Saturday, January 31, 2009

The start of an obsession

I can feel it.

The pressure is building.

It is calm now. The calm before the storm. The air is still and silent. In the silence you can feel the wrongness of it all.

An obsession is coming.

Sometimes a pattern grabs you and there is no denying it. You must knit it. It clouds you mind. You can think of nothing else until you cast on. Your fingers itch to knit. But do not try to scratch this itch by knitting any other pattern, or it is the itch of a phantom limb. Knitting any other pattern will not satisfy this itch. It can only be cured by knitting the object of the obsession. In fact knitting any other pattern will only result in anger and frustration that you are not knitting THE PATTERN. There is no denying the knit.

I'll admit. It has been a while since I've felt this obsessed with a pattern.

Until now.

It was an ordinary morning.

Well, not entirely ordinary.

I had a stomach bug. It made me want to die. Lying flat on my stomach gave me sharp stabbing pains. Sitting up straight made me dizzy. So I sat in a half fetal position at the computer, with a cup of herbal tea, trying to amuse myself. I read all my favorite blogs. I read my message board. I read my e-mail. I was out of things to do on the Internet. So I turned to knitting heroin, that is to say, Ravelry.

This did have trouble written all over it.

I read all my forums. I joined a few new ones. I started looking at all the message boards just searching for something interesting to read. I found a thread titled "What to do with leftover sock yarn." I was intrigued. I've got lots of leftover sock yarn. Tell me what to do with it!

Most of the ideas were ones I've already seen. Make tiny squares and sew them into a blanket. Wind them into one a huge ball and then knit a crazy pair of socks from you ball. Or my personal go to idea: knit baby things.

I did happen upon the Stashbuster Spiral Socks. I really am a process knitter at heart. I love to knit things just to see how they are made. I am intrigued by the construction of the stripes, so I might have to knit a pair just to see how it turns out.

Then it happened.

Someone suggested Tempest


I had seen this sweater before. I saw it when it was originally released as a Knitty surprise. But I paid very little attention to it. I was too enamored with Juju (which so happens to be the pattern I used for the baby pants I keep talking about but have yet to show you) (and now that I think about it I also knit a pair of Emma's Unmentionables for Pork Chop, that have yet to be shown on the blog. I'm such a bad knit blogger. No diet coke for me *sob* )

Anyways, I don't know why I passed over this sweater upon initial viewing. It might have been that green color of the original sweater. I might have been too blinded by the baby knits. Or (and this is probably the awful truth) I might have been carrying too much left-over baby weight at the time to consider knitting myself anything more than socks. (and I'm not saying I'm not carrying left-over baby weight now. I'm just saying I've gotten to know my baby weight. Those last few pounds don't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon, so I've made it my friend. We've spent the past year bonding over lots of cookies and milk. I've made peace with it, mostly. It keeps me warm in the winter. I might have to keep my friend around).

Whew, I'm tangenty today!

Anyways, yesterday something changed. I don't know if it was the lighting or the faintness I felt from the stomach bug, but I fell in love with this sweater. Just look at the line of the collar, and the buttons, and the three-quarter sleeves, and the tiny buttons. And it is knit from sock yarn. This light sweater might be just what I need for the mild climate I live in. In short, this sweater spoke to me. An obsession was sparked.

I looked at every picture of every Tempest ever knit on Ravelry. I read all the forum posts about the sweater and the problems with the sleeves. I looked at every yarn used to knit this sweater and began to consider my stash, wondering what I had to use. After all, this only used enough yarn to make TWO PAIRS OF SOCKS. I raided the yarn cabinet to see what I had.

I could go black with pink and yellow


or blue with blue and pink


or blue with blue and green (do not be distracted by cute baby fingers)


or blue with a different blue and green


or dark blue with light blue and brown


or brown with blue and brown (although I'm not sure I have enough of the two tone brown for this one)


or brown with blue and brown (but that solid brown is alpaca and a little thicker than sock yarn, and I think I've learned my lesson on striping yarns of slightly different weights.) (or maybe I haven't)


or I could be practical, all black


or all tweedy dark blue


I have a few projects I must finish knitting before I cast on a new project, but in the mean time I am obsessed. I run over the different color possibilities in my mind wondering which one to use (the tweedy blue is the most practical, but the black and pink might be the most fun). What I would wear with each one? Where I would wear them? How nice the pieces will look all laid out blocking with my blocking wires. It was my last thought when I fell asleep last night, and the first thing I did this morning was visit the pattern. I am a woman obsessed. I'm predicting I get my knitting (two pairs of toddler size pants and a shawl) done in record time so I can cast on for a Tempest of my very own.

