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 while...like chocolate, for instance.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Your eyes do not deceive you

That's right...you 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 palm...it 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 stupid...it 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!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day...yeah right

I bet some of you have husband's or significant others that actually DO something on Valentine's Day, but I don't. I have one of those "I don't need a Hallmark holiday to tell my wife that I love her!" guys. I think it's a club they join in high school, honestly.

I used to try to extort something out of Dan by telling him I expected him to do something or else (the else part being vague, but threatening), but the resulting offerings were not exactly wonderfully given in a spirit of love, so I just gave up after a while. The last flowers I got were in 1990 and those were red carnations he bought at the last minute which croaked the next day...didn't even last a day before they started turning black at the edges. Truly a waste of money if he doesn't even know well enough where to get a decent bouquet.

So while some of you may be getting candy, flowers, dinner out, or at least a card, I will be getting SQUAT. Remember me while you enjoy all that.

Thinking of the barreness that lay ahead, I tried to treat myself to a nice Caramel Macchiato this morning. But I went too far; I did too much. I decided to treat myself as well to a Sausage McMuffin extra value meal at McDonald's. Apparently this was tempting fate way too much. Or perhaps the Cholesterol Fairy saw this and said, "This woman must be rescued from herself...all that fat in the coffee AND the sausage! Time for action!"

Pulling away from the drive-thru at McDonald's, I saw a perfect opportunity to get across 4 lanes of traffic on Telegraph Road, so I gunned it. Turned out the driveway at McDonald's has quite a bump at the bottom of it. I got across traffic, but my Caramel Macchiato took a header. All over the bottom of my car! Sob!

So you can see what a great start my V-Day has gotten off to. And no chocolate in the house except a little bit of Valrhona...nice for nibbles, but way too dark for the kind of stuffing-it-in-your-face comfort action required after you lose a $3.55 coffee on the bottom of your car all the while looking forward to a barren Valentine's Day.

Gee, should I have a little cheese with that whine? Or perhaps, a little bit of yarn shopping online would go far towards comforting me...some of that Socks That Rock yarn would be exactly the ticket!

And I think my husband should know I've got other offers. Just yesterday, a 7 year old boy told me that he wants to marry me. I had to turn him down, gently, as I am already married to his father.

Half-a-league, half-a-league

The Olympic knitting challenge forges onward. I decided that six units a day would be the right amount to get done with the center of the blanket and leave me three days to knit the border. There are 80 total units and I have 24 done; right on schedule.

In the meantime, doing units has ceased being a bag of potato chips...the novelty has worn off and I find myself, instead of looking at the clock and saying "Just one more!", counting what I've done and saying "How many more until I can stop for the day!" It is not torture to do them...at least not yet.

Today I must do some stamping; a workshop looms on Thursday and I haven't even decided what projects to do yet. It will be amazing if I manage to get six units of this blanket done today unless I stop whining and get going. Tah!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Knitting is like a bag of potato chips....

At least modular knitting is.

Hi again. Bet you wondered what hole I fell into. Well, let me tell you, it's been pretty busy here at the Tinklenberg ranch. What with Emily having her birthday this past week, the anticipated visit of the grandparents (now over, thank you Lord!) which entailed a bit of cleaning up, and the arrival of a large stamp shipment, some of which were for me, I was kind of tied up. I mounted all my new stamps and then was hoping for some time to play with them, but it hasn't happened yet.

Instead, my husband has been downstairs playing his guitar every single night. The volumn gets pretty loud down there, so I usually don't venture to try to stamp while he's playing. And by the time he's finished, I'm too tired to do anything but stare stupidly at the stamps, trying to come up with a great idea for using them.

I live for Monday mornings.

However, I did have this commitment, like many of you, to start my Knitting Olympics project. The opening ceremonies came on, I cast on and here I am.

Doing these little units is addictive. I did 6 of them last night and I've already done 5 more today and will likely do at least 2 or 3, if not more, by the end of the evening.

The instructions for this blanket are a little sketchy in places. For instance, once you've made the first square, it tells you to cast on 11 stitches, then pick up 10 on the top of the first square. Well...which side is the top? One of the non-cast on sides, but it's not really clear. I kind of had to figure out that YES, you were supposed to cut the yarn, then cast on 11 new stitches, then pick them up on the side that would be logical.

