Friday, February 27, 2009

For the Love of Fridays

Today I'm loving....



and Baby Bellies.


Little girls who can't pout in front of the camera...


And little girls who can...


And little boys who laugh at them both.


And I'm loving my newest obsession...



I have a bit of a smell obsession. I have a super sniffer. My eyes are bad. I fear my hearing is going. But my nose is super-human. It is a curse, and a heavy burden to bear. Strong smells give me instant headaches (Men in Wal-Mart wearing "axe" should be forced to watch "Beaches" on an endless loop as punishment). Really strong smells give me migraines, sometimes for days. Good times people, good times.

Because of my affliction I can rarely wear perfume. I'd like to, but I can't even go to the perfume counter to try and smell which ones I'd like. Any more than three smells and I get a headache (same with smelling scented candles. I get to smell three that's it. I'm big fun at scentsy parties). And heaven forbid I accidentally put one on that is too strong out of the bottle. I'm in pain for days.

Enter Happy Housewife Soaps and Sundries stage left.

On a whim, and after much research and debate (I guess the research and debate makes it less of a whim, but it was still out of character for me), I ordered a Cupcake Sampler because who can resist something with the word Cupcake in it? Certainly not me.

After an eternity (really it was two weeks, but I'm not good at patiently waiting, it felt like an eternity) it finally came in the mail. I had so much fun with it. I couldn't smell them all in one sitting, so instead I wore one sample a day. Each day was a surprise. Some were, quite frankly, horrid on me. Perfumes react differently on people and "Dirty Jack" hated me. Some were fine but not really me. All were fun.

Until I tried Vacuuming in Pearls.

This was it!

This was the smell I wanted to smell like every single day for the rest of my life.

It was fresh, and peachy, and slightly floral after the "dry down."

Who knew I wanted to smell like a peach? Not me!

I had to order a bottle.

And another cupcake sampler.

This time I ordered on a Friday and it was in my mailbox on Tuesday.

And it is just as fun the second time around. I'm driving the kids crazy chasing them around trying to make them smell my arm. Bird likes to try them on too. Sweet Pea liked "Purl" so much she licked my wrist. Some smell good, some smell less good, some-smell-like-eighty-year-old-lady perfume. I think I'm gonna have to cheat on Vacuuming in Pearls and buy a bottle of Yuan Fen.

For special occasions.

And Tuesdays.

What are you loving?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Getting Down to Business

Way to motivate me guys. I simply could not show my face on this blog until I


Blocked my shawl


and started soaking my sweater.

So hooray for you!

Where would I be without you?

While I wait for things to get properly wet, and for other things to dry, I've been keeping my hands busy whipping up a simple little sock.

Let me show you the start of my Cut and Paste Socks.


Ok, I openly admit it. They're not so simple. All those tiny twisted knit stitches.

It's not the cabling that gets me.

It's all those twisted knit stitches.

I nearly cried when I got to row ten and realized I had crossed a stitch in the wrong direction on row five. I put the sock down. I surfed the Internet instead of knitting, trying to pretend that I could live with one mis-crossed cable. After all, I told myself, these socks aren't for me. They're for a non-knitting friend who might never notice a mis-crossed cable. But the cable nagged at my brain. As much as I tried to pretend it wasn't there, it was. And I knew it. It could not be allowed to remain. I frogged six rows and the act of picking up all those twisted stitches nearly killed me. I was tempted to burn the entire sock, beloved harmony needles and all, and pretend the whole affair never happened. But I persevered. You are looking at 46 rows of the cable chart. They're pretty aren't they?

One might wonder why I was so motivated to push through the sock. I usually abandon a project when it tempts me to turn pyro.

I'm going to level with you. I am in training.

Once upon a time my dear friend Katrina (Hi Katrina, love you, update your blog!) gave me some Wollmeise!


I know!

This stuff is the sock yarn of the Gods!

All the hype is totally justified.

I love this stuff.

And everyone who loves me should send me some *wink wink* *nudge nudge*

But it was not just Wollmeise that she sent.

She sent me the pattern for La Digitessa

Go ahead, take the time to click the link. It is totally worth it.

I know!

Once upon a time I cast on for these socks.


But they required entirely too much brain power.

I will have to work up to these socks.

I think the cut and paste socks are excellent training.

And Big Booty Knits (Hi Shi, love you, update your blog!)

*stage whisper* you can't see the plastic piece because I picked it up.

But I created these re-enactment photos just for you.




