Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Just a quick note on my -alongs.

Well, 'tis the last day of the month, so I'd best post my 'alongs. I have a Unfinished Object Along through Kat with a K, so I need to mention that I'm still working on the husband's sweater. I also finished the mittens from forever ago, that I had going. That picture is in the last post I made.

A couple of posts down, you'll find the socks for my Holiday Headstart-along, much fun, through Spinnerella. Now, I've lost my information about that -along, so I can't enter TypePad yet and post on the site. BUT I did complete the socks, which is one more gift out of the way! I love that. Very exciting.

I also have the Knit From Your Stash-along, from WendyKnits, and I'm still mostly adhering to it. I have had to buy supplemental yarns, if I didn't have enough to complete something, but I'm not counting that. My budget is so grateful that I haven't bought any sweaters' worth. Yay!

So no pics on this entry, and I'm only in three -alongs, except for a KnitOff from Yarn Monkey that starts very soon! I keep checking my email to see when to start. Wheee!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Well, I was wandering around blog land this morning, and read The Sheriff of Knittingham's site, where she shows The most gorgeous sweater. Oh my gosh. I hesitate to show my little projects now, but I have become the small project Master! If it's little and portable, there's a chance it will get done. Otherwise, it's anyone's guess. First, the husband's socks, 72 sts, 2 by 2 ribbed pattern, very easy. Still took awhile. I knitted them on #1 needles, but I really should have used 2's. I don't usually like 2's as well, but the sock yarn was thicker than it appeared on the skein. Very weird, that. Ah, well, they'll be warm =)

Then a pair of mittens, striped, using up my Wool-Ease. I bought four colors back when the school was short of mittens, and I've still got enough left to make a couple of pairs. Kids mittens take very little, but I'm thinking of making myself some very soft mittens soon. Hopefully before winter is out! Now it's back to the husband's sweater, which I REALLY want to finish, because I want to knit myself a sweater. I know I'll never get back to his cream colored sweater if I start that cute rust colored one I have in mind for me. It's shocking to think how long ago I bought the yarn for that.

Remember when we all used to knit alone? For years, I'd pick out a pattern at my local yarn shop, gab a bit with the owner, maybe have a spot of tea, then go home. Heh. Another soul wouldn't see that yarn until it was gifted or worn by me. And when you gave it as a gift, who knew if the person would ever wear it? Knitting was very fulfilling anyway, but isn't it great now? I can show stuff, you can show stuff. We can meet and knit together, send patterns to each other, and look up patterns in the middle of the night, if we want. We can order our yarn online (from other than Mary Maxim), or still take our pattern to our LYS. I still try to do that, really. The lady is very nice, and not on the Internet yet, so I have to support her in person. Yup, things are much funner now. I'm glad we all can meet (in 2-D, for the most part, but I like it anyway) and admire each other's work and gain inspiration. Rock on, you bloggers. This is a very good thing.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Another week of fun!

Here at the Cobbler household, we've been partying hard. I don't care if I don't see another cupcake before Christmas, but it was fun. Cupcakes on the birthday morning, more to the kid's school, surprise party with cake, cupcakes at the pool party - too fun. Parties were NOT celebrated like this when I was a kid. What's up with the spoiling? I don't know, but I feel compelled to create memorable parties, year after year...

Here are pics of the breakfast cupcakes, then the cupcakes for the class. My daughter has a great teacher, who made much fuss over her and frequently overlooks her over-the-top enthusiasm and concentrates on the intelligence within. (That was a terrible sentence. Been a long time since grammar school, apparently)

Then the surprise party at the pizza place, much fun. My daughter had never had a surprise party, and it was AWESOME. That's a direct quote, folks. As I said, she's an enthusiastic child, and when she's excited, you'd think her head was going to come clean off her shoulders. Fun to watch, really, if public screeching doesn't put you off. Here's a picture of the nasty cake decorating I did, because I only had 20 minutes to decorate it. I would tell the full story about why that was, but it meanders on and includes much driving to the store and back. Don't forget your wallet when you're on a timeline. For some reason, we never deliver cupcakes without a gift bag for every kid, and I never remember that until I'm making the cupcakes. Oh, and looking at these pictures? I just now realized that I didn't cross the "T". Good heavens, I can't believe that. LOL

Then 0.o a pool party!!!! We started with face painting and mask making, but I can't show those pictures, since I don't have parental permission to place their kids' pics on the Internet. Then to the pool, where much splashing by 13 preteens was done. Only one bloody nose from a diver (no diving allowed!) and one child got hurt feelings, because someone rushed her in the shower. I say - not bad!

