Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Power, the Power, bwahahahahah!

First let me tell you that absolutely no knitting was done yesterday, which is probably just as well. My hand has improved immensely and only hurts a little bit. The brace has definitely helped along with the knitting rest.

I know this is my own damn fault. I've always suffered from an excess of enthusiasm for crafts. Just visiting a yarn store or craft store has always had fairly embarrassing effects on my physical state of being which I refuse to discuss here. So, naturally I must throw myself into knitting with reckless abandon, with the result that I injured myself doing it. So stupid, really. I may already be sidelined from the Knitting Olympics if I can't get over this!

At this point, though, I'm contemplating trying to improve my gauge when knitting continental. I'm a loose knitter knitting English style, so that I usually have to go down a needle size to achieve correct gauge, but knitting continental...then I need to go down two to three needle sizes because I'm ultra loose! But if I knit continental I won't be using that forefinger/thumb pincer position that is probably the cause of my particular repetitive motion injury. I just can't stand purling continental because I've never gotten the hang of it. Maybe it's time to get out a skein of junky yarn and just start practicing....sigh.

In the meantime, I will knit with the brace on, as horrible as that is. Are you feeling sorry for me yet? If not, you have a heart of stone. Don't laugh! I can hear you laughing!

But on to the topic which heads this post....THE POWER!!!

Today my kids' school had Crazy Hat day (plus mismatched shoes.) I have the perfect hat for them to wear for this. Look at it! It's the Debbie Bliss Christmas Tree hat from Heads, Hands & Toes! Isn't it perfect? I spent $35 just for the BUTTONS for this hat! I knit it when Laurel was 4 years old (making this hat 7 years old.) Back then, I think she wore it ONCE. I paid $35 just for the buttons for a hat she only wore ONCE. I'll pause to let that sink in...

So you think that SOMEONE would love to wear this hat for Crazy Hat day, right? It is crazy, right? So why would no one volunteer to wear it today, not even the Squatter? It did not make any sense to me, so you know what? I put it on and wore it myself!

"Erm...Mother!" Laurel said. (You know you are in trouble when your tweenage daughter calls you "Mother"!) "You're not going to get out of the car, are you?"

Oh, the POWER!! I have finally reached that stage that all parents hope and dream for, the power to EMBARRASS their children!

My children have been embarrassing me in public regularly for years, so now it's PAYBACK TIME!!!

"Not only might I get out of the car," I said, "I might just go into the school and show everyone my hat!"

"Noooooooooo!!!!" All three children exploded into cries of horror at the thought of their mother walking into school with a Christmas tree hat on her head. It was a sweet moment and I savored it.

"People will laugh at you!" the Squatter exclaimed. I explained that once you get to be my age, what people think of you simply ceases to matter as much and you don't mind being laughed at. At age 7, he's just beginning to get the idea that being laughed at isn't always the great thing it is when you are 5.

Somehow, the fact that I would not be embarrassed at all by people laughing at the spectacle of a 44 year old woman wearing a Christmas tree hat did not improve the prospect of the same for my kids. So I relented and simply dropped them off at school. No one could see my hat in the car...sigh.

I thought about showing the people at Starbucks my hat as I stopped for my Caramel Macchiato, but I decided they just wouldn't get it. But you do, don't you?

Do you think I should wear it when I pick them up? I have to get out of the car to do that! Or should the threat of embarrassment be enough without the deed itself? Bwahahahahah!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Where's ET when you need him?

I have a picture of my puffy looking hand with its evil brace on it, but I didn't want to horrify anyone so early in the morning...assuming that's when you are reading this, but I assure you it is almost as horrifying looking at other times of the day too. I need that little alien with his glowing finger to touch my hand and make it better. Ouuuuccchhhh!

I saw the chiropractor on Friday for my sore hand and whatever she did has made it feel worse, to the point that I went out and bought a wrist brace yesterday. I'm wearing it off and on during the day and definitely at night and it is helping....slowly. It's actually feeling pretty good this morning with the brace off (typing is very hard with it on, but I assure you I am very good about keeping my arm positioned correctly to avoid more injury!) I'm debating about going back to the chiropractor this week; the one I saw is not my usual guy, so I'm hopeful that he would do a better job. If he can't make the cut, I'll knuckle under and PAY my old chiropractor, whom my insurance will not reimburse since he's out of network, to fix my wrists. He was a dab hand at doing it before, so if it costs me $40 to get his healing touch, I'll pay for it.

The chiropractor told me not to knit for 24 hours, and I almost made it. I have tried to rest it quite a bit, but yesterday was our church's annual meeting. To my horror, not only was I put back on the vestry, but it looks like I'm going to get stuck being senior warden, something I definitely did not want to do. If you're the praying sort, pray for me!

However, one good thing about annual meetings is that they are perfect knitting opportunities. So here I am, in utter astonishment, contemplating the end of the second Ann Norling sock. The completed one is beside itself with excitement, as you can see! I think we're going to make it and a second sock will be done. The curse of the second sock WILL be broken!

You can see that in spite of my trying to start the second sock in the same place in the striping sequence, I didn't quite make it. It's close, but no cigar.

I'd love to sit and knit this morning and gaze in triumph at my finished sock, but I have a stamping class tonight. Four cards and only one of them designed! I'm going to have to spend the day stamping. Actually...I'd really love to just go back to bed. For some reason, I'm dog tired today. I stopped at Cholesterol Heaven (aka McDonald's) and got myself a hot breakfast to try to get myself going this morning and it is not working! I was good and went to bed at 11 PM after frosting 24 cupcakes for the squatter's classroom birthday celebration. We went out to dinner Friday night and had a big cake at church on Sunday. Next week my in-laws will come to celebrate on Superbowl Sunday.

This presents problems...the LYS's Superbowl sale is on that Sunday! I must go to buy Laurel's poncho yarn, so I will probably have to take my MIL along. I hate it when worlds collide.

In the meantime, I will show you a picture of the squat opening presents yesterday. I am not one to post pictures of my kids on the internet willy nilly, but this picture doesn't show a very recognizable view of his face, so I think it will be safe. Notice in the lower right corner, Emily is wearing her new sweater and it tried to sneak some of the limelight.

Even though his face is contorted with the joyful "Wow!" he is shouting over his Hot Wheels G-Force, I think you can see how very cute (ooops...handsome!) and irresistable he can be. Dang, but I love that kid!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Boys aren't cute

Ouch. I guess I overdid the knitting.

My hand is hurting today. I've had tendonitis, so I know what that's about, but this isn't it. This is probably plain and simple arthritis. The Squatter said when I told him I was 44 years old, "I don't want you to die!!! Are you going to live until you are 100?" Yep, that's the plan, but some days it doesn't feel like it! However, my imminent and impending death (obviously I'm so old it's inevitable) fills my small boy with terror, so we must forge on to 100 and beyond.

The squatter is now practicing to be a television spokesperson. He'll come up with a couple of dominos in his hand and say, "Do you have pain? Do you have trouble with getting up in the morning? Here is One-a-Day Cholesterol and it will help you." The medications vary. Some days is Avadar (prostate drug heavily advertised right now), but it almost always has the word "One-a-Day" or "Cholesterol" in the name of the drug. And he says it in this deep, round announcer voice. Cracks me up, but I try not to laugh.

It's hard to believe he's going to be seven years old this weekend. Scary. He told me yesterday that I couldn't say he was cute anymore.

I said, "Boys can be cute."

"No, they can't!" Said in an emphatic deep voice full of outrage.

"So what can I call you now if I can't say you're cute?"

"A BOY!"

"Can I say you're a handsome boy?"


Apparently, only girls can be cute. I keep telling him that his grandpa (my dad) has cornered the market on cute and that his motto is "ABC" or "Always Be Cute." But Billy will have none of it. Cute is out. Cute is for girls. Boys aren't cute.


Well, here is what I have been working on. I know, I know, it's not the Squatter's sweater, but the hand does not want me to knit at all and I've been trying to fool it with this. It had gotten to the point where I had to divide for the heel. Not something that can be done while reading email and since this is my email reading project, I needed to get it to the next level. The heel flap is done and I have to start turning the heel. Once I get past the heel, it can once again be mindless knitting for list or email reading.

