Monday, January 28, 2008

So Lucky

I've been knitting. Just a little. A few stitches here. A few stitches there. Later when I have more time I'll tell you about Mission Possible. The short version is you pick 12 projects that are lingering about and finish them in the next 12 months. I'll give you a rundown of my 12 chosen projects later, but for now all you need to know to understand my final point is the grey hat.

The grey hat. The dreaded grey hat. I've been working on this hat since last fall. I've frogged it and re-started more times than I care to count. The hat is a gift so until it is gifted I don't want to get into more specifics than that for now. But the project is the bane of my existence.

Over the weekend I had a brilliant stoke of genius and realized how to accomplish what I want to do with the hat. I've been trying one technique. I've been beating my head against the wall trying to knit the hat a certain way. I had it in my mind that the hat must be knit one way. When I realized there was a simpler, easier way to do what I was trying to do I was thrilled, and relieved. I can finally finish the hat.

So I've been knitting on the grey hat. A few rows here, a few rows there. It is a painstakingly long process. It isn't like when you get to sit down and spend a solid hour knitting and at the end of the hour you have six inches of knitting to show for your endeavors. Instead my progress has been glacial. But I'm almost done with the knitting (the finishing will take just as long, but that is a separate topic). I was six rows of crown decreases from being done. Then I set my knitting down to nurse the baby.

I should have known better. I should have tried to finish the hat while I nursed. But I have the new Fablehaven book (Thanks Dad) and I've declared nursing time to be reading time. I should have known better than to leave my hat on the couch. I'll consider this lapse in judgement to be induced by sleep deprivation. Blissfully I rocked and nursed and read unaware of the horrors that were taking place in the other room.

Lest the blame fall on her, Bird interrupted my peace to tattle-tale.

"Meaty has your pointy things!"


"You mean my knitting needles?"


*shock* *horror*


Again I returned to my rocking and nursing and reading. I figured he had picked up my hat, maybe tried it on. He's a big boy. And he knows better. What harm would he have really caused to my knitting.

It was so much worse than I imagined.

After the baby was nursed and in bed I folded two loads of laundry. I put a new load in the washing machine. I washed the dinner dishes. With fifteen minutes to go before bedtime and Sweet Pea still napping mercifully quiet in her crib I decided to steal a few minutes to knit.

That's when I found it.

My poor knitting.

What had they done to you?

Meaty had removed the needles from the hat. The needles were lying on the other side of the couch. Several rows had been ripped out. The yarn was a knotty mess. He knew better than to do that to my knitting.

I could have cried.

I could have yelled.

I could have killed one small boy who was sitting quietly in the corner watching me with huge eyes, waiting for me to punish him.

Instead I sighed.

That's all I have the energy to do.

I could have cause him bodily harm had I had more functioning brain cells.

Instead I sighed.

He is one lucky boy indeed.

Still not believing his luck he went quickly to bed with no protest at all.

The entire affair was not without a silver lining.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Feeling the Urge

NO, not for another baby. I'm doing just fine with the one I have thank-you-very-much. No, the urge I'm feeling is less obvious and maternal. It is one I think many a knitter often faces. I feel the urge to dye some more yarn.

I did do a rather fabulous job dying the first yarn I tried to dye. (It knit up beautifully too. See.


I'll post pictures of Sweet Pea in the finished knit soon.) And as far as you know that was my only foray into the treacherous world of hand dyed yarns.

But I have in fact been holding out on you. My second attempt at dying has never been recorded for posterity. I'd like to say the missing record was merely an oversight on my part. That the yarn was dyed, the triumphant photos were taken and the lack of actual publishing to the blog was simply, oh I don't know, let's call it pregnancy induced forgetfulness. But the brutally honest truth is the attempt was shoved to the back of the closet because the attempt was an undisputed failure. It was not miraculous proof that I am a dying savant, that everything I touch turns to woolly gold. Not the second yarn I dyed was, there's no delicate way to put this, the yarn I dyed was fug yarn.


I'd like to say it wasn't completely my fault. I was looking at all the beautiful hand dyed yarn online and thought I could try it. All these independent dyers were creating beauty. I wanted to create beauty. All these independent dyers were creating art. I wanted to create art. I could see what I wanted to make in my minds eye. I wanted subtle shades of blue, much like the shades of green I'd created. But I also wanted shades of deep chocolate brown for interest. I could see the yarn so clearly, all deep blues and browns mixing together. It would have been a masterpiece.


