Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A year of knits (and crochet)

What a year! I wonder what 2009 has in store. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the feedback, encouragement, inspiration, praise and friendship throughout the past year, this blogging thing would be not be worth it if it were not for you all!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

the only snowflake I want to see

While I adore the efforts of those who deck the halls, I am not one to decorate for the seasons. But a little something got into me this year. Starting in December I felt compelled to crochet snowflakes. I started with three from Better Homes and Gardens, then made a few from this website. Not satisfied, I purchased the Leisure Arts booklet 99 Snowflakes to quench my thirst. For almost two weeks I did not knit a stitch, I only wanted to make snowflakes.

Then came the blocking... I usually do not mind blocking projects, especially lace (my favorite!) but this was I think the fact that the 'flakes has to be soaked in glue so they would be nice and stiff contributed the ass pain of it all. I was constantly finding little pieces of fiber stuck to the flakes. Some I recognized from other objects in my knitting basket, some from the red snugly blanket of choice that lives on the sofa. Do you know how hard it is to pick out little colorful fibers from pristine white soaked-in-glue-snowflakes when one also has fingertips that are soaked in glue? Thinking back, I bet tweezers would have made the entire process a bunch easier... I still have half a dozen that need to be blocked and I will be sure to have my tweezers handy.

My desire to make nothing but snowflakes cooled a bit after the time-consuming blocking experience. But what to do with them all? I did not want to put them on my Christmas tree because I knew the tree would only be in the house for a few short weeks. Mother Nature came to my rescue when she blew the perfect snowflake hanging branch out of a tree and into my line of sight in the backyard. I strung the 'flakes onto fishing line and hung them from the branches. The kids gingerbread duplex (they shared a house and decorated each side as a separate house) fits in quite nicely and brightens a very dark corner of our living room. I think it just might stay there until spring...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Man, what a year it has been! I can't believe Christmas is only a day away. The gimme, gimme of the season has been ignored for the most part this year and I am much happier as a result. Of course, I still have to wrap all the kids presents, but we tend to focus more on the spirit of the season instead of the commercial aspect. I tell the kids (with a smile), "What makes you think you deserve more presents than baby Jesus got on his own birthday?" But it is so true. We have found in years past that the more the kids get, the less they play with it all and it so quickly turns to clutter. So a few of the things they want the most will be under the tree, along with a few things they don't expect. The Gaming One and I never exchange presents. We just don't feel the need.

The family and I were talking a few weeks ago about the coming Christmas season and I asked the kids to tell me their favorite thing about the holidays. The Girl Wonder said all the delicious food and spending time with all the family. The Boy Wonder said seeing all the cousins and getting to play with everyone. I have to admit, that made my day.

I have, for the most part, managed to fight off the blahs I usually have this time of year. I have even been singing Christmas songs (which I never do) and have been quite merry. It may help a bit that the weather has been unseasonably warm- just a few days ago it was almost 70 degrees! Perhaps, it is mind over matter. Whatever it is I am enjoying it.

I hope each of you have a very happy holiday, whatever you celebrate. Hug your loved ones tight and let them know how much they mean to you. Hugs to all you as well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Still here...

I just wanted to pop on (before I forget my blogger password) to say hi! Thanks for all the emails and messages on Ravelry to check on me and my well being. I have been knitting lots and fighting the winter blahs with every ounce of my being. I have stopped drinking, started exercising and have tried to put on a happy face. Just as I started to think this winter might not be so bad, I realized that our debit card information has been stolen and and my bank account has been almost drained. Thieving bastards.

Damn, I could really use a scotch...

Sunday, October 05, 2008


I am taking a blog break.
I have been very uninspired lately and really have nothing to share.
If you are wondering about what is on and off my needles check out my project details on Ravelry.

Have a great fall!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Tree of Happiness

The very lovely Andrea tagged me for the Tree of Happiness meme and since I have nothing knitterly to share it gives me the perfect opportunity to blog... I am going against the grain and tagging anyone that wants to share thing that make them happy! Just leave me a little comment so I can read your list! The Happiness Tree sayeth that you must list six things that make you happy. These are my six :

1. My family- My husband does everything in his power to make me happy from calling me during the day just to tell me he loves me to buying me soap. I know it seems silly that soap would make me happy, but the fact that he knows me so well that he can be in a store and see a certain kind of soap and know that I would love it just makes me smile. I am very picky about soap. My daughter is the kindest person I know. She is such a poised young lady at times and such a silly little girl just minutes later. Everyone that knows her compliments her behaviour and has since she was a very small girl. She is my pride and joy and I give her credit for my life being what it is today. If I had not gotten pregnant with her at the age of 17, my life would have taken a very different course and I never would have met my wonderful husband. My son is my little snuggle bunny. He is very affectionate and knows just when I need a hug or kiss or a "you're the best Mommy in the whole world, if I had to pick from all the mommies I would pick you." When his Grandfather went to the hospital to have by-pass, he sent his favorite stuffed animal to keep him company and 'watch over him'. At the age of 7 he already knows he wants to be an engineer in the ARMY. I am so proud of that kid and I know he will go far in life.

Of course, all my extended family (parents, grandparents, brother, sisters, in-laws, ex-laws...) make me happy but it would fill a book to write about each of them! My family makes life worth living and is the most important thing in my life.

2. An uninterrupted night of sleep makes me happy. I have terrible insomnia and it is very hard for me to go back to sleep in the middle of the night, so if I can sleep a solid 8-10 hours it is a godsend! However, I also have very vivid dreams that tend to wake me now that my kiddos are finally sleeping through the night. Both of my kids were awful sleepers- both gave up naps right around their first birthdays and didn't sleep through the night until around their 6th birthday. Since they were born 5 years apart, that is 11 years of interrupted sleep, my friends, for yours truly because you know they were not waking Daddy in the middle of the night.

3. Homeschooling/being a stay at home mom makes me very happy. It is great to spend the day with my kids, and there is nothing like hearing them read and know that I taught them how to do it! I love the flexibility it provides our family and the bond we have as a result.

4. Wii. I am not a gamer at all. I usually suck at video games, then I sulk like a child because I get beat by even the kids. We just got a Wii and I love that thing! Boxing especially! I was just cracking up yesterday watching the kids box and before long found myself yelling, "I'm playing the winner!" Finally a game I can enjoy. I foresee lots of family fun thanks to that little machine.

5. Family dinner. I love sitting at the table with the family, talking about our day while eating a great home-cooked meal (that everyone enjoys so much that the kids volunteer to do the dishes after we eat). Being a Taurus, I enjoy any great meal and love to go out to eat as well. I am a huge fan of family owned restaurants that use fresh ingredients as opposed to large chains that get most of their entrees premade. My favorites in my town are Ajimi - a sushi/ Japanese restaurant that is better than any we have ever tried. It is great not having to drive to Charlotte (30-45minutes away) for great sushi. We go there about once a week and even the kids love it. My other favorite is Stone Table Cafe- my ex-husband's restaurant. He specializes in southern cuisine and makes everything from scratch from soups to desserts. He makes some of the best food I have ever eaten.

