Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Look Who's Three!

Some birthday pics to share! Here's the birthday girl, pleased as can be.

And a really bad picture of a really easy cake. The only way I can explain the really terribleness of this picture is that I always decorate the cakes after the kids are in bed, so this was taken around midnight. No good light, and the flash made it look gruesome (what? yeah, yeah. You should have seen it with the flash).

Much bubble blowing was done,

Including this great big one, that's about to be demolished by my mother-in-law. Heh.

Last minute, my nieces decided to sleep over the night before the birthday party, and I put those little girls to work! Washing, dusting, watering plants... a godsend, really. And my husband thought I was crazy =) Heh. Guess we ladies showed him. Not much knitting has been done, other than the wool socks (and yes, it's still too hot for that, but it's all I got). I did spend much time going through patterns, though, so the creative process is at work. This morning I go see Goldilocks and the Three Bears, performed by some very young but talented kids, then off to knit with Arleta - yay! Well, I'll be spinning, since I can only seem to get any done there. I know it's just the way kids are, but when I try to spin at home, someone always needs me to fetch something. I've considered cordoning off the living room, or at least my part of it, with the ribbon you see at movie theatres. "Do not pass this line."

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wobbly Kniting

Here's a picture for you. Look at this cast on. It's a gauge swatch for a pair of cotton footies, that being my first choice for summer knitting. The yarn was recommended by my LYS, and as it was just in, not even on the shelf yet, I jumped at it. I am a sucker for the "just in" yarns, and I hope she's not leaving a box on the floor just for my visits. Anyway, this yarn just isn't the right stuff. I'm a pretty decent knitter (if I do say so myself), and while this is a thick and thin yarn, it looks really wobbly, doesn't it? That's not because of me. The "thin" part of the thick-and-thin goes on for a really long time, and the "thick" part is just a teeny bit here and there. On size 8 needles, it just isn't going to work, and at least I didn't have to get very far before I realized that. Now I have to find a pattern that actually will work for Katia Colibri, and I can't even imagine what that would be. I'll let ya know, tho!

I've been helping a girlfriend with a yard sale for a few days, and all that time in the sun has given me a nice jump start on the summer tan. I know we're not supposed to tan anymore, but I'm scared of those bronzers, which may or may not give the same effect. Has anyone used them? I'm scared of them like I am the spray-on tanner. Yikes. Anyway, I think tanning makes you look two or three pounds thinner, and I'm all about that, since I've put five pounds on since I went to Texas. Funny how, when you get out of the habit of an apple for breakfast, it just doesn't sound that good... I'm working on the remotivation, though. In fact, I saw a magazine just yesterday that guaranteed I could drop four sizes by summer. LOL! It was probably left over from December. I'm not sure.

My baby is three tomorrow, so today I'll be decorating an Elmo cake and buy red balloons. I'm going to enjoy it as hard as I can, because I've been totally struck by the "last baby syndrome." The first two kids, I was up til midnight decorating cakes, grumbling about how I could go to Sam's Club and get a beautiful cake, all finished, and monogram it in seconds. But you know what? A nine year old will die before she lets you make her an Elmo cake, and the seven year old just gets really quiet, because she doesn't want to hurt your feelings. So I'm rockin the Elmo for all it's worth today, and will post pics tomorrow. Have a great Memorial weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wee Cuteness Alert

Whew! That took longer than I expected. But look at this wee little bit of cuteness!

I used size 0 needles, and as I was knitting these little booties, I was thinking, gee, I really don't like these small needles. Then I'd knit a bit more and decide they were okay, then I'd have to knit two together for the eyelets, and decide that I didn't like these little needles again. But when I made the second bootie, the smallish needles didn't bother me at all. And fortunately, this pattern was immediately memorizable. I could make these things all day long now, 'cept they're so small, I'm going to have to use them as Christmas ornaments. My bud Arleta made some on number 2 needles, but they don't seem that much bigger. But I'm pretty sure I could enlarge them, and I do think a cuteness alert needs to be issued. These things will blindside you with their wee-ness.

