Wednesday, December 09, 2009

My brain hurts

It could be the cold, but I don't think so.

So, I had this fun idea of using up some leftover Fangasia yarn to make some fingerless mitts in a pattern that will echo the fang motif in the Love Bites scarf.  I planned to alternate rows of the Fangasia colorway with rows of plain black silver sock yarn (if you can call "silver sock yarn" plain).  This may be the worst idea ever!  Not because the colors aren't working out.  Nope.  They look fine.  Not even because I can only knit one at a time.  I have gotten used to doing two things (socks & mitts, not sweaters or hats!) at the same time, but these should go quickly. Right?  Little mitts?

Gah!  I'm doing the mitts on two circs, as usual.  But the pattern has all these YOs and K2tog right where the stitches start or stop on my needles.  A yarn over at the end of one row, then switch yarns for the next row is very challenging in the round.  At least, it is for me, and I'm worried that there will be a big, gaping hole in one spot of the glove.  That would not be pretty.  The K2togs keep happening when I have one stitch left on the end of the needle, so I keep moving them around every other row. Pfffffft.  I'm not enjoying this at all.

Yes, I know.  No one is making me do them.  But I want the mitts in this colorway.  This is the only way to get them.  I suppose I could hurt my brain further by seriously moving stitches around to try to adjust where the starts and stops are, but, hey do you smell smoke?  I don't know.  It is just rare for me to get off to such a very bad start with a project (deliberately ignores the disasterous Pi Shawl start). 

Perhaps starting the project while the girls were at dance class wasn't the best idea.  I was seriously distracted by the number of kids going in and out of the room leaving the door open with the music blasting and the teacher counting!  How was I supposed to count independently of her?  That doesn't usually happen, though, and I have spent many, many hours knitting there without any problems at all.  No.  It is just this pattern/project.  I actually started out thinking I could manage to do both mitts at the same time.  That would be FOUR bits of yarn to track , keep in the correct order, etc.  See?  Flat. Out. Crazy.

As it is, I will undoubtedly rip out the four completed rows and give it another go at home in relative quiet.  If it is still such a struggle, I'll reconsider the pattern, or my alternating yarn.  I could just try to do one in the yarn I have left and see if it is enough. I know it will be very, very close, but which side of completion is the sticky bit.  Will I have just enough, or barely not enough?  Is it worth the effort and time to knit it with the one yarn and see how far I get?  Will I rip it all and do it again with two yarns if it doesn't work? 

Yeah.  I don't know, so I thought I'd just make it "easy" on myself by using both yarns from the start.  Mitts are usually a traveling sort of project.  I can work on them anywhere.  Perhaps not this time.  I'll have to find something else to carry around.

I'm also working on a cross stitch quilt square.  Still.  I have never, EVER, had this much trouble with a simple cross stitch square in my life.  E.V.E.R.  I have had to re-work 3 out of 4 major motifs, not just once, but multiple times. Each.  Then I get to the "easy" part (should be) and find that one of the motifs is short by a stitch, and I had to rip the whole thing (single motif) out and re-work it.  Again.  sigh  Perhaps I'm just distracted, or something.  I don't know.  The due date for the square was last Sunday, but we had an unoffical extension to this Sunday.  Good thing.  It will take me that long to correct all the errors in this puppy.  (And, yes, you could tell that there was an error in all instances.) 

I'm trying not to let myself work on much else until I get this thing finished.  However, I have been doing lots of Pi Shawl work before bed (on the nights where there's time for that).  I'm halfway through the last pattern repeat!  I find it ironic that after struggling so long with this project, it is now the easiest thing I'm working on. 

Oh, well.  Nothing like uncertainty to keep you on your toes, right?

And now, after all that whining, some yummy, happy fiber!  This is locally dyed BFL in the colorway Dawn In Paris by Auntie Karen & Co.  I picked up 8 oz at the LYS and can't wait to get to it.  The dyer does not seem to have her own website or anything, just a local who sells through the LYS.  That's fine with me.  I also picked up 4 oz of this nice bit of BFL in Black Forest Cake.  Same artist, same store.  Black Friday sales can be good. I wasn't expecting to be out shopping, but Himself had me helping with a project of his and we ended up right around the corner from the LYS, so there was no real reason not to go.  I have no idea what I'll do with either of them, though I'm thinking a scarf for the Dawn in Paris.  Maybe a hat for the Black Forest I want these colors very, very visible!  Too yummy!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Caught Up On The Wrong Things

Well, not wrong-wrong, just not the stuff I should probably be spending my time on right now.  Isn't that just the way some of us work, though?  I just spent the past hour taking and uploading photos of projects and fiber, updating Ravelry, etc.  pffft!  I should have been doing something more useful, like going to the grocery store.  Or, maybe working with eldest instead of letting her have an extra long lunch today. lol Like she's complaining.

Still, that means I have way too many pics to post now, so I'll try to break it a bit, posting the oldest things first, with the exception of my newly finished Love Bites scarf.  This was knit up in Fresh From the Caudron's Silver Sock base in the Fangtasia colorway (Sept. shipment in the yarn club, didn't even get that one posted yet).  The pattern was fun, simple to memorize and seem to take for-stinking-ever to finish.  Of course, I could have stopped any time I wanted to, I just wanted a longer scarf.  As it is, I think I went a bit too far, I don't have quite enough left for mitts.  So I'm thinking I'll use some black silver sock from my stash and alternate rows with Fangtasia/Black and see if some work out. Anyway, you can see the two little holes in the wider knitted bands, like fang marks/bites.  Love Bites?  Ha Ha?  I think it is cute, but probably won't explain it to very many people.  They think I'm weird enough as it is.

On the idea of getting things done late, do you see that nice picture up there of the nice brew with the blue yarn?  I took that baby two years ago, and I've been looking for it ever since.  Seriously.  I've searched on every thumb drive in the house, every computer (we have, ahem, more than two) and everywhere else I could think of (at 2 am, sometimes).  WhenI finally embraced the fact that it was lost, gone forever and not-reproduceable (not exactly, anyway), after Himself updated all the software, etc. poof!, there it is. 

Seriously.  In His photo collection, which I thought was in the whole Picture folder (he didn't even know he had one of his own).  Moral of the story?  Never say die!  Or dye, or something like that. lol

This yarn is Michael, for Michael Corvin in the Underworld movie.  Actually, not a vamp, either.  This pair of lovely blue/black Merino / Silk skeins are destined to become a Clapotis.  At least, that's why I got two of them.  I hope they don't demand to be something else once I get started knitting on them.  The blues shade from very light to a rich, deep blue then bits of black as well.  So very pretty!  The yarn is huggably soft, and slippery with all the silk.  I'm sure it will be lovely to knit with! 

I can't wait to get started, but I'm also not sure if I'm ready for another big-ish project.  I might do the fingerless mitts in the leftover fangtasia first.  I just can't decide, but I'm freezing right now.  I have not adjusted to our current temps outside.  Pathetic.  I know.  I always need a couple of weeks to settle in, though, then I'm pretty good.

This guy is The Eccentric.  He is named in honor of a character from a series who's author is very, very, happy to sue anything that even breathes the name of her characters.  Once the dyer got wind of that, she modified the names and made the all exclusives to the club.  Paranoid?  Maybe, but better safe than sorry. 

The picture is not good, but I just don't seem to be able to grab the turquoise and plums in this one.  They are quite lovely and the yarn is BFL.

This yarn is an acquaintance to the character above.  He is The Antiquated. Rich plums and browns make up this fellow's pallete, and are absolutely scruptious!  Also BFL, very yummy.  As was the character, IMO, but I'll stop. lol

I'm a bit alarmed at how much fiber has found its way into my home over the past several months.  I was doing an excellent job of not buying anything (other than what came in the clubs), and then BAM!  I seem to have forgotten what it is to think calmly through all purchases, considering the likelihood that a yarn will be used. Soon.  sigh. 

