Feb 28, 2006

Say cheeese!

My sister asked that I post about something other than knitting every now and again. She doesn't knit and I think she finds my obsession a little foreign and, frankly, scary. Here is proof that I obsess about many, many things. One of them is cheese. I've always loved cheese but when this place opened near us about a year ago my cheese fetish spun out of control. If you're not lucky enough to have one near you then you just don't know what you're missing. I'll spare you all the gory details, I have a tendency to wax rapsodic about this fabulous place. Suffice to say that it's 3 times the size of any grocery store I've ever seen and filled with wonderful things offered by incredibly helpful folks.

The place that most often busts my budget is the cheese section. It's got the most wonderful looking stuff and they're always willing to cut you a sample. Yum! Better yet, they'll cut a piece down to a manageable size for you. My family isn't as keen on the cheese so I was always able to resist purchases because I couldn't possibly finish a huge wedge of whatever. No problem now so I test it ALL out and take it ALL home. My cheese drawer is overflowing.
As yummy as it all is though, the best I've found so far is Vintage Dubliner. It is to die for! Unfortunately it only comes out around St. Patricks Day so it's in the stores now and I'm a happy girl again. Yum!

Unfortunately consuming great amounts of cheese isn't doing wonders for the size of my ass so the DFS photo shoot yesterday evening was not prime time material (don't want to scare anyone.) I'll have to give the proper attire some thought and try again this weeekend. The problem is that the most slimming things I own are black - not conducive to showing off a black shawl. Hmmmm....

Ready for a little Stash Reduction Exercise? Good! I dove in last night for round one and look what I found. This is all machine washable and cute too. I started bear number one in denim and white Lion Brand Polarspun with a red scarf made by Lindsey. It wasn't ready for prime time yet either so you'll just have to settle for the raw materials today. I have to say that working with the Polarspun last night reminded me of why it was banished to the bottom of the basket in the first place. I hate working with the stuff. It is really soft though and I'm sure that feeling it will make some child feel really happy so it's all good.

Feb 27, 2006


That's how I feel today. Since I finished the socks for Stinkerbelle last night I have nothing left on my needles. Nothing that I intend to work on right now anyway. I think that I need to designate a spot on the blog for "eternal slumber". I must admit that I have a linen tank top and a hat for Lindsey that are hiding at the bottom of my stash and they are perfect candidates for the inauguration of the "eternal slumber" section. I am, after all, the Queen of all manner of UFO's. Ask my DH - he'll gladly vent his frustration at the many projects that I've begun through the years that never went anywhere.

Anyway, about Stinkerbelle's socks. It's amazing what you see when you get a close up. Like right now I'm looking at this picture and hoping that these socks don't cut off the circulation in her feet. A brief break for the stats:

Pattern: Chevron from the Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: Knitpicks Color Your Own 100% Merino dyed with, what else, Kool Aid
Needles: Susan Bates size 3 (Yuck, yuck and double yuck! I hate the joins on these)
Modifications: nada

Back to discussion. As I was saying, I can clearly see now that these are too small for Stinkerbelle. They are on her feet as we speak and I doubt that I can pry them away from her but I'll have to work on sizing the socks. The chevron pattern doesn't look so hot when it's stretched all to hell.

Here are a few more thoughts upon finishing the Knit Olympics - my own wrap up if you will. First, I feel incredible relief. I have never felt such pressure in my knitting before and truly I'm not sure I could stand it again. It took over my life. Now I can cook for my family again, do the piles of laundry that accumulated, read bedtime stories, really put some effort into the Girl Scout cookie sale, etc. The list of stuff I've neglected truly does go on and on.

It was very cool to get encouragement from so many people. I can't stress enough how much it adds to the experience when you share it. Every comment means more than I can say. Being part of such a huge thing was also inspiring. The idea of hundreds and thousands (ack!) of knitters challenging themselves all at once... holy shit - it's a little mind-blowing.

I think that I have a date with Knitting On the Road right now - and a calculater. I will get the size right if it kills me. Oh and teddy bears for Phyl. I enlisted Lindsey to help. She can't wait to sew up seams.

ECL: sizes chick! I need sizes or you see what happens.

Feb 26, 2006

Let's go to the videotape...

I never actually though that I'd make it on the medal stand and I'm not. I believe that the entry had to be blocked - past tense - not blocking. It's ok though because for me this is definitely a personal best. Here's another shot.

