Monday, December 31, 2007

Finished Objects 2007

Here's my sad little list of things I knit this year. I actually knit more than this, especially during the marathon Christmas knitting. But these are the ones that made the blog.

Monkey Socks

Saarjte's Booties

Charity Baby Set

Baby Odessa

Pretty as a Poppy Hat


Cascade Walking Away Socks aka Pirate Knitting

Miss Dashwood

BFF Socks

Scheherazade Shawl

Baby Shidar

Mad Cow Socks

Madtini Socks

Painted Madness Socks

Mad Weave Socks

Game Day Socks

My Final FO of the Year

And by far my finest


At first she was a bit angry over the entire birth experience, but she quickly settled down. She was born at 9:18 Friday morning. She weighted 7lbs 2oz, and was 19 inches long. We did choose a name before she was born (finalized as we were walking into the hospital) and it is a lovely name. But for blog purposes I'll call her what the children wanted to name her "Sweet Pea." And she is the sweetest little pea.





She is doing well, eating like a champ. Sleeping not as well (so I'm tired and crabby), but she's only a few days old, she'll learn. In the mean time we are head over heels in love with her.


Who could resist that face?

Monday, December 24, 2007

For Your Listening Enjoyment

Again, too busy enjoying Christmas to blog. Plus there was a slight glitch in my blogging plans. I sent all my Christmas knitting home without taking a single picture of anything. Not one scarf, hat or whimsy was documented. I suck! Sure I could tell you what I made, but that's not nearly as fun as pictures. Guys back home, SEND PICTURES.

So instead of gorgeous photos of garments carefully hand knitted for those I love most, today I'll present Bird. Pork Chop isn't the only singer in the family you know. The Greatest and I have never laughed so hard in our lives. (I sure hope this works!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Life is Good!

I know, my blogging track record this year is just plain pathetic. I'm posting once, twice a month if you're lucky. And some of my posts are just pictures of the kids to appease the Grandparents (they send better presents when they're happy with you.) But my absence this month has been for a good reason. I've been busy! I've been enjoying Christmas for the first time in three years! I'm actually actively participating in my life again. It feels good.

There has been knitting. Christmas knitting. Carefully chosen yarn and patterns knit especially with someone in mind because it was something I thought they would like to own. So much Christmas knitting I knit until my hands hurt. I knit until I wanted to throw it all in the trash can and never look at it again, needles, yarn, patterns, and all. I knit until I was sick of knitting. I know! Think about that for a minute. I knit until I was sick of knitting.

And when the Christmas knitting was done I knit a tiny pair of baby socks and fell in love with knitting all over again (What's not to love about tiny Socks That Rock socks? It's right in the name. They Rock!).

Then there was some sewing to be done (a very nice break from the knitting), cookies to be baked (I highly recommend Bezzie's Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies YUMMY), and present to be bought, wrapped and shipped home to loved ones. Other presents were to be purchased and hidden in the garage, to be wrapped late at night and await the 24th. There have been friends to visit with, and Christmas lights to see, and Hot Chocolate to be shared. And of course, in the midst of all that, I'm growing a new person, one who is technically "term" today and could appear at any moment in the next few weeks.

Christmas has been wonderful and busy. So I'm sure you will all forgive my noticeable absence this month. I've had a lot on my plate.

The boys on the other hand are a different story. As I was wrapping presents to be sent to loved ones I used the last of a roll of wrapping paper. The tube was quickly claimed by a smiling Meaty. But The Greatest was jealous. He wanted to play too. As did Bird. The end result was me taking all the wrapping paper off two perfectly good tubes so they could all do this.

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And after an hour when the tubes looked like this

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The Greatest took a roll of duct tape and created this

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With the help of a tube stolen from the plastic wrap he made an entire arsenal.

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Clearly someone has too much time on his hands.

But it sure was fun!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

This is getting ridiculous!

You must understand that I am from the Great Lakes region. While I've traveled around and lived in several different parts of the country, with different climates, on both coasts, the state I grew up in will always be home. I'm from a land of beautiful green hills, and hot sticky summers, and bitterly cold winters. There were four distinct seasons. Springs were wet. Summers were green. Fall was the most beautiful season with yellow and orange leaves drifting in the wind. And winters are white. While I don't love the chill of snow, I love the peaceful look of snow. I love to watch it fall at night on softly lit streets, covering everything in a blanket of white. This is winter to me. Christmas was not always white, but winter always brought at least one episode of beautiful snowman-making snow. My heart will probably always lie there, dreaming of the changing seasons, no matter how long I spend transplanted in this new brown desert landscape.

