Sunday, November 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
It went very smoothly, but I had to layer the yarn so it wouldn't tangle as I was winding it.
I'm keeping my eye on my yarn meter as I go, watching the numbers go up. Suddenly, I realize that the yarn meter only goes to 999, and I'm about to roll it over. It's actually late enough at night that I'm wondering what I'm going to do. I had about decided to write down "1000" and then begin the numbers again when my brain caught up. I could just add 1000 to whatever number the meter gave me when I was done. I'm really glad I thought of that before I got out the pen and paper.
And when I was finished, here was the final number. That's a 19, sorry about the crappy lighting and bad angle. So that's 1019 feet of yarn, divided by 3 to get yards, and it's 340 yards. 340 yards from just under 4 ounces! I had to say that again. That's a lot of yarn to do on a spindle, if I do mention it myself. Very cool. And it's a bit nubbly, a bit of color changing, and a bit thick-and-thin. I love it. I hope Arleta loves it, cuz I love her. It's good to have her as a friend. Happy Birthday (belated), Arleta!
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Each year, my husband and I help to host a pumpkin carving extravaganza at our church, and we'd better get on it. It's nearly October! I think we'll toast pumpkin seeds this year while we're there, and show everyone how to do it. We have a local expert come in and give the kids tips, hand them safety knives, and watch them go. Some parents get involved and are really creative with their pumpkins. I think there's an artist hidden away in all of us, and who can resist a big orange gourd for a canvas?
My daughter is having consecutively harder days in preschool. It's quite an adjustment, having to get along with other kids! She's a good-natured child, except for naptime, but her Id is present and accounted for at preschool. When I picked her up Friday, she was tucked in a corner, angry and crying. Her teacher had accidentally broken her marshmallow and toothpick construction, and there was no forgiveness in sight! It's a rare thing for one of my children to grump at a teacher, but it looks like this kid is the one. So I finally gave up having her grant forgiveness, and I took her to the store, where we bought more toothpicks and marshmallows. Then we spent the afternoon building a marshmallow building to be proud of.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
(Deleted so everyone can keep uploading the blog who have landlines. If you want to see the video, it's at this page)
Friday, September 19, 2008
And I'm so excited! The new Yarn Harlot book should be out soon, and as I was preordering it, I found the 2009 Calendar she's published. Woot! So I shall be very occupied when these items come in the mail, and the family will have to live off of the frozen dinners I am preparing in... well, preparation. I'm also starting a scarf for my oldest daughter, who is very difficult to knit for. Everything has to fit just so. When I brought home some red/pink roving from the last fiber festival, she right away grabbed it and asked for a lace scarf. I was so happy she wanted something from my needles, I just nodded and grabbed a spindle. The fiber was 2.8 ounces of Merino/Bamboo from Yarn Hollow, which is just great to spin, really. I've spun with bamboo several times now, and I think I'm an addict. (I'll let you know if my supply ever dwindles. That will be a sure tell.) It spun into 246 yards of a fine fingering weight. In parts, of course, because I'm not the most consistent spinner, it's nearly a laceweight. No matter, because the scarf is for show, not warmth, and it can be as lacy as it wants. The pattern is from Knitty, Argosy, and it's great fun to knit. I'm twitching to get back to it right now.
Things will be revving up soon for drama club and after school sign language classes, as well as teaching spinning to the third graders, which Arleta and I did last year. I am trying not to feel like I have to knit so much for the holidays. Everyone loves handmade gifts in my family, but I want to stay sane. Therefore, I think I shall sew this year, table runners and wallhangings, napkin sets, etc. They go faster than knitting, and will throw everyone a curve ball if they were expecting socks. If you all go crazy with knitting for the holidays, I will enjoy reading your blogs and allowing myself an extra cup of hot cocoa =)
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
One of the things that I like about bloggers' birthdays is when they put pics up of when they were little. All those 70's pictures (or 60's or 80's) are fun to look back on. So here's some pics of the younger me and my three brothers, back in around 1973 =)
Monday, September 08, 2008
Here are some pictures of a new technique I've been doing. Well, it's not new, but it's new to me. It's called Cathedral Windows, and it's a way of turning fabric so you have a 3D effect. It is entirely hand-done, which I like, and it's harder than it looks, which I also like. I'm odd that way. These would work as potholders, but I'm thinking of them more as tabletoppers, trivets or little wallhangings. You could do a whole quilt this way, and I hear some people do. I just can't imagine turning all of those edges and tacking them down, in an entire quilt.