I totally recognize that it's far from perfect. The stats are:

Pattern: Diamond Fantasy Shawl by Sivia Harding

Yarn: Peruvian Collection Baby Silk from Elann.com in black

Needles: Addi Turbo size 5 about 31 inches long. ( lost the package so I don't know the length listed)

Modifications: Just one - my shawl is only 9 and a half repeats. I only had 6 balls of the yarn and couldn't find any more so after repeat nine I realized that I had too much yarn to stop there but not enough to complete the 10th repeat. It was clear from the finish instructions that the key was to stop after the first in a set of bind-offs so I did and I think that with the exception of the many, many folks that have made this shawl nobody will notice it. It still ends with a completed diamond , just not the center one.

In my defense I should note that I had every intention of finishing this yesterday but I got kidnapped. You heard me. Felicia forced me to go to the Baltimore Fine Craft Show yesterday. I tried to resist - really I did but she needed me. Who else could keep her from buying expensive furniture that wouldn't fit in her house? I did bring my knitting with me and I made a valiant effort but it's not easy to knit in an Explorer - the ride is a little bumpy. While I was there this called out my name and begged to come home with me. Isn't it purty?

I also had to buy these buttons. I think that at some point they will become a part of some lucky sweater. I think that, considering the staggeringly gorgeous stuff that was available, I did a good job of keeping the purchases under control - for both of us.

Perhaps the judges will take my dedication to the team into consideration and award me a Bronze. Nah - probably not.

Feb 24, 2006

Whoa! Look at that!

Well would you look at that? It does fit someone after all - my niece Sam! Doesn't she look thrilled? My sister assures me that Sam was actually very happy to wear this to school today. That's Jake again in the background and I think that the look on his face is priceless. It looks kind of like "Holy shit it fits!" But they are both wonderful, well-behaved children and I'm sure that he's saying something much more appropriate.

I do love the cables though... I feel a cable project coming on. Mmmm.... cables. And to think that I did this before I knew how to cable without a needle

In other news, my week from hell continues. Yesterday my email at work blew up. First it distributed copies of the contents of my whole email system, all of my mailboxes, calendar items, to do items, saved communication - EVERYTHING, to 5 attorneys across the country. I'm sure they were totally stoked when they found out the date of my last hair appointment. That is of course IF they could find that among the 1240+ emails. Yeah, it was that bad. But it gets better... as it sent the e-mails out it also deleted the originals off of my system. So now I look like an idiot to my colleagues and I have to recreate my records. Ain't technology grand.

Speaking of idiots, who thought it was a good idea to have this guy doing commentary during the Olympics?

I know that he was an award winning skater back in the day but does that really give him license to make inane comments through every single performance? How many times does he get to remark on the "awful sitting position" some of the skaters use while doing a particular trick during the pairs skate. If you actually have something of value to add - please share, but otherwise - shut up! The Olympics have been pretty lame this year for many reasons but I think that if the commentators would stop talking so much I'd enjoy them a little bit more. Just my opinion - I could be wrong.

Anyway, as the Olympics limp to a close here's another DFS update. I just finished the 8th repeat and I'm starting 9. Still not sure how far the yarn will go but I'm hopeful. I don't see a gold medal in my future but Bronze - sure! Dare I hope for Silver? Whatever it is I'm definitely posting a personal best and that's the point -right?

Feb 23, 2006

Mea Culpa!

This handsome devil is my nephew Jake. He's giving us that wonderful sly look because he knows that this shot of him is going to force me to apologize to his mother for 2 years of harassment. Sorry Jess! Can you guess why? Yup, it's the sweater -it's still too big! It's a Debbie Bliss pattern (I love those) though I don't remember the name because I made it 2 and a half freaking years ago! See the rolled up sleeves and the way I nearly hits his knees? Holy shit - what was thinking? His sister Sam is 7 and I don't think it fits her yet either. I've been asking my sister for the past 2 years - "Is anyone wearing it yet?"

I only started knitting in the fall of 2002 so I was really still a newbie when I made this but still... I really have no excuse because I'd probably still make the same mistake. There's a reason for this. I have an insane fear of making things too small so I ALWAYS err on the side of caution and go big. Apparently WAY. TOO. BIG. I do this for myself, my kids... everyone. (I am such a complete dumbass sometimes. Even my Jaywalkers are a little too big.)

I still love the sweater and I was extremely proud of it when I finished it. It was fun to work since it was my first big cable project. I LOVE CABLES! For the first time everything lined up right and the seams looked so pretty. It's made out of Elann Den-m-Nit pure indigo cotton and I adored the yarn. I also loved the idea of seeing the way it wore. I envisioned the cables getting definition from the fading on the high points. I still can't wait to see it happen but I guess it'll be a while. I still have a lot of this yarn and I made a sleeveless top for Lindsey out of it which she wears with pride.

