Monday, December 18, 2006

Still alive...though not knitting

Yes, I'm still around. Did you miss me?

I have not been knitting, not even a little bit. I don't know what happened. Usually I am at least putting a few rows on the current sock, but I just can' t get myself going on anything, not even at the doctor's office.

But I just had to post this, because I saw it featured in the Detroit Free Press on Sunday and thought it was a real hoot:

Gotta wonder if Carol Duvall has seen this?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mary wonders what I thought of IKEA.

I thought it was great! And I managed to get out of there only spending $13 (plus my lunch cost.)

I wanted to look at dining room chairs since ours are mostly broken. Funny how you can have furniture for 8 years and it remains fairly intact until your children are old enough to start abusing it and then it falls to pieces. We've had an oak dining room set that we bought in 1990. 3 of the 4 chairs are now broken and the fourth has gotten mighty wobbley. We've tightened all that can be tightened. Time to get some new chairs.

And at IKEA you can find some fairly decent ones starting at only $20 a piece. They aren't really big, but they would be better than folding chairs, which is what we're using now. So I went to *look* at them. In fact, the friend who went with me drives a Mustang, so I asked if she minded driving since we wouldn't be able to buy anything big at IKEA since her car is so dinky! I just wanted to *look*, then I planned on coming home, consulting the catalog again and making a list to come back with.

I found a couch I really liked...again, I *looked* at it. Not bought, looked. And I *looked* at a lot of stuff. It was quite overwhelming, but not as bad as I feared. It would be easy to get lost in there, but they do provide maps and since I don't have that chromosone that prevents my asking for directions, I didn't.

We had lunch at the little restaurant in there and it was quite delicious (roast beef & potato salad.) In the end I walked out with some kiddy cups, little bowls to match, and a jar of lingonberries for my friend, Mary, who had asked me to pick some up. Like I said, I *looked*.

Why all this emphasis on *looking*? Well, I got home and talked to Dan about what I had found. Immediately, he assumed that a) I was itching to buy everything I liked immediately and that b) I had not really properly considered the kind of chair we should buy. He got online and proceeded to show me all kinds of ridiculously overpriced chairs that were no better than the ones I had *looked* at at IKEA for a lot less money. Grrr...

He is always telling me we should wait to buy anything nice until the kids have moved out. So this was my solution: cheap chairs from IKEA that will last long enough to get our kids out of the house. And if they break, they are only $20 to $40 to replace! And IKEA stuff DOES last a long time; I have a friend who has been furnishing her house from IKEA for years and she has 6 kids and the stuff has held up!

Now he tells me we should buy something nice that will last. I'm neck is sore from being whipped back and forth watching that tennis ball...and they say women can't make up their minds...

I definitely am going back out there and I will go for the cinnamon roll next time, Mary!

On the knitting front, I have worked a bit at the Celtic Cabled sock...I'm gonna have to suck it up and reprint the Jaywalker pattern, since I still can't find it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

All woods must end....

I think that's the verse in the song that Frodo sings in the Old Forest in the Fellowhsip of the Ring...the one that the trees don't like...

But it's what I thought about as I worked on the Mitered Square Baby blanket on Saturday. My kids school parish had their annual festival and I got to work at the Tin Can Raffle booth selling tickets. Natch, I brought along my knitting bag and decided that turning a heel on That Sock was probably a very bad idea. Better to knit on something easy to pick up and put down. So the blanket got the nod.

I managed about to add about 4 or 5 squares and honestly...the project is at that stage where it doesn't look like anything has been done to it AT ALL despite all kinds of progress. I apologize for the crummy photo. Like Saturday, where it practically PEED rain, today is grey and gloomy again. I tried taking a picture in natural light and all I got was blurry pictures. So I ended up using the flash and making it look flat.

OF course, KIPping got the usual questions, "Is that crochet or knitting?" and comments, "I don't have enough patience for that." Give me strength. Lucky thing I have patience to deal with that patience comment...otherwise more people would be walking around with knitting needles sticking out of them than there are now.

I kept looking at this thing and thinking, "When is it going to be DONE already?!" Well, never if I don't get down to it and try to seriously finish it already! When I think this was supposed to be my Olympic knitting project. Gar! And my darling, darling daughter, Laurel, had to pipe up with, "When are you going to knit me my poncho?!!?!?" I love my children, I love my children, I love my children.....

Diane asks where I got the pattern; it's a Plymouth pattern which I got from my LYS...the pattern number is P263.

Along with the work on that, I also took a bash at my second Celtic Cable sock while waiting in the car for my kids yesterday; I had forgotten to bring my book, so I had to do SOMETHING. I got a few rows in before I discovered when it was time to turn the cables that I had not put the cable needle in this particular knitting bag. I know there is a way of doing without, but I had never done it and didn't feel like figuring it out on the spot.

I admit it, I'm rather cranky this month. My business has really fallen off this month, so I've had a ton of free time, which I've occupied by trying to learn to play the piano better than I do. I had about 1 year of lesson in high school, but I do play other instruments. Our organist died last year and now that I finally have two ladies who are taking on lay reading, I've been playing organ on the days when we have morning prayer and our regular organist does not do those Sundays. I can play simple chords and the melody and I do okay. But I've had to change a few keys to accomodate my limited abilities to play keys that have lots of flats or sharps.

I'm coming along...slowly. My hands are finally starting to work together instead of being separate entities with their own agenda. Amazingly, it's a lot like knitting, playing the piano is. If you get your hands to work together instead of trying to do their own thing, you can produce something really beautiful. But unlike piano playing, you get to keep that beautiful thing around; music instead dies slowly away and you are left with a memory of it.

My other mountain that I've been climbing with this is trying to overcome my performance anxiety. I've had problems with this just forever. I used to have a problem with speaking in front of people, something that God took away when I started to read the bible in church. And it's carried over into my SU! business, for which I am grateful. But for some reason known only to Him, God has seen fit NOT to remove it for organ playing. So that I shake dreadfully at times and make tons of mistakes. Despite the fact that I've TOLD Him that I am really quite humble about my abilities as an organ player and my only desire is to be competent, He has allowed this thorn to remain in my side. I finally bought some anti-anxiety herbal supplements that did help a lot last Sunday. Maybe once I get used to playing, I won't need them anymore. And they didn't make me sleepy, which is what I really worried about! I had visions of everyone hearing a thud and looking over at me lying on the floor next to the organ, fast asleep.

Well, time to hop in the shower. A friend and I are going to IKEA for the first time...should be a blast!

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Well, I did get some knitting done. I had a workshop on pastoral care to attend on Saturday, so I spent some time working on That Sock.

I have the heel flap done. But I don't know where I put the least it is an online pattern, so I have saved it to my hard drive and even if I lose it I can go back to MagKnits and get it again.

Now I will be doing that little pocket in the heel before picking up the stitches on the edges of the flap and turning the heel. That's the part where I always think that a sock looks like some sort of mad demented puppet...kind of like the Alien with those weird teeth that moved sideways instead of up and down...and all that drool coming out. It's exactly how my daughter looks when she is getting her braces worked on (don't tell HER I said that, it would produce a chorus of "MOTHER!!!! HOW COULD YOU SAY THAT!!!" that I don't really want to hear!) They put this kind of plastic thing in her mouth that holds her lips away from her teeth and I always think, "Alien!!!" while she has it in...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Not a whole lot of knittin' goin' on...

Okay, there has been some! Evidence:

I added a couple of squares to the Mitered Baby Blanket, my one-time Olympic knitting project. I'd like to finish it and get it done, already!

I also added a few rows to That Sock. I'm amazed to say that it is time to start the heel...I was beginning to think I'd never ever get there.

This week is promising to be rainy...AGAIN. Yesterday was beautiful...I had to enjoy it while it lasted, but since rain is threatening, what better time to pull out all those UFO's and try to polish off as many as possible? None!

And while I'm at it, I might as well celebrate "Talk Like a Pirate" day tomorrow. Never heard of it? Check out here: Talk Like A Pirate

And while you're at it, check out the knitting pattern available on a link on the website! Then go visit here: Knit Like a Pirate

I had to get the windex after I read the opening paragraph on that site! I just wonder if I have to nerve to go to the chiropractor tomorrow and when he says, "How are you doing, Janine?" I can say, "I be fine, arggghhhhh!!!"

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

That Sock Goes to the Dentist

Here is That Sock again. Since I haven't really been knitting all that much, I had to look again at the last photo I took of it to tell if it has grown any.


Last month.

Eeehh....not much, eh? I guess I need to get my rear in gear! That sock got to go out and flaunt itself at the pedontist and, I have to say, as usual it garnered lots of attention. I got your standard, "I can't do that, I don't have the patience" from one of the office workers. I told her that, for me, it took up a lot of time that would ordinarily be spent waiting...essentially, I knit to promote my own patience because if I didn't have knitting, I would not be able to sit and wait with any grace whatsoever. Does it mean I'm any more patient than a person who sits and reads magazines? No, but the person who reads magazines doesn't end up with a gorgeous pair of socks. And again, the dentist assumed I was knitting them for my daughters; she's long admired my knitting and loves seeing the sweaters my daughters love to wear that I made.