6. Knitting and the online knitting community brings me much happiness. There is nothing quite like that feeling of satisfaction when an object comes off the needles and has been beautifully seamed and blocked. I love yarn shopping, reading about knitting, designing, blogging, getting to know all of you through your blogs, and Ravelry (how did I exist before it??). I really credit the online knitting community for my knitting success, for every problem I have the answer is only a google search away. The answer usually can be found on a knitting blog somewhere. I am exposed to beautiful patterns and people, finished objects and techniques that I never would have seen otherwise. So thank you all. Each of you make me smile each day!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Little Bunny

The Gaming One has not one, but two, coworkers that are expecting babies soon (and they are both having boys! I just want to knit some baby girl cuteness). Of course, he asked me to make a little something for both of them. To his credit, he did give me plenty of advance warning so I would have time to knit them each a blanket. In all honesty, I just wasn't feeling it this time around. I almost decided not to make anything for either of them- I just could not decide on anything to knit. Ultimately, I decided to knit each of them wee rabbits and give them each a copy of one of my favorite kid books of all time- Guess How Much I Love You. I have been reading that book for over 12 years and I still get teary-eyed each time I read it.I originally crocheted the head and body (crochet is so much faster for me) but did not like the ears. I decided to knit the ears (increasing and decreasing when it looked right, making sure to slip the first stitch of each row), but did not like the knit ears with the crochet bodies. After thinking it over, I decided to use the head/body directions for the Middle-sized Monster pattern that I had knit for the Super Twins last year. Perfect. The body to ears ratio was just what I was aiming for. I knew the ears needed to be lined so they would not curl and honestly, it took more time to figure out how to line the ears than it did to knit the entire bunny. Eventually, I took a piece of cotton batting and a piece of cotton fabric and traced the outline of the ears on each of them. I sewed the fabric to the batting (right sides facing) using almost a quarter inch seam allowance leaving the top of the ear open. I cut away the fabric outside the seam then turned the ear lining right side out. I was then able to easily hand sew the fabric lining to the inside of the ear.
The tail was also made up as I went along and stuffed when I was finished. Although I considered the bunny finished based on my original plans- he does not seem complete. Any suggestions?
Also, My Father in Law is home and doing very well after his surgery. Thanks so much for all your prayers and good wishes!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

So little time, so much to do.

Things have been crazy busy around here lately. The kiddos new homeschool year officially started which means tons of work for me- The Boy Wonder is in the 2nd grade and The Girl Wonder is in the 7th. It is worth every second to see all they are learning and to be able to give them a little extra understanding when certain subjects are difficult. It seems most of my personal computer time is devoted to checking resources, printing worksheets and general curriculum planning. This year both the kiddos wanted to move away from the unschooling approach we have taken in years past and use a more structured curriculum. The Girl Wonder especially thinks it is important since she is not too far from high school level classes and thinks the extra structure will help her get into a better college. Gah, my baby girl sure is growing up!
There has also been this very interesting reality show on TV that has been consuming many hours of my life. Perhaps you have caught an episode or two- it may be hard to find since it is only on every couple of years...I think it is called The Olympics. The Gaming One has been picking on me about having a crush on the swimmers. I keep telling him it is just their stamina I have a crush on...but now that I am thinking about it, the longest they go at it is 7 minutes, and that is just not enough...

I did not join the Knitting Olympics this year, because I knew that I would be out of town for a weekend family reunion and knitting time would be limited. I have two large projects on the needles (the Lovely Lacy Shawl and the Feather and Fan blanket) neither of which were suitable for knitting during family gatherings. The very lovely and sweet Andrea sent me (3 skeins of Schoeller and Stahl Socktina Cotton) sock yarn and a knitting pouch (that really makes me wish I had her sewing skills) as part of a blog contest prize- the perfect combo for on the go knitting. So right before I left, I decided to cast on a pair of socks to take with me. I divided the skein into two balls and started each sock on the same color repeat so I would have matching socks. I also wanted to make sure I would not lose a needle or leave one at home (like I have done in the past) so I decided to learn how to knit two socks on one circular needle. I feel like a genius! Look Ma, No Ladders! Matching Socks! No Second Sock Syndrome!

Finally, if you have read this far, there has been a little health scare over the past few weeks in my extended family and it turns out my father in law has to have heart by-pass surgery this Friday. So if you have a minute, say a prayer and send some good vibes his way.

I am hoping to be able to carve out an hour or so to catch up (and comment) on all your blogs. I have been a very bad blog friend, but hope to read you all soon!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

All is not lost!

Thanks so much for all the kindness and hugs regarding my pity party. All the good vibes must have had a great effect because The Gaming One was able to recover EVERYTHING! That man is a genius! Oh, happy day!

I was able to finish the Swallowtail Shawl I started for my Grandmother. I can't believe it, but I gifted it to her before taking pictures of it. I don't know what I was thinking... She was very touched and started telling me about all the fall clothes she has that she can wear it with. I made a few mods to the shawl to make it longer. I was trying to use all the yarn- I hate having 20 or 30 yards leftover that is basically useless. I will be at Grandma's house in a few weeks and I will try to remember to take a picture then.

I go over a couple of times a month to do the cleaning that she and my Grandfather cannot do any longer. I don't think I ever mentioned it, but she was hit by a truck a few years ago while crossing the street to get her mail. She was thrown about 30 feet and broke her collarbone (in two places), leg and arm. She was in the hospital and in a nursing home for months and I really did not think she would survive, but she is one tough cookie! Understandably, now it is very difficult for her to do things like mopping, scrubbing tubs, and cleaning cobwebs. It is really hard for her to ask for help doing things she has been able to do all her life. I keep telling her I didn't ask her to take such good care of me when I was a little girl- she did it out of the goodness of her heart and I plan to take care of her now. I feel very fortunate to still have my favorite Grandparents around and want them to know how much they are appreciated and loved.

The Kiddos are gone for the weekend and The Gaming One is working, so I have two days of quiet to knit and spin and plenty of cold beers in the fridge! I hope your weekend is as good as mine is going to be!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

pity party for one...

My main computer has been attacked by spyware/malware/viruses (I really don't fucking know, as I don't know shit about computers). In order to banish it for good, my darling husband has used a lovely recovery disk to return our system to our original pre-infected status. In doing so I think we have lost over 5 years of pictures OF MY CHILDREN saved only on our hard drive, all our bookmarked internet pages, and all of the knitting pattern/design ideas I have had in the works. Of course, this could not have happened at a better time, as I am so pms-ing even commercials make me cry very rational at this time. To cope, I am drinking and crying as there is nothing else I can do except break shit and yell at my husband for his oversight because I did nothing to prevent it either.

I cannot believe all the pictures I have taken of my kids are gone. Our first trip to Disneyland- GONE. Birthdays-GONE. Holidays-GONE. I am kicking my own ass now, because I thought only yesterday, "I should copy all our pictures to my flickr account in case something happens and we have to reboot our system." I decided to wait and do it today and guess what? Today all cookies were disabled on my computer and I could not even fucking log into flickr. Fuck, Fuck Fuck!!!!!