I didn't know how to make brown with Kool-aid, so after reading this Knitty article I armed myself with some food dye and saran wrap. I knew I could do it. I was so confident. To avoid a disaster with the brown I soaked the yarn in vinegar so the reds and blues would take up at the same time. I carefully created different shades of blue dye. I kept careful notes of what I'd done so I could replicate the job on all the skeins (did I mention I was dying a sweater's worth of yarn so I could knit myself a sweater?). I carefully applied the dye to the yarn. I was so fearless. And the result was fug.


My blues are pastel and mostly the same shade, not the five different shade of blue I tried to make. The disaster I hoped the avoid with the browns came to fruition after all. My browns are more reddish brown, or purple, not so much the deep chocolate brown of the dye. I made fug. There's no way around the truth, I made fug yarn. I discovered I do not in fact have some savant talent for dying yarn. And the yarn smelled so bad while it was cooking. I will never dye yarn this way again. In fact as I looked in disappointment at my fugly yarn I vowed never to dye yarn again. Did I mention I ruined a sweater's worth of yarn? An entire sweater's worth of yarn. What a senseless tragedy.

So the urge to dye yarn was gone from my system. My mojo had disappeared. The desire for my own hand painted had not bothered me until today. I don't know if the smell of baking wool has finally dissipated from the home, or if the memory of the fug has finally lost its sting, but as I made the kids a fresh batch of orange play dough I was inspired.


I color my play dough with Kool-Aid. The same stuff I used to create my beautiful green yarn. I'm sure I could dye the sock yarn in my stash sherbet orange. A lovely shaded solid sherbet orange. And it would smell like Koo-Aid, not burnt wool. I can totally do this. I'm not crazy right? It's not just the sleep deprivation talking right?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Actual Knitting

Imagine that. Actual Knitting. On my knitting blog no less.

But it isn't knitting I've done recently, there's not much of that around here. It's knitting I knit for the baby over the summer but never managed to blog. Besides it's more fun to present the baby knits with a baby actually in them.


Pattern: Frankly I knit this months ago. I've temporarily misplaced the pattern. It was a vintage baby sweater pattern by a company I don't recognise, using a yarn I'd never heard of. And the hat was just sorta knit, no pattern.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, 4 skeins

Needles: I can't remember at this point, either my 4s or my 6s. I'm such a bad knit blogger.


Modifications: I knit the sweater in one color instead of two (but that means nothing without the original pattern for reference). I used different weight yarn and larger needles to get gauge. But it turned out so cute. I just sorta winged the hat. I used the slip stitch pattern from the bodice of the sweater and knit a hat. Once you've knit three or four hats you just sort of know how to knit a simple round hat. The human head only comes in one basic shape.


Review: I know, I know. I've stated more than once on this blog that giving a new mother a cashmere baby item is cruel and unusual punishment. But I couldn't resist making one for my own child. Those rules don't apply when you do it to yourself right? The call of the yarn was too strong to resist. It's perfection. It really is. So soft, it sings as it flows through your fingers. The stitch definition is perfect. I adore this yarn and temporarily forgot why it should never be used for a baby item. The first time Sweet Pea threw up on it I remembered. But in the mean time she is such a cuddle bug in her pink sweater. I think she likes it. Unlike Bird, she doesn't scream when I put it on her. Much to my dismay she hates hats, not just knitted hats, all hats. She does scream when the hat comes near her head, so the hat won't see much wear. Overall I'm very pleased with what I've created for my fourth child. She looks as cute as I daydreamed she would. Sometimes I wish the cold season would last longer in this part of the country so I could justify more baby sweaters. But even if it did I'm too tired right now to knit them.

And just because I love this picture.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Birthday Thoughts

Not my Birthday, but my Little Man's. He turned Five on the 11th. I know, Bad Mommy, the 11th was over a week ago. Everything is running late around here. I'm late with my Thank Yous, late with my Birthday thoughts. I may never run on time again. Heck, most days I'm lucky if I get to brush my hair, let alone get somewhere on time.