Laurel sailed through with flying colors. I didn't even get the usual recitation of wrongs and griefs afterwards. A large Frostie and a large order of fries from Wendy's (they are nice and soft so she could manage them) seemed to make everything cool (even if I had to run her uniform blouse and skirt through the laundry to get the inevitable stains out...chocolate milk/ice cream is the WORST for staining!) and I've promised that the tooth fairy will provide money to go to Barnes & Nobles in exchange for the two teeth. Laurel has finally accepted that I am the tooth fairy...she hung on to the story for longer than I ever thought possible.

Tonight we get to go to the school open house, so I am going to spend some time stamping today. I just finished cutting and mounted almost all the ones I ordered. I'll save the knitting for this evening. Slowly I am getting into the mood to do more; I pulled out my Monica Ferris mysteries and that always helps and I managed to find my elusive Page Minder so I could read and knit at the same time.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Dishcloth is a Many Splendored Thing

First, let's get this out of the way.

What happened to September? It doesn't seem to be working anymore. This is our tree, which I have shown you before. This is early September and I'm starting to see a few leaves changing on the tree.

This is almost unheard of. This tree usually doesn't start to show color until the end of September at the very earliest. And this rain. What the heck is up with that? This month has been incredibly gloomy so far...I don't much like this, though I love the temperatures. I'm happy not to pay to air condition my home and not to have to turn on the heat...yet. But I'm wondering if the furnace is going to have to go on this month at the rate we're going.

Okay, now that I have officially complained about the weather (the sign of a true Michigander), let me show you my Pinwheel Dishcloth!

I finished it last night as I watched the last show on 9/11 I hope to have to watch for a while.

Isn't it nice? And it is fun to knit, though I screwed up a couple of times and had to rip back, but only a few rows. This is a very sturdy and attractive dishcloth. The pattern is on my pattern blog.

So now what? I guess I need to poke through my UFO's and finish something, since I *think* I am probably out of Sugar 'n' Cream to make dishcloths with...of course, there is always THAT Sock, which is going to get some airing at the pedontist today...I have to take Laurel to get two teeth removed...this kid has more teeth than mouth, apparently. I'm really not looking forward to this; pain always brings out the worst in Laurel; she moans, she groans and she tells me everything that is wrong with her just comes pouring out. She has always been exactly the was cute when she was little, but now that she is 11, it is a little not so cute anymore. I remember when she got shots when she was 4 years old...I heard everything about what was wrong with her life (she was 4! What is wrong at 4?!?!) at preschool and at home. Doesn't help that she has always been very articulate and has always been precocious as far as vocabulary. Oh well. She can be a lot of fun at this age and I am enjoying watching her bloom into a teenager...slowly.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Easily amused, that's me

Is it wrong to be so dang pleased with myself over this?

I finished the second Idiot's dishcloth last night as we watched the Tigers win over Minnesota. Sorry for you Twins fans but....YAY! (Okay...back to our regularly scheduled program....)

I'm also geeked because I got a copy of my other dishcloth pattern after appealing to the KnitTalk list I am on on Yahoo groups. I had posted the pattern to the KnitList back in February 2000 and had subsequently lost my files. The group archives only go back to November 2000 and the archives on the previous list host are long gone, so I thought I was out of luck. Happily, Mary Mort had saved my pattern from way back when and was able to supply it to me.

It's now uploaded to the pattern blog and I plan on knitting another one now that I have this one finished.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

In which the author proves she still remembers how to knit...

I tried to post about this yesterday, only to have the evil internet gremlins eat my post and turn off my internet connection, thereby insuring that I lost every thing I typed. Computers suck, man.

And now, with my kinders all in bed, my man off to jam, and me here listening to "Everybody Loves Raymond", I crack another Diet Coke in a futile attempt to keep myself from going out in the kitchen and finding something to nibble on and get to work yet again, in a, mostly likely, vain attempt to amuse my readers. I hope you appreciate it.

This past weekend, I actually finished a knitting project. Don't all drop dead, now! Reach for the paper bag you keep next to your computer monitor for such moments. Breathe...breathe...

There. Feel better? I know I do.

It was a dull weekend, as Labor Day weekends go. We had promised to drive to Kalamazoo for the day. And having thought about the 2 hour drive there and the 2 hour drive back and the parlous state of my dishcloth collection, I decided to bring along a dishcloth to knit and actually get something done. Most of my dishcloths date back to my last dishcloth knitting frenzy and have been developing holes at an alarming rate, to the result that I am down to one or two. The original color of this yarn has long disappeared and they are all a uniformly ugly tan color from their contact with tomato sauce and ketchup in the dishwasher, where I hang the current one over the edge of the upper rack to sanitize it.

So I jumped on the internet in the morning on Friday and searched for the ubiquitous diagonal dishcloth with the eyelet border that everyone and their grandma makes. I don't keep a copy of this thing in my pattern books...why should I when everybody obligingly posts it to their websites? I found a copy, went stash-diving for some Sugar 'n Cream (in shades of pink), found my short #8's and loaded up my little Vera Bradley bag and I was all set.

I was 1/3rd done before we even got out of metro Detroit. Because Friday wasn't considered to be part of Labor Day weekend, the road construction crews were still hard at work, with the usual one man digging a hole and ten other men standing around and watching. I don't mean to dis' construction workers, really I don't. But imagine how much knitting would get done if there was only one of us knitters actually knitting and ten of us standing around watching? Not much.

So we reached the M-14/96/275 interchange and it had backed up as usual due to construction work. I said, "I think you should get on 275 and take Ann Arbor Road to would take maybe 10 minutes more than usual, but you'd get around the construction."

"Naw," said Dan, "I'm going to take 275 to 94 and go that way."

All was well until we were about to Joy Road, when the rot set in. We ran into a huge traffic jam. By the time we were south of Ford Road, we finally saw an electronic sign that explained it all: 275 was closed at Michigan Avenue. Closed. Not narrowed down to one lane. No lanes. None. No wonder we were just crawling along.

Well, we finally reached a turn around and we did just that and headed back to Ann Arbor Road. Dan said, "I guess I should have just taken this to begin with." I practically had to jam my knitting needle through my palm to keep myself from saying, "I told you so!" but I managed to keep my jaws clamped together firmly. There are some thoughts that are better left unexpressed.

By the time we got to Kalamazoo, I was almost done with the dishcloth. I finished it while we visited with the in-laws. My MIL expressed surprise that you could actually knit a dishcloth; all the ones she had ever made were crocheted.

I was kerflumoxed because I have made dishcloths for a long time. She's seen me doing it before. I gave her one. Granted, it was maybe five years ago or something like that.

This was so upsetting to me, that someone would actually not remember that you can knit dishcloths or that they would totally forget getting one from me, especially since I clearly remember her telling me it was the best dishcloth she had ever had and she dearly wished she could have another, that I totally lost my head.

I gave her the one I just finished.

So now I'm knitting another. I've spent some time looking for the patterns for the ones I have invented and I found one and posted it to my pattern blog. I'm still looking for the other one; based on a unit used in a Just One More Row pattern that I posted to the Knit List long's not in the archive on the Yahoo group site, so I am lost as to where to try next. I lost my knitting files when the zip disks I'd copied them all to got corrupted. Like I said...computers suck.

In other news....

My son is developing "wit". This is an amazing thing to me, since we have been used to his limited verbal skills for some time. I've often wondered just how much he understands of what he says himself, but thankfully, he's proved himself more than intact in the intellect department.

The other day we were watching the Lord of the Rings - Fellowship of the Ring. He appears, by the way, to have gotten over the nightmares he had watching this last year. ANYWAY...

Mr. Squatter was watching with all of us as Gandalf, on the top of Isengard, catches a moth and sends it off to fetch Gwahir, the eagle. The moth flutters off, the camera zooms down the tower and into the pit below Isengard where the fires are burning and the orcs are making who knows what....

And Billy said, "Meanwhile, down in the hole...."

It took us all by surprise, so that we laughed like crazy. Who son, the raconteur.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


It was quiet here today. They all were in school, every blessed one of them.

I am happy!

I love my kids and my husband, I really do. But by the time the end of August rolls around, I am ready for them to get out of here for a certain amount of time five days a week. I like solitude; I crave it. I like to listen to the radio and not watch television. I like to clean something and have it stay that way, for a while, anyway. I like to be able to post to my blogs without interruption while I let the words flow out of my fingers and onto the screen.

And it's hard while they are here to do that, because they are nosy and want to know what I am writing and I *hate* people reading what I am writing over my shoulder. Our computer is smack in the hub of activity all the time, as it should be. I don't really want to be shut away with it and when my kids are old enough to be online, they are definitely going to be out in the middle of everything while they are using it.