I do understand that my family is young. My children are small and have been blessed with the blissfully short memories of youth, where days stretch on for more than the prescribed twenty-four hours, a month is too long to contemplate, and any memory more than a year old is hazy or forgotten in favor of the memory of what they did yesterday. Soon the seasons will be something I tell them about, not something they remember. This is fine. This is life.

And I do understand that my family has just been forced to endure the longest summer ever, stretching from March until two weeks ago, with daily temperatures over 100 degrees. I understand that they are acclimating to our new climate. This is really a good thing. If we're going to live here forever (which we just might) getting used to the heat is a good thing.

But no matter how long I live here I don't think I'll be able to consider 60 degrees freezing cold! It just isn't. It's sweater weather (HOORAY). It's play outside weather (really, it is, if only I could convince my kids). But it is most decidedly not freezing.

My children are cold. They wear their coats on in the house. They lie on the couch, huddled under their blankets. They won't go outside to play declaring "It's too cold." They wear hats and scarves on the occasions I force them to run to the store with me. And it's ONLY 60 DEGREES OUT.

If we ever get to go home for Christmas my children will die the instant they get off the plane. They will put one toe outside, and immediately freeze to death. Their poor little bodies will be so shocked by actual winter, they will die. They have become fully acclimated "desert rats."

I expected this from the children. They are young, they adjust to change more quickly than adults do. But the worst one for the whining and the crying is The Greatest. I understand that he spent all summer working outside in the heat. Not only was he outside everyday in the 110+ heat, he was outside in a bullet proof jacket, and a thirty pound belt full of weapons. I'm glad he is acclimated, otherwise he would have died from the heat this summer. And as much as he whines I don't want him dead. So this is a good thing, but does he have to be such a baby about it? I'm not turning the heat on when it's only 60 degrees. Yes I understand that I am carrying around an extra forty pounds of baby weight, and all that fat is keeping me warm, but honestly. For the love of all that's good, why do I knit? Put on a sweater!

But I take it back, the worst one isn't The Greatest. It's this one.

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Why yes. That IS my dog. In a sweater.

She's been whining, groaning, shivering and shaking, spending all her time in the carpeted rooms rather than allow her paws to touch the chilled tile floor. You've never heard someone who is incapable of speech complain so much. I couldn't stand it yesterday and found an old sweater for her to wear. She was suspect at first, fighting me a little as I put it on her, wondering if this was a new form of torture, but she quickly fell in love with her sweater. She is happy once again, wagging her tail and chasing the cat. She is warm. Isn't that what her fur is supposed to be for?

This is getting ridiculous.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Proud Mamma

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Wow Pork Chop, what's with the rollers?

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You look so pretty, very fancy hair. Is there something special going on tonight?

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A Christmas, I mean, Holiday Concert? An elemetary school Holiday Concert? With little children singing "We wish you a merry christmas" so sweetly and off key that your very pregnant Mommy is sure to cry and get laughed at?

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And you're singing the solo? *insert more tears here*

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We couldn't be prouder!

My tiny Pork Chop has been practicing for a month because she wanted to sing a solo in the holiday concert. They didn't announce the soloist until Monday. She came home bursting at the seams with excitment. She had been chosen. We were all so happy for her. It's nice to see your child get something they really want, something they have worked hard for.

And not to brag too much, or sound too biased, but dag-gone, my daughter was good! She was on key, and loud enough for the microphone to actually pick her voice up. And her voice is so pretty with a nice lilt and vibrato to it. We don't own a camcorder, and I very rarely regret not owning one. But I so wish I had owned one last night. She was amazing. I see many concerts and solos in her future. And I'm sure I will cry at every single one.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More Self-Portrait Goodness

I've been knitting. I really have. I've even finished a bunch of stuff this year. But for some unknown reason very little knitting has made it to my blog, even less has appeared in a finished object state.