The end.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I know you're all anxiously awaiting updates. So here's a few.

The plastic thing in the bathroom....


I picked it up. After careful scrutiny I actually figured out what it is. It might be important to keep. Who would have guessed?

It is now safe to go pee in my bathroom.

The white shawl....


Still soaking in a bowl of water.

I know.

Sometimes I suck.



Not yet.

Still contemplating.

Cause the world as we know it will end if I get a bad haircut.

My balls.....


look like this.

(see it does make you giggle)

And the "Tiger Sweater"....


Looks like this.

Patiently waiting its turn in the blocking bowl.

You know how it goes with me.

All the fun knitting is done, so now it will lay for weeks in an untidy pile with loose yarn ends everywhere.


Sometimes I really suck.

And the baby....


she's just fine.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thinking, and Not Thinking

Things I ponder:

Why is it the child that was a screaming whining mess who had me counting the seconds until bedtime at 6:00 morphs into the perfect cuddly fun child at 7:30? Their charms become irresistible, compelling me to want to spend time with them reveling in their new attitude of giggles and sharing. This often delays bedtime.

What is that black piece of plastic on the floor in the corner of my bathroom? It scares me every time I go in there, mistaking it for some sort of long black beetle night after night. And why haven't I just picked it up and thrown it away already?

Should I get bangs?

How does the baby manage to pee on the carpet EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I change her diaper? She crawls away as soon as I take her diaper off and PEES the second I go to pick her up. I'd change her on the bed instead of the floor, but then she'd PEE.ON.THE.BED. Why is her bladder never empty?

Seriously, should I get bangs? Long side swept bangs?

It's riveting inside my head isn't it?

On the knitting front my yarn balls look like this


(I always type just the word balls, but that makes me giggle, so I have to qualify it as yarn balls.)

(and it still makes me giggle)

Notice the ball on the right is now just a strand of yarn.

My sleeve looks like this.


But that is alright, because it is my second sleeve.


There might be hope for my sweater after all.

(I'm willfully choosing to ignore the fact that I'm knitting this sweater with 0 ease.)

(and does this sleeve cap look ridiculously narrow to anyone else?)


(but I'm going to trust the pattern, I'm sure it will be fine)

(and I'm not loving this pooling)


(but it's on the seam which will be my inner arm where no one will see it right?)

(I'm sure the sweater will be fine)

(Did you know I live in Egypt?)

(With a lovely view of the river?)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Fun Fact about me: I have half a tonsil.

Most people have two.

Or none.

I have half of one.

That's it.

Half a tonsil hanging around.

Just one of the ways in which I am a medical oddity. (Believe it or not, there are more)

I started out with two. But I had them both taken out when I was fifteen. Tonsils gone. Never to torture me again. But I guess one decided it wasn't going down that easy. Half of it grew back.

And that half is currently swollen and trying to strangle me.

I'm using the only defense I have against a big swollen lump in my throat.

I'm trying to swallow it.

It's not working.

I'm sick.

Meaty brought this coughing, sore-throat, runny nose crud home from school last week, but it is just now hitting Bird and I. We plan on spending the day drinking lots of herbal tea.


Aren't my mug sweaters cute? I knit them about this time last year and I simply love them. Made from left-over Malabrigo they are all good things hand-knits should be: soft, cushy, pretty, fun to wrap your hands around when you drink. I *heart* my sweater mugs. (Patterns found here and here )

In knitting news, my sweater progresses slowly. I knit the back to here


Two short rows to the bind off. And discovered I had dropped a stitch down here


Because it was an end stitch and I had no idea how to fix it I just frogged it all down to here


Then I re-knit and my back looks like this


(I know its the same picture I keep showing, but now you have an almost unobstructed view of the knit without the arrows. Never mind the distractingly cute arm)

Instead of moving on to the front pieces as stated in the pattern, I've started a sleeve.


(quit being distracted by the cuteness of my "helper", focus on the knit)

My theory is if I have enough yarn to knit the back and a sleeve from the first two balls of yarn then I should have enough yarn to knit the two front pieces and the second sleeve with the last two balls of yarn. We'll have to see how that pans out.