Did I mention all my bookmarks/internet favorites are gone as well? This is huge considering I homeschool my children and 98% of our materials are taken from online sources which I oh-so-smartly renamed "2nd grade spelling" "7th grade math" "science" "history" so they would be easy to find. Now, I would not recognize the actual names in a search even if I tried to find them all again. (Did I mention that I am crying to cope.) What the fuck am I going to do.

If you are reading this stop now and go back up all the files on your computer. Especially your pictures! Yes, right now. I hope you never need it, but if my shitty situation ever happens to you, you will thank me.

To make a bad situation worse, now I am stressing about the whole shebang (which I can do NOTHING about) and will not be able to sleep tonight. Thank you stress induced insomnia. It should make my eczema flare up nicely as well, leaving me unable to knit as I only get flare-ups on my hands. I should be a lovely person to be around tomorrow. yeah.right.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


After having a look at the IK fall '08 preview the reason they rejected my proposal for the winter '08 edition is clear...

excerpt taken from my proposal "...a knitted version of the classic double breasted wool pea coat...The coat will have a tapered waist accentuated by the half belt in the back...and a wide collar..."

I guess great minds think alike...

I still like my herringbone version better and plan on knitting it this fall.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

pretty tasty (if I do say so myself)

I am happy to report the jelly jelled and it is so good. It is beautiful and clear and just what I was aiming for as far as the set goes- not to firm, not too runny. If that half eaten jar of jelly is any indication, my kids are are pleased with it as well. I wonder if I can convince my Grandparents to let me have some more plums?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Adventures in jelly making

The Boy Wonder's birthday party Saturday was a smashing success! The kiddos had a great time just running around being kids. My son took the time to read each card before opening the gift it accompanied, then went and hugged and thanked the person it was from before moving to the next present. I was so proud of him. After all his guests left he came to me and thanked me for his party and the presents we gave him. Later my husband even thanked me for all the preparation, planning and cleaning I did before the party. I must say being thanked totally made all my work worth it.

When my grandmother and grandfather arrived, they not only brought a gift for the birthday boy, they brought me four or five pounds of wild plums from their plum tree. They were not the big plums like you find at the grocery store, but itty-bitty plums about the size of a half dollar. They are tart and perfect for jelly. I asked my grandmother to teach me how to make jelly this summer, envisioning standing side by side while the jelly bubbled on the stove. Her reply, "It is easy, just go buy yourself a box of Sure-Jell and follow the directions." I guess when you are almost 76 jelly making has lost a bit of the magic and just seems like work. It did make me laugh though. She did tell me that instead of pitting and chopping the tiny plums she just puts them in a pan, covers them with water and simmers them until the skins burst. I was very glad to hear this shortcut because I was not looking forward to pitting all those little plums.

So Sunday, armed with my pressure cooker, some half pint jelly jars, a couple boxes of Sure-Jell, a big bag of sugar and my wild plums I set out to make my first batch of real jelly. I could have made freezer jelly but I really did not want my freezer full of jelly- besides I think the jewel toned jars of jelly make such pretty gifts. I cooked the plums for about 10 minutes, then drained the cooked fruit in a strainer set over a big bowl. I then poured the juice and pulp in the beer making muslin bag that my husband uses for boiling hops and grain. I was aiming for just the juice so the jelly would be clear. I hung the bag from the cabinet handle and placed a bowl underneath to catch the juice. When The Boy Wonder saw this he said, "Wouldn't it be funny if I poked a hole in the side of the bag and jelly went shooting across the kitchen?!" My reply, "NO! KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY JELLY, BOY!" Silly child. While the juice drained I put the jars in the dishwasher to wash and sterilize, had a beer and spun a bit.

After the juice was finished draining I followed the instructions on the box for plum jelly. After adding the sugar I was sure that the jelly was going to boil over the top of the pot, spilling its sticky sweetness all over and into the stove while permanently disfiguring me with a horrible jelly burn. (melodramatic much? yes, perhaps a little bit.) I used a eight quart pot and have made a mental note to buy a bigger pot before trying this again. The cooking time was up just before it boiled over thankfully.

I filled the cutsy jars and put them in the pressure cooker to seal. Every time I use my pressure cooker I am afraid it is going to explode. This time was no exception. The directions on the Sure-jell read 'Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches.' So after having a few beers, I interpreted 'cover' as meaning '1 to 2 inches over the top of the jars'. After the pressure was up on the cooker I noticed that quite a bit of water was sputtering out of the pressure release valve. As I hid in the living room (and reread the pressure cooker instructions), the pot sputtered and steamed and threatened to blow up on the stove. I then realized that I was only supposed to put 1 and a half quarts of water in the canner. I had put at least twice that much in there. This is when I thought to myself, 'Shit, I am really going to blow it up this time. Glass shards in jelly is going to be a bitch to clean up.'

After consulting my friend Google and finding nothing to help the situation, I decided it might be best to take the pot off the stove, pour off the water and reprocess the jars. I quickly removed the pot from the burner and let the pressure go down. When I started to remove the jars I started hearing a familiar sound, 'plink, plink...plink,plink...plink,plink,plink,plink.' My jars all sealed! Woo-hoo! I did not process them again, so I hope no one gets botulism from my jelly. I know back in the day my Grandmother just filled the clean jars with hot jelly and let them seal without processing and she never poisoned anyone, so I think I am probably safe. I covered the jars with a towel and a big sign on top warning my kids not to touch them, since you are not supposed to move them for 24 hours while the jelly sets.

Jelly making is one of those things that I feel I should learn in order to call myself a Proper Southern Housewife. I have already mastered biscuits, pickles and canning fresh veggies from the garden, so jelly was next on my list. It was quite a lot of work for 9 half pints of jelly, but I am happy that I can finally say I have made homemade jelly. I still have enough juice for another batch and I think it will be a bit easier and less stressful the next time. I can't wait for toast and jelly for breakfast tomorrow if my jelly sets or waffles and plum syrup if it does not!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

unable to remain monogamous

to projects, that is... (hi, Sweetie! Still being faithful to you!) After working only on the Heirloom Shawl and adding over 11 unstretched inches of progress since I last blogged about it my fingers started itching for something else to do. My brain started begging me for an easier project. The charts for the shawl are broken up into many small charts, with sections of certain charts needing to be repeated. IMHO this is a pretty shitty pattern- the shawl will totally be worth it, but it is a bitch to try to figure it out. The written directions contain errors. The charts contain errors. I am in a KAL on Ravelry for this pattern, but I am the farthest along in the pattern, so I am on my own for now. I got a little break making the bookmark for my Great Aunt, but I needed something totally mindless...
and quick and easy crochet came to my rescue once again. This is the same yarn that I used to start a kitchen rug with the stitch pattern from My So Called Scarf last November. Although I really liked the stitch pattern, knitting with it killed my wrists after just a few rows so into the frog pond it went. After a quick Ravelry search, I found the perfect project for my state of mind- it was quick, easy, mindless, and served a purpose. Behold, after just three days, my almost finished 9-sided Kitchen Mat. The red yarn marks the beginning of round spot, and I have white yarn marking the line of increases, so there is no thinking or counting-only the very satisfying monotony of half-double crochet, around and around and around. The funky colorway is perfect for the stuck-in-the-70's harvest gold stove with matching linoleum. Ahhhhhh, that is just what I needed. I have that one ball of yarn left and it will be finished- at the rate I am going I should have that finished off by tonight or tomorrow.Then the lace bug cast-on-itis bit me on Tuesday and I started another Swallowtail Shawl. As is my tradition in knitting this shawl, this one is also a gift. It is for my Grandmother for her birthday in early August. I managed 6 pattern repeats before putting it down for the night. I am using yarn left over from Savannah, I am thinking there should be plenty left for this. I love the idea of having a shawl made out of the same yarn as my Grandmother. She really isn't a 'shawl person' so to speak, but I am sure she will appreciate it and perhaps wear it to church a time or two! Poor unblocked lace is so unimpressive. You just wait until you are blocked and you will be a beauty for sure!

