Friday, December 31, 2010

Stuff I knit 2010

As always, this is not a complete list of the things I knit, it is just a list of the ones I blogged.

Socks for Sweet Pea
Cute Baby Things
Valentine's Quilt
My Vampire Boyfriend
Sock Monkey Hat

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I try, oh how I try.

I hate having pictures taken of myself in my knits. I always have to have The Greatest take my pictures. And he just doesn't have the patience to take a billion pictures looking for that One Great Shot. He takes A picture and calls it good. I can get Pork Chop to take my picture sometimes, but I always fear she'll drop my camera, or the younger children see Pork Chop with the camera and they want to take pictures too, and since they HAVE dropped my camera and broken it *sigh* I'd just rather not deal with it all. I'd much rather knit for my children and combine cute child pictures with show off my knit pictures. I like those pictures. But it is even worse when I have to physically take the pictures of myself in my hand knits. Like today. The Greatest is at work, and Pork Chop is at school. I'm trying to blog more consistently. I really NEED to blog. So what's a girl to do? I must be self-sufficient. I will take self-portraits. My deficient photo-taking skills are well documented. But in case you're new around here I'll re-cap.

When I take pictures of myself, first of all I'm resigned to the dreaded "bathroom mirror" photo shoot and all the bad lighting that entails. And I get shots like this


and this


and this


And occasionally I get a shot like this


or this


Which makes it almost worth the aggravation. And then I realize you can see my cabinet with the broken door. And the random dog toy. And my sexy sexy toilet paper.

So I gave up.

The dreaded "bathroom mirror" photo shoot never ends well. Why do I bother?

I stuck my hat on the nearest person, who happened to be Sweet Pea. Let's be honest (cause I'm all about keeping it honest around here, did you see my sexy sexy toilet paper. Which by the way I'm down to only two rolls. Thank goodness payday is soon) With everyone else at school she was kinda my only option.


But she doesn't want to hold still.

And of course...


She's naked.

So kitchen counter pictures it is!


Pattern: Sockhead Hat

Yarn: Socks that Rock, I *think* this was also from Tina's Blue Moon barn sale, but Katrina will have to confirm that for me. I just know it was heavenly to knit. *sigh*

Needles: size 3 Addi Turbos

Modification:I went up a needle size from the pattern. It was supposed to be knit on size 2 needles. And I knit the entire hat on size 2 needles. And boy it was CUH-UTE! Of course I didn't take a picture before I frogged it. I really do suck. On size 2s the yarn knit up in a spiral rainbow stripe. I loved it. But it was a very tight knit, very stiff. Not as much drapey slouch as I was looking for. So we went to size 3s. I lost my stripe but gained more slouch. Life is all about compromise.

Review: I love this hat. I love it so much I knit it twice (see above). I kinda wish I had knit the ribbing on size 2 needles, and the slouchy part on size 3 needles. But I don't want to knit this hat a third time. I miss my pretty striped rainbow hat, but I like this French Impressionist watercolor thing I've got going on.


Despite the complete lack of flattering pictures of this project, this hat is a winner. I'm going to put it in a drawer beside my vampire socks where it too can patiently wait for weather that is under 100. I don't care how slouchy and fashionable this hat it, it is also warm inducing. Perfect for our wannabe winter weather. But not so great in August.

Stay tuned! I've got a sweater in my blocking bowl. And another neatly folded on my hutch just waiting for someone to take pictures of it. I know you all want to see self-portraits of my elbow in the bathroom mirror.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My heart belongs to The Greatest. But my neck is a vampire whore.

So after contemplating the carnage of half knit every things stashed all over my house I decided I wanted to finish something. Anything. I began sorting out my projects to determine what could be finished the quickest with minimal frustration (cause lets face it, all these projects were instantly abandoned when they began to cause me frustration). Imagine my surprise when I discovered a completely finished pair of socks in my unfinished knits drawer. These puppies are DONE. They are all knit. The toes are kitchnered. The ends are all woven in. There is nothing left to do with these socks but wear them. What were they doing in the unfinished drawer? I suppose a some point I must have decided my knits aren't done until they've been blogged.

