Monday, June 30, 2008

NOW I'm on Ravelry!

My friend Arleta, the computer whiz, showed me how to use my Ravelry account - yay! I was accepted in January, I think, but I'm not a computer whiz, so I didn't figure out how to use it right away. Now I'm signing up for groups and reading and spinning while pages are loading.... And Arleta nicely signed me up as her friend, which somehow made me look rather lonely. One friend. I'm grateful for her, but if you're on Ravelry, too, drop me a comment, and I'll befriend ya. I don't know what you can do with that, view each other's blogs easier? But I'm interested in figuring things out! By the by, I'm CobblerCarrie, if you're looking for me!

Now I'm off to read more about Angora bunnies and their owners.

Monday, June 16, 2008

WorldWide Knit In Public Day

Did you know? Saturday was Worldwide Knit In Public Day. My LYS owner says Knit in Public day began just a few years ago, and what a great idea it was! Kids came with their parents, my good friends were there, and we got to play with a bunch of yarn and sharp needles. People driving by slowed down and smiled at us, and when we got tired of sitting too long, the kids and I had a tickle fight. Not just mine, either, but every kid there, because who can resist a good tickle fight?

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

Called on accounta rain

We took the last few days to take the family on a camping trip. This is an excellent idea by my husband, to get the kids out where they can only talk to each other and to us. This way, they can't walk into another room or turn on the ipod and tune us out. In fact, if they get too bored, they have to play a game with us. Heh heh. I loved this plan. Unfortunately, it has its disadvantages, as well, the most extreme of which was the public toilet, but also included a good crop year for mosquitos. We hiked in a mile and a half to our campsite, which my hubby had already set up for us. This is casa de Cobbler:

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

I've found my people

You know, I gotta admit, I worried for almost 24 hours as to whether or not I should post a picture of a squashed mosquito on my blog. I kept envisioning no comments left or, worse, people just saying Ewww and then wiping me from their "Subscribe" list. Instead, you were all very supportive, and no one typed me a message (although maybe you thought the words) about how disgusting it was to take a picture of a squashed bug in the first place, but that I then felt the need to share it with blogland showed how really bad things had gotten. Thanks, y'all, for making me feel at home. =)

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

My Poor Book

If you've read my little blog for any time at all, you'll know that I'm a big fan of the Harlot. Aside from Arleta's Motley Wool, she was my first real introduction into blogland. I picked up her book, At Knit's End, at the bookstore and read just a couple of excerpts, and I was laughing right there at the book store. So I bought one for me and one for my friend, and in the back, it mentioned her blog. When I found it online, I read every single entry she'd ever written. I went back years. My family made their own meals for several days, and thank goodness it was summer. It was like reading her books, only more personal. Very, very funny lady.

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

Promised Sock Pics

I've been eyeing a sock pattern for a long time. Every time I saw this pattern, I made everyone around me come and look at it. It was so pretty. But I had to buy it, and that put me off a bit, because there are just so many sock patterns out there that I wouldn't have to pay for. But I kept looking at it, and when, at tax time, the government was shocked that we could live on the declared income, and sent some money back, I knew it was time. I bought the pattern and started the socks on Mother's Day. They're the Rivendell Socks, and I love everything about them. Yes, especially the name, because it's all about the Elven forests, and that makes me think of magic, and we're all about the magic here. But the color, the leaves, the cables intertwining... *sigh* So I went to our LYS and bought some Trekking Pro Natura, a fairly pricey sock yarn, and paid for it pretty much guiltlessly, since it was Mother's Day, after all. And I cast on and spent the rest of the day working the leaves and the cables, and it was just lovely. I was actually thinking of making these for everyone I knew, because I knew I would never get bored of this pattern. Never.

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.