I hope each and every one of you (my USA readers) have a wonderful and relaxing 4th of July! Don't forget to remind your kiddos about the true reason behind this celebration, and say a prayer (or send out some good vibes) for all the Men and Women in the Armed Services that sacrifice so much to ensure our continuing freedom. As for me, I will be busy as a bee. My baby boy celebrates his 7th birthday on Saturday so I have lots of cleaning, cooking, and decorating to do before the party.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happy 80th Aunt Lib!

The extended family on my paternal grandmother's side of the family gets together every year for food and fellowship. It is a time for us to "ooh" and "aah" over the new babies, marvel at how much the young'uns have grown and visit with the 'older' generation while we still have the chance. This year's celebration was moved up a few months to celebrate a big milestone in the family- my great Aunt Lib's 80th birthday. She is the first in the family to turn 80 and had no idea the party was moved up so we could all celebrate with her. She was married to the oldest in the family (Pete) and everyone just loves her to pieces. Sadly, Uncle Pete died a few years ago and he is sorely missed. Some of my earliest memories of the big Edward's gatherings revolve around Uncle Pete and Aunt Lib. (I did not realize how much I still miss him until now- sitting here replaying all those tender moments with him and I can't hold back the tears.) I can still see his twinkling blue eyes. He was one of those people that when he smiled (and he was always smiling when he was surrounded by family) his eyes smiled too. You could always feel the joy that seemed to radiate from him. He had a way of making each person in the family feel like the most important person in the room. That is saying quite a lot considering our family gatherings swelled to upwards of 80 people. When I was maybe 4 or 5 I remember sitting on his knee and him telling me, "A gal as pretty as you has gotta learn how to wink." He sat there giggling at my first fumbling attempts to close one eye at a time just the way he showed me. I think for the next month I winked at everything that moved. He was always my favorite uncle.

Aunt Lib was just made for him. She is not even five feet tall and for as long as I can remember she has had that silvery white bob. She also is happiest surrounded by family. I have only seen her once without a smile-at Pete's funeral. Her smile could light up a room. She is the most sweet and humble person I have ever met. She seemed to have magic pockets that always contained candy (maybe that was what kept her so sweet!) and the kids in the family knew that if Aunt Lib was offering candy there was no need to ask Mom and Dad if it was ok to have a piece. She gives the warmest hugs that are always followed by, "I am so glad to see you. It is such a blessing you are here and I love you." As you might imagine, she was right there on the top of my list of favorite relatives.

When my Grandmother told me we were having a surprise party for Aunt Lib's 80th birthday I knew I wanted to make her something. She is a devout Bible reading Christian and I knew she would appreciate a pretty bookmark to tuck into her Bible. She was very happy with her gift- and even more impressed that I actually made it. "Well, you are just an artist! It is beautiful," she told me as tears glistened in her eyes. It is odd, her reaction was the most touching reaction I have ever received after giving a knitted or crocheted gift and it was the most simple of gift of all. It was harder to block it that it was to crochet it. My sweet Aunt Lib, I love you so much and I am blessed that you are part of the family!

All pattern details are on Ravelry.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

spreading the love

Since my Mom became a long haul truck driver almost 4 years ago, I have been trying to convince her to learn to knit. There has always been a selfish part of me that wanted her to learn, so that long after she is gone (morbid, I know, but it happens to us all) I would have something to hold and remember how much we shared. I wanted her to speak the secret language that only those that knit or crochet understand. She told me time and again that it was too hard, she did not have the patience and so on. I quickly called bullshit on all her excuses. She and I are so much alike, I knew armed with well written directions she could figure it out and would love it. Also, I realized that until she really wanted to do it there was no use trying to convince her, so I just let it go. Then around Mother's Day my Mom said six little words that made my heart sing, "I want to learn to knit."
Her Mother's Day present was never easier to pick out. I bought both a learn to knit kit and a learn to crochet kit and a couple of balls of yarn and snuggled them inside a black handbag-not realizing this little gesture would mean so much. When she saw the handbag tears filled her eyes, "There are knitting needles in here, aren't there?" Suddenly the parallels occurred to me, I learned to knit after finding knitting needles in a black handbag. I was subconsciously starting her out the same way.

A few weeks later, she calls me from the road and asks if I am sitting down.
"Yes, why?"
"I just finished my first washcloth! All by myself!"

She then told me about the frustration of those first stitches. Her mantra "Amanda keeps saying this is relaxing. This is supposed to be relaxing. Why am I so tense." I reminded her that alcohol helps- alas that is not an option while she is on the road. Not only did she teach herself how to knit, she also taught herself how to crochet! She used both of the skeins of yarn I bought her and bought more as soon as she got home. She is speaking the language quicker than I thought! She prefers crochet to knitting so far, but I won't hold that against her.

While visiting her this week, she gave me that washcloth. There is no way I will ever use it to wash dishes, it has a place of honor on the table beside my knitting spot.

Just last night The Boy Wonder also learned to knit. When I got up this morning he was sitting on the couch knitting. Mama is so proud! He is pretty proud of himself as well!

Did I let him stay up past his bedtime to finish that last row? You bet I did!

Monday, June 09, 2008

All about lace

All I have been interested in knitting lately is lace. It is too hot to think about sweaters and sock knitting has been a disaster of late, so lace it is! I ordered 10.5 oz of Merino from for my birthday. I spun it into fingering weight (or a bit heavier) with the intention of knitting the Lovely Lacy/Heirloom Shawl that kicked my ass the first time I attempted knitting it. I have learned so much since that first lacy attempt. It has only taken me a few days of knitting to accomplish what took weeks before. I am so much more confident in my skills, reading my knitting, and noticing and correcting mistakes. It is nice to come back to a project that was once too difficult only to sail through it this time around. I am knitting this as part of a KAL on Ravelry- it is nice to have help if I have problems, since the original pattern contains errors.

Slowly, I am making my way around and around and around the Feather and Fan Shawl (blanket version). The rounds are so long now I am working it on two circular needles. It is pretty mindless as there are only pattern rows to work ever forth round. I am on row 114 of 189, so I still have a long way to go, but I am oddly enjoying it!