The Yarn Harlot (my model of blog writing) often photographs her knitting with her cat to make it look interesting. I don't have a cat anymore (and Dan's allergies now preclude any fur people in the house), so I have to resort to using my kids' stuffed animals instead. There are some advantages to this. Stuffed animals are always willing to pose, staying still for hours at a time. They never mess with my knitting. And I don't have to clean up their poop. I like this. But they don't purr. I miss the purring. But not the hairballs. Or the hair. Or the poop. Or the suddenly startled cat leaping off my lap, leaving claw marks in my tender flesh as he goes. But the purring...definitely miss that.

I always think a sock looks a bit funny at this point, like the heel flap and the surrounding edges are a big open mouth. I guess that's why I posed it with these two fluffy critters. Watch out, fluffy critters! This sock is HUNGRY and it has a BAD ATTITUDE.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Calloo! Callay! O Frabjous Day!

It's done!

I put the last mattress stitch in last night around 12:30 PM. I got quite a bit done at my knitting class, but I still had to finish the bottom edging and sewing up the final seam.

You are lucky to see it...Emily did not want to take it off after she tried it on this morning. I had the school on my side, though. They wear uniforms and peach/pink/lime green/violet sweaters are not on the list of approved uniform components.)

You are also lucky to see it because Dan stayed home sick today. I had to wait until the afternoon before I could even open the curtains to get enough light for a picture. Dan likes it dark and private in here when he's sick. He's in bed right now, so I finally managed to take this!

On to the next project...the electric yellow hoodie for Mr. Squats.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tagged? What's that?

Okay, I've been tagged by Gretchen over at Cats-n-Lace (I dunno, Gretchen, sounds like a dangerous combination, but I digress....) I will say I am not the person to send these things to in emails...I don't believe that I will have the worst luck in the world if I don't send the prayer of St. Teresa on to 10 other people and I don't fall for the idea of something wonderful happening 45 minutes after I send whatever else is in the email on to 8 of my friends. But Gretchen's tag contained no such threats, so I will indulge her...just this once!

Four jobs in my life [best to worst]:

1.) Stampin' Up! demonstrator - I've been doing this for three years and it's been a blast.
2.) Programmer at an automotive supplier...I worked my way into that one, having started as a parts controller and knowing nothing about programming. The least boring job I had, but it was frustrating dealing with the users of my programs since they always changed their minds about what was needed AFTER they got the actual program! I enjoyed writing programs though...it was like solving a puzzle. I was there for 7 years, so it also qualifies as my longest held job.
3.) Church secretary since 2002 - still doing this, but for no pay now.
4.) Absolute worst job? er....I've done a lot of different things, but it must be the one day I spent as a waitress at a tiny cafe. The woman who ran it expected me to automatically know where everything was and just to step in and do it. Never went back after the first day (and never got paid either.)

Four Movies you could watch over and over:

1.) When Harry Met Sally
2.) The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - saw it over Christmas break and want to see it again and again
3.) Groundhog Day
4.) Moonstruck

I like Harry Potter and Star Wars too, but with three kids who are crazy about both, believe me, I've watched them over and over!

Four Places you have lived:

1.) Kalamazoo, Michigan - born there, went to Western, still visit often.
2.) Bloomington, Illinois - Dan's first teaching job, we lived there from January 1986 to mid-1987.
3.) Canton, Michigan - where we lived when we first moved to the metro Detroit area in an apartment.
4.) Our current house in another suburb outside of Detroit (not going to be specific, sorry!) We bought it in 1990 and have lived here ever since.

Four Places you have been on vacation:
1.) Upper Michigan - where we have been most often on vacation, including Sault Ste. Marie, St. Ignace, Petoskey (our honeymoon) and Traverse City. All from 1983 up until last year.
2.) Chicago - ultimate destination on our very last B & B crawl before we had kids...started out in Michigan, went down through Union Pier and ended up in Naperville. That was in 1992 or 1993.
3.) San Diego - our last trip w/o children in 1994. Loved it!
4.) Orlando & Salt Lake City - both places I was not on vacation, per se, but was at the Stampin' Up! Convention the last couple of years.

Four websites you visit daily:

1.) Stampin' Up!'s demo website to check my outstanding orders and see if I made it on Stamper's Showcase (hey, it happened once, LOL!)
2.) Splitcoaststampers - great website for stampers
3.) Yarn Harlot's blog
4.) Knitty Cafe - this is a new one for me.

Four of my favorite foods:

1.) Chocolate - brownies being the ultimate expression of same.
2.) Watermelon
3.) Strawberries
4.) Filet Mignon

Four places you'd rather be right now:

1) Back in bed ;-) Yawn!
2) Someplace warm and temperate, like San Diego would be cool!
3) Some days I'd love to be about 8 years old, back in my room at home with no kids, no husband and no responsibilities!
4) Otherwise, I'm pretty content being home with all my kids and husband at school today and having the whole house to myself!

Four Bloggers I am tagging: I don't KNOW four bloggers to tag, so it ends right here!

Now...as to knitting:


The sleeves are done!

I'm doing the neck ribbing!

All wrong...I was supposed to only seam one shoulder then work the ribbing as a flat piece, but I got carried away and did both shoulder seams (I love, just love, grafting shoulders...I love watching the two pieces come together and look like one piece!) So I'm working the ribbing in the round instead. The needles is just a leeeetle too big, so I have a lot of scrunching and skootching to get the stitches to stretch around it, but it is coming along. I hope to have it done today!

And I want to tell you that the brownie I ate (with the Diet Coke I drank to cancel out the brownie calories) actually did contain housekeeping motivation! In fact, I could not sit down for more than 15 minutes after I ate the brownie yesterday without feeling restless...hmmm...not sure I want THAT much motivation. I did get the basic cleaning done and I thwarted the Dust Menace from Above (read that as "I cleaned the ceiling fan in the dining room") which had been a threat ever since we turned the fans off because it got cold and we could actually SEE the dust. Some of that stuff looked like it could eat a small child or a dog, so it makes me rest easier knowing that we are all safe in our beds without worrying about the Dust Menace eating us....there's still our bedroom ceiling fan, though!

Monday, January 23, 2006

It's 10 AM Monday Morning; Do You Know Where Your Motivation Is?

More importantly, do you know where mine is?

I was motivated yesterday thinking of all the cleaning I would get done today. First, I must have been sick. Cleaning? Moi?

But Monday is the day I usually take a stab at a more involved cleaning project. "Get the worst out of the way first" is usually my motto.

So I've been trying to find that motivation I had yesterday. Where is it? I looked here:

This is the second half of my second cup, liberally spiked with International Delights Chocolate Cream coffee creamer...which shouts at me from the label that it has 0 grams trans fat! Isn't that exciting? It whispers on the back of the label that while there may be no trans fat in this stuff, it definitely has FAT. I have FAT already, a plentiful supply...I'm looking for motivation. Disregard the coffee grounds visible behind the coffee cup...remember, I lack motivation for cleaning!

I don't know...I've looked everywhere...I dimly suspect that there might be some motivation in one of these:

But how do I know which one of these has my missing motivation unless I eat them all? But if I eat them all, I will definitely feel ill...I can't chow down the brownies like I used to! Maybe just one...the sun isn't quite over the yard arm yet, but that really only applies to alchohol, right?


I am motivated to knit the rest of these sleeves. One stinkin' inch until I can shape the top and be done with these sleeves! Only one! I think there may be plenty of motivation for that...what do you think?

Only problem is that I knit so much yesterday evening that my left hand hurts. I need to find those Hand-eze gloves...but I can't remember where they are. I used to have two pair...off to hunt!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Let the Games Begin!

The decision is made and the die is cast. This is what I am going to do for the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics. I decided that a) it had to be something I had never made before, b) it had to be knit from the stash only, c) it would have to be something that I actually might finish, and d) it would be something for charity. So I chose this project after taking a romp through the stash (more on that later). I had the pattern and I had the yarn. The design will hold my interest long enough (which is why I have avoided baby blankets up until now because they look sooooo boring!) And we do a baby shower for a local crisis pregnancy center at my church every spring and I will be able to donate this. Whaddya think? Did I choose well?

Stash Romp

You probably will laugh at me when you realize just how anal particular I am about my stash. Did I mention yet that I have 15 Roughtotes of yarn in my basement? A veritable wall of yarn? Well, I do.