So lets blog them and call these puppies done!


Pattern: My Vampire Boyfriend

Yarn: Socks that Rock, and honestly, that's all I can tell you about them. I've lost the ball band. When did I become such a bad knit blogger?

Needles: Who knows? Could have been a 2. Could have been a 1. Could have been that funky size between a 2 and a 1 that still gets called a 1. Could have magic looped it. Could have been dpns. Not a stinking clue how these socks came into existence. Bad, BAD knit blogger.

Mods: No obvious ones that I can see.

Review: Honestly, I've only got the vaguest of vague memories of these socks. The more I stare at them, and ponder them, the more I'm starting to suspect that I didn't knit these socks. I think these socks were a gift from the Sock Fairy. In gratitude I must now burn some fun fur in an offering to the Sock Fairy. I LOVE these socks. I love everything about them. I love the name of the pattern. I love the yarn. I love the cables. I love all that reverse stockinette. I love the cable on the heel.


(you would not believe the balancing and twisting and general acrobatics I had to do to get that shot. We've had new neighbors move in over the summer. They have not yet had the pleasure of spying me taking pictures of socks yet. I wonder what they thought.)

I love how the cable looks on the toe.


I said it once, but it bears repeating: I adore the colors! My friend Katrina once talked to me about how she loved a bit of white in her variegated yarns. I had never really given the absence of white in variegated yarn much thought. Take a moment to consider it and you will realize very few variegated yarns include white. They're too busy dying the yarn with every crazy color combination they can think of to leave in boring old white. In fact a white spot is considered to be a "you missed a spot" type of situation. But I LOVE the white in this color scheme. LOVE IT! Red and pink and black without the white just wouldn't be the same. This yarn is so perfect.

And how perfect are these colors for a pattern titled "My Vampire Boyfriend." It fits right in with my "can only knit monster themed sock pattern" trend.


I love these socks so much.

And now that they have been properly blogged and documented for posterity the only thing left to do is wait for the temperature to dip below 100 so I can wear them without passing out.

Wonder what I can finish for tomorrow. I saw hat that just needs the yarn in drawn through the last few stitches, and the ends woven in. Three hats as a matter of fact.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Time for an Intervention....Again.







It might be time to rethink my stance on knitting project monogamy and start finishing something. Anything. This is getting out of control.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Confessions of a Frugal Housewife

I can no longer hide it.

I've got a secret addiction that can no longer be contained.

It had gotten so out of control the cabinet door won't shut.

Time are tough. That's no secret. In this day and age we do everything we can to save money. I clean with mostly vinegar and water or bleach water. We rarely use paper towels, only real washable/reusable towels. I'm so sick of yelling at the children to turn their bedroom lights off. We consolidate errands to save gas. We cook everything from scratch. We price match at the store. You name it we're probably trying it to save money.

I'm even making my own laundry detergent and stain remover for pete's sake.


And for the record my stain remover rocks.

But with all the frugality and self-reliance I've got one tiny dirty little secret.

*deep breath*


Again, I'm scrubbing the house with all kinds of homemade cleaners, but try as I might I just can't be satisfied with cleaning the glass with vinegar water. Don't get me wrong. It does the job. It gets it clean, but Windex makes it shine. And Windex makes getting the tiny fingerprints off effortless. And Windex rarely streaks (except for the wipes. I loathe the wipes).

I'll go for weeks cleaning with homemade glass cleaner, but anytime there is the slightest hint of extra money laying around I'll buy a bottle or two of Windex. I can't help myself. That blue bottle makes me so happy.

But as I stashed my latest guilty purchase in the cabinet I realized I can't close the cabinet.


Admitting you have a problem is the first step right?

Friday, August 06, 2010

Friday Loving

Do you hear that?

Me neither.

My house is exceptionally quiet.

I must confess school is not without its charms.

Sweet Pea is contently enjoying her daily dose of Dora, uninterrupted by cries of "Mom, can I play the x-box, I hate Dora." Or remote thieves who would rather watch i-Carly.

