Sunday, December 31, 2006

End of 2006, Hello 2007!

New Year's Resolutions, New Year's Resolutions, New Year's Resolutions... Surely a girl who has so much to fix in her life has some New Year's Resolutions. Lose ten pounds - good one. I'll list that. Body clutter is always a good thing to get rid of, and you're healthier when you're done. I don't even care if losing weight as a resolution is a cliche, because cliches are true statements made many, many times. (I should weigh negative 30 right now, I guess) I'll declutter the house a bit, too, and maybe - no, definately I'll put in a new deck on the house. Excellent. I'll try to get out of the insular community I live in more often. Very much a good one - makes for a well-rounded character. Oh, crafting stuff? No problem. Losing some stash, working on UFO's, making a gift a month. All set on having stuff to post on knitting, peoples.

Ever notice how selfish New Year's Resolutions are? I mean, people are bound to be getting knitted stuff from me, but losing some stash saves me some money. So, let's see... don't be selfish, Carrie. I am going to try to be a better person. Change your actions, the thinking will follow. There are so many wonderful things in my life. For me, here's how to let go of bad things and feel good: Appreciate! I'm totally in love with and lucky to have my kids and husband, my mom who is always there for me, the supportive friends I've found in the last few years. The planet and life around us are friggin miracles, and I love noticing that. I love the cycle of family, how my kids are doing what I used to do, and so I know they will appreciate things as they grow, like I have. I was showing my daughter the moon and stars the other night (while thinking about how some other race is watching us ruin this place), and my daughter said, "Mom? It's getting cold. I think it's time to go inside now." That sounds like when we were kids, my brothers and I, and my mom would take us for Sunday drives to see nature. We'd say, "Mom? That's another tree. We've seen them." Eh, my kids will appreciate the miracle of the galaxy as they grow older and less Id-ish. Maybe that's the key to letting go of negativity for me. Maybe I need to be less me-centered, let my Id go. Refocus and appreciate. That's my theme for 2007. I knew if I stream-of-conscious typed enough, I'd get there. Thanks for playing with me!

I had a wonderful time at my grandmother's the last few days, and got to see my nine-month-old neices. Twins, and beautiful little girls to boot. Plus, they liked me on sight, so they're clever little lambs, too - good judges of character. HeeHee! You want to see something really cool? There's a busy baby belly video, on this nice knitting lady's site. Really, this video is astonishing! She'll birth this little girl soon, and we can see her move in person!

Happy New Year's, all. If I'm lucky, we'll stay home tonight and goof around with just us family. But there may be a party we'll go to, and that will be fun, too. See ya in 2007!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

From a kid's view

I am always handing my camera to my kids and seeing what they'll snap. Hey, I'll hand my camera to strangers' kids. I've had to replace two cameras, but lemme tell ya, they just love when someone gives them a big responsibility like that. My very best payoff from it, though, was when my daughter took a picture of the dining room table, and you could see the underside. It suddenly struck me that this is what the world looks like to them. My two-year-old will come up to give me a hug, and her head is right at my bum level. Poor kid! That's what a hug means to her, and she loves me so much, she keeps on doing it! Anyway, I thought it was really interesting, the perspective they look through. Can you imagine how scary I must be if I yell at them, or just yell because I stubbed my toe (again)? I keep this very, very in mind when I'm feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes I give myself a time-out, not them. It's just as useful, really, if all they're doing is being kids, and someone needs to calm down. Yup, that would be me. (Oh, and I jinxed myself. Silly me, I was just thinking yesterday that Blogger hadn't given me a hard time in quite awhile. Now it won't let me upload the kid perspective picture)

I spent the first four years of my daughters' lives wishing I could find that danged mom manual. I knew there must be one out there, and I was sick of people telling me that every child was different. Now I'm feeling pretty confident, right before the teen years! They really are different, but I think there could still be a manual. Of course, I haven't been out meandering the book stores, so maybe there is. At this point, shopping means searching, so I guess I'll go there.

I got many nice comments on my FakeIsle hat, so I will gift it to my daughters' Girl Scout troop leader. She doesn't get many thanks from me, because I'm usually struggling with a hungry two-year-old when I pick the kids up, but I sure do appreciate the independence she tries to teach my children. We're pretty sure that if they were starving, and their sandwich fell to the floor, it would be touch-and-go if they'd live. I also started the Hermione hat, as part of the third blog-along for 2007 that I've joined. This blog-along is from Spinnerella, and I was planning to do it anyway. Get a teeny start on those Xmas gifts for next year! Knit from your stash, work on Xmas gifts, finish UFO's. Can you tell I'm trying to get organized? I want to be one of those moms I have been envying, but so far I haven't been able to put my makeup on consistently in the morning... that's overrated, right? =-P

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Four down, One to go!

Last Christmas party today - hooray! As a kid, holidays used to just wear me out. My parents divorced, and we lived a long way from extended family, so there was much traveling and too many Christmas parties! Can you imagine a kid being tired of opening gifts and going to parties!? Well, that was me. It's easier now that I'm an adult. After New Year's, it is nice and calm until my daughter's birthday in February and my friend's baby coming in March. A whole month of calm! Imagine it! Something is bound to come up... that's just our karma in action over here.

I have a new lurker from that game of games, World of Warcraft. Too much fun, peoples. It actually took me away from Sims, and I refuse to get a PlayStation because there just isn't time for so much gaming and still pretending to have a real life. Hi, Lauri!!! My sweetie and I decided we'd game together, since kids preclude us from going out to the movies. =) The one time we snuck off to see a movie, after 45 minutes of driving chillen to the babysitter (in-laws), it turned out that we saw Rollerball. I know, you're crying in sympathy for me. The other time we got away, a year later, we ended up seeing The Mummy. So now you're probably getting an idea of why we pay thirty bucks a month to stay in.

That's it! More news, but nobody will let me sit here and type. It looks too much like I'm working, and I'm sure these small people are bugging me because they want me to have fun.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Well, it just goes to show you...

... you can't know what your yarn is going to look like. I thought the skein I bought was beautiful, and yes, I still loudly proclaim its softy goodness. I finished the FakeIsle hat that I was saving for the 2007 UFO knitting, because once you start this pattern, it's really hard to stop. Each round is so engaging. I made the smallest size, while my friend Arleta made the larger. I do believe, thanks to the tricky, misrepresenting yarn, that my hat is significantly larger than hers. I say 'my' hat with only the proprietary sense of - I don't know whom I'm giving it to yet. Who has a larger head than mine? That's the household question going on. The yarn colors ended up being darker, less contrasting with my deep green that I was using for the contrasting yarn, so the knitted pattern isn't as clear as I would like. It's a very pretty hat, I know, but oddly disappointing as I watched the colors come off the skein. Yet I kept knitting, because I knew it was still going to be pretty, if not what I had imagined at the beginning. Some people rip, but not I. It is, after all, just a hat.

I have finished my Christmas knitting, and I have a weird feeling of incompleteness. I know it's because I'm so used to the energy and stress that last-minute knitting requires. Surely something has been forgotten! This year has been wierd, since I finished my shopping so early, then my knitting four days before Christmas. I do believe I've lost some of the magic the holiday normally gives. Next year I'll have to procrastinate to get things back to normal. Today I'll wrap presents and try to keep the kids spirits up. They're sick, and will be missing our third Christmas party today. And I have no oven yet, so no, I can't bake treats to distract them. Perhaps some fudge will do the trick.

To the neighbors, we delivered cookie mixes which my kids put together and decorated with fabric and a Christmas card label. This is something we have done for four years in a row, not necessarily mixes, but cookies or homemade candy. (See above for why it was a mix this year) It's funny, because the neighbors are still completely floored when we come over with the gift. HeeHee. They'll get used to us some day. It's the sort of neighborhood where no one brought us cookies when we moved in, and I had to actually stalk them by peeking out the window at all hours until I found them outside, then I quick grabbed the baby and went for a walk so I could meet them. I used to live in the country, and the neighbors were always great friends, lots of visiting. Then we moved to a suburb in Minnesota, and the stalking began. People just weren't that interested in meeting their neighbors. Then we moved here, back to the country, and I'm sorry to say the isolated feeling has followed us. I know it's a crazy world, but it seems we should fight that by meeting our neighbors, not pretending they don't exist. You! Reading this! This summer take a book outside and look open to conversation. (Unless you live in a dangerous place) I'm really nervous about all the badness in the world, but the people I meet are generally very good. That helps me fight the Go-live-on-a-mountain mood watching the news puts me in. I've met some great people in the blogging community, so that's been a really fun avenue for me. Good job, peoples! Thanks for being nice knitters!

There. That's my theme for 2006, and 2007, too, because it's a good theme. Put goodness into the world! It needs it, it can only help, and hey, it feels good, too. And seriously, the people who aren't pleasant to be around? They're definitely hurting themselves. Don't let them hurt you, also. Ignore them, feel sorry for them, pray for them if you can. That actually helps me not feel so angry or hoping for a dark street and no witnesses. See? I'm a dichotomy. I get angry. It's not easy for me to follow my own advice, but I'm working on living it, because it's the right thing to do. And it's working. Very slowly, I admit, but it is working.

