Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Mother Made Proud

In spite of barely surviving the restless enthusiasm of the day, we got to enjoy some Trick or Treating with friends. Caught up with the mob, I don't know that many people knew who my boy was supposed to be... but I did... and I know at least a few of you would too...

JoJo was a red Power Ranger. He is always a red Power Ranger. It's nice to be easily pleased.

Middle boy was off with friends before I could grab my camera, 13 yo was helping out at church and my oldest was doing homework. Now I'm going to knit... and try to resume normal blood pressure and breathing.

Next Year....

We are not having Halloween.

Next year... I am going to buy each of the kids a big honkin' bag of candy and take them to a really cool movie on October 31st. (The day that won't be Halloween.)

Since it won't be Halloween, there will be no costumes. There will be no last minute costume changes or discontent... no dressing up and down starting at 8:00am... and no fighting over weapons or canes. There will, however, just in case the habit is too strong to break, be a "No Whining" sign.

Next year... I won't turn into a ferocious beast as I deal with children bouncing, whining, interrupting, disobeying, climbing, wiggling, complaining, and fighting all... day... long.

They will do school like it's a regular day without freaking out over their math... and cook lunch like civilized beings without spilling it all over the floor. Because I'm that mean.

I am. It is quite possible that I'm the meanest, least tolerant Halloween Mama in the whole United States. Or maybe I'm just the most tormented. Nah, probably just the meanest.

Well, later I'm sure to have adorable Halloween pictures... but now I must continue my breathing exercises and efforts to speak in a civil voice through clenched teeth to insane Halloween-crazed children. And set the Tivo for Pushing Daisies.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

House Hunting

If you're going to knit an endless supply of socks (which, based on my stash, must be my intention), it is important to buy the right kind of shoes! (On sale of course.)

It is also important to finish the socks.

Or at least a sweater...

Ms. Bluejeans, as I am calling it, is flowing off my needles considering the wee amount of time I feel like I've been able to knit lately.

We are ready for Halloween though.

Which would be about 24 hours earlier than we are usually ready for Halloween. Oh, wait... I still need to go get candy. So we're almost ready for Halloween.

I am definitely ready for House though... both tonight and for the filming later this week. Actually, since the good doctor himself is usually confined to the hospital, I'm really not expecting him to be there. I'm guessing they're going to be filming an opening sequence... and they didn't give any time specifics (other than between 5am & midnight) so I can't see hanging out at my mom's house all day.

What would I do? Just sit on my mom's hillside all day with a pair of binoculars hoping in vain hope to see someone of importance... maybe Chase or Cameron... maybe Foreman, Wilson, or one of the Newbies... or, just possibly, the man himself waving a cane around? Then what would I do? Run down the street like a crazed woman with my digital camera desperately hoping that the sight of my adorable 8 year old House look-alike, who I'd be dragging along with me, will draw some attention from somebody?

Hmmm... yeah I guess that's pretty much the plan. Wish me luck with that, 'kay?

In the meanwhile, I need to go get a larger memory card for my camera.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's a Football Thing

Remember the socks I knit in our football team colors? I remember when I was so excited to find the yarn. How love and enthusiasm went into each stitch as a symbol of my support for their passion for football. I mean, can you think of a better way for a knitting mama to show her love and support to her athletic sons? No, neither can I. I would like to think that my lovely socks had brought them luck... they've had a great season, only losing 3 games! Unfortunately, those were the only 3 games I wore the socks to. After the first 2 losses, 13 yo and DH (his coach) banned my socks.

Well last night I wore them while I had to schlep Icees and sodas for 3 hours at the high school varsity game. Our high school team suffered no worse for my wear and ended the night victorious. Obviously my socks were not cursed after all... so I wore them tonight... to the most important game of my 13 yo's season.

I think they might make me burn them before play-offs began next week.

But these, I'm sure, will only bring me good luck.

Little coffee bean stitch markers from See Jayne Knit on Etsy. Too perfect.

Mr. Greenjeans... or Ms. Bluejeans as I prefer to call it... is coming along and I am just digging the colors. So much so that I was unable to ignore the Regia Kaffe Fassett sock yarn at the LYS any longer.

And since football is slowly taking up more of my time and thoughts, I must end with this...

OHIO STATE 37 - Penn State 17

I'm keeping the gloating to a minimum though since DH is a huge Penn State fan so tonight has been a bit of a double whammy for him. I've got to turn some more of my OSU yarn into socks though soon!

Now I must go set my line-up for my Knitter's League fantasy football team. Yes, this does seem odd to me too.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Poppy is Bad Luck...

and needs to be put to rest for a while. That's the only explanation I can think of for the trail of drama that we've dredged through over the past 6 days. The first drama erupted right as I was getting in the Poppy groove last Wednesday. (It was a horrible scene with some neighborhood dogs that I would prefer to forget.) Poppy went into the basket for several days only to reappear not long before I was attacked by the tree yesterday.