I went down there this morning to check my Encore boxes (yep, I have two boxes devoted just to my favorite yarn) for a yarn request on the knitlist. I have a (ahem) rather large collection of Encore due to the fact that I have rarely seen a color or color combination of this yarn that I didn't like! I often adopt the odd skein that ends up in the sale bin at Old Village Yarns, 'cause I hate to think of them getting lonely in there. I put them in boxes with other skeins from the same company so they'll feel right at home.

I didn't end up having the desired color (why not? Heathered blue/green? Sounds like something I would have bought...hmmm...), but I discovered that one of my boxes that I thought was devoted to Encore actually had [gasp] Woolease in it! I couldn't have that, could I?

So I got the generic worsted weight acrylic box out, plus my other Encore box and sorted it all out. I made one of the boxes of Encore for groups of 3 or more skeins of the same color, and the other one was 1 or 2 skeins plus odd balls. I found that I had a lot more Woolease than I had ever remembered buying. I also went into that closet in the laundry room where I had remembered putting some Woolease for some reason and found about 6 skeins in there. One had fallen on the floor and rolled into the space under the stairs where it had collected quite a lot of fluff and debris. It was hard to tell just what belonged and what didn't, since it was black with color neps in it, so I vacuumed the yarn with the vacuum we keep in the laundry room! Worked like a charm!

I had fantasies while vacuuming...maybe there was a way of inventing a vacuum-style gadget that would suck the end of the yarn out of center-pull balls! I could invent this gizmo and make millions! Millions!

However, Cold Reality (a invisible person who has a nasty habit of hanging around my house) intruded with a vision of this gadget totally crammed and jammed with yarn and thousands of irate knitters and crocheters beating me to death with jammed gadgets, so I got rid of the idea immediately.

After I was done romping through the yarn, I put everything back, making sure that the same color lids went on the same color boxes. It makes me uneasy when I put a blue lid on a purple box. Can't do it!


I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm at the top of the heart patch on the project from hell colorblocks sweater's sleeves and soon I will be back to only one skein per sleeve and it will be cake from then on, cake I tell ya! After the sleeves are done, it's on to the neck ribbing, then sewing up and doing the bottom edging. It will be done, done, done. I can't wait! And I can tell ya, it will be a cold day in h-e-double-toothpicks before I ever knit another one like this!

However, I did have to cheat just a little bit. I found that I forgot to do a couple of the increases while experiencing the thrill of knitting the heart into the patch. So, I went ahead and hooked up one of the increases with a crochet hook and fudged the other ones so that they were there...they just weren't exactly in the place they should have been. But this is going to be on the underside of the sleeve and no one will see it anyway. I just could not, could NOT face frogging back to where the increases needed to go. Doing it this way creates a couple of columns of tiny tight stitches, but only I (and you folks!) will know they are there and you aren't going to tell, are you?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Back to Snow

Well, we had a good two weeks without having to look at any white stuff, but this morning this is what we woke to. Pretty isn't it? Enjoy it, 'cause it's bound to melt tomorrow; it's supposed to get up to the low 40's tomorrow.

This has been an unusual January. It was like we had January in December and now we're having our usual December in January. Not that I mind! I'd rather have more of the dreaded white stuff by Christmas and then it can all go away. Usually we have at least one big snow storm in January, which is the month where we will get a snow day if we get one at all. This winter we had a snow day in December, the first I can ever remember since we moved here.

Yesterday it was warmer and it rained all day. That was actually much more depressing than snow; it's wetter, for one thing, and it just went on and on. There was maybe an hour or so break in the afternoon, then it started right back up again. I ended up taking a nap in the morning because it just made me so tired and achy. Bleh.

Saved by Common Sense

I've decided to participate in the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics. To do this, I need a challenging project. My first thought was for the Great American Aran Afghan. After all, I have all the yarn for this (bought at a Super Bowl sale at Old Village Yarns in Plymouth) and I have the pattern. It certainly would be a challenge! I was starting to get excited and then I noticed that this pattern has 20 squares. The Knitting Olympics will last 16 days. I did the math. I realized I was nuts to think I could knit more than one square a day, given the complexity of the patterns in each square. Poot!

So now I am trying to think of just what I should do. Socks are out, I've done socks. I've made baby sweaters, kid sweaters, adult sweaters, vests, mittens, a shawl, scarves, hats galore, purses, and dishcloths. I've never made an afghan, a pillow, or a tea cozy (though I don't have a tea pot, so that seems like a dumb idea.) Hmmm...must fink! Any and all suggestions are appreciated.


I went to knitting last night and got some work done on the project from hell colorblocks sweater, which is just as well, since I got so little done during the day due to my nap and Dan taking me out to lunch and hardware store hopping. As you can see in the background, I did buy something last night. I really like this book by Sally Melville, which is the third in her series. I didn't buy the first two, but I liked this one. I also picked up a pair of short straight 2's for Emily. She had sat on her knitting bag and broke one of the cheapo Target needles she had gotten for Christmas from her grandma. So I bought some nice Inox needles for her. I'm such a NICE mom!

In addition, since the project from hell colorblocks sweater has been demoted from computer knitting (too headache-making with all the skein juggling), the purple Ann Norling Sock has been enjoying its new role as computer and car knitting project and I am getting closer to dividing for the heel. Could it be that the curse of the second sock will be broken?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Yarn for Brains

I'd like to know where my brains went. Seems like I used to have some, but something happened. Evil yarn companies destroyed my brain cells! I think motherhood is to blame. After all, I took one online IQ test just out of curiosity when Emily was a baby and got a nice score. I took another one recently and it was LOWER. Hmmm... you'd think since I am not nursing any babies, which is notorious for making you kind of dozey and thick-headed (not to insult anyone who is nursing a baby now, but it is a temporary effect, or so I have been told) that my IQ would have gone up, now wouldn't you?

I think it's the battery effect, which works on a mother's energy levels as well. The more energy your children have, the less you have since you are their battery and they are suckin' you dry every minute. Maybe it works the same for brain power? I do have very bright kids...

To illustrate my lack of brain cells, I spent 30 minutes looking for my keys this morning!!! Luckily, Dan was still home when it was time to take the kids to school...his district has MLK day off, but the teachers had to go to a program on poverty at 9 AM, so he didn't have to leave until 8:30 AM. I ended up taking his keys so I could get the kids to school on time. Wasn't any help that I was taking my neighbor's kids as well as my own and they were witnessing my frantic key search as well.

I last had the keys (I thought) yesterday when I got back from the grocery store on Sunday. So when I got back from dropping the kids off, I looked in my car on the floor, I looked on the floor of the garage, I looked on the ground between the garage and the back door, I looked in every place I ever put my keys and even some places I don't (like the refrigerators!) I looked in every knitting bag and turned the couch cushions out and the reclining chair I sit in to knit over to look underneath. I looked in my laundry basket, on my dresser, in my other coat, in the pants I was wearing yesterday. No keys.

I had just removed the key to my car from my husband's keychain, figuring I'd find the extra house key and at least have a basic set of keys when Dan came out of the bedroom ready to go. He said, "Did you check the kids rooms?" I'm like, "What would they be doing in there?" I walk in the Squatter's room and wouldn't you know, there they were on the bed! I had had them in my hand when I went in there to get something of his this morning and I had put them down and left them there. Doh!

Can't be a coincidence that I had touched YARN before I did this, could it? It's the yarn companies...it's a plot! I think I need some of that memory herb...now what is the name of it again? Can't remember!

OKT (Obligatory Knit Content)

I've made progress on the project from hell colorblocks sweater. I'm about halfway up the sleeves. My brilliant idea of knitting both the sleeves at once seemed a great idea until I got to the point where I knit the lavender colored patch on the sleeves. Now I have to have three different yarn ends attached to each sleeve. I have three skeins of orange yarn, so I have to knit from both ends of one ball. 5 skeins of yarn dangling from the needles tend to get tangled...grrr...I can't wait until this is DONE!

I've determined that Laurel will be next in line after the electric yellow sweater for the Squatter. I think I've persuaded her that she wants a poncho. Poncho's are in now, poncho's are cool (and mom doesn't have to seam anything on a poncho!!!) Unfortunately, the one she likes is the one from the new magazine "Knit Simple" and it is a bulky weight yarn with an eyelash yarn called "Baby Monkey" on it for trim. She's trying to decide on the color right now...she likes either turquoise or lime green (not the wool called for, but Plymouth Encore instead...Laurel is not wool-compatible!) So if I get those clip-on sunglasses for the squat's sweater, I should keep them around for this poncho.