Although, I suppose my most fevered stashing seems to be in fiber.  Since I added that jumbo flyer, I seem to think I'll be doing all this spinning. lol  I am trying to keep it in the loop, at least once a week at minimum.  I'm about 3 oz into a 4 oz braid of the Frabjous Fiber in Atlantis I've already posted (bad) pics of.  It is turning out very lovely, but it is a slow thing. 

If I pre-draft the fiber, I spin it too thin, if I don't pre-draft, it is pretty uneven.  I rather like the thick/thin (within reason), so don't mind too much, but it'll be nice when I get a better handle on this new flyer and thicker yarn.  I don't want everything I spin to come out sport weight.  I was hoping for something worsted-to-bulky in this yarn, but I knew it would be sort of random at this stage.  I just wanted to keep spinning.  Still, I'm hopeful that I can do a nice sweater or something out of this yarn.  Though I'm not delusional enough to think that will happen in the next month or so. lol

Monday, November 16, 2009

Drips and Drabs

I've been waiting for inspiration and time to get together and shake hands before posting again. Apparently, that isn't going to happen any time soon. lol

I've made zero progress on the vacation photos, which is too bad. I need to get them in order for Christmas pressies. Ah well, nothing like waiting until the last moment, right? OTOH, at least I got mine on the computer. Himself can't even get that far (which is my excuse for not getting to work on photo packages for the family at Christmas).

I found that much of the progress the Eldest and I made regarding a homeschooling routine went right out the window in a week's time. We've spent the past three weeks trying to get back to the relatively smooth routine we had before the trip. I think we're there again. You know, in time for all the holiday breaks. Still, at least I remember what the routine is, instead of trying to create one, so for me, at least, it is easier. Unless you count the fun of dealing with Eldest on the whole thing.

I've done a bit of spinning on this fiber, which is lovely.

It is a nice squooshy Merino and I just love the colors.
There's a bit more of the cream color than I would prefer (more green!), but it is really nice. I have quite a bit of it, 24 oz, so I'm hoping to be able to make something biggish and nice. Sweater of some sort? I just don't know. I'm using my new jumbo flyer, but I am having a hard time letting myself spin a bigger, fluffier ply. I practiced and thought I had it down, but it is a struggle. Still, I'm going to keep going with it anyway. There's a lot to spin, so I'm sure it will be a very "art" yarn when I'm done.

I played a bit with Navajo plying last weekend. That went better than I thought. Very much something to try rather than read about, I found. I don't want to do that with this yarn, however, because I want to maximize yardage to make something bigger. It is a tough choice, though, because I do want a thicker yarn in this colorway. I think.

Ah! To be a more experienced spinner!

Still, I can't save all the "best" fiber until I get to be an "experienced spinner" or else I'll never spin anything! Right? Right. Plenty of fiber in the, erm, sea. Or, something like that. Anyway, I'll try to get a pic up of the result asap. Obviously, you shouldn't hold your breath or anything.

I've made small progress on the Love Bites scarf. I still love it, but long scarf + fingering weight yarn + limited knitting time = long time to finish the project. I've been working more on the Pi Shawl. I'm happy to say I'm 5 rows shy of the last pattern repeat (repeating Pattern 1 for the last time, that is) then it will be on to the border pattern. Woo! Hoo!

I can't help but wonder if this thing will be as big as I need it to be once I'm done. I mean, it looks sort of small right now, even though there are so many stinking rows of knitting. That tiny, tiny laceweight yarn... I just don't see how it will be big enough, honestly. But, my grandmother is also a tiny thing, so I'm trying to reassure myself that it will be big enough.

I honestly don't know if I could ever knit lace again if I spend this much time on something that is too small. You hear that, lace? You've been warned!

Well, it is time to go read to dogs. Lately, I've just been getting lots of cuddles. Guess they've gotten used to us. lol

Monday, October 26, 2009

The family and I just returned from a fantastic vacation to Orlando. Himself's family is there, a few friends and relatives of mine are there, and, of course, The Mouse is there.

We managed to squeeze in some of each, though I'm convinced vacations are either too short or too long. Has anyone had exactly the right amount of time for everything? No? Yes? Maybe it is just me.

More photos may come, but there's 600+ for me to sort through (just the ones I took), and, well, I'm just not up for that yet. Anyway, here's a few just to prove we were there.
I had hours and hours on the plane to knit, but it was hard to concentrate on it for long. I had no trouble getting my knitting needles through security (I used my bamboo needles) and I didn't even try to take scissors. I'm working on a scarf in sock yarn, though, so it is taking forever to reach the end. Sort of like one of those things where you knit and knit and never get closer to the end, I think. I did get a good deal of knitting on the plane, and a little at the in-law's house, but not as much as I thought I'd do.

Himself was inspired to book the trip because his high school had a band alum reunion (all years) for the school's 70th anniversary. The alums were able to sit next to the band at the homecoming game on Friday and play along. I think the band director may have gotten an ulcer over his lack of control over the alums. They played whenever, and whatever, the wanted fairly often. The current school band had to stick to a more rigid plan. I suspect his mantra was "alums give money" or something like that. LOL Still, I sometimes caught this look on his face...

We went to the Magic Kingdom on Tuesday, and attended Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party later that night. You must buy special tickets for that, of course, but they close the park to non-ticket holders and there's trick-or-treating, fireworks and a parade. The kids brought their costumes and we took a break in the evening to head back to the hotel and change. It was so much fun! It was such an incredibly long day! 11 am - midnight. Exhausting! I don't think we waited more than 15-20 minutes for any ride, and for most of them, the wait was the length of time it took to walk from the entrance to the loading area. October is the month to go!

Wednesday we went to the Animal Kingdom. It was also pretty awesome with minimal wait times. I met up with a buddy from college (Austin College) and her mom for a few hours. They are living out that way now and so, when I do make it back to Texas, I never get to see her. The park is terrific, though much smaller and with fewer rides. We went to see several shows, including Nemo, The Musical, and rode several things twice. I made it on Expedition Everest, but only once. No one else would ride it with me and I felt bad making them all wait for me, even if the wait was short.

I will share one funny thing that happened at Animal Kingdom. While having lunch with everyone, I kept feeling this poking on my rear end. I thought it was my youngest child being obnoxious. It wasn't. It was a rather cheeky duck, pardon the pun. He was looking for a bit of my lunch and had the most remarkable expression on his face. Well, it looked that way from my point of view. Sadly, no one had a camera sitting out (safely tucked away from the food), so I can't share a photo of the fellow. He was rather bold, though. Just sitting there looking at me with an expression that said "Well?!"

We spent lovely time with family, mine and his, but it was all too short. Well, most of it was. Some folks are best in teeny, tiny doses, but I'll not dwell on that bit. LOL October is the best month for Florida, I think. Not too hot, but plenty warm for the kids. Himself and I were glad to return to Washington and real Fall weather.
The last day or so of the trip, the youngest developed a bladder infection. Sleep-deprived mom didn't really notice, or more correctly, connect the dots on that one until the night before we left. Seriously, I could not adjust to the 3-hour time difference the whole trip! Who knew those three hours could make my brain FAIL so much all week? It didn't help that the youngest was in total denial of all symptoms, for some unkown reason. So, the first day back, we were at the clinic for antibiotics for her. On the second leg of the flight home, the eldest got a sore throat. So, today we were at the doctor's office for her. She's got strep throat, and so they are both an antibiotics now. I hope that at the least, the meds will help the youngest recover from one and avoid getting the other. The adults will have to take their chances, I guess. Oh well, no one was sick while there and so far, no nasty swine flu symptoms.
I still say this was the best vacation ever, and I do hope we can go again in a couple of years. I miss my family, but visiting them is never relaxing, really. Visiting the in-laws provides innumerable amusement parks to visit, plus the beaches, and NASA, and goodness knows what else! But it also allows me to actually just enjoy the trip in a way that I just can't when visiting my family. So, the next trip will certainly be to see my folks, but probably not for a while. Which is good. I have all these photos to work through first...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How are we doing?