This morning I was engaged by a particularly enthusiastic sheriff who felt it necessary to leave his job directing traffic at a very busy intersection to stop me in the middle of my right hand turn with an adamant lecture on obeying traffic directions... which I assured him I had. Yes I knew that the flat hand held up meant stop... but he had, in fact, rather frantically, waved me through. (I didn't even want to turn but he looked at me when I stopped and waved at me to follow the car turning in front of me.) More lecture, more discussion on eye contact, body angle, and hand signals during which time cars are backing up further and further at the unmanned intersection. Actually, the word discussion implies that two of us are engaged in conversation but this was more one sided. He talked and I occasionally disagreed. I am usually quite willing to fess up to my mistakes or admit if I'm uncertain... especially with a police officer, but I had been watching him so carefully before I turned that I just knew what I saw and felt compelled to remain firm.

Now I am a woman who greatly values wisdom and self-control.... sadly, I'm not naturally possessed with much of either. So, for the sake of my own dignity... and out of respect for the officer (I really don't care for cop bashing, they work too hard for that), I will leave out the next 20 minutes of absurd threats (from him) and stubborn responses (from me) and just end by saying that I drove away without a ticket.

But I may never look at Poppy again.

Well, I took the car to DH's shop to show him the damage to the car that I hadn't noticed until this morning... and weep a bit over my confrontation... and do you know what he said?

"Cheer up!" "Go buy some yarn... that should help."

It's a poorly focused picture of some Aracunia Aysen (70% Merino, 20% Alpaca, 10% Silk). I think I'll give Wendy's Brioche stitch scarf a try.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I had to take my boys to find some shoes without holes after church, and found some for myself as well. So I came here to show you a picture of my cute new shoes... see?and some of my knitting progress on Poppy...
I was going to tell you about our horrible Santa Ana winds and the large branch, the size of a small tree, that landed immediately in front of my car as I was driving downhill at 45 mph.

But, sadly with these horrendous winds which are unusually severe today with gusts over 100 mph, we also get fires. Once the winds start, we know right away it's "fire weather" and expect a fire to break out somewhere, but today they are breaking out everywhere. Here's a couple of views from my front yard and how things have changed over the last hour.

The sun...

We are not in any immediate danger. This is all just smoke... which is getting worse still. It is settling to the ground, ash is raining down and the wind sounds like thunder.
My shoes and knitting seem fairly irrelevant now... Please say a prayer for the families and firefighters in the fire zones.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

About Hawaii...

You know how sometimes you say something, and then afterwards you start thinking that it didn't come out quite right and even possibly made you sound like a kinda mean spirited person? Yeah?

Well see, after my post yesterday, I went to bed thinking that I probably sounded like some callous mother who gets her kicks out of making fun of her children and this is just not so. I am a very loving mother...who greatly enjoys her children... and gets a kick out of making fun of them. BIG difference!

One of the greatest things I've learned from my children is how special and unique each individual person is. I've also observed that everybody has their strengths... and their weaknesses (and darn it, both can be funny). There are no such thing as better strengths or worse weaknesses... as God seems to have balanced out each individual to be just who He wants them to be.

So about Hawaii... being a homeschooler, a lot of the information my kids learn is absorbed rather than taught and is rarely tested when they are young. For example, we have always had a good wooden puzzle of the United States. (Actually we have gone through several because once you lose Georgia or Maine, you're kinda at a disadvantage.) Through simple puzzle play, one of my sons could identify every state on a blank map by the age of 4.5. He could do the puzzle with or without the frame, and recognize any state by shape alone. Another played with the puzzle but still really prefers his state quarter map. He also has a great grasp on US geography. Since the other of my 3 oldest (I'm trying to be very discreet here) had also spent much time with the puzzle, I figured we were good to go. See, if you have enough kids, they can slip through the cracks at home too. Yes, in his defense, Hawaii and Alaska are always just sitting off to the side of these puzzles... but still, but the age of 12... I would just hope... you know.

However, this boy makes up for any lapses in - well - the thought process, by being a human GPS, demonstrating remarkable athleticism, never forgetting a face or a name, and knowing the most minute details about every professional football and baseball player in recent history. (This became useful knowledge in helping him finally get a grip on his US geography.)

