my kids, allowing both the knitted item, and the child in the knitted item to share center stage together.

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Pattern: Twisty Curls Hat

Yarn: No name clearance acrylic from Wal-Mart

Needles: 16 inch Size 6 circular needles, and size 6 dpns

Modifications: This hat was entirely too small, so I had to cast on more stitches, and make it longer.

Review: I first saw this hat on Bunchkinknits, and my goodness, isn't her version cute? If I had been reading closely I would have seen that she too had sizing issues, but I was mesmerized by the cute daisy. I wanted an adorable pink hat for my daughter too.

When the cold front set in, it was the perfect excuse to stash dive and knit a pink hat. So into the stash I dove, and I came up with some sickeningly pink yarn, but Pork Chop loved it. I was going to make this hat for Bird, but Pork Chop insisted it was hers. I absolutely hated the yarn. It was novelty yarn, 100% acrylic. It was sticky and squeeky on the needles. It from very thick to very thin, then back to thick, making gauge impossible. I can't imagine what fit of insanity made my buy it. I've got five more skiens of it for goodness sake. I'm entirely too much of a perfectionist to enjoy the lumpy fabric it produced. But the hat does look cute on Bird. She likes it.

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So it was all worth it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Give me a minute

I'm still basking in the success of my sweater.

Mesmerized by the lace

So I'm sure you will all forgive me if I take one more day to rest on my laurels and just admire my handiwork before I jump to new things.

I swear you people are like vultures, never happy with what you have. Always wanting something new. You keep me on my toes like that.

I have been taken to task by a certain Grandparent concerning the recent lack of children on my blog, so to appease the restless Grandpa here's a pictorial story from this weekend.

The Greatest's Brother was in town with his wife. So we took them hiking, one of our new favorite things to do.

Ready to hike

Pork Chop on a rock

Pork Chop climbed on a rock for a photo op. My pretty girl. She's getting so big, I can hardly bear it. I keep asking her not to grow, but you know how children are, they never listen. I now know why my own Mom always talked of tying bricks to our heads.

Now check out Bird in the corner of the picture. Always the me-too child, never one to miss out on something the older children were doing, Bird needed a photo on a rock as well.

Not quite right

Only this rock turned out to be too....honestly I don't know what was wrong with the rock, but she didn't like it. This one was more her style.

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Then in a rare moment of solidarity, they all had their picture taken.

Happy Children

Since an even such as this only happens when the moon is in the house of mars, mercury is in retrograde, a goat has given birth to a kid with two heads, and a cat has walked in a circle backwards, I may have to frame this picture.

We hike to the dry waterfall bed. The little pool had evaporated to half it's size from last month, exposing rocks we used to climb to the upper levels of the falls. It was very cool and a good time was had by all.

All that hiking made for one tired Bird.

Sleepy Bird

Oh how I love the baby sling!

Friday, December 01, 2006



It fits!

I don't know why I always forget what a magical cure-all blocking can be. I needed one measly inch. Just one inch to make myself feel comfortable in the sweater. And I got it!

Won't I just look fabulous singing my Christmas duet?

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Or merely lounging in the backyard?

Resting after the drama

Oh the places this sweater and I will go.

As soon as it's warm enough for a lace sweater.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

And I call myself a Knitter.....

I don't understand it. I don't know how this could have happened. I'm a knitter for the love of all that's good. Don't I love to create with sticks and string? Don't I love to keep my family outfitted with handmade items? Didn't I lament the fact that we were moving to a warm climate and I didn't know what I would knit here? Didn't I give away my wool?

So how could this have happened?

How could we be COLD?

A cold front has moved in. It was below freezing last night. Before we went to bed we peeked in on the children. First was Meaty's room at the top of the steps. I looked and my heart froze. He wasn't sprawled across his covers, little boy limbs flung wide, always looking longer than I remember them being. I couldn't see him at all. I looked at his window to make sure it was still locked. Then I realized the lump I thought was his big red dog was Meaty. He was completely under the covers, head and all, for warmth. Next came the girl's room. They too were under their covers instead of sprawled on top of them scrunched together in the middle of their bed for shared body heat. As we crawled into our cold cotton sheets the Greatest made me swear with penalty of death that I would find our flannel sheets today.