Well, we've been at the homeschool thing for about 2.5 weeks and we're all still alive. Week 2 was better, this week has been up and down (and it is only Tuesday!). We are still trying new stuff, new schedules, etc. and I don't expect everything to go smoothly while we are fiddling around. I have signed up to add Latin I class to our schedule. I think it is an awesome foundation for understanding English, and many other languages as well. I had two years in high school and quite liked it.

Yes. I'm a geek. lol

I'm still waiting for all the pass codes to get into that one, but it looks like a nice online class. I'm hoping the youngest can be part of the class so that she can benefit from it too.

On the knitting/fiber side of life, I finished my Jason Stackhouse Cat's Face Lace socks. These were a fun knit, and went pretty quickly, for me. They got interrupted for another cross stitch quilt square, which slowed me down, but no biggie. The pattern is from Ravelry but is heavily, heavily modified. The modifications were to suit my artistic muse, not because the pattern is in need of modification.

The original pattern is alternating rows of cat paws and cat faces. I decided I only wanted the faces. Then I decided I wanted to readjust the spacing on them, again, my muse was feeling uppity. These are toe-up socks, so the faces on the feet are in slightly different alignment than the ones on the leg, but I'm not even sure I could tell now. I did have some trouble at the top. Since I had a very generous amount of yarn, I repeated the pattern more than called for in the original (you may be wondering if anything is like the original pattern, right?). I thought the sock was a bit loose, so I went down a needle size for the ribbing, did the bind off and started weaving ends. Then I tried on the sock and it was too tight. I pondered my options for a silly hour or so, then I ripped out the weaving, the cast off and the ribbing on both socks, went, back up to the original needle size and did it all again. And now they fit. The stripes are interesting as they mirror one another, but the back of one sock matches the front of the other. I think it is cool.

I then cast on the Love Bites scarf (Ravelry, again) with the Fangtasia yarn in the same vamp club. The colors are really nice and I love they way they blend. The pattern is easy to memorize and goes pretty quickly. BUT, this will take forever to knit up the 400+ yds! At the end of the scarf, you drop three stitches and let 'em rip all the way down. This will be my first project like this, so we'll see how I do.

I bought a jumbo flyer for my wheel. I spent the week before school staining the thing and getting it all put together. I've managed to squeeze in a little time during school to spin a little practice fiber to get used to it. I really seem to NEED to spin thin yarn. I would really like to loosen up a bit. lol I bought a bunch of lovely stuff, but I won't touch it until I can make it do what I want.

I'm not sure how the colors will show up, but there some lovely shades of green, medium blue, white and a medium brown. The colorway is Atlantis, and the artist is frabjous fibers in Vermont. It is Merino Top and I picked it up from the LYS in Snohomish.

I've joined the Super Sock Scarefest again this year, and I nearly missed it! I've just been so busy I wasn't checking the group. I missed the first pattern release, and decided I'd wait for the next one. Since I have so much spare time on my hands, ahem, I'm thinking maybe I'll go with #3 pattern. We'll see how it works out.

I've got other fiber photos, but I think I'll save them. Maybe I can use them to motivate myself to post more often.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Sort of. This is what has been taking up my time. My eldest has been agitating for homeschool for about two years. I promised her we'd talk about it this summer and make a decision. So, we did. I was trying to help a friend with zero homeschool contacts find some info about programs / curriculum that people liked. In the process, I stumbled upon WAVA (Washington Virtual Academy) and it sounded like a really good way to get started. If you know it and it isn't, don't tell me now.

This program is technically NOT homeschool because it is part of the public school system and I do not pay anything additional (to my regular taxes) for the materials. What it is is a home-based education program and I work with a state certified teacher on a regular basis, to make sure we are meeting our goals & requirements (state requirements). The teacher will also help me work out strategies for more successful work with my child. The lesson plans are already built, but I can mix them up a bit if I want (I can't drop any subjects, but I can add things if I want).

We're into day 3 today, and I want out! I expected to feel this way, so I'm not panicked. I also will not be quitting today, so don't worry. As with many new things in life, this is more time-consuming and much, much more tiring than I thought it would be. I have never worked so hard in my life, I don't think. Oh, sure, maybe shoveling snow or painting a room or rearranging furniture is harder in the short term, but this won't end until June 16, 2010.

My self-pep talk today was all about staying adaptable every day, learning new strategies from one day to the next, and just hanging in there! It sort of worked. I'm hoping we will see some real progress in our attitudes/habits after a month. That will really go a long way towards giving me some much needed energy.

I think.

Right now, we spend more than double the time expected on Math alone (today, nearly 3 hours!). Not because we like it. No. Because the child has to change seating arrangements 50 times, get more ice (she's addicted to ice, but at least it is fluids) and make drum sounds. sigh I've already learned that I cannot, CANNOT, do any other thing while she is working on math. That includes knitting. That may change, but not any time soon, I'm sure. I can almost read email, but usually only one or two. If the reply is more than five sentences long, I'd better not try it. After completing (successfully) 19 problems, the 20th problem will warrant a long questions, stony silence and borderline tears even though it is exactly like the other 19 (successfully) completed problems. She can read directions, but if they are for math, it is like she is reading a foreign language phonetically. It has no meaning to her at all. Mind you, she is breezing through all the language and reading materials at light speed, so she does comprehend words. Just not words in a Math Book.

Well, to put a positive spin on the situation, I am learning a lot about my eldest child. She is probably learning a lot about me. Maybe we can both improve over the next year.

The youngest, you say? Ah. She would rather eat worms than be home with me for school. At least, that's where she is this year. We'll see how she (and I) feel about it next year. This is a trial program, Eldest and I both have the option to say No More! for next year. The youngest has the option to join if she wants, but I will not force the issue unless some unforeseen event moves me to change my mind.

Himself is very excited we are doing this. He is (currently) very supportive of this change. We'll see how he feels a month from now. lol When all those things I've been doing regularly start piling up again.

Thursday, August 06, 2009


So, yesterday I thought I would take the kids to play with their friends and then I would be free to spend a little time on chores. After the chores, I was going to enjoy a long afternoon of knitting. You know, because it was too stinking hot to touch wool last week.

Well, as I pulled back into the garage, I looked at all the boxes sitting around in there. Himself and I have decided we are going to spend time working through those boxes and either re-pack the things we're keeping or, here's a novel idea, use the stuff, or give it to charity. So, yesterday, in a fit of strange energy, I decided to sort through a few boxes.

After browsing through some boxes full of spiders, spiders and books, I decided to sort through photos & old personal memorabilia instead. Hmmm. I have a lot of photos, old photos, and now I'm thinking those spiders look pretty nice. lol On the other hand, I managed to get the other stuff sorted out by era nicely labeled in sealable boxes, and some stuff sorted into the recycle bin, so it will be easier to go back and look at it all for fun when I want to. In some small way, mission accomplished.

I was surprised by some of the stuff I found in those boxes. I'm not talking about the spiders here. I found lots of old notes my friends and I wrote to each other back in school. You know the stuff all about that cute boy you followed around the halls, or what you were planning to do over the weekend, etc. The notes you write instead of the class work you should have been doing. I think I kept them by accident, really. My mom had a bad habit (still has, most likely if given the chance) of going through my room and sorting through all my stuff when I was out of the house, spending the night with friends, driving around, etc. Anything in the room was open for full inspection, or reading as the case may be, because (at the time) it was her house. Furniture was rearranged, things were thrown away, whatever struck her fancy when I was out of the house for the evening. Of course, she never had any interest in reading my school papers, but the notes from my friends were fair game in her mind. I took to keeping those notes in folders so that they looked like school work, not chatter with my friends. I think it worked out, but it took me until my senior year to figure that one out.