This sort of bummed me out, because you have to cut the yarn every single time you start a unit, which I didn't remember doing for my last mitered knitting project. But that was a long time ago and I probably just forgot. It's a bummer because I am going to have a lot of ends to weave in on the back, which on a blanket is kind of a stinky thing to have to do. I have started out by weaving in the ends when I have 4 corners all meeting, but I should probably do the ones hanging out where the squares meet on the outside edge to reduce the work at the end.

Otherwise, it's kind of fun...like eating a famous brand of potato chips, it's hard to stop at just one. I was "just one more"-ing myself until 1:30 AM this morning, egged on by watching "The Invisible Man" with Claude Raines on AMC. The acting was just so kitschy and over the top that I greatly enjoyed listening to Claude laughing his maniacal laugh as he pedaled what looked like an empty bicycle down the street while I worked on the blanket.

I also enjoyed the appearance of one of my favorite Warner Brothers character actresses from the 30's: Una O'Connor. Una always played maids, cooks, and similar supporting roles. She had a face that really looked like the face you used to see on a Kitchen Witch (a popular kitchen accessory in the late 70's and early 80's) where the nose and the pointed chin almost seemed to meet, what they call "a face like a nutcracker." But I've always thought that Una was one of the better actresses in any movie she was ever in and I have fun spotting her in movies I haven't seen before.

In "The Invisible Man" she was just as over the top as Claude Raines...they made the whole movie fun to watch. So I managed to finish watching that and doing "just one more." Finally the movie was over and I just had to finish that last unit before I went to bed. Fortunately, the movie that followed (a 70's pulp horror flick with Robert Culp) was not bad enough to be good to watch and not good enough to be good to watch either.

But Janine, you say...why aren't you watching the Olympics while you knit? Well, I did watch a bit of the opening ceremonies. And we watched a bit of speed skating and some of the mogul skiing today. But I really only enjoy watching the figure skating and since that's the part that Dan doesn't like watching, I don't get to see it unless he's playing his guitar and I get the remote.

He's down there right now, actually, but the kids are watching Lord of the Rings and I have a stack of receipts and bills that really must be dealt with today or I'll start getting phone calls....sigh. Why can't I just knit or stamp and let everyone else do the cleaning, cooking, paying bills, laundry, etc.?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


First I want to say that the knitting done between yesterday's post and this one was so much like the knitting that was done the day before that, that I decided to spare everyone the tedium of looking at it yet again. I feel for you folks, I really do. Plus, I feel responsible. After all, if your boss (assuming you are looking at this at work...folks at home do not need to worry about this) comes across you, flat-out sleeping in your chair, head cocked back and snores issuing from your mouth and looks at your computer screen and sees my blog with it's incredibly dull (to him/her) pictures of knitting, who knows what your boss would think!? I wouldn't want to be responsible for a) your being fired for sleeping on the job or b) someone thinking that knitting (in general) was boring or c) someone thinking that *I* was boring. Let's not go there.

I could have just not posted, something I notice that other people, who are not, perhaps, as obsessed about talking about themselves as I am, actually do on their blogs. I admit it, there are days that go by where I haven't posted, but it's not because I can't think of something to say. It's because I've gotten busy doing something else.

Now, you ask, what the heck am I going to post about, since I'm not showing pictures of yesterday's knitting. Two things:

On fortune cookie fortunes

I got this yesterday in my fortune cookie. First, I want to say that I usually don't bother even eating the cookie, much less reading the fortune inside. But for some reason, I did yesterday.

Isn't this infuriating? What is this supposed to mean? That's why I don't bother to read these things.

What does this have to do with knitting, you ask? Well, reading this I could see all sorts of implications for people who knit. "The gift without the giver is bare." Does this make sense? It does not make sense to me. In the terms of giving knitted gifts, I think it should read "The giver without the gift is bare"!

Of course, I know that some of these fortunes are meant to be "deep" and convey some sort of philosophical meaning. We here in the West often assume that oriental people have a bigger handle on this sort of thing than we do. Why else are there umpteen million books called "The Zen of...."? This was covered extensively in an episode of Seinfeld when George's mother assumes that Jerry's girlfriend, whose last name was Chang, must know so much more about life than other people. Then she was mad when she found out that Ms. Chang wasn't oriental after all. ANYWAY....