So it was with joy and thanksgiving to God that I delivered my children to their school. After I dropped them off, I turned on the radio and listened to a wonderful praise song which sang "Hallelujah!" and thought "YES!!!"

So, now that I finally have privacy to post my little projects, here is That Sock:

That Sock has been cavorting in the pediatrician's office, where it attracted attention. Funny that people always say, "And who are you making that for?" Like I would say, "My daughter." Hah! As if!

My daughters have perfected losing socks to an art form. My precious socks are not adorning the feet of these girls, since they will not love them as they ought. My daughters walk outside in their stocking feet! They push their socks off in bed, then the socks go over the side and are never seen again unless you move the bunk beds. And these are maple...they are HEAVY. So no way, no how am I knitting these socks for them. I always say, "For me!" For who else would love my socks they way they need to be loved?

The other day I went to get my hair cut, so I stopped at Old Village Yarn which is nearby and picked up my Helen's Laces, in the shade called "River".

You may recall this is for a shawl. I paused before putting it in the stash to admire it properly and wonder just when the knitting bug was going to hit again. Probably once the weather gets colder.

Since it's down in the 70's here today, my guess is that won't be long at all. Good. I like fall. It's my favorite time of year!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Knit happens....

when you have to take your kid to the emergency room.

I have a daughter who is currently, shall we say, experiencing all the full glory of womanhood, but is not enjoying it very much.

So yesterday, when she went into hysterics about the abdominal pain she was having, was running a low-grade temp, and had had some other gastrointestinal issues that might point to a wonky appendix, yours truly had to make an ER run.

The hospital we prefer is a 30 to 40 minute drive from here, depending on traffic, so I grabbed my current mystery ("Five Bells and Bladebone" by Martha Grimes) and my little knitting bag that has what I have decided to call "That Sock" and off we went.

I have visited enough ERs to know you spend most of your time waiting for something to happen next. And knitting is necessary to wile away the time and to calm the nerves.

Of course, by the time we got up there, Missy Sahib was feeling better. If I had stayed home, she would have died, fer sure. And once we got in there she was feeling very little pain at all.

We should have turned around and gone home right then and there. But, you don't wanna take chances with your child's inner organs, so we stayed, had blood work, x-rays, the works. For nothing, because she was fine. Sigh.

I told her that every child gets one ER trip that turns out to be nothing every 5 years and that she had just used hers up for the next five years. Don't do that to me again until you are 16 or 17!

At least I got a few rows done on That Sock. It's happy. And I did get a nice comment on That Sock from one of the nurses. So That Sock not only got a few rows knit on it, it got to get complimented as well. Lucky sock.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Faint stirrings

Old Village Yarn Shop called me this past week. Remember that Lorna's Laces stuff I ordered to do that shawl? Well, it's been in for, um....quite some time. Was I coming to get it soon?

Yes, I said...I've just not gotten out to that part of the world lately, but I was planning on picking it up. Really.

In the meantime, I'm going great guns on stamping and having a lot of fun doing that, but I only get the urge to knit every now and then. Maybe I should go through my yarn bins again or maybe I should just decide to finish all the projects I have started with the idea that then I would get rid of all un-knit yarn and projects (but really trying to jump start the urge to knit again...that's what always ends up happening, anyway.)

In the meantime, I'm spending my life shuttling children to appointments, trying to fit in everything that needs to be done by August 29th, when school begins and my life can get back to normal.

I'm really tired of having a constant mess in this house...I can vacuum, but a few hours and it looks just the same. Same for the kitchen floor. With 5 people at home almost all the time, nothing stays done for more than 2 minutes unless I do it late at night before I go to bed. And then I don't really get to enjoy the long as rats and roaches are not moving in and I'm keeping things sanitary if not absolutely neat, we will manage to live until school starts again.

This week we've got a dentist appointment for me plus pediatrician appointments for the kids. I have to take them to buy new shoes for school....I've already done uniforms in the very first days of the month and school supplies this past week. I really, really hate shopping for these things. Everyone is talking at once, throwing things in the cart, I'm standing there with the supply list saying, "Have we got one of these for Billy yet?" or "You only need 3 of those!" I tell them to make an inventory of what they already have so I don't have to spend money on stuff we bought last year and is still good. They all want stuff that is NEW, so I have to fight that, "NO, you don't need a new pencil case if last years still works. So what if it's a little dirty? Take a rag and clean it or throw it in the wash if it's washable!"

Uniforms were equally stressful to buy. How big should it be? How long do the skirts have to be again? Do you really need new shirts, or will last years do? Okay, if I buy these, I might as well buy 3 of them, since I will get $5 off if I do that...arghhhh!

In addition to this, my oldest child is getting braces. That was a big check to write, let me tell ya. If I hadn't carefully put aside some of our tax return, we would be making much larger payments on them than we will. We went and got the top braces this past week. And then the orthodontist says, "She needs to have two of these teeth out ASAP." Why didn't he tell me that in the spring, when I could have made an appointment in advance? Sure he said they would have to be removed, but for some stupid reason, I thought HE would do it. SO I call my kids' dentist and she's booked through much for ASAP. We're on the cancellations list at the top...hopefully, she will get one this week and we can get these teeth out and be ready for the bottom braces appointment next week. If not, he is going to have to work around the fact that the teeth are still there.

So...anybody got cheese to go with this whine?

There have been *good* things going on this week. I'm trying to think of what they are...oh, yes: my kids went to vacation bible school every evening this past week. So my husband and I were able to go out for our anniversary on Tuesday evening...THAT was good. It was nice having a bit of a break from them every evening. But we're back to full time parenting this week.

And I got a lot of new stamps from the Holiday Mini to play with. So if you'll excuse me, I'll go play with them now....

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Blog guilt

Hi everybody!

Yes, life has been rather hectic lately. Filled with anything BUT knitting. After I ended up ripping back that sock shown in the last post and fixing it, I got kind of fed up with knitting and went into what I call "yarn hibernation". Almost always happens in the summer when the thought of warm fibers next to my already too-warm skin gives me the heebie jeebies.

And the approach of a mini catalog change-over for my business and stamping swaps, swaps, and more swaps and then convention! Yikes!

Can you believe I didn't even take knitting to convention this year? Just did not feel like packing my usual sock for plane knitting that I usually do.

And then there is this blog. Every day I have felt guilty for chattering on like a loon for months, then suddenly dropping off the face of the planet! Wondering what everyone must be thinking...where did she go?

I've been debating about starting a companion blog for my stamping/scrapbooking stuff and just linking the two together so that I will post on one of them at least and you can check out what I'm doing with either or both crafts.

In the meantime, yes, I am alive and well...just not knitting right now!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Really, I should not be allowed out of the house...

I'm such a clutz lately.

I went for a walk this morning. Hey, fate, this is an effort to get healthy!!! Are you trying to sabotage that?!?!? How come you never intervene in those doughnut eating moments? Anyway...

I didn't get too far before I decided my MP3 player needed to be turned up just a tad. As I reached in my pocket and was fumbling with the buttons, I tripped over a section of sidewalk that was raised and pitched straight forward.

Luckily, no bones broken, but two nasty scraped palms, one bleeding (don't don't have to look) quite a bit, plus scraped knee that is not bleeding. I guess I had the sense not to fall on my elbows after the last time.

Ordinarily, a trip and a fall wouldn't stop me from continuing, but the scrapes needed to be washed, disinfected and bandaged. Continuing to walk would have made them bleed even more with the swinging action I take with my arms as I walk. And I'm going to have to sit tight for a while so that the scrapes heal up a little, so I won't be continuing my walk this morning. And it's a glorious morning to be walking in...ah well.

I had a heck of a time getting my keys out to get back in the house because they were in my right pocket and my right palm was the one that I got. I didn't want to bleed all over my pants...which happened to be beige corduroy Land's End trousers that I'm very fond's hard to find pants that are that comfortable these days.

I am grateful that I had the forethought to refill our Band-Aid stores...with three kids in the house, we go through so many Band-Aids that I would buy stock if I didn't disagree with some of the company's charitable efforts.

Now, you're probably wondering where I've been. Not knitting...not after discovering this:

and this:

What's up with this? Well you may ask!!!

It happened as I was waiting for the orthopedic surgeon to come in and talk to me one last time about my wrist and elbow. I had brought the sock along and as I zipped along knitting, I noticed that one of the ridges in the decrease position in the center of one needle had shifted over one stitch several rows back. "Well, I can fix this!" I thought, "I am the boss of my knitting!!!"

And I am, usually...I have fixed errors in lace by dropping down and redoing, successfully too, even though it was a PITA. On one of my first knitting projects, a vest with a patchwork of texture work, I had successfully dropped down and fixed so many errors that they no longer intimidated me. So I dug through my little knitting bag and even though I didn't find a crochet hook, I had a cable needle, I was game! So I fixed the boo took a lot of thinking about just where I had to change things and which rows were increase rows and which were plain knitting, but after a couple of false starts, I was happy to see that I had managed to fix it! I now had 19 stitches on the needle, 9 on one side, the ridge stitch in the middle and 9 on the other side.

