Thursday, January 31, 2013

And the Hits Keep Coming

Can you believe it?

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Another finished object!

Now you might want to sit down so you don't fall over from the shock of what I am about to say.

This one is blocked and everything!  Ends are even woven in.  This baby is FINISHED!

I'll wait for my well deserved standing ovation.

Thank you, thank you all so very much.

Pattern: Diving In (rav link, is there any other kind?)

Yarn:  Gala Yarn, Mixed Fibers, 1 skein cream, 2 skeins black-multi

Needles:  size 6 Addi Turbos

Modifications:  No modifications.  Just blindly following the pattern.

Review:  Look at all that lovely squish garter stitch.

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I needed this pattern.  All those mindless rows of nothing but lovely, lovely knit stitch.  No thought, no measuring, no shaping, no row counting, just knitting knitting knitting.  I needed all the calming soothing knitting.

This pattern is more of a recipe than an actual pattern.  I had to guess about when to switch from plain white to stripes to plain black.  I think the proportions turned out alright.  I knit what I thought a third of the top of the shawl should be, then I knit the same amount in stripes, then I knit straight black until I ran out of yarn.

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Look at that super cute picot bind off.  I love it so much, but oh my goodness did it eat the yarn.  I bound off, ran out of yarn, unraveled two rows, bound off, ran out of yarn, unravelled three more rows, bound off, ran out of yarn four inches from the end of the row, gave up and finished the bind off in some plain black knit picks yarn.  I think it worked out for the best.

I knotted the "wing" ends of the shawl.

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I thought it just adds a cute textural touch.

Did you see I knit it with Gala Yarn?  3 skeins of Big Lots yarn.  This is my new $3.00 shawl.  I'm loving cheap knitting!  Again this yarn is a big mystery fiber.  The cream color yarn had a cotton/silk blend feel to it.  The black was straight up acrylic.  But a very soft acrylic.  This was a colorway that I was hoping to get more of when I went on my Big Lots yarn raid.  But alas, there was nary a skein to be found.

Suck monkey.

I was very excited to wear my new shawl.  But there was a flaw in the plan.  When I choose my yarn for this shawl I just picked two highly constrasting yarns from my stash.  What is a bigger contrast than black and cream?  I failed to realize a very important detail.  In knitting a black/cream striped shawl I had created a ZEBRA SHAWL.  And by creating a zebra striped shawl I forfeited all rights and claim of ownership of said shawl to Sweet Pea.

Because it is Zebra.

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And all the zebras are belonging to her.

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Seriously.  This girl loves zebras.  She owns a furry zebra blanket, and the matching throw pillows, and zebra leggings, and a zebra dress, and a sequin zebra fedora, and a zebra box to keep her special things in, and a zebra pillow pet, and a zebra dream lite, and a zebra beanie baby, and a zebra finger puppet, and no less than three stuffed zebras.

And now she owns a hand knit zebra shawl.

Good-bye zebra shawl.  I'll miss you.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My First FO of the Year

I have felt very alone.  In a way I am.  I did have my baby as my constant companion.  He was supposed to be there for the next eight months.  But he is gone, and it is a very empty feeling.

But I am not alone.  I have been the recipient of so much love.  My family, my friends, strangers who read my blog, they have all cared.  I am grateful for every kind word said to me, every hug real and virtual, every prayer offered on my behalf.  It all means so much to me.  Thank You.

The Greatest has been my rock.  He really is the greatest.  The man never ever takes time off work.  It doesn't matter how sick he is, how terrible he feels, he squares his shoulders back and soldiers on.  I don't think I've ever known him to take a sick day.  He didn't even take time off work when Sweet Pea was born (simmer down, before you get out the pitch forks, there were circumstances, and I supported him in foregoing his paternity leave at that time).  His work ethic is above reproach.

He's taken time off work to be with me through this.

He took over the cooking, and the cleaning, and the childcare, and the sitting beside me on the couch while I cried so I didn't feel alone.  He insisted I do nothing but sit and rest.  So while I sat I knit these.  My first FO of the new year.

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Pattern:  Vanilla Latte Socks, (Rav link)

Yarn:  Gala Yarns, Mixed Fibers, 2 skeins

Needles:  Size 2 dpns

Modifications:  None, but I should have changed the toe.

Review:  So far I love these socks.  I love them so much.

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These socks were just what I needed to knit.  I was sad.  Oh so sad.  I couldn't concentrate on anything.  I watched hours of TV but could not tell you what I watched.  Plot twists, character development, dialogue, it held no interest for me, but the noise kept me company.  I can't sit on the couch and just be still.  But the sweater I had been knitting was beyond my ability at that time.  Enter socks stage left.  I can knit a pair of plain socks in my sleep.  These socks were one step up from "plain vanilla socks."  The garter rib added visual and knitting interest without being too taxing on my overwhelmed brain.