And tarheel, I think I owe you an apology. Your profile is hidden so this is the only way I can think of to contact you. Please let me assure you I wrote my blog post before I saw your comment and that line was not directed at you. I was trying to be funny and I obviously missed the mark. In hindsight it came off more big ungrateful brat than funny and I apologise. Knitters who know me in real life know I love trading yarn, any yarn, new yarn, left over balls, crinkly frogged yarn. Yarn is yarn. I love all yarn. (I might be part yarn gnome). When I saw your offer I was excited and once again struck by how kind knitter are. I thought I would take you up on the offer if I need to. It was generous of you to offer and I am sorry if in my mis-guided attempt to be funny I offended.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Beware the Gnomes

So my brown sweater (no, not that brown sweater, the other brown sweater)....


she lingers. Until I either

a) find a pair of size 10 dpns that I did no know I owned


b) get myself to a craft store to buy new needles

this knit will linger unfinished.

But isn't the color so pretty?


I love the slightly shaded heathered look.

My other brown sweater (yes, that brown sweater)...


she grows.

My yarn balls?


They grow smaller.

I am at war with the yarn gnomes.

You do know about the yarn gnomes don't you?


They come at night and steal your yarn.

Don't laugh. This is a serious epidemic.

Each night the unsuspecting knitter crawls wearily into their nice warm bed and dreams peaceful woolly dreams. The poor, poor knitter is unaware that evil ugly yarn gnomes are coming into their home and stealing their yarn.

But not just any yarn.

NO, there are rules that govern the yarn gnome.

They can not steal yarn from a pristine skein of yarn with the ball band still on.


These are safe.

As are pretty twisted hanks of yarn.


These can not be touched. Gnomes are not allowed to raid stash yarn. That would be just plain mean. The yarn must be in use. Notice I said "in use." Not "used." Nobody wants left-over cast-off yarn from projects long finished. Not even the yarn gnomes. (Unless that yarn is cashmere, then send it to me) No, the ball must be in use. As in the knitter must be currently knitting a project with it.

Grey area concerning the rules would be yarn from skein or hanks that was balled for test knitting then rejected.


Technically the yarn is rejected thus undesirable. But the ball was knitted from but is not yet a finished object, thus the ball is still in play. It's a tricky situation, and really is a judgement call on the gnome's part. I would guess the Knitpicks yarn on the right would be ignored while the Socks That Rock yarn on the left would be raided, especially if the gnome has a deep love of blues and greens.

Anyways, the thieving yarn gnomes enter the gentle knitter's home in the dead of night and unwind the ball of yarn the knitter is currently knitting with. They then cut yarn from the opposite end of the ball. Then those sneaky gnomes re-roll the balls so the poor knitter has no idea anything has happened. Precious yards of yarn gone, with no clue they ever existed.

Now in my frustration and fears of a yarn shortage I might be painting the yarn gnomes in an unfairly unflattering light. Call them evil might be a bit of a stretch. Calling them ugly is probably going a bit too far. The yarn gnomes, while sounding evil, are not truly malicious. They are not out to short the knitter precious yarn and ruin a project. They just truly love yarn. And usually the yarn they take is never missed, taking only a foot here, a yard there.

But I am working with a yarn deficit to begin with.

The precious inches lost to the yarn gnomes could mean the difference between wearable sleeves and unflatteringly short sleeves. It could be the difference between finishing the sweater triumphant and frogging it in shameful defeat.

I must knit the yarn before the gnomes can steal my yarn.

Must knit faster.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Swatches Everywhere!

I've been smoking crack again. Or those wonderful, wonderful hand-made Valentine chocolates were laced with something. It's the only way to explain what happened this weekend.

If you recall my commitment knitting was done. The pants had already moved on to their owner, and the shawl was soaking in a bowl of soapy water (alright, the shawl was not soaking, but it is now) (and I mean it this time!). I was free to knit the phantom dream of a sweater that was haunting my waking hours. Tempest was about to be mine. It was simply a matter of picking a yarn. For the love of all that is good, all I had to do was pick a yarn, ANY YARN, and start knitting. I had already swatched this


and this.


But while they were the top contenders to become more than a ball of yarn, they were fighting to be a sweater, once swatched I wasn't feeling it. Don't get me wrong. Either would make a perfectly lovely sweater, but that magical feeling just wasn't there for me. I was looking for true love. Love at first sight sweater love.

So I swatched on.

I swatched the blue tweed with the blue/pink yarn.


Pretty, but still not it. I would know it when I saw it.

Since the blue/pink yarn was out I swatched the blue/pink with the red-ish magenta-ish yarn.


Definitely not it.

In a fit of desperation and insanity I swatched the brown with the brown/blue yarn.


A color combination I had already vetoed because the yarns were slightly different weights and I've learned my lesson knitting stripes with yarns of slightly different weights. Haven't I?