Then I decided it would be a good idea to count the stitches on the other needles to make sure they all had this delightful evenness on each side of the ridge stitch. And that's when I noticed it....can you tell? Have you figured it out?

The first picture shows a needle with the required 19 stitches, but instead of having 9 on each side of the ridge stitch, there is 10 on one side and 8 on the other. And it goes all the way down to the would have to be ripped all the way back, or fixed in the same way as the last error, except there would be more of it.

The second picture shows one needle with 17 stitches, meaning I missed two increases somewhere...increases are a lot harder to add after you get past them than any other type of fix. So while the first error could be fixed without ripping back, I don't think this one can....all the way back to the ribbing I would have to go, negating many hours of happy knitting...sob...

So you can see why I flung the whole shebang aside and said "Poot!!! Dagnabbit! %&$* knitting!!!!"

As a result, I've gotten a lot more scrapbooking done lately.

Yes, I know, I could simply accept the flaws as they are, figure a way of adding the missing stitches, ignoring the fact that the one ridge is not exactly in the center and forging ahead. But...then I'd have to remember to knit that one needle differently than the rest and it would spoil my rhythm...rats...

Maybe it's time to start something new....

Monday, April 24, 2006

Oh joy, oh bliss, oh crepes Suzette!

They are gone.

Not forever...just until 3 PM, but it is enough. I am breathing a large sigh of relief. I love my solitude, I crave it and having everyone here makes it hard to find. I know, I know, summer is coming with 2 1/2 months of them being here 24/7, but until then I am going to savor every moment.

And it's been too hard to blog with them here. It's like I can't talk about them with them in the room and they are always in the room!

Okay, some is the tree in front of our house. I always have to remember to notice these little green leaves, because it seems like in no time at all they turn into big dark green leaves...not as pretty.

We've had beautiful weather for our spring break, I will say. Most days were sunny and in the 70's. You can't ask for better than that! But, just in time for school to be back in session, we've gotten our more normal spring weather back...lots of rain with a few sunny days stuck in there now and again and lower temps...60's and 50's. I'm okay with that. I don't like jumping right from winter to summer...I like to enjoy some spring weather.

And in about ten minutes, I will be right out in it. Yes, I am going to start walking again. I actually have lost a little weight, I don't know why. I don't question weight loss, for fear it will reverse itself out of sheer cussedness: "What!!! She dares question why the Body shed some pounds...well, we'll just show HER!!" I only am thankful and hoping it will continue. I did have some weird sort of flu thing that did a number on my appetite. Or it could be the new supplement I've added to my morning line up. Ours is not to question why, ours is but to enjoy and enjoy. Life without a thyroid has taught me that weight is not for losing easily most of the time.

Now, here's that Jaywalker sock...amazing isn't it? I've gotten a ton done because this yarn and this pattern together are just so much stinkin' fun to knit! The pattern is not so difficult that you can't memorize it and do it without thinking too much and, with the few brain cells that motherhood has left me with, that is a boon. I worked on it at knitting class and a number of women asked for the URL so they could copy it themselves. I like this yarn with this pattern; the Harlot did some in a very contrasty yarn and for me that was too much...but this is doesn't bang you over the head with the zig zags.

And here is my birthday present...well, one of them! Two balls of sock yarn and Nancy Bush's latest tome, "Knitting Vintage Socks". I expect to have lots of fun with this. The red, white and blue knits up into red and white stripes with bands of blue with white spots...too cunning! Gosh knows when I'll get around to knitting them, but since my knitting speed seems to have improved dramatically, maybe sooner than I think?

And if you look closely, you will see the other ball is treated with Aloe Vera and Jojoba oil. I love how that's expressed in German: "Mit Aloe Vera und Jojoba Ol!" It just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? I think it's a gorgeous color...not my usual blues or purples, but a girl needs a change, doesn't she?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tell me they all will go back to school soon?

Okay...I'm sneaking this chance to update the blog...shhhhhhh....don't want to alert the natives that I'm actually writing about them since most of them are still in the room with me.

My kids have all been off since the 13th...they get Maundy Thursday off as well as Good Friday at their school. Dan has been off since Good Friday as usual. So far...I haven't gone insane yet, but it's only a matter of time.

Maybe it will be having to listen to Zoe on Roly Poly Ollie one too many times that will drive me over the edge. Or, that horrible bete noire of my existence, Caillou. I hate Caillou! I hate the whiny voice he uses...ugh. Zoe is not much better...hate the way she talks. Yuck. My kids all love these shows, but they are horrible, horrible....

Could be having to listen to Patty on CBC Kids (out of Canada) sing "You're my best friend and we like it that way." Sorry...she has a kind of thin voice that goes right through my head. Oh, they've got Nanaland on...I can't stand it!!!

Dan got up first this morning and turned on "Imus in the Morning" and promptly fell asleep in his chair. I had to turn it off when the kids got off because Imus gets a little raunchy. Now Dan went back to bed and the parade of annoying kids shows has been going on for a while now.

Now, not all kids' television is bad. I can tolerate Arthur pretty well...mostly because they put some jokes in that are meant for older people and so it can be very funny to watch! They had an episode once where Arthur's parents were watching a knitting marathon on was a real hoot!

And I'm very grateful that I weaned my children off of Nick Jr. We removed it from the channels viewed when you use the up or down channel arrow, so they have forgotten all about it. No more Blues Clues! Just think of it! The freedom from the horror of listening to that little blue pooch say, "bowowowowowow!"

I don't want you to think my kids do nothing but watch television all day. But during spring vacation, especially when you have a husband with a nasty cold who wants to do nothing but sleep, then a little television is a welcome way of keeping the natives from getting too restless.

Think I'll head downstairs to scrapbook after I take a shower...I can't hear the television down there.

In the meantime...knitting content:

I didn't mean to start something new...but somehow...rampant curiosity got the best of me and I started the Jaywalker socks using the latest sock stash acquisition. I have a knitting class tonight, so I think I'll work on it there.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

On Being the Mother of a Boy

If anyone had told me how different it was being the mother of a boy, I would probably not have believed them.

But it is very different. I really enjoy watching my son and his essential maleness developing. I can understand the girl things going on with my daughters, hey, I've been through it myself, but watching the Squatter growing up has been fascinating.

We were watching our new DVD of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe last night and I was thinking about this yet again. We saw it in the theatre and really loved it (especially me!) I read and read and read the Chronicles of Narnia when I was a child...I spent a lot of time wishing that Narnia were a real place and I could go there. So when I saw the movie, it brought back lots of happy memories for me. I actually cried at the end, it made me that happy.

Billy's reaction to the movie was definitely different than the girls. While Laurel watched it last night and tried to make a few snarky comments (teenoidism is creeping up!) and Emily watched raptly with wide eyes, what did the Squat do? He went and got his "sword" which happens to be the handle of a kids' golf club with the head knocked off. He swished it around and said, "The witch is mean...I'm going to kill her!" He put his sternest expression on and made light saber noises as he went through his moves.

I know that women can do most of the things men can do, but you can't tell me there aren't differences between boys and girls. Billy loves the adventure movies the best; the ones where the characters are active in overcoming evil, even when it isn't always certain just what evil is. He loves Star Wars, Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings (even though it freaks him out), and now the Chronicles of Narnia. When we were in the theatre watching it and he didn't have his sword, his was making moves in his seat like you see in men watching prize he wanted to jump up there, grab a sword and fight a few wolves himself.

But he's still a little boy. When the first wolf came on the screen earlier in the movie as we were watching it last night, he went in his room. Wolves are scary...he only stayed in a minute, then crept back in the hall and watched from there a few moments. Pretty soon he was back in the living room. He has a huge imagination and movies hit him harder than Emily, for instance. Laurel also has always been more easily frightened by movies...Emily seems to be much more pragmatic.

Yesterday was memorable for other reasons as well. Our tax returns landed in our checking account, allowing me to pay off the big credit card bill we had, pay the registration fee for the kids' school next year, and start planning on where the rest needs to go. Laurel is getting braces this summer, so part will go towards the deposit on those and will be refunded by the insurance, hopefully rather sooner than later. I'm hoping there will be enough left to do the kitchen floor, my bete noir. It is sheet vinyl and very worn...impossible to get it clean looking no matter what is done to it. So I'm going to make measurements and start pricing.

And I ordered my birthday present, an Epson Picture Mate. I'm hoping that being able to print my photos easily on the fly will get me to scrapbook more than I have been. I'm excited...can't wait for it to come!

And yes, I did some knitting while I was watching the movie last night. The mitered square baby blanket has a couple more squares added. Yawn! I'm really, really thinking I need to start a small project; something I can get done quickly and get the knitting juices flowing again...

Yeah, rationalizing, aren't I?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Alone again...naturally

Here I am, coming back from two days of two children home sick. It was a close call today, but I managed to get them all off for school. Phew!