No other knitting news! Today was a very busy one, what with helping a friend put stuff out for a big yard sale. We were filling the tables with baby clothes, and I have to say, we both choked up when we were laying them all out. It doesn't seem that long ago that our kids were wearing these little outfits, and they're so small! I'm talking the outfits, of course, not the kids, who are now up to our shoulders. After that, we took the littlest babes (nearly three years old now) to a farm, for our local Way-To-Grow group. Then nap time, then chime choir, then more yard sale putting out, then to a katsina doll openhouse that our older kids had made in art class, then off for pizza. Home to eat, then to study for a region's test that we didn't know was coming up tomorrow. Yikes, I'm getting tired all over again! 'Course, it didn't help that the baby (is 3 yrs old a baby?) kept me up until 3:00 a.m., as she kept having some recurring nightmare. I don't know what it was about, just involved much yelling and reassurance that I was still sleeping (?) on the floor next to the crib. *sigh* I need some summer knitting ideas. (Nice segue, ay?) Anyone have anything in mind? The wool socks I'm working on were really too hot to handle today. =) Yay Summer!

One more pic. Too cute.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Teeny Tiny Needles

I know that sometimes I am a silly goofus who goes on and on about how knitting makes me happy. But LOOK at this picture!!!

Those are size 0 needles, some yarn (string) and a quarter for scale. Arleta has made several of these babies, but I am just starting. I may need a one-legged doll when I am done, but we'll see. More pics to come, if I don't go blind or drop a stitch.

In the meantime, I've been planting peach trees! I am just starting to get into the world of gardening, and I'm having more fun than success, really. But I put mulch a couple of inches below the top level of dirt, and that's supposed to help them stay moist. I planted right in the hot, hot sun, with no shade, baby. Let's hope! While I was planting, apparently I got too close to a momma bird, who began to berate me most vociferously. I couldn't see her, she must have been deep in the bush, and she certainly wasn't ascared of me! In fact, I was wondering if she knew something I didn't, she sounded so brave. Maybe she had a minion or a secret pain-causing weapon she was trying to warn me about, but I don't speak bird. I chuckled, in my big humanly way, and kept digging. Then she sent out some big buzzing thing, and it kept diving at my head, over and over again. I would back off, and look around, but I couldn't see what it was. It sounded like a bumblebee or a BIG wasp or something. But when I got close to the bush, back the big black thing would come, buzzing at my head. So, you know, I found somewhere else to dig...

Monday, May 21, 2007

And it's Monday again

Usually, in the morning, I get up, grab the coffee and turn on the computer. It's pretty much automatic. Then I spend the next half hour snarling and complaining that I can't read one paragraph without someone asking me a question, and for goodness sake, people, I'm just *trying to wake up*! This morning my computer connection was down, and I picked up a sock I was trying to finish up. We had such a nicer morning! So blog reading will be saved for when I'm already awake, and I'm going to let the calm stitches of a sock ease me into my day... Here's a picture of KnitPicks Redwood sock yarn, 100% merino wool, that I wound this morning. My husband and I had a nice convo while he unwound from the skein, and I rolled it into a ball. See how I'm trying to perfect the ball winder look? I have a long way to go, but it's better than my first efforts! HeeHee.

I just came back from chaperoning a Girl Scout trip this weekend. We went to the zoo, McD's, a children's museum, saw Shrek 3, played Stiff as a Board, Light as a Feather (where you get the kids to lift each other up with just their fingers), and pulled innocent little pranks on other kids in different rooms. Sweet! I missed the Truth-or-Dare game, and I guess it was all about boys and who liked whom. Dangit. I could go back to those days.... much fun, wasn't it? High school? Not so much. Just before high school? Very fun. Besides, I've been wanting to weasel this information out of my daughter for some time now.