The Greatest is sleeping upstairs. He worked last night but came home safely. I love this. When he's home safe and sound. Something in my heart stops working the moment he walks out the door and doesn't start again until he crosses our threshold safe and whole. It's almost as if I can finally take a full breath when I hear his key in the lock. I love that moment when I know for certain he is safe.

He's supposed to take me to lunch today. Don't worry. We'll still have the littlest chaperon


so we won't get into too much trouble. But it should still be fun. I've missed our friday lunch dates over the summer.

I actually don't have too much to say today. It is sprinkling off and on, so of course, my head is pounding. I'm just trying to get back in the habit of blogging.

Don't worry. In a week or two I'll hit my stride and be entertaining once again.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Don't Blink

Cause you'll miss it.

If you blink you'll miss everything.

One moment it will be May and you'll be up to your eyeballs in all the end of the school year activities. The entire summer will be stretched out before you with the promise of lazy days, and fighting children.

And the next?


In a whirlwind of swimsuits and library books and grilled everything it will be the First Day of School.

And you will have absolutely no idea how that happened.

Seriously, how did that happen?

You'll look around and see a house that has spent two and a half months of leisure. As Pork Chop proudly told her former teacher "We didn't use the chore chart all summer." And we didn't. I kept threatening it. And when they fought I made them clean. But for the most part I decided the beds could wait to be made, and they did. They waited patiently. So did the legos, and barbies, and army men. The dishes and the laundry were not so patient, but even they waited as well. It helps if you're only wearing swimsuits. And after the Fourth of July we started eating off the left-over paper plates from our barbecue. It was heaven.

You will see a pile of floaties and beach towels. You will see half finished books everywhere, and they're not all mine. They're Pork Chops, and Meatys, and Birds, and even Sweat Peas (although I'm pretty sure that last one is functionally illiterate.) You will see the dinosaur zoo built with legos. And the stuffed animal tea party. And the annual world's biggest train track. (this year it ran from Meaty's room, down the hall, into his sister's room, under their beds, and back. Just in case you were wondering) You will see signs everywhere of a summer misspent in sloth. And well-spent in laughter.


You will sigh as you drop them off at school. New clothes just a touch too big because you know they'll grow. They always do. All the chlorine washed from their hair. Shiny faces excited for a new adventure. They've taken all they can from summer. And now they're ready to fill their heads with new things, new books, new words, new facts, new ideas. They're ready for it all.

I'm sad that in order to let them grow they have to leave me behind. I'm not quite ready to let the summer go. Not quite ready to share them with the world. I'd like to gather them all under my wings and read to them just a few more chapters. Swim with them just a few more laps. Tickle them just a few more giggles.

Thank goodness for Saturdays!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cause I need another hobby

I don't remember when or how I first stumbled upon Passing Down Crazy , but it was love at first sight. I loved her knitting, I loved her pictures, I loved her kids, I loved how she referred to her husband as her "Hero" and I loved her blog title. LOVE!

I stalked her relentlessly. Admiring her snow, her backyard, her humor, and above all, her knitting. Her lace shawls are perfection. Makes me want to knit loads more lace!

And then she published a post with a quilt!

It was all over from there. I was powerless against her quilts.

Can you seriously look at this, or this, or this, or this and not feel inspired?

It didn't help when Marie Grace started showing off quilts too. Suddenly I found myself in the tight grip of a new obsession. I NEEDED to quilt something NOW! Once upon a time I amassed quite the collection of fat quarters and other various pretty fabrics. There was simply no room for it in the great move of 2006 and we gave it all away to a woman who made baby quilts for all the babies at church. If I wanted to quilt something I was going to have to start fresh and go shopping.

And if we think about that for a second, is that really a hardship?

I decided it wasn't.

Now when I first learned to quilt I was taught by a Quilting Nazi, with a capital Q and a capital N. All quilts must be made with 100% cotton, and be pieced by hand. All batting must be "Warm and Natural" brand only. And all quilting must, Must, MUST be done by hand. Or it simply wasn't a quilt. The. End.