Looking beyond the surface, I suppose that this fortune means that if we don't invest some of ourselves when choosing gifts for people, that the gift does not have a meaning. Yeah, well. As knitters, we automatically do quite a bit of that anyway. Plus, I've gotten lots of gifts from people who have invested themselves in the gift by picking out something THEY would like to have and giving it to me assuming I will like it too. Er...

So, if there are any fortune cookie manufacturers out there, pull this one from the repetoire, won't you? Go back to "You will soon meet a tall dark stranger." I'm hoping to do that today. The UPS man should be here with my stamps sometime.....

The other thing

Since I don't have anything interesting to show that I'm currently knitting, at least without boring you all into a state of sonomulence, I'll do some walking down memory lane:

Isn't she cute? This is Laurel at age 4 months. She's a little butterball in this picture, but she was born thin and caught up quick.

I knit this bunting for her out of Plymouth Encore. The LYSO suggested making it extra long to accomodate the car seat buckle. Laurel wore this quite a bit...it was perfect for cold days when it wasn't quite cold enough for her big thick bunting that her grandmother bought her.

You can also see how very beautiful she was...she's still beautiful, but when Laurel was a baby, she just had this glowing beauty that made total strangers come up and tell me how gorgeous she was. And while this is a nice bunting, Laurel could make any clothes look extra special, just by wearing them and looking so beautiful. Sigh....

See how happy she is in her bunting? These are the sorts of pictures you love to look at on days when your tweenager has tossed her head and stamped her foot and demanded that you do whatever it is she wants you to do at the moment. This is what I look at in my head when otherwise I would be wondering why I let her live as long as I have. God has reasons, my friends, for making babies as cute as they are. Babies know this too. They know that by being cute, their mothers are more likely to knit cuddly warm garments for them. Tweenagers and teenagers alike should remember this when they are campaigning for ponchos. I wonder why they forget this vital information and at what age it happens?

Now Emily, for instance, told me this morning that her new yarn wants to be a poncho and that it needn't have a hood. But she did it in such a cute way, with no sulks or petulance! When will the rot set in?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mellow Yellow? I think not!

It's yellow and it's going to eat me.

I think I need sunglasses to work on this thing, even though, technically, I don't have to LOOK at it while I'm knitting it. It seems like after I've been knitting it for a while, everything in the room starts to take on a yellowish tinge, like the whole world has jaundice and I am the only one who is immune.

Plus it's dull. It's stultifyingly dull, it's so dull that it's dullness cannot be measured on Janine's Standard Scale for Dullness. It broke the meter. Sigh.

Luckily, it does go fairly quickly, WHEN I can bring myself to suffer the dullness. Which is mostly while I'm reading online, where dullness is not a factor, it is an advantage. When you think of all the mistakes I made on the project from hell colorblocks sweater which WAS interesting while I was working online, you'd think I'd just be grateful not to have opportunities for mistakes now.

I'm perverse, I know.

But last night, while I was alternating reading and knitting (book comb went to ground AGAIN...where could it be???) the dullness of the Squat's Wallaby became absolutely unbearable.

So I pulled out this. It's the perfect antidote. For one thing, it's a UFO, so it is a virtuous project. I'm not buying new yarn and I'm not starting yet another project which has a high statistical chance of suffering the same fate as this sock did.

Plus the pattern on this cabled sock requires absolute concentration. Clenching your teeth and other parts of your body is definitely called for. I can get through one repeat of the pattern before I run screaming from the room. I worked on it for one repeat last night and tried to remember HOW I managed to get through one whole sock and this partial one without giving up. I'm mystified, honestly. The span of my life when I worked on this is a blur and I'm not sure I want to know what is under that blur.

I have it on four needles too, which normally I like, but it's really, really a pain this time. I do have to wait to stop after the pattern repeat, though, so I know where I am the next time I start. I am required to finish the repeat.

I figure, if I can manage a repeat of the pattern a day (at least) I'll have the cuff of this sock done by next week. By then I should be on the interesting part of the Wallaby. Life will balance, all will be right again with the world.

Yarn love

Last night, I summoned Emily into my room. I was going to save the yarn I purchased for her and show it to her another time, but I couldn't resist.

I said, "Emily! C'mere!" I beckoned to her mysteriously. She followed me into my room.