Ok, note to self... believe the fucking sizes indicated in the pattern! (and a gauge swatch would help too!)

Feb 22, 2006

How a good day goes bad

My grandparents celebrated their anniversary yesterday! Mazel Tov to them! I forget exactly how many years it is (bad granddaughter that I am) but my guess is about 65 since my grandmother was about 21, if memory serves, and they got married on her birthday. Happy Birthday Grandma! They had a lovely day including lunch at a restaurant with friends. I spoke to them and they sounded strong and happy. All good things! They are 2 of my very favorite people and I wish them many more.

Good things yesterday included getting a primo spot at the Metro parking garage. By primo I mean that after work I stepped into the garage and Punchy (my car) said "hi." It was as if the spot was waiting just for me! Do ya know how rare and wonderful that is?

I was oddly productive at work too. I spent a ton of time determining just how much "improvement" the records I inherited will need and the answer is - a buttload! Way more than I can even begin to get my head around.

You can consider this beautiful delivery from Knitpicks as part of the good portion of the day too. I was pondering the recent additions to my stash after Bruce called to say that this had arrived. I think that I have already made about 6 yarn purchases this year. I don't think that I can keep this pace up. I'm not sure that my house can hold it either. Must. Slow. Down. And Resist. Anyway, this is Sock Memories in Hawaii laying on yet more Color Your Own. I'm really digging the Kool Aid dying but I need to find a better source of Kool Aid with a better selection.

Now here's where it starts to go downhill. Can you see what's wrong with this next shot? On the right is the copy of Interweave Knits that prompted me to subscribe a month ago (give or take) and on the left (strategically covering the mailing label) is the copy that just arrived in the mail. Same Winter '05 issue! The irony is that, according to their website, the new spring issue went on sale yesterday! Does that make any sense at all?
Sadly, my day completed it's freefall into the crapper when I got home and saw my neighbor clearing out of her house for the very last time. She has retired and is moving to Wisconsin. I'm sure that it will be wonderful for her there but I will miss her dearly. Since we moved into our house more than 6 years ago she has been nothing but terriffic. She has babysat my monsters for free. She critiqued our gardening efforts (positively). She lent us folding chairs and tables (which she eventually gave us) for many years. She listened to my tales of woe and dished on the neighborhood "news" that she knew. She was a part of the school system my daughters attend and gave advice on Stinkerbelle's learning issues. She was the best neighbor we could've asked for - especially as first time homeowners.

I totally knew it was coming for a long time. I even knew that closing was this week but I'm sad just the same. I cried as I hugged her goodbye. It doesn't help that nobody has any clue at all about who bought the house. I'm sad and apprehensive.

Let's hope that the new neighbor knits or has age-appropriate kids.

Feb 21, 2006

All DFS, all the time!

Can you guess the problem today? On the one hand, the pattern is looking great. The yarn is a little dicey at times but it looks deep and dark and lustrous. It also feels great when I pick it up and rub it against my face to remind me of why I'm doing this.

On the other hand... I am just so tired of this project. Don't get me wrong - I love the pattern and I'm absolutely sure I'll love the shawl when it's finished. I just feel tethered to it. I'm feeling the MASSIVE OLYMPIC PRESSURE! The rows are super-long now and I still have to focus intensely on each of them (though it's getting better).
This would all be fine if I didn't have to work all day and tomorrow wasn't the day that I have to pick up the Troop Girl Scout cookie order. I'll spend the rest of the week and weekend handing them out the the other parents. I am supposed to go out to see a movie tomorrow night but I'm tempted not to go so I can stay home and work on DFS. MUST. FINISH. ON. TIME. It's sick - right? Maybe a night out is just the thing I need to clear my head so that I can return to DFS nice and fresh. Ya think?

Oh, and check out how much yarn is left. I completed repeat 7 last night. What do you think? Will I have enough? I can judge spaces well visually but yarn... not so much. So again I panic just a little.

Feb 20, 2006


No posting this weekend (too busy knitting) so there's lot's to say - where do I start? Hmmm....