Laurel stayed home Monday and Tuesday. She always felt really, really rotten in the morning and her condition always improved quite rapidly once she knew she was staying home. Of course, she did have a fever (tiny one...99.9) or she wouldn't have stayed home at all. But this morning she had no fever so off she went. She was not happy.

Emily, on the other hand, went to school on Monday. I had to go get her on Monday afternoon because she wasn't feeling well. And when she got home and I took her temp, it was 103.7, so she definitely wasn't feeling well. When Emily is sick, she gets very quiet and doesn't say anything at all. She doesn't even have the strength to be cute!!! Emily sick generates far more sympathy than Laurel sick. Laurel is noisy about being sick, she moans, she weeps. Funny thing is, I'm much the same way. Now that I see what it looks like, I'm trying to be more like Emily.

When the girls got up yesterday and were hovering around 100, we let them both stay home again. But neither one had a fever today so both went to school, Emily quite cheerfully and Laurel moaning and sulking.

Of course, having them home was not fair to me, considering next week they only have a 3 day week because of Easter and the following week is spring break. I'm luckier than most, since Dan's school vacations have been coinciding with the kids' vacations. So I can leave the house alone and not be arrested for child endangerment, since he is there to watch over them. So this week, I have 3 free days before the weekend and 3 free days before next weekend. I must use them well.

I have myself had some sort of something that has caused fatigue (besides the usual madness, that is!) I slept half the day away on Sunday and in the morning on my email and said to myself, "Is there any reason I shouldn't just go back to bed?" Couldn't think of one, so off I went.

All of this has not been good for the knitting bottom line or for any bottom line. There are a host of things I *should* do, but whatever it is I end up doing, I better be moving around because sitting still for too long and I will probably fall asleep. Knitting is definitely in that category; especially knitting because it tends to make me sleepy anyway!

So hopefully I will soon have something more interesting to report. My wrist continues to improve. I'm almost caught up with laundry! I know, fascinating stuff, isn't it? Hey! You didn't fall asleep...did you?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sock Yarn Anonymous

Welcome to the first meeting of Sock Yarn Anonymous.

The first step in the process of kicking the habit of sock yarn is to admit you have a problem. Anybody want to start? No one???

Very well, I'll start: My name is Janine and I have a problem. I can't stop buying sock yarn.

It was never a problem, at first. Yarn didn't come in all kinds of groovy self-striping colorways when I first started buying it. Oh, there were a few variagated varieties along with the usual solids. And socks took sooo long to knit that it seemed silly to buy a lot of sock yarn.

But then, oh then....

There was the Koigu, found at an LYS in another city. And then came the Regia. And the Lorna's Laces. Then came more and more sock yarn, each ball more delicious than the last. It was hard to choose just one or two balls when I wanted to buy it all!

But, Janine, you ask, surely you know that at the rate you knit socks, you could spend the rest of your life just knitting what you have now, much less buying more!?! Why do you do this? How many feet do you have?!?!?

What can I say...I simply CAN'T RESIST!!! So when I went to knitting class on Tuesday night, I succumbed yet again. I should have stayed away from the sock yarn section. I figured I was safe; I didn't think she'd gotten any new sock yarn in lately. But I was absent for one week and she snuck some in behind my back and left it there to ambush me!!!

Here it is...this ball is destined for the Jaywalker pattern on the MagKnits site. I'm afraid at this point I may be beyond a cure. Oh, and I bought a couple of magazines too. You know you have a problem when the LYSO says, "Do you want a bag?" and you say, "No...I'll just slip this into the bottom of my knitting bag so my husband won't see it...shhhhhh!"

Anyone else ready to admit they have a problem?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sucked into the black hole of motherhood

Again, I apologize for not posting in a while. Motherhood is a black hole of everyday joys and annoyances and sometimes the annoyances overwhelm the joys. Last week was like that. But things are looking up. I think.

Okay, progress on the knitting front. I've done a little bit, not a lot. Yesterday, I got to blow a whole morning going to the orthopedic surgeon, so I was able to knit quite a lot. I got three and a half squares of the mitered baby blanket done just waiting to get into the exam room, then waiting for the xray technician, then waiting for the doctor. Good news is that I don't have to wear the brace anymore except when doing heavier chores like laundry. I don't have to wear it to bed anymore, which is a big relief! (If I could actually sleep in a bed, it would be even better. Dan was snoring big time last night, so I spent the night on the couch.)

Anyway, I'll go back in a month for a final check up. Apparently the brace was irritating the tendon that passes over the thumb, causing rather than curing most of the tingling, numbness and pain I was experiencing at the base of my thumb. Already I have left the thing off since the doctor's yesterday and there is a big improvement.

As far the Squatter's electric yellow sweater (can't really call it a hoodie if he doesn't want a hood), I've gotten this far and I think I'm going to have to rip back. I need 1/2" more on the body to the underarm and this stripe is going to be in the wrong place. It will look incredibly stupid. So I am going to have to bite it and get it ripped back. Gag.

Yesterday, besides blowing the morning at the doctor's office (not helped by road construction on our highways, necessitating escaping from M-14 and taking back roads to get to the hospital area where his office is), I had a class to teach. Due to the fact that my husband has been playing his guitar in the basement every chance he could get, I didn't have but one project designed and had to spend the afternoon stamping, cutting cardstock and cleaning the stamping classroom. I had a bowl of cereal for dinner, eaten standing up. My children inhaled around 3 boxes of cereal (how do they eat it so fast????) and Dan ate leftover Taco Bake, then left the remaining 1/2 of it sitting on the stove for hours so that I had to throw it all out last night. Grrr...

The weekend was also busy, including a trip to Guitar Center where this was purchased for the squat. Yes, now I'm going to have it coming at me from two different directions. This is a junior Fender Stratocaster, sized for kids. It was meant to be a birthday present, but Mr. Bill had to get his behavior grade up in school before he could have it, so he worked very hard and we are very proud of him. We presented it in a small ceremony in his room. The yellow paper taped to the wall is his report card, so he can remember the hard work it took to get it.

The squat also got a small amplifier, which Dan assured me I would hardly be able to hear. Hmmm. When, on Sunday morning, the squat started playing this red beauty, my dear husband got out of bed. I asked him if the guitar playing had woken him up. He said, "Yes!" I said, "You mean you can hear that? I could hardly hear it!" He gave me a dirty look. Revenge is sweet.

So since the weekend was so busy and yesterday was simply impossible, this is what I'm facing: the detritus of the weekend plus Monday. A new crop of crumbs is ready to be harvested by the vacuum cleaner and ten million of my kids' possessions are waiting to be picked up and either tossed in their rooms, or disposed of secretly and gladly, as I consign to oblivion those toys I have been dying to toss in the trash because of their miscellaneous broken pieces or simple driving-the-mother mad qualities they possess. Life goes on. Eat chocolate.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Nothing is certain...

Well, sorry for disappearing into a black hole for a few days there. It is that time again and it took me about 4 days to complete:


I sometimes think nostagically of the days before I started my own business. I used to think gathering information for our taxes was a real drag. Now I know it is a real drag!

And it's my own darned fault. Because I vow every year that I will start collecting the information every month so that the following year I'll be ready without the superhuman effort I have to make each March to get all my income and expenses entered into the spreadsheets I designed for tracking them, plus figuring out the value of my non-consumables inventory. Last year I even bought some special software designed for stamping demonstrators to track their businesses, but did I use it? NOOOOO. Ah well. Some people make resolutions at the beginning of a new year. Mine are made the day I fax my tax information off to my dad. And like most resolutions, mine are doomed to failure.

My dad has been doing taxes for years and specializes in direct sales. If you are a Mary Kay lady it's even possible you've seen him at one of your meetings; he often travels to talk about taxes to Mary Kay consultants. So I know my stuff is in good hands. I haven't gotten my returns back yet, but I know I'll get a nice refund!

The other thing that occupied my time was making our traditional Irish dinner. I'm part Irish. In fact, I've always held that if you have some Irish blood in you, it ends up contaminating the rest of you until you are ALL Irish. So I do try each year to make corned beef and cabbage. Yes, I know they don't actually eat this in Ireland (they make something called Cottage Ham instead), but we Irish over on this side of the water DO. Plus soda bread, which is always great right out of the oven and really loses something after it gets cold.

This year St. Patrick's Day was complicated by the fact that it was on a Friday. So while we're not Catholic, my kids do go to a Catholic school and we attend the fish fry there during Lent. If we stayed home and ate corned beef we would a) have to deprive our school of the income from our dinners and b) I would miss a day where I don't have to cook, a very important determination! So instead we opted for our dinner on the Sunday after St. Pat's, or yesterday. Here is the result...sorry the photos are not as good as they looked right after I took them. I will say that I am a dab hand at making this dinner, especially since I started relying on my cooking instincts that have developed over the last 20 some years (yes, I started cooking as an infant!) instead of blindly following recipes.