I reached into the temporary yarn stash, aka my clothes closet, and pulled one skein of the variagated Plymouth Encore from the bag. "What do you think of this?" I said, handing her the skein.

Her eyes lit up and she impulsively hugged the skein to her chest, put her cheek down on the skein and cuddled it like a doll!

See? I know what I'm doing! And anybody who loves yarn THAT MUCH is bound to be a knitter when they grow up, don't you think?

She was even happier when I told her it was going to be a sweater for her. I love knitting for my kids...they appreciate it so much! I must be doing something right!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Yarn Hangover

I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of yarn shops all over the United States held their annual Superbowl sales yesterday and my favorite shop was certainly among them.

Like hundreds, if not thousands, of other women, I made sure I had at least one other errand I had to run and thus just sort of slipped the visit to the yarn store in with it. Hey! I had to get my prescription didn't I? I had to pick up that book case for the squatter's room from my friend too, didn't I? So I just sort of moseyed about 15 miles out of my way between the two errands just to check out the sale. I didn't bother to mention that to Dan...all he had to know was that there were errands to be done, right?

20 percent off is hard to resist and I had justification too! I was going to buy the yarn for Laurel's Pure & Simple Poncho: 9 skeins of Plymouth Encore Chunky in Royal Blue. I'd save a lot buying it at the sale, right? It is her turn for a sweater after the Squat's electric yellow Wallaby is done and I don't have enough yarn in the stash to do it. Yes, I do have chunky yarn, just not enough of one color! Or the right fiber...must be acrylic, since Laurel is notoriously hard on her clothing and I am notoriously lazy about hand washing. So you can see that I HAD to go to the sale, can't you? Yep, I could tell you'd understand!

So what happened? Why did I end up coming home with a bag of yarn, NONE of which was Plymouth Encore Chunky in Royal Blue?

I'm not sure, really. I do know that they did not have 9 skeins of Plymouth Encore Chunky in Royal Blue. They only had 4 skeins. So I will have to special order it. Rats.

So while I'm there, since I drove all that way, I look at yarn. It's 20 percent off and it's going to be a WHOLE YEAR before it is 20 percent off again! It wouldn't hurt to buy a little yarn, right?

Next thing I know I'm standing out on the sidewalk with a bag of yarn. I'm feeling slightly dizzy from the sensation of pulling out my credit card and watching them add yet more debt to it. I'm feeling even more dizzy at my actions. Here I had chosen 3 skeins of regular Plymouth Encore to do a Babies & Bears sweater for charity and I actually went back after I got in line at the register and added 3 more skeins by reasoning that it will be Emily's turn after Laurel's turn and she would love a Wallaby out of this yarn; it's so pretty! Why not buy it now so you can do her sweater after Laurel's poncho? It's 20 percent off, for Pete's sake!!!

The rest is just a blur. I now have a whole bag of yarn to be added to the stash, since none of it is for immediate consumption. Sigh...

So...you want to see what I got? You do, don't you?

6 skeins of Encore in this pretty variagation...isn't it pretty? Wouldn't a 9 year old girl love this? Yes, she will.

2 skeins of Berroco Foliage for a hat for me. I need a hat! I have a burgundy coat and this will coordinate, yet stand out. It's so soft!!!

3 skeins of sock yarn, each of which will make a pair of socks. Here is where it became a blur. I have sock yarn...I don't really need any more! What happened???

Oh, well. Sales are final, the receipt says. I can't take it back, so I guess I will just have to lump it.

On the fickleness of children

If anyone had told me when I had children, that it was the BOY who would end up being the pickiest one when it came to clothes, I would have thought they were off their rocker.

Alas...it is all too true. The Squatter is the boy who will not wear anything I pick out, at least not without a struggle.

The girls are fairly easy. When they were little, I just color coordinated what I bought. Laurel always got pink and Emily always got purple. Easy. Simple. Now, of course, that Laurel is a tweenager, she is heartily sick of pink. So my one stricture is to avoid the pink stuff for her, but otherwise, they always love whatever I pick out for them. I put it down to my exquisite taste; who wouldn't love what I pick out?

The Squat, that's who. AFTER I changed his sweater over to the Wonderful Wallaby pattern, I thought he agreed with me. Then he came up to me Saturday while I was knitting on his sweater.