Y'all have a great week and try to stay cool!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

sock jinx

I am sure of it. I have cast on two pair of socks in the past month or so and both of them have had issues of sorts. First it was the Baudelaires knit in a poor choice of yarn. I realized I did not like the yarn/pattern combo about 4" into the pattern, and I should have frogged them at that point, but I think I was in denial. Into the frog pond they went. The yarn is off to a hilarious new home and something different is coming my way in return. (Go read her blog, you can thank me later for brightening your day.)

Then, bored with all my current projects, I decided to cast on for the Entrelac Socks. These I loved! I realized while knitting them that if I ever finished them I would be the proud owner of $60 socks (three skeins of Colinette Jitterbug). While this sounds posh, I also realized that there would not be too many places that I could/ would wear them. While they were very interesting to knit, they were a bit funky for my tastes. Did that stop me? Of course not! I knit them all the way to the heel, they looked great until I realized that the heel was actually going to be on the side of my sock instead of the bottom. I have no idea what I did to make that happen. So before I could even take a picture I frogged it too. Good news is the Jitterbug is a very hardy yarn and stood up well to both the knitting and frogging. This is another pattern that I would like to try again, just in a less expensive yarn.

Good thing it is barefoot weather and I won't be needing socks until September!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

condensed blogging picture version

Here are my "dirty socks"- as you can see from the closeups, all the details are mushed. This pattern is too pretty to be lost in this yarn. It's the frog pond for these babies. I will knit them again, because I really like the pattern.
My Woolee Winder arrived shortly after my last post. Although it does not match my newly stained wheel, it has made so much difference in the quality of my spinning. Just look at that even bobbin! The fiber I am spinning is merino from in color Ivory. It is so soft and a pure joy to spin.
Savannah was such an enjoyable knit.
I love this section in the center that is slightly longer than the main part of the shawl. It provides just a little more coverage just where it is needed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

condensed blogging

Wow, has it really been an entire month!? I have been composing blog posts in my head for the past month, but just can't seem to find the mojo to write them down. So, instead, here is a list of all I have been up to in the past month...
  • I turned 30 (in case you were wondering, yes, I did freak out a bit. There was quite a bit of soul searching on my part- the 'where am I now compared to where I thought I should be at this age'. I am a bit better now.)

  • I made a few birthday purchases.... a pound and a half of roving for spinning, a Woolee Winder (I still do not have it. I placed my order before the last big fiber festival and my order was lost! I should have it by today.), a spinning book and a big bottle of Belvedere Vodka.

  • I stained my spinning wheel (after a year of her being naked in my living room, I felt it was time.)

  • I finally finished SOTSii- Savannah. I love this stole and have worn it so much- It is a little extra special to me because the Girl Wonder's middle name is Savannah.

  • The family and I took a trip to Florida to visit family for a long weekend (Sarasota is such a beautiful city!) then on the way home we surprised the kids with three nights in Disney World. (We visited the Magic Kingdom and Typhoon Lagoon and had It was worth every penny and we will go again. I can't imagine going for an entire week- we were beat after two days!)

  • I knit 20" (toe to cuff) of Baudelaire (I was planning knee socks, but hate the yarn for the sock. While knitting in Disney the only comment about my knitting was from a small boy (maybe 4) that looked at my knitting, looked up at me and said, "That is a dirty sock." To his credit, it does look dirty with all the bits of tweed in the yarn. I really like the pattern and will make it again with a better yarn.

  • I cast on for the Entrelac Socks. I have 4 balls of Colinette Jitterbug in my stash that I originally bought to make a striped sweater. I am about half through two skeins and am not in love with the sweater so far, so I decided to try the socks, see which I like more then frog the other one.

  • Oh yeah, and all the mundane day to day stuff, house cleaning, cooking, packing, unpacking, gardening, grass mowing, ceiling painting (I almost cried over that one! As my MIL likes to say "I cussed that paint onto the ceiling!"), schooling the kiddos, and I lost 6 lbs.

I will have to show ya'll pictures another day, school starts in a few minutes and I have a ton of yard work to do today. Hope ya'll have a great week and I look forward to catching up with all of your blogs soon! I am so behind!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Babette is all finished- well almost. I finished the last few rounds a few days ago and weaved in all the loose ends. I tossed it in the washer and dryer (Knitpicks Swish superwash) knowing the yarn would soften up, the stitches would bloom and my blanket would be nice and snuggly.

Then I noticed holes


My poor blanket looks like it has been loved on quite a bit- the washer and dryer loved it long time. I am just glad that it is not a gift, I fear this one won't hold up too long. I will make all the necessary repairs, then this will have a permanent home on my side of the couch. It is the perfect lap blanket (29" X 37").

I really see myself crocheting another one of these. Next time I will probably crochet all the squares at once then do all the seaming. I noticed differences in my gauge in some of the sections, and the seaming does not match because I used a different method in the later rounds. I enjoyed this muchly, and am glad to be able to cross it off my list.

As a reward for finishing Babette, I started swatching for Lemonade v.2. I am using Sublime Cotton Soya and I am in love! This yarn begs to be knit into baby sweaters- it is buttery soft, knits up beautifully, and is machine washable. Stay tuned!

Even though my Mom does not read my blog (If you do, and I don't know, you better come clean woman!) I want to wish her a very happy birthday today! She and I are so alike in so many ways and I could not imagine my life without her in it. I love you, Mom! Thank you for always being there for me, never judging me, giving me great advice and loving me the most!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Home again...

Our trip to the beach was as wonderful as always. Although it was close to 70 degrees each day we were there, it was also very windy. The kiddos played in the waves and the sand, but not as long as they would like, although quite long enough for me.

This weekend I learned the importance of packing a back up project. I originally planned to take my Baudelaire's to keep me occupied- after all, I felt I could be monogamous for a weekend at least. At the last minute I threw the striped cardi in my bag just in case the sock managed to piss me off with its dark yarn, little needles and fiddly lace pattern. When I took out the sock in the car, I realized I had left the fourth needle at home! So, needless to say, I got quite a bit of knitting accomplished on the cardi, but sadly nothing on the sock.

Speaking of knitting accomplishments, well, I have none. What I do have is many projects on the needles, designs in my head that need to be on paper, and a queue that gets longer each month. I really need to get a few things finished.

  • Babette needs a few more rounds of edging and it will be finished.

  • Secret of the Stole ii KAL was finished long ago, sadly, I lost steam around the seventh clue and my stole has sat neglected since then. I am kinda putting off winding the second skein (840yds!) of laceweight yarn to finish the second half of the shawl. I am also afraid that the colors may be slightly different since it is kettle dyed.

  • Feather and Fan Shawl blanket is in time out until I can find another pair of size 6 circular needles to transfer the some of the stitches. The rounds are getting so long (550 sts per round) and I am not even close to being finished, plus, I was almost out of yarn. The three skeins from the frogged Rusted Root did not get me as far as I had originally hoped. The good news is that I found a person on Ravelry that happened to have 3 more skeins of the yarn I am using, and she sent them to me! Thank you Jenn!