Send your pictures and comments on the pushup challenge to my email address. Careful, though. I'm likely to post the before and after picture of the winner. Don't worry, I'll post my own picture first =)
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Pip the evil, doesn't-know-his-own-size rooster has been getting all territorial again, though. I'm not sure my husband took it really seriously (you know that feeling that they're patting your head, even if they're not touching you?) but he went over to help with him when I had to do the animals. I grabbed my camera. Heh heh. Now, it's my back-up camera to the back-up camera, so it's not great, and I couldn't get a picture of the bird in air attacking him. You'll have to trust me. It was a thing to behold. I didn't wish my husband attacked or anything, but I felt a certain smugness when the bird did what I expected it to do. Here's a totally sucky picture of him just before the bird flew up and tagged his hand with his leg spurs.
My hubby then chased that bird all around the yard, with Pip occasionally pecking for his legs, as the opportunity came open. You'll see that he believed me enough to wear protective clothing. We've all begun to make sure we're wearing jeans before we check the animals. My oldest, who doesn't like to wear a coat in the winter, has searched through her drawers for long-sleeved clothing. You're just not as nervous about little beaks or mosquitos when you're adequately clothed. Anyway, when Pip finally darted into the bushes to get away, my husband let him and called the game over. Then the bird crowed, and hubby went crashing back into the bushes after him. We heard a squawk and a lot of branches getting broken, and now Pip pretty much stays away when my husband is there.
See how I keep saying "my husband"? That's because the bird is in no way scared of me anymore, just the crazy guy who lunges at him.
I do have some knitting. My oldest daughter got a job this year at a beading shop, one day a week. I was proud of her for taking on the responsibility, and I was really happy with the owner for being so nice to her. My kid got to make a piece of jewelry a week, and the owner was really positive and always said how much she liked her. We decided to make her a present, and I asked what her favorite colors were. She said, "Purple, and Incredible Hulk green!" Whew! What was I supposed to do with that? But I actually found some yarn I thought I could work with, and made her some fingerless hand mitts to wear while she beaded in the winter. The yarn, Ella Rae Mosaic, was bulky, and I knit these with size 6 needles, so it was really a two-day project. I liked them, and they're very comfy. Then my oldest wrote her a Thank You card, and we slid it into the gift bag, along with a jar of homemade peach jam (still warm - mmmm).
With summer closing down, though, I dropped my kid off for her last day of work last Friday, then went home with the other two kids. An hour and a half later, she calls and is crying, "Mom, she fired me. Can you come and get me?" My daughter said she couldn't find enough work to do, and didn't understand how to do custom orders, and the boss finally yelled at her and told her she could go home. So I piled the kids in the car, in the pouring rain (that's important, since my daughter was waiting outside the shop), and went to get her, not sparing the gas. I know there are two sides to every story, and my patient husband has taught me many things about talking things over calmly, and reasonably approaching a problem. But a little voice from Carrie Past kept asking, "What person fires a kid on their last day?" I did, however, bring along the gift, since things frequently turn out for the best, despite my worries. So I come into the shop and the owner smiles at me, very pleasant and happy. In retrospect, I think she was faking it. I ask where my daughter might be, and she looks blank and a bit worried. You see, she let my daughter go outside twenty minutes before, and has no idea where she is. I take that in stride, and ask what happened before I got the phone call. "Oh," she says, "she was having a hard time staying busy, and wouldn't work on a custom order, so I had to keep giving her jobs to do." Okayyyyy. Sounds fairly normal to me. "Finally I said she could go home if she couldn't find enough to do." Oh, says I. She thinks she's been fired, did you know? "No, no," says the nice owner, "She can come back. It's a misunderstanding, I'm sure." So I hand over her gift and say, "This feels weird now, but we made this for you to say thank you. I'll talk to my daughter and give you a call."
At this point, I see my daughter outside on the sidewalk, and I skedaddle. After giving her a hug, I walk her to the car, and listen on the way home to a completely different version of things, where the owner's voice kept getting louder, and she was gritting her teeth, 'til finally my daughter was scared of her. When told she could go home, my daughter thought she'd been fired and left, which I totally get. I leave when people are gritting their teeth at me and tell me to go, too. So from what I understand, my daughter didn't know how to do custom orders, couldn't find any more beads to sort, and was faking being busy. Then she got spoken to from gritted teeth from an increasingly frustrated lady, and thought she was fired. What a rotten way to end your last day at work. She probably won't want a job now 'til she's 18. And I can't even imagine the bead shop owner is going to enjoy those mitts, no matter how cushy they are.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The story I have to tell is about one of the roosters, named Pip. He has a bad habit of chasing kids, and if you try to swat him away, he takes it as a challenge and flies at you. The first morning we were there, the kids came over and said, "Pip is attacking us!" I have a special sore spot for about anything attacking my kids, so I grabbed a near shovel and said, "Show me where he is." And by golly if he hadn't put himself right between my car and the chicken coop, which was where we had to go. He faced off with me for a minute, and none of my shooing and hand flapping was having any effect at all. Finally, he charged at me, and I had to swing the shovel, people. I mean, that beak looked pretty sharp, and he looked quite determined in his attacking of me. So I smacked him with the shovel, moving him back several feet, and then he charged me again. We went along like this a few times, til finally I yelled at him and gave him a good shove that picked him up off the ground and into the horse pen, where we both tried to decide if we were done. I don't even mind admitting that I was really, really mad. Yelling mad. Pick up a chicken and cook him for dinner kind of mad, if I had more than a passing knowledge of how to accomplish that. What I did know was that we weren't going to be able to go through this routine every morning to get to the chicken coop. Something was going to have to give.