Somewhere in there, I have to sneak in some dishcloths...mine are all falling to pieces!

Other Stuff

I spent the weekend feeling vaguely melancholy and a bit fatigued, all chalked up to PMS. Saturday night I was SUPPOSED to have people over to stamp, but they all backed out (you know who you are!!!) So instead I hauled my spinning wheel up to the living room to indulge myself. Dan had a gig, so I could watch whatever I wanted ALL THE WAY THROUGH!!!

I'll pause to let that sink in a little bit. Amazing, isn't it?

Naturally, since I got the TV to myself, there was nothing on television, so I popped Ground Hog Day into my DVD/VCR combo and mostly listened to it since it's hard to look at the screen while spinning. Spent much time putting that dang new plastic belt back on...it must have doffed itself at least three times before I figured out I had to oil it again...either the plastic is sucking up the oil, or the wheel itself, being wood and naturally thirsty at this dry time of year, is drinking the oil off the belt. Managed to spin a bit more before I got too cranky. I had knit my hands into a spasm or I would have knit and watched television instead.

I spent the day Friday at my friend Eve's house. She has been making clipboards and wanted me to make one with her. I had the best time! Sometimes, when you are making things from your own supplies, you hang back on using something because you want to save it for another project. But when you are using someone else's supplies, especially if that someone is as nice and generous as Eve is, you feel very free to put whatever you want on your project. And if you aren't restricting yourself to your own companies' products, you feel very free indeed. This is my clipboard so far...isn't it cool? You hang these on the wall and put pictures on them. Obviously, I will have to put a picture of one of my kids with a friend on this...just haven't figured out which pictures will be best and whether it's finished or not!

Today, I don't know what I'm going to do. The bathroom is STILL dirty so I guess that could be my project for the day! And since the thundering herd went through here this weekend, I should spend some quality time with my vacuum cleaner and broom. But first...detangling my skeins...that should take TOO long...right?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Yarn Victim

I am a victim of yarn.

I decided that since this is the victim culture, I should just jump on the bandwagon and announce my victimhood. It is yarn. It is out to get me.

Yarn has been pursuing me all my life. Like many other victims, I was introduced to this habit by an enabler who is usually a victim herself. We can save a lot of time by just calling my enabler MOM.

Yes, my mom got me hooked on yarn. She's a knitter herself and sometime crocheter (but only popcorn stitch rugs) and she believed in getting us hooked early. Mom gave me a kit for Christmas one year that had a skein of ponytail weight yarn with some wooden needles, plus a picture of a chicken to be done in cross stitch. I remember it well...the yarn was bright pink and I knitted a garter stitch doll blanket. I loved it. I did the chicken picture as well, but it didn't have the staying power or the impact that making that doll blanket did.

I continued to play with yarn as I grew older. Mostly, this was through the medium of crochet, though I also pecked at knitting every now and then. Most of those projects were baby clothes for siblings that couldn't seem to stop popping out progeny. I made yarn daisies with a gizmo my grandmother had in her own craft stash. I had a huge (at least it seemed so at the time) crochet ripple afghan that I dragged about in junior high...beautiful (yes I'm being sarcastic) sayelle yarn from Zayre's in the stunning color combination of turquoise, royal blue, harvest gold, and black. I never did finish it, I think my sister ended up finishing it and keeping it. She was welcome to it!
The knitting projects were far less successful, I will say. A pair of white worsted acrylic garter stitch gloves knit flat and then seamed together(!!!). Little pouches. And a sweater that suffered from twisted purl disease from which it never recovered. Things started and never finished.

Although in college, I managed to focus on counted cross-stitch as my main obsession, yarn never fully let me go. I took a fiber arts class in college and was introduced to weaving. I loved weaving and bought myself a rigid heddle loom that I produced even more botched projects on than I had managed to knit. I also tried knitting again. A pair of mittens so large they fell of my hands when I walked. A sweater for my DH that he would never have worn if I had finished it...and I didn't finish it. After all of this discouragement, I let the loom and needles sit idle for about 5 years. I thought I had managed to kick the yarn habit for good. But nemesis with fuzzy waving tendrils was lying in wait...

Then we bought our house in 1990 and after moving the loom to this house, I thought it might be a good idea to do a project that someone had commissioned from me; they'd bought the yarn for a runner and I had never made it. I figured I could make the runner and then I could sell the loom. Well....

The loom didn't get sold; instead I was catapulted back into the yarn habit. Sunk into my victimhood yet again, I bought a new bigger loom, which led to a spinning wheel. The spinning wheel deepened my yarn addiction; I now was spinning more yarn than I would ever weave. So naturally, I decided I had to relearn knitting. That was it. Yarn had won. My victimhood was complete.

Someday they will find me down in the stash corner of our basement. Maybe I'll be buried in Rubbermaid Roughtotes, which will topple over in an avalanche of plastic cocooned yarn and roving. Or I will be buried head first in a Roughtote, smothered by yarn while digging for an elusive skein at the bottom. But remember this: I will have died happy, surrounded by the substance which makes life bearable.


I didn't post yesterday for three reasons:

a) I wanted to finish the front of the colorblocks sweater that I had posted before and I did! The sleeves were cast on last night...I'm doing them both at the same time so I will make the same mistakes in the same places and they will be exactly alike!

b) I actually thought I should do some housework before the Board of Health condemned my kitchen as a slime pit.

c) I wanted to figure out how to put my poetry up here. I managed to do it! Look over to your left and you will see a link that says "My knitting poetry". I have managed to find almost all my poems, including a couple I had totally forgotten that I'd written! One more remains; it was published in the subscriber newsletter for Interweave Knits and is buried in a box in the basement; but I will be getting to it soon and will post it. My poetry isn't high art; it rhymes, for one thing, but I find it fun to write and hope you enjoy reading it. I also have a couple of dishcloth patterns that I unvented, so I will be making a pattern blog and linking that as well; hopefully by next week.

You will also see a new button that says "Knitting Poet". If you are a knitting poet as well, feel free to copy my button for your own blog. I made it myself...it's not the snazziest button, but I will improve it one of these days!

In other news, I went to my knitting class at Old Village Yarn on Tuesday night and had a great time! I was going to take a picture, but felt a little too shy to ask this time; maybe next week. I will also report that I was very good at resisting all of the drug-soaked yarn in the shop; I only bought a magazine and one more skein of yellow Encore for the Squatter's sweater. I looked at a lot of stuff, but knowledge of just how much yarn is in the stash right now (as well as how little money is in the checking account) kept me on the straight and narrow. I feel darned smug today. The sun is shining and my stash is replete. What could be better?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Suspicious Minds

Last night, Dan came home from work and said, "So, what have you been doing all day, BLOGGING?"

I think he's suspicious.

I think I threw him off the trail...I said, "Not all day! I went out in the afternoon; I bought some glue for the floor. I did some laundry." (half a load, but that is still LAUNDRY, right?)

Dan: "So what are you going to do tomorrow, BLOG?"

Me: "Uh, maybe go to the grocery store."

Dan: "What else are you going to do?"

Me: "Um, more laundry."

Dan: "Aren't you going to glue the floor?"

Me: "I thought you might do that."

Dan: "I don't have time to glue the floor."

Hmmm...this is a man who spends so much of his time sleeping or playing his guitar that I was kind of speechless at that point. (To be fair, the man works very hard teaching teenagers...he deserves his sleep!) The grilling about what I was going to do today went on for a few minutes. This is totally not like Dan...I think he's suspicious. Maybe he thinks I should actually be cleaning this place? Hmmm...

Spinning Wheel Pit Stop

Okay, this is most of what I did today. I glued the floor first, though, because I wanted to get it done. I have the world's ugliest kitchen floor and it's coming apart at the seams, so today I had to glue it down. I would much rather tear it all off and get a new one, but for some strange reason, Dan thinks we should wait to replace it until the kids are older. (Why?!?!?!?) But I digress...