I have so many projects nearly completed that I want to show! Grrrr. Knit faster, Carrier, faster.... Sunday School today, then a class trip to our local bounce-arena, then back for pizza. Who ever said this was the weekend??? Back on the Monday treadmill tomorrow, where it's possible I'll get the house clean. Oh, and in life news, my best friend since babyhood had her first child! Yay! Beautiful baby girl. So perfect. And those are the reasons why I haven't been blogging, though I've been thinking about it!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

And glad to be here! All the Michiganders are glad, too, because we brought some of our warm weather with us. We trapped in the plane and wouldn't let it out. You shoulda seen them in Texas, glaring at us as we grabbed the warmth and left. HeeHee.

I did, in fact, get the Christmas socks done, for the Knitting for the Holidays-along. Pretty, aren't they? Wildfoote yarn, size 2 needles, 64 stitches. The sock is a bit loose for my foot, but my sockies always shrink a bit when I wash em, so this will be okay, I'm sure. And lookie what else! I'm knitting with my handspun yarn! WooHoo! I was concerned there wasn't enough yarn for my handwarmers, so I went with a hat. No matter how much I knit, we seem to be short of knitted stuff in the winter clothes bin. I can't explain it, unless the kids are sharing handknits, which is possible. They keep me knitting, anyway!

A bit at a time, I'll post up some pictures. These are of my kids at South Padre Beach, playing by the ocean. The shells were so sharp the girls had to wear their shoes, but much fun was had. See the sand art? Windblown hair? Family trying to dig down to water? And what could be better than burying your sister? Heh. Much fun. Good times.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Random Acts of Kindness Week

Hey, so it's Random Acts of Kindness Week, didja know? Me, neither. I found out about it on Friender's blog, and I highly approve. I am the total biggest fan of random acts of kindness. I was explaining to my kids what they were, and I realized that RAofK are completely what I am trying to teach my kids about. There is a good force that moves around the world, and it is helped along by doing kind things, thinking kind thoughts, and smiling when you don't even feel like it. It's my blog, so I can tell you 'bout the good energy that is in the world. If you make a wish? That's moving some good energy (if it's a good wish, not like the time I wished my brother would get sick cuz I was so mad at him). There's negative energy, or how would there be good? But fight it, peoples. Negative energy = the sux. So move some good energy around. Help someone. Leave a 20% tip, if you can. Money is tight for us, but I know there are people who need it worse than I. But certainly money is the least of ways you can move good energy around. Just look for it. Opportunities are everywhere.

Which reminds me of something I've been meaning to mention for awhile. I am so very grateful when someone is kind to me. I mean, really grateful. I know that there are people in the world who just expect to be treated well and for good things to happen, but I am so surprised when someone is good to me, or helpful. I haven't figured out yet why that is, but as soon as I iron my psyche out, I'll know. (It's hard to examine anything as wrinkled as my inner being) Anyway, that's something I've been working on examining, and I wish I wasn't so surprised when people were kind. I wish that I saw more goodness and worried less about the evil going on. Oh, and while I'm wishing - where are all the dragons? Don't tell me they didn't find some way to evade us. By all accounts, they're much smarter than we.

Vacation - going well. Took the kids to the zoo yesterday, then souvenir shopped. I told myself repeatedly that we are never. on. vacation. and we should have souvenirs! Made spending the 70 bucks on t-shirts and coffee mugs a bit easier =) And I'm knitting! Remember the socks I said I couldn't make in one month? I'm halfway through the second sock! WooHoo! Pics on the feet when they're done, which should be soon, hopefully before I get back to Michigan. Like I said, I'm jammin. I'm considering washing the spinning and hanging it in the shower, but I'm afraid of the maids, who are so efficient. They'll throw away that beautiful yarn or something. I was spinnin in the exercise room yesterday - heehee. No way to look like I was using the treadmill while the kids played, so finally we just hiked back to the room. I know when to give in to an addiction. Keep warm! We're off to museums today. I'll let ya know how that goes with a two-year-old....who was running away when I took the below picture.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mmmm, so warm....