Take Starsky for instance. I began Starsky in January. After a quick start the knit lingered. All knitted up it waited patiently on a shelf to be blocked. And due to my favorite method of lazy blocking (throw it in a bowl of water and forget it overnight) disaster struck. My sweater was afflicted with rust. Ugly brown streaks of sweater ruining rust on my creamy alpaca.

Yet we persevered together. You cheered me on while I tried salt, baking soda, lemon juice, cream of tartar and sunlight. (For what it's worth I think the salt, lemon juice and sunlight together did the best, but I'm not ruling out the cream of tartar with the sun.) All was not yet lost.

Then I realized my arms, while long (I'm 5 foot 6, I need long arms so I look proportionate) are not as freakishly long as I sometimes think, and the sleeves were freakishly long. Sick of the sweater but knitting on because my goodness I've already put so much into this sweater I'm going to finish it come hell or high water, I CUT the cuffs off. And there you all were, cheering me on. Assuring me I could do this crazy thing without my entire sweater falling to pieces. And lo and worked. The crazy thing worked.

The rust was gone, the sleeves were shortened, warm weather descended in the valley and *poof* the Alpaca sweater disappeared, never to be heard from again. There you were, left with the worst cliffhanger ever. You'd spent months with me and my sweater, and suddenly the sweater was gone. No explanation was offered, no closure was given. No photographs of the final glory were posted. It really was a mean thing for me to do to you.

As I have already suggested in the previous paragraph (were you paying attention, or are you merely skimming looking for a photo?), this happened because the weather turned and I simply could not put the heavy alpaca sweater on for a photo shoot without instantly dying of heat prostration. But winter has descended upon the desert once again (as it tends to do, every year, just like clockwork). In the mornings it is a chilly 60 degrees, and I find myself in need of warmth when taking Pork Chop to school. Enter beautiful hand knit sweater stage left.

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I'm getting better with the self-portrait. I'm a big enough person, I'll admit it, maybe a little reluctantly, with a little sheepish grin, but I'll confess: the sleeves are a little short now. In my effort not to have gorilla arms I might have gone a bit overboard in the opposite direction *shrug* I could care less. They still cover everything that needs covering. So what if the cuff isn't cuffed precisely right? I love it anyways.

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The alpaca is a little itchy, but it's a cardigan. I will always be wearing something underneath it, so again, I couldn't care less. This sucker is warm, warm, warm, warm. This is currently my favorite sweater. I'm always a little sad when ten o'clock rolls around and I must once again remove the sweater or sweat to death. I love the length, I love the collar, and when my belly isn't in the way I'll love the belted look.

So there it is, the long awaited Starsky reveal! Admit it, it was totally worth the wait.

And finally a picture where my belly looks almost as big as it feels.

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40 days until the estimated arrival. Of course that is just a suggestion arrival and there is a two week window in either direction where an entrance into the world would be acceptable. I began this pregnancy saying the baby could come when it wants to come and will probably be a week late like Bird. I have since changed my stance and declared this baby need to come soon, the earlier the better. So what that really means is I need to get on the ball and start getting things ready for this baby. I have a list of things that need done. Just writing the list makes me feel like I've done something. But that nesting urge is powerful, and merely having list may no longer be enough. It might be time to actually DO a few things from my list. Like picking a name. This is my fourth child, my third girl. Any good name suggestions?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another skill I lack

I know. I have been teasing you with shots of my blue scarf for well over a month. Giving little pieces of the scarf, but never actually coughing up a picture of the completed scarf. I don't mean to be such a tease. But hey, in my defense, taking a picture of a finished object is a complicated endeavour fraught with unforeseen issues.

First the shirt I wanted to wear wasn't clean.

Then the shirt was clean but my hair wasn't.

Then my hair was good, but my belly had outgrown the shirt.

I finally get a new shirt, but my hair is bad again.

As you can see there were plenty of bad days to try. I put off the photo shoot. I just couldn't motivate myself to take the pictures. Then I realized, it wasn't my shirt, or my hair that was causing this new delay, the root of the problem was my belly. I was waiting for a good belly day. A day when my belly didn't make me look like a beached whale. Yesterday I wore a bright red shirt and I looked like a waddling tomato. I was subconsciously waiting for a day when my tummy looked flat and skinny. That's not going to happen until sometime in 2009, so I might as well suck it up and take the pictures. I'm not even going to stall waiting for a good hair day!

