Monday, November 16, 2015

Knitter Problems

I might have a problem.

Admitting it is always the first step right?

I have several commission pieces to knit.  I have a Knitpicks pattern to test knit.  I have Christmas with the annual creation of hand knit presents breathing down my neck.

And did I work on any of them this weekend?

Of course not.

Instead I spent two days knitting another Star shower.

I couldn't help myself.  I was just so in love with my blue/green version.

Let us take a moment to relive its majesty.

It's so pretty how could I not want another one.

And I got to thinking.  I'm currently nurturing another obsession.


I am a child of the 90's.  How could I not rejoice over the return of plaid?

And I didn't realize until I took this picture, but apprently  my obsession skews towards red plaid.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing...

Anyways, you know what would be PERFECT to wear with all my red plaid?

A grey Star shower cowl of course.

It still needs blocked and then I can add it to my large pile of items that need the ends woven in.  But I did it.

I knit it.

I created it.

And now that I've got that out of my system I can return to my commissions and test knitting and Christmas creating.  Right?

Only I'm super in love with my Stepmommy's sweater and I really need to make one for myself in red.  Need one!  Like last week need one!  I could wear it over my red plaid with my grey cowl.  I'd look fantastic! I've got time to sneak this project in right?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

I'm cold

Here in the desert we basically have two seasons.

One is hot.  And I don't mean pleasant warm your cold winter bones summer heat.  I mean freaking depths of hell hot.  You know that blast of heat when you open the oven.  That dry hot air that just hits you in the face and makes your eyes water?  That is what the air feels like for months at a time.  Too hot to go outside.  Too hot to touch metal anything on the playground.  Driving with oven mitts because the steering wheel is too hot to touch hot.

When we're in the endless days of summer, when day after day after day is over 100 degrees.  When it "cools down" to 91 over night.  When you're sweating it out in the endless heat you don't think its ever going to end.  You forget that life isn't always this hot.

And then it is cold.

Freaking cold.

Joints ache cold.  Can't get out of bed cold.  Miserable shivering cold.

Which might feel worth it if it snowed.  But in a cruel twist of fate it is never cold enough to snow cold.

And I am aware that what I consider cold like the freaking depths of cold dark space cold is really a mildly chilly day in other parts of the country, but I have lived here for almost a decade.  My blood is thin.  Too thin to be of any use.  My body no longer knows how to function in a normal four season environment.  It does as little as possible to stay cool during the nine month summer, and then for the three cold months it doesn't even know what to do.  I've forgotten how to function like a normal human being.

Usually there is a week or two of glorious beautiful weather between the "it's too hot to open the windows" and the "it's too cold to open the windows."  But not this year.  This year it was hot, and then it wasn't.

Which means I can finally wear all the awesome knits I've knit.

Let the angels rejoice and sing songs of praise!

I've started small today.

Just a little cowl.

Pattern:  Star Shower Cowl

Yarn:  I'm not postitive, but I think this was 1 skein of Socks That Rock heavyweight.  I can't be sure.  One of the helpful things The Queen Bean did for me was to remove all the tags off the yarn in my yarn cabinet one day when I was lying on the couch with a migraine.  I'm so lucky to have such a helpful little girl who kept herself quietly occupied while I prayed for death.

Needles:  The pattern called for a size 6, but I found the fabric to be too dense for my taste so I went up to a size 8.

Modifications:  I'm pretty sure the only change I made was the needle size thing.  I don't think I adjusted the pattern to make up for the change in gauge.  But I can't be sure.  I really need to start keeping better notes.  I may have omitted some rows at the end because I ran out of yarn, but I don't remember exactly what I changed.  I am the WORST blogger ever.


I was pretty "meh" about this cowl after I knit it.

The shape is off.

It isn't an exact circle or rectangle.  It is a weird hexagon shapey thing.

I wasn't feeling it.

I wasn't feeling the weird hexagon shapey thing.

So I added the cowl to my stack of scarves in my closet and moved on with life.  It was too hot to wear a scarf anyways.