Happy Holidays, all, and may you find much goodness in the world, and help bring peace to others. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Coupla Chilly Characters

These fellows were my Christmas presents to two of my blogging friends, Arleta and Cindy. I happened to see one as I was walking by our little yarn shop, and I had to pop in and ask about it. Apparently, it is the most sought-after pattern from Hershnerr's. Anyway, from first sighting, I knew I wanted to make one of these fellows. It was not complex at all, so another got made! Yay for Christmas gifts! My daughters were quite sad to see them go, though, so I shall have to make another before the snowy season is over. And I hate to admit it, but thanks to global warming, snowy season hasn't gotten a proper hold on us yet, so we don't have any real snowmen going on.

I did indeed cast on my projects last night. The Trekking XXL sock yarn got put on two circular needles, the FakeIsle hat was set on a # 6 circular, and my friend's daughter's mitten got put on #4 double pointeds. I have no serious affiliation with any type of needles. I like all that I have tried. If they have a sharp point, they're my friend. Having no discerning tastes regarding needles makes me happy, so please don't try to persuade me to one camp or another in the comments. Bopping from click to click either allows no one to sneer at me, or everyone is sneering at me. Don't know and don't care = happy! My husband suggested that casting on projects wasn't exactly in the spirit of the whole UFO knitting, but clearly he doesn't understand my fear of failure. Just off the top of my head, this gives me six projects now to knit on, that I know of. I shall have to dig through the stash at some point, and I'll likely find some acrylic mess from the 80's. Should be fun!

The FakeIsle hat is much further along now. The yarn is so buttery soft and nice to work with that I can't seem to put it down. I'll have to soon, though. Christmas parties at school!

UFO Challenge 2007

Kat with a K had a great idea, that works so well with my knit-from-the-stash joining from Wendyknits. Work on one UFO (unfinished object) each month in 2007 - and more than just a token row or two. Or if you hate a UFO, frog it. That counts too. Great idea, ay? Think of all of the guilt I'll be getting rid of! I signed up. I also bought three skeins of yarn today, but it was a new yarn shop, and I've been wanting to try the Trekking XXL yarn, just to see what all the fuss was about, and I needed blue for a friend's child's mittens, and I needed the variegated for the FakeIsle hat.... phew! I feel so much better now that I've confessed. I'm going to cast them all on tonight so that I can use them for UFOs! HeeHee. This is going to be easy....and fun.

Oh, and I bought these cute little bamboo needles, size 1 U.S., because I thought they'd be fun for socks. Budget, Carrie, budget... does anyone have a dictionary? Well, I'm pretty sure no one was getting me needles for Christmas, so if you could all just join me in the "I Wish Me a Merry Christmas" song, I'd appreciate it... or hum a few bars. I'm not picky.

More pics tomorrow, hopefully of casting on!!!

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Weird Meme...

This is a meme about what is weird about you (actually, me), but I was really pleased to be asked to do it. I've been watching it move around the Internet, and I really feel a part of the group now =) Do you people know how long I've been waiting to be a part of a group??? Sorry... ahem.... Anyway, this is definitely a weird one for me, because one way I have always fought off trying to feel odd or out of place, is to tell myself that I'm very ordinary, as normal as everyone else, and underneath, we all worry about the same things. So I had to come up with six weird things about me, and I thought I wouldn't be able to do it. After all, I'm perfectly normal! But rolling this one around in my head, it's funny how stuff has started to come up, as I'm doing the dishes or whatever. For instance, it occurs to me:

I started dating my ex-, because I felt sorry for him, because no one liked him. Oh, and me? HELLO! What was it about this that you didn't figure out???

I make sure that there is a little piece of the sticker price attached to a gift, in case the person wants to know where to return it. That way they don't have to say, "How cool! Where did you get it?" I see through that every time.

I always tell people something the opposite about myself, I think to see if they will tell me it's not true or at least get to know me well enough to not believe me. Is that crazy stupid or what??

Eating Doritos with chocolate chips, or Milk Duds with popcorn is absolutely divine...

My mom is my best friend, and most people think that's weird. I think it's awesome. Who knows me better? Of course, she feels completely at ease to pick on me about embarrassing stuff, but I think that's true with any best friend, right? Right??

I didn't see the point of blogging at first. Let me do that one again. I didn't see the point. Like 56 million people doing it didn't suggest to me that it's fun?? It's a blast. Love it. I'm loving all the people I'm connecting with, and getting to share in the special things that happen in their lives. It's so awesome.

Oh, and a seventh thing, because I didn't want to delete any of the above. When my babies were small, I once didn't leave the house for a whole week, not even to get the mail. That was so weird, when I next stepped outside and saw the sun...

See? I came up with seven things, when I didn't think I could come up with any. What if there's more stuff that's weird about me? Yikes! I'm going to go deep breathe, and pass this on to seven more people, since I came up with seven weird things. They have to list the six (or so) weird things about themselves, and pass it on again to another six (or so). My seven are Kat with a K, Issues with Knitting, AmpuTeeHee, Stranded on Fair Isle, Jeanne Knits, Black Dog Knits, and Mortal Clock. I've sent them e-mails, so they know it's coming. They're supposed to do the same to their victims - errr, friends, I mean...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Knit From Your Stash (?)

Wendyknits has decided, with her friend, to knit only from her stash in 2007. Since we here have run up against a wall called, "We can't possibly make our bills without hitting our credit card," I think it's a good idea to do the same. I'm not sure if I have enough stash to knit for an entire year, but it will be interesting to see how far I get. Their rules are as follows, and if you decide to do the same, you can change the rules for yourself. Here they are:

Knit From Your Stash 2007: Guidelines for L-B and Wendy
1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through September 30, 2007 -- a period of nine months.
2. We will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:
2.a. Sock yarn does not count. What? You think we are made of stone?
2.b. If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that we really and truly do not have the yarn for, we may buy yarn to knit that gift.
2.c. If we are knitting something and run out of yarn, we may purchase enough to complete the project.
2.d. We each get one "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- we are each allowed to fall off the wagon one time.
3. We are allowed to receive gifts of yarn.
4. Spinning fiber of any sort is exempt.

I'm glad that sock yarn doesn't count. I've got enough for several pairs, but not enough for the whole year. Has anyone seen Trek Casts On and her sock count? I think that's awesome. So far, she has knit up 24 pairs for 2006. What does she do with them??? She must have the best-clad feet ever.

For Teacher's Gifts this year, I have decided to donate to the Yarn Harlot's cause, Doctors Without Borders, for each teacher. My oldest daughter approved, and she takes the teachers' request of No Gifts, Please very seriously. I think it's a wonderful cause, and whenever Stephanie writes about it, I get teary. I won't start on all of the hurt in the world, but gee, can't we do better? Anyway, it's a great organization, and if you know anyone who has everything, consider giving a gift like this. I think it's a feel-good for everyone.

I'm getting close to the end on my Christmas knitting. I think I'll finish right around, oh, the 25th or so....

Friday, December 15, 2006

My first Christmas gift!

My computer is making a little clicking noise, over and over. It's like a little person is in here, trying to tap their way out. Or my computer is trying to get my attention. What with all the money flyin out the window for Christmas, and the bank charging me thirty bucks every time I make a little mistake, I'm really hoping that there's a little person in there. Come on, sweet little silver laptop, give birth or something...

I told myself I am not doing holiday stress this year. I finished my shopping first thing, planned on just playing with the kids this month and making memories, you know? But there was the Christmas program at school, helping out at church, family party to travel to this weekend... well, I'm just not wrapping fast enough. Just remembered I have to ship gifts to Florida for the nephews. Think they'll make it? Ya think? Well, I haven't wrapped them yet, either, so that should slow me down some.

Got a terrific gift from my friend, Arleta, though! It's a felted soap, very soft for my dry, dry hands, and a beautiful entrelac dishcloth! She put in one red square for me, because I like red. It makes my heart go all warm and a smile spread across my face. I may not get the Christmas cards sent, but I've done something right this year. Yay for friends! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now I've written to all of you that I need to get on top of the wrapping, and I'm maybe just motivated enough to do it. You guys keep posting, though, cuz I'm getting short on time...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Diversionary Knitting

Well, I've reached the point in my Christmas knitting where I can no longer knit in front of people. But I want to knit something, so I've incorporated the idea of diversionary knitting. I know I'm not the first knitter to have thought of this - not even close - but I'm still pleased I came up with the idea. For reading with the kids, sitting watching CSI: Miami, meeting with my friends at church, I'm starting a pair of cotton socks. I don't need them, but I bought these cute little size 1, purple double-pointeds, and it seems like a very good idea. Otherwise, I'm sitting there holding my hands, and they say, "What? No knitting?" Sure, I think. There's lots of knitting going on, but none that you can see. Actually, there's so much knitting going on that I don't have time to sit and talk. Thanks for making me think of it. Instead I will get out my sock and say, "How do you like this foot thingie I'm knitting?" Diversionary... no one will ever suspect the frantic racing that goes on 'til midnight, with only 14 days left before the big day. I can't wait to see them open their gifts and say, "When did you do this? How do you find the time?" HaHa! Waving around a little sock will surely blind them to all of the bags of half finished projects laying in corners around the house. Pardon me while I gloat.