So there I was, all geared up and ready to go. Only there was no one here to take the pictures for me. But I was a blogger on a mission. I wasn't going to let that stop me. I see other knitters take self-portraits of knit items in bathroom mirrors all the time. I will just do that. So I pulled out the windex, shined my mirror, put on my scarf, I was all set.

Only I've discovered I can't take a self-portrait.

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There's part of my head, and a bit of the scarf.

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More of the scarf but only half of me.

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More of me, most of the scarf, but I'm all blurry.

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This isn't right either.

Screw this, you don't need my face.

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Not so bad. Except for all the concentration lines in my face. I look really pissed off behind the camera. But the scarf looks great. I love everything about it. I love the yarn, the colors, the beads, the length. Don't you love how it lays on top of my belly?

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My grey beached whale belly.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Better Late Than Never

I know good knitting blog etiquette dictates that if one is going to post gratuitous photos of one's offspring in holiday settings it should be done the day of the holiday, the day after at the latest. But hey, I'm all about challenging boundaries right? So if you will be kind enough to indulge me (and the anxiously awaiting Grandpa) here is my Golden Fairy, Ferocious Shark, and Dora the Explorer.

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Why the rock in Meaty's photo? Honestly I don't know. He found it. It made him happy. I got a picture of my son smiling. It's all good!

We had a wonderful time trick or treating. After 45 minutes my children begged to go home. Meaty declared he didn't really want to stop getting candy "but my legs do." Bird didn't even go up to the houses on the last street claiming "I have enough candy for a little girl." And honestly, they did have enough candy for three small children. Halloween was a raging success around here.

One Holiday down, two to go......

Monday, October 29, 2007


I spent my weekend with this

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So I must spend today with this

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So there is no time for this

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But it was so worth it!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Gratuitous Grandchildren

My blue scarf is everything I dreamed it would be, all washed and blocked, ready for its close-up. As nice as it looks all laid out on my bed, it really must be modeled for full effect. And unfortunately we have been under the weather these past few days. So I am no ready for my close-up. It will have to wait another day.

In an effort to distract you allow me to present the only thing better than my knitting.

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They don't seem to mind the dirt back yard. Sure they get filthy (that's not a tan, its a fine layer of dust)

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but they're still so cute under all that dirt.

More Random Cuteness

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And for the record that last one was taken two weeks ago, and I feel so much larger than I look.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Trio of Tiny Things

I'd like to thank everyone for their nice comments on my green yarn. I adore the way it turned out, but chalk most of my success up to beginner's luck. I love beginner's luck. It's the only kind of luck I have. Well, that and bad luck. Or maybe one of my children is a dye-ing savont, and the results should be credited to them. I'm sure it's one or the other. Either way I'm very happy with my shaded green yarn.

And for the record, a tiny bit of yelling might have been involved, especially when the dye was involved, but I'll never confess to the actual amount or words used.

And there are lots of things I can't do. That list includes whistling, thinking about Christmas without crying, making a good pie crust and intarsia. But I keep trying. Someday my kids will eat decent pie crust and realize what they've been missing all their lives.

I was most productive yesterday. My tiny orange pants are all clean, dried, and ready for some embellishment. So they're not quite ready to be unveiled, but I did block a few other items that are.

Pretty As A Poppy, or Cute as a Button

Pattern: Pretty As A Poppy Hat, size newborn

Yarn: Bernat Softee, 1 skein, and a little red yarn from the Nausea Sweater (which still, by the way, makes me sick when I touch it)

Needles: Size 2 and 4 Double Pointed Needles

Modifications: None, this pattern was perfect. Although I did accidentally forget to decrease a stitch before I started the crown decreases, so there's an extra stitch up there. We'll just call that a design feature.


Review: I'm in love with this hat. It is teeny tiny. But oh-so-cute in that way only teeny tiny things can be. It is definitely a newborn hat. I'm a little nervous that depending on head size it won't be deep enough for the baby. That's the problem with newborn knitting, it's such a guess. If it turns out to be the wrong size I'll just knit a larger one. I might knit a larger one anyways, it's just so cute! And just to add to the fun, my picture was chosen to be featured on the Pretty as a Poppy page on Ravelry. How cool is that?

And speaking of knitting hats in two sizes

One of these had better fit her!