Prepare yourself for the storm.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Love

When I was a child I used to play this game with my Mother. I'm sure many Mothers play this with their children. I would take the deepest breath I could, expanding my rib cage and stomach to full capacity. Then I would exhale it all in the longest "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" my tiny body could manage. My Mother would sit beside me. Rapidly, but gently, she would tap my mouth with her hand. My long "Ahhhhhhhhhh" was transformed into a staccato refrain of "Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa." This fascinated me. The fact that my body would make sounds I didn't intend to make based on external actions was such an interesting phenomenon to me. I could play this game for hours. And my Mom WOULD play it for hours. Looking back I wonder how she could stand it. It had to become tedious for her after the first two or three hundred times. But she played it with me, and I loved every second of it.

When Pork Chop was an infant my mother tried so very hard to teach her this game. But Pork Chop was not having any of it.

The same goes for Meaty.

And Bird.

No one wanted to play this silly beloved game from my childhood with Grammy.

I had all but forgotten the game.

Enter Sweet Pea, stage right.

Earlier this week I went to get her from her crib after her nap. She was lying in her crib playing this game all by herself. Such a flood of memories filled my heart as I lifted her into my arms and kissed those perfect cheeks. We played that game all afternoon.

And we've been playing it all week. Every time I hear that sweet baby "awwwww" turned into "wa-wa-wa-wa-wa" followed by giggles I feel my Mom near me. Sometimes I feel like she is right beside me, watching over my shoulder. Watching my baby smile and loving my baby. Watching me be a parent and feeling love and pride in me. So very close.

Sometimes I feel like she is just waving at me from across a long room, too far to touch, to far to really say anything that would be heard, just waving, with a smile.

Always with a smile.

I miss her and I'm loving this gentle reminder of Mom and her living legacy.

What are you loving?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Peace Baby!

I wanted to blog today. I really did. I have good intentions of being funny and witty and full of pretty pictures. And doing it every single day. But I'm lacking inspiration. Going to bed at 1 a.m. and getting up at 5 will do that to you I guess. Not to mention being funny and witty and full of pretty pictures every single day can put a bunch of pressure on a girl. How do the really good bloggers do it?

As I was cleaning the kitchen after lunch and pondering my neglected blog it occurred to me. Duh. This is a knitting blog. And I have five FOs that have not made their debut yet. Throw a sweater on the baby and hey, I've got a blog post!


Pattern: Peace Baby

Yarn: Knit picks shine sport in apricot
Sinfonia in pink

Needles: Size 6

Modifications: I added a stripe pattern to the sweater. I also added cute picot edges to the hem and sleeve cuffs.


Review: This is quite frankly, and it pains my soul just a little to admit this, this is not the best sweater I've ever knit. Don't get me wrong. The pattern is great and the sweater is cute as a button. The problem is not the pattern. I'd love to blame it on the pattern. Doesn't it always feel better to one's self-esteem when the problems can be blamed on someone else? But sadly, this is not the case. The problem is not the pattern. The problems lie in my execution of the pattern. Striping the sweater was a good idea. It's so cute. I love how the double raglan decreases line up.


But striping the two different yarns might not have been such a good idea. The sinfonia is skinnier than the shine, and I think it shows.

My keyhole neckline also has some issues.


Again, while I'd love to blame it on the pattern I'm afraid the problem is all me. Poor finishing skills in the form of sloppy sewing are the majority of the problem. I'm also thinking the slippery cotton made a bad situation worse. It really is an unforgiving yarn, showing off every fatal flaw.


But despite these obvious issues she seems to like the sweater. And it looks super-cute with her orange pants. And the weather has cooled off enough to justify dressing her in knit pants and a knit sweater. So it's not a total fail.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Send Reinforcements!

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon. You know the kind I'm talking about. The perfect kind.

The cat was napping under the crib.


The dog was laying in the hallway just because she could.


She could lay in the hallway undisturbed because the older children were all outside playing.




The Greatest was in his happy place


digging in the dirt.

Now he will tell you that digging weeds out of what we call the "poop rocks" is not his happy place. But I know him better. He is happiest outside digging in the dirt. Even if it is digging in the poop rocks.

I decided with the rest of the family occupied I could sneak in some blocking. Since I still had the baby to take care of I knew this would require multi-tasking. But multi-tasking is all I do all day. Making breakfast while I pack lunches and style hair. Talking on the phone while I fold laundry and supervise homework. Cooking dinner while I hold the baby, referee death matches between the middle two children and juggle flaming knives. Alright, that last one might have been an exaggeration but it certainly feels that way some nights. Certainly one Mommy can handle one baby and some wet wool. Right?


At first she was the perfect baby. As I put the wires in the knitting she sat quietly on my lap and talked to me. Sweet baby babbles with lots of her favorite word "gubba." Parenting bliss. I wish I could take that moment, wrap it in tissue paper, and pack it away. Then when she becomes a teenager with hormones and pms, I could take that moment out and fondly stroke it, remembering better times. It was one of those moments. She can be the sweetest baby ever.