You'll notice no knitting appears in this post; because I have done very little in the last week. I guess I am in a mini slump. None of my projects are appealing to me, but I refuse, yes, I REFUSE to start something new, even though that sock yarn continues to whisper my name. I'll just have to lump it and pick up that afghan or the squatter's sweater and force myself to continue. Quit laughing!

In the meantime, a Happy Belated St. Patricks Day! May you be in heaven for 20 minutes before the devil knows you're dead!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Maybe I should have chosen....

to give up buying yarn for Lent!

I gave up buying scrapbooking stuff instead. And I've done pretty well. This morning, after I finished getting some blood sucked out of my arm, I drove right by the scrapbook store I usually visit on such occasions (and with no thyroid, blood draws are a regular thing.) Granted, it was 8:50 a.m., but I'm pretty sure they opened at 9:00, so I wouldn't have had to wait long. But I had intestinal fortitude and I didn't stop. I didn't stop in to my usual scrapbooking haunt on Saturday after I copied the church bulletin either...dang, I'm good!

However, last night, I did order some new yarn. I couldn't help it: Linda, one of our knitting class members, brought in a shawl she had made from Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace and raved about how much fun it was to knit and I caved. Here's the shawl:

And here's the colorway I ordered:

The color (River) is a lot softer than it looks in the picture. It was hard to choose a colorway; they were all soooo pretty.

I just wanted something....frivolous. The last shawl I knit I gave away, after all, and I only have one UFO shawl and I don't know that I will finish it anytime soon. It's the Fibertrends Spiral Petal shawl, only begun because, well, yeah, everyone else in my knitting class was doing one and I picked white as the color of choice. What was I thinking? Who is going to wear this thing if I ever finish it? I guess I would put it away for one of my girls to wear with their wedding dress and that means I have a good long time to get it done!

Monday, March 13, 2006

I can't hear you...lalalalalalalalala!

Dear Socks That Rock Yarn,

I must ask you to cease your campaign to get me to start a new project.

I know you just arrived in the mail the other day and that you need some time to get used to your new home. It must have been hard to arrive and find out you weren't the only yarn in the house and that you had to share me. My oldest daughter expressed similar sentiments when her sister and brother arrived, but she knew what was about to happen even if she didn't fully grasp it. It must have come as a nasty surprise for you.

I know you are really yummy (geez I hate this word, but since I have had children I find myself using it all the time...must stop (make mental note: self, stop using the word "yummy")), I mean a really delicious looking yarn...I could almost eat you, especially since you have the word "watermelon" in one of your colorway names, but I know you would not taste good at all and would mess my digestion up. But I know what I really want to do, thanks to your waving yourself in front of my face daily and singing seductive songs, is to knit some socks out of you. Well, it isn't going to happen.

I am a person of integrity. I have other projects that must be finished first. I have a 7-year old boy that wants his sweater, a baby blanket for charity that must be finished, and two, count them, TWO ponchos that my daughters are both expecting me to finish in only one or two hours (that's what they think, anyway.) Not to mention the two lonely singleton socks who really have a prior claim on my attentions.

So cut it out! I'm not listening! Quit telling me how much more fun you would be to knit and how good you will feel on my feet. Just stop already!

Oh dear...

The Knitter

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Sock Intervention - A Modern Fairy Tale

First, to warn you...little if no knitting content follows. Read at your own risk:

Once upon a time there were two young girls named Laurel and Emily who lived in a room with a deep, dark secret. It was a room where socks disappeared without a trace, much like the Bermuda Triangle and boats and planes, but with socks instead. Oh, and on dry land too.

Their mother was extremely puzzled; she would buy her daughters new socks two or three times a year and the socks would disappear, often before they even got washed once! The more socks she bought, the more socks disappeared into the room.

This year, the sock eating room must have had a real feast. The grandmother had sent over her yearly sock money (aren't grandmothers wonderful?...they know that socks are the things that are most frequently replaced and they send money...just for socks!), the mother had purchased more socks, and the room had devoured the socks almost immediately as usual.

One day, the father complained to the mother about a horrible odor was emanating from the sock-eating room...turned out that there were so few socks to be worn that these two girls were wearing the same socks for days on end! The whole house smelled like dirty feet. Eeuuuuwwww!

It was time for a sock intervention! The mother stormed into the room and said, "You must discover where these socks are going! Take off all the socks you are wearing and put these on!" The mother had gallantly sacrificed two pair of her own socks to the sock eating room...just to get that smell out of the house! And what really scares her is that her socks now fit her daughter's feet...only a matter of time before clothing starts being borrowed! But I digress....

So the girls treated their feet with the deoderant spray their mother forced them to use, with many shrieks of "It's so cold! Eeek!" and put the clean socks on. They took all the dirty socks and put them in the laundry chute and then proceeded to pull out the bottom drawers of the bunk bed and lo and behold! There were socks under there! Socks that had not been seen in months and months!

The only explanation was that there were tiny sock fairies who liked to play tricks on these girls...those fairies stole the socks and hid them! Yep! That must be it! More socks must be lurking in even more hiding places...the saga of the sock search will continue!

So, the mother, as usual, had saved the day (and the socks) and the daughters learned that dirty socks and warm feet make for stinky smells!


I have gotten word that my Socks That Rock order finally has been shipped! Originally, the shop that I ordered it from ran out of the colors I ordered and the latest batch of yarn to be dyed had been rejected due to pilling, then Stitches West socked Blue Moon Fiber Arts with all kinds of business, but I am assured that the yarn is now on it's way.

Otherwise, I have put a lazy row or two on the Squat's sweater, but I've been doing a lot more stamping this week: with the new mini catalog out, it's time to work up some new samples, plus I have a workshop on Saturday with 14 people coming...I'll be working on that today! Here's some pics just to show that something is being done...just not knitting!

Monday, March 06, 2006

On good acrylic yarn

Glinda, the good witch of the North, comes floating down in her bubble and lands in front of a ball of acrylic yarn:

"Are you a good acrylic or a bad acrylic?" she asks. The acrylic yarn just sits there and says nothing. And Glinda, frustrated, floats off in her bubble.

Glinda should have known that it's impossible to know whether an acrylic yarn is good or bad without knitting it or at least consulting ME! :-D

I've knit with a bunch of acrylic yarn, 'cause I have kids. I love wool, don't get me wrong, but having children that are extremely hard on their clothing, I want to be able to throw their clothes in the washing machine without worrying about what comes out afterwards. I'm not much of a handwash person fact, I have sweaters that were given to my children that have wool in them that they have outgrown waiting for me to get around to washing them. So I really prefer to knit their stuff out of acrylic and save the wool for myself and others who are worthy.

I used to think that touching acrylic yarn would tell me a lot, but 'taint necessarily so. Red Heart and Paton's Canadiana feel awful, they really do. But they do soften up when you wash them and they wear very well. A lot of people choose these for their projects and I don't blame them.

But since I like a pleasant knitting experience, I usually avoid both of these and spring for Encore. Encore has a little wool content mixed into the acrylic and is soft to the hand, but is very durable and easy to care for. That's why I tend to collect the stuff...I love, love, love Encore. I have two full Rubbermaid totes full of it to prove it.

Yes, Lion Brand Woolease has a similar content, BUT...Woolease does not knit up to a true worsted weight gauge. It's just a tad bit thinner and it just doesn't come in all the groovy colors that Encore does.

So naturally, when it came to knitting the Squatter's hoody, I chose Encore. But I had to scrabble in my stash for the stripe colors. I had black in Encore, and the purple I scrounged up actually turned out to be Paton's Look at Me (a favorite for baby stuff)'s DK weight, but since I was only putting in two one row stripes, I decided that would be okay. But the grey for the majority of the stripe is Canadiana. I had it left from making the Fibertrends Baby Poncho that the squatter wore for a few years...I had bought it originally when the Berkley Knit Shop was closing down and so it was a bargain.

I never was so glad to get 7 rows of knitting done. After knitting with the Encore and the buttery soft Look At Me, the Canadiana felt like jute. Ick.

Now I have about an inch to go until I get to the underarm, at which point I will start the sleeves. I'm beginning to think I should have put the stripe up a little higher...I held it up to the Squat to see where it was hitting him and it seemed to be right BUT...maybe I should have gone for more length so he would grow out of it so fast. That would mean ripping back...and the thought of having to reknit that grey stripe makes my teeth hurt.

Otherwise, I'm pleased with the stripe. It works the purple the Squat requested in without looking girly in any way, an important thing for a very manly 7 year old boy. You can see the Wookies approve as well, can't you?

Despite the fact that the Squatter is so very manly, we had to cut him off on watching "The Fellowship of the Ring." This movie has freaked my child way out...far more than any other movie. He's watched all the Star Wars movies and the Harry Potter movies and never had a problem, but since seeing the Lord of the Rings series, he's taken to following us around and being frightened of being left alone. Despite that, he still clamors to watch the thing and Dan and I decided not to allow him to anymore. But we still had to deal with the fear.