Ah, the DFS update - just started the 7th repeat - definitely going to be a shawl. I have 3 hanks of yarn left (1 is hiding somewhere in my stash) and I think I should make it. Naturally I did have a few minutes of panic over how much yarn I have and how far it would go but they passed mercifully fast. I don't know about 10 repeats but I'll definitely get to 9. Cross your fingers and your toes.
This is a picture of the Drama Queen sitting at my feet on Saturday night - knitting! She's making bookmarks one after another. I guess that's her comfort zone right now. The weird thing is that she knits the opposite of me. She learned at the Knit Out in DC 2 years ago. (I have no business teaching anyone how to knit.) She hold her yarn in her right hand and I hold it to my left. She says it feels better to her that way. It looks horribly inefficient to me but I've seen many people knit that way and I know it's an accepted method. Naturally I like my way better.

I need to clarify a little something about my previous post about knitting on the Metro. I was knitting a sock on one double-pointed needle. No long pointy objects were wielded and no clacking was heard. It was very controlled - no danger involved. Really! It's quite likely that the folks around me barely noticed.

I took Stinkerbelle to the MCI Center yesterday to see Princess Classics, the most recent version of Disney on Ice. She's really not into princesses (much more into Star Wars and superheroes) so I warned her ahead of time about being on her best behavior and not expressing any thought on how dumb it might be to her friends. We were there for a birthday party and I didn't think such comments would go over well. I was really surprised because she enjoyed it. Maybe it was the familiarity of the stories. Maybe it was the peer influence. Maybe it was the skating. No clue! She did ask for a sword (flat out no) rather than a wand or any of the other pink, flowery stuff so I knew she was still Stinkerbelle.

And now the toothpaste .... bottom line do NOT allow a mischevous child like Stinkerbelle to lock herself and a buddy in the bathroom with toothpaste! You will not like the results! She and a buddy didn't want to be separated so they locked themselves in the bathroom. When the door finally opened there was toothpaste everwhere! They were trying to seal the door shut with toothpaste! Clearly this is a mess that my DH will be cleaning up. The best part was later in the evening when my DH went in there and sat down and ... yup, toothpaste on the toilet seat too. Not sure what the purpose of that was. Sadly I must admit that Bruce and I were too busy laughing to punish her properly (or at all). Far be it from me to stifle her creatvity!

Feb 17, 2006

Is that yarn in your pocket?

First, a DFS update. I finished another repeat last night. I was up way past my bedtime but it was so worth it. I still make errors but since I'm counting between each stitch marker I notice all of the errors on the very next row. Most often I forget a yarn-over which is super-easy to correct. I also need to say a huge thank you to Margene for letting me know that I'm not the only one who found this pattern a little challenging.

Now the fun stuff. When I got home yesterday there was a lovely box of books there to greet me. Of course I ordered them, but still, I didn't know they'd get here so soon. That's not even the best part. Bruce's only comment was that he was surprised it was books. He thought I'd ordered more yarn. LOL! He's either gotten used to the steady stream of yarn that appears in our home or he doesn't want to get me mad so close to his golf getaway with the guys. He did note the fact that the pile of knitting books on the coffee table is covering the whole table now. Not a complaint - just an observation. (He still needs the golf check.)

Oh, the books... 2 by Nancy Bush of course. Knitting on the Road and Knitting Vintage Socks. I really, really needed them because I made a discovery yesterday. A ball of sock yarn fits neatly in the pocket of my tomato red fleece jacket. (Bruce noticed it sticking out of my pocket when I walked in the door and thought it was really funny) Better yet - with yarn in pocket - I can knit standing up on the Metro! How awesome is that? I barely minded the crush of humanity surrounding me. Sure, I'd love to get a seat but that so rarely happens. People crowd in and are often super-rude on Metro but a little sock therapy makes me immune to it all.

How about that?

Feb 16, 2006

All about the bulls-eye

Today it was gorgeous outside. So much so that I simply had to get out of the office and go for a walk. Naturally, I put the sock in my pocket and
stopped along the way to take this picture.

Let me start by saying that, to me, the heel is a little questionable - not sure I love the bulls-eye heel. I think that the idea of a little added interest in the back is cool but I think that this looks odd for a few reasons. First, it sticks out funny (for that reason I made Stinkerbelle try it on last night and it fits like a glove -it just looks weird). My second is complaint is also aesthetic - a bulls-eye ought to reduce to more of a dot in the middle than a line. Picky I know but I think it's a valid point. The last thing is more of apractical concern. This is only my 3rd pair of socks and the first two both had nice meaty heel flaps. This may work well too but those made me feel really confident in their durability. They also had very cool texture to them. What do you think? Any sock experts out there willing to share?