But this morning I was cold.  I didn't want to take off my comfy warm bathrobe to put on real clothes.  But my daughter's boyfriend is coming over this afternoon to watch a movie, so real clothes must be worn.

I put on my weird hexagon shapey thingie cowl and discovered something amazing.


That weird hexagon shapey thingie means there is lots of drapey fabric in the front but not too much in the back.  There is enough cowl on the back of your neck to keep you warm, but not so much that you feel like you are being strangled.

It is glorious.

Plus looks at all that knitted textured goodness.

I'm a sucker for some photogenic knitted texture.

I also really enjoy how the variegated yarn played nicely with this pattern.  You never know how variegated yarn is going to behave.  It can flash and pool in the most terrifying of ways.  But not on my cowl.  It is all blendy blue and green beauty.

My cowl was the perfect way to ease into the cold season.

In an added bonus, the cold also means I can start dressing The Queen Bean in all those tiny tiny baby sweaters I was so addicted to knitting over the summer.  Pictures coming soon.  If I can get her to hold still long enough to take them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


When The Greatest asked me to knit him a sweater it took me five different attempts, two different yarns, and 10 years to complete it.

When my Dad asked me to knit him a sweater, well, it's been nine years and that sweater is still sitting in The Abyss.

When my Stepmommy asked me to knit her a purple sweater, with or without rust stains,

Three months later I have a finished sweater.  I just need to block it and weave in the ends.

Take from this what you will.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Its A Blocking Party

For someone who doesn't consider themselves to be a knitter...

I sure have been doing a lot of knitting.

Future finished objects to come.

Or not.

We'll have to see.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Magical Things Happening Here

On Wed, August 5th, something very sad happened.

The children returned to school.

Can you believe they're in 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 10th grade?

I was really sad to see them go.  So very sad.  It meant the end of summer.  The end of lazy mornings.  School means schedules, and homework, and science projects, and book reports with dioramas and costumes.  School means work, for them and me, and I wasn't ready to let go of summer yet.  I wasn't ready to give up popsicles, and wet towels everywhere, and days spent in jammies.  Summer was too short this year.

I was sad.

Until 10:00 am.

Something magical happened at 10:00 am.

At 10:00 am the Queen Bean went down for her nap, and The Greatest and I hit the pool.

No bickering, no screaming, no getting splashed in the face.

Just floating.

I think I actually might have died for a few minutes and this is what heaven looks like.

Then on Thursday we took the Bean to her therapies and ran ALL.THE.ERRANDS.  Which is decidedly less heavenly, but we got to sneak in a quick lunch.

And going out to lunch is one of my favorite things to do.  It really is.  I love food.  And I especially love food I didn't have to cook.  I love waiters who make food appear like magic, and bring me unlimited cups of Diet Coke, and make the dirty dishes disappear like magic.  I love going out to lunch.  And the Queen was being especially cute at lunch that day.  So YAY!

Then on Friday when I asked The Greatest what his plans for the day were he said "You know, we can either stay here and relax, maybe go swimming" using a tone of voice that implied that this was not how he wanted to spend the day "OR" he went on "we can go on an adventure, I have a little place I want to take you to lunch."

You had me at lunch.

So we went on our mini-adventure.

We drove through the most beautiful scenery.  The Greatest pulled over three different times so I could take pictures.

I was a little mad at The Greatest for not suggesting I bring my good camera.  There was so much I wanted to capture but couldn't with my phone.  I think I've let the Bean play with drop it one too many times.  I don't get half my texts and my camera pictures can be iffy.

We had lunch at this great little hole in the wall Mexican restaurant.  I loves me some greasy tacos.  We walked around the cutest town which was full of antique/thrifty stores that I love and The Greatest hates.  We went into every single one.

For the record, the picture was his idea.

And we found the perfect thingie to hang in that bare spot in our stairwell.

See.  Perfect!

And in the midst of all the floating and lunching and adventureing I managed to get a spot of knitting done.

I think I love having the children back at school.

How soon can the Queen start pre-school?

Tuesday, August 04, 2015


My shelf with my wips is getting a little out of control.

Apparently I REALLY like pink project bags.  

Who knew?

My purple yarn is officially in a time out.

