Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Springy Contest Update

Yay, so many players for the dishcloth contest! This makes me very happy. Nothing is more of a bummer than holding a party and having no one come. But so many are up for knitting a kitchen cloth that I'm happy the husband thought of it!

Here's the list of joiners so far (and send me an email if I mess up your address, but I've been pretty careful): Jennifer, Beth, Julie, Laurie, Romi - (actually, she's unsure) - Chris, Carol, Trek, Carrie K, Becky, Karen, Monica, 5elementknitr, Tala and Kenyetta. Two of these folks cast on and finished by the next day, which gives me hope that I'll complete my dishcloth on time. Actually, as Karen pointed out, all I said was that you had to start a dishcloth, not finish one - I laughed out loud. =) I love when people catch me by surprise. So start your cloth and send me a pic. I'll post them all next weekend and randomly pick a winner!

In other news, today is the last day of the KnitOff! I was out to Michelle at the last round - I just stopped knitting too soon! I was unsure of how the pattern should be read, so assumed that of course I shouldn't knit double what I'd already done. *grins* But it was very fun, and I learned to do entrelac, and that Michelle is a fast knitter! Straight up, she was beating me speedwise. I'll have to practice harder - heehee. The new pattern for this week is so amazing, and difficult looking, that I just have to be glad it's not my problem. Phew!

The drama club performed our play this weekend! It was awesome. The kids were so proud of themselves, and rightly so. They really pulled it together in the last two weeks, and became the boss of that play. Very few dry eyes left the gymnasium, and I couldn't have been happier seeing people cry. As a fill-in, if you haven't read me blathering on about it, we performed A Thousand Cranes, a true story of a girl who lived through the atom bomb dropping on Hiroshima, only to die ten years later of leukemia as an after-effect of the bomb. Our first year as a drama club! What in the world will we do next year??? Actually, the little stars are already mentioning they'd like to perform Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Hmm... could be a little dark, but fun ....

Still time to enter the contest! There's some pretty sweet yarn at stake!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Springy Contest

If you were the person who subscribed under Bloglines to my blog, in the last few days, thanks! You helped me to hit 30 subscribers. I stopped at 29 for the longest time (at least through Bloglines), and while I was pleased to have people who read me (thank you!) I wanted to do a contest. But I wanted to have enough people reading the blog to make the contest fun, and my husband suggested "30" would be a good magic number. Then someone dropped me from their list the other day (sniff, sniff), and I went to 28. You know how you just have a few people who like you, and someone drops you from their list, and you think about it while you shower, or drive the car, or something? Weird. I am writing for me, but I enjoy writing to you, y'know? Anyhoo, when I checked today - Huzzah! Up to 30, and I can have a contest!

It's spring, and I've been casting on new projects with abandon. Don't even care that I only have to finish the neck on the hubby's sweater. He can't wear it for awhile now that it's warmer (yay sun!). So the contest will go along with spring, and starting new things. I'd like everyone who wants to participate to cast on a washcloth - a wild one. One that you feel joyous doing, and in colors that don't match your kitchen. Make it fun! Use entrelac or a new pattern or anything you want. Garter stitch is fine, too. Just get in the spirit of spring and starting new things, and cast on a colorful cloth. I'll give y'all two weeks to send in pics, then I'll pick one randomly. The winner gets - sock yarn! I found some beautiful stuff at our LYS, it's Austermann, Step. It is so soft - clearly the best sock yarn I've knit with to date. I love the colors and the squishiness. They were stocking it on the shelves, just in, the last time I was at the LYS, and I am a sucker for "just in" yarn. I have to pass the love along as a prize. I'm also looking forward to posting everyone's pictures.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Happy Spring!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A little peak into my head

My husband is one of those people who will ask, right out of the blue, "What are you thinking about?" I think I make odd faces when in deep thought. I'm not sure. Anyway, I usually lie to him, and refer to the show we're watching, or quickly think of something interesting from that day to bring up. Just lately, though, I've been letting him have whatever thought was running through my head. Like, one day I was trying to reconstruct how exactly one would shear a sheep, from remembrances of my childhood. Or I would be thinking that my hair looked better when I was younger, and was it because my face was more moisturized? Odd stuff like that. I know I'm not odd, or even really abnormal, though I haven't taken the test. I'm just pretty much like everyone else, even if sometimes people lie and say it's not true.

