Friday, September 29, 2006

A Self-Imposed Silence

I'm sorry to have abandoned everyone like that.

I'm sure you can guess what happened.

We got a home to live in (HOORAY!!!!), and I've spent the last week and a half frantically packing and visiting with friends and loved ones before I move my family 1981.93 miles away.

I hope you will all understand why I had to abandon my blog. I love you all so much, but you guys are distracting. I can easily lose an entire morning reading and commenting and clicking links. I get lost in cyberspace. I end up finding things like motherf*cking this. Mind you I'm not complaining, I'll be knitting those socks very soon. But I digress. My point is I'm easily diverted from my intended goal, and you guys divert me. Again, I'm not complaining, but The Greatest might have, just a little. So I left my computer off. So I could focus.

I had boxes to fill (why do we own so much stuff? Where did it all come from).

Stuff to clean (I didn't think we were this dirty).

And useless junk to throw away (I refuse to haul 14 empty cool whip containers to the desert, I'm sure they have cool whip there too. And have you ever tried to sneak 72 old happy meal toys into the garbage with five children watching your every move? I assured them I would not be throwing any of their toys away. For some reason they didn't believe me, and they set up a very organized look out).

This week has turned cold. I've worn every comfy pair of hand knit socks I own. It's chilly air that has you designing hats, and dreaming of snuggly sweaters. The much anticipated Wool Weather. But where I'm going I won't need thick wool gloves, or hats. That snuggly sweater would become a dangerous object, I'd sweat to death. I might take up knitting bikinis. So with just a few tears the wool from my Stash was donated to a worthy cause (I love you Shi!).

It's been a long week.

But all the important things are packed.

Precious Boxes

And we've got the traveling arrangements all worked out.

All set to move

(They take up less space this way).

We're just about ready to go.

Which means I'll be in another self-imposed silence. I will be without internet for at least a week, possibly two. I will miss you all. But I will be back.

In the mean time I leave this picture for you.

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Her silly face always makes me smile!

Oh yeah, and did I mention that in the midst of all this I have a confirmed kill under my belt?

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Watch out Sock Warriors, I just might be a contender!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

With Apologies to Turtle Girl

With all the frogging I did in August, Turtle Girl challenged me to go the entire month of September without frogging.

And I tried. I really tried.

I didn't frog the swallowtail shawl. I knit it, despite the fact I knew it was going to be too small. Then I lovingly gave the fruits of my labor to the fruit of my loins.

Then I guess that's where I stopped trying. Hey, I saved one knit.

I might have a problem.

I knit the body of my top down v-neck raglan sweater. I tried it on.

Not too shabby

But check this out.

I could fit a child in here with me.

There's quite a bit of excess fabric to this sweater. I suppose it could come in handy if I wanted to put a child in the sweater with me for warmth. But I was looking for something a bit more fitted. So frog it I did.

There there's this.

Watch your eyes

This is MagKnits Snowflake Socks in Lorna's Laces. I love the pattern. I love this yarn. I even like this yarn with this pattern. But I'm not feeling the colors. The green is too much for me. I would like it better if it was all shades of blue like some other yarn that gave me trouble. It's all too busy together. So frog it I did. While I was contemplating what to do with this yarn (maybe jaywalkers?) this little man appeared.

Cute boy loves yarn

"Mommy, I love this yarn"

"You do?"


This yarn is blue...

this yarn is boy yarn...

this yarn is MY yarn!"

How can you resist? I see little blue and green socks in his future.

Unfortunately the frogging doesn't end there.

But this last one isn't entirely my fault.

I knit my Mystery Socks. They're all done. ALL DONE. Knit, Kitchner-ed, and the ends sewn in. Just waiting to be photographed so they could be revealed. During my photo shoot I discovered this.

Unfortunate hole

See that little weak spot where I didn't get all the plies of the yarn? I've got to rip half the foot to get to that spot so I can fix it. I might be able to get it with a crochet hook, but I've got to unravel the entire toe before I can get to the place where I can try dropping the stitch and using a crochet hook to fix it. To the frog pond it heads.

So this last one wasn't my fault.

In my defense I can't help any of it. I'm discontent with everything right now, including my knitting.

The Greatest got the job!