When we took Pork Chop to the bus stop this morning it was so cold. We all had coats on, and the little ones had a blanket on them in their red wagon. But no hats, no mittens, no scarves. There was no reason for us to be so cold. Don't I knit? Haven't I made them new hats each fall for the last three years? Ummmmm....well I used to....then we moved......and I thought it would be warm.........I've been busy doing other things....I didn't think we'd need them....*sigh* Alright, I admit it. I was completely unprepared for the cold front. I haven't knitted new warm items, I haven't even unpacked the outgrown hats from last year. I feel like such a failure as a knitter.

It's just as well that new lacy sweater doesn't fit. It's too cold for it anyways.

I'm being punished for being unprepared. My printer is already cranking out new hat patterns I've found on the net. As soon as I finish cleaning I know what I'll be doing with the rest of my day!

I just don't know how I could have let this happen.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mystery Sweater Revealed

My kids are sick today. Meaty was up all night coughing. Pork Chop threw up this morning, so no school for her. And Bird has the worst runny nose. It seems to me that at least once a year the children engage in a high stakes game of who can make their own weight in mucus. They compete not only with each other to determine who can create the most snot, but with themselves to beat their personal best from previous years. There's also the side challenges, who can blow the largest snot bubble, largest wad of snot created in a single sneeze, and longest streak of snot across the cheek. For the record Bird is winning that last one with a doozy that stretched from her left nostril to her right ear.

Good times people, good times. These are the memories I live for.

Luckily for you I have something to blog about besides my children's amazing ability to create slime with their very own noses. I have a Finished Object! I wasn't hiding this sweater, it was just a very quick knit. And it's lace, so it counts for Lacevember!

Mystery Sweater

Pattern: Cropped Lace Top from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2005

Yarn: Jagger Spun Zephyr, two strands held together. I can't tell you how much I used because it came from my giant cone.

Needles: Size 3 Addi Turbos, and a size 1 crochet hook

Modifications: Where do I begin with the modifications? Or should I just rant about how crappy the Vogue Knitting patterns are? The original sweater looked like this:

Original Cropped Monstrosity

Very pretty isn't it? I fell in love at first sight with this sweater. The lace, the ribbons, the romance. But what's up with all the cropped tops? Haven't we moved passed that? Aren't we out of that phase of fashion? It doesn't look good on anyone. On women with children who have a tummy as an unfortunate but unavoidable by-product of giving birth, it looks bad. On younger women with flat tummies? Well they look like they're desperately clinging on to their pre-teen youth. On teenagers with flat tummies? They look like sluts. And on *shudder* small children? They look like they've outgrown their clothing. It doesn't work on anyone, so why must they insist on continuing to design cropped shirts?

So I lengthened the shirt. I knit 8 rows of lace pattern B per the pattern's instructions, then I knit four rows of stockingnette, 8 rows B, 4 rows stockingnette, 8 rows B, four rows stockingnette. Then proceed to 4 rows of lace pattern C. I also decided to lengthen the sleeves using the same pattern of 8 rows lace B followed by 4 rows stockingnette. I knit 11 repeats of lace B for the sleeves.

At the top of the sleeve cap there are a series of bind offs and decreases. It leaves the top of the sleeve looking like this

Who was smoking crack and thought this was a good idea?

Not very pretty, or stable. The sleeve tops kept slipping off my shoulders. So I took a crochet hook to it.

Much better

Isn't that a nicer line. Clean and sturdy. I will admit to getting a bit of help with that part.

big helper

At the top of the neckline you are supposed to attach a piece of lace ribbon. I couldn't find a piece in the right color, but I did find a beautiful chocolate brown satin ribbon that I thought would match, and coordinate with the ribbon on the sleeves and waist, as well as the tank top I bought to go underneath. But as I prepared to sew it on I decided that I like the neck line as it is without the ribbon. In fact I liked the entire sweater as is without the ribbon.