So I called my friends on vacation - yeah, the very first day - and explained the problem. It went along the lines of "I think I'm going to have to kill your rooster" and them saying "Go ahead." Really, it was that simple. They knew that bird was a problem, and I think they were hoping that I'd take care of it for them while they were gone. After all, I'd said many, many times, "I do believe I would cook that rooster, if he were mine." And they'd laugh or say they were saving him because he made pretty little chickens. But I'd go so far as to say they encouraged me this time. And I'm not so far removed from how we get our food that I think it's wrong to kill a chicken, as long as it's quick. Quick was exactly what I wanted, too.
So I went back over there that night, armed with a determined attitude, even though I had never actually caught a chicken myself, let alone an attacking rooster. And I looked for that fowl. Really looked. Around the house, up in the trees, by the coop, in the bushes... I finally found him, among all the other roosters, making himself very small. Seriously. I looked at that bird, and he ducked his head and made a little noise. And it wasn't a challenging noise, either. So there I was, having said I was going to kill this bird, ready to do what I had to to make it happen, and he was acting like a rabbit. Rats. Or not rats, depending on whether I felt I had to do what I had set out to do. Was I a girl of my word or not??
In the end, though, I couldn't kill him. He was acting like we had reached an understanding on whether or not I could let the chickens out of their coop in the morning and put them back in at night. I haven't had any problem since, though we may need to have another discussion or two before the weeks are up. I guess I'm a girl of my word, as long as it doesn't involve smacking something not giving me a problem. Kind of anti-climactic, but a relief at the same time. My kids were grateful that my credibility was damaged, in this case, anyway - except for my middle child, who was really looking forward to having a chicken dinner.
This is a picture of Pip taken from behind a fence, which is where he is now hiding from me. He even ducks under the stairs every time I arrive, but gets braver the longer I'm there. Silly bird still doesn't know he's mortal....
Monday, August 18, 2008
Anyway, the fourth week doesn't look hard on paper, but it really kind of is. I can now do 25 pushups straight, which makes me happy, but next week is supposed to be another big jump, like Week Three. Or you can redo Week Four if you need to, before going on. I say, MULLIGAN. My husband and I are redoing Week Four, and will finish the six week program a week late. Still, when you do the entire set for Week Four's third day, you are doing at least 104 pushups! Cool! Now I need a sit-ups program - even though I haven't successfully done a sit-up since my third Cesarean - and I'll be happy. I can't say that my arms have appreciably changed, though, so I don't know that this "before and after contest" will be showing pictures of huge contrasts in musculature. Maybe I could take pictures like they do in the skin-care ads, and slightly change how I'm standing, or the angle of the shot, to make my arms look more ferocious. Yeah....
Sunday, August 17, 2008
And I figured out that some very interesting things happen when you let your carrots grow too closely together. They twist around each other, meld together to become more than just themselves. I would even venture to say that, with so little distance between themselves, they are communicating and perhaps evolving into something more.
Aren't they pretty?
So tell me, then, if you would, what is wrong with this carrot???
I know. I, too, thought the garden was rated G, but I was wrong. This aberration was well on his way to becoming a little carrot person, and what would have happened then?? We'll go to pull them, and they'll rise up like little root soldiers, well equipped (ahem) to conquer the garden and claim it as their own. And I'll let them, because, honestly, this is just too freaky to handle. Don't you think?
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
At midnight before the last day of knitting, the actual witching hour, I was feeling great. I had probably 2 1/2 hours of knitting left before bind-off, and for me, that's plenty of time. Then I looked at the pattern again, finding my place, and my eyes traveled down a bit. And there, right there next to all my other instructions, were instructions of how to do twelve finishing rows to complete the design, before binding off. I mean, it wasn't hidden on the next page, italicized or even in small print. It was right there next to all of the other instructions I've been referring to since spring. I just couldn't believe it. At 20 to 30 minutes a row, since we were increasing constantly, I was looking at four to six hours of knitting, beyond my initial estimate. I stared at the wall for a minute, thinking, "I can't do it. It's actually not going to get done." Even after all of the stolen moments here and there, the gallons of coffee, the faking that I wasn't concerned about time, I was actually not going to make it. I explained the situation to my husband, who could tell something was up. He said, "No. You can do it. You can." And I figured, what the heck. I can at least try. If I give it to her on the needles, that's how it was going to get given, because at this point I was not going to go with a gift certificate.