Now that I've got my complaints out of the way I should say that I'm really happy with the colors. As you know, I was a little worried about the colors and how they'd knit up. I have to say that out in the natural light I'm enjoying the color changes and the way it shows off the pattern so clearly. Unrelieved purple and green stripes would be gross and loud but the occasional white and lime green interludes calm it down just so. Of course Stinkerbelle is quite loud too - how do you suppose I can calm her down?

Feb 15, 2006

Back on track... for now

As you can see, I haven't gotten very far but I'm posting this now to show all those who expressed encouragement that I haven't given up. Thanks for all of the suggestions and words of wisdom. I just finished chart B for the second time and my results so far look much better. It could be that I'm getting a feel for it. I get into a groove at times and, at those moments, I think that I may just finish a full 10 repeats by the close of the Olympics. Most of the time I think that May is a better target. I have a Bar Mitzvah to go to at the end of May and this shawl would be perfect no matter what I wear. Yes, I know that's 3 months away but I'm being VERY CAREFUL. I count all of the stitches going each way. I will. not. fuck. up. again.

Are you all actually watching the Olympics while you do your Olympic projects? I have been. For ost people this is no big deal but I'm soooo not a sporty person. Remember - I finished my Jaywalkers at a hockey game - sooooo not a sports lover. This time I'm riveted and I'm not sure if it's the effect of the Olympic knitting or what. Missed all of my usual shows - that's what TIVO is for - right? I especially loved the snowboarding. The tricks are amazing! I could do that... like if I didn't hate being cold... and lost 80 pounds... and I didn't hate the cold... and got in shape... and didn't hate the cold... and... you get the picture. No way is there snowboarding in my future! But I might be tempted if I could get a super cool name like the Flying Tomato. He makes it look so easy.

Feb 14, 2006

A doormat maybe but anti-social? Never !

Wow. This can't possibly be good.
Don't Trip
You will be smothered under a rug. You're a little

anti-social, and may want to start gaining

new social skills by making prank phone calls.

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
brought to you by Quizilla


I love snow and if I had not been in a funk when I posted on Sunday night I would've showed you this picture taken from my front door.

As you can see, we got quite a bit of snow. Not as much as they did up north but enough to cover my nasty lawn and bring down a sizeable limb in my front yard. (see it there on the right?) This picture was taken early Sunday morning when I went outside to escape the gaggle of preteen girls who had invaded my home. Actually I got a call from the movie theater on Saturday afternoon - mommy can A & B sleep over tonight? I must've been out of my mind because I said yes. They were really pretty well behaved - they just didn't sleep. Well behaved or not - preteen girls are NEVER QUIET.

As they say, hindsight is 20-20, so I'm thinking that maybe the decibel level in my house may have contributed to the horror that was my first 2 days with the Diamons Fantasy Shawl. Sunday night after i posted about my misery I read a few other blog entries abothreatut DFS and realized that I must rip it out in it's entirety. It was painful but I did it. I also concluded that adding stitch marker to delineate each repeat might help - it does. I also read Grumperina's post about her Dad's new black socks and how challenging she found it to work with black yarn. Duh!

Yesterday they closed schools here even though it no longer resempled the picture above. Actually the streets in my neighborhood and beyond were perfectly clear. There was no snow, slush or ice on the streets and yet the schools were closed. The willingness of the school district to close at the threat of bad weather is usually a sore subject here - but not yesterday. I cheerfuly volunteered to stay home with the girls. More knitting time - you understand - right?

As I said, I ripped out the whole DFS and started over.

  • No TV
  • No noisy kids
  • Perfect daylight
  • Total concentration

5 hours later I got up off the couch having completed chart A and chart B - perfectly! Apparently this is not really a project that I can do casually. Any distraction at all get's me totally discombobulated - in other words All Fucked Up!

My DH finally begged me to put it down and get buck to my happy place with some socks. I obliged and was doing fine till I came to the heel on Stinkerbelle's sock. Bulls eye heel - WTF!Much cursing and fretting. Talk among yourselves while I work it out. I'll tell you about it later.

By the way, thanks so much for the encouragement on the DFS. You have no idea how much I need that.

Feb 12, 2006

Row 46 ... and 52 and...

I have NEVER hated a project more than this one!

I am thisclose to ripping the whole damned thing out and giving it up. I've done frustrated projects before. I've cursed sweaters that weren't working the way I wanted them to. I've wondered WTF many a time but I've never felt this hopeless before.

My first night with the Diamond Fantasy Shawl started off a little rocky but I finished the chart A in one night and fely ok. Yesterday I started chart B and was plugging along until ROW 46. I HATE the ROW. I curse that freaking row. I ripped that row too many times to count. In the end I fudged it a bit here and there because ripping out rows of lace only seems makes a bigger mess than when you started - and completed chart B for the first time.