We're so happy. This isn't how I wanted to announce it. I wanted to make a huge announcement, but right after we found out we got the job we found out the house we were going to rent was under contract. We were told they would wait for us, but I guess they got tired of waiting. It's alright. But I'm having such a hard time finding a new place. Actually I've found about a dozen houses we could live in, but I can't get any of the rental agents to return my phone call. We're supposed to move in 11 days and I don't have a place for us to move to. We can push the move back two weeks to give us extra time to look, but The Greatest would really like to move as planned (and truth be told so would I). But I won't pack until I have a move date. I don't want the kids living with boxes a minute longer than they have to. I won't have a move date until I find a place to live. I didn't want make an announcement until everything was in place. I'm doing all I can and hitting brick walls. I'm frustrated and restless, and soon to be homeless. It's showing in my mood, in my work, and in my knitting.

I know this too shall pass, and month from now it will be all over. We'll be moved, and mostly unpacked. The Greatest will be working at his new job. I'll be e-baying my stash of wool to get money for cotton yarn. It will be good.

I just have to endure this month.

And if anyone knows how to find a hotel with an indoor pool that also allows dogs please let me know.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Simple Socks

I think I'm going to win Sock Wars.

Stop laughing!

I really think I've got a shot.

I mean it, I am a fierce competitor.

Quit laughing, or you'll feel the wrath of my size 0 circular needle!

I whipped these puppies out in four hour.



And no, that's not four hours per sock, that's four hours TOTAL.

Aren't you properly impressed?

These are top down, 2 x 2 ribbed socks, with a heel flap and gusset.

These socks are totally sweet.

I am so TOTALLY going to kick ass at Sock Wars.

People should FEAR ME!

Tiny Socks

As long as they've got newborn size feet.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I've done it!

By George I think I've got it!

Now we all know my hand knits have less than thrilled my Youngest Child. I could run through the list again, but frankly it'd just be quicker if you look at the sidebar and click on anything for Bird. You will be greeted with a picture of her screaming as I make her wear it. The notable exception being the Green Cotton Cardi. She merely wore the most mournful expression. She looked so defeated it broke my heart and I swore I would never knit for her again. My beloved hobby was killing her soul.

But my Cheap Ass Secret Pal sent me some wonderful Cotton Ease in Hot Bubble Gum Pink. Enough for a tank top for both girls. She even included a pattern (so thoughtful). And we all know how much I love to dress my girls in matching outfits. I immediately blocked the fact that by forcing a knitted tank top on the body of my youngest I would be crushing her young spirit, and I cast on. But I'm a fiddler. I can't help it. I look at things and think "Oh I'd like it better if it just _____" and I fiddle. I fiddle with most of the patterns until they barely resemble the original product. I liked the idea of the pattern I started with, but not the shape of the top. I wanted more continuity in the accent pattern. I changed some of the stitch to seed stitch. I also changed the gauge and the measurements to fit my daughters. One might be able to say I designed these. Five day later: I've got two matching tank tops for my Princesses, so Pink they might blind you.

And take a gander at this.

One Happy Pink Princess

I might be wrong about this, but I think she likes it.

As a matter of fact they both do.

Two Happy Pink Princesses

The front looks just like the back.

Is that the front or the back?

In fact Pork Chop was so confused insisting one side must be the front side. I kept telling her it didn't matter, but her six year old mind persisted "One must be the front, and the other is the back, which is which." I might have to sew some sort of tag in it just to appease her. I love this yarn and am completely devastated that they have discontinued it. I may have to spend the next week in bed to console myself. It is soft and spongy. A complete delight to knit. Good stitch definition. And the best part? Completely idiot proof to launder. Machine Wash. Machine Dry. I hear they've got some at Smileys. Must go now. If I were to, hypothetically, spend my children's college fund on washable yarn, that wouldn't be wrong would it?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Tiniest Little Shawl

I have a subscription to Interweave Knits. It's the only knitting magazine I have a subscription to. I usually find a few things per issue that I want to knit. The fall issue was unremarkable. Fun to look at, but nothing I needed to own. Until I saw this shawl. I immediately fell in love with the Swallowtail Shawl. And since my final Knitty Cheap Ass Secret Pal Package contained the exact yarn used in the pattern I had to cast on.

This shawl was a very quick knit. I finished the bud lace on Friday, the Lily of the Valley Edging 1 & 2 on Saturday, and the edging Sunday Morning. I blocked it on Monday and by Tuesday I was wearing my beautiful new shawl.

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No wait...that's not me in the picture is it.

Nope that's Pork Chop modeling HER new shawl. But it's a perfect fit.

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl from Interweave Knits (Fall 2006)

Yarn: Misti Alpaca Lace, one skein

Needles: Size 4 Addi Turbos

Modifications: None, but I wish I'd made some. As I was knitting I kept thinking this shawl looks small, maybe I should add a few more pattern repeats. But knitter's denial kept me knitting as directed. After I cast off I realized I still had half a skein left and the shawl was roughly the size as my cat.