Pics of palm trees later, when I've dug out my camera. Yes, palm trees in Texas. There's a lot of stuff this Michigander doesn't know, and that's one of them. Palm trees? Florida or Hawaii to me. Now I'll probably find out that there aren't any in Hawaii, right? Oh, wait. There are. 'Kay. We brought warmish clothes, at the advice of one of the husband's local contacts, but lemme tell ya, 69 degrees is not cold. When we left Michigan, it was 15. We are very happy here!
Just before I left, my brother brought in the nicest box from the mailbox. All you people who wait for the mailman? We have a large mailbox. I didn't know I had a present out there! Amanda from BlackCats Handspun and Fiber had sent me an email asking what kind of fiber I liked to spin. I don't even know enough to know what to suggest, but then she sent me a huge box of roving!!!! I wrote on sticky notes what they all were, but I left those notes at home, so I shall have to do my best here! There is some beautiful merino, hand-dyed and handpainted, one from an online shop she bought at, and I'll include that name later. She painted the purple and pink roving, and sells her beautiful painted roving on her Etsy shop, I'm so impressed with her entrepreneurship, and she does a beautiful job! Go check her out, ay? I'll wait...

She also sent baby alpaca wool, which was so. soft. I made everyone in the house handle it, along with the angora (a/k/a bunny magic), which I am so in love with I'm afraid to spin with it. I know I'll wreck it, and I don't know right now how to combine it with another fiber, so I'm waiting for more skill to fall upon me. There were silky pieces, and an awesome blend, which is the grey, neon green and black one. It is so cool.

The nice blue piece is a kind which has extra long strands, for easy spinning, and a sparkly substance in it, but I can't remember the particulars =(. I'll have so much to blog about when I find those notes. For now, I'm spinning the pale beige, pink and a tad green one. My singles this time are really thin, because I'm finding they really poof up on washing!! So when I think I'm spinning a nice worsted with the green wool, I'm actually spinning a bulky. Alarming!

Thank you all for the nice wishes on the trip. I'm looking forward to the day! The time change is a bit different here, as the infant got up at 3:00 a.m. and the other kiddies at 4:00. We'll be laying down for a nap later =) For now, breakfast at the "breakfast room" downstairs. Thanks to the husband's boss, big time! Our room has a living area, with microwave, fridge, t.v., couch, chair, the desk the husband and I are computer-ing at, then a bathroom, then a bedroom with two doubles. I'm in heaven here. Not to give too much financial info, but we don't get to take these sorts of vacations usually, what with three kids and me being a stay-at-home mom. So yay for the fam! More later, when we've been out enjoying the weather and searching for an accent. So far, haven't heard one. We're just above the border of Mexico, but they didn't know what a taco pizza was last night when we tried ordering one. See? Who knew taco pizza was a Northern Michigan regional delight? =)

Hey, found the camera! Singles, small as I can make without breaking them....

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Yay! We're going on a trip!

Turn off the lights and lock the doors. We're also packing the cowboy hats and boots, cuz we don't want to scream Tourist in our school colors t-shirts. (Well, we might still be wearing those, but also with boots) The husband gets to work in Texas for a week on a programming thing, and we get to come along! The 8-year-old says flying on a plane has been her life-long dream. I'm so proud that she's realized it at such a young age! I'm a little concerned that she's going to coast from here on out, but perhaps we can replace it with another lifelong dream, like, say, performing a heroic feat or feeding the homeless. This middle child, giving us the Fonz move, has a lifelong dream to be a cowgirl, so we're going to have to keep our eye on her, make sure she doesn't run off to a wild horse ranch.

