Feb 24, 2012

ECF - Evening Air Edition

Leaving my office last night I noticed that a local restaurant had their outside eating area set up to welcome guests. Certainly there are many more cool nights ahead, where dining al fresco will be the last thing anybody would want to do but it's nice to have a little reminder that warmer weather is coming soon.


Feb 23, 2012

At Long Last a Finished Object

My sweet baby is one step closer to having some Mommy knits. I felt like I needed to catch up on baby gifts before I knit for my own babe. So I have been dawdling and procrastinating over a silly baby sweater for my cousin's son for months. There is nothing that puts quite the same damper on a project as the feeling that it's required. It saps all the fun out of it.


Then I heard that my cousin, who lives in Canada, was going to come down for the 70th anniversary party. Suddenly I felt the urgent need to finish it so that I could give it to her in person. That and the fact that the "baby" will be one next month.


So I pushed through it. I really focused and neglected everything else and I got all the knitting done, the pieces sewn together, and the ends woven in with a few days to spare. Then I was ready to install the zipper. Damn! Wrong size and wrong type. I went looking for the correct zipper but I really didn't have the time. Who knew it would be so hard to find a separating zipper? Not me.

So I did something that totally goes against my nature. I gave it to my cousin without a zipper. Mostly I wanted her to see that it was done. I offered to take it home and finish it off but she said she'd work it out. I suspect that my aunt is going to be getting a call.


All that aside, this really is a sweet little sweater with a lot to recommend it. The color is yummy. My cousin was thrilled with it. The yarn feels nice and soft and light. Perfect for a baby sweater. The pattern worked out perfectly. This is my second Sirdar pattern and I found it very easy to work. Well written and reasonably easy to follow. I'll be starting another one of their patterns soon. The finishing work (aside from the missing zipper) makes me proud. It gets better and more enjoyable each time I sew up a sweater.

Thanks to Miss M for modeling her cousins sweater. She wiggled and waved and demonstrated well that this sweater has plenty of room to grow. That good to know for the mommy knits ahead.

Feb 20, 2012

A 70th Anniversary!!!

This is my grandparents favorite picture of themselves. It was taken in the summer of 1942 when they were newlyweds.


Since then they've had 2 children, 6 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren with one more on the way. Like most couples they've hads ups and downs. They've dealt with illness and loss but they've also celebrated weddings and birthdays and many, many other wonderful events.

Through it all, my grandparents have remained together, as one unit. There is no way that I can imagine one without the other.

When my grandfather looks at my grandmother you could swear that he's seeing the girl he married on February 21, 2042 - her 21st birthday. Maybe that's why he'd rather celebrate her birthday than anything else. He regularly refuses to celebrate his own birthday in December and, instead, asks that we wait until hers for any gathering.

He still adores her and is incredibly protective of her. It's the way it ought to be. It's what we all want. Someone who loves us intensely and without end.


This is my grandparents at the party we threw in their honor this weekend because a seventieth anniversary is rare and wonderful and demands to be celebrated. It was an honor for my sister and I to put together a party for them and the real gift was just having them there to mark the occasion. I'm lucky to be their granddaughter.

Feb 16, 2012

ECF - End of the Week Edition

It's been a hell of a week. Be thankful that I'm not in a sharing mood.

On the other hand, this week has ended on a good but insane note. After ages of struggling with what to say I foresee an over abundance of stuff for discussion soon. Knitting! Baby stuff! Softball! Whole house renovation! Oh yes, the whole darn house.


And this little girl. She is a wild woman. She crawls at warp speed when she isn't pulling up on stuff and diving over folks playing with her on the floor. A wild woman!

Have a great weekend.

Feb 10, 2012

ECF - More Red Skies Edition

No cute baby pictures today. She's too busy climbing on tables and knocking over water glasses (full of course) and eating paper - lots and lots of paper.

Today we have a more traditional ECF. This is the sky that greeted me when I returned home last night. I love the way it looks behind the silhouette of the trees.


I hope that this spring and summer are filled with fabulous sunsets and sunrises. I plan to watch them seated in my folding chair watching my girl Stinkette play softball. This morning she got the offer to play for the team she tried out for last weekend. I can't wait to see what the new uniforms look like.

Feb 9, 2012

The better than expected progress of the kippot has had a broader effect on my current finery activities. It means that I can allow myself to work on other things as well. I'd like to be knitting sweaters for my sweet Marissa but I'm trying to be responsible and won't allow myself to knit for her until I get caught up with my gift knitting. The first on my list is this sweater for my cousins baby... who is almost 1!

The problem is that I severely underestimated the effect that pregnancy would have on me. It sapped not only my energy but my focus as well. I started this sweater last spring but before long I was frogging it and casting on in a larger size because I knew it would be a while before it was finished.

The long delay also inspired my handling of an error I made. You can probably see it in the picture. I screwed up the offset on the texture pattern for quite a few rows on the first piece I knit. That was the back and it was big so I chose not to fix it. Instead I employed the strategy I was taught for blue booking (citation), consistency trumps perfection. In other words, if you repeat an error throughout then it becomes a design feature. So I repeated the error on the two front pieces and now I think it's fine.

Since I took these pictures last weekend I've finished the second front piece and one sleeve. The second sleeve is on the needles. So, after months and months of languishing in my neglected pile of knitting it seems like this is swiftly headed for the finish line. But will it be ready in time? I hope to see my cousin in a little over a week and I've never put a zipper in a knit before.