Apparently not, because this is it! This is love! I NEED this to be more than yarn, more than a swatch. I need this to be a SWEATER. The brown yarn is 100% alpaca. Knit on size 6 needles it is soooo soft and drapey, and wispy like the last fleeting memory of a dream those first few moments before you're really awake, like tendrils of fog creeping across a moor. I'm so in love I'm waxing poetic. And that slight difference in yarn weights? I swear, it is absolutely almost unnoticeable on this needle size. I am in love!

And like most instances of love at first sight, this is such a bad idea. The yarn might be too drapey for this sweater. Not to mention I'm pretty sure I do not have enough yarn in my stash to knit this sweater in the size I need. As much as I want to pretend I'm an A or B, I need size C (and if I'm being really honest a D, but I'm not. Who needs positive ease). Size C takes slightly more yarn than what I have on hand. The alpaca is alpaca I got for Christmas 2005. I'm not sure I can get more of the same. Especially three years later. While the alpaca is un-dyed so dye lot isn't a concern, it looks like they've changed their yarn spinner and I'm worried it will not be the same.

And the striped yarn?


Of Course.

So the yarn is too drapey, is two almost noticeably different weights, and there probably isn't enough. This sweater has disaster written all over it. But when have I ever let that stop me before?

I'm letting that stop me now. I'm trying to be a responsible adult. I'm refuse to waste my time knitting a sweater that is doomed to fail at the sleeves. I'm going to be a grown-up. I would just have to knit this sweater with some other yarn.

Thus thwarted, I did the only logical thing.

I pouted.

I was in love and denied.

So fine! Stupid yarn. I don't need 510 yards of you. If I can't knit the sweater I want I'll just take my needles and knit some other sweater. There are fifty billion other sweater patterns out there. I'll just knit one of those. And I had just the sweater in mind.

I sat my butt down defiantly on the couch and knit a gauge swatch my with chocolaty brown wool.


See, I can knit a brown sweater, who needs you brown alpaca *pout* *pout*. (And let's not discuss the fact that this particular sweater is mean to be knit with alpaca not wool. Oh the cruel twists and turns of fate)

In a theatrical show of grown up responsibility I measured my swatch. I can not tell you all the ways my gauge was wrong. Then I realized that size six was the European needle size, not the US needle size. So, a little deflated, I sat back down and knit a new gauge swatch, this time with the correct needles. One that I forgot to photograph. But that's alright. I measured it and I still didn't come anywhere close to getting proper gauge.

That didn't stop me from casting on for the sweater.


Yup. I knit the heck out of that sweater. You are looking at 14.25 inches of sweater knit over 223 stitches per row. I knit that puppy all the way to the armscye (you know, that fancy designer word for the armpits). It's a bottom-up raglan. So this is the point where I need to knit the sleeves so they can be attached to the sweater and the rest of the bodice can be knit on one pieces.

But I need a new set of dpns, or another set of size 10 circs to knit the sleeves.

Curses, foiled at every turn.

So there I sat. Defeated again. Sunday night and not a knittable thing on my needles. I'll admit it. I did the only logical thing I could do given the circumstances. You would have done the same thing. I cast on for the brown striped sweater.


I'm going to need a lot more crack hand-made chocolate to get through this.

So much for being a grown-up.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day


Chocolates for breakfast are good!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Loving

Be warned, I'm loving life today!

I LOVE good friends who drop by with sweet Valentine treats...


and are comfortable enough to tease me 'cause I'm wearing a tiara (In a related side note: I love wearing a tiara, I am such a pretty princess), but are polite enough to ignore my obviously unwashed hair.

I LOVE the fact that someone has declared war on my kitchen. Their first act of aggression was to send the T-Rex to destroy my spice rack.


I am still plotting my next move. It might be retaliation in the form of a yummy but not kid friendly spicy dinner. Or it might be a peace offering. I'm thinking sugar cookies. We shall see where the day takes me.

I LOVE freshly baked French Bread.


This recipe is so simple and delicious (While you're there get her recipe for Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken, so yummy!). I have finally discovered the perfect baking combination (pre-heat oven to 400 degrees, bake 14 minutes, nice and brown crust, but chewy not crunchy).

I LOVE that every morning Sweet Pea does this


(see her sweet little tippy toes?) as she watches Pork Chop and Meaty go to school. She is going to be such a sad little baby next year when Bird goes off as well.

Tis the season of Love (Or S.A.D. - Single Awareness Day, whichever you choose to celebrate). What do you love?