But today I was thinking about how, if the world all went to hell (If?) and we couldn't get any running water, I would have to walk down to the stream for water (freezing water) to wash my hair, so I looked decent when I walked to town. And I would expect that everyone else would be walking about with dirty hair, because, hey, they don't live next to a river, so what would they do? And then I would walk to town and realize that people were bicycling, and they all had good hair (and warm scalps). Here I was, making things way harder than they had to be, when a little knowledge would have gone a long way. Somehow, everyone else is getting clean hair, and they don't think it's a big deal. I don't know why I think I would be the person left out of the knowledge, but there you are. I realized I was having a weird random thought, and I document this because some day I may spend the money to amaze a therapist. Unless I'm really, really normal, which, of course, is what I think...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A bit more clarification

Guess what? A clarification from Julie some time while I was sleeping, and I have to knit more! =) So it really isn't over 'til it's over, and I may pop back to the yarn store today. Maybe. HeeHee. I sort of put everything I had into that scarf yesterday. I mean, gee, at one point I swallowed two Vicodin left over from labor, just to keep going. I'm not sure if I can sign up for another day. Pretty pattern, though!

So hopefully Michelle will keep rocking on, as I'm off to see a play with the hubby this afternoon. Yay for getting out with the hubby! It rarely happens, so I'm going to enjoy it to the fullest, and not think about the bedlam my in-laws will be going through, by watching the kids....

The sun is out! Someone must be smiling on Michigan!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Round 4

Well, today was the fourth round of the Knit-Off. What a trial! Yes, I am done, but I wouldn't be a good blogger if I didn't share the day with you.

I got up at 3:30 a.m., since the pattern has so far come out about 4:15 to 4:30 in the morning, in the last three rounds. I made coffee, pulled out my needles and DK yarn, and settled in for the long haul. And it was a long haul! My competition, Michelle, logged on about an hour after I, and we chatted as we waited for the pattern to come up. What a nice person she is! In Blogland, you can make a friend pretty quickly, and we were soon emailing pics of our kids to each other. We discussed ballet and sports, and it was fun. But time went on, and on, and finally the pattern was posted, at 8:00! That's four and a half hours after I got up. Ouch.

The pattern was an entrelac scarf, that Yarn Monkey had made up herself, and she suggested we learn to knit backwards. Heh. These were two totally new techniques for me, which was, actually, great fun. I loved knitting backwards, and since I'd been kicking around taking an entrelac class, I was pretty happy with the pattern, too. But I mucked it up and ripped five times before I got the side triangles right. Yikes! I was sure I had just knocked myself out of the running, right there. But you know what? My husband is willing to watch all three kids all day long, so I can knit. I did not give up. I think I would have knitted if my competitor had posted after five hours. It's just such a nice way to spend the day.

There were a couple of distractions, of course. My wrists and fingers were killing me, so I made use of a necessary bathroom break to grab some aspirin. I even washed my hands with hot water, so they wouldn't get cold and slow me down! HeeHee. About 3:00 in the afternoon, the sun came out, and I started knitting faster. I think the sun just cheered me up and everything got easier. Yay! I enjoyed the pattern, once I memorized it, and it was just - well, enjoyable. I'm going to find a Thesaurus after this, honestly. My brother brought his seven-week-old puppy over after that. So cute! He had just picked her up. She doesn't even have a name yet. She is the calmest little pooch you would ever want to meet. She'd play, but really wanted to cuddle. My kinda dog, but he wouldn't give her up, so I had to content myself with sending toys and whispering, "If you ever need a place to stay..."