I did finish the wristlets, and managed to learn something in the process! (Yay, me!) I carried the yarn much further up the wristlet when I changed colors, and had less than half the threads to weave in when I was done. I sucked it up, though, and wove the ends in first thing, or I'd have been doing it in the car on the way to the Christmas party. Just hate weaving in those ends... I still need to block these, though. Other than that, I finished an appliqued pillow as a gift to my quilt group, but of course I wrapped it before I took a picture. Rats. It was very pretty, too.

Tonight - drama club! We have to move to another room midway through the class, and we've got a game where, with no words, the kids have to "pick up" and act the emotion of the next person entering the room. And as that emotion is traveling through the room, the next child will enter with the next emotion, which will hopefully again travel through the room without words. (Beginning to see why I like this game now? HeeHee) Some of the kids are incredibly animated during playtime, and stiff as wood when they're saying their lines. 16 more practices 'til the play... plenty of time, right?

And now I need to go wave my needles around, while using the Jedi force: "You are only seeing socks. Nothing for Christmas is being knitted."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

One down...

... and much end-weaving to go! I like the pattern, but I know that I will like it a lot better once the ends are woven and the wristlet is blocked. It went quickly, because there are only 41 stitches in a round, but I had to pay absolute attention to it. So no reading and knitting at the same time! Which is an art I perfected when I was 13, and I can hardly knit or read now without the other activity. Which is good for Christmas gift completion, because I love to read.

Here's another picture of my punk rocker, so I guess she's not too old after all! HeeHee. I didn't even know this picture was on my camera, so I missed a kid moment. Who knows where I was? Cuteness goes on without me cataloging it. I'm just glad that the camera fairy was there to record the moment.

And, yes, it's messy behind her. There are candy orders from Girl Scouts that I keep forgetting to deliver. I'm thinking now that I'll just pay for them myself and have candy on hand for the holidays! HeeHee. If everyone else is as busy as we are in this house, no one will notice a lost candy order.... mwahahaaa.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Well, whoops.

Well, this looks all right, doesn't it? Except that I don't usually knit two things at once. I'm sure some people do, but this is my first time. *blush* The problem is that I started changing the colors from what the pattern wanted, using what I had. That's why it was okay to make for a $10 gift, you know? But of course my charcoal grey and dark green were absolutely indistinguishable from each other. Also, my light color was Wool-Ease, and everything else was Galway 100% wool. The two yarns had a different feel, so I'm off to the yarn shoppe to buy two skeins of wool. HeeHee. That would, of course, put me over the ten dollar limit, but I don't think anyone down there reads this blog, so how will they know? Besides, I won't use all of the skeins, so I can make a hat for Rabbitch with the extra.

I went out to dinner with the husband last night for his company Christmas party and - hooray for me! - I only had one glass of wine, much coffee, and a glass of port with dessert. (That was very good) You know what this means? I don't have to be embarrassed the morning after the company Christmas party!!!! Yay!!!! Let's not even consider how many years I haven't been able to say this, but I think I've finally learned. Now maybe I'll get a new nickname, and will eventually stop being referred to as "that fun girl." Ho Ho. Ho.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Some Christmas knitting I can show you!

If only I had my digital camera. Left it at my mom's yesterday, when she was letting me use her oven to make Christmas cookies. (Thanks, Mom!) But I will be knitting these for my daughter's cousin. She drew her name for Christmas, and the gift has to cost less than $10. This gives knitters serious options =) My daughter will help knit on them, of course, but she really hates to purl, so I'm doing the ribbing.

The Christmas party is in one week, so I'm sure you all won't be bored as you watch these beautiful wrist warmers fly off of my needles. Since I can't post a pic right now, imagine me, knitting like a fiend, and the grey wool flying...

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Should I be frightened of the future? Heehee. Apparently, she's been watching too much Nick at Night, or something. Now, she's never been the traditional kid, playing with baby dolls or reading a lot. She much preferred drawing pictures and building things, so - an artistic type. Once, she told me she felt like a boy in a girl's body. I think we all feel like that a little bit. At least, I do. It's a big irksome irritant to me that if any dialogue needs to happen with workmen, it's better that my husband handles it. He's busy. He works all day at a job with a 45-minute drive. He does the kind of work that his bosses look at and say, "Could you go faster?" (Computer programming, folks, and there's no way to pretend that you worked that day.) Yet if I want something to get done the way I want it, I have to engage his help. Why are men more respected in business matters than women? I have literally had workmen answer my questions while looking at my husband. It stinks. I feel just as capable of explaining what I'd like or questioning what they're doing as he does. So, if that's the case, then yes, sometimes I too feel like a boy trapped in a girl's body.

I was driving with my oldest daughter one day, and I said, "In my next life, I'd like to be a workman, a mechanic, a builder, something. I'd like to know what's going on when things go wrong or break." She looked at me and said, "Mom, there's still time." .... ouch. She's right. Knowledge is power. Frustration is limiting and makes me head for the Ativan. Learning how to fix the dryer, or at least know what questions to ask, would help. If only there weren't these obvious telltale signs that I am not a man, I am sure I'd get much more information from the mechanic. There. That's my grump for the day. It must have been lurking there, or why would the cute picture of my punk rocker kid (with a Playschool toy, for goodness sake! HeeHee) have brought it on? Sorry.

In knitting news (you knew there would be some), I finished another Irish Hiking Scarf for the knitalong. I started a third, and I don't know when I'm going to get tired of this pattern. The cables pull it up into such a warm scarf! I love it, love it, love it. I think it's going to be THE gift scarf for 2006, at least from this house. I need to fringe this one, since it's for a female, and then I'm on to my dad's, in a forest green. This blue scarf was knitted from Caron, blueberry colorway, no dye lot (gotta love that). The yarn is shiny and soft, yet feels really warm. Better yet, it's washable! The girls used one of my sweet, fuzzy-yarned scarves last year on a snowman, and it ended up outside all winter. No, it wasn't ever the same. I've been knitting with really good yarn for awhile now, but now machine washables are beginning to make their case with me. Must be that I'm giving them as gifts.

Oh, and hey, this kid won an art contest today by drawing the 2nd place Christmas card! Huzzah! See? Artistic. Like I said.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The scarf went on and on...

And got too long! I was knitting a little scarf for a little something I'm making for the holidays, and it was supposed to be 21 inches of seed stitch. Now, from my heel of my hand to the tip of my longest finger is six inches, which is my measuring device when I'm knitting and can't find (again) a ruler. So I've been eyeballing it with my hand and knitting on while I'm reading blogs. It's kind of irritating knitting, k1, p1, and so I'm fine with just picking it up here and there. So my daughter (she's 2) came up to me and said, "That's MY ladder to Heaven! Mine!" Huh? Could she have listened to "Stairway to Heaven" or something? Now that I have little ones, it's Nickelodeon all the time around here. Plus, though her 2-year-oldness explains why she would claim it as hers, why would she want it? Oh, because it's mine. Forgot that for a second there. My stuff is interesting to them, therefore it must become theirs. Okay, I decided to stand up and measure it, see where I'm at. 24 inches! Apparently my hand, from base to longest finger, is 7 inches. I'm going to have to rethink some assumptions I've made in the know, like how far down I knit a sock before I turn the heel. What were you thinking? Anyway, while the 2-yr-old princess is saying, "Gimmee MY ladder to Heaven! Gimmee MY..." (well, you get it, I'm sure) I'm casting off, and I hand it to her. What does she do? Wraps it around her head so we can play Where's Baby? HeeHee. Don't you just love when kids think, since they can't see you, you can't see them? Life provides one constant set of chuckles though my day with moments like these. Look. See? She's smiling in this picture. She's happy. I'm not denying her sight, folks, she thought of it on her own. Give me credit. I didn't let her climb on the chair like she wanted to. And that's Blue's Clues behind her, so I'm likely scarring her in other ways. *shudder*

Is that a crochet hook?

