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!

Monday, November 06, 2006


So I picked my Little Brother up at the airport this weekend.

dinner, hey, we gotta eat

He has a week of vacation and he's spending it with us. I'm afraid that for my poor single bachelor brother the shock of constant children is a bit much. But after some hiding with the computer establishing contact with his real world this morning he is doing fine. I really think he's here to make me finish his socks. He was barely out of baggage claim and he wanted to know about his socks.

I asked him what he wanted to do this week. Did he want to sight-see? Did he want to go to the pool? Did he want to just hang? Did he want to learn to knit?

He wants to find a scorpion and poke it with a stick.


So to the desert we headed.

on an adventure

Notice he's got his stick all ready.

We found bugs under a rock to poke.

poking bugs

We found holes in a cactus to poke.

poking a cactus

We found a dried up cactus to poke.

pokey pokey pokey

That was so much fun every one had to poke it.

watch out we've all got sticks

He climbed to the top of the mountain.

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Took a little time to enjoy the view.

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We even found a lizard, a bee hive, a cotton tail and a bird, none of whom were poked with a stick.

But alas, we did not find a scorpion.

I'm gonna spend a lot of time in the desert this week. Aren't I?

On a different but related note. I'm so happy to see my Brother, but it also makes me sad. My dear friend Katrina lost her brother in a car accident. Please keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers. And if you have a Brother....give him a call....... to say you love him.............

Friday, November 03, 2006

Don't count me out just yet!

I admit it.

I panicked.

War is hell and in the face of unforeseen adversity I fell apart.

But I am a Warrior, a highly skilled knitter.

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Did you really think I was going to let a little thing like running out of yarn keep me from completing my mission?

So now my socks, mis-matched though they maybe, are on their way to their target.


Fear me and my Warrior Cry!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sock Wars Dilemma

So I finally received my next Sock Wars WIP last night. I was so excited. I really want another kill under my belt before I get killed, which I know is coming soon.

I tear open my package and find a complete sock

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and a deflated looking skein of yarn (not pictured).

I had concerns about the amount of yarn left, but trying to trust the other Sock Warrior I cast on last night. I knit through Lost. I knit for about forty-five minutes while I chatted with The Greatest, who is very busy with training for his job and I haven't really seen at all lately. Then I gave up for the night.

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Pretty good progress for one night. Only I didn't give up because I was tired. I didn't give up to go to bed, or because I was bored, or because I just plain old had better things to do.

I gave up because I ran out of yarn.

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(Penny included for scale)

So now what?

I guess you could say I ran out of ammo. Worse yet, my assassin could realize I'm out of ammo and pick now to go in for the kill. I've got a foot to go, and no yarn. Nothing in my stash matches these colors. I don't think I even have any sport weight yarn of any color at all in my stash. I gifted most of my stash when I moved, taking with me only yarn designated for specific projects.

This could be the excuse I've been looking for to drive forty minutes away to the GREATEST YARN SHOP IN THE WORLD (and just happen to buy the new Vogue Knitting Holiday '06). But I don't think my pocketbook could withstand such an expedition.


*losses interest and walks away mumbling something about a stupid short yarn skein*

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hooray for Lacevember!

With the end of Socktober I'm sure we are all stumbling around wondering what to do. Our feet are warm, but our needles are empty. The excitement and whirlwind that is Socktober has ended. I feel slightly empty inside.

I have a solution: Lacevember!

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I am co-hosting Lacevember with Danielle, and Artsygal. It's a bit like Socktober but with lace. Any lace, any type of garment, new projects, UFOs, it's all welcome.

If you've ever wanted to try your hand at lace now is the perfect time. We've got contests and prizes and patterns. It's going to be fun. C'mon join, I know you wanna. All the cool kids are knitting lace. C'mon, come play with us.