And at the end of the day, the baby had had enough, and insisted that I dance with her. What could I do? Of course I danced, and if I lost because I did, that was cool. Then I had to figure out how to end the scarf, which was a bit confusing, a bit more ripping. Then - success! Huzzah! I love the scarf. It only came out at 10 inches by 32 inches, so my gauge was off, I'm guessing. But I honestly had just a yard or two of the contrasting color left, and I came out with the right number of rows, so that was that. I'll figure out if I'm adding to it or using it as a tuck-in under my coat later. It's very softy... I will definitely knit entrelac again. I can't believe what a beautiful baby blanket this would make.

And that's my day! Hop on over to Michelle and say hi. She's nice as pie. And cross your fingers that I did what I was supposed to, because I couldn't get ahold of the Yarn Monkey all day, and she hasn't actually accepted my entry yet. But I appreciate all the work she's done to hold this Knit-Off. I can't imagine how much coordinating effort it must take. Well, good night all! I owe my husband a little movie time.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I am Marianne Dashwood

I am Marianne Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Heh. Apparently. I loved reading Jane Austen when I was younger and had time. Perhaps it's time to pick up the books again! This nifty little survey says I am "impulsive, romantic, impatient, and perhaps a little too vocal in your honesty. You enjoy romantic poetry and novels, and play the pianoforte beautifully. To boot, your singing voice is captivating. You feel deeply, and love passionately." Trust me, y'all - if my singing voice is captivating, it is because you are tied up and my captive. Or you're just so astonished I have the confidence to get onstage and, like a train wreck, you cannot look away....

I may, however, have to pick up the pianoforte in my spare moments...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Beliefs Falling Like Dominoes

Well, last night was interesting, as these things go. My oldest was very stressed and out of sorts all evening. Finally, I took her into the bathroom to ask what was wrong, as we have a small house, and there is little privacy to be found. She said, "Mom, just tell me." Apparently, the other kids had been telling her one thing (no toothfairy), and she was trying to believe her parents, too. I can understand how that would be stressful. She said she had lost a tooth a week ago, put it under her pillow without telling us, and was just waiting for something to happen that would mean we weren't lying to her. Whoops! So I asked her, if she had a chance to give her child a magical moment, wouldn't she do it? Not good enough, says she. She is a literal child, and needs a flat-out answer. I said, Well, I would give my child magical moments, until she was old enough to try to trap me.... that got a giggle out of her, and we had a nice talk about, since the secret was out, she could help with the next time a tooth needed trading for a gold coin (Sacajawea). I said, personally, I suck at remembering all of my magical commitments, and I could use a little help. She was very impressed with the stash of magical coins, and reassured me I'd done an awesome job. I was just grateful she wasn't crying and disillusioned.

I tucked her in, after swearing her to secrecy. She was so happy! I'm trying not to think about how she has been struggling with her friends at school, even though we all go through these things. I also reminded her not to give kids any revelations who don't understand who does the magic at their house. Everyone has their own pace for trying to trick their parents... hehe. Well, she got up about 20 minutes later and said, "Are you the Easter Bunny?" Whoops. Umm.... yeah, but your dad doesn't know, so shhhhh. That got another smile. You know what's coming, don't you?

This morning, yup, the big question, about St. Nicholas. So I explained that he was real at one time, and parents are simply continuing the magical tradition of a wonderful person. (I'm telling you all this, in case it helps when it's your turn. This all worked very well for me and my daughter) She said, Of all of the things I believed, I believed that one the most. But, really, she wasn't too upset. It helped to make her part of the conspiracy - I mean, magic. My husband also nicely took a moment to explain that all parents try to give their kids these beliefs, and if we hadn't, she would have missed out on a lot of joy her classmates were getting. He was very worried she'd take it personally that we'd, ah, misled her.

I think I handled it all pretty well, and I hope the next one isn't upset when she gets to this age. As I recall, I was around nine, and so was my husband, when we just had to start wondering how those presents and chocolates arrived.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

How Far Would You Go?