  • Baudelaire and the Jitterbug cardi have barely been on the needles a week, so I am not feeling the need to finish them quite yet.

  • *cough* fish blanket *cough* may never get finished

  • My so called kitchen rug just may get frogged

Since Magknits is no more, I am also toying with the idea of reworking my pattern that was published there. This time I am going to use a yarn that is not discontinued, rewrite the pattern to include long and three quarter length sleeves as well as rework the directions so there are fewer pieces to knit and less seaming.

so much to do, so little time...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Just a few things to share...

I was hooked on crochet (bad pun) for a few weeks. During that time I came across this square and thought it would make a very pretty throw. The only problem is that I would have to figure out how many yards of yarn I would need for a blanket. I figured I would just crochet a gauge square to figure how many squares I would need to make a blanket and how much yarn I would need. I am going to unravel this square and measure the yarn to figure the yardage. It is supposed to be a 12" square, but mine is only 11". I was able to crank this one out in a day, so a blanket should only take about 4 months to complete...

I totally blame the following socks on V. Check out all the pretty yarn and socks on her April 5 post and you will totally understand...but you will probably be powerless to resist the urge to cast on socks.

We are headed to the beach this weekend to spend time with the inlaws which means I need something to knit while the kiddos frolic in the ocean waves. I cast on for Baudelaire with the intention that it could be my beach knitting project as long as I could knit past the toe before arriving at the beach. After three days I have already turned the heel! Woo! I am planning to knit these as knee socks, so I have quite a bit left, but they are really coming off the needles quickly. I guess that is what knitting lace shawls all winter does for a gal- makes her appreciate how quick a 66 stitch row goes!

I have no one to blame for this except myself. I have recently dicovered a wonderful little yarn enabling store. The last time I was in this store I admired some beautiful yarn hanging on the wall. After I got home I could not quit thinking about the intense colors. So, of course, I had to go back and bring some 4 skeins of it home with me (colors: elephant's daydream, jay). I am planning a raglan, three quarter sleeve, striped cardi. That may not look like much for 2 days worth of knitting, but at 7 stitches and 9 rows per inch on size 3 needles, it is a lot of knitting. So far I am really loving the stripes, we will see if they are still cute after I stretch those stripes across my mama bulge.

Speaking of mama pudge, last week The Gaming One and I decided to start Weight Watchers together. I followed exactly as outlined. Gave up alcohol. Went to bed at midnight instead of 2 or 3. Got up by 9 instead of sleeping until 11 or noon. I exercised. I am feeling better and sleeping better, too!

All that and I managed to gain 1.2 pounds.

I guess two out of three ain't so bad...

Now I'm off to pack, hope y'all have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Six word memoir

Kristin at Knitting Kninja tagged me for the six word memoir. I thought this would be more difficult than it was.

my six word memoir: Absolved the past to attain jubilation.

There are many situations in my past that could cast a dark shadow on my life and happiness today. I refuse to allow the past dictate the person I am today. The past is just that: the past. We cannot relive it and we cannot change it. However, we can move on, let it go and continue to live life to the fullest. That is just what I intend to do! Lily of the valley is a symbol of the return of happiness.

This NPR story inspired the meme, and here are the guidelines:

Write your own six word memoir.
Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.
Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.
Tag five more blogs with links.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Chanson en Crochet

Chanson in Crochet is finished. Crochet is so fast! This only took two days and I could have had it finished in one if I did not have to make a trip for more yarn. I can't say it is my favorite thing I have ever made, but it is cute and it keeps the chill off my shoulders. I really think this yarn was a poor choice, as the marled color of the yarn hides a bit of the detail, but I still will wear it. I think an organic cotton would be a lovely choice.

I also happened to have the perfect bone button in my stash to hold it closed. I just love this little button and have been waiting for the perfect project for it.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Happy April Fool's Day!

First off, Thanks for all the happy 200th post wishes, y'all make it all worth it!

I hope you get through the day prank free! My kiddos surprised me by putting a frog in my sugar dish-the one I use to sweeten my coffee. These children have known me all their lives and know I am not a morning person, yet choose to mess with me before I have had one sip of coffee. Although the frog was but a toy, I was still none too thrilled. It was one of those toy bath frogs with the hole in the bottom so you can squirt water out of it. Which also means the entire inside stays wet and breeds lord only knows what kind of nasty bacteria. And it was sitting in my sugar dish leaking it's bacteria filled moistness all over my sugar. And it was first thing in the morning. And I have been suffering from insomnia yet again, so I was extra bitchy bright-eyed and bushy tailed this morning. After seeing how pissed excited I was to have been pranked first thing, The Girl Wonder reassured me they washed it before putting it there. I can't say that it made me feel much better... stupid "holiday"...

After my last post, Babette and I were monogamous for over an entire week! I managed to crochet the sixth section, seam them, and weave in most of the ends. It was then that I realized that I was fucking sick of weaving in ends and meticulously matching stitches to seam this bitch, and that it would only get worse as the sections got larger. I made the executive decision that I would just use the rest of the yarn to make the border. I had also used up a few of the colors and was having to substitute one color for another and wanted to avoid too much of one color in one section. As much as I loved seeing Babette grow, adding the border took it to an entire new level. IMHO, the border just makes this blanket. I still have a few balls of yarn to complete the border and I will be finished. It is just the right size to throw over my lap. I had to give it a rest because all the crochet was beginning to send shooting pains in my wrist and forearm.


Ever learn something through your knitting all by yourself that makes you feel like a genius? I did last week thanks to the humble garterlac dishcloth. I taught myself, with no internet intervention, no pretty diagram in a book, no instruction what-so-ever how to knit backwards! I just felt so smart! I was happily bragging to The Gaming One, "I just learned to knit backwards! I am so smart!" His smart ass reply, "I thought you figured that one out a long time ago" as he makes a gesture much like frogging with wild abandon while laughing and poking fun, "look at me I can knit backwards! I am so smart." I think I may have told him to "kiss my ass" at that point.

Now I want to knit Lady Eleanor.

This is the Ballband washcloth I mentioned in my last post. So.damn.addictive.
I also made the Knitted Lacy Round Cloth. I need 4 more washcloths to finish the "one for each day of the week" set I am making my sister for her birthday. Any suggestions?
I don't really know how to explain it, but last weekend I had the overwhelming desire to try to crochet something other than a square. After a quick Ravelry search I found the Chanson in Crochet. I am using the Cascade Ecological Wool left over from the too small twinkletoes. For some reason I was thinking that these skeins were almost 600yds, however, I was mistaken and the are just under 500yds, so of course I am 7 rows from the end and I ran out of fucking yarn. Just perfect. Now I am reduced to begging everyone on Ravelry that has leftovers in their stash to please send it to me so I don't have to buy another skein for $16, just for a few measly rows. This seriously needs blocking, but I really think it is cute so far. Not too bad for one day of crocheting. I like it in wool, but I think it would be super cute in cotton.