I'm not exactly sure what she thought the resulting item would be if one of her rules were broken, but her mind it most certainly would not be a Real Quilt(tm). I guess that would make it an Imitation Quilt(tm).

Once upon a time, being young and foolish and eager to please, I followed her rules to a T, and I think it was all the hand sewing that eventually led me to abandon quilting after Pork Chop was born. That, and all the pins I kept leaving on the floor. I decided that machine quilting was absolutely without a doubt the way to go this time. The Greatest, being The Greatest, and knowing me so well, knew that resistance was futile and bought me a set of quilting feet for my sewing machine.

I practiced meandering with my darning foot on old pieces of paper for hours. I'm still not sure I have the hang of it yet. I do have a baby quilt top just waiting for me to get the courage to try it out. Maybe someday. But not today. I've already moved on from that project. I think I must secretly like have UFO's hanging around. A little guilt is good for the soul.

Once the quilting bug took hold I started to haunt other quilting blogs. I became completely obsessed with, I mean I was inspired by this quilt. I knew I had to have one of my very own. But not in orange. In pinks and red.

And my Valentine's Day Quilt was born


Now don't look too closely at my quilt. It's full of mistakes.

I actually think my piecing is pretty fantastic. I still remember a few tricks from the old days that translate well to machine piecing. I just love how the red and white stripes line up perfectly in the diamonds. I'd like to say I planned that when I cut the pieces, but that was the result of a happy accident of cutting, and a bit of care when piecing. And I'm simply in love with my 1/4 seam foot. I wanna kiss who ever created that right on the lips. Seaming Perfection!

Now it was when I decided to try my hand at machine quilting that things took a turn for the worse.

First off, they should really include a picture of the walking foot and how it is supposed to look. In case you're wondering it is supposed to look like this...


with the little arm thingie on TOP of the thingie that holds your needle in place. That accounts for one of my broken needles.


Now it also turns out that when they tell you to roll the unused sides of your quilt they know what they're talking about. Because if you leave it loose, and just try to shove the unused side through like this


You end up with this


no matter how carefully you've pinned it.

And when you stop to shove the loose side through to make it easier to keep quilting you should really leave the needle down in the fabric. Otherwise it tends to shift like this


yeah. I'm still not sure I've mastered this one.

And it is also a good idea to match the thread color to your binding, even if you've used white thread on the rest of the entire quilt.

I also discovered is not a good idea to set up shop at one end of the kitchen table and let your children eat at the other end of said table. Unless you want to quilt a quilt that already has a spot of dried yogurt and a kool-aid stain on it.

So there's a ton of mistakes in this quilt. But I think that's alright. I know I learn more from what I do wrong, than I do from the things I get right. In the meantime I love my quilt.


I couldn't resist a little bit of piecing on the backing.


And I had to make a striped binding with my leftovers.


Although I think if I had to do it all over again I might have bound the entire quilt in this fabric


I just love the polka-dots. And the unexpected blue flower.

I think the reds and pinks are all 100% cotton, but the white on the front is of unknown origin, and the white on the back is a cotton/poly blend. The top is machine pieced. The batting is polyester. And the actual quilting of the quilt was done by machine. I did sew the final binding seam by hand. I have made myself a genuine Imitation Quilt. And I'm in love!


Unfortunately Sweet Pea is also in love. The entire time I was making it she kept poking it and telling me "Sweet Pea Quilt." I would tell her in a sing-song voice "No, this one's for Mommy." And she would sing-song back to me "No, Sweet Pea."


Looks like I'd better make her gingham quilt soon.

I still managed to sneak in some face time with my quilt the other day.


I'd like to thank whoever is in charge of the weather for dropping the temperature enough for me to lie outside and enjoy my quilt.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Lovin'

So last week I was driving home after dropping the children off at school. I was in my jammies, no bra, unbrushed hair, and no shoes. I know. Could I get any sexier? In my defense...well...actually I have no defense. There is no rational explanation for why I couldn't take five minutes to make myself presentable. I've just been really tired lately.