It needs to learn to knit nicely.  I've got a plan for it.  I'm feeling fairly confident about the new course of action.  It is a combination of all my previous techniques.  But I haven't tried it out yet.  I've been a little distracted.

I keep thinking about that ginormous shawl and obsessing over what yarn to use to knit it.

I love the idea of a bold striking yarn color.  A real statement of a shawl.  Most of my sweaters are neutral colors.  But my shawls?  I love to play with big color in my shawls.  And this big shawl begs to be a big color.

But that alpaca yarn.

It calls to me.

It wants to be a big elegant quasi blanket.   It keeps tempting me with this mental image of myself and the Queen wrapped up together in my ginormous alpaca shawl gazing at the Christmas tree.  

I can see it.

I want it.

But I'm not gonna lie, that alpaca yarn was EXPENSIVE.  Do I really want to use it to knit a shawl I will apparently use once a year to snuggle while gazing at the Christmas tree?  Or do I want to use it on a cardigan that I will wear every day all winter in place of a coat?

I was pondering it outloud with The Greatest when I voiced the question "How often do I really wear my shawls?"

He laughed and pointed out "You're wearing one right now."

I looked down to discover that I was.  And I'd been wearing it off and on all weekend.

I immediately cast on for a ginormous alpaca shawl.

And I can't.stop.knitting!

This yarn is like knitting a baby bunny.  I'm going to have a gigantic wearable snuggly cuddly baby bunny quasi-blanket to snuggle under with the Queen Bean as we gaze at the Christmas Tree.

I can't wait.

If you don't hear from me for a while its because I'm knitting my baby bunny yarn.

Sunday, August 02, 2015


I love social media.

That should come as no surprise to anyone.

I'm a blogger.  How could I not love social media?  I blog.  I Facebook.  I Instagram so much my teenage daughter's friends make comments about how much I instagram (seriously, if you don't follow me on Instagram, you totally should).  I don't Tweet, because I fear that if I figured out Twitter I would have to give up cooking for the children entirely to make time for all my witty tweets.

My favorite thing about Facebook is catching up with my friends from college.  We were all so bold and wild and we thought we were invincible and we would be young and beautiful forever.  It cracks me up and makes me happy to see how "grown up" we all are now.  I love seeing their families.  I love seeing how the crazy guy who was always down for a beer bong is now the most loving family man.  I love seeing how my old sorority sisters have become these amazing strong women, with these amazing lives, some are wives, some are mothers, all are happy.  I love seeing how happy everyone's life has turned out to be.

Including mine.

And I know it must crack them up that the girl who was addicted to body glitter, and dancing, and swimming in the school pool at 2 am (which may or may not have been closed at the time and may or may not have been accessed through tunnels under the school), is still with that guy she married after only knowing him for four months, and that crazy girl now has five kids.

Crazy pants right?

One of my old college roommates is my favorite person on Facebook.  We only lived together for one semester but it was so much fun.  I loved her so.  She was so confident and so creative and so sure of herself.  We lost touch as people tend to do.  But thanks to the genius of Mark Zuckerwhateverhisnameis we reconnected on Facebook.

Her feed is full of inspirations quotes, and happy stories, and information about Down syndrome.  It is always uplifting.  When I was pregnant with Lily I sent her a message thanking her for all the information on Down syndrome that she posted.  It turned out she has a young son with Down syndrome.  She was the only person I could talk to at the time who gave me hope.  I will always be so very grateful to her for that.

The other day she posted this picture

When I read it I thought about Motherhood.  I've been  telling  sobbing at The Greatest that I feel like I'm drowning lately. I love my little motley crew.  I love being their Mom.  It is the greatest privilege.  The Greatest and I sacrifice a lot so I can stay home with them, to make being their Mom my full time job, my favorite job.  This quote took my breath away.  I needed to take a moment to remember that I love Motherhood.  This is my dream.  Admittedly, my dream contained a lot less being spit on (The Queen really does not like her new medicine) but this is my dream.

I'm treading water right now.

But I love to swim.

It turns out this also applies to my knitting.

Once I let go of the sense of obligation, downsized to a knitter, I was able to feel the fun.