And with my second wind, I knit for two-and-a-half hours, with my husband sitting beside me. If he wasn't actively cheering me on, he was at least staying up with me. Then we went to bed, I laid there staring at the wall for two hours, then got back up. I mean, who can sleep with that much knitting looming in front of you? And I knit the rest of the rows, finishing before church. My hands were a little shaky, probably from caffeine overload, but I just slowed down a wee bit and kept knitting. After all, the gift was for my mom, who not only gave birth to me, but she got me through the teen years and countless other traumas and bad decisions made by yours truly. I could give her gift a few more hours. And sleep? Pffft. I can overcome the need for sleep, short-term, anyway.
There I was, with over 400 stitches on the needles, counting carefully to make sure I'd done my last set of increases correctly. My daughters were watching Curious George, and my husband was making more coffee (good guy). Suddenly, the man in the big yellow hat started counting beans or something, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202.... frantically, I started counting out loud myself, 281, 282, 283, 284.... yikes! I wanted to laugh, but I didn't want to lose count, so I kept counting and didn't look up. And you want to talk nervous? Nervous is when you're getting down to the last bit of counting, and there are a small amount of stitches left, and you're just praying it comes out right. And it did. Hallelujah and thank the stars, at 413 stitches it was time for bind-off.
I will quickly go through the binding off part, how it was too tight, I pulled it out and redid it, it was still too tight, I cried a bit, then got on the Internet and looked for the amendment to the pattern that had to be there. Nope. Some folks had a bit of problem with the bind off, but there were no changes to the pattern. So after pulling it out twice, I sat down and just knit it like it said, thinking, "This is it. This is the way to do it, I'm doing it, and how it ends is how it ends." And all the time I'm writing my blog entry in my head, evil statements and grumblings that I was going to post to all and sundry about this terrible bind off. But just like knitting in a pocket on a sweater, when you trust the instructions and don't overthink it, it comes out fine. And so we get on to how it ends, the pictures.
Now, right here I had written: I give you (well, okay. I give my mom) the Kiri Shawl:
and normally would have inserted some pictures. But Blogger will. not. do. it. I am ready to throw the computer out the window, if it would fly through webland and smack someone at Blogger upside the head. So instead I will have to link it to my Flickr account, and you can travel and see if, if you've a mind to.
I knit it with Fino, Alpaca with a Twist, 70% baby alpaca/30% silk. It took less than a skein, even with an entire extra repeat. Due to my tight gauge this year, the shawl only came out six feet wide, which is what it was supposed to do without that extra repeat. But things worked out fine, even with the tight gauge, so I'm happy. Happy Birthday, Mom! I don't know how you made parenting look so darned easy, but you did a great job. Have a great day.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
My nephews also came up last week, and we have had so much fun just enjoying the summer. We got out to the beach and our local lighthouse, the waterpark, dragon-egg exploring (dragons and fairies are very popular around here), and in general used the summer for what it should be used for, and enjoyed it very much.
Now, poked here and there into all of the canning, exploring, gardening and swimming, were flashes of knowledge that a birthday was coming up. It's for my mother, and it's a big birthday. I'd post which one, but I'd better get permission first, even thought it's absolutely inconceivable that this number could be true. Anyway, it is coming up, and I knew what I wanted to make her. Well, first, I wanted to make her something, and I knew what she wanted, but it was a big project. And I didn't leave myself very much time. Well, I'd started her gift months ago, then set it down in favor of more immediate concerns, like teachers' gifts and - well, you know how it goes. In fact, I finally sat down a few days ago and figured out how much knitting was left, and it translated to ten hours of knitting. That's ten straight hours, when I had to pretend I wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary, and go visiting and adventuring and all that. So I've been trying to knit at night, after putting up freezer corn and taking a swipe at the dishes.
NO, it's not done. Geez Louise, her birthday is Tuesday, so I expect I'll be done some time Tuesday morning. I did however spend a couple of hours with Johnny Depp last night, enjoying his fluid pirating skills and the occasional scene with Orlando Bloom. Not so great for concentrating on knitting, but definitely I didn't fall asleep. Besides, I'd seen it before, so I could look up at the really good spots.
Now today is the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and my family is running a free car wash for four hours. I've washed every towel in the house, and I need to stop and buy drinks and sunscreen before we go. Then most likely friends will come for dinner, and knitting will again be a midnight endeavor. Ah, the endorphin thrill of leaving things to the last minute ...