I thought my trouble was over and cruised though the chart for a second time earlier today. It was all good! I started the chart again and got past the dreaded row 46 and thought I was home free. Piece of cake! No problem! Looking good! Then as I got to the end of row 52 I realized that I didn't have enough stitches. After about 3 hours my DH suggested some sock therapy. He pointed out, correctly, that I knit for relaxation and I am definitely NOT RELAXED NOW. I am frustrated, upset, tense, and I want to cry. I can't let this fucking shawl defeat me! I don't see many big lace projects in my future.

Anyway, Bruce's suggestion was a good one and I cast on for Stinkerbelle's socks. I'm still not sure I love the color of this yarn but I'm feeling happier with this than with the shawl. Just starting the sock is soothing. I'm feeling better already.

What about the shawl? Tomorrow is another day and, one that I'll be spending at home since the schools here will be closed. Between crafts projects, preparing treats for V-day parties at school, and kicking my daughters butts in various games I will be trying to tame the Shawl From Hell.

Feb 11, 2006

The Olympics

Ok, ok - that's a super unimaginative title but what can I say? I'm just so happy to report that my shawl is started. I finished chart A but it wasn't without difficulty. I could not get it started on circulars at all. I tried. Finally I whipped out a set of straight needles and it worked much better for me. I think that the difficulty was in picking up those first few stitches when I could barely see them. Has anyone else had a problem with this? It could just be me.

I was out this morning at the yarn store buying a nice long Addi to transfer the shawl to and it's working just beautifully now. I tried to get out of there without buying more yarn... ok, not really. I made a bee-line for the sock yarn and found some yummyLorna's Lace. Isn't it delish? I just couldn't resist it. I also got a sock book. I looked at a bunch of them and settled on Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. Has anyone used it? I like that it gives so many options. As I mentioned in earlier posts - I have many patterns that will work for Lindsey or myself but Stinkerbelle and Bruce are a little more difficult. I want to make fun socks for them too.

I think that I may get a whole lot of knitting done because the snow is really falling outside. The meteorologists may actually be right this time.

Feb 10, 2006

Smells Like Snow !

As I had hoped - I finished the socks for the Drama Quuen late last night. I was moving along nicely until I finished the last toe decrease and realized that I had one too many stitches on one needle. Shit! I had to go back and start ripping a few rows. It really sux when it's 10:00 at nightand you're tired and the end of a project is thisclose and you have to go back and start ripping out rows to find a really dumb mistake. The worst id that after ripping a few rows I realized that it really didn't matter much. It was the toe and it was garter stitch which hides a multitude of sins. So I redid everything and I added one more decrease hidden in a purl row and nobody will ever know it's there. I was able to do a lovely kitchener bind off and here are the results.
Although my Jaywalkers are red too, this is my first pair of socks knit expressly for the Red Hot Sizzling Socks knit-along. I think that they look great. More importantly - the Drama Queen is thrilled with them. What do you think? I have plenty of red sock yarn in my basket at home so I'll be doing at least 2 more pairs.

Now that these socks are done the decks are clear and I'm all ready to start my Diamond Fantasy Shawl tonight. Bruce is actually excited about my Olympic challenge. I think that I see his logic. It goes something like this: an Olympic knitting project requires watching the Olypmics which means that the Olympics will be on at home non-stop. My DH is a sporty guy who will watch ANYTHING they put on ESPN. If they say it's a sport then he's watching it.

The good news is that they're predicting snow for tomorrow in the Old Dominion. I'm from NY and I love snow. I am also able to drive in it unlike most people in Northern VA. It is a well known fact that the slightest hint of snow will clear the stupidmarket of all milk, bread, eggs etc. Two inches could potentially keep everyone home for days, weeks, months. Normally I'd be out and about as usual BUT snow is an excellent excuse to stay in an knit.

I think there may be some Olympic gold in those clouds. Hmmm...

Feb 9, 2006

The one about the apple and the tree

This is a picture of the latest Kool Aid experiment. I'm really not sure what I think of it yet. I actually like the green and the yellowy green is cool too. The purple is a bit dark for me and the dye missed a few spots. (dreaded white space - Ack!) Stinkerbelle loves it though and can't wait for me to turn it into socks for her. I guess that's the bottom line. As long as she likes it and is willing to wear it - so be it. It's possible that this could knit up in some wonderful way like the Flaming Kool Aid for my RHSS.