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Now we all know blocking can cure a multitude of evils, but I just didn't think it could stretch this shawl into a grown-up shawl. At this point I could have frogged and started over, adding pattern repeats this time. But Turtle Girl has begged me to spare my knits for September and not frog anymore. Her heart just can't watch all that knit fabric reduced to mere hanks. As we've discussed before a hank is yarn's lowest form of being. Hank yarn is sad yarn. She couldn't watch me destroy the hopes and dreams of any more yarn. I also didn't think I could endure another round of P5tog with my blunt Addis. I've never wished for different needles when knitting with Addis. But I found myself dreaming of those pointy new KnitPicks needles. So in the absence of better needles I deferred to Turtle Girl's wishes and blocked this beautiful shawl, stretching it within an inch of it's life.

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It is now the perfect little girl shawl. And she is so happy, how could I break her heart by telling her it was a knitting mistake.

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A beautiful knitting mistake.

Review: Things we have learned

1. There is a reason this was modeled on a hanger, not a person.

2. That pretty model in Interweave Knits is a midget.

3. Addi's are too freakin' blunt for complex lace work

4. Misti Alpaca Lace is a soft dream and I must hoard all I can find.

5. Pork Chop is happy to be knit for (unlike that ungrateful Bird). Must knit more for my elder children

6. Listen to the knits. If they say they'll be small, they'll be small. Trust your creepy new yarn whispering.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

Birthday Cards

Yup. Today is my birthday.

I won't lie to you.

I'm turning 27.

Ok, I will lie to you. All the cool kids are turning 30 this year (and I emphatically disagree that 30 is middle-aged). But I've always been decidedly uncool, so what can I say? I'm not jumping on this bandwagon. I'm 27, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

We celebrated on Monday since The Greatest was off work anyways. I woke up to this sign on the bedroom door.

Stern Warning

Ten minutes later I heard them coming. Giggles and happy voices coming up the steps. They entered the room in parade formation. Smallest to largest. The younger two clutching cards, the oldest a card and a present, The Greatest a tray with breakfast. Everyone grinning from ear to ear. Nothing is better than breakfast in bed (and it was a good push to make me finally change my sheets). While I opened my present the children stole my bacon. I got some make-up (The Greatest is surprisingly good at picking out colors), some chocolate, and two size 3 Addie Turbos so I can make socks two at a time on larger needles. It's so sweet the way he actually listens to me when I talk about knitting.

I also received a very special package in the mail. Sometimes you meet people and they alter your life forever. My friend Katrina is such a person. I have never met her in real life, but someday I'm going to. And when we meet we are going to hug, oh how we'll hug, and we'll laugh, oh how we'll laugh all afternoon, and we'll knit, oh the things we'll knit. Katrina has shared so much of herself with me, and I've learned so much from her, about being gracious, and thoughtful, and a good friend. I admire her as a mother, her children are amazing. I admire her craftiness, she took blue ribbons in her State Fair. I draw strength and comfort from our friendship. And I am deeply touched that she remembered my birthday. I don't want to make this post too photo heavy, so please click the links for pictures. This wonderful package included a beautiful handmade card (second one from the left in the picture at the top of the post), Lip Balm(very cool, minty and adds natural color), Chibi Needles (I was going to buy some with my birthday money, great minds think alike. These are wonderful), An Electronic Row Counter (holds three counts at a time!),Lavender Stones (They smell amazing, I've already got yarn sealed with them so it will smell too), Knitting in Plain English (Very well written, I'd never read it, but it's a good resource), her prize winning jam recipe (you didn't think I'd show you that did you?)

Yummy, Yummy Jam

Some of her prize winning jam. If only you could smell the raspberry jam. It surely deserved it's ribbons!

And my Favorite


Lorna's Laces in Black Purl! All my gifts had little hand-written notes. The note with this said she'd bought some of this yarn for herself as well and "I love the thought that we'll be making socks together out of the same yarn" I love that thought too! Name the time and pattern and though miles may separate us, I'll be knitting with you.

Thank You Katrina for helping to make this such a wonderful Birthday. I love you my dear friend!

Friday, September 01, 2006

More on listening to your yarn.

When I first started knitting I was fearless with my yarn subs. Granted most, alright, all of my yarn subs were 100% Acrylic Caron Simply Soft. But hey, it worked... for the most part. We will never speak of the pink beret knit with bulky yarn when the pattern called for dk. It was a hat only Hagrid could wear. Hey, I was a noob, what did I know about gauge? And my mind was completely blown when I realized yarn came in different thickness.