My Stepmom asked me to knit her a purple cardigan.  She said the rust stains were optional.  We ordered some gorgeous variegated purple yarn from Knit Picks, and I love knitting it.  Granted I forgot how variegated yarn can pool.

I did not love this.

So I tried alternating skeins every row.

And now it's flashing.

So I tried alternating every two row.

This looks more like the first try, but with more depth of color in the pooling.

So I tried a different needle size

I haven't found a solution but I'm not done trying.

I also have some socks on the needles.

I started these during my big fancy overnighter with The Greatest.  These were cast on at sunrise in a suite on the top floor of the hotel gazing out at the gorgeous view of the city while The Greatest slept in the bed beside me.  I can knit them, or not, as the mood strikes me.

Then I was poking around on Ravelry and I found this shawl.


The pattern is in the latest issue of Interweave Knits.  I immediately downloaded it.  I just need yarn.  This is a big shawl knit with big yarn.  So I was thinking I would just grab some Red Heart.  It isn't the most fun to work with but if you condition it and throw it in the washer it comes out snuggly soft.  I was thinking I would like to make this in a deep red/wine shade, but the more I look at this yarn in my stash

The more I think it would make the most gorgeous ginormous cuddly snuggly alpaca shawl.  But do I need a gorgeous ginormous cuddly snuggly alpaca shawl or do I need a deep red/wine but less luxury (an infinitely more washable) shawl?

Either way I'm gonna knit that shawl!


And I MUST knit them now!

Because I love to swim.

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Change of Seasons

I used to be a Knitter with a capital K.

I knit all the time.


I was never more than a few feet from my knitting.

I started as a knitter, small k.

I knit a baby blanket.  I knit a few scarves.  But I didn't always have to knit.  I didn't even always have a project on my needles.

Heck, sometimes I didn't even know where my needles were.

But somewhere along the line a switch was flipped.

I know exactly when too.

Meaty was a baby, a sweet tiny baby.  And I stumbled upon a book of baby knits at the library.  I became obsessed with knitting every item in that book.  I think all the babies in the neighborhood got a baby sweater for Christmas that year.  I made (possibly illegal) photocopies of my favorite patterns from that book that I may or may not (if they are in fact illegal) still have.  I knit and knit and knit and never looked back.

I was a Knitter.

And I loved it.  I knit all the things.  I wanted to knit everything in every size.  I wanted to try all the techniques, and learn all the cast ons and bind offs and how many different ways can you knit a sock.  I loved learning and growing and creating.

It brought such joy and accomplishment to my life.

But now, I'm a knitter.

I can go a week without knitting.  I feel it in my stress level, I need to knit.  I need that stress relief.  But trying to dedicate time to knit only adds stress to my life.  It doesn't relieve stress.  Thinking about how I want to knit but I'm too busy, or too tired adds stress.  Thinking I should knit because it is what I do doesn't add a positive value to my life.  It is becoming a negative.

Knitting is something I have to loosen my grasp on.

Not let go.

I don't want to stop knitting.

But I need to let go of being a Knitter.

I am a knitter.

I might finish a project this month.

Or I might not.

I've got a lot going on.  And I need knitting to go from something I feel obligated to do to something I want to do if I can, or not if I'm too busy.

I am a knitter.

And that is alright for now.

Seasons change and in a new season I will be a KNITTER once again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More Sock P*rn

And the mermaid socks...

I wasn't kidding when I said I NEVER knit colorwork for myself.  These socks were never meant for me, but my StepMommy reads the blog..a few misleading statements aren't outright lies right?

Don't you love how daintily she poses?  First we point the right foot...

And then the left.

I love these whimsical socks.

And since I've been asked to knit a pair for Pork Chop, Bird, and a girl from my knitting group this will not be the last time you see this pattern on my blog.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bigger on the Inside

So speaking of strange things I do that my family has seen me do so many times they now consider it to be perfectly normal...

We can add forcing them to model sock pictures to the list.

I told my Dad and Stepmommy that I needed pictures of their socks and they sighed "Time to make some sock p*rn" as they dutifully put on their socks.