So I dug out our ancient copy of "Where's God When I'm Scared?"; one of the first Veggietales movies and I made him watch it on far, I'm seeing some improvement in his fear level. But he's still pulling the covers over his head when he gets into bed. We've talked about it and I think he's getting better at being brave and leaning on God when he's frightened.

This isn't the first child to freak out at movies...Laurel is my most fearful child. She wouldn't even watch "The Little Mermaid" because the Sea Witch was just too, too scary. But Emily is a whole 'nother thing: we were cruising past channels yesterday and she got a glimpse of Pinhead from that really weird movie which even I would rather not watch. "Cool!" Emily said when she saw Pinhead...she likes scary books and scary movies. Guess there has to be one in every family!

Tomorrow night I have to go to a church meeting and Dan is going to be doing a special gig, so I have to bring the kids with me. Fortunately, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" will be coming out on DVD on Tuesday, so my kids have made a date with the church nursery attendant, who is also a HP fan, to meet at the church, set the television up in the office with a DVD player and watch the new DVD and eat popcorn. Which means I will be at Target on Tuesday, buying the DVD, microwave popcorn and suitable drinks.

I took the scarf to the kindergarten teacher on Friday, by the way. She loved it and when I told her $10 for making it, she insisted on giving me $15. I also got the extra skein of yarn and the crochet hook with it...not bad for a few hours of work.

Friday, March 03, 2006


I finished the Fuzz That Ate My Teacher scarf!

I decided to finish at the end of the skein, although she gave me two skeins. She had bought with crochet in mind and it always takes about twice as much yarn to get the same total fabric area, so I figured one skein would do it. This is a very easy and fast scarf to knit, I will say, and I would probably do more of them. It was fun designing it, as well. I've started a new blog for my patterns...the link is to the left.

I know there are knitters out there that sneer at the "scarf people" (or so I have heard them called.) These are the folks that got their knitting start making a novelty scarf and have not progressed beyond that point. They come into the yarn store and head for the novelty yarn immediately and that is all they ever do.

Well, why not? If you enjoy knitting scarves and you have no desire for more, far be it from me to say you MUST learn to knit a sweater or you HAVE TO learn how to knit socks! I've done all these things and enjoyed them, but they are not for everyone.

Sometimes, it's just nice to knit something that works up quick, looks beautiful when it's done, and doesn't challenge you in any way. It's soothing, it's gratifying and it is DONE. When I look at the box of complicated projects that have never been finished sitting in my stash, I really do appreciate a project just like this one.

I did take the small portion I had knitted to school on Tuesday afternoon, just to show the teacher what it looked like and as I walked up to her she said, "Oh...don't worry about getting the scarf done! Make sure your wrist gets better first!!!" Hmmm....either she doesn't think everything through that she says, or she plays a deep game. Frankly, after my experiences with her when the squat was in her class, I would suspect the latter. At any rate, I assured her that knitting is one of the few things I can do without killing my wrist and I would be happy to keep knitting. I showed her the pattern and the width and she loved it!

I'll be delivering it to her this afternoon. She is a short lady, so I think the length should be just right. My biggest concern is that the width is a little wider than I'd choose for a decorative scarf to be worn with a sweater, but she thought it was just fine. It's the sort of scarf she'll have to simply drape around her neck...flipping one end over her shoulder is not going to work with this width, but this lady really doesn't have a long neck either, so tieing a scarf around it wouldn't flatter her at all.

I've been thinking of what to charge her; on the one hand, I don't want to devalue the craft, but on the other I don't want to look like someone who is trying to put the screws on a teacher and deprive her of her small income. It probably took a couple hours of dedicated knitting, so I will charge her $10.

In the meantime, the yarn for Laurel's poncho has come in. I'm calling this project Poncho Got The Blues, because surely I will by the time I'm done. I love blue, it is in fact my favorite color (though not this particular shade), but I expect to be quite weary of this by the time it's done. I'm not starting it yet, mind...the squat's Electric Yellow sweater comes first and there is the Olympic baby blanket, which I worked on at knitting class on Tuesday night.

The yarn I bought the other day at the superbowl sale for a sweater for Emily is also going to be a poncho. That's what Emily wants and what Emily wants, Emily almost always gets one way or another. Instead of using the women's sized pattern, I'll have to get the child-sized one instead; it uses worsted weight while this one uses chunky.

I was very proud, though, that Emily chose her new colorblocks sweater to wear for her spring school pictures today. I don't usually buy these pictures, but might have to buy just one with Emily and her sweater. Laurel also put on her Tango sweater I made her a few years back for her's getting much too small for her, actually, but she won't give it up and pass it down to Emily.

The squatter is the only one not in a hand-made sweater today, but he does have a home hair cut to make up for it. I managed to cut it so he doesn't look so very much like Moe on the Three Stooges...I'll take him to Great Clips this weekend and get it cut better, but he honestly looked like some sort of elf or even an Orthodox Jewish boy with the long locks in front of his ears, so something had to be done!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Some people...

have got a lot of nerve.

My son's former kindergarten teacher is one of them. You may remember from a few posts back about how she gave me some yarn to make a her a scarf with, for which I will be paid an unspecified amount.

So yesterday, she asks my daughter how long it will take me to finish her scarf.

Let it be known that this woman KNOWS I fractured my wrist. So even though this woman knows NOTHING about knitting (or crocheting for that matter), you'd think she would at least get the idea that knitting has something to do with the hands, which are attached to the wrists, thank you very much. And that it might be hard for someone with a fractured wrist to even tie their shoes, much less knit. So why is she buggin' my daughter about the scarf? If it were me, I would think to myself, "Hmmm...she fractured her wrist, she's in pain....I won't bug her about the scarf right now."

Oh, well. I decided since the blanket no longer has a deadline, I can work on the scarf as well (gee, three projects at once...oh, why not?!)

So I cast on with this...this...this FUZZ and tried the stitch pattern I had thought about using: purl one row, then purl two together, YO on the next row using size 15 needles. This made for huge gaping holes...not exactly what I was looking for.

I switched instead to this instead: knit 5 rows, knit one row wrapping the yarn around the needle twice on each stitch. Then on the first of the next 5 rows, when you knit, you drop the extra wrap. So far I like it, as much as I can like this yarn...which isn't much. It's very grabby and isn't smooth knitting. But it does go fast, so the teacher should get her scarf faster. I'll show this to her this afternoon and make sure she likes it before I proceed.

Until then, I have to knock out the Ash Wednesday bulletin today and just bask in the finish of a good Sellabration period for my business. My wrist is feeling some better today; knitting is the one thing that doesn't hurt my hands after doing it a while, so I will be indulging in it as often as possible. Tonight is knitting class and I'm looking forward to that.

I'm also going to avoid the dreaded Paczki which are everywhere in the Metro Detroit are today. They are 750 calories each and after being weighed at the doctor's office the Friday after my attempt at wingless flight (proving once and for all that although my last name starts with TINK and the fact that I always have some glittery dust around on me somewhere, I still can't fly), which weighing in demonstrated to me that the sneaking suspicion that I had gained some weight recently was a stinkin' reality, after that I'm going to spend precious calorie burdens on things that are worth chocolate, for instance.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Your eyes do not deceive you

That's are looking at PROGRESS. Not much, but progress none the less.

I went to the orthopedic surgeon yesterday and guess what? He doesn't think my elbow is fractured. He thinks my wrist may be, he says it is definitely sprained, but the elbow he thinks is probably okay.

If this seems incredibly fuzzy to you, it is to me too.

However what this means is no more big honkin' splint from mid upper arm to fingertips! When the doctor peeled that sucker off my arm, I felt like kissing him. It lay there, with it's various components of stretchy bandages, fuzzy padding, and hard fiberglass, looking as loathsome as it had felt while I wore it.

If you want to torture me someday, just wrap my fingers together like that...they were squished and so uncomfortable I was pulling up on the bandages just so I could wiggle them. And when the stretch bandages started to unravel themselves, I finally decided to amend the splint where my hand was by tearing out some of the fuzzy packing and wrapping the bandaging a little looser. Even so, when the doctor took it off, my tortured fingers could not even bend down to the took a bit to get the flexibility back in them.

After a few more xrays, which apparently did not make anything crystal clear, the doctor decided to let me have the use of my elbow back so it would loosen up (still can't straighten it or bend it totally) and to have the hand therapy place make me a nice wrist brace, which you see here. It's a lot like the one I used to have when I had tendonitis. I got to pick which color straps and I picked purple, just to be outrageous.

I'll go back in three weeks to see how I'm healing up. In the meantime I have to wear the brace when I'm using my hand strenuously (I decided typing qualifies and so does stamping), and I have to keep it on while I sleep, but otherwise I can take it off.

I then asked the $50 million dollar question: can I knit? The doctor said, "Definitely! That's great exercise for your hand!" For the second time, he came very closely to being kissed...I think I love this man.