Pattern: Odessa, baby and newborn size

Yarn: Bernat Baby Softee

Needles: 2 size 3 cirucular needles

The model shot

Modifications: I saw a picture of the cutest chubby baby wearing a baby size Odessa on Ravelry (I do so love that site). I knew my new sweatpea had to have one of her very own. So I knit in baby size. Basically the pattern is the same, but you use fingering weight yarn instead of DK to create a smaller hat. It is cute beyond belief. But I decided it was a little large, more of a 6-12 month hat than a new baby hat. So I cast on fewer pattern repeats and tried again. This one is definitely more newborn size. On the smaller hat I also used size 2 dpns to knit the ribbing and I think it looks nicer. On the first hat I added the beads to each stitch as I was knitting. On the second hat I pre-strung the beads on my yarn, then knit (as the instructions say to do), which again, I think looks nicer. But they are both such sweet little hats. There's just something about knitting with that pristine white yarn. I still have half a skein left, so I don't think we've seen the last of the white baby hats.

And I loved knitting with bead so much that's when I had to break out the blue beaded scarf. Speaking of which, guess who learned to graft in garter stitch?

Blue Beaded Goodness

Shh, it's blocking.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Queen of Procrastination or Highly Motivated?

I suffer from a rare form of amnesia. Most mothers suffer from it, so I guess it isn't that rare. Gender specific amnesia? Maternal amnesia? It might be caused by a chemical in the brain, or it might be the result of the trauma of motherhood, or it might just be a gift from God, but there is a certain degree of forgetting that occurs in the mind of a mother. Things that are forgotten include the severe pain of childbirth, just how terrible the terrible two's are, and the fact that that third year of life is even worse than the second. In my case this amnesia also extends to satin.

Every October I stand in the fabric store mesmerized by this shiniest of shiny fabrics. I can see in my mind's eye how stunning my little girl will look swathed in this shimmer of smooth beauty. I imagine how grown up and special she'll feel wearing something so lovely that I made for her. I know how she'll feel because that's how I felt wearing some of the costumes my Mother made for me. I want to create those memories for her. In a haze of delusion fueled insanity I buy yards and yards of the stuff. I eagerly bring it home and lay it on my table covered with carefully cut out pattern pieces. But as the scissors make their first cut I remember.

Satin is an evil fabric created by the Devil himself to torture people like me.

As I fight with the slippery fabric cutting out fairy shaped pieces my amnesia is lifted and I remember that every Halloween, when I put the final stitch in the hem of her dress, I vow to never ever ever ever ever sew another satin costume again. Yet here I sit with piles of gold and cream, and a tiny girl anxious for her fairy costume.

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I am avoiding another project. I spent five hours cutting out pattern piece after pattern pieces. If I never see another leaf shaped petal skirt it will be too soon. My back is sore, already thrown out of alignment from my burgeoning belly, the hours spent bent over a table were a bit too much. I'm not ready for a marathon of sewing bent over my trusty sewing machine. Refusing to cast on another project until I get some finishing work done on my old projects, I did what any knitter would do. I dyed some yarn with Kool-aid.

And it was so much fun. I had three skeins of cream wool left over from the charity knitting. I didn't want to knit another cream sweater, one of the sweaters awaiting finishing work is a cream sweater for Bird. So the logical conclusion was dye the yarn a different color. I choose green. The children "helped" me which of course is code for

ran their cars up and down the yarn as I wound it into dying skeins

Fiber Race Track

poked the yarn while it was soaking in wash water until I feared it would felt

Please don't felt the wool

dyed everything in the kitchen green except the yarn

The dye goes ON the yarn

Whined while the yarn cooled that they wanted to dye some more

Hot Yarn!

Refused to stop touching the yarn while it hung to dry

Stop running through the yarn!

Both the yarn, the children and I survived the process. And this

Boring Yarn

Was transformed into this!

A Yarn Masterpiece!

I was going for a shaded solid look, and I don't think this turned out to terribly awful. In fact I'm thrilled with it. Overall it is made of lighter shades of green than I envisioned in my mind, but hey, it was my first time. And it certainly won't be my last. I'm anxious to see how it looks when knit. But first I have some unfinished knitting to attend to.

Could it be something blocking?

Could that be something tiny and orange finally laid to block?

And there is that dress to sew.

We mustn't disappoint the fairy princess.