I am super sad to announce that the Tardis socks fit perfectly.

I used this pattern available as a free pattern download from Ravelry.

Sometimes color work can be less stretchy than straight knit stitch, so I really liked that this particular pattern increased the stitch count for the color work portions to help alleviate that problem.  It also hid the decreases in the corners of the "boxes" which I thought was fairly clever.

The socks were knit with Knit Picks Stroll sock yarn.

Which is always fun to knit with.

As you can see it says "Police Box" not "Police BCX"

So this is an all around win.

Except for the part where I selflessly gave these beautiful Tardis socks to my Dad.  I'm actually a little surprised he was able to get the socks on the plane to return home, there was quite a list of people plotting to steal them out from under him (Pork Chop, Bird, Me, Half my knitting group)

And then to keep my humble my Dad made me take a picture of the sole of his sock

In my defense we'd had company for a week and we'd been too busy swimming and eating and having fun to bother with things like vacuuming the tile floors.

He's just making sure I keep things real around here.

In an unrelated note, I've started a second blog, which is simply insanity, I can barely keep up with this one.  But I've been thinking about this for a long time, and after some strong urging from The Greatest I've finally taken the plunge.  I considered dovetailing the subject matter of my second blog with this blog, but ultimately decided to separate the two.  This blog will continue to be the wonderful mess of knitting and family it has always been, and Life with Lily will be more specifically tales of Lily, Down syndrome, advocacy.  If you enjoy it feel free to share.  The more people who read and love Lily the more we can change hearts and minds about Down syndrome.   I know I'm taking a risk putting so much of my heart and child on line. The internet, and world in general, is full of ugly people, but I think the risk is worth the potential benefits.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Amature Yarn P*RN

Every once in a while you find yourself busy photographing your yarn, and your family is just running around, not batting an eye, like taking still life pictures of string is a perfectly normal activity and you wonder if it is time to rethink your life choices.

Then you remember YARN.

And you feel pretty pleased with your decision making skills.

Because...NEW YARN!

My Dad and Stepmommy were in town and they accidentally took me to a yarn store.  

They made the mistake of leaving me alone unsupervised.

Not to be outdone The Greatest bought me this.

It was a good day.

In an unrelated note, I don't think I've picked up my big camera in a year or so.  Not since I switched over to cellphone/instagram pictures.  I've forgotten how to use it.  

It is sad.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Second Chances

Five or six months ago I learned that there are teeny tiny circular needles designed to be used to knit socks.

I love circular needles.  I love knitting in the round.  I love knitting in the round on circular needles.  And someone has created a way to knit socks in the round on circular needles.


I ordered a pair in every sock needle size I use.

I NEEDED circular sock needles.

And then they arrived.

Full of anticipation, I immediately cast on for a pair of sock and happily knit away.

Sadly, as is often the case in life, the reality did not live up to the expectation.  They were awkward.  They made my hands hurt from the odd way I had to hold the teeny short needles. They put random pressure on my nails and broke them. They were not fun to knit with.

I wanted so badly to love them.  I tried so hard to knit with them.  But in the end I had to face the truth.

I hated them.

Knitting needle preference is a very personal thing.  And I prefer to use magic loop to knit my socks.

I feel no shame.

I also prefer to use circular needles when I knit stranded color work.

Again.  No shame.

So when I knit the Tardis socks I was at odds with myself.

They were socks, so I wanted to use my fabulous bamboo needles to knit magic loop style.  But the police box was color work.  I wanted to use circular needles.

What's a girl to do?

As a compromise I cast on with my long bamboo needles and switch to the small circs for just the color work portions of the sock.  Then back to bamboo for the remainder of the sock.

And I discovered I LOVE knitting color work socks on circular needles.  I loved it so much I had to knit another pair of color work socks.

Round and round and round and round.

Something about using the two strands of yarn changes my grip and makes the needles more comfortable to use.  They still break my nails...

But when your socks look this awesome who cares?

I'm so in love with this mermaid sock.

And I kinda love the way the yarn striped up to give the octopus...

A very dashing mustache.

Once you see it, it can never be unseen.