There was a period in my life when I thought I wanted a family with all girls. I babysat a family with five little girls and they were the sweetest things on the face of the planet. The house was just filled with fluffy pink things. It was a girly haven. And those tiny girls all had such sweet dispositions. I loved babysitting for that family. I thought nothing would be better than growing up and having my very own troop of ribbon-wearing, doll-playing, sugar and spice and everything nice girls.

When I was pregnant with Pork Chop I decided I wanted a little boy. My Mom had a boy first. It seemed like the thing to do. I bought blue outfits declaring I could put blue on a girl if need be but my fingers were crossed for a boy. I day dreamed about a chubby smiling bald little boy in blue. This phantom boy was so real in my mind. Our ultrasound was disappointing. The baby would not show us what it was. We were there for hours and tried many thing to get the baby to move, but the baby would not budge and share its secret with us. I went home and sobbed into my couch. I knew only a girl would be that stubborn and uncooperative. My dreams of a bald little boy were shattered. Of course the moment the nurses handed me my beautiful baby girl I decided once again to never have boys. Who would want a boy when my Pork Chop was so beautiful? Girls are just so sweet and pink and fun to dress.

When I was pregnant with Meaty I wanted another girl. But I also knew this particular baby was not a girl. I was too sick. The baby kicked to hard when Eminem came on the radio. The Universe never gives me what I want. I just knew this was a boy. And the ultrasound confirmed it. He was there on the monitor proudly showing what he'd grown all by himself. He was all boy. I, once again, went home and sobbed into my couch. My mental picture of my family filled with pretty little ribbon-haired girls was shattered by this new blue spot. What would I do with a boy?

Of course the moment the nurses handed me my tiny little man I immediately forgot that wispy dream of a family of girls. Who would want a family with nothing but girls when you could have a tiny little man? And though he rarely admits this out loud, The Greatest was so proud to have a SON. If I had been given a girl I would have missed out on this


I would have missed out on finding the "Bug Jar" in the house with the lid lying across the room, not knowing if the jar was empty when it entered the house or if I had cause to fear. I would never have known the pain of stepping on army men (those plastic weapons are surprisingly sharp). I would have missed Hot Wheels and Airplanes and Trains. All things blue and loud and destructive. I would have missed Meaty. And my life would have been sad indeed.

This birthday is a big one indeed. He will start school in the fall. I'm excited for him, and I fear for him at the same time. I hope we will both be ready when the day comes. There's so much that is going to change in his life. So much he is going to learn and do. I'm sad to see him grow, but proud of him for growing so well. How I love my little man.

The universe has never given me the child I wanted, but it always gave me the child I needed. And I will forever be grateful.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I've got blog posts in my head.

I've got pictures in my camera.

What I don't have is more than five minutes to sit down and put the two together.

Or enough sleep so that when I do get the two together I can actually string a coherent sentence together.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

An Overdue Thank You!

In case you didn't know Trixie G Rocks! She is also blog less, so the link is her Ravelry page, apologies to those who can't get in.

I had the good fortune of being on the receiving end of her love in a yarn swap several years ago. She was the best spoiler. I've always had the very best spoilers in yarn swaps. In fact that's why I stopped doing yarn swaps. My spoilers have set the bar very high, I can't compete, and I don't want the person I'm spoiling to be disappointed, so I stopped participating. I miss the swaps, but I don't miss the pressure of creating a perfect package so my downstream partner doesn't feel gypped (and always secretly feeling I failed).

Anyways, back to Trixie. She included in a package some of her homemade biscotti. Let me tell you, it is heavenly. So yummy, and the perfect texture, it's like eating a slice of heaven. I've blogged my love of her biscotti before. It really is that good. So imagine my excitement when she offered to send me some this year. Just because. Life can be so kind to me at times. Imagine my delight when the day after Christmas I found the promised package sitting in my mailbox. Inside was this


This bag held eight of the most delicious pieces of biscotti EVER. Like a good little blogger I was going to take a picture of it right away, but alas, my camera battery was dead. I tried to resist the biscotti while the battery charged, but I am weak and the biscotti was good. I ate a piece, then ten minutes later I ate another. And I just might have eaten another ten minutes after that. I have nothing to say in my defense. I am unashamed. It was just soooo good.