Knitting with the brace is pretty much impossible as it does not allow my wrist to rotate the right way, but knitting does not seem to place the strain on my wrist that other activities do and I can knit without causing myself any pain whatsoever! I'm taking it easy, mind you. I have no illusions about finishing the blanket by the closing ceremonies, but I can at least knock a few more units out of the way by Sunday night.

I'm back, baby!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

If I only had known

Isn't that a sad title? Are you crying yet?

Well, don't. This whole fiasco with my arm has now entered the realm of the ridiculous.

I waited all weekend for the results of my x-rays. Come Monday and two calls to the primary care doctor's office later and they finally call at 5:15 PM to tell me that my elbow is fractured.

Ya think? I mean, Dan only had to listen to me yelping trying to pull the covers up so many times, I only had to recruit my children to zip up my coat or robe or pick up a freakin' can of biscuits since I was unable to do it, even though carrying a full cup of coffee did not even hurt and you would have suspected that there was something busted in there somewhere, right?

So why didn't the PC doctor tell me to hie my butt to the ER, instead of assuring me that once I got the results of the x-rays, that I would be able to get into an orthopedic surgeon that day to have a splint put on? Because, let me tell ya, that ain't how it works.

Instead, I went through a huge run-around. The first OS office I called (the number the nurse at PC doctor's gave me) was naturally closed by the time I called. When I call today, they don't take my insurance. Ohhh-kay....

So I once again call the PC doctor (hope yo don't get too confused with the abbreviations, but I'm typing with only one hand) and get another name. I call. They take my insurance, but can't fit me in until Thursday. They give me ANOTHER name. I call them. Same story, except they don't have any openings until Friday.

So I at this point got upset. I was told that I needed to go in today and that any OS would see the urgency and get me in. I am supposed to be at least splinted and the prospect of going for two or three more days with this fracture doing gosh knows what to the nerves in my hand, a very vital part of my anatomy, not to mention enduring the pain of the odd unplanned movement causing me to make noises reminiscent of a hound with its ear shut in the door ala The Christmas Story movie did not, for some strange reason, appeal to me very strongly.

But it gets better. Despite the effort I made to calm down (hey, I even CLEANED to try to get the anger down), when I called back I blew my cool asking the triage nurse what I was supposed to do now? I didn't yell, btw, I cried. I know that triage nurses and receptionists are just trying to do their jobs. I don't blame them. At least not until after this next response.

So what did she do? Did she ask me if I was having more pain? Did she ask me if I noticed any coolness, numbness or tingling in my hand? (all of which I was experiencing, though not constantly.) No, she did none of these things. She gave me two more names.

At this point, I know this is useless. No one is going to see me today. But I call one of the offices anyway. I get the same response. I explain my plight. She says, "Did you go to the ER?" I say no and explain why. And she says the first sensible, workable thing I've heard all day: "You still should go in ANYWAY. Today."

So, dear reader, I did. I drove myself to Ypsilanti, since my doctor is out of there, and there are barely any clients there. They get me in and out in about 40 minutes. They splinted me and sent me on my way with a referral to an OS to get a cast and, as seems to be the norm, I will get in there on Thursday.

While I was in the triage, they asked me, "Why didn't you just come to the ER to begin with?"

Well, maybe because my previous experience with the ER involved HOURS of waiting around. I hate the ER. Usually I can knit to pass the time, but not this time. I also am married to someone who hates going to the ER even more than me. I thought it would be EASIER just to wait and see my PC doctor the next day. Hah! If only I had known. I asked the nice ER nurses if they could treat self-inflicted butt-kick wounds.

If only I had realized that our medical system has become so specialty driven that your PC doctor can't put a cast on your arm anymore and you have to have a specialist, I would have not even waited. If you don't go to the ER for any suspected break, you are left in limbo for days until someone tells you to go where you should have gone all along.

Now, why the PC doctor didn't just say on Friday, "GO TO THE ER! DO NOT PASS GO! DO NOT COLLECT $200!" I may never know. Oh well!

Despite the fact that the splint covers my fingers, knitting is not impossible...just different that's all!

So what color of cast should I get? Blue to match my eyes? Or a livid yellow to match the bonk on my head?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Michelle and Me...we be mates

Well, I'm out of the competition.

I fell last night and really did something awful to my left arm and hand. I don't think it's broken, but I won't know until Monday when my xray results are finally given to my primary care doctor.

It was totally was just peeing rain outside and I was bringing my stuff to the car after my workshop at church. Coming back inside I tripped over the concrete apron around the stair well and fell forward down the steps...there are around 8 or 10 of them I think. Luckily I didn't really roll down them...mostly I flew down and landed on my left arm and smacked my head on the cement.

Here's the pics...not too gory, so the squeamish should feel too bad looking at them. Amazingly enough, I was able to drive myself home and I have the use of all my fingers, as long as I don't try to grip anything too tightly. So my thought is that the worst would be a fracture and a cast.

BUT, while knitting is certainly possible (and I proved it while I was waiting for Dan to pick me up after X-Rays), there are two problems:

a) I don't have anything like my usual speed or stamina, so there is no way I can finish the blanket in time for the end of the Olympics.

b) My husband is going to ream me a new one if he catches me knitting at any time, or so he says. Given he is on mid-winter break, it will be hard to sneak any knitting in, though I will probably do a little. I have a feeling that the more I use my fingers, the better at this point...I have this vision of them stiffening up so much that I won't be able to use them for a long, long time. I can type, but not for long periods of time and I can knit...just not for long periods of time.

So those of you who are still in the running, I will be cheering you on from the sidelines for now!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Keep on keepin' on

Well, I'm keeping up with my olympic knitting schedule. Well, sort of. Kind of.

I only got 3 units done yesterday, but I caught them up this morning, so I am right on schedule. But I'm not sure I will get 6 done tonight. The problem with knitting at night is that knitting is a sleep-inducing agent for me. If I'm tired, knitting will enhance my fatigue and relax me to the point where I have to sleep. I have RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) that only comes out at these times and once my legs start to twitch, it's time to hit the hay or I'm shaking my legs to get rid of that feeling all night long.

But my darling one has been playing his guitar EVERY night lately, so that's when I am knitting since I can't stamp downstairs when he's playing...the volume is way too loud. He played last night until after 10 PM, when I finally gave up and went to bed. So only three units instead of six, but I'm caught up now and got lots of sleep for a change too. He told me today why he spent so much time down there last night: he changed a speaker in his amplifier and got the TONE!!! It was a VINTAGE TONE!!! TONE to the BONE! If you have a guitar player for a husband, you'll understand this; once you get that tone, the normal limits of human existence disappear and the world stretches forth before you, limitless and you, the guitar player, become all powerful. Ooooh-kay...I think I can understand that. It's kind of like when the UPS truck gets here with my new stamps...

So if I need to get stamping done, I have to do stamping during the day. I have a workshop tomorrow night (!!!) so I spent part of the day yesterday preparing the scrapbook page that I'm going to demonstrate. Cute, eh? This is for a memorial recipe book the hostess is making about her mom; she's been asking people who knew her mom to contribute a recipe and a memory to put in a 12 x 12 album. I thought that was a great idea and would be great for me to contribute to (her mom was the sexton at our church) and make into a stamping demonstration at the same time.

As far as other things, the chickens have come home to roost. Remember those people at the roller rink who wanted to commission me to do things for them. I figured they would forget; well they didn't! In fact, they remembered immediately and with a vengeance, so now I have these projects added to my list of must-do's:

The Stinky Afghan Project

I am calling this the stinky afghan because it's obviously been around a smoker. As such, I can't bear to work on it for very long. I have played with different ideas for the repair of this afghan, which is crocheted. I can either crochet an entire new block to replace the damaged one (which would minimize my exposure to the smell), or I can try to repair just the damage on the block. The yarn was fairly easy to match; it was obviously a bargain acrylic, most likely Red Heart, so that's what I bought along with this skein of Caron's. Figuring out the pattern is easy enough, so it shouldn't be a problem once I get down to it. It's just getting to it. The teacher who requested this (Emily's teacher) told me she wasn't in a hurry. That's good.

The Fuzz That Ate My Teacher Scarf

The kindergarten teacher at my kids' school sent two balls of this home. This is what she would like her scarf knitted out of and it should be easy enough. She says she would like it 6 inches wide. I'm leaning towards doing the same stitch I did for the scarf I made Mary: purl one row, then slip one pearl one on the next row. Very easy, open and lacy and quick.

My Valentine Gift

You wondered if Dan got me anything, well, yes he did. He doesn't know that he did, mind you. But he did. A visit to The Fold online and a quick fax and I will be the happy recipient of these once the people at The Fold ship them out:

That's right, two skeins of Socks that Rock (Watermelon-Tourmaline and Farmhouse) and a pattern that should keep me happily knitting socks for a while, anyway. Yep, my guy...he sure knows what I like, even when he doesn't know that he knows!