So all the things that attracted me to the sweater, the lace, the ribbon, the romance, were all things I eliminated from my finished sweater. *shrug* go figure.

You may have noticed that I haven't included a picture of myself in the sweater. This isn't for lack of a photographer. Remember Pork Chop is home sick. I could have her take the picture. But I still wouldn't show it.

The stupid thing doesn't fit.

For reasons I have decided not to delve into (Cold Stone Creamery is run by Lucifer himself, that's all I'll say on the subject), it's too small.


Review: Beautiful yarn, after modifying it so it only vaguely resembles the original design: beautiful sweater. Wish the stupid thing fit.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I've had other things on my mind

I know my blogs been dead lately.

I haven't featured any cute pictures of my kids,

Cheesy Thanksgiving Bird

or pictures of knitting,

When did I have time to knit this?

(why yes that is a nearly finished sweater I have yet to blog about)

no silly stories that I tell just because I like to write.

I've been busy!

There was this little holiday called Thanksgiving. Poor thing gets sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, hardly gets noticed there. Kinda like flag day. Every year my family eats until we can't stand it, wait an hour, and eat some more. I spent three days baking in preparation. I'd forgotten how much I love to bake. I love to measure and pour and stir. I love to knead bread dough. I love the whirl and slight smell of smoke from my tiny mixer (I'm beginning to covet a Kitchen Aid). My results are always iffy (we shall never speak of the chocolate almond biscotti) but I try hard, and with my little "helpers" it's always an adventure (remember the biscotti).

After the three mad mad days of cooking, we had four mad mad days of eating. There was the initial turkey dinner, then three more days of reheated sweet potato casserole. I love Thanksgiving.

Of course we continued with our yearly tradition of decorating the day after Thanksgiving. I love Christmas. But The Greatest loves it more. We put garland, lights, and bows on anything that stands still. The dog is afraid to take a nap lest she wake up and find herself plugged in. Some of you may remember this debacle from last year. This year we got smart. When we moved in we left a corner for the tree.

perfect placement

So bright you can knit by it!

Although I was sad we didn't go on a yarn spree for black Friday once again.

I've made prizes for lacevember, and a few other knitting related presents,

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Christmas pillows for the couch,

Knitting fun

And a new project bag for myself, you know, since the sewing machine was already out and everything.

I love paisley

And don't worry Dad, I haven't forgotten your sweater.

Super Secret Surprize

That's just all I'm going to show you!

So as you can see I've been busy. I'll try harder from now on.

Monday, November 27, 2006

It's just not a holiday

Until your three year old son spits on his Great-Grandmother's foot.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The end of the war draws nigh

I'm afraid I won't live to see the end.

My Socks of Doom are in the mail as I speak.

But if you think I'm going down alone you obviously don't know me.

I'm taking Miss Mermaid on my way out.

I FINALLY received my Sock-In-Progress last night.

Loaded Sock of Doom

As you can see there was very little left to do. An hour later I had this

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So now Miss Mermaid is on death watch as well.

I'm actually glad to be getting my Sock of Doom. The Sock War is going to end in a knit off. Sock Monkey will post her address and foot measurements and the first person to get a pair of socks to her wins. But Sock Monkey lives in the UK, and I just can't pony up the money to overnight a pair of socks overseas. Forget it. Plus rather than redistribute the socks to the final participants she is donating them to charity. Which is nice. Charity knitting is noble and good. But the Sock Warriors have put a lot of time in knitting multiple pairs of sock, and money in postage to end up with nothing. So I'm glad I'll be getting my lovely Socks Of Doom, and am happy to have made it this far, even if I never really stood a chance of winning. I think in a tournament style, knitter vs knitter, knit off, I could have stood a good chance to win. But this waiting for SIPs and mailing overseas is just too random. *sigh* It was fun while it lasted.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

It's all relative

I've been thinking about my brother's socks. About how big they are. But you know they're not really that big. They're big, bigger than my feet, bigger than The Greatest's, but not freakishly big. Not record making big. Just bigger than my family.