It's really the Harlot's fault. The Harlot spins every Tuesday. The Harlot shows all her spinning projects and new fiber on her blog. And since I have been reading her archives, finally catching up yesterday, I have seen everything the Harlot has spun for the past two years. It's her fault, I tell ya! This is what I did when I should have been cleaning!!

Yesterday (when I went out, remember) I bought a can of MinWax and a staining pad with plastic gloves. I had decided to finally stain the new flyer I had bought for my Ashford Traditional Double Drive spinning wheel, aka Bessie the Yarn Cow. Laurel had broken Bessie's original flyer exactly 3 years ago (though I had stopped spinning a few of years before that.) I ordered the parts then, then when they came I stuck them in a drawer.

When I started thinking about finally staining and installing the flyer, I suddenly remembered: I had bought a jumbo flyer attachment for this wheel years and years ago and had never stained that either! I could get all the staining out of the way in one fell swoop!

It is a testament to the size of my house (small) and the photographic nature of my memory (sometimes compared to an elephant's by my husband, though if he compares anything else to an elephant's, NO MORE LASAGNA!!!), I was able to find the box with the jumbo flyer attachment in about 15 minutes in the utility room.

So now instead of the amount of staining I had to do with just the flyer, I had this much staining to do instead. The jumbo flyer (which allows you to spin bulky yarn) comes with it's own maiden (the piece all the way to the right on the bottom), whorl (circular piece) and bobbins.

After sanding all this to get rid of any rough spots, I laid brown paper down on my stamping table and got busy staining the pieces. I had bought "golden oak", which is what I thought I had used to stain my wheel when I put it together from the kit I bought. I had taken the whorl along to the hardware store to try to match the color.

Funny thing is, it didn't really match on all the pieces, but it did on some. The original whorl is the circular piece on the bottom and the flyer matched it perfectly, but the jumbo flyer, the new whorls, and the bobbins were much darker. Hmmm...

Then when I was trying to put the old whorl on the new flyer, I found they had changed the flyer. The old one had a whorl that screwed on, this one just slid onto a slotted piece. I was pleased, since I had often had trouble with the whorl unscrewing itself.

Once I finished assembling the new flyer, I decided to install the other thing I had bought at the same time as the new flyer: a plastic drive belt. I had gotten tired of the cotton string ones coming apart. It's made of very thick plastic and you string it around the wheel, cut the ends so there is a slight overlap, then weld the ends together using a cigarette lighter to soften the plastic and sticking the ends together. You'll be glad to know I didn't burn myself...much. I did resolve, though, that if I ever had to buy another one, I would get someone with much steadier hands than mine to do this part. It took me a couple of tries to get it right.

After starting the wheel, the belt proceeded to doff itself immediately. Reading the directions, I oiled the band to prevent this from happening again...this necessitated going to the stash to find the bottle of spinning wheel oil. This was in my spinning bag, which coincidentally contained the last ball of wool I had been spinning before I stopped. My, my...what a coincidence! Funny how that wool is now lying next to the wheel, isn't it? I also found...well, I'll tell you in a minute!

ANYWAY. After much cursing under my breath as I adjusted the wheel to accomodate the new drive band. I stood back to admire Bessie. I had told myself, "Just put the thing together, get it done, then put it away so you can work on that sweater! You don't want to get caught up in spinning when you should be doing something else, now do you?" I dusted Bessie carefully and oiled all her little joints and adjusted everything so it lined up right. She's not the most beautiful yarn cow out there, there are many nicks on her as well as the place where Spanky (our late cat) chewed on her (note: if you ever have a cat that likes to chew on the maiden of your wheel, wrap rubber bands around the top of the maiden...works like a charm) but she is a faithful yarn cow, a contented yarn cow.

Good yarn cow. Time to go back in the barn now, faithful Bessie, because I really should work on that sweater. Though I could spin just a bit to make sure you are working correctly...but not much, just a leetle bit...

Um....what happened? I sat down to spin just a little bit, thinking that I would have to remember that at least the first two or three yards of whatever I got would be absolute crap and suddenly, I have half a bobbin full! Funny how that wool was lying right there next to the wheel and pieces of it just kept JUMPING into my hands, predrafting themselves and making their way onto the bobbin.

Funny how I managed to blow off a whole hour just spinning this, isn't it! But I know who to blame...


Yarn Harlot
Toronto, Ontario CANADA

Dear Madame,

I wish to inform you that as of 2:30 PM this afternoon, that I began again that fibre addiction which I had previously been so grievously afflicted by. You are to blame with your enticing blog and your indecent pictures of spun fibre.

Yours respectfully,

Janine Tinklenberg, aka JanTink.

P.S. from Bessie the Yarn Cow: Thanks Harlot! I was wasting away before you came along and now I am a lean, mean spinnin' machine!!!

Now here's what else I found in my spinning bag:

Sigh...looks like I have some more staining to do!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Totally Gobsmacked

I'm still reeling from the shock. What an amazing thing! Something I had begun to wonder whether it would ever, ever happen.

Yesterday, I decided to make the supreme effort for my lovely family, especially Dan. I decided to make lasagna. This is the food of love, the dish I always made for Dan when we were dating. I used the time-tested recipe from my red plaid 1960's Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. I tweak it a bit, since I like mushrooms (fresh only), ricotta better than cottage cheese, and I don't like Italian sausage because it makes it way too rich, so I use ground beef instead.

It took me 2 hours to construct this meal; it takes 45 minutes to simmer the sauce, (15 minutes to get it ready to simmer), then 15 minutes to construct the lasagna, 30 minutes to bake, then it has to stand for at least 10 minutes to set the filling. We had a salad (bagged) and garlic bread made from leftover buns.

The lasagna was delicious, the best I have ever made. Of course, my children didn't like it, am I surprised? Nope. The pickiest kids on the planet are in my house and they were born that way. I always envisioned children like Laurie Colwin's (the late novelist and food writer) daughter who loved everything the minute she tasted it, including steamed zucchini. My kids? You couldn't get them to look at steamed zucchini, much less put it in their mouths. It's a puzzling thing to see in children whose father likes casseroles (unlikely in most men), home-made soup, and almost everything I make ('cause I have spent 22 years figuring out what he doesn't like) and then there's me, who will try almost anything once and likes a large variety of foods.

The prince of picky, however, is the Squatter. The squat's main meal is, of course, chicken nuggets, though he will accept chicken tenders, chicken strips, or chicken patties. As long as it has breading and NO BONES, he's there with his big bottle of ketchup, the perfect vegetable. He will also consent to eat skinless boneless breast meat, as long as the ketchup is on the table. He'll also eat ham, steak, pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs. We've been trying to expand his horizons and have made him try new foods recently, limiting his chicken nugget consumption. It's been an uphill battle, but we've seen some modest successes (he'll now eat baked potato, for instance.) We give him a dab of everything and most of the time he'll only eat the one thing he likes (assuming there is one thing he likes.)

Yesterday, when I asked mr. squat's whether he wanted some salad, he said yes. Now, this did not excite me much, since he has taken salad before and just let it sit. Laurel put some salad in his bowl and I actually told her she put too much in. So I was fully expecting to see most, if not all of the salad go down the garbage disposal. But this time....wait for it....the squat ATE it. He ate ALL of it. Without dressing (or even ketchup!!!!!)

Of course, he didn't touch the lasagna except for a tiny bite. But salad!!! Half a bowl of it! I'm still in a happy dream this morning...


A good name for it, actually, since it has WIPped me! I finally found out just why I left those two rows out at the end of the first row of blocks: I knit across one lavender heart block, across the middle plain peach block then turned and knit back at that point. So one heart block in that row has the correct number of rows, and one block is short 2 rows, making the whole thing lopsided. I will say, though, it doesn't show. Of course, when I went to do the second row with those heart blocks in it, I copied the shorted block instead of the correct one.

Of course, if that evil yarn company had just provided a chart I had been paying better attention, I might have actually managed to knit it correctly. As it is, I am not fixing it because it looks fine and I so want it over with. Boredom and obsession with just getting it done already wins over perfectionism. If this were going in the state fair, it would be entirely different. But Emily will love it just the way it is.

I'm on the home stretch on the front, so only the sleeves left now. Hallelujah!

This, however, is making me nervous. It's what's left of the pink skein. There is still a partial block to be knit in this color right below the neck. I'm worried. What if there isn't enough? What am I going to do???? Evil yarn companies...why do they do this to me!?!?!