It was a very well written pattern with several size (I knit the smallest size) and options for the heel and toe to choose from.  I liked that.  I followed the pattern exactly as written without any modifications.  I wish I hadn't done that.  Right before I kitchnered the toe the pattern had me reduce the stitch count from 20 to 16 by binding off the first stitch on each end of the needle.  I wish I hadn't done that.  I ended up with a hole in the toe on each foot.  I've never had a hole in my toe before.

Oh the shame.

Oh the horror.

Oh the humanity.  

Actually the hole doesn't bother me that much.  I just won't be doing that technique again.  Live and learn I guess.

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Let's talk about this yarn.  It is so soft and smooshy.  These socks are very cushy on my feet as I walk around on my tile floor.  The yarn is called "Mixed Fiber" and precisely which fibers have been mixed to make this yarn is unknown.  It feels like there is a very high acrylic content.  I would even say there is a 99% possibly 100% acrylic content.  The label is suspiciously silent as to the actual fiber content.  In fact the label gave very little information about anything.  The weight was there, but it lacked yardage, or needle information or fiber content.  Important things for a knitter to know.  Ordinarily I would not buy such mysterious yarn.  If they are hiding their yardage what else are they hiding?  But I bought this yarn for $1 a skein.  At Big Lots.  These socks were $2.00.  


We only bought a few skeins that first day.  I wasn't sure if I would even like the yarn.  Turns out I am in love with this yarn.  We returned five days later to purchase some more.  The yarn sections was a crime scene.  It looked like a bloody massacre had occurred there.  Color ways were completely sold out.  All that remained on the shelf was some neon green fun fur and a few abused looking skeins with no labels that were coming unraveled.  I guess I'm not the only one who is in love with $1 yarn at Big Lots.

In my blood lust for more cheap yarn I made The Greatest drive me to another Big Lots location where we were able to pick up 20 more skeins of yarn.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Life Goes On

Most days I feel like this.

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And that is alright for now.  It is alright for me to be sad.

I'm trying to feel happy in the little moments, so I took some pictures of things that make me happy.

  • Every morning The Greatest brings me home 44 ounces of heaven.

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And 32 ounces of root beer to keep Sweet Pea quiet.  Her silence is also a gift for me.

  • My dogs locked in an eternal struggle.

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They stood like that for ten minutes, just growling and standing there.

  • Ever the gentleman, boy dog gave up and went to cuddle my baby while girl dog was distracted by her victory.

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  • I love my current knitting project.

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All the squishy easy garter stitch.

I also love my purple nail polish, but I don't love how chipped and ugly it is.

  • So I painted my nails.

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And now I love my dark nailpolish.

  • I love my new spindle.

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Seriously, how gorgeous is this thing!  It is ridiculously pretty.  And did you see that roving?  It is softer than a bunny.  I wanna lie naked on it.  You can buy either at Spin A Good Yarn .  I don't see them listed on her website, but contact her, she has them.  She's another seller I know personally, and she is amazing.  Everything she touches is gold.

I will confess I have no idea what I'm doing with a drop spindle.

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But I'm pretty sure whatever this is, it isn't yarn.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Death of a Dream

Last year was a really hard year for our family.  Things happened, crazy things happened.  Things that were completely out of our control.  But these things, these crazy thing, threatened every aspect of our lives as we knew them.  Our employment, our financial security, our house, our ability to provide for our children were all threatened.  They were threatened and the people making the decisions, the decisions that affected our entire life, the people making the decisions were not us.  We had no control over our lives or what happened to us.  We could only prepare to deal with the consequences.

For months we lived on the edge of a knife blade.  We waited for a strong wind to come and blow our lives one direction or another.  All we could do was wait.  And pray.  And hope.  And plan for every contingency.

It was hard.

So very  hard.

Through it all The Greatest and I clung to each other.  When I was sad he would remind me that no matter what happened, no matter how things turned out, we had all the important things, and that would never change.

And he was right.

I had my Husband.  I had my four beautiful, clever, funny, exasperating children.

I had all I would ever need.

We could live anywhere.  We could work any job.  We could do anything, as long as we were together.

It was going to be alright.

And in the end it was alright.

I still had all the important things.

And in December we had the great joy of discovering that we were expecting a baby.  One more baby.  A final baby.  The missing piece of our family.

We couldn't have been happier.

Cookies, cake, chocolate, they all made me feel queasy.  I craved chicken wings and tacos and spicy food.  I loathe Doritos, and Ranch Dressing.  But these foods had been transformed into manna from heaven.  Nothing in the history of ever has tasted as good as ranch dressing tasted.  The family was convinced I was carrying a boy.

Meaty would bring me comic books to read for his brother.  He constantly reminded me to "think boy thoughts."  I gently suggested to him that it could still be a girl.  He was confident "oh it won't be a girl" he told me in a voice that sounded vaguely threatening.  I hoped for the baby's sake that it was a boy.