Anyways, I was driving down the road looking at all the identical tan plastic trash bins lined along the road. I was thinking to myself how cluttered they make the tiny roadways look, and how much I hated trash day. I had a brief fling last summer with running, and I hated running on trash day. The street just smelled so bad from the rubbish rotting in their HOA approved containers. That's when I took to running alongside the canal. It was peaceful, and beautiful, and there was no smelly garbage. Perfect. Until the day I was a mile from anywhere and I met two feral dogs. I stopped running after that. But this is all neither here nor there. The part relevant to the story is I was driving along looking at all the trash by the road.

I only saw it because I was looking at the trash. Any other day I would have driven right by it without a glance. Between two trash bins was a small pile of dirty faded boxes. I wouldn't have given them a second thought, but taped to the boxes was a hand-lettered sign featuring the two most beautiful word in the English language:


"Did you see that?!!!!!!" I asked The Greatest (who was riding in the car with me, fully clothed and wearing shoes. to this day I'm not sure why he didn't just take the kids to school and leave lazy jammied me at home) (and yes, I do speak in that many exclamation points!!!!!)

He had not seen the sign. I explained to him that there was a sign that said "free hammock." I pulled into our driveway and promptly pulled back out facing the direction from which I had just come. I was headed for that free hammock.

Now The Greatest does not understand trash day. I once found a coffee table I wanted on the side of the road on bulk trash day, and he insisted we knock on the door and ask the people who lived there if we could take the coffee table. They helped us load it into our car, happy to be free of the huge rectangle monstrosity. A couple of cans of black spray paint and we've got a fantastic coffee table in our family room. It is ginormous and perfect. But it still did not convert him to the joy of trash treasures.

As I pulled up to the dusty pile The Greatest did his best to discourage me. The boxes were faded and dirty and looked like they had gotten soaked and dried out several times. The only thing suggesting this pile was anything other than absolute garbage was the sign. And the only thing suggesting this unassuming pile was a hammock was also the sign. The Greatest told me I didn't need a hammock that badly.

But I did, I really did.

Growing up my Aunt had a hammock in her back yard. It was down at the base of a hill, under a huge shady tree. It was the perfect place to lay and read books. The fondest desire of my tiny childhood heart was to have a hammock of my very own, so I could lie in it and read books whenever I wanted to. The Greatest has a knack for fulfilling all my childhood dreams. He's tall, dark, and handsome. We live in a place where it is warm all the time and I can lie in the sun like a lizard and just soak up the heat down to my very bones. I've got a houseful of children. We have a pool. He planted me an orange tree. And now I was determined he was going to bring another dream to fruition and get me that hammock.

After all, he was the one wearing shoes.

He knows me. He knows when to just give it up and do what I want. So reluctantly he got out of the car. He stared of the dusty pile, not wanting to touch it, because touching it would surely get him dirty as well.

"I don't think its any good" He protested.

"Just put it in the car! Even if it is rusted and ruined we can fix the frame up and paint it, and having a hammock frame is one step closer to having a hammock."

Rolling his eyes, but indulging in my whims, he tried to pick up the boxes, but they were to awkward in shape for him to manage on his own.

So I got out of the car to help him, on the hot asphalt, barefoot. I really wanted that hammock.

The boxes smelled bad.

Like garbage.

Maybe this was a mistake.

I HATE it when The Greatest is right. I was starting to suspect he had not picked up the boxes because he loved me so much he can't deny me anything I want, and because he finds my crazy determination endearing. No. I was starting to suspect he had picked up the boxes because he wanted to tell me HIS favorite words in the English language:

"I told you so."

Sometimes he really isn't The Greatest.

Together we manhandled the boxes into the back of our SUV. I drove home grateful that The Greatest had to go to work later that morning, and figured I could deal with the rubbish while he was gone. If it turned out to be ruined beyond repair, or worse yet, not in fact a hammock but instead just a random pile of garbage that we had stolen and put in the back of our car, I didn't want him around. If things went south, I was lucky ,I could have the stuff back on the curb in front of our house, and quietly picked up by the garbage truck before he came home. He would never have to know how this all played out if it ended badly.