The pattern is very easy to follow, even for a beginner (this is my first non-square crochet project) but for the love a sweet baby jesus make sure you download the errata from Interweave because 12 of the 27 rows contain mistakes. Again, thanks to Ravelry, I was prepared.
My baby Girl turns 12 in two short days, boy how the time flies (and makes me feel old).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

200th post!

Woo hoo! I really never thought I would keep up this blog this long! Thanks for all the love, y'all!

After all the swatching last week I managed to get my design proposal mailed to Interweave Knits, all that is left now is to wait... I am in love with this idea, so even if it gets denied I will write the pattern anyway. After all that knitting, I really felt as if I should have something to show for it and needed a quick FO (or three).

FO 1: Ballband dishcloth (I plan to knit washcloths as a birthday gift to my sister. She has been asking for "one for each day of the week" after using one of mine to wash up after dinner here almost 6 months ago. I was a sweet sister and let her take home one of mine, now she really wants some of her own!)

FO 2: Fulled modified Twinkletoes. I knit a pair of these for The Girl Wonder back some time ago (I did not swatch and had gauge issues and thought the heel looked funny) and was not really happy with the outcome. I knit a pair this weekend with the intention of fulling them. Again I decided to live dangerously and not swatch. I cast on for the child size on size 8 needles and Cascade Ecological Wool. I love this wool, it is not soft enough for next to the skin wear but is great to knit with, has a wonderful woolly odor (for all you yarn sniffers out there) and not to mention has awesome yardage. My new favorite!

Shit, I had them in the washer while I was writing this post and now they are too small! Waaaaa! They are only a smidgen too small, but too small none the less. Anyone have a cute little lady in their life that might want them? They are all yours for the cost of shipping. They are 7.5 inches toe to heel. Leave me a comment or send me an email and the first person that wants them can have them. I am planning to attach the strap with a bit of elastic and add a button to finish them.
FO 3: Urchin. First off, let me say I think Ysolda is amazing and I am secretly jealous of her amazing talent at such a young age. I printed this pattern the day I saw it because I knew I wanted to knit it. I knit mine on size US 13 needles with Bernat Galaxy (this is such a strange yarn, I bought it when I first started knitting, with the intention of knitting a scarf with it- never happened). I knit the largest size even though I have a smallish head. I ended up working a row of single crochet around the brim to keep it from stretching too much and to tidy up the garter edge. I thought the pattern was interesting and pretty easy, but I am not so sure about this FO. Perhaps I'm not a beret kinda gal, perhaps it is the fact that if you saw a pile of this yarn cast aside you just might think it was a pile of cat vomit. Should I be caught in public in this hat?

I have also managed to crochet another section of the Babette Blanket I have been working on. I just might show this little project some love this week and see how much I can get knocked out.

That's all for now!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

What's in a name?

Oddly enough, Most of this is true!

What Amanda Means

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality. (I have both A and B personality)

You are confident, self assured, and capable. You are not easily intimidated. (most of the time)

You master any and all skills easily. You don't have to work hard for what you want.

You make your life out to be exactly how you want it. And you'll knock down anyone who gets in your way! (I would not knock others down, just ignore them.)

You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.

You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts.

You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.

You are balanced, orderly, and organized. You like your ducks in a row. (I wish!)

You are powerful and competent, especially in the workplace.

People can see you as stubborn and headstrong. You definitely have a dominant personality.

Does your name's hidden meaning ring true for you?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Homeschooling possibly illegal in CA

I normally do not talk about politics and such on my blog, but there is some Fucked Up Shit happening in California regarding parents freedom to homeschool. If you have read my blog for any length of time y'all know I homeschool my kids, always have, always will. Even though I do not live in CA, this is an issues that could possibly affect my children in the future. If you have a minute, please take the time to sign the petition to have the state Supreme Court to "depublish" the case, which means to apply the case to the family involved — not to all California families.

Thanks Y'all!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Whole lotta nothing going on...

The past few weeks have flown by! I have sat down to blog on many occasions but have just not been in the mood. The last two weeks of February could be defined by me just not being in the mood- for anything. I have knit (of course) but really have nothing to show for it. I have been swatching for a new design to try (again) to get published in Interweave Knits. I knit swatches for three days with three different yarns. Finally, I found a stitch pattern I liked and knit a big swatch to send with my proposal. The stitch pattern was pretty easy once I got into the swing of things and about half way through I decided I really didn't need to look at the directions anymore. I finished knitting part of the swatch and then picked up stitches along the side- just as I would for my design and was happily knitting along. I admired, petted, sniffed (mmmm, the woolly goodness of Cascade Eco Wool) this swatch for three days. I even blocked it- measuring carefully as I pinned it down. I showed off my swatch to my MIL and FIL describing my idea... then realized the swatch I was planning to mail to Interweave the very next day was fucked. Somehow, I left off the last two rows of the pattern repeat on all but the first two repeats of the pattern. stupid, stupid, stupid.....That will teach me that I am not as bright as I thought I was. So now, I am debating reknitting the swatch and sending my proposal to Interweave or just knit up the design myself and be done with it. Ironically, I received my first (rejected) design proposal the same day. Is this the universe trying to tell me something? Decisions, decisions...

Thanks to Marnie, I now have a new love...tatting. It took going to two stores to find the supplies and an hour or so going between YouTube and Google and I have a cutsie new craft. When I asked about tatting supplies from the not-so-helpful customer service at AC Moore I was looked at like I had three heads and speaking another language. WTF. The person I was directed to that "would probably" know what I was talking about had GREEN TEETH! I have this aversion to teeth in general- it grosses me out to floss my own teeth and I just come unglued when wee ones start wiggling around loose ones in their mouths- blech- anyway, I could not even look at this poor girl that was trying to help me and I almost threw up a little in my mouth.

Ever have one of those conversations that make you question your sanity? I did last week with my daughter. We were in Wal-mart and I comment to The Girl Wonder
me: Why do they already have the Easter stuff out?! I hate all this commercial BS, it is not even Valentine's Day yet!
TGW: uh, mom, Valentine's Day has passed already, remember?
me: (after thinking a moment)...Oh yeah. Man, I am losing it.

I only have 55 days left in my 20's and although I know it is silly, I am freaked out a bit about turning (cringe, shudder) 30. I have started exercising. I know my fitness plan is working every muscle in my body, because the day after my first session every part of me hurt. Oh sweet baby Jesus, I am so out of shape, it is pathetic. After a day of rest and a few hot baths I am mostly back to normal. The Gaming One has been very supportive, as long as you count support as laughing at my every groan and telling me "Don't exercise your ass, it is perfect the way it is." So sweet, that one! Knitting may be the new yoga, but it certainly does not promote the same level of fitness and flexibility.

Secret of the Stole ii is creeping along. I am about half a clue behind and just seem to knit and knit and knit and not really get anywhere. Stitch by stitch it is growing and will be finished in a few short weeks. I really like this design and can't wait to wear it!