Here's the new Sockotta socks. Pictures have too much flash, but hey, it's early.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Soldiering On

Thank you all for your commiseration and suggestions for the neckline. I've never had a problem counting before, but, whew, that neck gave me a run for my money. I picked it up again yesterday and knit away, while baby (well, kind of a baby) crawled up next to me and tucked her arm in mind. Cute, but I was counting, you know? Next thing I knew, she was falling sideways, lulled to sleep by the awesome wooliness of the sweater. I had to ease out to take a picture, even though she's sleeping like I do, with everything she's got, and it's not necessarily pretty. Heehee. (By the by, the neck came out great! Now if I could get the hem to stop rolling out.... I like the sweater, though. Really.)

I got tagged in a meme by my good friend Arleta, who is one of the most consistently nice people that I know. I try to surround myself with these people, but unfortunately you are all scattered all over the continents! Fortunately, Arleta is right here, and I get to spend voice time with her, not just typing time. The meme is that I need to type seven things, trivia really, that I haven't mentioned in my blog before. Then I tag seven people, list their blogs, and send them a comment letting them know. Hey, I can do that! =) Well, I think so, anyway. I tell you guys about most any little thing that wanders in my head.

1. I am trying to singlehandedly offset everyone else's power consumption, so I sit in the dark a fair amount.

2. I have garlands of cranes strung around my house as "decorations." I don't know what I'll do with them after that.

3. I have a bald eagle that frequently lands in the trees by me, and he and I just stare at each other.

4. I was walking my puppy once, and a HUGE white owl swooped down and tried to pick him up. The owl was absolutely silent. Amazing.

5. I am prone to small attacks of anxiety for no reason at all (well, no logical reason). I might be picking up vibes from the universe. =)

6. I would like to hire a handyman to clean out my garage and basement, as long as he didn't make me look at what he was throwing away. I don't need anything down there, and I'm too afraid of mice to do it myself.

7. I have a fear of my feet being off the ground, but I overcame it once and went parasailing with my boyfriend (now husband). I'm insanely proud of that, but I have never mentioned it to anyone.

Whew! That was fun. I think I'll tag.... Nora, LaurieM, Maryam, Trek, Carrie K, Noolie, and Tala. Thanks, y'all, for reading. Hopefully a finished picture of the husband wearing the big vanilla sweater, soon!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Well, I had a very nice Mother's Day weekend. It's so wonderful when everyone takes a moment to say, "Hey, yeah, thanks for all you do, mom." So I tried to do that for my mom, too, because she still does so much even though I'm in my high 30's. Thanks, Mom! Thanks for worrying whether I pay my bills, and for listening when I complain about having a preteen, and helping me decide when to plant the pumpkins. You rock.

My daughter and I were in a play at church Sunday, time set in the 70's. I'm on her about wearing some dress, she calls me mean, I sing "You are my sunshine" to her. *Ahem* I must say, for the record, that I sounded great in the car on the way over to church. But the place was packed, and I had to struggle through that tight voice thing you get when you realize you only get one shot not to sound stupid in front of everyone you know. Then my daughter grows up (still in the play), the scene changes to now time, and my best friend and her daughter play the next generation, with my grown-up daughter singing the song to her daughter. On that one, mind, the whole church joined in for a very moving, teary, aren't-mothers-great rendition of "You are my sunshine." It is hereby noted that I played the mother to my best friend, and had to sing solo to boot. Yeah, my friend laughed and laughed. I have to say, I was just proud I did it without my voice breaking like a 14-yr-old boy's in the middle of puberty.