I'll leave you with a knitting picture. Arleta made bags for Mel and I when we went to the fiber festival. These bags are made from Cottonease, the colors they no longer make. She depleted stash for us! And these bags grow and grow as needed, and will hold a lot of fiber. It was actually impossible to fill our bags. It was cool. What a sweet friend, don't you think? She didn't even have time to make one for herself, and had to listen to people compliment ours all day. (No, no. We gave credit, and she had to explain the pattern again and again. I think she liked it).
I'm off now, but I feel better for having downloaded my thoughts. Hope you're having a good week!
Sunday, August 03, 2008
So we turned off the breakers in the basement, and the kids pitched in and spent the first night canning beans. I had more help then I could believe, and I began to understand why I really had had children. One of them was snipping ends, one was snapping to the correct size, and I was hot-packing them into jars. Oh, baby. Then we read by candlelight, the kids put on their nighties and went to bed, and my husband and I snuck down to the breaker box so we could play videogames on the t.v. We're bad, and sorry, and I'm sure it won't happen again, because the guilt wasn't worth conquering the galaxy.
What I didn't take the time to think about, but should have, was how peaceful things were going to seem this week. I laid down for a nap today, since washing dishes had made me crabby, and when I got up, I found my youngest playing with her stuffed animals. My second oldest was playing a kazoo, and my oldest was dancing in the living room in her long dress. Holy cow. I think I'm going to enjoy this week after all. I'll let you know for sure after I hang out the laundry...
Here They Are Playing Marbles
Fortunately, my spinning fits right in with this theme, so I can guiltlessly participate in the fun with the kids. I've gotten a fair amount done, but not just in the last few days, though it does seem to be all I feel like doing lately. Awaiting for washing in the tub, either before or after the kids are through with their baths, are the final amounts of the Marjoram colored wool, some purple and pink BFL, and a merino/bamboo mix that I scored at the fiber festival , but will blog about later. It's still on the spindle, but I've already begun another spinning of alpaca and French Angora. Life is good.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
And it's actually Friday! I've been busy this week, as has probably every one of you, what with summer, and gardening, and the general crazy-inducing effect of life. (That's not just me, right?) This week, my girlfriend Mel took Arleta and I cherry picking! I've never done this before, but I was keen on it. I had actually never seen how cherries grew in clusters. I thought they only grew two to a stem, like you see in pretty pictures. Well, they still take a very pretty picture, even when stemless:
Aren't those just about beautiful? Then it was on to cleaning, pitting and freezing them, a most enjoyable task if it's a windy summer day, so the bugs can't bother you too fiercely. They couldn't believe their luck at having cherries brought to them, so I had to work quickly. Earlier that day, I decided to try my hand at turning a batt into roving. This again was something I had never tried before, and I've only begun to read about it online. I thought it worked out just fine, even if I did break it in a spot or two:
And last but never least, the Chipmunk socks are done! They're a feather-and-fan pattern, but a chipmunk got into them while we were camping, and I could no longer call them The Camping Socks, so The Chipmunk Socks they are. They were done with Opal sock yarn, I believe, with 72 stitches on size 1 needles. I've been having troubles with gauge this summer. For some reason, I am knitting socks so tightly that I can't get them on my feet. These didn't even fit my oldest daughter, who thought she was going to get them, and yet another pair of socks goes to the eight-year-old. She walks around smiling, wearing twenty dollar socks. Grrr.
And now I'm off to do my pushups! I'm going to do them while the husband is off picking my oldest daughter up from camp. I'll look properly superior when he gets back, and he need never know how easy it wasn't.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Then she laughed at us (husband and I), and I had to have her sit quietly while we struggled. When I was done with my set, she said, "May I get off my blanket now?" Well, I suppose.... it was pretty peaceful for a few minutes, there...
Now that it's over, of course, I looked over the program and realized I was supposed to rest longer before each set of pushups. Darn it. I'll have to look at that on Friday, make sure I get all my resties before the pain =) Anyway, I'm going to complete this program. I can do anything short-term!
Feel free to play along, and thanks for everyone who has signed up so far. Leave a comment if you want to join, and be prepared to post before and after pictures of your muscles. If you send me those pics at the end of the six weeks, I'll enter you in a drawing for some wooly prizes, and you can sit and knit with your monster-strong arms if you win! I, for one, am looking forward to poppin' off a bunch of pushups in a month or so. Good times.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Shall I do a contest? Let's try this: If you're willing to post a before and after picture, at the end of the six week program, on my blog, I'll enter you for a random drawing of a prize of wooly goodness. And we'll better ourselves together!
Let's play! Please leave a comment so I can keep track of who's playing along. And do invite your friends. It's much easier to be motivated if we're all having fun together. Okay, maybe not fun. Do it anyway. It's good for us.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
And of the quilt, which I made for my mom's birthday a few years ago. I sort of wish I hadn't fallen into the rabbit hole of knitting quite so far, because I did enjoy quilting.