I caught my reflection in a mirror last night. I had a tiny little crochet hook behind my ear, my hair was styled, I was still wearing black from the drama class. I was moving around during a break from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart when I saw me, and I had to smile. I have been a stay-at-home mom for 9 years, and the last baby is big enough now that I'm starting to look around me, and I'm realizing, "I am so uninformed." Politics? What the hey is going on? Oh, a lot of people hate America? The last time I checked in, we were loved. I read on-line business articles now, I try to catch the news when there are no small people around to scar with it, and yet, here I walk with a tiny little crochet needle behind my ear. I like the dichotomy of me. There are so many ways to dismiss people that we run into. First impressions give us a gut reaction, that we have to change once we actually start communicating. You may meet someone on the street who is overweight, slovenly, unkempt (please say hi to me). Forced to stand next to them, you make chitchat and realize they're nice people, with stress about the mortgage, or they're looking for an errant kid, or maybe they're embittered, opinionated haters. Either way, you now know something you didn't know a few minutes before about them. In the reverse, if I were to have dinner with Angelina Jolie some night, I would hope that I could leave my preconceptions at the door, also. Even though I've loved her acting since before she was famous, and I love the work she does for charity, and she has a husband that I believe would be hard to hold onto, I know that she wouldn't want me to come to the dinner with all of those opinions. I would try to shut them off and concentrate on talking to the real person sitting across from me.

So if you see someone like me, in her husband's sweatshirt, hair pulled back in a wrap, struggling with a kid screaming, "I don't want to!", please keep in mind I've probably had a bad day, and my kid has likely decided the car seat is for babies and she isn't going into it. But if you think, "Oh, my gosh, get that kid under control," don't worry. I won't judge you. I've done it myself. I am a work-in-progress, a lady teaching young kids about confidence, trying to figure out how badly we as Americans have offended the world, with a crochet hook behind my ear. It's there to help me pick up the stitches that I drop, which are many. But I'm working on it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I stole this..

But I'm sharing it with you. Does that make it okay? Heehee. I found this on a blog today, and I just had to share it. I thought it was really beautiful, and I need more reminders of how precious life is. I take too much for granted.

"Each second is precious. It could be the second that you see your first perfect circle rainbow (I saw one in a plane… it was cool.), the second you see a baby born or the second you cure cancer. It might be the second that you truly become aware and wake up to the world around you. It could be the second that you recapture your childhood wonder or save a life or taste the perfect cup of coffee. These perfect jewels of possibility called “seconds” are showered upon us to the point that we stop even noticing them and look further and further into the future toward a more perfect satisfaction. Unlike real jewels though, they are only collected if they are used. Of course all seconds are used. We are always doing something. It’s what we fill the seconds with that gives them their value.Time is precious because it has the potential to be filled with wonder, love, peace, fulfillment and any number of other amazing things. What’s even cooler is that we get to decide what to put in it. Wow."

Wow, indeed.

Santa, may I have a toaster oven?

Saturday we had my in-laws over to do Christmas-y things. As you know, we made ornaments, had homemade soup with noodles my kids helped make, and decorated gingerbread houses. It was all very nice. When things went awry was perhaps when I decided I'd like biscuits with my soup. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it was then. I heated the oven, whipped up some biscuits with lots of butter in them (Mmmm, layers upon layers in my biscuits), and stuck them in the oven. Then I went to read to my youngest. An undetermined amount of time later (no, I don't know how long), I realized I had put biscuits in the oven. I dumped the kid unceremoniously on the floor and ran for the kitchen. My biscuits were hard little things, not burned to a crisp, but I needed more. After all, you don't serve hard little biscuits to the in-laws, do you? So I whipped up some more, as they chuckled about timers and croutons, and I turned to put them in the oven. The oven that was set to 425 degrees. That's important. As I opened the door, the inner glass of my 6-month-old, very-out-of-my-budget oven shattered and made a huge amount of noise in doing so. Ahhhhh! <--- that's what I did. I have no idea why it shattered, but we ate the hard biscuits/croutons.

Now I have to try to get a new oven from the manufacturer, which likely won't happen before Christmas. I mean, let's be real. It's hard to even find the right person to talk to. It should all work out okay, but in the meantime, we're back to stovetop cooking. I did that for several months during the first part of this year, as I saved and pinched for my new, wonderful convection oven. The convection went out the first month. My oven doesn't like me. I haven't poisoned anyone that I know of, and I try to make healthy meals, so I don't think it's any oven karma coming to get me. I do, however, feel that this time I will get a toaster oven while I wait for a new oven. The kids get really tired of Hamburger Helper and hamburgers and pasta and microwaved chicken, and all things that can be cooked in a crockpot.

So cross your fingers for me! At least I had witnesses that I was baking, and not deliberately sabotaging my oven so I could get a new one, since the convection went out. I'm not saying anyone would accuse me, because I'm sure human nature will be in my favor. Yeah, that's right. I'm sure of it. It was my suspicious mother-in-law who thought I might need witnesses....

Monday, December 04, 2006

Thank God Knitting Helps Me Think

I love how knitting gives you time to think. I'm sitting today with my daughter, and it's just too crazy snowing outside to go anywhere before I have to. I can't say I'm doing nothing, because I'm knitting, which is allowing me time to think like crazy. I started off thinking about how my step-mother will like this scarf. That got me to thinking about my step-brother, whose daughter I nearly forgot for Christmas last year. We don't see them much. Then I realized - yikes! - he had a second daughter this last summer. (Well, no, his wife did. Don't get excited) This would have been a huge error, to forget the new baby! Even if we don't see them much, it's not excusable. So, see? Knitting has saved me from a very nasty family situation, where I'm trying to wrest a toy away from my youngest to give to the new baby. I'm intimated before how well she shares.

I need to go into town early today, because I'm not sure how I'm going to get home from the school, what with all the snow, but I really don't want to wonder how I'm going to get there. If I have the kids with me, hey, the world is my oyster. My worst situational fear is they're stuck there without their mummy, who is trying to shovel the car out of the snow, with a screaming kid inside, adding to the pressure. If I've got all of them with me, and it's not smart to go anywhere, we've got options. I'm not above pulling up a piece of floor and sleeping at a friend's house, at church or even at the school itself. Just don't put my kids somewhere and me somewhere else, and then create a problem with us getting together. My husband and I have agreed, even though we love each other so damned much it's scary, that if we ever did separate, we'd have to live up- and downstairs from each other. The custody battle over the kids would be too ferocious to contemplate.

Yeah, I think about all kinds of things when I've been knitting. Some day a really good book idea is going to come upon me. Or maybe I could write a situational book of things Carrie would do if she were forced to be separated from her kids? It could be about a SAHM (stay at home mom) who climbs Everrest, commandoes into school, shinnies up a neighbor's tv pole, all in the interest of retrieving the little brood she's birthed. Eh, I'm working on it. =) Keep warm and safe! (No oven story. I can't face it yet. Soon.)

We made more stuff!

It was a nice and busy weekend. We made Christmas ornaments with the in-laws, and the girls made some gingerbread houses. There was a house of candy and a house of frosting. I have a girl who only likes frosting. The sugaryness of it makes me long for coffee, but I'm glad she's happy. The candy house was beautiful, too, and they were happy girls. That's totally worth the ten bucks at Wal-Mart for the houses.

I need to fix the date on the camera still. Life can't be that busy, can it? Oh, and I needed a break from Christmas knitting, so I swatted out a pair of mittens this weekend. It has gotten so very cold here, so quickly. It was 22 degrees yesterday, and who knows what with the wind chill? So mittens called out to me. It's back to being good now, though, and knitting for Christmas again. I picked up some cute size one needles the other day, though - purple! - so socks may be cast on soon. Technically, I can't think of anyone that needs hand-knitted socks right now, but I read that the YarnHarlot has made hundreds of pairs of socks, and that frees up my guiltiness over knitting something without a recipient in mind.

I'll blog later, with pictures, over the insane thing my oven did, but you'll have to wait for it. It's snowy, and I have to get small people to a learning center soon.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Domestic Arts

No, I'm not talking about knitting. The picture is very blurry - sorry about that - but does anyone know what this is?

No? Here's another hint:

The kids were home from school today, and we made homemade noodles (!!!). To go with the homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, because it really does make a difference. I can't wait to serve this tomorrow. Gotta make soup the day before if you can, so the flavors can meld together. Mmmmm, soupy goodness. (And why does my camera say Nov. 30? I could speculate, but who wants to look at me making a mistake? I don't...)

Since we were home, unable to go out because of the inches and inches of snow delivered on us today, we also made apple pie. I'd show you a picture of that, too, but it was so warm, and the weather was so cold - all that I could really show would be some crumbs. But it was good. Mmmmm.

A food blog? Maybe! But I also got tired of Christmas knitting for a bit, and knitted up one mitten. I'll show a picture when it's a pair. This first mitten was very, very slow, because my daughter thought it needed to be longer, so I knit 6 more rows before the decrease. Then it was too long (of course), so I went back four rows. She tried it on - too short. Okay. Ripped again and knit in two more rows, so I'm now only two shorter than when it was too long, but I guess now it's good. Anyway, it had better be, cuz that mitten is done. The second one should go faster!

So tomorrow I'm having the in-laws over, and we're going to make Christmas ornaments with the kids. Doesn't this sound nice? It does... and it's because I finished my Christmas shopping, friends! Yes, I'm hoping for a more relaxing December this year, with only Christmas knitting left, and gift certificates for those I don't get finished knitting for. Here's hoping I can get life back on track enough to enjoy December, instead of last year, when I spent a large part of the month glaring at my husband, who, after all, only had to show up for the gift opening. This year I explained better my need for help, then went and got all the shopping done early. HeeHee. So here's hoping I get to enjoy the eggnog.