So for better or worse, my children all make me laugh. Hey, after 45 months of pregnancy, I deserve a good laugh. I laugh at myself too. People do and say funny things... and if we take ourselves to seriously... or rush kids off to tutoring or therapy just because they think Hawaii is a foreign country or that our female dogs can have puppies if they're gay... well, that would just suck all the fun out of life.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

When I Do Knit... and Towels

So I have a sock (or 3) on the needles, a scarf, new books, and bins full of yarn. What's missing? A sweater! I need to cast on for a new sweater. I know, I started Mr. Greenjeans... which I still really like... I just don't want to use the Malabrigo. I think Malabrigo is best left as a fantasy yarn for me... as an unrequited love... because 3 times I have bought a sweater's worth and this will be the 3rd time I end up selling or returning it. I'm not sure what it is. I think it's amazing yarn... very soft, rich and lush. But... oh I don't know. We're just not meant to be.

Anyway, before I return the 4 unused hanks to the LYS, I'm going to post all 5 (one of which I started to knit with but can rewind) on the destash board in case somebody else wants to benefit from my shortsightedness. You can see it here if you're interested and want to let me know before I get around to posting it.

So, back to the new sweater... Poppy from YarnPlay. I'm using Artyarns Handpainted Stripe (recycled from my camo sweater disaster) along with some Gedifra Extra Soft Merino that my LYS just started carrying. Both yarns are super soft and squishy (my technical terms from my own limited fiber vocabulary). The Gedifra reminds me a lot of Karabella Aurora 8 which is one of my favorites. As a matter of fact, I would have to say I like it every bit as much.

The bottom is knit as one long piece that wraps around the body. It's a design as you go sort of thing... adding garter ridges or color every so often. This is really fun. But I'm sure I'll do it wrong. I'm a strong believer in a right way and a wrong way to do something... and if it involves creativity... I will do it wrong. But please, do note my bold color choices. I do live a colorful life.

And here I present to you the result of cheap child labor. We will now focus on moving the towels out of the living room and into their empty cabinet. The cheap child labor will no doubt argue first with me over the necessity of this and then with each other over who is going to do it. But I'm starting to learn. Oh yeah, I'm learning to outsmart them... and only one child has caught on (and it's not the child who asked if Hawaii was going to be at the Olympics when he was 12... and then laughed at his brother when he said it was part of the USA).

Now I simply say, I want you guys to _______. In response, at least one will try to look invisible, one will start to argue, and one will hop up to do the job. At this point, child number 3 is thanked and told to sit down and the one who is arguing is sent to do the job alone... and to find Hawaii on a map.

Monday, October 15, 2007

When I'm Not Knitting... and Towels

I love knitting! As a matter of fact, I love everything about knitting. Love it so much in fact, that I even love reading about it, finding new patterns, checking for yarn sales, filling internet baskets with yarn I won't buy, blogging about knitting, and especially... I love Ravelry. I love standing in the middle of a yarn store and touching all the yarn. Actually I have amazing stamina for this particular activity. Oh, and books. I love knitting books and feel compelled to own them all. Then I can enjoy gazing at the patterns and virtually shopping for yarn for my favorite patterns that I'll probably never knit.

So armed with an Amazon gift certificate, I just received these...

The sock book is a given because you know how hard it is to find good sock patterns and new ideas! And Inspired Fair Isle Knits was obviously a must considering what a big fair isle knitter I am! I mean, I have yarn in my stash for both fair isle socks and mittens. I'm just a bit too intimidated to get started.

On a more serious note though, I have to give a thumbs up to both of these books.

I knew I really didn't need another sock book as I already have a list of patterns I want to knit as long as my arm, but I'm not at all sorry that I ordered Vogue Knitting's The Ultimate Sock Book. In addition to some great patterns, it has pages of stitch options and a great history of sock knitting.

I ordered Inspired Fair Isle Knits because I had noticed that it contained some less-intimidating looking patterns as well. Again, I was not disappointed. The book is gorgeous and does offer a great selection of patterns knit with a variety of fibers including cotton (which is good news for those of us in warmer climates). Included with the more traditional wool sweaters, are a cotton tee with some fair isle touches to the trim, a full-on fair isle tank and more.

I particularly liked this sweater with it's flared sleeves. So classy. (Now I just need to hit the sale bins at the LYS where they are still clearing out a ton of dk merino.)

And wouldn't you just adore snuggling up in a ski lodge in this? (See... when it comes to knitting, I even have an imagination. Some day I'll tell you about the 2 whole times in my life I've been skiing.)

And this wrap. Talk about being wrapped in luxory. I'm not a big mohair fan, but this is just stunning!

And yeah... I know they're lousy pictures. But in my defense (1) I took photography in both high school and college and, despite my greatest efforts, never got higher than a C. (2) It was very gray and overcast when I went out at what I have found to be the best time of day to take pictures. We call this phenomena "weather" and are always most surprised by it. And (3) I would've waited until tomorrow but, well, I felt like doing it now.