"Is that my sweater?"

"Yes, this is it!"

"How did it look?" Here you have to understand that Mr. Bill's grasp of past, present and future tense is not too good yet, due to his speech delay. I understood he meant, "How is it going to look?"

"See, here is a picture. It will have a hood and if you like, I will put this pocket in the front. Isn't it neat?"

"Mom, I don't want a hood or a pocket. I just want a sweater."

Ooops. So it looks like I will be making major alterations to this sweater. I can leave the pocket off without any problem at all, but now I have to figure out how to put a different collar on it. Ah, the fickleness of children. But I've been knitting now for 13 years! I have confidence! I am the BOSS of my knitting! I can do it!

I think.....

Friday, February 03, 2006

So...this is supposed to save me time?

I admit defeat, foule machine. Thou hast conquered me.

'Twas not that I did not a valiant effort make, foule dwimmermachine! Thou wert spawned by foule orcs and thy nasty pointy hooks and fell weighted hem wert ever made by he whose darkness knows no end!

I renounce thee, O stinkin' ISM! I will save thy pointy hooks for scarves and suchlike. 'Twas in vain that I bought the 30 needle extension for thy foule plastick frame so that I might expand thine horizons and knit larger sweaters than thou couldst previously do. 'Tis apparent that adding the extension to make your foule body more productive does not bode well for those sweaters whose width only exceedeth thy previous capacity by one or two stitches! Long did I labor to hang both thy foule weighted hems so that evenly they did hang! Hours did I spend putting my fair knitted piece on thine pointy hooks, making sure that I skipped no hook and every latch was open!

But alas, thou hast defeated me! When I had finally satisfied myself that thine foul weighted hems were hanging evenly and that my jaunty knitted ribbing was placed correctly on the aforementioned pointy hooks and didst push thy carriage across to knit the first row, loud was my cursing and wailing when I discovered that thou didst not knit at least 20 stitches where the two foule weighted hems did meet. In vain didst I try to knit these stitches by hand, foiled by the tight tension on the working yarn! For every stitch that couldst be coaxed through the loop on the hook, another previously completed stitch would pop out! Alack!

If only I had been able to knit those stitches and proceed, I knew that all would be well! Once thy weighted hems were hanging well below thy pointy hooks, the knitting would proceed in a smooth manner, in spite of thy foule machinations! Yet, it was not to be! After wasting 2 precious knitting hours fussing with thee, O dwimmermacine, I have decided that knitting was meant to be fun, not to be spent toiling and cursing over plastic and metal.

Thou shalt not despoil my fair Plymouth Encore yarn. It shall be saved from thy snagging ways and thy refusal to knit stitches where two weighted hems must meet at thy extension point. I shall no longer waste the precious hours of my life that I have spent trying to coax thee to do what, after all, thou wert designed to do. Thy capricious refusal to cooperate shall doom thee to the furthest corner of the basement, where thou shalt dwell until, at my pleasure, I choose to grapple with thee yet again.

Observe, foule dwimmermachine, I have switched mine pattern to be one which I can knit with joy and satisfaction! Behold the Wonderful Wallaby! Circularly shall I proceed, taking my knitting where thou canst never go, in the car, at the computer, to the church meeting! Look on this thy nemesis and despair! The Paton's pattern, while claiming to be for 8 year old children, dost have 12 inches of ease chestwise! Consulting the Knitter's Companion chart of sweater ease allowances, I find that loose fitting sweaters call for a 12 to 15 percent ease and the Paton's designer hast made for double this amount! The Squatter boy wouldst swim in the Paton's hoodie. Far, far better to enclothe him in a Wallaby and be happy in the knitting. Thou hast won our battle, O foule machine, but I, I have won the war!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Am I Crazy, or What?!?!?

Albert and Debbie Regiasock would like to announce their wedding, which took place recently. Debbie said, "I've had my eye on him for a long time and I'm glad he's finally mature enough to make a commitment to our relationship."Albert said, "Get out of my face with that camera...we're going on our honeymoon now!"

These socks join the slim ranks of smug marrieds in my sock drawer, but there are still two lonely singleton socks waiting. I hope you'll be rooting for them...they need all the help they can get!