Hey, you bloggers and lurkers! Here's a fellow, college student, trying to do a report on, of all the cool things, the Internet and blogland! So jump to his site, acephelous, and check him out. Then link to it in your blog if you have one, and hit the box that says "Ping"! This will help him track the progress of the traveling meme, which this is, and he can do a report on it. And, as I understand it, results will be discussed at the 2006 Meet the Bloggers panel, which is pretty neat, even if I don't know where the panel info will be posted... Anyhoo, give it a go, will you? Help a fellow human out. Pass some goodness along. I'll post in a bit about the cool snowed-in stuff we do... Well, I think it's cool!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Here is my daughter listening to Banana Phone on my computer. See her? She's sitting on her MagnaDoodle, lest anyone try to use it while she's doing something else. At two, kids get so possessive! With really hard work, you can teach them to share, but it doesn't come naturally. Of course not! I remember being a kid, and my mom making me share some plastic baby bottles I had. It was a set of eight, with a little holder to put them in. A little girl came to visit, and my mom told me to give her a couple. Umm... no? Fine. If I didn't share them, she could have them all. Well, let me tell ya. I looked at that little carousel of baby bottles, and I thought, "But they're mine. And they're a set. And they won't be this very awesome set if I give a couple away." Well, I thought something very like that. I clearly remember the feeling. So the little girl went away with a carousel of eight baby bottles, and I stood on my moral ground.

Now, that's not how I grew up, of course. I'd share anything but my husband now. If people have less than me, gee, just say so, and I'm all over the sharing. Our house has been a landing place for displaced family members for years, until finally everyone else realized we'd run out of spare bedrooms. I liked it. The bigger the family commune, the better. But I think it all started when I was about two.... heh. So I suppose I should have slung her offa that MagnaDoodle, but I'm on my third child and tired. I let it slide. I'm feeling properly chastised, and will continue on with the teaching today.

Well, I took a stress test, and...

Your Stress Level is: 65%

You are prone to stress, and you're probably even pretty stressed right now.
Life's problems seem to pile up on you, and this often makes you feel depressed and burned out.
Learn to take time to relax and enjoy life, even if things are stressful. It's the only wa you'll get through the bad times.

Hey, I took a stress test. I got it from a link at Amputeehee, and she is having a hard time of it lately. Her stress level was quite high. So I thought, eh, I'll see what mine is. I'm probably off the charts, too. Only 65%! My husband walked by, saw it and said, "Hey, we could start another business!" Haha.

I spent a glorious night last night watching House and Boston Legal. I meant to watch the movie Click, but good tv was on last night. My husband went to bed early, so there I was, knitting like a fiend, until my right arm started to hurt. I have to figure out what I'm doing wrong with my needle positioning or something. One should be able to knit like a fiend for two hours without pain, methinks.

Oh, and my two-year-old is addicted to the bananaphone song. You can find it here. Very funny stuff, except I can't get near my computer without the smallest kid in the house trying to kick me off.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Happy Days

I've been working on writing a business article all morning. Now I'm over here blogging, because I've been pecking at the article for so long that I have no idea how it sounds. SO - a little distraction, and then I'll read it again. I have a work-at-home business, which is immensely helpful, since I have three kids I cart all over the place. For this business, I get to write an occasional article, as well as making sure everyone in the company is happy, happy, happy. (I love my jobs) So I'm sitting here this morning, just clicking around on the Internet, looking for inspiration, and I thought, "I love this." I always thought it would be great to write commercials. I had an image of myself, bouncing a ball against the wall, waiting for inspiration. Well, in a way, that's what I'm doing now. I'm not trying to sell anything, but I can write about anything I want, as long as it would be interesting to people with small businesses. How cool is that? Life was not always this cool, people. There have been times when it has been very, very hard, and likely will be again. I am, however, the victim, or the beneficial recipient, of a foggy memory. Some things I know people would consider really terrible, and those things were really terrible while I was going through them, but I don't really connect with them now. They aren't who I am at this moment, and that's just fine. I just feel very definitely as if I am defining who I am. There are times when all I can do is put my head down and get the next thing done, and those times happen every day. But I'm in a good place right now, and I'm old enough to appreciate that it will not always be like this, so I'm really enjoying it every single day that it lasts.

Drama club starts seriously rehearsing tonight. So far this year we have been doing improv and working on skits, very fun stuff. I'm interested to see how things will go now. I have a feeling they will be much crazier! If anyone has any advice of what to do with the kids that aren't on stage at that moment, please let me know. Just something to keep them busy and, um, relative quiet would be great.

No knitting to show, because Christmas is breathing down my neck, and I can't show any pictures of what I am up to. But I have been seeing so many beautiful pictures of fair isle knitting on other people's blogs that I'm starting to think something like that would be fun. Maybe a pillow.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Finisher...

I have some finished objects to show! I'm not as quick as some, but I don't think I'm doing half badly, either. The baby sweater and blanket for my dear friend that I'm meeting for lunch today. This will likely be her only child, so enough fussing cannot be done. The sweater was a free pattern that I got from knittingonthenet. I actually had the proper yarn in my stash, which was Bernat Softee Baby yarn, sportweight. It has a wonderful softness.

The baby blanket is made from 1930's reproduction fabrics, a simple one-patch pattern, pink with a little purple thrown in here and there, since her favorite color is purple. My friend Arleta has been knitting her a baby blanket in a cute spiral pattern of purple and white. Go see it. It's great. The back of my blanket is made of 100% cotton flannel, very soft, and I machine-quilted the whole thing to make it extra durable. The machine quilting is a very simple back and forth wave, which I think lends itself very nicely to the simple one-patch pattern.

The scarf I knitted from the pattern from the IrishHikingScarfKnitalong. It's made of Plymouth Encore Yarn, 2 skeins. I went up a needle size to make it wider, because the cable pattern really pulled it in. Now it's really warm! My brother loves it, which is fortunate, since I had him in mind when I started it. Another Christmas gift off the list! I'm making another one in blue, but I need more yarn. This pattern definitely takes two skeins, and I always assume a scarf will only take one. I'm learning. A scarf is not a hat, Carrie, a scarf is not a hat....

Well, that's all I have for now! More things coming, I'm sure... but today I'm off to start the consumerism. Actually, I'm being very good this year, and am not going to crazy. Really, I'm not... I think I'll freeze my credit card in a block of ice after I am "done" buying, so I have to behave. That last-minute Christmas frenzy always pulls me in. Not. This. Year.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Okay, It was fun.

Having a photographer come to the house was really surreal. He snapped and snapped while we joked around, and a not-awful picture came out. Sure, my head looks big, but everyone looks cute and all, plus my husband got recognition for a really amazing gift he gave me. What was really funny was how we forgot to mention it to any of the family, and they were all a bit irritated with us for not giving them any notice. Whoops! Surely, our lives are too busy, when we can't even find time to talk about being in the newspaper, for goodness' sake. STITCHED WITH LOVE
Husband learns to sew, surprises wife with quilt
"Rob has the usual reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving: terrific kids and a wonderful wife. This year, he is also thankful for something else. After nearly three years, he completed a remarkable gift that he had been secretly constructing for his wife Carrie — a one-of-a-kind quilt."
Nice, ay? He's a good guy.

Thanksgiving was very nice, with beautiful warm weather and outdoor time to walk off all that turkey and pie. No crabby family members! Well, me, a bit, but baby hadn't had a nap, which always makes me crazy. Then, once she's asleep, all my stress seems to seep away.... Yet another evolutionary trait to help us rear our kids. Thanks, Higher Power!

I've also been "The Finisher" these last couple of days, but I'll share that tomorrow. I'm off to enter the cyber-world of gaming with World of Warcraft, long may it be played! After that, I hear that "Sphere" is going to be amazing.... some time I'll learn how to link all of these things. Gotta have Arleta over soon. She's my blog trainer, from See? I need to know how to do that better....

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy, Happy

Yay! The Noro sweater fits great! As I said before, it's Noro Silk Garden, Silver, and the pattern is from the book Naturally Noro. That book also has a couple of beautiful scarf patterns in it, which is how I got into the Noro yarns in the first place. If I could afford it, I'd spend some serious time playing with the different color ways of this yarn. It feels great to knit with, and while it isn't softy on your skin, it still makes for a wonderful sweater with good drape. It feels, in fact, exactly as I'd hoped that it would feel. And it fits! (Sorry, Mom) I like the ruffles down the front and on each sleeve. My daughter says now I have to change this blog name, but I say, "Shhhh." The last time I made a sweater for myself was in high school, and it felt pretty good then, too. Hopefully, I get to meet with Arleta this morning for knitting, and I'll bring a Christmas scarf to be worked on. I got a crazy idea a couple of days ago that scarves would be the way to go. I haven't been into knitting so long that everyone already has one from me, so it should be an okay Christmas move. My aunt owns a yarn shop, so knitted things aren't like the heavens opening and beautiful music playing with you open a gift of knitted something. I mean, knitted things happen. And we love and appreciate them always. But it's a magic trick that we know. That's on my mom's side. The few people on my husband's side, though, are fair game for knitted somethings...