My dingy friends

See these? These are the only socks I have ever finished for MYSELF. I've knit baby socks, I've participated in a sock exchange, but while I've started many socks, these in Mountain Colors Weaver's yarn are the only ones I managed to finish. They have a habit, unfortunately, of crawling into the laundry basket and leaping into the dark load unbeknownst to me, resulting in the fact that these are no longer socks, but have turned into fairly ugly felted slippers that actually stand on their own. They are just a hair on the small side when I first put them on, but they stretch to fit my feet after about an hour in my Birkies. These are the only socks I like to wear when it gets really cold in my house. I put them on and warmth races up my legs. These socks are friends.

I read on the Yarn Harlot's site that the Harlot washes her socks by wearing them into the shower. What a great idea! I am so totally resistant to hand-washing ANYTHING, that I have leapt upon this idea with great enthusiasm. There is one problem, though. I have nothing to wear while waiting for these to dry. Guess I'm going to have to get a move on and finish some of those socks!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I have two smiles

This is Saturday night and I decided to start my blog now and post it in the morning. Tomorrow is church and I will be busy biting back my deep disappointment at the bishop's not showing up for his visitation (fires to be put out in another parish, apparently), dealing with a strange (well, unknown rather) supply priest and wondering why I busted my rear trying to get an organist for the bishop when he ended up cancelling after all. I succeeded in getting an organist...a good thing, since otherwise the bishop would have been treated to my one-handed rendering of the hymns on the organ...piano lessons were long, long ago and I can't really play the left hand very well. But all for naught...drat! I had a feeling of doom about it all along.

One good thing, though, is that the salad lunch we were going to have for the bishop has been cancelled. This got me out of making a large quantity of macaroni salad. Not that I mind making it, but salad in January seems unlikely somehow. You wants something hot in January.

BTW, I've tried to tell this software that I live in the same time zone as New York, but it persists in thinking I live about 2 miles off the California coast with the whales. While I may be the right shape as well as being a mammal, I definitely don't live in the ocean.

Tonight I knit and read more of the Yarn Harlot. I am gradually working my way forward through the archives. I'm anal particular about reading things in ORDER. It really makes me cringe watching my oldest daughter start a series of books in the middle and it makes me even more uncomfortable when she doesn't read one of the books in the series.

Me: Aren't you going to read Farmer Boy, Laurel? You really should!

Laurel: Nah, it didn't look interesting.

Me: You really should...you'll understand so much more about Almanzo after you read it! It's a great book!

Laurel: Well, maybe someday.

Me, barely restraining myself from locking her in a bare room with a wooden chair and a copy of Farmer Boy with no food and only letting her out when she can tell me the name of Almanzo's pig that got its teeth stuck together with taffy: You really should...really.

She finally did read it and had to admit I was right...and I could breathe freely.

So I knit, read the YH blog, obsessively checked my own blog at intervals and I watched Sleepless in Seattle all the way through! (Dan had a gig.) I saw this in the theatre in 1993 when it came out while my husband and I enjoyed a pre-parenthood trip to Chicago. We saw two movies in a row. The first was Jurassic Park, where I distinguished myself by loudly screaming when the raptor ran into the stainless steel door in the kitchen. I was so freaked out by that movie that we went and got a stiff drink before we saw the next movie, which was SIS.

I've never been really impressed by SIS, I guess because it is very light-weight. I mean, I like it, it has some nice moments and I like both Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. It's just now when I watch it, I am aware that this is one of those dangerous movies for me. It has a mother dying in it, well, actually she's already dead, but still. I find it hard to watch this, because I had cancer myself...thyroid cancer. This is why I have two smiles...the one on my face and the one on my neck where they took out my thyroid.

Before you start feeling sorry for me, don't. Because I feel really guilty about the fact that I hardly suffered at all with my cancer. It was just two surgeries and no radiation or chemo. I've been cancer free for almost three years now and it's not that big of a deal. People assume that it is when I tell them, though, and that makes me uneasy. I don't deserve the sort of sympathy that someone who has had any other cancer should have. They say if you had to pick the kind of cancer you get, thyroid is the one to pick because the treatment is relatively simple and the survival rates are really good, like 98%. So when people get that look on their face at the mention of cancer, I start babbling about how it's not that big of a deal, yada yada yada but they persist in thinking that I am very brave and putting on a good front.

I actually suffered more emotionally rather than physically, though not for very long. While the survival rates are very high, there is still that 2%, plus I had a rare form of thyroid cancer that not much is known about, so it's hard to tell how it will behave. I wasn't scared of dying, but I was freaked out by the possibility (however slim) of leaving my children without a mother. I seem to have retained some of this fear, because whenever I see a movie like Terms of Endearment or Steel Magnolias I have a hard time with it. That's when knitting comes in handy...I can concentrate on knitting and then I can get past the hard bits of the movies. The part that always gets me in SIS is where Jonah says about his mom, "I'm starting to forget her." Excuse me...I have to go blow my nose. [Sniff]


In case you're wondering, since no one commented to tell me what to do with the project from hell colorblock sweater (though I highly appreciate the other comments; thank you, ladies!), I went ahead and left it as is and knit on. There is already that stupid knot in the back trying to work it's way to the front of the knitting, not to mention the squatty heart error in the pattern thanks to evil pattern-writing yarn company scum! so it lost its chance at perfection a long time ago. I'm feeling a little nervous, though because the pink skein is shrinking rapidly and I only have the one thanks to the evil yarn company telling me that's all I would need. I have about an inch left on two blocks and there has to be some left for the partial block near the neck.


Since today I had to go photocopy the church bulletin, I was able to run to Mary's house to take her her scarf. This is what I put it in. Yes, it is a paint can. I taught a class in how to decorate them to make gift containers. This makes for a great gift package for a scarf, because it puddles up in the can and looks like the most gorgeous paint you can imagine. Mary has seen the can before, since I have them in my stamping class room and she is my downline and is in there a lot. So I thought she might be more in love with the can that she would be with the contents...a tense moment.

But...she loved the scarf! In fact, she told me that her dog had recently eaten her scarf and she was currently scarfless. She loved the colors, she loved everything. I told her I didn't put fringe on it because I really don't like fringe all that much and she told me she hates fringe too! It was truly meant to be, one of those massively intuitive moments that I have on occasion. Logic dictates that I would give her something scrapbooking or stamping related for Christmas, since that's how we came to know each other. But something said, "She needs a scarf!" Thank you, something!

Here's Mary...sorry the photo is so blurry. I think it's safe to say she likes it! She really likes it! In fact, she pulled out the leather coat she had recently gotten and showed my how perfectly it would go with it. And she told me she wanted hats and mittens next!


That might be a challenge. Because I only had one ball of this yarn, which would be good for a hat if I had any more, but it definitely would not work for mittens. So I would have to find something that would match one of the colors in the scarf and go from there. Hmmm...

Of course, I did freak out a bit when she said her dog ate her scarf. I immediately envisioned my lovely gift disappearing down the gullet of this scarf-eating creature (his name is Boomer and he likes to lick me.) So I got her to absolutely promise to put her scarf in non-dog-accessible quarters and to defend it against Boomer at all costs.

You may wonder why I would want to knit more things that could possibly be eaten by Boomer, but you've never had one of these. This was my Christmas gift from Mary. These are the apples that Mary makes and sells and they are to die for. I got my first one in July of 2004 when we went to the Stampin' Up! convention in Orlando, Florida. It's customary to give your roomates at convention a gift, so this is what Mary made, not only for the three of us who shared the room with her, but for the 3 other people in our group. They are huge (hence the Diet Coke can to show scale) Granny Smith apples, covered with caramel (this one has DOUBLE) and then melted chocolate or candy bars. She also does them with Nestle's Crunch bars and those are...well, words fail. This is my third apple and I have yet to share them with anyone...it's mine...don't even think of asking for a piece! It's impossible to eat it all in one sitting. I've put mine in the back of the refrigerator so Dan won't see it when he comes home from his gig tonight. It's mine. I will do almost anything (except consent to be licked by Boomer, among other things) to make sure that the flow of giant chocolate/caramel apples continues to come my way. I guess I'll be taking that partial yarn ball to class next week to see what would match it....

