Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Knitting Zone

I finally took a break this morning from all of the school preparations, housekeeping, parenting and home business nonsense, and picked up my knitting. With Spongebob in the background, and my three-year-old laying by my feet, repeatedly dropping Pooh Bear toys on her head and saying, "Ow. Ow. Ow," at last I reached the blissful state that concentrated knitting can give you. I zoned out, following a pattern (Christmas gift - I can't show you) that I had to concentrate on. I couldn't even stop to answer the phone, as I might lose my place. Ahhhhh. Wonderful peace. Can't you just feel the stress losing its hold on you for a minute? I've been trying to get near my knitting for more than one row for days. Honestly, I think this is better than Xanax.

Back in the stress-giving world of nonknitting, I took my kids to the school openhouse last night. My oldest daughter is in a class with many of her friends, which made me breathe a sigh of relief. School can be hard, and all the worse if the people around you close you out. Thank heavens I don't foresee a year like that for her this year. My younger daughter's best friend moved away this summer, and she doesn't have a single friend in her class. I'm a little concerned for her, even though she's a friendly child. She gets very nervous about school, and this year she keeps looking around and seeing things she did with last year's friend. It's almost like she's the new kid at this school, and has to find a friend to hang with. And it's not that she's not likeable. So far she hasn't found anyone she likes that well. She'll loosen up, and I'm sure things will work out.

In the meantime, I am gearing up for the activity that comes with entertaining a three-year-old by myself. If I lived closer to Del, we could throw our kids together with some Hostess cupcakes, and not have to turn into circus clowns to keep them happy. (Right now my little one's being Super Monkey on the back of the couch. Gotta go.....)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Beachy Picture For You

How's this for a way to spend an end-of-summer day? We live by this water and can visit it all the time, so of course we only go there a couple of times a summer. Locals. It's terrible to take this huge body of water for granted, isn't it? But we make the most of it when we can get there. You can find Petoskey stones on this beach, when the waves aren't knocking you around. Seriously fun.

I have a picture here of a Webkinz, posing with some spinning that needs to be two-plyed. He felt he wasn't getting any blog time, and was beginning to feel unimportant. Poor little guy. I'm trying to figure out how many yards I get out of two ounces, four ounces, et cetera, of roving. Only my experiment has come to a screeching halt, because, having successfully kept the house clean for an entire week (last week, not this one), I have lost the spinning. I've looked everywhere. Now I've thought back on it, and the last time I remember seeing it was at church, when I was being a maniac about the dishrag tag. Haven't seen it since. I wonder what happened between there and my home? Because I'm pretty sure I brought it out to the car with me, and there was no big bag of spinning and knitting laying on a table when I was at church on Sunday. Seriously, I need a homing device that helps me find things once I clean.

Pretty, no? My mom and I also took a turn at making spindles. (Don't you love that my daughter wanted to try a very small flower pot?) They came out okay for us being newbies, and I'll likely try again. I need more spindles. I've misplaced one.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Finally, my package for the Dishrag Tag came, and it was the most joyful 90 minutes of my week. After opening it up, I found a very awesome dishcloth, nice and large, and some gifties! A mini-stocking blocker and instructions for making those itty bitty little socks, as well as stitch markers and extra dishcloth yarn! Yay, and many thanks to Carol!

As fast as I could, I knitted up one of the skeins, and put in two fresh ones, plus the dishcloth, to send to Kathy, for her turn. I also put in a soap sock and some stitch markers made by my good friend Arleta, who graciously agreed to run home for me and get them, so I could get my package to the post office sooner. You gotta love friends.

Then, in complete disregard of my husband's opinions on the matter, I tossed all the kids at our knitting group on top of the car and let them pose with the dishcloth. They had fun, and it took me back to the summers of my youth, when people didn't care if kids climbed all over their cars. Paint job, schmaint job. He can consider this, in effect, telling him that I put kids on the car, since he should be reading my blog like any other good husband. Heehee.

And here's some picks of Arleta's new obsession, spinning (and winding), and the box that she takes everywhere with her, cuz she doesn't want to be caught without her roving. So cute! It just makes me happy seeing all of those colors, most of which, by the way, she dyed her very own self. She's a wizard with color, I tell you.

And as to colors and wizardry, I have to recommend Amy from Spunky Electric. She has a huge selection of rovings, yarns, et cetera (those are the two I search through), and her customer service rocks. She's answered many questions for me, even when I had a tight hold on my purse strings, and she's always been extremely quick to respond, and very friendly. When I have money, I spend it on her. That's my plug for the week, and I'm not the only one who thinks she has a great store. So check it out, if you're an on-line shopper.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Back to the Basics

It's fall, folks, or close enough to count. I've been canning peaches, which is a sure sign. I've also been spinning. This is what mohair looks like, when you're not very good at washing it so that it doesn't have any wrinkles!