That was a Wednesday. Then on Thursday I went into labor, and Friday morning I had a baby. Hospital food is bad and I yearned for my biscotti. I wanted the Greatest bring me the biscotti, but while unpleasant the hospital stay was short, they kicked me out on Saturday. Somewhere between Saturday and Monday in my sleep deprived state I ate the rest of the biscotti, leaving only a bag with crumbs to prove it's heavenly goodness ever existed and was not in fact a hallucination caused by my newborn sleep deprivation. I miss it already.

But my lack of photo documentation does not end with the biscotti.


This is the bowl in which I put the Hershey Kisses she sent for the kids. My biscotti did last longer than the Hershey Kisses, so that's saying something good about me right?

In addition to irresistible food items Trixie included Four Skeins of Pure Wool Gold.


Those are four skeins of one of my favorite sock yarns. Knitpicks no longer makes this yarn, so it is like being gifted with Precious Woolly Gold. And in two of my favorite colorways! Oh and I know there's only three skeins in the picture. I'm not so tired that I've forgotten how to count. I think I've already established I have NO willpower. One skein is already in use making these


Another pair of Baby to Toddler Socks. While the first pair I knit took me a few hours, this pair has been on the needles for a week now, knit in random moments when the baby is sleeping, but I'm awake enough to be trusted with pointy objects. Knitting might get really slow around here.

So THANK YOU TRIXIE G! Please accept my gratitude, and my apologies on the belatedness of my Thank You. Your thoughtfulness has added pure joy to a very happy time in my life. Somedays life is indeed very kind.

And because I can, here's a dose of pure baby sweetness.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

As Threatened: More Baby Feet

Don't say I didn't warn you.


Pattern: Baby Eyelet Socks

Yarn: Unknown yarn, I threw the ball band away ages ago (bad blogger). But I do remember the yarn is 100% cotton.

Needles: Size 0 dpns

Modifications: None that I can remember

Review: Aren't they cute? Ready to see them be even cuter?


Aren't they just better modeled on the baby? Those tiny feet are so sweet. Here's another shot.


One might as well just sit back and realise that the next few weeks are going to be filled with pictures of the baby and her hand knits. I knit quite a few things for this baby last year, very few of them actually made it to the blog. And now that she is here in person to model the knits? I simply can't resist showing them off (both the Baby and the knits).

The socks themselves are the sweetest shade of pink. Just perfect for a new baby girl. I think they're a little stiff, so Sweet Pea has a pair of soft socks on underneath them to protect her delicate skin. This pattern is definately a newborn size. If she were any larger I'm not sure I could have gotten them on. I do like that this pattern featured a heel flap and gusset. I've knit several baby socks with short row heels and I'm just not sure how well they'll stay on. I'm sure we'll discover together which heel is superior for baby socks sometime in the very near future.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Starting Her Off Early

Is there anything sweeter than tiny baby feet?


Maybe baby feet in tiny hand knit socks?


Pattern: Baby to Toddler Socks, newborn size

Yarn: Team Feet

Needles: Size 0 dpns

Modifications: None

Review: Perfection, both socks and tiny baby feet. The Greatest thinks we need to start Sweet Pea off early on her life of Michigan Football loving. Tiny blue and gold socks on gameday are a good start. I tried to bribe the baby with these socks before she was born while I was knitting them. I told her she needed to be born before January 1st so she could wear these socks for the Bowl Game. She must have decided she is a fan because here she is!

I know in the past we've had trouble with this particular yarn being cursed, but when it's worn on something this sweet I think the curse has no power. Her baby cuteness can overcome any bad mojo. We'll see how it goes.

As far as the pattern goes I LOVE this pattern. I've knit a small mountain of baby socks (not that you'd know it from the blog, I didn't document anything this year, bad blogger) and this was my favorite pattern. I think they will be easier to get on and stay on longer than some of the other patterns I've tried. But since this is the first pair of handknit socks she has worn, we'll have to wait and see. Expect to see more wooly toe goodness in the near future.

Edited to add pictures because what good is a knitting blog without pictures. And to say that Baby Cuteness trumps Cursed Yarn. Michigan won 41 to 35. GO BLUE!