Friday, January 06, 2006

Brain Cells Rapidly Decreasing Due to Evil Yarn Companies Motherhood

As I wound up another knitting and blog reading session last night, I reached the end of the first set of blocks on the front of the colorblock sweater. Hooray! I can finally change to different yarn colors! I'm desperate for some variety here, because like any knitter, I'm sick of working on the same thing for more than 2 days in a row. I think it's a plot by yarn companies, frankly. They soak the yarn in some sort of DRUG that makes you want to go out, buy more yarn and start something new. They're all in it, I tell ya!

I checked the already completed back piece to make sure that I was ending the heart block in the right spot. I counted the rows up to the point where the heart started and the rows after the heart ended and noticed that while the rows before the heart numbered 11, the rows after the heart numbered 9. "Gee," thinks I, "you'd think that these pattern writing dweebs would know enough to the lovely designer would center the heart in the middle of the block, now wouldn't you?" So I had a look at the pattern again and realized that the tricksy evil pattern writers deliberately wrote the pattern so I would make a mistake I had stupidly not done one repeat of two of the rows after the heart and since I had done a visual check of the previous block instead of reading the pattern again, now the whole sweater was going to be 4 rows shorter (because there are two rows with this block in it) than it should be!!!

As I realized how cruelly I had been used by the yarn company, with their intent on my abandoning this project in disgust and buying more yarn stupid I had been, I threw the pattern down and kicked my knitting bag around the room, cursing and wailing gently laid the pattern down and lamented the fact that there was no chart in the pattern because evil yarn companies are too cheap to provide one because they are probably just not as popular in Britain, I gnashed my teeth, vowing vengeance sat for a moment in utter despair.

What has happened to me!? I used to be sharp as a tack, until I started knitting and evil yarn companies warped and twisted my brain became a mother. Since then, I have gradually noticed that I am hooked on yarn, it's a plot! getting stupider and stupider. Must be something that they put on the yarn in the hormones.

So the big question is now:

  1. Do I fix this total travesty of a project lovely sweater so that the pieces are the right length? Or
  2. Do I leave it the way it is, 'cause frankly nobody but me will know that evil yarn companies tricked me into making a stupid mistake I made a mistake? It's not really there unless you know where to look, right?

I know how to go about fixing it...I would have to thread thin straight knitting needles or thick pieces of yarn through the stitches on the row above the block and two rows below that. Then I would pull the stitches out in the row in between, take the bottom piece and knit two more rows on top then graft the two pieces back together. This appeals to me in a twisted sort of way, because I'm one of those strange knitters who really enjoys grafting. But it would take soooo long to do this twice and I'm already getting tired of this project. What with the squatty heart error in the pattern evil yarn companies again! and now this...faugh!

Decisions, decisions...

The whole day yesterday was fraught with complications. After much groaning and shuffling of bank statements and receipts, I did get my bills paid and my checkbook balanced. Before that, though, I did work on the project from hell colorblocks sweater. The skeins of yarn were misbehaving...the outside ends were unwinding and tangling with the working ends...what a mess! So I imprisoned them in yarn bras, something I had found in my old gatemouth bag (knitlisters of an antique nature will remember when we were all buying them for knitting bags) when I was reorganizing my stash. If you've never seen a yarn bra, you can get them at Patternworks.

Funny thing is, skeins of yarn don't appreciate being put into bras (I can relate!), so they immediately retaliated by developing massive internal blockages, forcing me to partially disembowel them so I could resolve the blockages. Blech!

And all of this without any chocolate in the house worth consuming...how is a woman to survive? The bathroom, though, is still dirty. In some ways, life still makes sense.

Blog Envy

I really have to stop looking at other people's blogs. Well...at least one:

The Yarn Harlot

This is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's blog. She's very funny. I've been a fan for years of Stephanie's...she's had me rolling on the floor many of time with her wit. She's a hard act to follow. We have a lot in common actually. We both knit. We both have three kids and big husbands who like to fiddle with sound equipment. We both have pieces in KnitLit Too.

Of course, she's younger than me. Thinner too. Much more fit. She lives in Canada, I live in Michigan, but we are in the same latitude, so that's something. I like her hair better than my hair. And she knits faster than I do. She's probably funnier too. Oh dear.

However, reading through Stephanie's blog, I've found there are days when she's more funny than on other days, so maybe there is hope for me? All I know is I have been popping to my own blog so often to see if anybody is commenting on it that:

a) I can't depend on my hit counter to tell me how many people have looked at the blog, since I have been adding to my hit counter every time I look.

b) It really makes me wonder about my own need for external validation. I admit it. I've got a competitive streak about a mile wide. I want to be successful. I like to get nice comments (thank you to those who have commented so far!) and emails on the blog...what other people think matters very much to me. I get this from my dad, so at least I can blame it on someone else, right? My dad is good at EVERYTHING he does, probably because if he tries something and is rotten at it, he simply does not do that thing. He gave up golf because he just could not satisfy his own standards for excellence. Yep. Rampant perfectionism, got in the blood and no going back. There's probably something in there about being the youngest in my family and wanting all the attention for myself. At least, that's what my sister always said and she should know.

But don't worry. I have a friend named Mary who is excellent at deflating my massive ego. She's sees it as her prime duty, along with bringing me Starbucks...and I reward her with hand-knit scarves. I can't tell her about this blog yet, because I haven't given her that scarf pictured below yet. Once I tell her, I'm sure she'll set to work making sure y'all don't give me the "big head."

By the way, I've fixed that thing where no one can comment except other bloggers...now everyone can comment...I need my validation, come on now, give it up for me! :-D


Work continues apace on the color block sweater. Here is the front, all 4 whompin' inches of it. Emily is already champing at the bit to wear it. Believe me it's hard to resist big blue eyes and curly hair. Emily knows this...she knows almost everyone caves in when she "turns on the cute." She is really, truly sweet, absolutely sweet...but she's also very aware of her essential sweetness and has no problem using it to her advantage.

I really thought I'd be farther on this dang thing, but I spent so much time fiddling with the blog, going to look at the blog, comparing it to other people's blogs that I neglected to actually knit, the reason I have the blog in the first place. And when I did knit, I was trying to read blogs at the same time and kept making mistakes. There is something very, very wrong with me.

This morning I woke up with new resolutions: I will knit more, I will take a nap so I can shake this cold that makes me sound like one of the sand people on Star Wars (a worry, since I have a son who walks around making light saber noises, half convinced he is Aniken Skywalker), I will do my blog and not check it until...well, until later today...maybe in the afternoon? I will go through my collection of knitting mags and winnow out the ones I don't want anymore. I have to do my checkbook and pay bills too. Clean the bathroom would be good as well...knitting sounds better all the time, now, doesn't it?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I told my husband I signed back up for knitting classes. He didn't take it that well.

He said that I told him with a grin that said, "Take that!" Huh?

I said the grin really meant, "If that's okay with you?" He said, "Of course it's not okay with me! But you're going to do it anyway, aren't you?" Uh...yeah, I am!

Then he said, "I can't remember why you stopped in the first place." "I wasn't knitting very much and it didn't make any sense at the time." "Well, as long as you have the money for it!"

So, you guys are going to have to keep me on the straight and narrow. No new yarn until I knit some of what I have! Right? Right? Guys? You're not answering!

Yesterday, I had a heck of a time getting the front of the colorblock sweater started. I started it in the car while I was waiting for my kids to get out of school. First I didn't change down to the smaller needle like I was supposed to, so I frogged the first 8 rows of knitting. Then I noticed that I missed one of the repeats on the ribbing, so that it was 6 rows long instead of 8. Rip back to the ribbing. However, NOW it is going fine and I hope to knock out a bunch of it today.

I guess the problem was I was trying to read a book and knit at the same time. Most people enjoy watching (or listening really) to television while they knit; but this does not work for me. Why? I have a hunter husband. He rarely stays on one channel long enough for me to really be able to follow any program...unless he falls asleep. And then he usually has stopped on a program I have no interest in at all, like sports!

We only have one television and I intend to keep it that way. I don't like the idea of children watching television in their room, the father watching television in the bedroom and the mother watching television in the living room. There isn't that much I really like watching anymore, anyway! People wonder how I get as much done (stamping-wise) as I do...it's because I don't watch television! During the day I rarely turn it on unless I am sick and then I usually fall asleep watching it.