I've been baking bread and making pies and cleaning the house, and I don't know what all. My husband says I'm all a-glow, and he'd think I was pregnant if it weren't scientifically impossible. So why the nesting instinct? It's gotta be these

soon to be riding this.

Another school year about to make my life as crazy as possible. So I thought I'd start spending a few minutes a day sitting quietly, trying to figure out how to avoid being so busy. (It's not going well) They've already joined soccer, 4-H (bunnies), still in choir, and we teach a drama club. Hmmm. Friday night football games, and our week's all sewn up, folks! And it's a testament to our summers that I always want a few more week with the kids. I love snow days as much as they do =) Here's a couple of pictures of the summer camping trip. We live in a beautiful area, and this view is less than half an hour away. It's been a great summer, the best one yet.

So I'm not complaining. I'm just trying to get my head around the idea of fall.

Hey, shawl knitters! Anyone else have any pictures they'd like me to post? We've got a couple more weeks here, and then I'm doing the final fiber drawing, and a little shawl recap. It was fun, wasn't it? Let me know if there are any more updates, and I'll take care of those. In the meantime, I've got another water balloon fight to plan.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

When they don't know you're listening

Last night, my seven-year-old was on the phone with her friend, who has recently moved to Maryland. I am a fly on the wall, or nearly so, as I'm invisibly working on my computer around the corner. Here is the conversation, as I heard it:

"Women are multi-talented. We can multitask. My mom multitasks all over the place!"


"At night, when she reads to us, she holds the book open with her foot, reads us a story, and knits, knits, knits. It's amazing! That's three things she's doing at once! She's holding the book open with her foot, reading, and knit, knit, knitting."

I'm cringing a little at the picture, but proud that she's proud enough to brag on me to her friends. Needless to say, at reading time last night, I hunted around until I found a pair of mittens to start. Plain knitting is really almost a must for reading time. =)

I have some photos from the Relay for Life the other day. Arleta was face painting away. She does a beautiful job, and it was so hot! I beat feet out of there when I saw how red my daughter's face was. Here's some pics! (Sorry about the face you're sorta making, Arleta, but you still look pretty, this shows the left side of your face, which you wanted to see)

Here's some final pics of the birthday party. I thought it was cute that the kids were putting the candles on the cake. Very crazy, leaning candles.

And here's the princess herself. Isn't she pretty? I'm so proud of my mom. If you've been reading this blog for any time, you know that. She raised us four kids on such a small amount a year, you'd call me a liar if you knew. And put herself through nursing school, and somehow stayed connected and on top of every little thing we tried to get away with. Oh, and she's still in charge. She made me cut her hair one day, with no notice. She had really long hair, but she was determined I was going to cut it! So this is the final look, and aside from the fact that she probably could have gotten it cut even shorter, this is what she got. I saved it for Locks of Love, so now I need to figure out how to donate it. If you know, pass me some information, ay?

In the meantime, happy knitting!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sun, fun, and a Happy Birthday to Mom!

I have two blog entries in the works - yay me! The first I wanted to share, though, was Friday, when my nieces stayed the night, and Arleta and her daughter came over. Water balloon fights! Whee! All was going well, until Arleta suggested I wasn't wet enough, and they ganged up on me. *sigh* What could I do? I had to go and get the hose to defend myself. There were just too many of them, and only the one of me. Actually, Arleta got much more soaked than I did, and she was probably a better sport about it. And afterward, nice tasty summer watermelon. Only a few more weeks of this sort of action, so we're enjoying it all we can.

That morning, I decided to work a bit on my Christmas gifts, and got out the Hermione mitten to go with the hats I made and put away. I put it on, added stitches to the thumb, tried it on again, decided it needed to be a bit longer... then decided that either my hands were large-ish, or I hadn't worked gauge out correctly. I have always believed myself to be fairly normally put together (thanks, mom!), so it had to be gauge. I tugged out the mitten and cast on again. The Hermione pattern is much fun, and I'd suggest it to anyone. This mitten was just too snug for me, and I couldn't deceive myself any longer about it. "Blocking out" isn't a theory that works well with mittens, since they'll just revert to their previous shape when you actually use them in the snow. *sigh*

I did put some girls to knitting their own gifts. Look at the concentration on their faces! Much good comes of passing these things on. In a few years, I see many gifts coming my way... *crossing fingers*

And on a final note for this part of my entry, look at the neat stitch markers! Arleta makes and sells em, very darned reasonably, too, if you're searching for a cute little gift. She has an Etsy shop, also. I buy these things and tuck them in all over the place. One of these goes to my mom (Happy Birthday, Mom!), and one goes as a prize to the Dishrag Tag.