Does anyone else have skin that is suffering from knitting? My hands are having all of the moisture sucked from them. This happens when I quilt, but I figured, yeah, cotton would pull moisture. Yarn, though, should have lanolin in it, right? So I didn't expect anything other than soft, beautiful hands from this winter's crafting. Grr. Oh, since I'm floating down the stream of consciousness and mentioned quilting, I'll hopefully post pictures of the pink baby quilt soon... Pink. Oh. I need to finish the pink baby sweater. I guess I'm bringing that this morning. Babies have such a permanent deadline, it's hard to set their things aside to knit something else, say that hat...

Oh, and today is casting day for the drama club! Woohoo! I'm a little nervous myself. It should be fun. I've never seen a casting and I'm really looking forward to it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Does anyone else do this?

This sweater is so close to done! I want to wear it tomorrow, so I'm knitting away. Looks like it might fit, though I hope I'm not jinxing myself there. I went and got needles to work on that hat that's rolling around in my head. Have a scarf halfway done. Husband's sweater hasn't been touched in a week. Purple socks started, but they're too small for me and too big for my oldest daughter. Who are they for? Heavy wool socks also started, but needles got pulled off to work on the baby sweater, which needed double-pointed needles for the sleeves. Still hoping to start the KnitPicks orange yarn sweater... at some point. People, I'm starting to suspect that I have a bad case of startitis. I think it has something to do with the holidays.... Perhaps gift certificates would be a good gift? Anyway, I don't have time to type. I think there's a movie on that needs to be knitted through.

That thing happened...

Yay, the photographer came from the paper! It was all very surreal. He put all of us on the couch and snapped photo after photo of us smiling with the quilt, holding it up to our chins, which will likely make a doofy picture. But he's snapping and snapping, and we're smiling and smiling, and he finally looks up and says, "I'm just focusing right now." *snort* My youngest daughter kept asking one after another of us to "scoop over", when she wanted to sit where we were. This cracked everyone up, and after that, the photographer would only use the words "scoop over a bit" when he wanted us to move. I hope the folks at the photo shoot where he was headed next had a sense of humor. He was there 45 minutes, which is too long for kids to behave (at least mine?). So they're rolling around on the floor, tackling their dad, and there is the photographer, *snap* *snap* *snap*. Heehee. So I have absolutely no idea what the article or photos will be like. I only have the sinking feeling that I am going to look like a doofus. I realized it afterwards as I was driving my daughter to a play. There isn't any point in dwelling on it, but I am anyway. Doof. I'm sure everyone else will look wonderful!

The play we went to was Galileo, Man of Science, and was directed by the gentleman who is doing the casting for our drama club. Casting is tomorrow! Yay! The kids have been having a great time doing improvisational exercises and learning to emote and project, but after Tuesday, we'll be able to really focus that in a definite way. I have photos of them hamming it up with a game called Family ReUnion, where the kids randomly group up and hold an impromptu reunion, much hugging and giggling. But I don't have anyone's permission to post those pics, so you'll have to trust me. Very funny kids.

Noro sweater should be finished today, because I'd really like to wear it for the casting tomorrow. I will feel very artsy in it, if it fits.... I swatched and all, but I've been losing weight, and it's all a coin toss now. My mom is eyeing it if it comes out a little too large for me. I also started a Christmas scarf last night, the Irish Hiking Scarf from, and it raced right along as I watched "Elf". Hey, guess what? "Elf" is a movie about Christmas that the kids could actually see and enjoy! Yay! Highly entertaining. I'm rather too old to be laughing at jokes written for this youngerage group, but there I was. I felt silly laughing, but it was good laughing. My husband was looking sideways at me and laughing a bit, too, but I'm not sure it was at the movie...

I am off to work. But I've got a hat waiting to be created. The yarn is just sitting by my computer, taunting me.... grrr. One of the kids have already claimed this hat that I was making as a Christmas gift, so I'll have to rethink. They don't usually wear sweaters, so how can I deny them the knitted wear they would use?

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Change of Plans

Well, Pooh. My husband has been reading the blog, and suggests that, while blogs should be personal, perhaps he might be getting a big embarrassed. Well, okay. Let's not put in a mushy, gushy poem by someone you don't know, and just suffice it to say that it was a great gift of monumental proportions, and I'll never live up to it. Oh, and people are coming to photograph it tomorrow, so there shall be cleaning to a detail rarely seen around the house... Sorry about the teaser of a poem.

In knitting news, while the camera has been down, I have been knitting a bit. Things seem to be taking me longer than normal, because I can't seem to make myself do a stockinette stitch. Too many vanilla sock patterns. So here's the baby sweater to date, though it really should be done by now. It's a top down pattern I got from the free pattern site I'm using the recommended yarn, which is Bernat Softee Baby Yarn, and it is so soft and nice to knit with. It just feels good to stop and handle the sweater. Of course, there's been a nasty cough going around this house, so I'll be washing it before it's given, and I'm really hoping it retains that softness. Anyway, the skein of yarn was really big, and I'm sure I could get two of the sweaters from one $6.00 skein, which is a rare event in my house. I usually have just enough yarn left to do nothing with.

Norovember is moving right along, so I believe my next job should be finishing up the Noro jacket I made last month. I used Noro Silk Garden Silver. It was by far the most expensive yarn I have used to date, and I enjoyed it a great deal. There were a lot of knots in it, sometimes one just a yard from the last one, which made my grind my teeth a bit. But I loved working on the yarn. I finished the knitting, blocked the pieces and put it away. Seaming is no fun! So I need to find a good movie and, as the Nike man would say, "Just do it." But to hasten myself along, or to shame myself into finishing this before the end of the month, I show you the blocked pieces. -- Oh Ho! I tried 3 times, but Blogger wouldn't let me. The fates don't wish me to be hurried. Huzzah!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Quote from my husband...

Okay, camera still broken. That's okay, because I'm going to type in the first line my husband presented in the scrapbook he gave me, along with the quilt.
The first page of the scrapbook says, "A star that shines so bright as to make others seem dim shines as it was made, for a greater reason. It is not to be questioned, or even understood. It is to be enjoyed and loved for the gift that it is."

Isn't that just sweet? Couldn't you just melt? The person who did not appreciate someone feeling this way about them... well, that would be a very strange person. When I read it again this morning, it got me thinking. Okay. How cool would it be if everyone just appreciated us as we were? Wouldn't we all be so grateful if no one tried to change us, or assumed we're doing something bad, if we were just doing our best? I just decided that this very first line that my husband wrote could fill a whole blog entry. (What a guy *smile*) As a woman, I have run into competitiveness since grade school. Why do women compete so hard with other women? In college, if I approached a group of girls, I would get the complete lookover, and they would wait to see if whatever I said was going to measure up to their standards. If I went and joined a group of men, in a not thinking about sex way, I was always accepted in a friendly, "How you doing?" manner. Of course, every situation is different, but this competitiveness does happen, people, and often in situations that just don't seem to call for it. It seems to me that we all have essentially the same struggles for respect and equality with men. Are we competing with other women for our heirarchy in the pack? If it's something that's programmed as a survival mechanism in our brain, from way back in the 'fight for food' age, I can forgive it. If it's just snarkiness so we can feel better about ourselves, I would like us all to get over it. Please.

"Hi, how are you? I'm sure you're friendly, as I am friendly, so let's be friendly, shall we?"

As an adult, if I meet a woman who is just friendly, no comparing, sizing up or anything like that, but just geniune interest in meeting someone new, it's all I can do not to drag her home and make her be my friend. I am constantly searching for more people like that. Thankfully, I have met some.

Whew! That was quite a tangent there. Obviously, my husband respects me, but even better than that, he seems to enjoy me, even if I don't think I'm nearly as clever or amusing as he is. But guess what? He's not comparing me! Thanks for letting me be me! That's the best gift. I feel so comfortable and appreciated. Very good stuff.

I'll end this post with that, since the poem itself is rather lengthy, and will definitely be worthy of its own entry.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Sweet Thing My Husband Did

I have been knitting, but I need camera batteries, which is really irritating, because I can't post update pictures! The baby sweater grows, unskeined Elegance yarn still unwashed, back of hubby's sweater mysteriously stalled. Actually, it's not that mysterious. We've been seriously working on getting rid of all we don't need. Serenity through simplicity! Also, people with cameras are arriving soon.... The photo shoot was planned for tonight, but the newspaper had to reschedule til Saturday morning, which does not break my heart. Once I got rid of much of the clutter, I could really see the dirt everywhere. So now for the cleaning agents and good old muscle power.