Of course, a few years later I worked out that my mom's behavior was an inappropriate invasion of my privacy. The reading of private papters is just the tip of the iceberg, but there's no need for going there now (or here). We all have our issues. It would have been entirely different if I'd been a troublesome teen up to no good, etc., but I wasn't. I was a model child. Until college, anyway. But, that's a whole different kettle of fish and one thing leads to another, and so on.
I also found some old love letters from beaux long gone. Is it kosher to keep those? I really hate the thought of tossing them. While they don't come from the man I married, they were very important at the time, and helped me become the person I am. I just don't know what to do with those.

So. Here I sit with hundreds of photos that I hope to scan, and some that will be thrown out due to really terrible picture taking skills, Polaroids that are almost entirely black (I have almost no idea what the subject was it is so dark), and dozens and dozens of landscape photos that simply have no meaning anymore. Look! A tree! Somewhere. Could be anywhere, really. Oh! And here's another tree. Again, I have no idea where. But it is green! Woo-Hoo! Yeah. I probably don't need a gazillion of those. Do I? I mean, I know I took the picture in 1976, or 1978, on one of my trips to Oregon to visit family. The above mentioned trees were photographed somewhere on the road between Texas and Oregon. Could be anywhere, really. The trees in question might not even be standing anymore. But, then, should I keep the picture in memory of a tree that may no longer be? Even if I can't know for sure? Um, no. I think photos lacking any identifiers (people or signs) may all be fair game for the trash bin. They are faded and, really, unremarkable.

The question is: Will I get to work on this right away? Or will I need to find another box...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


I have no idea where July went. Perhaps the extreme heat in the last week of July burned the memory of July out of my head.

Whatever the reason, here it is, August. Half the summer break is gone and I haven't accomplished most of the things on my to-do list. I think that is the way it is supposed to go. Right? So, we're having a successful summer.

The kids are spending huge amounts of time playng with their friends from their former daycare. There is a shortage of older kids to play with the provider's grandkids. They've all grown up together and are very close, so my girls are visiting them and getting lots of play time. It is a nice break for everyone. Kids get tired of only playing with their siblings. Swimming at the beach, at the lake and at the public pool, ice skating, Slip 'N Slide and sleepovers. Oh, and spinning. I spent one day teaching the girls to spin. Sort of. They peddled, I managed the fiber. It worked out well and they were very happy with their yarn. We had planned to go pick out new fiber for them, but havent done it yet. Too many other things going on.

I was making some really nice progress on some socks with my Jason yarn. They are toe-up and a modified version of the Cat's Face Lace sock pattern (found on Ravelry). Werecat character inspired yarn, cat lace sock. Seems like a fun match to me. I like the way it is knitting up so far, I'm just a pattern repeat away from the heel. Or that's my best guess.

But I got distracted.

Yep. I picked up the Pi Shawl again, and I've been knitting with great enthusiasm. I've knit up about 40 rows, and I've done the last increase. I've got 576 sts on the needles and I'm on the last K row before starting the final lace pattern. I hope I can keep up some momentum, but I just don't know. I'd post pictures, but it is just a red blob. I refuse to take it off the needles because, even with lifelines, I know I will drop sts getting it back on. I mean, there are FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTY-SIX STITCHES IN TINY, TINY YARN. Not worth it. I'll take a picture of the blob before blocking, and that will have to do.

I also participated in the Tour de Fleece again this year. I had modest goals, and more or less met them. I am plying the last of the fiber now, so I didn't finish everything on time for the Tour, but I'm still finishing it all up. You know, so I can buy more fiber. lol Once this last bit is plied, I'll wash and set it all. Then I need to figure out how much I have and what I can do with it.

This bit on the left is DragonFibers' Bluebells & Buttercups. It is a Merino / Bamboo blend, and was a dream to spin. I just spent a crazy amount of time doing it. (As in, I got half of it done last year for the tour, and did the other half this year.) Pathetic.

This is also DragonFibers, but it is a Merino / Sea Cell blend in a pencil roving. This is the first time I've spun a pencil roving, and I have to say I love it. I normally pre-draft my fiber, and not doing saves a crazy amount of time! This colorway is Masquerade, and is a lovely mix of blue-ish grey and a purpley/burgundy sort of color. It is spinning up into a lovely yarn.

This lovely DragonFibers colorway is Mermaid's Jewelbox. This was Merino/Bamboo, and turned into a very lovely yarn. My theme for the Tour this year was DragonFibers, in case you couldn't tell. I'd picked up a number of braids, and really wanted to get them spun so I could move on to knitting them up.
Aaaaand, here are the singles for this one. Oddly, it looks dark/deep as singles. The yarn plied a bit lighter than I was expecting. But, since I have so little experience with this whole thing, really, I wasn't disappointed. Just surprised.

All the rest of my fiber stash is random bits of fiber I picked up to practice on. I have no real plan for using the random bits, and there really isn't much of any one thing to make into a project, really. I'll likely need to buy more random bits, or blend it with other stuff, or something else creative that I haven't thought of yet. Still, it is a nice collection for the kids to sample if they want to continue playing with the spinning.

Lastly, I realized that I never posted photos of my July installment of my yarn club. So now that I've got the shipping receipt for the August yarn, I'll get July up.

Here is Fangtasia, so named after the nightclub owned by Eric the Northman (vampire). This is on a silver sock base and is just yummy gorgeous yarn. It is posing on the vampire dress I made for the eldest last Halloween. I mean, I've got to get maximum use from the dress. It was really stunning, if I do say so myself, and will get very little wear.

This lovely yarn is Claudine, Sookie's Fairy Godmother. Claudine is also on a silver sock base, and the colors just really pop. Oddly enough, the youngest had these wings from her costume last Halloween when she was a flower fairy. They match the green & purple colors perfectly.

A fellow yarn club member had to destash some of her yarn and I was able to score a second skein of Claudine, so now I've got about 880 yards to play with. I'm sorry that she had to let yarn go, but I'm very excited to have gotten a second skein now (instead of having to wait for January when the colors are available again). I'm thinking: shawl. But not a round one! I think this is why I got so inspired to finish the Pi. I'm NOT casting on another shawl until the Pi is done. I'm serious. Really.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Brews, Blues and BBQ

Well, we made it back! It was a fun, but exhausting trip. Maybe we are just wimps and need to travel more (I'm actually sure this is true), but man! I did most of the driving (habit, I guess), about 800 miles, but my poor DH got stuck with the last part of the return when we got stuck in crappy traffic. Yay I-5!

The event was held in a pretty small town, on a small site with a not-so-small number of people. There were about 10-12 breweries, so rather small. I was slightly disappointed that there weren't more, but also that several of them were from the Seattle area, so not new to us. However, the rest were new and more local to the event. They made some nice beer, too. The BBQ side of things was also pretty small and not all local to the event, but still tasty!

I took some knitting, but in the end, I only worked on it in the hotel room. It was just too crowded at the Brew event. And hot. Somehow, I did not want to touch the wool yarn sitting in the bright sunshine. lol

We didn't fully plan the whole trip before leaving. I mean that I found some interesting things to do on the trip, but we had no idea what we would try to do, or what order we'd try to hit everything. So, the first stop turned out to be Ape Cave. Turns out DD2 does not like caves. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. In the end, we rented a lantern and went in for about 15-20 minutes, then left. I hope she was just being a squirrel and isn't really claustrophobic. The rest of us like caves and I'd like to visit more sometime. Still, an interesting little adventure. It was amazing the temperature difference between the topside and just going down the stairs, at least 20 degrees.