I'll still be blogging, but I haven't been for the last few days, what with all of the preparations. I get on Bloglines this morning, and you've all been blogging like crazy! I've got some definite reading to catch up on, so I'm off to it. I hope I packed correctly, and no one asks us to a fancy dinner...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

So, about those socks...

Well, the Holiday Headstart socks for February aren't off to a very good start. I'm supposed to knit them on size 2 (U.S.) needles, so already I'm a tad out of my comfort zone. Me likes 1's. The gauge is 8 1/2 sts to one inch, and I only got 7 1/2 sts to the inch. So what does that mean? I hate math. Let me see... I cannot figure this out. Does this mean, at 64 sts, my socks will be bigger than the pattern wanted? That's what it means, doesn't it? So I should knit the gauge on 1's, and see if I get 8 1/2 sts to the inch, right? But what if it would be good if they were a tad bigger? *sigh* I hate when a gauge doesn't just work out. It's why I usually just go, and figure things will fit. The pattern, though, is neat and for me a bit tricky, from I know I can do it, because I screwed it up once, but I understood why it didn't work.

'Kay, I think I've got it. With 64 sts, at 8 1/2 sts to the inch, the sock would be 7 1/2 inches around. At 7 1/2 sts to the inch, at 64 sts, the socks will be 8 1/2 inches around. My foot (yikes) wants me to knit something like that, as there's a half inch of stretch (meaning with a measuring tape, while stepping on my foot, I measure 9 inches around). Will a half inch of stretch be enough? Or will it do that nasty bagging thing with shoes? I'm just wondering, because by the time you read this, I'll have started, going with the size 2 needles (and pretty rusty-colored Wildfoote yarn). After all, it's only a sock, right? A couple of weeks of work, what with the other projects on the needles, and it's only February. PLENTY of time =) Thanks for reading, I think I'm done thinking out loud....

Monday, February 05, 2007

What I did during the Super Bowl

I finally found the perfect use for the Fisherman's Wool sweater! Nothing could have been better for working on while watching the game. Almost nine inches of the practically stockinette got done, until the fourth quarter, when I finally lost my enthusiasm. (For the game or the sweater? You guess) I thought the Bears put up a good fight, though, and it was a fun game. The kids, in fine tradition of their mother, were jumping and yelling and could hardly be contained, there was so much energy in the room. Now, it looks a little wonky in this picture, but I'm hoping things will smooth out on blocking. There might be a couple of tension differentials in this particular piece of knitting. =-)

And I got to see the artist formerly known as Prince, during halftime! I was way excited about this, because I know he's done some incredible work since the 80's. I was so sad when he came out and performed his 80's stuff! Do you know what this means? It means I have reached the point of middle age where my generation is being mass-appealed to, by placating us with music from our youth. Oh, yikes. Is this how the baby-boomers felt when their retirement plans started being touted, when in fact they were all about fighting the man, and property being theft, when they were young? Of course, my kids had so, so many questions, since I was quite excited about seeing Prince (insert symbol there, please). "Mom, why does he have that cloth on his head?" "How do they make the smoke?" "How come he changed his name to a symbol?" "Is he famous, or his dancers?" Puh-leese. I was trying to watch! Can't a mom get a little love? Of course, when they got to the curtains blowing up, with Prince silhouetted behind them, my husband said that he wanted a set for Christmas. TeeHee.
Well, I enjoyed the game so much that next year I'm having a Super Bowl party. I didn't even consider having one this year, but I should have. It would have been fun. Here is a picture of the hand warmers I zipped out for my daughter. She was silently jealous of the other child's orange scarf, and I noticed, of course. She was so happy, she wore the hand warmers all day! They're just sport weight acrylic, a modification of my mitten pattern, with the cable being from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks book, then the cable reversed for the other hand.
And the pot pie I made for dinner was so pretty, I took a picture. I'm such a square. HeeHee. Today is a snow day, so more baking will be done, as we try to keep the house warm! The poor furnace is working overtime, as wind chill is between -15 to -30 Fahrenheit. I'm also starting holiday socks for the Holiday Knitalong, but I'm a little concerned. I don't think I can make these before the end of the month. I wonder if one sock will count?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Saturday musings

This is just a stuff-and-nonsense entry, but I was checking my email this morning, and there was a KnitPicks free download offer. HeeHee. "Valentines Boxer Shorts for him and you," or something close to that. I was giggling even as I clicked on the link. The shorts, by the way, look very nice and official, but if I were going to knit something Valentiney for the husband, it would likely be in a different form, more befitting for the beach, except not.