And now I'll tell you the story, as I know it. I have been a serious quilter since my first daughter was born. I've made the daughters quilts, and others many, many wall hangings which, I have to say, were really pretty. I'll post pics at some point. I have sold items on eBay and made quilts for charity. I had the quilting bug like I now have the knitting bug. Well, at least three years ago, my husband decided to make me a quilt. He did it in secret, meeting with a quilt instructor after work or during his lunch hours. Their quilt shop even lent him a new-in-the-box sewing machine to work on, and he took it to work and sewed in the conference room whenever he had a minute. His bosses were great about it and really supportive of what he was doing. After our third daughter was born, he says there was suddenly no extra time and no extra money! (Tell me alllll about that, honey) So his quilt instructor met with him in the evenings for free, and her husband was really great about it, too. Sometimes I am blind-sided by how good people can be.

Well, on my birthday, hubby took me to the quilt shop, where a beautiful double wedding ring quilt top was artfully displayed in a side room. The quilt shop owner directed me over there, and I looked at the quilt top. Hubby said, "What do you think?" And I believe I said something like, "It's pretty, but I could never do it." Seriously, folks. He picked the hardest quilt pattern! For his first quilt! The colors were all interlocking in a way I had never seen before, and it was amazing. Then he handed me a scrapbook with fabric samples and pictures of the quilt being put together, along with a beautiful poem he'd written for me. Okay, I thought, he's bought me a kit to make this quilt. Or something. He's smiling at me happily and says something like it's for me. I looked at the book, looked at him, and I just. didn't. get. it. So I said, "You're just going to have to tell me what you're trying to tell me." And he did, explaining about all the time and effort, and how long it took, and how he felt really bad at times for being deceptive. I tell you what, I couldn't have been more surprised. I couldn't. If he'd told me he had been taking courses and was now a certified astranaut, I'd have been just as knocked over. I must have spent a day or two looking at him, and saying, "Seriously? You made it?" It is beautiful. Here's a pic:

He had sat down with a colored pencil and the pattern, and worked out how he wanted the colors to intersect. It's beautiful, and even with all of those curved pieces, it lays perfectly flat. Wow. The real thing that made me laugh about it, though, was when he said, "Remember when you decided to get a king-sized bed?" We had had a queen-sized, and he had to revamp the whole pattern and make it bigger. Poor guy! Amazing guy, too. I'll post the poem tomorrow. It's more beautiful than the quilt.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

What I Did Instead

I was supposed to be washing unskeined yarn on Friday. Instead of that, I watched a little boy for my friend who had to work. Then I didn't dare wash the yarn, because I was afraid the kids would want a bath, and I didn't have the mom's permission to bathe her child. That sort of thing ranks high on my list of Do Ask First. So I was playing with kids instead, when my brother called me, with an attitude.

Him: "What are you doing today? Can you fix a zipper on my kid's jacket?"

Me: Watching children, and yes I can, but not today.

Him: (At first silence, then) When can you fix it? Before Monday?

Me: I'll try. I'll work on it here and there, and really try.

After all, I'm busy. I am throwing a Lia Sophia jewelry party on Sunday. I had to go to my grandmother's 83rd birthday party on Saturday. I was watching children on Friday. Oh, and BY THE WAY, the local newspaper is coming to photograph something somewhere inside my house on Wednesday. I'll tell you what, in a different post. So that means my "Hey, I have three kids" attitude on housecleaning was going to need to undergo a change. In four days, I want my house to look like something any normal person's house would look like. I haven't been able to find my magic wand yet, so I'm not sure how this will happen. One of the kids likely hid the darned thing... Oh, and I should mention that said zipper was broken because my brother got frustrated while zipping his daughter's jacket, yanked it too hard, and a tooth and the bottom of the zipper went flying off. So: not my fault, but sure, I'll try.

I ran to the zipper store and back, and began to try to pull off the zipper of this Columbia jacket. People, this is hard. Apparently the name Columbia does mean something, and that is durable. The material around the bottom of the zipper was glued, after it was sewn. I broke my seam ripper trying to open up that seam. And the Columbia construction people had put snaps in after the zipper, catching the zipper fabric in the snap. That babee was not meant to come apart. Hmm... I was looking at a four-hour project, at least. I wasn't cussing, but I did remark that I would need some coffee, and my husband asked to look at the zipper. I handed it over with hope. He is so good at fixing stuff. He studies it for a minute and then tells me to go read to the kids, he'll see what he can do.

When I come out, he has taken some of the teeth from the top of the zipper, pulled them off (some broke), and reinserted and then crimped one where the missing tooth was. Where they were taken from, there was no harm done. Now all that needed to happen was the bottom stop of the zipper had to be replaced. I cut off their purple stop, put in my blue one (they didn't have purple at the zipper store), and zigzagged sewed them together. It worked! It is perhaps at 85% capacity, and took an hour. I can live with that, since I'm 85% sure that he's just going to buy a new coat anyway, cuz that's how he is. And done! Now I'm looking at my unwound yarn.... pics of that when it happens.

Oh, and I found out my girlfriend's baby is a girl! Yay! So I'm nearly done with a pink and purple quilt. Purple is my friend's favorite color. And of course a sweater, but I'll cast on for that as soon as I get a little further on hubby's sweater. And I'll tell you about the photo shoot soon! It's going to take some time, and I have to go get ready to teach Sunday School.... oh, yes, then hold a jewelry party. Wheee!

Friday, November 10, 2006

What's Going On Here?

Here's a picture of some worsted weight, pretty Burnt Orange wool from KnitPicks, called Elegance. It is 70% Baby Alpaca, 30% silk, and babee, it's sweet. It is so incredibly soft. I can't wait to knit with this yarn! No, really. I can't wait. So I cast on for a swatch, knitted it up to the right gauge, or at least only a half of an inch off, which is the best I could do. I'm hoping that's okay. Then, following the good advice of the Yarn Harlot,, I took my little swatch to the sink and hand-washed it. Originally, the swatch was 3.25 inches tall and 6.5 inches wide. After the wash, it was 3.25 inches tall and 7.25 inches wide. It had widened 3/4 of an inch. Yikes! This is good to know. I'm glad I listened to a professional. Now what to do? I could knit a smaller size and hope. That's what I would have done a couple of years ago. Now, however, there's not that much time in my life to throw away on something that won't work. Besides, I really want to wear this yarn. So, my mom had the best idea that would work, which was to prewash every skein to get the sizing out. This will work, won't it? So I have been unwinding. Today I will place these unwound skeins in the bathtub for a swish and a wish. Then, after they have dried, I'll knit another swatch, wash that, and see what happens. This should work. I have to wear this soft-y yarn. And just to make sure it was going to work with my lifestyle, I grabbed hold of my swatch and pulled. Yup, totally strong. Kid tugging proof. I'll let you know how this works out.

Speaking of the Yarn Harlot (I assume you know who she is), one of her books is how I discovered blogs. I like knitting, obviously, and I was in Borders, checking out the craft section. I picked up her meditations book, flipped through and started laughing out loud. Bought one for my friend Arleta, who would also appreciate the funny, and I also picked up Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. On the back cover, they talked about her incredibly successful blog and gave the web site. Guess where I was for the next month??? I reread every post she ever did, and it was like reading a book online. It was highly enjoyable. Then I linked to someone she seemed to like, Enchanting Juno Wow. Very entertaining, also. Then Arleta started her blog, I kept peeking at other people's links.... well, here I am, a couple of months later. I heard on NPR yesterday that an average of 70,000 new blogs are being created every day! See all of the people with something to say? Pretty cool, huh? Thanks, everyone, for putting your thoughts out there, and reading my thoughts, too. This is a very cool thing.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sock Stuff

All righty. About this baby sweater. I saw a sample on , and the free pattern is from There are a lot of free patterns on that site, and some good help information. I love that people will do this for free! Thank you! It's not that I don't buy patterns - I do, and a lot of them. But it's so nice that people post free ones for when I'm overcome with the urge to create, at night, and none of my patterns will do. Go check out the yarn-y goodness! Very nice.

And yay! My friend won a sock yarn in the Dutchikins contest! I'm happy for her. I haven't entered any contests, but how fun to win something! She says she never wins anything, so thankfully she won't be able to say that anymore. There's some sock yarn I've been coveting from Patternworks, but it's $18 a skein, and I want two different colors if I'm going to buy anything at all... Now, I know no one is going to get me a gift certificate there for Christmas, because no matter how much I ask, my family doesn't give gift certificates. The point is, there's no point in waiting til Christmas. SO! Mr. Visa? I'm being responsible.... still coveting. One of the colors is called Whiskey, which I think is so interesting, because they've gone and captured highlights as if sun were coming thru the liquid, and the darker amber color, and somehow made it, well, whiskey-ish. How cool! So - what? The person was sitting there, staring at her bottle, thinking, "I could capture that in yarn...." Isn't that neat to imagine? Just an odd thought that went thru my head as I was driving home. Not thinking about whiskey, mind you (the day wasn't going badly at all), but thinking about yarn called whiskey. The other color is Ocean Waves, and I just want to see it on my feet. I'll roll up some change later and see where I'm at. Hee! Have you ever knitted socks for yourself, looked and them and thought, "Well, I don't really NEED these. I'll save them. Maybe someone will need a pair." What's up with that? It's okay to have too many socks. And I gave hand-knitted socks to my mother-in-law for her birthday and she. did. not. like. them. She thought I was crazy. Now, MY mom would love more knitted socks, so I keep that in mind. But still. It's okay to keep stuff for ourselves, people! But I wait. Maybe a sock swap would be a good idea. That would be fun.