If you found out your kids were, say, setting up an experiment to prove or disprove the reality of a childhood icon, maybe a creature known to collect small teeth and leave something in trade, be it a gold coin or a whistle or what-have-you (I think these things change depending on which creature's 'route' you happen to be on), would you actively help these children with their experiment? Would you maybe even tweak the experiment to prove the existence of a childhood icon, in case that particular icon wasn't in the neighborhood that day to prove their own existence? Or would you let the experiment take its own course, acknowledge that the moment of questioning is the moment of growing up, and that soon they'll be asking to shave their legs? Myself, I'm undecided. It actually becomes less of a "Could I continue to convince" and more of a question of "Will this kid be jeered at in school if this scenario is allowed to play out much longer?" Sometimes, it's just easier to pick up a sock....

I got to meet with my knitting group today. We were talking about how good crafts are for kids to do. A friend of mine, at Thanksgiving, assigns a teenager to organize crafts for the younger kids in all of the extended family. I think this is a wonderful idea! The teenager is engaged, not sitting on the stairs wondering why they're in this crazy family, and the kids are all working together, getting a headstart on their Christmas gifts. Having something to do with your hands generates talking, which can only be a good thing when family gets together only a few times a year. I grew up far away from my cousins, and never got to know them well. What I did get to know of them hasn't been the most positive experience, so I generally avoid them. I hang with my aunts, who seem like very nice people. Well, most of them. As I get older, I see more clearly which people around me are more judgemental, less considerate, more selfish. I must have been the coddled niece, because as I see the truer natures of my extended family, I am becoming more discerning about who I want to be friends with, now that I'm an adult. Then I worry that I'm getting judgemental (!!!), so maybe I should organize a craft table for the grown-ups at our next get-together. There is a whole older generation that comes to our family reunions, that I know nothing about. They smile benignly, tell me I look like my mother, and we all stand together for a group picture. Maybe this year I'll bring some beads and glitter, yarn and cardboard, and see if we can't all get to know each other a little better.

A Kitty Vid

My husband sent me this link about cats. It is so funny, you just gotta click on it. Youtube is interesting to me, because people spend all this time coming up with funny and interesting things to post for strangers. The Internet is such a connector, eh? Blogging, sharing videos... feels like we're all living on the same block. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Feels Like a Monday

The kids go back to school today, after a very relaxing spring break. They're pretty sure it was a winter break, though, judging by the amount of snow out the window. Back, back to the grind! Only a few more drama club practices, and we'll be performing A Thousand Cranes, a true story of Sadako Sasaki, a girl who discovers she has leukemia ten years after the atom bomb was released on Hiroshima. It's not a comedy, obviously, but let's cross our fingers that it goes beautifully. I read the script for the hundredth time, and still choke up on the ending. *crossing fingers*

I went to the doctor yesterday. I had an appointment written in my book, but I was absolutely clueless what for. I went, though. I knew they'd charge me for skipping the appointment, so what the hey. The doc came in, we looked at each other for a long minute (no, not a soul-searching look. Found that guy already! hehe) and he said, "Umm, you were having headaches?" OH! Well, I'm better, thanks. Good, good, he says. Off I go. Apparently my headache left along with my memory, but it was a nice trip out of the house.

In a effort to ignore the snowglobe outside my window, I've been planting seedlings for flowers. I have never been a gardener, but things are going well! Now I don't know what to do with these little guys, as they're going to grow out of their little egg shell container pretty quickly, but putting them outside would be murder.

Oh, and a blurry picture of some socks I made for the middle child. Regia cotton sock yarn - love that stuff. I'm wearing a pair right now. I haven't started any more socks, which is unusual for me, but I shall finish a couple of things, darn it! I shall stun you with finished products, soon.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Nothing wrong with homely, if it works...