Knitting and crochet and tatting photos will come as soon as I get in the mood!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mug and French Press Jacket

I usually need a quick FO fix after completing a big object and the Somewhat Cowl morning after was no exception. Last weekend I made a cup of coffee in my french press that convinced me to put away my coffee pot and espresso maker and reclaim the extra counter space. There was also a pattern in my Ravelry queue that I have had my eye on for some time-the Mug and French Press Jacket- I loved the stitch pattern. I just happened to have enough of the first yarn I ever spun to knit up one of my own- I had to do a bit of math to make the gauge work. I am using a cork as a temporary closure until I come across the perfect button.

Two days later, the greedy FO beast has been tamed and my coffee is nice and hot!

I modified the pattern a bit to make up for the thick handpun I used. I also left off the base.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

But I don't want to block it!

"Why not?" you might ask. Well, I know a few things you don't know. Firstly, this top is 80% baby alpaca which means it is going to 'bloom' as soon as it gets wet. Secondly, I tested a swatch and it bloomed after I washed it so I know it is going to bloom. However, I neglected to measure my swatch before I washed it so I have no idea how much. I know my beautifully fitted sweater may not be so fitted after a trip in the wash. Blah. I'll let you know how that goes....

Also, should I lengthen the ribbing on the sleeves? I am afraid it is not balanced considering the length of the hem ribbing and the cowl.

Things I have learned thanks to Secret of the Stole ii...

1. after a few beers is not the time to learn how to knit continental- all I gained in drunken confidence I lost in hand eye coordination. I figured if I could crochet holding the yarn in my left hand, I should be able to knit with it in my left hand as well. I was wrong.

2. When the chart changes, the knitting should too.

3. It is much quicker to drop down the stitches in the section with the mistake and reknit it, than frogging and reknitting six rows. All I needed was a pillow, a bright light and a pair of dpn's. and some patience.

4. I can knit faster when the house is empty and the tv is off.

5. Stoles are easier to photograph on circular needles than they are on straights, and I am knitting this one on straights.

6. Just when I start patting myself on the back for how quickly I am knitting and how beautiful it is and how I barely have to look at the chart... I will screw something up. Then I will have to put to use the skills picked up in number 3.

7. KAL's are great motivation for a project that I might otherwise shove in a corner in disgust instead of taking the time to learn to corrrect my mistakes.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

You make my day!

The very lovely Lara over at Yarn It! gave me this little award which totally made my day! I am sure most of you have seen it somewhere. These little bloggy chain letters of sorts always give me the warm fuzzies. I am one of those gushy people that love to see random acts of kindness- I get a thrill knowing that a simple act really can make a difference in someone's life. Besides, I have found some of the best blogs through these.

Anyway, the rules are to give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about Blogland! Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so that they can pass it on. Beware! You may get the award several times!


I know that is 12, but they all make my day, and they all deserve to know! Thanks so much ladies for all the inspiration, laughs, happiness and even the tears! Who makes your day?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

a plague upon my house

earaches, pink eyes, headaches, sore throats, fevers, congestion,vomiting, runny noses, sore noses from all the nose blowing (even with the Kleenex with aloe and lotion)... We are all pitiful. I just have two words for anyone suffering from the same afflictions- nasal irrigation. It may sound kooky or gross, but ahhhh the sweet relief if brings. When I first mentioned it to The Girl Wonder she looked at me like I had two heads. After she tried it she asked me to leave everything out so she could do it if she woke in the middle of the night. Much better than the crazy cold meds that make us weepy and irritable.

Ok, Ok, enough of the pity party.

In my first post this year, I mentioned that I did not want to start any new projects until I finished what was on the needles...Well, apparently just typing those words were enough to make projects jump on my needles! The release of the Babette Blanket pattern on the Interweave Knits site encouraged me to buy the pattern, frog my previous squares and restart the pattern. My 'winging it' version just wasn't quite working out. I am thrilled with the results so far! And have already completed as much as I had before. (Technically, this is not a new project.)
I have also started the Feather and Fan Shawl from A Gathering of Lace. I really love the Hemlock Blanket everyone seems to be knitting these days, but liked the center motif from the Feather and Fan. It is the first thing I have knit from the book (although I have looked at it many, many times) and so far I am really happy with the results. I actually frogged my Rusted Root and am using the yarn from that to knit the shawl (size 6 US needles). I figure it will be a nice little lap blanket come spring. Besides, I only wore Rusted Root one time (for my little bloggy) and knew I would not wear it again. It was a bit too short, the neckline flared a bit and the sleeves were not poofy like I wanted. Also, it was a bit itchy.

I also knit a wee baby hat for the local hospital. Back in November, my former neighbor (who happens to attend church with my parents) came over and brought me 6 skeins of yarn and the patterns the hospital accepts for the newborns. I was sleeping off way too many martini's from the night before when the doorbell rang. I threw on my robe and stumbled to the door. Just as I invited the sweet retired neighbor inside I realized how hungover I was (very, very, veryveryvery hungover). She was just talking and talking and my head was pounding, my stomach was churning and I started to blackout. That was when I realized I was going to be sick. I quickly told the sweet lady I was going to be sick and stumbled to the bathroom leaving her standing in the living room listening to me hurl. She let herself out, with hardly a thank you for her kind gesture. I not only wanted to die because I felt as if I had been hit by a vodka truck, but I was so embarrased that this sweet lady was witness to all of it. I felt so bad I called her later to apologize for my behaviour... That being said 6 skeins of yarn will make bunches of baby hats (with matching booties and mitts).

I have completed the first clue of Secret of the Stole 2. ( laceweight color cinnabar from frogged Lovely Lacy Shawl. 3.25mm needles) DK did not disappoint this time round either. So far I love the pattern and can't wait for more clues.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Best. Cupcakes. Ever.

The Girl Wonder had a hankering for something sweet last night, so I promised to make cupcakes today. I found the recipe for these on my favorite food blog Cupcake Bakeshop.
They are Devil’s Food Cupcake with Chocolate Buttercream and probably the best I have had in years! They were super easy to make and oh so easy to eat. The cake has a wonderful texture and not too sweet, just perfect for the sweeeeet buttercream. I added a pinch of salt to the cake recipe and a half teaspoon of vanilla to the icing.

Good thing I did not make a resolution to lose the weight I gained over the holidays, because these are too good to resist! I thought ahead and only made half the recipe so there are fewer cupcakes for me to devour while the kiddos are in bed.

2007 Finished Objects

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fan Bookmark Scarf

The FO's are off to a great start in 2008... I have been tickled about everything that has come off the needles and this little crochet scarf is no exception. Originally, I was just using this yarn (Knit Picks Shine- Cloud) to see if I could follow the instructions for this little bookmark- I thought they would make cute gifts. After completing a few repeats, I realized that I could follow the pattern and it would make a cute scarf. I had just enough yarn to complete 25 repeats of the pattern to make the fan bookmark scarf length. The Gaming One refers to it as a 'decoration' because 'a scarf with holes in it' is useless...

Decoration or not, it does keep me warm and I think it looks cute as well! I attached a shank button to a safety pin and held both to the inside of the scarf. I then used the holes as buttonholes and inserted the button through all layers- easy peasy no sew button!

Project details at Ravelry.