And, last but never least, let's all join together to a hummed rendition of Happy Birthday to Mom.... as she's a great lady, and works very hard to always be there for all of us. If there was a medal for "Heart", she'd be wearing a load of them. Thanks, Mom, for everything! Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

So Many Pretty Things

This shawl knitalong has been so much fun. I can't even tell you. It has gone far beyond anything that I may have expected of it, though I didn't really think of the ending when I was at the beginning, you know? Just seeing people finishing up and showing off their work is so inspiring! I am now a shawl addict, and I've only finished one myself. But I've gotten to enjoy many, many more. And I love the pictures where people are modeling the shawls. They look so happy!

With everyone finishing up and getting close, does this mean that summer is almost over? Now I wonder if we should have been knitting slower, make summer last longer... Oh, don't look so nervous! There's weeks and weeks left. No reason to go school clothes shopping yet. Deep in denial is a good place to be.

Asa from knittingnutter has nearly finished her shawl - just binding off! This is the most current picture I have, but I'll be putting up the new one as soon as she does!

Brigitte is four rows from finishing Kiri!

LaurieM is working on the border of her Frost Flowers and Leaves.

Tala's Luna Moth shawl is racing along.

Here is Cheryl with her curved shawl, which is looking great.

Jen of Out of the Basket has finished her Cozy shawl, and her daughter looks lovely posing with it. Beautiful work! Congratulations on being done!

I am so very, very impressed with everyone's knitting. I keep chattering on about it while my husband is trying to work. I'd better go now. Great job, you knitters! Keep rocking on!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Fiber Acquisition

It was the first fiber festival I've ever been to! I went with my very good friends, Mom and Arleta. See? A picture. Proof. I met Jae, who designed an awesome shawl. It was in the fashion show (there was a fashion show - fun!). It's an amazing design, I can't even imagine all the work that went into it. It's a huge, beautiful shawl that's just what I want next. She's still working on the pattern, though.

My shawl got worn around, and people were very kind about commenting on it. Arleta got more comments than I, however, as she was very clever, and made an "Arleta's Motley Wool" t-shirt. She's really pretty well-known in the fiber world. We had to keep wandering on to the next booth without her, she met so many people that knew her.

In one of the booths, a very nice lady showed us how to knit with roving. Spinning left out! Apparently it's not necessary, after all =) She was nervous about me taking a picture (apparently NOT a blogger), so I blocked out her nametag. The knitting with roving was really neat, though, and she was making a scarf. And once I thought about it, why not? I sucked all the knowledge I could from her, and then my mom bought the roving to actually do the technique, and make a hat. Because, honestly, if I bought something from every person I begged for knowledge, I wouldn't be making my house payment this month. (I cleverly waited to pay the house payment until after the festival, just in case)

I plagued all spinners I saw, and I learned a bunch. I can now spin as fine as a thread, without predrafting a long line of roving first. Very neat. I bought several spindles and many rovings with materials I hadn't worked with before (like, anything not just merino), like bamboo and silk and tencil (what is tencil?). I really wanted the roving with the bunny fur worked in, it was so soft. But, unfortunately, I'd already borrowed twenty bucks from my mom, and I thought I'd better stop. I've thought of that roving ever since.

I was very excited to find sheep shearing. I have seen it when I was younger, but it had been awhile. The sheep was very docile, but I was informed it was because this man was sitting on his head. I'm so easily impressed. This festival has nearly convinced me to buy hand carders. I feel like I'm being sucked down into a yarny black hole, and I might as well give up and buy an alpaca.

And here's the big ta-da! I met - *met* - Sharon from Aurora Alpacas*! She designed, as you can see from the picture, the Dragone shawl. I was so excited, it was like meeting a celebrity. (Yes, just like that, because she is one) I fussed on her, called her a genius, made her pose for a picture, and basically embarrassed Arleta, who claims I told her I loved her. *ahem* Moving on....

She was so nice! We chatted about her other designs (she has three in the works), and she showed me her Pegasus shawl (knitted on #2 needles - ouch), and I bought a very pretty pattern, Misty Morning, from her. Speaking of buying things, here is my fiber acquisition:

Merino and Bamboo, spins like a dream. May end up being laceweight for the Dragone shawl.
Merino and Tencel, I'm trying to figure out how to spin it so it's not variegated, but solid colors.
Alpaca and Bombyx silk, I am scared to spin. It feels so soft, it's like hair, silky, silky. I had to own it, but I'm not sure when I'll get the nerve to spin it.
And camel roving! From - well, wherever this particular camel lived. I'm impressed. I only bought an ounce, but it was only four bucks, and it'll be fun to try something really different. I'll have to spin it along with something else, which, again, I haven't done before. I'm sure I'll update with pictures, though!

For now, I'm spinning the Merino/Bamboo, and a neat Mohair, which is going to have to stay single-ply, as it will be SO chunky if I two-ply it. But enough pictures. That was my weekend! How was yours?