It is so cold here that I am running from car to building, and making my children do the same. Unbelievably cold, and I have lived in Minnesota, where this is normal. I've been in Michigan for 9 years now, and I think I've acclimated to around 30 degree Fahr. weather for winter. It is below 10 degrees now, and it's a biting cold. I know, because I had to go out at 10:00 last night to pick up my kids, who were at the GIRL SCOUT COOKIES SALE SEND-OFF!!! Sorry. Girl Scout cookies make me want to cheer. Other than the price, which is exorbitant, but they're so yummy!

Knitting, Carrie, knitting.... okay. Same old things in the works, but now I'm thinking about the Holiday Headstart-along I joined. I need to come up with a Christmas gift to knit this month. Mittens, I think, to match the Hermione hat, but I also have some beautiful wool for a three-color hat. Last year was scarves for Christmas - could this year be turning up hats? Perhaps Hat and Mitten Sets, since I've been getting such a head start on this.

I've got a contest perking in my mind, which I told myself I would do when I got 30 subscribers, but things seem to have slowed down. I'm grateful for you 24, so thanks! But I may have to break my rule and run a fun contest, just to take the edge off of winter. Don't worry, it's not a sweater-making contest or anything, or a guess the baby's weight, which is fun, too. Just don't guess what I guessed, kay? Gimme a chance =-)!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Women, United!

Today I got to go to a women's meeting, from an organization that produces a magazine solely for businesses owned by women. Hey, that's me! thinks I. So I hemmed my pants (being not petite and not medium, simply shorter than average), put on some makeup and good jewelry, and considered the wardrobe. My pants were a bit snug, making me wish that I had actually bought a thong the last time I was at Target. My 9-year-old wondering what the heck it was stopped me. So, no pantyline avoidance there. Oh, well. We would all be women, right? Women are nice about pantylines. (right?) My other dress pants were a size bigger, and really too loose and hangy, which is not a bad thing, if you're into pantyline avoidance. But have you ever seen these? They're body shapers, and I swear that I was 15 pounds lighter than the recommended size on the package. Yet I could barely put these babies on. I now believe that their unadvertised purpose is to make you one full size smaller than you were when you started. My snug pants are comfy! Huzzah! I am going to go buy stock in this company. One sec...

Okay. Dropped the kid at Grandma's (thanks, Mom!), and off I go! My business cards didn't come in on time, which was too bad, as it was a meeting where people likely expected a card(!!!). But okay, thank you to the card company for giving me one less thing to keep track of. The meeting was cool. A bunch of women networking is a very cool thing. After the first couple of tries, I didn't even feel uncomfortable about pitching my business. Everyone understood that that's what we were there for! I give a womens-only meeting the total and complete thumbs up. And yes, someone told a phallic joke, but just one teeny one. *grin* And the guest speaker was all about how serious we all are, and how we take that seriousness home with us to our families. It was very motivational, about how are we going to be viewed, and how are we going to handle stress when it's thrown at us? I know when I'm being motivationally spoken to, and I'm usually resistant. But in this case, I couldn't think of one good argument to counter having a good disposition. =)

In knitting news, the husband's sock went with me, to keep me company and mentally grounded. His sweater needs four rows on a sleeve, and then the front, so I'm totally good for this month's UFO project. (Look at the sidebar! A button!) After that, something spicy and colorful, methinks.

Why watercolor paints are perfect for a 2-year-old.

1. They wash off (important).

2. You don't have to put them away. Drying out won't hurt em a bit.

3. When you use them to paint your toenails, Mom doesn't get mad. (See 1.)

4. They create the most interesting art. (Heavy on the blue this time.)

5. If you eat them, the only one who sees what happens internally is mom, and hey, she wasn't watching in the first place, so it's sort of her fault, right?