Monday, February 25, 2008

Scrapping my morning plan

I'm probably going to regret this, but I couldn't bring myself to wake the kids up for school this morning. They've been so busy (for months, it seems like), that last night, coming home late from a birthday party, they both said they just felt like crying. Now, I'm sure that they're going to wake up and say there was something very important that they were supposed to do at school this morning, but right now I just can't bring myself to wake em.

The second sock is progressing much better than the first one. I think the uncertainty of knitting my first toe-up sock had me knitting slower. For the record, after avoiding toe-up sock patterns for years, I've found that I really like the technique. This one really seems to be clicking along. =)


I got to school with the kids, an hour late (it was worth it, says I. The morning was so relaxing), and I realized one daughter was looking really, really sad. Swimmy eyes, puckery mouth. What's wrong? I asked. Well, it seems that if you're tardy, you have to stay in for morning recess and do your work. And apparently the last time I called an easy morning (last year!), the teacher really grouched at her when she came in. This is my extra sensitive child, outside of whose classroom I sat for the first year of her schooling, so this was going to be a big deal. I sat for a minute in the parking lot, then thought, Screw it. I'll help them with their mountain of homework tonight. And here we are, having a relaxing morning at home. This is why, as much as I wish things were different, I am never, ever going to get Mom of the Year. Dangit. But I'd pretty much messed things up in January when I missed my oldest's dental appointment, so I was out of the running, anyway. *sigh*

I think, when I get my morning writing done, I'll work on my Ravelry set-up. I've been accepted for a couple of weeks, but haven't had a good chance to really figure out Flickr and such...

You could do that... or maybe brush the bunny?

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I've got some items on the go that I'd like to finally show everyone. I've been trying to master the toe-up sock. I've been really nervous about it, and asked other knitters exactly when they started the heel, and such. It wouldn't be a big deal to rip out, but I've been working with hand-spun yarn. It is two-plyed, and due to an unfortunate event, that of a friend ripping back socks from sock yarn I had made for her, I had the chance to view said handspun that had been ripped. It separated in a sad way, and I was definitely trying not to rip my current sock-in-progress if I could help it. (Sorry about that yarn, Mel, but it was my first) =/

So I cast on with some yarn that I liberated from the husband's socks-not-to-be. (Sorry, hon. They just weren't fun.) And I started a toe-up sock from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks, the Oriel pattern. I've poured over every step, from the provisional cast-on to the odd way she seemed to turn the heel. In fact, it was a bit like knitting a pocket on a sweater. I don't have to understand how it works, I only have to fanatically follow each step exactly as it is written. And it worked! The first sock:

Cool, no? Now, here's a funny thing about my handspun sock yarn. Well, I'll just show you:

See what it's doing? It's striping. Now, let me explain. I am not a proficient spinner. I am, in fact, the spinner that pulls out great whacks of roving and spins it pretty thin, then Andean plies it back on itself when I get too much on my spindle. Then I roll it in a ball, put it aside and do it all again, getting four pretty good spindlefuls from each 4 ounces of roving. When I Andean-plied this sock yarn, it started to stripe. I thought it would stop pretty quickly, but with each color, it kept doing that. I had to show my knitting pals, and they thought it was odd, too. I mean, I don't know enough to make striped yarn. And yet, here 'tis. Unexplainable, and striped. We're pretty sure my daughter has invited little helpers in the house, cuz we believe in all sorts of magical beings around here, who bring us good luck to things like knitting, and souffles, for instance.

And that is my Shows. Now, my Tell would be a story I have of a friend of ours, who used to play tournament chess, when he was, like, 11 years old. He was pretty good, played for several years, and he brought a crystal chess set yesterday for my ten-year-old. She loved it, and they sat down to play. When they set up the board, they realized they were missing a king and a queen, one from one side, one from the other. Our friend was duly upset, promised to stop by the store on the way home and get another set, just to replace the two pieces. We chuckled about the marketing ploy of companies getting people to buy two of everything, just to be sure they had enough. Very clever. But my daughter wanted to play, so she grabbed a couple of substitutes from my three-year-old. Suffice it to say, our friend, the championship chess player, was deeply offended:

I'm not kidding. He was not amused. But they played for over two hours, with him explaining each move to my daughter, indicating why one move was more desirable than another. And he didn't let her win, but carefully explained why he won, and she left the table happy, which is amazing in itself. She has little to no tolerance for anything but excellence in herself, and I admit that I expect something close to the same. I'm working on being better about that. But the game finally ended, and I got up to put it away. (Don't go there. I don't know why it seems to work that way, either) As I turned the game box over, I found - oh, wait. Another Show:

Heehee. Sure, why was it on the back? But it also gives me a little insight as to why no one can find the ketchup in the fridge.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Automation is my friend

I'm glad to report that, due to sub-zero temperatures (fahrenheit), and an unheated laundry room, the washer was just frozen up. Thanks to you all for your commiseration on my handwashing. It was an interesting thing to teach my daughters, though, about how clothes used to be washed. They always tell me that they wish it was the olden days, back to log cabins and sewing by candlelight. I see their point, there is a definite attraction to simpler times. We like to sew here, and bake and craft, et cetera. But when it comes to laundry, I'll take a washer, thanks.

I've been doing some stealth knitting for a friend I promised to send a gift to. I got it done last night, the Fake Isle hat, with Noro Silver (I think) yarn, and alpaca - mmm, soft alpaca.... but it came out too small =/ So I'm casting on again today for a larger size. Here, however, is the grateful recipient of the too small hat:

Honestly, she would steal everything that came off of my needles. I'm glad she likes handmade things, though! If I could just get her to go sock yarn shopping, she'd have another pair of socks. I think it's very interesting how quickly kids get picky, when they know you can make them stuff. These potential socks can't be just any variegated color. She doesn't know what she wants, but it's nothing in my stash. On the other hand, this is my OCD child, and I can't exactly take her to the sock yarn room at my LYS. There is no way she would ever be able to choose a sock yarn. So, sadly, I'm left with the only other option I can think of: Buying a skein of sock yarn at a time and bringing it home for her inspection. Should she not like the one I've chosen, I'll have to put it in the stash and buy another, to try again. (Play appropriate sad music here)

In the meantime, we have a four-day weekend, no school! This is a good thing, because they get tired of the continual routine, and the roads are terrible. So we're going to get all domestic here again, make some cinnamon rolls, and - just to keep them honest about how drudgery works - washing walls. I swear no one has to wash walls as much as I do. How do they get foot prints so high up on walls????

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Queen Domestic, or today I'm acquiring Man Hands

Sadly, last night our washing machine broke. My husband is pretty sure he can fix it, just like he's pretty sure he can figure out how to use the pottery wheel and rewire the satellite. But he's a busy guy, so I know it's going to be at least the weekend before that machine can get looked at. Now, we're a family that likes to pretend we could get along without modern conveniences, and, with a family of five, you can't exactly wait on the laundry. So here's how I spent my morning: I filled the bathtub with hot, soapy detergent and water, then put an approximate load of laundry into the bubbles. Then I agitated, like my faithless washing machine would do. I agitated and agitated, then I called the kids over. We had a lot of fun, that first time. Then I hand-scrubbed socks, and rinsed... and rinsed, and rinsed. Then I wrung the clothes out as best I could, and dripped them over to the faithful dryer, and threw them in. Then I went back to the tub and started another batch of clothes. I let those soak until the dryer got done, and went and did dishes. When I checked the dryer a long time later, the clothes were still soaking wet. Grrr. So I pulled out the heavy stuff, draped it around the house, cleaned the lint guard and threw the clothes back in. They dried in an appropriate amount of time, and then I was back at the tub, agitating, rinsing, then dripping the clothes back to the dryer. This time I wrung them out much better. I did three loads of laundry this way, people. I'm afraid of getting muscular, manlike hands already, my arms have reached muscle fatigue, and we have all redefined "dirty." Slept in your pajamas? They're not dirty. Get 'em outta the hamper. In fact, I was making cookies (since today now seems to be domesticity day) and I heard my daughter spill something. Her older sister said, "Get a towel," and I yelled,"A paper towel!" Yikes.

So the clothes thing is going okay, and they're all folded neatly into everyone's pile, to be taken care of. My husband is going to come downstairs, and I am going to show him my accomplishment. I'm nearly as proud as if I'd knit socks. I can hear him now, praising me, thinking how cool I am to have gotten the laundry done. And then I realize that, yes, I got it done, with no help from the washer. In fact, I had become the washer. And as long as I was the washer, and working fine, the other washer was going to go on the backburner of things to do. So now I'm on strike, and will get back to my knitting.

Thrummed mittens, nearly done:

Husband's sweater, moving nicely:

If the dryer breaks, I'm outta here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Where did you go?