I guess I just thought they were so large because I've been making a record amount of little girl socks. They were especially tickled to get this matching set.

Little Socks

Larger for Pork Chop, smaller for Bird.

Which prompted Pork Chop to declare that "Bob"

Poor Bob

Needed a pair too.

Spiffy socks Bob

But that wasn't enough. Not only did Bob need a pair but

I'm seeing double

"Back-up Bob" also needed a pair.

So when you've been knitting toy booties now wonder real feet seem impossibly huge.

Don't worry "Hippo" and "Carrots"

Poor Sockless creatures

I'm working on your socks.

It's amazing that I've had something like 16 skeins of this now discontinued colorway and not one skein has gone to make ME a pair of sock.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


My Brother has been safely packed up and sent back from whence he came. Formal naptimes are being enforced once again, and children are decidedly less whiney and tantrum proned. Don't you love how they always pull out their worst behavior in front of company. Especially company that is child-free and therefore less understanding of ordinary child behavior. I know my Brother is now very happy to be free of the constant chaos that is a home with small children. I miss him already.

We had a busy week. I think I hiked more in the past week than I have in my entire life. And that is saying something. I used to go to Girl's Camp every summer from the time I was 12 until I graduated high school. In addition to the usual gossip, clothes sharing, and bad cooking that accompany a group of girls camping, we hiked, every day. But my Brother still managed in one week to surpass a six year hiking score. I hold no innate aversion to hiking. I had a great time, and I saw some really cool stuff. I got to go into a dry waterfall bed. How cool is that! I just think my butt has become accustomed to sitting in the convenient butt shaped groove my couch has acquired, while my hands stay slender and nimble from knitting.

But don't worry. Amidst all that physical exertion I did manage to crank out a FO this week.

Bachelor Socks

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Pattern: My own, but I did steal the stitch pattern from KnitPicks Windowpane Seaman's Scarf

Yarn: Regia Silk, 3 skiens

Needles: 2 size 0 Addi Turbos

Review: These socks are brilliant! If I do say so myself.

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My Little Brother is a great guy. But man, he's got big feet. These socks are huge. They took three skiens to make. I sent The Greatest to the Yarn Store to buy the yarn for me (he really is The Greatest isn't he). I told him to buy three skiens of black sock yarn. The Lady at the yarn store is an absolute twit. For Christmas last year he went in and asked for Laceweight Yarn, and they sold him Sport Weight, not even the same thing. I understand The Greatest not knowing the difference, but you would think someone who OWNED a yarn shop would know better. When the Greatest went to buy the sock yarn she tried to only sell him one skien. She insisted a pair of socks could be make with only one ball. I'm so glad he listened to me and bought three. 'Cause like I keep saying these socks were big.

So after acquiring the yarn (such a yummy wool/silk blend) these socks got off to a rocky start. I tried top down with one stitch pattern. I didn't like it. I tried top down with another, still no good, and my fingers were turning black from the yarn dye. I was really concerned about fit as well, it all looked so big. I decided toe-up was the way to go. I just felt it would be easier to control fit that way. Toe-up with a diamond stitch, ugh, don't get me started. Toe-up with a cable stitch, better, but not right. At this point I wanted to burn the yarn, buy my Brother a pair of socks, and move on with my life. But I was so fascinated that it's still knitable after all that frogging I had to keep going (and still black despite all the dye that was now living on my hands and under my nails). Finally toe-up with the Seaman Windowpane, PERFECTION. This was my first toe up sock with a heel flap. I think it turned out beautiful, and was not nearly as difficult as I anticipated (especially since I didn't have a pattern and was just trying to apply the theory from other patterns to my sock). I also did a series of increases up the back of the sock so it would be comfortable on the calf. All in all I'm very proud of them. I think the fit is nice. Although I did end up using the same number of stitches I was using for the top down sock, so I guess either way would have worked.

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I hope my Brother likes them and wears them in good health!