I'm not even going to try to upload a picture right now. Blogger let me try eight times yesterday morning. He (yes, must be a boy) kept telling me he had let me have what I wanted, then when I looked, nothing there. I dated a guy like that once.... I'm not giving him another chance right away. I'm off to knit with Arleta now!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Soothing is good.

HeeHeeHee. I've got my girls helping me to wind up my yarn skeins. The leftover ones from projects, some of which are pretty big. The pay = a dollar an hour. It didn't take my older girl long to deduce that winding four skeins in an hour was the same pay as winding one. But we had a nice talk about doing quality work for the way it makes you feel good. Then my younger daughter said, "Why can't you just use the skein as it is?" Ahhhh..... I have clever children. Of course I wasn't giving them busy work! When they wind the skeins, they find all the knots and smooth them out for me. (Actually, they say, "Mom! Knot!" and I come fix it. I'm paying for this?) But my husband came home and last night and wondered why the house was so quiet. Our house is normally very. crazy. noisy. And now I know - not only is knitting with yarn soothing, but winding it calms you down, too. Well worth the dollars. With three kids, folks, soothing is good....

I found the cutest sweater on a free pattern site that I just have to make for my pregnant friend. She wasn't expecting to get pregnant at this stage in her life, so surprise! And she's nervous, as all soon-to-be good moms should be. What gift to make? Well, I found with my girls that you just can't have too many blankets, so a quilt will be had. Also, though, I appreciated every sweater. Not only is there not a lot of money to go shopping, there is definately a shortage of time. It's actually easier to sit at home and make a cardigan than it is to drag three girls to the mall. (Soon, I know, I won't be dragging them - they'll be dragging me) Also, I'm thinking a baby sweater won't take as long as the sweater I'm trying to make for my husband which is just. inching. along. It would inch faster if I would pick it up, but the yarn is thicker (Fisherman wool), and the color is bland, bland, bland. That is, it's natural. I should have let my friend Arleta dye it before I started, but I didn't realize the coma knitting it was going to put me into. I accidentally left the boot sock I was making for my daughter in the car last night, and instead of working on hubby's sweater, I just didn't knit. For one thing, I don't go outside after dark. We live in the country, and there are wolves and bears and now I understand a cougar running around. After dark, things in the car stay in the car. But how bad must a sweater be to choosing nothing over knitting it??? I have to think about unwinding it or finding a way to fall in love. With the sweater. Already in love with the hubby.

And why are my comments turned off? Does anyone know? And how will you tell me? Haha. Seriously, if you have a clue, could you go down to a comment on a lower entry (I don't have many yet) and give me a hint? I'm also going to be bugging some guy at the Blogspot Help Desk to work for me on this one. I'm sure he/she will be able to fix it without pulling their eyes away from the election results. It just can't be that hard to fix, when you've got a little knowledge. ..... Oh, wait. I got in there and played around a bit (Did you know there's a section entitled 'comments'?), and I think I have it. I'll upload this and see. Smile! It feels good.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mmmmm, the mitten-y goodness. I know you all are thinking about making mittens, what with it being November and all. Go ahead! If you don't need them, lots of people do. There's a need at your shelters, at your schools, probably a relation in your family. If there's a better gift to give right now, I don't know it. And they are so portable! Car mittens will replace the socks I always carry along to work on. I made mittens last year at a slumber party my daughter had, and the kids thought I was doing magic. It was so gratifying, seeing their faces as they realized That's How These Things Were Made! I taught the little group how to knit, and they were up until 1:00 o'clock in the morning, until I finally turned the lights out, and then the tv off. The tv was only on so they could knit by its glow. They were complete addicts. Now, I should say these kids were in the range of 7 to 8 years old. Their yarn love was so cool! Then I spent the next two weeks being handed misshapen scarves in the hallway, so I could take them home and magically transform their work into a perfect scarf. Magic? Yes. Those little bundles of potential adolescents are now knitters! My work here is done.


My daughter is still wearing the hat and mitten set I made last year, so the extra mittens I have knitted now are in the Winter Tub that sits by the front door. It is full of scarves, hats and mittens, and is waiting for the first sticky snow to be made into a snowman. I make wool mittens for my family, but of course it's acrylic or blends if I'm gifting to a household where I don't know the crafting knowledge of the recipients. I finished the little girl's hat and mittens that she asked for last week at school. She chose orange and brown (I didn't just do that to her on a whim!). I think I like the orange and brown, actually. It's very 50's. My mom made the mittens, which was so nice. I took the yarn to her house and asked, and she started them the same day. Thanks, Mom! Then I prewashed and dried them, so I know they'll hold up if they fall into the hamper - and voila! She can have them today, which is fortunate, because not only has Jack Frost been visiting at night, he's been bringing some flaky friends along with him....
Time to make lunches! Also, it takes an inordinate amount of time for blogger to load up my pics, so I'll just get started.... Have fun with those mittens!

Monday, November 06, 2006

In knitting news, I love this Regia cotton sock yarn. I've made three pairs out of it, and have skeins to make 2 more. It is so sweet and soft to knit with. Mmmmm. Softy goodness. One of these pairs is a Christmas gift, which means I'm thinking a bit more ahead this year! I'm also knitting a hat for a little girl at school. My mom made her a pair of mittens, at the girl's request, that were brown and orange (!!!). There was enough yarn left, so a hat will be had! I also made a pair of blue mittens for a little guy I know, but - again quoting Elizabeth Zimmerman, whom I really enjoy reading - I made three mittens instead of two. Smart, eh? You just know he's going to lose one. Not cool for little guys to have the string thru the coat thing, I guess. Then again, it wasn't ever really 'cool' for me, either. *sigh* Mom made me do it anyway. Thanks, Mom!

So I was driving home from church yesterday, listening to the happy chirping of my kids and my nieces, and I heard something on Public Radio about scientists and the year 1500 A.D. That's all the better I can classify what I heard, because I was only aware enough to think, "Hmm, how much info did they save from the 1500's?" I know nothing about 1500 A.D.! Well, thanks to that great modern mechanism called Google, I sat down to spend ten minutes finding out. What I learned was that science actually knew very little.... they thought, for instance, that the Black Plague was caused by a bad gas in the air, and many people died because of it. There were other interesting tidbits, tho, like - da da dum.....

Things I learned about the years 1200-1500 A.D.:

In castles, food was served on something called a Trencher, which is the equivalent of our plate, but the trencher was a hard piece of flat bread, to soak up the extra juices of dinner. Also, castles frequently kept their own honey bees, to make honey to cook with. Good idea!
Commoners lived in shacks made of cement, wood and/or straw. They farmed their own little field, and if their crop season was bad, they starved. Peasants made their own straw hats, and their own rough clothing. Of course, the rich people could wear silks and brocades, but it was very expensive, and they were the only folk who could afford to do so.

A saint of the Christian church said that a "woman is the gate of the devil, the path of wickedness, the sting of the serpent, in a word, a perilous object". Yikes! The lady was treated like that because according to a Greek legend the first woman, Pandora, was the one who opened the forbidden box and caused war and illness to mankind. Now, is that possible? Really? Someone got a bad rap, I'm thinking...

Even though medieval medicine was partly made out of plants, they also had unusual ingredients, too. Some examples are dung beetles, bat droppings, and powdered earthworms. The medicines could be drunken or made into ointments. I wouldn't care to have had them either way, but that's just me.

There was also no such thing as injections, no completely safe ways to put a patient to sleep, and the connection between bad hygiene and disease had not yet been made. Now, thanks to Hydrogen Pyroxide, I can stave off most things that my kids worry about. Yay for science! I'm going to add that to the things I'm grateful for, come Thanksgiving here in the States.....
I found that I was more interested in the life of a commoner then that of a nobleman, obviously because I never made my fortune - or at least I haven't yet! For years we said, "When we get rich...." Now I'm rich, but with family, friends and the beauty of where I live. We are all so fortunate when compared with third-world countries, where our castoffs would be considered riches. That'll straighten out my Wish I Had More attitude.

So - today's blog deductions: Be grateful. We have science! Yay Science! I'm so glad I don't have to ingest powdered earthworms. If anyone knows any different, cuz they are a pharmacist and have inside info, please don't tell me. Also, I'm rich. Rich, Rich, Rich! So are you. Go live outside for awhile if you don't believe me. Then come on back, and we'll have a discussion about it. Finally - and I am so glad to be able to say this - Yay Mom! Thanks for the care. May we all pass it along to the next bunch of little hands.