We rolled into the hotel around 7 or so in the evening. We checked in, then headed out to a local brewery for dinner. Yummy pizza and a nice view of the Columbia river. The hotel (well, it is billed as a resort, but cost significantly less than most of the hotels I looked at) had no TV or phones, so we played some games and went to bed to rest up for the next day. Sadly, no one really slept much.
The next day we got up and drove East to Maryhill. Our intended destination was the Maryhill Stonehenge site, but we also went to the Maryhill Museum of Art. The museum was a delightful find. They had an exhibition from the Hudson River School, though they did not have my favorite (Frederic Church) in the lot. There's also a collection of sculpture and sketches from Aguste Rodin permanently on display here.

The same fellow responsible for the museum, Sam Hill, also built the Stonehenge monument. My apologies to everyone who've seen the real Stonehenge (not me, sadly). This monument is a testament, in many ways, to why research (ahem, librarians!) is useful. You see, he built the monument to honor the young men in that area who lost their lives in WWI (13 of them, I think). He built it in the mistaken belief that Stonehenge was a sacrifical site, thus the sacrifice of the young lives in the war. He also failed to understand that there is a particular orientation of the stones in Stonehenge, so did not even factor that into his considerations when building this site. Lastly, it isn't to scale and nothing there indicates the difference.

Okay, that sounds horribly critical doesn't it? It was in a lovely location, a high bluff overlooking the Columbia River and some vineyards. (This area of WA state is big on wineries.) I think it is really cool that he was so moved by the loss of life and the war that he built such a lovely memorial for these young men. But, as I am increasingly sceptical that I'll ever get to England, I'm a bit bummed that it was so poorly researched before being built. That said, construction was started in the 1920s, so not sure what information was available at that time anyway.

At this point, please let me mention that it was hot. For my friend in TX, it was probably a lovely day at 86F, but for me, TOO HOT. There was little shade. So, after a long morning spent out driving in the sunny warm weather, we then headed off to the brew event itself. We stayed a few hours, the left to rest at the hotel. I "took the waters" and had a mineral bath & wrap. As I sat there in a tub full of rather warm water piped in from the hot mineral springs I did take some time to ponder the question of my sanity. Hot day in a hot tub. In water that smelled quite a bit of eggs. But, you know, it was all about the experience. Right? Later that afternoon, we went back the Brews event and had another round of tastes and BBQ. It was late enough that the temperature was cooling a bit and we sat and watched a bunch of folk kite boarding on the river. It looked like loads of fun.

The next day we were heading home, so we crossed the river at the Bridge of the Gods, because who can resist that name? Then we drove up the Oregon side of the river and visited numerous waterfalls along the way. This one is Multnomah Falls. Perhaps not my best picture, but I took so many I finally just had to grab one. We got out and walked around (or hiked) most of the falls we came to, so we spent quite a while on the trail.

At Multnomah, there was some event going on, so the kids did some crafts and we browsed the tourist center stuff. While there I found this little gem.

Yes, folks, it looks like maybe El Chupacabra has migrated up to Oregon. Then again, it turns out that Skamania County (where the brews event was taking place) is officially a Bigfoot Refuge and it is illegal to hunt/kill Bigfoot in Skamania County. See, for all of my research into what to see on the trip, I failed to discover that this area is big on Bigfoot sightings, or that there are ordinances declaring the safety and heavy penalties for harming Bigfoot. Back to this little notice, though, I was curious if El Chupacabra could coexist with Bigfoot, or if, perhaps, the locals were misidentifying the creature. Maybe the Oregonians, who are essentially just across the river, mind you, want all the crazy critters they can collect. I mean, Bigfoot can probably swim or something, right?

Having had my little X-Phile moment of squeeing, and after enjoying the falls, we made our way back to WA state and headed up to the Johnson Observatory for a lovely view of Mt. St. Helens. I got behind every. single. slow. tourist. on the way up the mountian. DH had a clear shot down, but then got caught in the STOP and go traffic for 2.5 hours on the highway. The girls enjoyed the view, and we watched the (new to me) movie about the eruption and wandered around a bit. I haven't been there in about 15 years. It is astounding how much the plants/trees have grown up in that time! It is beautiful and amazing to see nature going about its business reparing all the damage.

Finally, after over 12 hours in the car, we made it home, unpacked, and collapsed. A great trip, but it took two days at home to recover from the fun.

Now to prep for the Tour de Fleece!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lots of brews and knitting, too!

Last weekend was the Washington Beer Festival, the annual event for Father's Day at our house. As you can see, I lost a child, but gained a puppy. lol

This year, I just parked a chair in the full sun (because who needs shade while sitting around watching the kids play?) and let the kids play on all the bouncy equipment as long as they wanted. I figured it would be less annoying to just sit and let them go than it would be to trek back and forth from where the rest of the group was sitting (in the shade!). I was right, but I got burned for the pleasure. Not too bad, but I can't believe I forgot the sunscreen. I mean, so what if it was raining on the drive down? I should have packed it anyway, I just forgot.

I will say that my favorite beer(s), I didn't try as many as I intended, was from Northern Light Brewing (Spokane, WA) and was called Black and Blue. I'd put in a link, but they don't seem to have one. Anyway, they mix their Chocolate Dunkel and their Blueberry Cream Ale as they pour (like a black & tan, but without the seperating). Both are excellent on their own, and the blending is sublime! They had the longest line I saw all day Saturday. It never seemed to get any shorter, though it did move pretty quickly. In fact, I'm not sure I saw a line anything approaching the length of this one for any other brewer. Nice job, folks.

It looks like there were a number of Friday Only beers that were pretty outstanding, according to folks I talked to around the event, but we didn't go on Friday (no kids allowed for Fri night). We're thinking about maybe going on Friday next year, just to try it, but I don't know. It is sort of a family thing for us. Although, this year we split up and that was not quite so "family". We'll see.

On the knitting side of life, I've been a busy little, erm, knitter. Yay, me!
First up are the two fish hats I knit for the Cafeteria Lady at the girls' school. She requested red, white & blue, so I pulled this mix out of the stash and (eventually) got knitting. I wanted them to be obviously different so that if one of them dropped their hat in the river, or on the catch of the day, it would be easy to know which one needed to be washed. I could just see them sniffing the hats trying to find the least smelly and then fighting over ownership or something. lol These folks are serious fishers, so you just don't know.

I increased the number of stitches cast on and then pretty much followed the pattern. I had more stitches on the needle when I got to the tail, though I did extra decreases, and I made the fins a little bit bigger. I thought they fit the scale of the hat a bit better. I added some increases in the last row of the dorsal and pectoral fins for a bit of a curve in the fins, just for the heck of it. I used Cascade 220 Superwash, so they can be easily washed. Cafeteria Lady was delighted with the hats and was very excited to take them home and show her DH. So, it was worth it. Any time a knitted item is received with that much enthusiasm, it makes it all worth it, doesn't it?

I really struggled getting them done, though. In addition to the usual boredom of knitting two items from the same pattern back-to-back, there were other fun adventures. I ran out of red yarn with ONE red fin left to go. Yep. Only needed enough for, oh, say, 300 stitches. Oh well, now I have red for something else. Also, the end of the year is very busy for volunteers at school. There were field trips, Field Day, and just the usual helping. We were really busy with extra events after school, as well. Still, I'm glad I knit them, she really loves them. It also seems to have been very important to DD1 that: someone else asked me to knit something; I did knit it; the very nice lady was so very excited about it. I'm not sure what is in her head, but I'm glad it made her happy too.

My second knitting triumph is that I finally finished the Bellatrix socks. I cast these puppies on April 18, 2008. I tried knitting them while talking and drinking beer. That was not a good idea and I really, really struggled with this pattern. I put them in hibernation. When I picked them up a month or so ago, they were so easy! I can't believe all the struggle I had with these! Okay, I can. I think I know what happened in the past year to change my relationship with Bellatrix.

First off, I cast on the Pi Shawl. While that one has been a struggle, I have learned a bit about dropping stitches, effective YOs and so forth, and that helped out with tricksy Bellatrix. While I am far from finishing the Pi, it has less to do with understanding lace and more to do with how stinking long it takes to do a single row and the fact that I cannot be distracted while knitting it. That means it doesn't get as much of my knit time as I would like. Though, I'm even getting better with the Pi knitting.