Then I found the July Spinning Challenge on Ravelry, and decided to do Marjoram Spice. I know I showed it on the spindle, but here's the finished product spun up. It's 80% merino/20% silk, and it spun into such a fine weight yarn that it gives me pause. I want to knit cabled fingerless gloves with it, so I'll see if it blooms any when I wash it. Otherwise, I'll be on teeny little needles. I really like this yarn, though. It's pretty and soft, too soft for socks, but I'd spin it again in an instant. Maybe next weekend, at the Fiber Festival, I'll see some more of this mix and snap it up.
And last in the pic pirade, but never least, my Skull Hat, off the needles and ready to be blocked. Well, it's been off the needles for at least a week, so we'll see when the blocking thing happens. But I like this pattern. It's knit with Plassard yarn, a DK weight, with size 8 needles. I thought it would be too loose, but the ear band is doubled, and it fits just right. Love it. Into the gift closet it goes.
Now work with me here, kay? For an instant there, it was Friday, and now it can be Saturday again. Thank you. I knew you'd understand.
Friday, July 11, 2008
I'm three-quarters done with the spinning, and having a fine time. The merino wool has 20 percent silk mixed in, and it spins like a dream. I can do a long draw, and it spins up thin and consistent, which is a long-searched-for goal of mine. I'm very happy with it. The weight is coming out to a fingering, and cabled gloves or fingerless gloves (more likely) is what I'll knit with it, for the winter. It's been very relaxing to sit this summer and watch the hummingbirds out the window, and drop the spindle, wind it up, drop it down again.... I love these soothing moments, because so much of the summer is busy and craziness, managing everyone's schedule.
Last night was much fun, though. Friends came over, and we played a game that my husband made up, called Jedi. You make a circle on the ground, and give the person in the center one or two bats, whichever they prefer. Then everyone gets to throw balls at them, but they get to decide if just one ball can be in the air at a time, or more than that. They then use "The Force" (or instinct and fast reaction, as I like to call it) to hit the balls back, and try not to get hit themselves. If they do get hit by the ball, the person who threw the ball gets to be in the center with the bats. If the guy in the center hits the ball back and hits the thrower, the thrower is out of the game. It's pretty hard to get a person out by return volley, but not impossible. If the center person manages to get everyone else out of the game, they go on to Level Two. It's the same as Level One, but the title is the prize. We've never had a person get to Level Three, but the game is very exciting, and everyone is laughing and having fun. The only rule we had to institute is, if you hit the person in the center, that person has to say "Good throw," in a very happy, convincing way. Otherwise, you get grouchy pretty quickly if someone beans you with a ball. My daughter got hit in the face last night, and through her tears and smiles, she choked out, "Good shot." I was quite proud.
The husband and I arranged childcare and were going on a swimming date tonight, so of course it's cloudy and overcast this morning. That's the way the weather is up here in Northern Michigan. You can't count on it at all. I'm going to finish my spinning and get my entry on the Ravelry forum. Have a great day doing what you like to do!
Sunday, July 06, 2008
What's so fun about these socks, other than the obvious fun of knitting socks, is that she did so much of them while intaking alcohol at our knit-togethers. I took some pictures along the way. There might be a mistake or two in these socks, but you'd never know it, and who cares? They're for your feet. Doesn't she look like she's having fun?
She was seriously bummed that we ran out of Kahlua, but it may have saved her heel....
And tada! The finished, cozy feet:
Good job, Mel. The only problem is, now everyone in your family wants a pair. Happy Knitting! I'm storing some extra Kahlua for your next casting on.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Now I'm off to read more about Angora bunnies and their owners.
Monday, June 16, 2008
A very nice woman came by and took our picture for the paper, which was so fun for the kids, and then we all sat with her and talked scarf patterns. I didn't get her name, but it's neat how there are just so many knitters everywhere. I hope our LYS puts one of these public events on again, and it would be even better if I didn't have to wait a year for her to do it. It was great to be somewhere and tell the kids that I was supposed to knit, and they couldn't keep asking me for stuff. Go play, kids. That's why we are at a park. In fact, I may just take this thing a little further and institude my own new rule: Get your own stuff while mommy is knitting. Heh.