To my surprise, the moment we pulled into the garage, The Greatest hopped out of the car and started to unload the boxes (which I'd like to point out, he did by himself, no barefoot wife in the streets required). He was going to find out right away what we were dealing with.

We cautiously opened the first box. Cautious on my side because it looked like it might be a haven for bugs and spider. The cardboard had indeed gotten wet and warped and dried. It was oddly stiff and plumes of dust came up as we opened the top. We peered inside to discover


Still wrapped in bubble wrap!

To quote Meaty "Booooo-yahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!"


We eagerly assembled the hammock using the pictures that accompanied the direction that were, of course, in Spanish (which neither of us speak). Then we spent the rest of the morning lying in it. When the children came home from school we took turns lying in it and reading together.


So this Friday morning, I'm loving my hammock. I've got a reasonably clean house, and a brand new book to read. It's going to be a perfect day.

What are you loving?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Baby Cuteness

Oh, HI!

Did you know I knit?

And that this is a knitting blog?

Yup, it really is.

You wouldn't know it from looking at my side bar. From the look of it I haven't knit a thing all year. But I have, I really have. My needles are constantly clicking.

And to prove it, I've got some knitting to show you.

Nearly everyone I know is pregnant. The few who aren't? Well, I'm expecting announcements any day now. In theory, this is hard. I would like another baby. I can see where another baby would fit into our family. I've begun, as Mothers often do, to romanticise the quiet early morning feedings, and forget how tiring they are. I've covered my memories of newborn babies in a gauzy haze that camouflages the fact that I was covered in bodily fluids for weeks. All the bad, exhausting, stinky baby stuff is hidden, and nothing is seen but the sweet baby face. I could have another, or two. But The Greatest is done. And I can see his point. I'm just not sure I'm done.

But with all these pregnancies, I've got the perfect excuse to continue one of my favorite kinds of knitting: Baby Knitting.

A Dear Friend of mine recently gave birth to her fourth child, a baby girl.

I knit her a hat


(Ribbons from Itty-Bitty Hats)

and another hat


(my knock-off version of the flour sack hat from Baby Beanies: Happy Hats to Knit for Little Heads)

and some baby overalls


(Pepita, free pattern from Ravelry, modified to be newborn size)

You can't see, but the overalls have built in feet. It makes my ovaries hurt from the cuteness. And you can tell my friend is a very dear friend. Those overalls were knit on size 0 needle! Only true love knits on size 0 needles for other people's babies.

So yeah, I knit.

And while all these pregnancies should be hard on me emotionally, I'd like another baby but won't have any more. It should be sad, but they're not. I found visiting my friend and her newborn baby enlightening. It was fun to hold the baby, and then hand her back to her Mother. It is fun to sleep through the night. It is fun to hand the children over to their Grandparents for overnighters, something I can't do with small nursing children. Sweet Pea is almost done with diapers and I'm dreaming of a grown up purse again.

Maybe I'm done too.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easter Rundown

Easter has come and gone and we've all survived to tell the tale.

The Easter Bunny was feeling extra bouncy this year and hid the Easter Baskets really high.


(yes, I know the picture is unbearably dark, but it was early in the morning. whatcha gonna do?) (and we had house guests, most of that stuff up there was not for my children)

But Sweet Pea had a plan


(yes I know the picture is unbearably blurry, but it was early in the morning. whatcha gonna do?)

Rats! They stretched and stretched, but they were still not tall enough.


Meaty tried to scale the wall using only the door hinges and the sheer force of his will to have chocolate.


Yeah...that didn't work either.

Daddy to the rescue! A tall chair and a taller Daddy and the baskets were ready for consumption.

Have you ever seen such happy children?





We had ham and potato salad and crescent rolls and deviled eggs and the requisite Easter Egg hunt.





The Greatest and I got our picture taken


(yup, I wore bunny ears on Easter, they're not just for Halloween anymore!)

And we might have even posed for a family picture.


The children have eaten their candy, and the leftovers have been all consumed. Easter has come and gone with nary a trace to show that it was even here. Except perhaps for the large bowl of chocolate I found hidden in my closet, safe from hungry children.

The Easter Bunny was good to me too this year!