Secondly, I did that Scarefest KAL last Fall. While I didn't complete every pair, I did knock out, what, three pairs of socks? So, I gained some valuable sock experience and confidence. These two things worked together to make Bellatrix fly on the needles this time around. You know, when I got done with fish hats.

I'm really glad she's done, though, so I can wear these socks for movie #5 next month. Not that anyone will likely see them, and I'm rooting for the "other team" (not the Death Eaters), but I'll know they are on my feet and I'll be pleased at my fan geekness.

These socks, since it has been a while, were knit using Scout's Swag in the Death Eaters colorway on US size #2 circs (Knit Picks Options), 2 socks on 2 circs. The yarn was very yummy and squishy and the socks feel great on my feet. If you look closely, you can see that the way the color flowed in the socks is sort of a weird mirror. The color pattern on the front of one sock matches the pattern on the back of the other sock. I kind of like it that way, but it is interesting how that worked out.

I've find myself in a staring contest with the Pi Shawl now. I need another project, though. The Pi takes too much of my undivided attention, so I need something a little less demanding to go with it. I've been looking at UFOs. I found one (so far) that I had totally forgotten about. I mean, I remembered the yarn, just not that it was actually on my needles. It is a fingering alpaca in a denim blue sort of color. I was going to make a scarf, but couldn't come up with anything I liked all that well. I think I spent weeks fiddling around with it. I finally came up with something do-able, but put it away for some other project and poof. Out of sight, out of mind.

Yeah. I ripped that out.

I also found an illusion scarf I started, got through one repeat. I also found that the place I had marked on the chart as my starting point did not match the number of rows I was able to count. We're talking a 12 row difference. Hmmm. What to do, what to do. Oh, I know! Riiiiiiiiiiip.

I love the yarn, but this scarf is not going to happen either. So. That leaves me with an unfinished Harry Potter scarf and the Blue Sweater that has been done for a while. I'm really surprised, but that is the extent of my UFOs. I mean, there are yarns purchased for specific projects, but nothing else actually on the needles. Wow! The Blue Sweater that didn't fit the way I liked. The one I was going to Learn to Modify so that it would fit. Or lose weight. Yep. So. I haven't ripped it out yet. But I might. In the meantime, I think I'll play with the HP scarf. It fits a theme, finishing my HP UFOs. Though, I'm not wearing the scarf to the movie. In July. Even if I finish it by then. My inner geek will just have to deal with it.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Yarn Badness, but in a good way

What I mean is, the characters the colorways are based on are bad. They yarn is excellent yumminess! This here yarn is Debbie Pelt, and exclusive colorway for the yarn club, from Fresh From The Cauldron. (Please note my nice Southern-ism of "this here". Ahem.) Ms. Pelt is a very nasty, conniving werewolf in Charliane Harris' Southern vampire mysteries. But, she is a lovely, lovely colorway. I'm a bit sad I only ordered one of her. She is on a silk sock base and is very nice to pet. Fortunately, this Ms. Pelt has no teeth or claws, just yummy squishiness.

Then there's the Volturi. Another club exclusive, based on the Volturi in the Twilight saga. (Yes. I read it. My favorite comment on it so far is: I cried when I read it because I could feel part of my brain dying. It wasn't that bad, but it did hurt sometimes.) The Volturi are dyed up on a Silver Sock base, so lots of nice sparkles, like all those Twilight vamps in the sunshine. I think my photo did a better job of highlighting the sparkle than the colors, but the colors are lovely too.

I still have no idea what my lovely vamp yarns will grow up to be, but they are looking all nice sitting in their little basket together. I'm browsing lots of patterns, and a few have caught my attention, but since I'm not ready to cast anything on yet, I'm not too worried.

I have turned the dreaded heel (not that I really dread them) and have made a few rows' progress into the foot of the Bellatrix socks (sorry, no pics today). Sadly, I must get two more fish hats done (for the cafeteria lady and her DH) by the 19th. These really go so quickly. You know, if you actually sit down and knit. Funny how that works.

She has requested red/white/blue hats, so I thought I'd do one with red fins/lips and the other with blue fins/lips. That way they can tell them apart if one of them drops the hats into a pile of fish. They apparently fish competitively, so the hats will be load of funs for them. I'm making these out of Cascade superwash, so they can clean them up if needed.

Here is the gaping maw of the first hat. I'm now about halfway through the body. I've increased the number of stitches I cast on (from 90 to 110) to better accomodate a grown-up head. I was not hitting gauge for the original, but it didn't matter too much for the kids. It does matter for adults.

I'm loaded up a bunch of movies to stream from Netflix (on my Xbox), but I've been too distracted by reading lately. This past week I completed The Dracula Dossier, Sister Pelagia and the White Bulldog, Heaven Preserve Us, Bloodline and Bloodline Book Two: The Reckoning. I think that's it. Sister Pelagia and the Dossier were the slower going books. Both done in a more 19th ce style, with footnotes, and the Pelagia had all the Russian names to slow me down. Still, all were a great read. I also started the Maltese Falcon, but had to return it (no renewals as it was a book club sort of thing at the library). I have Hammit around somewhere, so I shall probably track it down at a later date.

The most noticable effect of all the reading is a tendency to lapse into a more formal late 19th - early 20th century sort of vocabulary/wording. Anyone else do this? I'm so sensitive to accents & manners of speech, I pick them up quickly. Such a geek! It was made all the worse, I suspect, by watching A Midsummer Night's Dream yesterday afternoon. I'd better go read something more "normal" quickly. My kids will be quite desperate for a dictionary at this rate, and my newly-turned 7 year old hasn't tried using one before. I guess there's a nice project for us this summer. Learn to use a dictionary. What kid wouldn't want to do that? lol

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Two gentlemen callers

Lovely Southern gentlemen callers (yarn, whatever) we waiting for me when I returned from reading with the dogs at the library yesterday. Imagine my squee of delight as I enjoyed some sweet tea and pet the lovely Alcide Herveaux, at top, a true wolf, and master Jason Stackhouse, below, a newly turned panther (though he is more of a Tomcat, wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

These yarns are both from the Fresh From The Cauldron Vamp Yarn Club 2009. They are both in the silk sock base, 70% Merino and 30% silk and are very, very squishy. Both of these characters are from the Charlaine Harris Southern Vampire series, even if these two aren't vampires. I haven't decided yet what I'll knit up with them.

I also got a neat pattern for a fingerless glove knit flat, then joined. This allows the colors to flow nicely in a vertical line, for a different look in the gloves. I do love the pattern, but I'm not sure that's what I want to do with either of these fine fellows.

I'm up to the heel flaps on the Bellatrix. OR, and I really can't decide, I could do a few more pattern rows. I'd like to get them done, and I really don't have a need for knee socks, so I'll probably just go ahead and move forward with the heel. Can you move forward with a heel? Well, I shall try.

I spent part of the weekend finishing (sewing up) a sweet baby kimono for a friend. She's got some sort of tendon issue that keeps her in a brace for her hand. She is able to knit, but can't manage the sewing movements. So, I sewed for her this weekend (heh) and put the kimono together and got a button on a bib. Then my youngest DD volunteered me to repair a classmate's stuffed penguin. Good grief! I'm hoping this was a one-off deal, I do not want to start getting sewing from 20-some-odd first graders! I think this boy is a good friend, though, so maybe I'll be okay.

I am keeping to my plan to avoid starting anything new, so far. I'm hoping for at least another week before I freak out and cast on for something. Maybe I'll make it. I'm getting lots of ideas, mind you, but so far I haven't flipped and started anything.