So instead of trying to follow whatever Dan is watching, I have my trusty book comb holding my paperback open to the page I'm on. I can't read very fast while I do that, but at least it keeps my mind occupied when I am doing long stretches of stockinette. But when I'm doing something that requires more attention, like changing from one needle to another and changing colors at the same time, I guess I should just lump it!

Singles Mate-Up! Your online sock mating service.......

Welcome to Singles Mate-Up! We provide a service unknown to the online knitting community heretofore: we find mates for lonely singleton socks! Have you got some? Consider subscribing to our service...we guarantee results in 90 days or your money back! Would you like to meet some of our lonely socks?

These good-looking socks are looking for a mate. If you know of a lonely sock who needs some company, maybe you could refer them to this site:

First, there is the Girly Girl sock from the Spin-Off book "Socks, Socks, Socks". She is intensely feminine, loves watching old movies, walks on the beach and adores getting flowers and jewelry. The knitter who was making this sock has not even cast on the second one, can you imagine? Some reason like, "The pattern takes all my attention...I can't do anything else while I am knitting it." Boy, she has some nerve, doesn't she? Knit in Trekking Color, she would make any sock a beautiful and loving mate!

Next in line at Singles Mate-Up! is the Celtic Braid sock from Cabin Fever. He's getting sick of waiting for his knitter to finish the second sock already! The knitter's lame excuse is "It just takes so long to do those dang cables!" It's a handsome sock that loves listening to Irish music, drinking Killian's Red, and dancing a jig! The Celtic Braid sock is knit in a beautiful blue Lorna's Laces yarn.

Our final singleton, the Basic Sock from Ann Norling, is actually hopeful that the knitter working on her will actually finish her mate sometime, since this project gets to ride around in the car with her. She's a fun girl, down-to-earth, likes to laugh and watch comedies, and she certainly isn't waiting until she is old to wear purple! She's knit in a beautiful Regia cotton self-striping sock yarn! Isn't she purty?

If you've got a mate for these socks, please email us immediately to arrange shipment of your sock to a secure facility where they can meet in a neutral setting...no pressure to actually accept the other sock as a mate if they don't want to! Your successfully mated sock will find a permanent home waiting for it in my sock drawer!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

There must be something fundamentally wrong with me.

I have begun a new yarn obsession and this is okay; I've been obsessed with my rubber stamps for a long time. I'm a person of obsessions...this is the way I am and God wills it to be thus. Let me tell you how it starts:

Usually, I get over my previous obsession before I start a new one and may go for a period of time with no obsessions at all. It's a strange way to be...it must be how normal people actually live!

When the obsession starts, it may start innocently enough. But suddenly, I am struck with the necessity of reading about my new obsession every day, of talking about it, and looking at all the little tools and stuff associated with it. That means a visit to the yarn store when it comes to knitting. Considering I have almost enough yarn in my stash to start my own yarn store, this is not a good thing at this time in my life. Considering half of my basement is covered with the tools and materials of my previous obsession, this is definitely not a good thing.

But I thought I might be safe this time. Looking at my yarn in the past few days seemed to satisfy the need to look at yarn.

That fell down today. I ended up going to the yarn store.

I used the Squat's desire for a yellow sweater as an excuse and the fact that he had the stomach flu yesterday seemed to cement the need to go today. After all, the squatter's lovely sisters would probably come down with this malady either tomorrow or the next day and then there would be no going to the yarn store for me.

So, even though I've finally caught my husband's cold and feel like excrement, I did my blog, took a nap, then decided I had to clean enough to at least look like I do something around here during the day. This was the first day that everyone was back in school since December 22nd, and the living room looked like swine had been making their home there for a number of days. I rationalized that if I got the living room picked up and vacuumed, I would at least have earned my yarn money for the day.

By the time this was all done, I had two precious child-free hours to spend. I headed to the yarn store.

You'd be proud of me. I looked at a lot of stuff, but I only ended up buying this:

The pattern is one I had already...at home. So of course, once I came home and showed my son this pattern instead of the Upside-downer I had shown him previously, he liked this better and I need 6 skeins of yellow instead of the 5 I bought. So I called up and had them put one aside for me. I'll pay for it when I go in next week.

Yep, I signed up for my social knitting class, the one I used to go to regularly, the one responsible for the massive stash residing in my basement. I did not go to the yarn store to sign up...but somehow I did. I'm still not sure what happened.

I also looked at other yarn, books and patterns and I didn't buy any! This is also a deep mystery. I did sabotage myself purposely by going without lunch before I went, reasoning that hunger would drive me out of the yarn shop before I did too much damage. And I think that once I complete a survey of the books and patterns I have now, I may be in more danger. But as it is, they were out of the current magazines and that is usually where I start doing damage first when an obsession starts.

In addition, there was a woman there with a really reeky perfume on that made me feel sick, so since she was hanging out near the books, I couldn't tolerate being next to her for long. Providence steps in and rescues me from myself.

In the meantime, I've finished the back of the color blocks sweater and have cast on for the front. Life is good.

Welcome to my blog

Good lord, that sounds so dang technical! I have a blog!

Twenty years ago, if we had heard this phrase we would have thought a blog was some sort of strange disease.

Anyway, I got to thinking that anybody who likes to yak as much as I do about knitting ought to, really ought to have my own blog. So here it is and I hope you enjoy yourself while you're here.

Now on to knitting content. This is what I am working on. It is a Sirdar pattern and I started it maybe 2 years ago. It is for my second daughter who is 8. I am almost done with the back.

I haven't been knitting in a long, long time. Luckily, I pulled this project out of my knitting bag and it will still fit my daughter. I'm pattin' myself on the back. I know me and I always start sweaters for my kids 2 sizes bigger than they are wearing just in case I don't finish what I start right away. When I stopped last time I was about 1 inch into the second set of blocks, so for only working on this for a few days, I'm smokin'!

The yarn is Sirdar Rio and it is a cotton/acrylic blend that is very nice to knit with. I hope to finish the back today and start on the front. Why is it that patterns always start with the back? I have a theory:

It's usually the biggest piece to knit, so once you get that out of the way you feel better about doing the other pieces, i.e. the theory of delayed gratification or getting the worst out of the way first.

Plus, if you make big howling mistakes, you are more likely to make them right away and since this is the back of the garment, at least they won't show as much.

Anyway, that's my theory and I'm stickin' to it.

Yes, I really had mostly stopped knitting, except for a pair of socks I kept for emergency waiting times. Recently, though, I needed a gift for a friend. I remembered a scarf I had stuck in the stash; one that I thought she'd like, so I managed to churn that out in 2 days and I was back, baby! Here's the scarf:

Pretty, yes? This is a Sassy Links scarf from Wool in the Woods. I had 4 hours of drive time over the holidays and most of this was done during that time.

What I have been doing in the past couple of years is tending to my Stampin' Up! business. I've been very busy and creative there, but knitting is still important.

Some of you may remember me from my Knitlist days. I've been a member of the Knitlist since 1995 or thereabouts. I'm also now a proud member of KnitTalk.

Now, back to the current WIP. I'd like to you to observe this:

On the cover photo, these hearts are shown as having 15 rows, but in the pattern, there are are only 13. I am already to here and I look at the cover closely and see that my hearts don't match the models. This is the sort of thing that knitter's just hate. I like the model's hearts better, but no way am I going to frog all of this just to change it. I even contemplated dropping down each stitch to expand the heart into the existing rows, but it's too headache-making. I'm just going to have to keep going the way it is.

Once I finish this sweater, my son has already put his order in. If you are from the Knitlist, you will remember that he is the famous Squatter. The Squatter got his name in early 1999 while yours truly was waiting for his arrival on January 22nd. Since the squat's lovely sisters had each arrived 3 and 2 weeks before their due dates respectively, I was really thinking that this baby would get here at least two weeks before his due date and when he didn't appear, I posted to the list that this child was a "squatter", i.e. someone who was occupying premises without a lease. It stuck and he remained the Squatter on the list ever since. Naturally, I don't call him that to his face!

He even had his own e-newsletter for a while, but after I stopped writing it, it disappeared from egroups and I've lost all the content from it. So if you have a Squatternews archive you've managed to save, I'd be very interested in hearing from you!