I promised knitting content, so here 'tis. Of course, after the dishcloth contest, I got cloths on the brain, and knit four of them. Here's three. They came out huge! 45 stitches cast on with size 7's is really too big for swiping out a glass. But they were fun to do, and I think I'm on the other side of the dishcloth urge. (Hey, see how I did that cool cloth with the pattern I was drooling over? Thanks, everyone, for steering me in the right direction) Then I pulled out the husband's sweater, cuz I hate to be a quitter. After all, all I've got to do is pick up 109 stitches around the neck, including the 12 sts on a holder, and knit for a bit, and it will be done! I worked on it for an hour, and this is what it looks like now:

Apparently I can't count to 109, minus 12, and figure out how to pick up to that number. I tried three times, knit many rows before I figured out that I was just going to be wrong, and finally had to lay it back in its box. I can't figure out for the life of me what's wrong with my brain. Let's see. I picked up all the stitches I could on the back of the neck, and that's 49. 49 plus 12 is 61. If you take 61 from 109, you get 48. That's 24 stitches picked up on each side of the 12 stitches on the front holder. Now, that looks just right, and it's what I did the first time. Somehow, though, I ended up with 119 stitches, and how could that be? No, I didn't mess up (though it looks like I must have). I'm sure I did just what I figured out. (Yeah, okay, so I must have messed up, but it didn't feel that way, y'know?) So I picked up again, and redid the math, which told me that I actually had to pick up 29 stitches on each side of the stitch holder. So I did, and knit happily away until I figured out I had 119 stitches. Waaaaah! So I redid the math, got the number 24, ground my teeth a bit, and started doing the whole bloomin thing again. For heaven's sake, there are people out there knitting intarsia and steeking and what was my problem??? So I tucked it back into its box (yay! didn't swear once!) and left it for when my brain was working. Sorry, husband's sweater. I haven't given up. After this, though, I'm knitting a baby sweater, just for a jolt of quick satisfaction.

I hope you all had a great M.D. weekend, whether you are a mother or have a mother (or both)!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Oh, my goodness, you're prolific

I sat down to look at my bloglines today. I was all caught up yesterday, and thought I'd better keep on top of things. But there were so many! At least 15 new entries, and I knew I couldn't get through them all. It's a drama club day, and I get busy on Tuesdays. (Not busy other days, you understand - lol) But I was making cookies for the kids, and kept sitting down and clicking, sitting and clicking... and I got through them all! Yay! I took some cookies off the tray, came back to double check if I was done, and there were five more entries that had been updated! You know, this means I can't hardly blink, just keeping up. I know you've all been where I'm at, so I can remark upon this to you. If I go hang out the laundry, I'll fall behind. Must sit and read.... where is that sock? If I'm sitting and reading, might as well get a sock out of it.

There has been knitting going on here. Pictures to come soon!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A Spring Contest, completed!

19 Entrants! I consider that a great response to the Springy Contest, and thank you everyone for playing! All week long, my screen saver has been flashing pictures of one pretty washcloth after another. I have to say, the first person done was LaurieM, and she was done *the next day*. Impressive. Now, let's see if Blogger will let me post 19 pictures... (why am I concerned about this?) They were all so bright and cheerful, I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I do!

(Scroll down for pictures)

LaurieM's Garterlac
Arleta's three dishcloths
Bellamoden's white dishcloth, but I couldn't find that she had a blog
CarrieK, black and white, not quite finished...
Crzjane (I love your name!)made four bunny dishcloths
D & K Snyder, I would really like this pattern...
Danni knitted a trio of cloths
Janice started one of those I am craving the pattern for
Jenni Bush, three dishcloths
Jennifer, a wavy dishcloth
Karen's bright dishcloth
Kenyetta's Garterlac (love your name, Kenyetta)
Laura's his dishcloth, of a his and her's set (she only made his - heehee)
Monica, a star spiral dishcloth
Julie's bright garterlac
Rebecca started hers
Stacy's, posed with a ferocious looking tiger...
Trek's 18-inch cloth (sorry I had to enlarge the picture, so it's fuzzy). 18 inches!
Using the best technology we could afford, we selected a winner...

The daughter cutting out entrants
A nother daughter, choosing the winner
And the winner is....
Cheryl from Hither-n-Yarn! Congratulations!!!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

This will be the prize...