This week I will have a fun day out on a field trip with the first-graders. We're going to a garden and walk in the woods. I just hope it isn't raining then, but I'm not holding my breath. We had some lovely, lovely SPRING weather last week. We must now pay for it with rain and wind. Later in the month I'm going with the third graders to see The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe play at a local high school. That will be fun, too, and it won't matter so much if it rains.

I seem to have recovered pretty well from surgery, now, and I'm feeling very energetic and spry. I think my brain is so darned pleased that there isn't any pain, or whatever, it is overcompensating. It is lovely to feel genuinely (mostly) mended. Prayers and crossed fingers that this will be a new trend.

Well, off to get those heels going and enjoy a 'nice day to be inside.'

Monday, April 27, 2009

I think it might be Spring

Christ Is Risen! Indeed He Is Risen!

I'm a little afraid to say it out loud, but really, it might be Spring. Finally. I've got some tulips (not planted!) and I've had some narcissus blooming as well. If I'd bothered to weed the front garden, I'd have pictures to prove it. I haven't weeded anything, though, so you'll just have to take my word for it. I suppose one proof of Spring might be that I finished that sweater for Himself - now that he can no longer comfortably wear it. lol

I've been crazy busy. Not really news, huh? There was the big rush at the end of Lent leading up to Pascha, though, coupled with the recovery from the hernia surgery. That made things extra fun all around. I had thought that I was having surgery early enough to be recovered well enough to sing in the choir for the big services right at the end (Passion Gospels, Lamentations, Holy Saturday and then Pascha and then Bright Monday). Our beloved Bishop Joseph was here for a few of them, and all of these services are long, and intense. Well, I was well aware that proper breathing and support involves lots of abdominals, but I didn't really think I'd need all of them. heh. Of course, I also didn't know I'd have a six-inch incision either, so there you go. Still, I made it with the help of a comfy bar stool to perch upon when I got too tired. I did resort to using some pain meds to get through the services. Good thing I didn't need them all earier on.

I absolutely collapsed on Tuesday, however, and didn't really feel recovered until last Thursday. (Pascha/Easter was April 19 for us.)

During the mad rush to Pascha I was also on a sewing deadline. I volunteered to make a cape for a gift. A friend of mine has a teenage dd that is about as warm and fuzzy to most people as a hybrid skunk/porcupine. The young lady is smart and lovely, but is quite a challenge for reasons I can only guess at. Anyway, her parents always give the children a nice gift for Pascha, and they wanted to give her a cape. Now, this whole thing was dodgy. She might not like it, it might not be the right color (she wanted all black) and it might not fit. Since it was a gift, a surprise gift, we couldn't measure her. Got it? Full-length cape, no measuring. Easy-Peasy, right?

So, here it is.

Yep, we dared to line it with a lovely deep periwinkle sort of blue. It looks smashing on her, she has that peaches & cream skin with nearly black eyes and hair. Her mom reported that the lass was stunned speachless, spent a long time just hugging the cape, and she wore it proudly Pascha morning. This week the normally silent and brooding girl was positively gushing with thanks and appreciation for the work I did on the cape. I feel very blessed that the gift was so well-received and appreciated. Glory to God, I hope it is a blessing in improving relations in her family, which was my prayer while sewing.

Well, and that the blasted hem would be even. I ripped the full hem out three times. I am so getting a dress form with my tax refund... Envision, if you will, me modeling a cape intended for a near-anorexic young lady (opposite of me) asking my 6 year old if the hem looked even in the back. Man. What an adventure!

It was an easy pattern, but still.

More fun, the knitting I finished.
This is the #2 fish hat made for DD2. Again, it must be Spring because I finished the hat and she no longer needs it. lol Oh well, she'll have it next year, right? She picked the colors, all Cascade 220 Wool, but I added in the blue, it just needed a more "middle" color. (I have no official color theory training, so I have no idea what that "middle" really is. Tone?) Anyway, so two shades of pink, a very dark purple, blue and yellow. This is another live fish, so buttons on the eyes.

I had several kids come up and admire the hat, hinting strongly that they'd love to have one. I made polite noises, but I'm not really interested in starting a fish hat business. Although, I'm concerned that I might have opened myself up to a cape making business, so why not add the fishy hats too? Kidding!

Actually, the cape was such a huge push to get done on time that it sort of kicked me into a crazy Finish Everything phase. I'm enjoying the motivation, goodness knows I haven't been very good at that lately. I'm trying not to worry about then the energy will dry up. I'm also trying to avoid starting anything new right now. So far, so good. Well, except for books. I've been starting, and finishing!, books. They are all from the library, though, so that's okay. I've already paid for them (taxes).

Now I'm working on my Bellatrix socks that I started last year at Pascha. Isn't that nice and tidy? I've more than tripled the amount of leg knit up (not too hard, really), and I'm finding it a very easy pattern. This year. Last year, not so much.

I'm knitting this up, in case you don't remember all the way back to last year (lol), in Scout's Swag Death Eaters colorway. I've got two more repeats of the leg pattern and then I'm ready for the heel flap. I'm trying to talk myself down from extra leg repeats & so forth, but who knows what craziness I'll get up to.

Ah well, phone's ringing and I'd better just save this and get going with my other chores.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Fuzzy Spring

Well, that was quite a break!

March was insane, as you might have guessed. My eldest DD turned 9, so we had a family celebration and a party shared with her birthday buddy (a boy she's grown up with). The kids invite most of the same people to their parties, so we just have one big party together. This year, glow-in-the-dark bowling. There were about 20 kids and a bunch of grown-ups. It was a smashing success.

There was drama on an online knitting forum, and I was caught in the edges of it, but it was very frustrating and I spent a great deal of time trying to contain the drama/damage in my own little corner of the world. That sort of thing is draining, however, and I just didn't have any energy left over for blogging. I also didn't want to drag the drama into this space, but I'm certain I would not have been able to resist. So, the break was good for that reason as well.

March was also doctor month for me. I've been having some pain/discomfort that turned out to be a hernia. So, I scheduled surgery for that on April 2, last Thursday. It went well, but the doctor found a second hernia that he didn't know about. Therefore, he said I'd be extra sore. Yay me!

It hasn't been too bad, pain-wise. I've had worse, but there's something about incisions in one's abdomen that are just uncomfortable to think about, even if they aren't hurting. I'm still moving slowly, but I got overconfident yesterday and stayed off the pain meds, thinking I was "done" with them. By the end of the day I found that I was not done with them, and today I'm feeling a bit less good than yesterday. Serves me right for being so cocky. Still, all is well and I am on the mend.

All this down time means I've had some knitting time. Yes, even though I'm on some great meds, I've been a knitting fool! And now I give you, the completed Jack's Aran Sweater from Men In Knits.

Here's another view, it is tough to get the cables to show very clearly.

The cables match on the front and back of the sweater, and by the end of the front I had almost memorized the 8 row cable pattern. The sleeves had a simple 4-row cable pattern on each, which was so easy it was scary. I knit both sleeves and the neck on meds, but after repeated inspections, they still look good and correct. lol

Himself tried it on, and it fits exactly as he wanted. He commented that no one would believe I knit it, it looks so good. I get what he means and I appreciate the thought/compliment. I hope I still think it looks that good when I'm off the meds. chuckle

I'm now trying to decide how to spend my recuperative time. I'm gearing up for a new sock club (Vampire Sock Club from Fresh From The Cauldron) that starts in May, so I'm trying to finish stuff on the needles if I can. I've still got the second fish hat, which is probably how I'll spend my time, and a few hibernating projects as well. I hope I don't go completely loopy and pick up the shawl while on the meds. I'm pretty sure that would be a fantastically horrible idea. shudder

We'll see. Since I'm not at all sure this is the least bit coherent, I think I'll call it a post. I can't wait to re-read it after I'm off the meds and see how I did. lol

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Wow! This is interesting

These things are usually off, but I feel like this description is reasonably close to me. If only I looked this good! lol

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Grace!


You are a Grace -- "I need to understand the world."