Then I began pinning the wires in place. She decided to "help." At first she held the pins for me while I placed them in the wool. Then she decided I was doing it all wrong and she would have to fix it. For every pin I put in she repositioned two, carefully placing them in the middle of the sweater pieces instead of along the edges holding the pins in place. She thought they looked better than way and was very angry when I rearranged her work.

In addition to her angry screams, she further underlined her displeasure at me by going in a corner and pooping her diaper. She then

played with the unused blocking wires.


rearranged my bathroom cabinets.


crawled down half a flight of steps and read some books.


crawled back upstairs into her room where she decided she does not like pigtails and would no longer wear them to amuse me.


It might have been worth it, because the sleeves are now peacefully drying.


Picking up her messes weren't too bad. Compared to what the middle two have done these messes seemed hardly worth the effort. Where was the shaving cream? But then I got to the poopy diaper. Oh My Goodness. She is the stinkiest pooper ever. I need reinforcements.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

Sorry for the radio silence, but admit it, you're getting used to it from me by now.

We've just been busy, busy, busy. We had more birthday love (can you believe Meaty is SIX already?). We had a terrible stomach bug with three children puking for 24 hours. Thankfully it was the older three, so puke buckets were successfully used! YEAH! And the bug skipped The Greatest and me so double YEAH! We've had more Dr's appointments for Sweet Pea's ear. She is now infection free! Triple YEAH! She is feeling so good she's willing to do all kinds of toddler things like emptying everything she can get her hands on (book shelves, the CD tower, my purse) and playing with my pots and pans while I cook at the stove beside her.

Why must all toddlers do this

It is heavenly to cook with two hands again! This kid has been sick since November. It is nice to have my baby back!

See I'm full of good news and exclamation points today!

I've been knitting. Oh my. I have been knitting. I've finished knitting two sweaters for Sweet Pea. One sweater is part of a set to be paired with a pair of pink knit pants that have yet to make their debut on the blog (waiting in the drawer for the sweater). I've been successfully blocking pieces of Pork Chop's Willa. Just the back piece to block and I'll be able to seam it soon. I've knit the most awesome hat in the world for The Greatest (which he actually wears! more hoorays). And the Chevron scarf is done! I went for the gold. I knit the whole ball. The sucker is long and luv-er-ly. So much knitting. I've even got a sock and a half knit for me. Like I said, I've been busy.

And because the universe hates me, I've finished all these knits in time for winter to be over.

don't you wish you lived here?

It is in the upper 70's and just as beautiful as can be. Every morning Bird goes on the back porch and declares it to be a beautiful day. Meaty declares each day to be the best day ever. They're both right. It is a good time to live in the West. Opening all the windows was just not enough. We threw the French Door open to fill every corner of the house with sunshine and warm grass scented air.

Don't hate me because my french doors are magnificent

Of course, since the back door was wide open the cat got in on the action. She laid in the sun.

lazy cat

She laid by the pool.

lazy lazy cat

She laid in the shade.

In my next life I wanna be a cat

She was a happy cat indeed. And I felt a little like the paparazzi, stalking the cat.

Overall I've been a happy Mommy.

If you need me I plan to spend today doing more of this.

a perfect afternoon

I know you'll forgive me for being too busy to blog. Could you resist this face?


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Things that are naked....

My living room.


It looks so bare without all the festive Christmas Decorations. And its so dark at night without all the Christmas lights. How long until next Christmas?

My daughter's ears.


She has returned to school, a place where the mp3 player is forbidden. So in the mornings I get to see her without her headset. But only briefly. It is promptly returned to its rightful place at 3:17 p.m. each day.

My neck.


Goodness, that's an unflattering angle. But as you can see my neck is bare. Indecision concerning the scarf has paralyzed my knitting fingers. Sometimes I think I should go for the gusto and just knit the remainder of the ball. I'll knit a few rows, then remember it will grow when blocked and lose my nerve. Afterall, I'm on the clumsy side, and I can't be tripping over my scarf all day long, especially since 9 times out of 10 I've got the wee babe is my arms. Conflicted, I'll stash it in my knitting drawer until the next day when I decide to stop being such a wuss and just knit the rest of the ball. I'll happily knit until I begin to ponder exactly how much it will grow with blocking. And the cycle continues.

My baby.


Isn't she cute? And miserable. Still with the double ear infection. Third round of antibiotics is the charm right? If only I hadn't dropped the bottle this morning and shattered it. Who puts children's medicine in a glass bottle anyways? Don't worry about the baby, a call to the Dr and a new prescription is being filled as I type. And she won't be naked much longer.


What felt like miles and miles of garter stitch were all knit in the name of Sweet Pea. A few seams, buttons, and a crochet border and she will be naked no more. I hope to have it finished by the weekend. My neck may have to wait a little longer.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Let's start with a game.

I spy with my little eye, something that shouldn't be in the fridge.


The sad part is this isn't the first time I've blogged this.