Speaking of the RHSS - I am determined to finish them tonight. The heel of the second sock is 4 and a half inches long so finishing tonight shouldn't be too difficult. That's good because I think we'll have to go out for a little celebration dinner tonight. Anyone who knows may family knows exactly where we'll be. Yep! Cheese fries and steaks for all. Yesterday was report card day and, I'm happy to say, both of my girls did well. As an added bonus the Drama Queen was admitted to a math enrichment program at her school this week based on her wild arithmetic skills.

The continued mathematical prowess displayed by my child is super good news for me because I can barely add. I may be exaggerating a little - but not much. My children and everyone else know that I suck at math. It's such a well-known fact that my kids are continually reminding me that - although they have mathematical abilities which I lack - they are just like me.

The Drama Queen is an avid reader who takes multiple books with her everywhere just in case she finishes one. It would be a horror if she ever ran out of reading material. ( I do the same thing). I told her about how my sister and I used to read in the dark after bedtime and now she does that too. She is quite proud of carrying on the tradition. What can I say - do as I say, not as I do? Nah. She has also made an effort at knitting. She loves to whip it out from time to time and do it right alongside me. Awwwwww... (Of course she really wants to sew too which is totally not my thing. I absolutely refuse to learn how to sew.)

Stinkerbelle is a wild child who loves to make a mess. This in itself qualifies her cut from the same cloth as me. Never-the-less she reminds me at least once a week that she has my genes because she likes art. I melt! Her favorite place is sitting at the counter in the kitchen helping me cook. She'll stir and measure anything just to say that she's helping. When she thinks I'm not looking she even swipes little bites of this and that - just like me.

I'm not close with my mother (ok, we don't talk at all) and there are very good reasons for that. I am aware though, that a lot of the things that I enjoy sharing with my daughters - the love of reading, cooking and all things crafty - comes from my mom. I'd like to think that I'm passing along the good and weeding out the less good.

Just a thought.

Feb 8, 2006


Last night I:
a) did laundry
b) helped Stinkerbelle with her homework
c) got to the end of the heel on my second RHSS
d) made a yummy spinache quiche
e) started arranging summer camp plans for Stinkerbelle and the Drama Queen

Naturally, I'm a mom so the answer is "f". It's my job. I remember hearing somewhere on the radio a discussion of how women and men attack errands and other household stuff. They were saying that women are more likely to make stops on the way home to pick up stuff at the stupidmarket, drycleaning etc. Men go straight home and crash on the couch. Not all men are like this but it seems to hold true in general. Can you guess what Bruce usually does - unless I give him a list.

In his defense I should say that my DH was doing some reasonably useful stuff himself last night. He straightened up a bit for the cleaning people. (apparently they need to see the floor in order to clean it) He also cleaned up after my quiche-making activities. I'm a good cook but I'm much less good at cleaning up after myself. Come to think of it, that extends to most, if not all, of my creative endeavours. My DH is very tolerant!

The good news is that I'm making real progress on my RHSS's and I ought to finish this pair in time to cast onfor my Olympic project Friday night. I thik that I may be overly optimistic about my chances of completing this shawl in 16 days. Stranger things have happened but let's be realistic. I keep reading on other blogs about how everyone's getting ready for the big cast-on and I feel like I ought to be doing something. Swatching maybe? In my defense i should say that I've collected the necessary materials and I fully intend to read the instructions before Friday night. So there!

Feb 6, 2006

The first RHSS

This is the first of my Red Hot Sizzling socks. I started it on Saturday morning and finished kitchenering the toe at midnight last night. Lindsey expects me to finish the mate by Wednesday. I don't think so though. Work may get in the way a little bit. I'll start it today and see how it goes. I definitely want to finish it before they light the torch on Friday night.
My weekend was pretty good. Lot's of knitting and vegetating. I actually accomplished a lot AND I didn't have to do any errands or leave the house for any other reason yesterday. That's awesome! I dyed more yarn with Stinkerbelle. This batch is teal and purple. She wants me to make socks for her out of it. If it comes out as well as the first batch I'll be really happy. I started collecting onion skins too. The guy at the stupidmarket was perplexed when he saw the bag of onion skins. I've often used them to dye egg shells for hard boiled eggs and i kind of like the color. Has anyone tried that before? Can you tell me if it worked? I think that I'll collect a ton of skins and then throw the skins and yarn and water etc in a huge pot and boil it for a while. Sounds like it should work. I'm hoping for a nuanced yarn with deeper and lighter tones. On the way to work this morning I was thinking that it might be the perfect yarn for a pair of boat covers for Bruce. I says that if I make socks for him then he'll wear them.