Graces have a need for knowledge and are introverted, curious, analytical, and insightful.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Be independent, not clingy

  • * Speak in a straightforward and brief manner

  • * I need time alone to process my feelings and thoughts

  • * Remember that If I seem aloof, distant, or arrogant, it may be that I am feeling uncomfortable

  • * Make me feel welcome, but not too intensely, or I might doubt your sincerity

  • * If I become irritated when I have to repeat things, it may be because it was such an effort to get my thoughts out in the first place

  • * don't come on like a bulldozer

  • * Help me to avoid my pet peeves: big parties, other people's loud music, overdone emotions, and intrusions on my privacy

What I Like About Being a Grace
* standing back and viewing life objectively
* coming to a thorough understanding; perceiving causes and effects
* my sense of integrity: doing what I think is right and not being influenced by social pressure
* not being caught up in material possessions and status
* being calm in a crisis

What's Hard About Being a Grace

  • * being slow to put my knowledge and insights out in the world

  • * feeling bad when I act defensive or like a know-it-all

  • * being pressured to be with people when I don't want to be

  • * watching others with better social skills, but less intelligence or technical skill, do better professionally

Graces as Children Often

  • * spend a lot of time alone reading, making collections, and so on

  • * have a few special friends rather than many

  • * are very bright and curious and do well in school

  • * have independent minds and often question their parents and teachers

  • * watch events from a detached point of view, gathering information

  • * assume a poker face in order not to look afraid

  • * are sensitive; avoid interpersonal conflict

  • * feel intruded upon and controlled and/or ignored and neglected

Graces as Parents

  • * are often kind, perceptive, and devoted

  • * are sometimes authoritarian and demanding

  • * may expect more intellectual achievement than is developmentally appropriate

  • * may be intolerant of their children expressing strong emotions

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz
at HelloQuizzy

Monday, February 23, 2009

Knitting and Fable

No, there isn't a fable in today's post. One about the follies of a young girl and a fish. No. If I were exceptionally clever and whatnot, perhaps I would have prepared such a thing, but it really only just occured to me. I'd rather just get a new post up, if that's okay with you, dear reader.

Maybe I'll try to get the eldest child, pictured here with the fish hat eating her head, to write a story about The Girl and the Fish. If it works, I'll post the story.

As you can see, hat #1 is finished! I think it is just almost too small for her head, but she is happy with it. The pattern is apparently written for children, so if you want to make it for an adult (ahem), add extra stitches. This is knit up with various shades of Cascade 220 in random order, but with an intent to focus on the red. Her favorite color. She took it to school last week (finished Thursday night) to show her classmates. It was a hit with everyone except the teacher. She is strangely silent whenever my daughter has brought something to share with the class. I don't know if she is always neutral with all the kids or what, but I think it really bugs my daughter to get zero reaction from the teacher. I mean, DD knows the hat is silly, that is sort of the point of having and wearing the thing. It isn't like I forced it on her. OTOH, the girls thought it was cute (I think), and the boys told her it looked like a fish sucking her brains out. For some reason, that made her happy.

The next hat has been cast on, with pink as the focus, for DD2. I haven't really gotten that far, but it is on the needles, so will get attention in the early evenings, I imagine. I'd like to get it finished before it stops being cold. Not a huge issue up here in the Pacific Northwest, I guess, but it is February and Spring is just around the corner. Not that you'll be able to tell by the "change" in our weather. lol The hat is a super fast knit if you work on it regularly and don't ignore it for days on end. The color changes are a bit fiddly, for me, but it is good to try new things, no? The 2nd hat will be pinks, yellow and purple. I think. DD2 picked out the colors.

What else? Well, I've been working on a heel flap for the Princess Toadstool socks for the Bleeping Sock Games KAL. I haven't done well with this KAL. I've been far busier than I expected, and to be totally honest, the patterns haven't been as inspiring as they were for the Scarefest Sock KAL. Guess my heart belongs to horror... eeeewwwww! lol I hesitate to say the patterns haven't been good, they just aren't rocking my world. I think the concept was great, but perhaps we needed more time for some solid patterns to come forth. I will say that the pattern for the Viva Pinata socks is pretty spot on. (That's a Ravelry link there, I couldn't find one off-Rav.) Lots of color work, though, and I don't have any colors in my stash that would do them justice (think BRIGHT pinata).

I'm thinking about a vampire sock yarn club thing starting up in May, though. Sign-ups are next month and all I really need to decide is how many shipments I want to sign up for. sigh Patterns will be included, so, more socks in my future if I will do them. Or, shawls, I guess. The fingering weight yarn would certainly be nice in a shawl. This yarn club is hosted by Fresh from the Cauldron, who has some really lovely colorways. And a delightfully gruesome imagination at times. There's a forum with this name (Fresh... Cauldron) on Ravelry if your interested, signups start March 1.

I've also been working a good bit on the Pi shawl. You remember that one, right? Frogged at every turn, ripping back dozens of rows due to knitter error, etc. sigh Man, this has been a crazy knit. I might have been better off to have ditched it in the laceweight and switched to a heavier yarn, but I shall persevere! I have almost, almost caugth up to where I was when I last ripped back about 20 rows. It is going very smoothly, funny how that works when you are actually following the directions correctly, and it has been (dare I say it?) a soothing knit of late. Still, miles to go before it is done, but I am once again making progress of a few rows a day. Slow and steady, and all that.

The sweater is going well and is still a swim class knit (swim for the girls, I'm there over an hour watching them). I haven't picked it up in a week, but we didn't swim last week. The pool was closed Tuesday, which is good because I was sick all week.

The girls gave me some crud, a sinusy sort of thing, not the stomach bug that's been going around. Fine with me, that's the way I'd prefer it if I got to choose. I was chilled as if feverish, but I never found myself actually having a fever. Perhaps my thermometer is flawed. Anyway, I was not only ill, but got rather down in the dumps as well. So, I sat around and played Fable II (Xbox 360) all week once they were all out of the house.

Himself brought it home a couple of weeks ago, and commenced to play. I turned my eye the other way. He allowed the kids to start a game (monitored by us, and they do have a limit on how far they can go in the game. It is rated M, but the early bits aren't bad & the kids are happy with what they are allowed to do.) I continued to remail aloof. I got sick, all bets were off and I vented my misery all week by killing trools, balverines, Hobbes, and bandits, etc. I had to force myself to do other things too. If I put in laundry, I could play for a while. I did a lot of laundry. When I finished the main quest, I was a bit surprised to find that even in games I can't seem to keep color in my hair. heh. By the end of the main quest, I had bulked up, gone completely white-haired, had glowing lines all over (magic use) and had a halo, for goodness sakes!, because I'm so darned pure of heart.

If only real life were so easy. Now I can continue to play and go on other quests, own business (I already own 5 or 6), etc. Or not. We'll see how it goes. It was nice to have the game around to keep me busy. Knitting was not appealing most of the week, in part because of the game, and I just couldn't seem to settle. Still, last week was a good reminder of why I should avoid RPG type video games. I was pretty obsessed, played every chance I got and nearly dreamed the game.

Mini review of game: It rocks! There are definitely reasons younger folks shouldn't play, the violence isn't bad, though you do kill lots of people/things, no real blood, etc., but you can have sex, marry, have kids, etc. I haven't, but that does ramp up the adult theme a bit. My 8 yo doesn't need to find condoms as treasure (I only found 1 or 2) or deal with the prostitutes offering to "entertain" them. That comes a good bit later in the game, though, so that's why they can only play so far, then they have to stop. It would have been nice to have some sort of option for more conversational speech with other characters at times, but it was still a fascinating and rather rich universe.

I kicked some serious butt, though. grin

I'm feeling much more myself today, still a bit stuffy, but not bad at all. Now it is back to the regular routine. I hope. Now that the major baddies are gone, the lure of the game is somewhat lessened. I really do have stuff to do now.