The fact of the matter is things mostly worked for me. I found a pattern I like, I found a yarn I liked and I threw the two together regardless of the consequences. I got good at adjusting gauge and working the math. I've always been better at math than I allowed myself to be. (Why oh why do young girls think they can't be smart?) For the most part things turned out for me. There is truly something to be said for beginner's luck.

Because lately? It's not working for me.

Take a gander at the side bar. All those projects on the needles.

I mean, the project on the needle.

From my UFO August I have finished Five projects and frogged three.

I finished

  • The Spirit of the Southwest Shawl
  • Mon Petit Chou
  • My First Sweater Design
  • Anastasia Socks (which I will not be frogging)
  • Interweave Knits Eyelet Chemise

    I HAVE frogged

  • Somewhat Cowl
  • Lucky Clover Lace Wrap
  • Evil

    When I started my Somewhat Cowl I knew I was making a mistake. I knew the yarn was too stiff and itchy to be wearable against the skin in such a tight sweater. I knew the gauge was too small and that I don't know enough about raglan construction to properly adjust, so by the time the sweater was wide enough it was entirely too long. I'm all for a v-neck, but one that ends three inches above your belly button is entirely too deep. This yarn was not meant to be a somewhat cowl. I also don't think it was meant to be plain stockingnette. As I knit I kept thinking Cables. Cables would show nicely with this yarn. A cabled cardigan with a t-shirt underneath perhaps? Cables would be better for this yarn, yet I knit on. I knew it was a disaster, but I kept knitting for lack of better knitting inspiration. My time would have been better spent doing laundry, or scrubbing the bathtub.

    Evil. Well I frogged that sweater because, after all, it was evil. Now that the wool has been washed and conditioned it will be easier to work with. It won't be so stiff and carve deep grooves in my fingers as I knit. Now that I'm starting all over the sweater will hopefully have one continuous gauge throughout instead of three distinct lines where I let the sweater lay neglected for months then picked it up only to discover my gauge has changed. Now that I know more about sweater design and sleeve construction I am more confident about making this no pattern sweater for The Greatest. And if I can stall on it for a few more weeks we'll find out if we got the job or not, and if we did he won't need a heavy 100% wool sweater and I can sell the yarn on e-bay.

    My Lucky Clover Lace Wrap is my biggest disappointment.

    I love, love, love, love, love Knitpicks Shine. I love it. And I love this shiney apricot color it comes in. I ordered this yarn specifically to make the lucky clover lace wrap. I've been in love with this sweater since the moment I saw it. I've used the Knitpicks Shine on several children's sweaters and coveted a soft cotton sweater of my very own. See: pattern I love + yarn I love = knitting regardless of the consequences.

    Now I knew enough to know that Knitpicks shine does not want to be knit in a clover lace pattern. It likes stockingnette, and knit/purl textures, but not lace holes. So I was knitting this wrap plain. Just inches and inches of soft orangey fabric. And the entire time I was knitting I knew this was all wrong. Knit Picks Shine did not want to be a wrap sweater, it wants to be a raglan sweater.

    "But I want a wrap sweater."
    "So use a different yarn. I want to be a raglan." It replied.
    "But I bought you for this sweater"
    "Lady, I'm awfully sorry but this pattern isn't right for me. I want to be a top down raglan with a v-neck."
    "Look Shine, I like you a lot, but we're going to have to get something straight here. I am the knitter and YOU are the YARN. I tell you what you will be not the other way around. Now hush, I've got decreases to concentrate on"
    "Fine but you'll be sorry, you'll never wear me as a wrap."
    "Are you sassin' me Shine?"
    "No ma'm but I'd really like to be a top down raglan sweater with slight bell sleeves and 1x1 rib edging along the neckline and bottom. Try me on and you'll see I'm just not working as a wrap"
    "Alright, If you shush it while I finish the sleeves I'll baste you and try you on before I seam you."

    So I took my pieces and safety pinned them together and tried my almost done sweater on. My sweater that was going to be knit in a week and my final August UFO project. I was so proud of this sweater.

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    Don't mind my jammies under the sweater. I know that between the orange top and the coral pants I look like a sherbet swirl, but in my defense I don't intend to wear the top with these pants in public. And my arm looks odd, but that's because I'm holding the wrap shut.

    As you can see Shine does not want to be a wrap. Shine has been frogged. I only cried a little. I have printed the Incredible Custom Fit Raglan Sweater Worksheet. So hopefully Shine can fulfill it's dream of becoming a real sweater.

    I've got to start listening to my yarn!