Feb 5, 2006

Lessons Learned

I'm a self taught knitter which means that I looked at books, tried to emulate what I saw and often wondered WTF.

This is the first sweater I ever made. The chief appeal of the yarn was that it was cheap. I made it for Stinkerbelle and I think that I finished it in 2003 but it's never been worn. I'm not sure if you can tell from the pictures but my gauge changed drastically from one piece to the next - super wide shoulders were the result of that. I love the button - it's a Fimo multi-color job. The edging was cool too. I was working from a book by Kate Buller called Style your own Kid's Knits. I cheerfully disregarded all of the stuff about gauge and dove in head first. I found a style that worked and picked details - like the edging - from other sections. It's the intent of the book but I think that they assume that you have a clue to begin with - I didn't.

The best part of the experience was at the very end when I showed it proudly to Diana, a friend of mine who's been knitting much longer than I have. She seemed very impressed and complemented the sweater because she's a genuinely nice person. Then she asked what stitch I had used. Huh? It was done on stockinette stitch with a moss stitch yoke. Simple, nothing fancy, very obvoius - or so I thought. The trouble was that I had been purling in a truly fucked-up way and had no idea. Ignorance is bliss and all that jazz. She assured me that since the whole thing was done the same way I was ok but I went home and hit the books hard. I purl correctly now and I'm not sure how I could've missed it then but at the time it seemed natural.

Knitting socks on 2 circs is like that too. Since I corrected my method the socks are flying on my needles. I cast on for my Red Hots yesterday morning while I sweat it out at the rec center where Stinkerbelle was having swimming lessons. Yes, I had to cast on twice because I twisted it the first time but now, a little over 24 hours later, I'm nearly done with the first sock. I have to say that it's coming out much better than I thought it would.

This is a quick shot of the back of sock one. I was worried that maybe the colors weren't deep enough but the more I knit - the more it looks like the perfect marriage between pattern and yarn. The orange comes out in very cool ways and there are deep red spots too. They are so hot! I also love the texture of the heel. It's hard to describe so you'll have to take my word for it - it's awesome!

The weather is gross and cold here today so I expect to dye more yarn with Stinkerbelle (we picked up a nifty selection of Kool Aid yesterday and she's dying to try it) and finish sock RHSS #1.

I'll leave you wth this lovely picture of my Ruby Slippers.
I was really unhappy with the other pictures that I took of them and I thought that a little natural light might help. The nasty stuff beneath them is the zoysia grass in my front yard. Where I live it has 4 1/2 spectacular months where it looks lush and green and we're the envy of all. The rest of the year it looks like this. I get the honor of being the only house on the block with a dead yard. I pray for snow to come and cover it up. May can't come soon enough!

Feb 2, 2006

Not very swift

I didn't post yesterday mostly because I was feeling very disappointed. I spent ALL NIGHT Wednesday trying to wind up my sizzling yarn. I have neither a swift nor a ball winder, a fact that never bothered me before. Now I'm looking al all of the other yarn in my many baskets and feeling a desperate need to invest in a swift.

Anyway, as I wound the yarn it looked less and less sizzling. It could be the frustration coloring my view of things. Let's hope! I think it will become socks for Lindsey. She chose the Negative Bricks pattern from Sockbug. I think they should work. Of course there are reasons why she gets the next pair of socks:

  1. She's threatening to take my Jaywalkers which aren't even finished yet. Her feet are almost as big as mine now and she things that means that we'll start sharing footwear. No way! I don't care how big her feet get - sharing footwear is gross!
  2. I haven't found any fun patterns for Stinkerbelle yet and I don't feel up to modifying what I have yet.
  3. Bruce's feet are BIG manly boats and, again, I haven't found many fun patterns for humongo-socks. I'm not even sure that there is such a thing.

Anyway, last night I camped out on the couch and was very determined about my sock knitting. I even made progress. I turned the heel on sock 2 which means that I oughtto complete it by Friday night. Hooray!

I mentioned the Yarn Harlot's post about taming her stash to Bruce and he thought it was pretty funny too. He claims that he is no long horrified by the amount of yarn that finds it's way into the house. He noted, with pride, that he no longer feels fear when he sees box from elann.com (or Blue Moon Fiber or Knitpicks or Patternworks ....) snuggling up to our front door. He actually suggested a few more places that we can house my ever-growing stash.

Speaking of stash additions, I sold some stuff on e-bay this week and it was a huge success. My DH and a few others noted that it souded like "yarn money". Right on! They know me so well.