Here's the yarn that's up for grabs! I haven't picked a winner yet, since I started the contest on a Saturday, it seems fair to end it Saturday at midnight. This yarn was just in that very day at the LYS. I'm a sucker for that. The shop owner let me root through all of the boxes of new stuff - what fun! Honestly, I will be going there on Fridays more often.

Here's a pic of my dishcloth. I love it! I actually didn't have wild, springlike yarn in my stash, so there's a major need that will be attended to. But this dishcloth pattern was in the latest issue of Creative Knitting, and it was fun to do, even if I couldn't read while doing it. I think this pattern would fit well into a cotton hat, and be very cute. There's still time to get your dishcloth pic to me! Remember, it doesn't have to be finished, just send me what ya got!

Friday, May 04, 2007

A quick note on the Contest

I thought I'd take a moment to remind everyone that you don't need to have your dishcloth finished by Saturday evening, May 5th, but only started. You do, however, need to email me a picture or post your pic and let me know about it, to be entered into the contest. I'll do a random drawing on Sunday and let the winner know! I'm also going to be posting pictures of all these pretty dishcloths, and even your unfinished pics, if that's what you send me. Go Knitters! I had a hard time picking out a wild colored yarn for my dishcloth (as yet unfinished), since I tend toward mild, calm colors. Maybe I'll break out of that a bit this spring.

I picked up the Austermann yarn this morning. It was a new color, just shipped into the store today. Yay! It looks very bright and springlike.

Keep on knitting!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Things I've learned from the Internet

Well, as specifically relates to knitting, I mean. I've learned that it's perfectly okay to have three pairs of socks going at once. Many times I'll pick a pretty sock pattern, but stop on it because I just don't feel like following a pattern with tiny little needles for two weeks, as my knitting project. But it's okay to have more than one on the go! And I was feeling guilty for not finishing the neckline on my guy's sweater, but it's actually okay to let it rest, as it's spring, and he won't be needing it for awhile! (So sayeth knitting guru The Harlot, whose skill and knowledge I'd never dare to challenge. If she says it's so, it's so.) And at first, I honestly couldn't see the point in stash building. I've bought extra yarn for the sake of buying yarn, and then it sits in my closet for years. But now that I'm a more dedicated knitter, not dividing my time between sewing and quilting and knitting, I frequently wander out into the stash and poke around, looking for a project. I can't get out shopping well with the two-year-old, and if I get someone to babysit her, it's because I have work to do that she can't come along on. I haven't yet found the in-law who will watch her so I can go yarn crawling! =)

And resource-wise, the Internet has taught me how to knit short-rows, do provisional cast-ons, three-stitch buttonholes, knit toe-up, entrelac and lace, and spin a two-ply yarn. There's so much more to learn! I've been knitting along since I was 13, never suspecting what I did not know. I actually viewed myself as a spanking good knitter, and I still think I am, but I'm not the pro I thought. I've dedicated myself to learning more of this craft. I have no idea how to insert a zipper, knit continental, steek, or add any lacy edge to a sweater, making it individual. I'm going to learn, though. Since I've started reading blogs, I've left many, many fawning comments to knitters whose expertise I can only marvel at. There are people doing intense colorwork Marina on sweater after sweater. I feel compelled to at least make a hat of many colors. My knitting tends to stay at the one-color end of the spectrum. That's okay when you're doing a lacy pattern, but I'm ready for a different challenge.

So, while I can't go away to knitting school or seminars, due to budget constraints and the small fact that I am essential to my household, I can hold my own knitting classes at my computer. I may even have some stuff to show off here and there on the blog. And when I'm leaving fawning comments on your blog, have pity on me. I am a fan of technique, and anything I don't understand looks like magic to me.

Oh, and if you've read down this far - thanks for sticking with me. As pertains to the Spring dishcloth contest, my screensaver is flashing pictures of finished dishcloths at me that some of you have finished. It also is very inspiring. Knit on!