I have been reviewing my emails and spam quarantine, and so far, I've found entries such as: "Rod Dodson is 85% in January" (good for you, Rod, but what?) - a question, "Is my partner happy?" (I hope so) - "Here is the best stock pick of the year" (sorry, no money to invest) - "Your email won!" (This one may be legit, since it was from a company I've ordered from, but I didn't receive it any time recently, so I assume the opportunity has passed.), and the always useful, "Something that will make her always want it now, and begging for more." I assume they're talking about cooking recipes....

However, what I didn't see is any emails from my comments. I thought you people had been pretty quiet! I'm not sure what the problem is, though. I've asked Blogger to send me the comments in my email, so I can reply and let you know I appreciate your thoughts. I have allowed cookies on my computer, to help Blogger fulfill my request. I have searched the ever-interesting Spam Quarantine file, and there are no comments from the blog. If anyone has any other suggestions, I'd be glad to try them. In the meantime, though, thanks for your comments, and I'm working on replying.

In knitting news, my daughters are very impressed with my knitting. So much so, in fact, that the second child has offered her "boy friend" (ahem) a pair of thrummed mittens for Valentine's Day. Yes, she did, and I'm pleased she likes hers. I'm flattered, in fact. I'm .... busy. So we had a little talk about appropriateness in offering gifts, and perhaps clearing it by the worker bee (moi) first, before promising the time of my hands. And after this useful talk, she added, "He likes green."


Monday, February 04, 2008

You Make Me Smile

This You Make My Day award has been moving through the Internet, and I think it's a fantastic idea. I smile whenever I see one of my favorite bloggers get one, because it's a really nice thing to acknowledge when someone makes you feel good. And now, JohnK from Napkin Please has given me one! I am pleased, very, very pleased, to be acknowledged. Thanks, John! Your blog makes me smile, too.

And now I get to play! There are many wonderful blogs that I read. I try to keep my blogroll around 100 blogs, as that is about all I can handle, and even then I sometimes can't read you all. Here are 1/10th of my favorites - You Make Me Smile!

JohnK of Napkin Please - back at you, John. I always enjoy your knitting comments and perspective. Also, there is a great video of John being interviewed about knitting. Check it out. He makes knitting sound clever and artsy, which I know it is, but so many muggles don't....

Arleta of Arleta's Motley Wool - You pulled me into blogland, and it's a great place to be. You are always knitting something, and knitting it to completion, which I really envy =) If I don't get to knit at least once a week with you and Mel, I start yelling at the kids, so please keep up the knitting mornings.

Laurie of Issues With Knitting - you know, I spend so much time praising you in Comments, I bet you're surprised I haven't knit you a sweater. Laurie is always helpful and friendly, very reassuring about any and all insecurities I feel free to write her about. Thanks, Laurie.

Dave of Criminy Jickets - you all know I love reading Dave. He's clever and inspirational. I always want to knit everything I see he's finished, and I frequently do.

Del of Cozy's Place - You are so entertaining, I sometimes laugh til I cry. That's a talent, girl. I hope you know how much joy you bring to people with your writing.

CarrieK of My Middle Name is Patience - Beautiful cats, beautiful handknits, and a good commentor, to boot, I always enjoy when Carrie does a new post. If she lived closer, I'd *make her come to our knit-togethers.

Jen at PieKnits - Jen is a great designer, and I'm so glad that she's being so frequently featured at Interweave Knits now. I get happy every time I see one of her designs. She's beautiful, and knits very fun stuff.

Kat of Kat with a K - Kat, you're informed in ways I can only hope to be when I grow into a better person. I enjoy reading your take on politics and what's going on in the world, and you knit, too! I'm very impressed.

Noolie of Noolie Knits - Noolie does what I can never imagine doing, and makes it looks easy. She is a pattern creator, and shares so much of her designs and life on her blog. And go check out her newest creation, the prettiest little girl, she looks like a Gerber baby, but with better eyes.

Norma of NowNormaKnits - A varied and interesting blog, it's not just about knitting, but about fashion and funny comments about her take on life. I like reading Norma, as she always gives me a smile.

Trek, of Trek Casts On - Trek always has interesting stuff to write about, frequently about her husband and child, who sounds adorable. I'd like to spend a day being Trek. She makes things sound pretty darned good in her world.

If I haven't listed your blog, don't be sad. I love 'em all, but I was limited. As it was, I had to pretend I can't count to ten. The Yarn Harlot mentioned once that she couldn't condone a lot of self-pity on a blog, unless it was done artfully and in small amounts. So in a head nod to Ms. Stephanie, I will only say, "Why can I only name ten???" But I'm pleased to get to name any at all. It's nice to know that people want to read what you have to say.