I've been spinning the last couple of days, since I've left my sock project at my mom's. I really, really like spinning - a lot! I did my first attempt at two-ply, with a black and gray mixed roving that I spun as finely as I could. I thought it came out great! I loved the trick of pulling from the center and outside of the ball, and plying the strands together. (My silly fingers keep typing "playing" instead of "plying". It's early enough that I'm amused by this) So after I finished with the black, I felt it had to sit on the spindle to "set" the fiber, and I still wanted to spin. I talked on and on about knitters and their spindles, and how they would be a fine thing to collect (spindles, not knitters), now that I see how smart spinners are to own more than one spindle. They wouldn't have to stop for the night when they'd finished one roving. They might even be smart enough to have several different projects to spin, depending on their mood. Clever spinners.

My husband left the room and banged about a bit, while I relearned how to watch t.v. without something to do. After a time, with all of the drawer opening and closing, and him running to the basement and back, I figured he was making wine, which was odd, since he hadn't said "I'm going to go make some wine." Well, he came back into the room and said, "You don't have to use this, but I made it for you," and handed me the homeliest spindle. Oh, my. "You don't have to use this, but I made it for you"? I just had to grin. He had put it together with a dowel, canning lid, masking tape, and a hook he swiped from our upstairs curtains. Could it even work? I got out some single ply I didn't know what to do with, and tried the homely little thing out. Guess what? It worked! It wasn't weighted the same, but it actually wasn't bad. Pretty soon, I thought I was plying pretty darned well on it. Then I waxed on about how clever and nice he was to save me from just, well, sitting still, and he sat and soaked it up. What a clever man! (The pictures are bad, but it was late, no good light, etc.)

Here's a picture of some red roving I am spinning, which I got from Knitterly Things. I bought three 4-oz. bats, figuring I'll finally have enough to knit more than a hat with. Definitely going to two-ply it! It was too much fun not to do again.

And, finally, a picture of the slightly bumpy two-plyed black yarn I made, probably a DK weight. I only came up with about 67 yards. It was a two-ounce bat, and I don't know if that's good or not, as far as yardage. Eh, it is what it is. I had fun. Next on my list of things to own is a swift, so when I wind this stuff up before I wash it, it will all be the same length. Then, when it's hung to dry, I won't get parts that are bumpy because they're not pulled straight enough. I have, so far, saved six dollars toward the swift. *snicker* I just have to defend the cache against small people begging for ice cream.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Spinning, a misleading title

I am all caught up on reading all of my blogs! I have 112 feeds that I read, and I love to click on people's blog rolls, which leads to more hook-ups... *sigh* But I caught up! I am knitting away on the second sock for my second child (smile), and I think it's coming along pretty cute. Small socks really make me melt.

This morning, sat down with the sock to work on the heel, and turned on the t.v. For some reason, on the food channel, there was a program titled Spinning. Yay! I clicked it, and some woman was riding a bike. .... Oh, yeah. I guess they did steal the title from an ancient, noble past-time. I kind of remember that from before my spinning days - you know, proper spinning, where you don't sit on, but next to, your wheel. (Well, I don't actually own a wheel, but I know people who do) =) Anyway, I felt a little like someone had held out a birthday cake, then explained that it was cardboard. Ah, well.

Take a kid to the dentist today. I was very bad this morning, and bought a pattern online from ChicKnits, called CeCe. I'm bad because I was going to knit myself a sweater for spring, and I can only see this for my good friend M. But how to sneakily find out her inches-through-the-bust measurement, without looking totally weird and too friendly? It can't be done. I may have to fess up, or talk to her husband. Oh - oh! I could borrow a shirt, or find out her shirt size. I love typing as I think, don't you?

Monday, April 02, 2007

I don't have a kitten...

... but look at the cuteness that surrounds me, anyway! She even looks longingly out the window on rainy days, like kitties do. Her purr is a little rattley, but she's working on it.