Feb 8, 2012

On Linen

There is one really, really, old UFO in my basket. It's a lacey linen shell in tobacco brown and I pick it up from time to time. Like any reasonable knitter, I consider all my UFOs and I frog those hat no longer make me happy. Somehow this Lacey shell persists. Although its been there for years I still think that I'm going to finish it one day and enjoy it very much. I'm not sure why I don't finish it but I suspect the yarn is at least part of the problem. It's linen and it feels like I'm knitting straw. No fun at all.

Based on this I was surprised to find myself enjoying my current project (long delayed) very much. Yes, after procrastinating for months, I have started the kippot for Stinkette's Bat Mitzvah. I dyed the yarn way back in October but turning it into yarn cakes was a nightmare so I got frustrated and cast it aside. I felt awful putting it off but I was having trouble knitting or crocheting anything at that point. Suddenly, the big event is really close and it's now or never. Never really wasn't an option.

It turns out that crocheting with linen is much faster than with silk. With the silk I set a goal for myself of 10 kippot per month and that was about all I could handle. This time, I can easily do 5 or more a week which ought to be about 20 per month. Good news since I'm starting so late.

So what's the deal? I think it's the extra body that linen has. It's not floppy and it just takes to the crochet so nicely. It also holds the shape well so that these are more head-shaped which is a good thing. I am really encouraged and therefore enjoying this project a lot.

So what about that poor, lingering, linen, shell? Only time will tell but summer is coming.

Feb 6, 2012

Game Food

I am not remotely what you'd call a football fan and neither are my girls so when we got invited, late in the week, to watch the big game at a friends house my husband was thrilled. Thrilled I tell you. He got to watch on a big screen tv with someone who actually cared. Double sore for him. The only thing better would've been if his team had been playing. Sadly greenest thing yesterday were the apples I used to make the treat we brought with us.


It was an exciting game though. Even I could tell that. There is something about a close game that just sucks you in.


Good food helps maintain my interest in a game too. The green apple above became a Flat Apple Pie a la Pioneer Woman. It tasted so good that most o us had seconds but it wasn't as golden brown as I'd like. I need to work on that.

Feb 3, 2012

ECF - Getting in Trouble Edition

Look ma! I'm standing on my own.

Yup, our girl can pull herself up one the coffee table now. She's not cruising yet but can that really be too far away?

And for the record, this is my 5th post this week which means that for the first time in ages I posted all week long. It's probably not going to last but it feels more normal. Yay!

Feb 2, 2012

On Socks

I didn't do a year end wrap up for 2011 but if I had you'd have seen hats, hats, and more hats. That seems to be all I made. No socks at all. After years where I made 10 pairs or more I had an anomaly - a year without socks. The horror!

Let's not dwell on it too much. It happened. It won't happen again. This year I plan to knit socks for me, my girls (all 3 of them), and anyone else. When I heard that Kirsten Kapur was delaying the Through the Loops Mystery Sock until January it seemed like a great way to return to socks.

I started strong but then a certain Girl Scout trip and other stuff got in the way and I stalled. I'm not sure when I'll get back to these but I will do it this year without fail. And when I do I'll likely give them away because I'm not sure that they'll fit me.

Apparently my sock knitting skills are rusty.

Feb 1, 2012

The Reality of The Occupation

It’s been quite a while since I posted about the Occupy DC camp near my office. Mostly that’s because I’m tired of it. Whereas it once amused me, it’s devolved into an annoying nuisance. For me this has ceased to be a political issue, it’s purely a practical one.

Picture this… a park with lovely, old, leafy trees. There is a statue of a horse and rider in the center of the park and hundreds of people pass it each day as they cut through the park on one of the many concrete pathways. Still more people sit on park benches (those not occupied by the homeless – let’s keep it real) or lounge on the lush, green, grass eating their lunch or reading a book or just relaxing with a friend. There are curved flower beds flanking the statue like parentheses and they are replanted periodically to keep them fresh. For a few months there are tulips before changing to pansies or marigolds. It’s a place that I walk through often and enjoy.

That’s what McPherson Square Park was like after the lengthy rehab it went through last spring. The months long project cost you and I, the taxpaying public, thousands of dollars.
These days the park and it’s surroundings are a mess. No grass is left – it’s been trampled to death and the statue is adorned with a big blue tarp they call the Tent of Dreams. The new tableau includes tents in various states of disrepair. What started as a temporary community which seemed orderly has become jumbled. There is trash everywhere and goodness knows what lurks beneath. The Art of the Occupation has been repurposed in countless ways as have office chairs and other trash that has been dragged into the park. Did I mention the port-a-potties? They are parked on the edge of the park right where my ride drops me off every morning and one of them is leaking. Seriously! Ewwww.

And let’s not forget the side effects of the Occupation. A few of the areas homeless have been inspired and have popped tents on nearby Metro grates. There is a constant police presence and many days news vans with their satellite antennas raised ring the park. The Occupiers themselves are often found congregating in the nearby cafes and now there are signs on the doors to these places advising of a time limit for dining. Actual diners only please.

The media has been full of reports this week about the possible eviction of the Occupiers in McPherson. They expected violent confrontations and arrests. And my daughters begged me to stay home. That’s a side effect of the Occupy DC encampment too.