Sweet Pea was ecstatic to learn she was going to be a big sister.  She took her new role in life very seriously.  She decided she was everyone's big sister and she set about taking care of her older sisters and brother.  She spend one night sleeping on the floor of my sick Pork Chops' room, bringing her water and waking me to give Pork Chop her next dose of cough syrup when she felt Pork Chop needed another dose.  She was going to be a very good big sister.

Bird mothered me to death.  She encouraged me to "sit and rest for the baby."  She walked behind me reminding me not to fall.  She asked me things like "Are you sure you can drive with the baby?"  and "What does the baby want to eat today."

Pork Chop had recently developed a fascination with babies.  They're so small and cute.  What's not to love about babies?  I don't think any 12 year old girl has ever been happier to hear we were going to have a baby of our very own.  I was fairly certain our baby would always be held.  Either by me or Pork Chop or Bird or heaven forbid Sweet Pea, with Meaty declaring priority over his sisters if this was a boy.

We were all so excited and happy.  It felt like we had been lacking joyous news for so long, we reveled in this long forgotten feeling.

Until we weren't.

Until we went for a check up and discovered our baby had died.

Until we had to have surgery to remove the remains of what should have been our beautiful baby.

I had the next year planned in my mind.  The sweet end of morning sickness.  The summer with my big belly, lounging by the pool, wearing sundresses.  The fall, hoping I wouldn't miss Sweet Pea's first day of school because I was in the hospital having a baby.  Looking forward to those first days of school alone to prepare for the baby, or if the baby came early, bonding with the baby. Baby's first Halloween.  Baby's first Thanksgiving, so much to be thankful for this year.  Christmas with a chubby four month old sitting on my lap cooing and waving a piece of wrapping paper.

But one scan with an ultrasound machine and my dream was washed away.  My baby, so real I could almost hold him, was never to exist.

I keep telling myself I still have all the important things.  I have my Husband, and those four sweet/infuriating children.  I have all I need.

But that isn't exactly true anymore.  It will never be true again.

I've lost my dream.  He may never be as real to anyone as he was to me and The Greatest.  But he was real.  He was my baby.  He was loved.  And he is mourned.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Happy New Year

So I decided that for the new year I wanted to be a person who does laundry.

I loathe laundry.

But I'm really tired of not having clean clothes to wear.  And alas, since I am not famous, people do not just give me new clothes.  And as I am not wealthy I can not afford to simply buy new clothes when my old ones are dirty.  I'm afraid that if I want to wear clean clothes the only recourse available to me is to actually wash my clothes when they are dirty.  Being a grown up is so over-rated.

I've been thinking that if I did laundry more than once a month (not counting the occasional load of desperation underwear) it might not be a such a horrible horrible job.

As it was my only real resolution for the new year, become a person who does laundry, I felt like this was an achievable goal.

Cause I like to keeps it real, I'm not gonna lie.  I haven't done a significant amount of laundry since early November.

True Story.

No judging.

I had a pile of laundry the size of a mid-size sedan.  It didn't help that last week boy dog decided he really really really loves Pork Chop.  He manifested his love for her by sneaking upstairs (where he knows he is not allowed to go) and peeing on her bed in a gesture of undying affection, and creepy ownership.  I hope her future suitors manifest their undying affection in more socially acceptable ways.   In addition to clothes I had a lot of dirty sheets and blankets.

Lacking a substantial laundry room, the dirty laundry was piled in the upstairs hallway.

In front of my bedroom door.

Laundry the size of a Honda Civic.

I'm sure I devised that plan in a past (failed) attempt at becoming a person who does laundry.  I must have thought that if the laundry was highly visible and in my way I would do something about it.

Turns out I am just lazy enough that I will walk right over the dirty jeans and go to bed with a clear conscience.

But not this year!

This year I sat and sorted ever single piece of laundry into the appropriate pile.  I sprayed every stained t-shirt, every soiled sock.  Darks, lights, towels, hand knits, they were all placed in organized piles for future trips to the washing machine.

I lugged the first load of laundry (whites, the most dreaded of all loads, why do I insist on buying everyone white socks, all that matching, oh the humanity) down the stairs to the washing machine.

In goes the bleach, the blueing, the homemade laundry detergent, and finally the whites!

I was well on my way to becoming a Person Who Does Laundry!

And then I heard it.

A whining, squealing sound.

A sound my washing machine has never made before.

This can not bode well for my plans to become a person who does laundry.

I washed nine loads of laundry that day.  And while my washing machine continues to loudly protest the work load, it has not quit.  Here's hoping I can eek another year out of that machine.  Especially since The Greatest lost a crown from his tooth that needs replaced as soon as monetarily possible and as of this morning the car is shuddering and refusing to accelerate.


Looks like 2013 is going to be more of the same.