Here's a quick snapshot of what I've been up to, while I've been avoiding my sock nightmares. On the bottom of the pile is my graph paper for designing dungeons for our kids to imagine they're fighting monsters through. In the middle is the new Spin-Off magazine, which has so much good information in it, great pictures and articles - basically everything I could want a spinning magazine to give me. Next to the top is my thoughts notebook, with Orlando Bloom on the cover. I don't open this notebook much, but I do enjoy it, anyway. And on the top, some merino/silk that I'm spinning thin (and probably too tight) to two-ply for some cabled gloves. I really hope the sheen stays after I've spun it, because it's such beautiful roving. The reason I think I'm spinning it too tightly is because, unlike my Orlando notebook, I actually open the spinning magazine. And apparently, as tight as I'm spinning this roving, it could end up like rope when I'm done. Who knew? I thought spinning tightly kept your yarn from breaking, but this makes sense, too. I have been to handspinning sites on the web, and I'm just not finding as much information as I'd like. So I'm doing what I actually prefer to do, anyway, which is learning what everyone else already knows. It's a character flaw, but I'm old enough now that I just try to embrace it and not feel guilty.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Nice, ay? Not bad for a campsite. I bought some Opal sock yarn and started a feather-and-fan pattern for my camping socks. It's not hard to remember, but not boring, either. I liked them. And this is a pic of them as I sat and knitted while everyone else slept.
And here's what I got done until everyone woke up that first morning. Nice.
And then I tried them on. And even though I knit with my regular sized #1 needles, and cast on 72 sts instead of my normal 64, they were still too small. And I realized I wasn't knitting my camping socks, but my older daughter's camping socks.
The second day, we hiked out and took some beautiful scenic pictures of the area. I admit I was distracted by scratching at mosquito bites and wiping sweat off my forehead. I had gone past even trying to look attractive. But still, nature was pretty enough by herself:
You can't tell by these pictures, but bad weather and tornado watches were on the way. That night, everyone slept in the same tent, and we feared for being struck by lightning. Actually, that was just me, but I was scared enough for everyone. It was kind of exciting, actually, in a sort of are-these-my-last-moments? sort of way. And when I finally laid down to rest, I heard a chipmunk or mouse or something trying to get in, scrabbling and scrabbling. I was the only one awake, and I admit that I felt a little smug that I was in a nice, warm, uninvadable tent, though I don't know where I got that idea. In the morning, I awoke and found a hole in the corner of the tent. And I said to my husband, pretty calmly, I think, "Doesn't this look like something got in?" And my husband and I looked and looked (I'm pretty sure he was faking calm for the sake of the kids, too) and we couldn't find an exit hole, which he said should have been there. So the assumption I got to was that the mouse/chipmunk/nature being was in the tent with us. That gave me the willies, but I kept poking around, and - though I had to take the picture outside once I'd found the camera - I did find this:
My sock yarn! Invaded! And of course I was pretty sure that the little invading creature was inside that mound of wool, but my husband scooped it outside of the tent, and there was nothing in it, but.. well, poop, to be honest, but I'm not skillled enough to identify the animal by its droppings, except that it wasn't a bear. What this means probably is that the mouse/chipmunk/whatever was in the tent with us when we were arranging sleeping bags and such for the night, and the scrabbling I heard was the beast trying to get out. Could you imagine if I had actually found my headlamp, which I was looking for and unable to find, and turned it on? Holy cow, I can't even. I'm terrified of small toothy things, and it's just a good thing that I didn't get a chance to scar my family with my screams if I'd seen the little beastie. In the morning, I fortified myself with my two favorite camping aids, which should have made everything better...
... except that it didn't stop raining. It just kept up. We hiked out (again) and I pretended we were just going home for a shower. But the rain got worse, and eventually my husband took a nap on the loveseat. Yes! I knew we were back in civilization for good. Sweet. And then, guess what I found in my front yard?
A little nature right there on the lawn. Here's a baby snapping turtle, fresh out of the shell. When he was scared (we picked him up), he didn't even pull his head into his shell. He just closed his eyes and hoped for the best. Cute little fella. Next year, we're at least going to find a drive-up campsite, so I won't be hiking around with a four-year-old on my back for an hour each time we go in or leave. You take your pleasures where you can get 'em, when you're camping.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Now, we've talked about karma here, and fate, kismet, however you view the world and its points, and I have a quick question for everyone: If a person (yes, me) truly hated camping, and the thought of it made her sweat, but everyone in the family (yes, mine) wanted to go on a family camping vacation, would I be building good karma points by smiling, sweating and going along? Or would the mere fact that I was hoping for karma points negate any possibility of getting them?
I'll read your thoughts in a few days!
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
So when her latest book came out, Things I Learned from Knitting...whether I wanted to or not," I really wanted it. But, as I have mentioned often, we're on a fairly detailed budget, and I wasn't going to buy it for just no reason. No, no. It had to be a prize, or something. So I promised myself, when I lost ten pounds, that would be my gift to me. That was a really great gift to go for, too. It wasn't a bag of marshmallows or a movie ticket, both of which would be over with pretty quickly. This was a gift that could be enjoyed again and again, calorie and popcorn free. So I waited, and cheated, and got back on the diet, and eventually lost six pounds, which was close enough, and I got the book.