Here's some more cuteness, and I'm not just talking about the hats! Clearly we're not going to get any good sunlight for a few days, and I want to post a pic of some knitting, even if it is from last week. Hermione hats! (I know, you've heard about them before) Next small project to take along will be matching mittens for Christmas gifts. One of the hats has been subtly admired by a friend *waves* so a set may be coming her way. But I'm not making them for the whole gang, so let's get that clear right now! Heh.

Kids home this week for vacation, so we'll be making some fairy fizz today, which is a combination of pineapple juice, cherry juice, honey and fruit. I'm not so sure it sounds yummy, but then again, it's not for me =) Then I don't know what. I had planned on working on a flower bed today, but it's chilllllly. Mmmm, maybe fairy fizz and cookies?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Saturday Madness

Yesterday was a special day at our local Resort, as it was the Nickelodeon weekend. Spongebob and Patrick were represented, as well as Dora and a very tall bear that I didn't recognize. My nephew came up for it to celebrate his birthday, and his two sisters' birthdays are today. I was so happy when I realized my girls would be able to get tickets! They were sold out, but my brother's mother-in-law did some sort of magic that I don't have access to. Then, Friday night, I realized that Saturday was the third round of the Knit-Off. Yikes! So I set my alarm for 4:00 a.m., and figured I'd do my best. I'll try to encapsulate what followed, so it doesn't drag on too long.

Pattern posted at 4:30 a.m. I've missed the start off point of the last two rounds, so I was sure I was up. I should have showered first thing - what was I thinking?? Knitted for half an hour, realized I had increased in every single stitch instead of just the end ones, and ripped it out. I was up against a fast knitter named Paula, so already I'm thinking that knocked me out of things, but it was a really cute bag pattern, and I knitted on. Everyone in the family pitched in to help me participate. Here is, actually, how I had breakfast: my daughter feeding me bites as I knitted. I take Paula very, very seriously. (She was the person I was pitted against - a very fast knitter. Oh, did I already say that?)

When we absolutely had to leave for the resort, I threw on some clothes, brushed my dirty hair, and went out the door with no makeup, but my knitting. Twenty minutes later, I realized we hadn't brought my laptop, so I couldn't post finished pictures anyway, and I thought, "Well, that's that," and dropped my needles. Then I remembered my mom, who nearly always saves me. My husband called her, since I was again knitting, and yes, she said she could bring the laptop. I always drive when we go anywhere, because I get car sick otherwise. I had taken a Dramamine before we left, but we still had to pull over twice so I could heave by the side of the road. (I told my husband that a good blogger husband would have snapped a pic, but he said we could recreate it. I'm thinking maybe not.) Luckily, I'd only eaten toast. Then I was back in the car, knitting again 'til we got to the resort, where I realized I had knitted two inches too far and had to rip. Grrr. All of the family there was very supportive of the knitting, also, so I knitted in the room, then as everyone walked around. I was knitting eye cord by the afternoon. No one approached me to admire my choice of neon green and blue, but no one told me to put the sticks away, either.

When I was done with the cording, I raced back to the room, woke my sister-in-law up from her nap (sorry!) and plugged in the laptop. My hands were shaking, I was so sure I wouldn't get in in time. And then I thought my computer wasn't working, because there weren't any emails in my in-box. I think everyone else was knitting just as furiously. The first round, we chatted and chatted on-line while we knitted. Yesterday, not a blip from anyone in the competition. But yay, I got the picture posted in time, and I go on to Round 4! I feel bad, actually. I don't know. I guess this is why I don't compete. I don't actually like competitions where people win and lose, even if I'm holding my own.

April Fool's day today, so I have to think of some ways to get the kids. They already switched beds on me, and I screamed when I went in to wake them up. They loved it. =)

By the by, that photo is a result of much begging and pleading on my part to get the man in the room to hold the bag. I was desperate to get the picture in. I should have handed him the camera, but I wasn't thinking straight. What a trooper! I should add also that he is very secure in his manliness, exudes testosterone, and is envied by many other manly men for his prowess at hunting and living in the wild....