I will have to be careful about which shoes I wear these socks with because the bottoms of my feet are stupidly sensitive and I don't think these will work with my Birks without rubbing my feet raw (they are a cotton blend.) But they are still MINE! I don't know too many people who are sock worthy, so I'm not giving them away.

And if you think I have some sort of sickness, that would lead me to run around my stamping room to make a cardstock bowtie and searching for tulle and fake flowers to make a veil and a bouquet for a pair of socks, you may have something there...I'll be watching for those guys in the white coats to roll up at any moment!

Two finished projects, both UFO's, in a week! I'm on a roll!

My hands have improved quite a lot and I was able to knit without the brace yesterday. It helped that I am now working on the Squatter's electric yellow hoodie and no longer have tiny needles and yarn between my fingers; the fat feel of the Encore and fatter Inox circular don't seem to produce the drastic symptoms that knitting sock yarn with size 1 Brittany birch needles does. Last night I slept without the brace. I meant to wear it, but by the time I crawled into bed I had forgotten to put it on and I was too tired to get out and go get it. Mea culpa. Since my hands are hardly bothering me at all this morning it must have been okay.

I took my kids to the roller rink yesterday afternoon; their school had a skating party, an annual event. I was happy to pack up a couple of skeins for the hoodie, plus a skein for swatching the mitered baby blanket that will be my Olympic knitting project. I made sure to send Laurel with the squat to pick up his skates; there are only so many booths on the other side of the rink available and I didn't want to get stuck sitting on the tiers that are the only other alternative. You gotta move quick to get a booth!

I managed to grab one, so was able to spread my work out on the table. I had some interested spectators; teachers who already know about the stamping that I do, but did not suspect about this side of my life. Got the usual questions about whether this crocheting or knitting? Emily's teacher told me of a beloved crocheted afghan that she needed to have repaired and could I do it? She would be glad to pay me! I said I would be happy to look at it. She doesn't have the yarn used to make it, so it will mean trying to match colors. She said as long as it looks reasonably the same, that would be fine. I do know how to crochet, in fact, I used to do quite a lot of it, it's just that I prefer knitting.

Another teacher told me of the yarn she had gotten at Joanne's that she wanted a friend to crochet (again with the crochet!!!) into a scarf. She asked me how long it would take ME to make a scarf. I said a day or two, depending on the yarn and the needle size. Then she said if she couldn't get her friend to make the scarf, would I? She would pay me! Who knew that KIP (knitting in public for non-knitlist folks) could be so profitable? Naturally I said I would be happy to, provided her friend was not forthcoming.

Another teacher asked me if this was a new hobby for me and I had to confess I have been knitting for years. I've kind of been hiding that fact, thinking that if they knew exactly how many crafts I do know how to do, I would be roped into teaching these crafts to young people, something I'm not that great at, honestly. I can teach adults, but when it comes to kids, I don't have much patience...I barely have enough for my own children, much less anyone else's! I deeply admire those who can teach kids, including my husband, who has to deal with teenagers every day, more than 100 teenagers, to boot. He deserves a medal!

At the roller rink, I swatched for the hoodie, finding that the designer and I were gauge twins and cast on for the bottom. I've finished the ribbing, now there comes the moment of truth; putting the thing on the ISM and doing the stockinette.

One of the weird things about this pattern (Paton's Hangin' Out!) is that it calls for 4.5 mm needles and 4.0 mm needles, but never tells you WHERE you are supposed to use the 4.0 mm needles! I've read through the pattern a couple of times and have yet to find out exactly where I'm supposed to use them. Usually you use the smaller ones on the ribbing, but looking at the photograph, I don't think it's likely, as the ribbing does not pull in at all and, in fact, looks a little looser than most ribbings. Even so, I would think that if they had made an error on the needle size for the ribbing, they would only make the error on one piece and it would be correct on the other pieces; instead, they all say to start with the 4.5 needle. Strange.

I was happy at the roller rink knitting with my favorite yarn and watching the squatter making his way for the first time out on the big wooden floor to skate. This is the fourth time we have been to the roller rink and previously he would only skate on the carpeting around the outside of the rink. By the end of the 2 hours, he was actually rolling a little bit instead of just moving his skates in jerky little motions. All in all, an experience that paid off, despite having to listen to what amounts to disco music pounding louder and louder and smelling greasy pizza wafting from the snack bar. A little knitting and a boy who now likes to skate, what could be better?