I started reading it two days ago, and it was entertaining, just like I'd hoped. But I didn't want to read it all at once, because I'd worked really hard to get it, and I wanted it to last. So I set it down for the night. I'd pick it up later, since I was now in the mood for a little knitting. In the meantime, my oldest daughter found it and grabbed it up. (Have I mentioned how much reading gets done around here since we unplugged the television?) She asked if she could read it, and, since Stephanie is mostly G-rated (except she says arse all the time, but so do I, in an American sort of way), I said Sure. So the next day, she's reading in the car on the way to the dentist for my second daughter. We're all talking amongst ourselves, and I'm driving and half listening to NPR, and I hear my second kid go, "Hey, a mosquito!" Snap! My oldest kid goes, "Cool! I got it!"
Snap? What went "Snap"? I looked around, and she's holding my new Stephanie Pearl-McPhee book, and smiling triumphantly. I said, "How did you get the mosquito?" She said, "With the book. It was awesome! Look, it's on page 15. Gross, huh?" And she holds it out to me. No, I don't look. I'm too disgusted, and amused - gotta admit it - but pretty stunned, too. I took a deliberately blurred picture as proof of my kid's lack of respect for Ms. McPhee, because I didn't think you'd want to see the mosquito, either.
Now, dangit, if I ever get the chance to see Stephanie in person, I can't ask her to sign my book.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Then I tried it on. And even though I'd only cast on two less stitches than my normal pattern, and even though I'd used my normal size 1 needles, the sock wouldn't go around my heel. Just stopped there, looking at me like an old boyfriend I'd asked for money. "You want what?"
Darn it. But of course while I was showing this pattern to everyone in the house, they'd all been making the appropriate oohing and aahing noises for some time. My second daughter turned her big cow eyes on me and said, "It doesn't fit? Want to try my foot?" Yeah, okay, munchkin. I think I owed you some socks, anyway. And now the older one wants socks, and isn't it only a matter of time before the four-year-old figures out what's going on?
But anyway, that's my Rivendell sock story. I cast on yesterday (Startitis? Never heard of it) for these cute little socks, from Favorite Socks by Interweave Press. These are out of Sockotta, a sock yarn I never feel guilty about buying, and it's long-wearing and has pretty, bright colors. I'm really liking these socks. But, of course, even though I cast on the proper number of stitches, with my normal size 1 needles, these socks are coming out huge. I can't figure it. I'm still knitting, though, because maybe they just look big, and they're going to come out okay. After all, I didn't have a clue the Rivendell socks were too small until I tried them on. Clearly, my instincts can't be trusted.
Friday, May 30, 2008
As for the frosty nights, my poor garden is trembling in fear! We're fighting the frost as best we can, with every Elmo and Care Bears plastic cup we've got. My garden looks so silly, I had to take a picture for the blog.
Go, little bean plants, go! And yesterday, in a frenzy of domesticity, I bought pepper and tomato plants, too many for me to ever use. I don't even like growing tomatoes, darn it. They get those disgusting horned tomato worms on them, always. Then the kids and I have to pick them off, and it's all just too gross. So if you live near me and want a tomato plant, please stop by. I got extra.
And finally, a teaser. I bought myself a sock pattern and great yarn on Mother's Day, but I'll have to show pics next time, as the kids have to go to school!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Besides gardening, we're cleaning up the house for the big birthday party tomorrow. The littlest one shall be four years old, and much to-do is being made of her. I've taken pics of her in her new party dress, which she has already stained, so she'll be wearing a shirt and skirt tomorrow. I've also taken a picture of the prairie costume I made for my oldest which, thankfully, I've been able to lend out to a friend already. It would have been too much work for something that will only be worn once. You'd think I could save it for the other two girls, but they've already become quite cavalier about my sewing, and they want their own dresses. We're suddenly very Anne of Green Gables around here, growing our own crops and sewing our own clothes. I do believe cancelling the satellite was the best thing I've done so far as a parent. They're reading all the time, building worm farms and trying to hatch dragon eggs. Right now they're following a map for buried treasure. All they need to find is an island with a volcano, to start measuring from.
Check out this picture of the kids playing tug-of-war in their dresses. Too funny! Only the boys let themselves get dragged through the mud, the girls staying appropriately proper, yet still kicking butt in the game. Heh!
And finally, yes, I do knit. Here is a picture of the youngest in a striped sweater. I don't even remember the name of the yarn, but it's self-striping, DK weight, and washable, of course. It's roomy on her yet, which is good, because she has several other sweaters that fit her right now. I don't really think of myself as knitting all the time, but when I look at the kids' closets, they're in pretty good shape. =)