Anyway, back in the real world, I've even managed to squeeze in a tiny bit of actual knitting. I love this Backyard Leaves pattern. (And see, I also got a one of those trendy little box bag things off Etsy. Love it!)

Now I'm going to go wash more towels. We never have clean towels. Ever. Although I wash towels all the time, this morning I had to dry off with a hand towel. Not a good way to start the day. The only upside is that I rarely have to fold them and put them away. I've found if I bring a load or two in and drop them on the recliner, they are all gone within 24 hours. Not that I make a habit of this... no, that wouldn't be right. At the very least, I am nagging my children to fold them and put them away during said 24 hours.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mail Call

Clementine is done. The 2 pieces have been grafted, ends woven in and ready for blocking. Whew! I don't mind waiting a few days to block... I still feel the sweet relief of a finished knit.

To top it off... just as I was finishing... before I even had time to think about what I was going to work on next... my Loopy Ewe package arrived! I am absolutely floored by these incredible colors.

From L. to R.

Fleece Artist Somoko in "Stone" - This is a merino/kid/nylon/silk blend that is too amazing to knit into socks! It really makes me want to knit some kind of shawl so I can wrap myself up in it.

Fiesta Boomerang in "Wild Oak" - Squish!

Chewy Spaghetti in "Boyish" - This is my first hank of CS and I am really amazed by the unique colors. There is nothing typical about any of the greens or blues in this yarn. They are deep and fabulous.

I also received some Blue Moon Socks that Rock in "Mist" that I picked up on the Destash board.

How about that. I finish a tedious knit and within moments have a lap full of gorgeous sock yarn. So you know what I did next!

I cast on for a scarf. Backyard Leaves from Scarf Style to be precise with Karabella Aurora 8 that I bought for it at least a year ago. But I did a lot of squishing and gazing at the new stuff throughout the day.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Bit of This and That

I'm still waffling between projects at the moment, unable to commit.

I wanted to cast on for Ene's Scarf from Scarf Style but since remembering that the Clementine Shawlette was still hibernating and (as far as I can remember) is my only current WIP (except for the 2nd Monkey which I'm choosing to ignore for now), I have felt the need to finish it before starting another lace project. Ugh! Since I've also realized that I'm unlikely to ever wear it myself, I think it's going to become a Christmas gift. Duty knitting... it's like walking the dog... I don't necessarily want to do it but will feel guilty if I don't.

I played around briefly with some Louet Sportweight Merino from my stash that I purchased for the Austrian Socks from Favorite Socks until I realized that the pattern started by making a 9 stitch/72 row i-cord which you connect then pick-up stitches from for the leg. The afore mentioned headache prohibited any possibility or desire of even considering such a thought. BTW - how long do you think a gal can knit an i-cord for a sock before she wonders why? You'd be surprised.

So I tried the above pictured Whitby Socks from Knitting on the Road. I'm using the recommended yarn (I think... with all the Louet changes between Gems and Pearl and whatnot I'm not entirely sure, but the weight and yardage match), my gauge is correct and I like the pattern... but it just doesn't seem to be knitting up right. The stitching seems to loose or something. Again, it could be the headache... but it just looks and feels so blah. Have you used this yarn? If so, does it feel better later? Does it just need to be washed? Did you like it?

Finally I cast on for Loopy Laces by Wendy Knits. I really get a kick out of knitting toe up socks (read "easily amused") and I love this pattern and the Lorna's Laces Sock yarn in Tuscany that I'm using. I just don't feel like working on them.

So... I figured the cure must lie in the Malabrigo resting in my basket and (with a nudge from a friend) I cast on for Mr. Greenjeans.

Meanwhile, I've had some money sitting in Paypal from some stash I sold recently. I was saving it for something good, something special, something carefully considered... I was proud of my commitment and the amazing self-restraint which enabled me to hang onto this money for almost a whole week! But as it turns out, I was merely saving it for today... for the Loopy Ewe (I may have a slight addiction issue here) and Etsy. It also turned out that I was a little short and needed to spend a bit more than I had put aside... you know... on the stuff... that I needed. The necessary stuff. Uh-huh. Yeah, there will be pictures.

Oh well, now that I have a variety of WIPs going and more yarn coming maybe I can return to my usual overly ambitious, under-productive self... and lest you think that knitting is the only area of my life in which I suffer from such distraction... I picked up a couple of books last week... you know, for some light reading in all my free time...

So far I'm on page 9 of The Robe. Oh yeah... things are happening here.

Actually I'm excited about this book. Not only does it look good, but Julie and km are reading it as well. Anyone else care to join us? Or at least join them... since I'm so busy you know. Sitting here.

Oh well, it's Tuesday... and all's well that ends with good TV, right?

PS... Now you have to click over to Yarnhog's blog and check out the Mom Song she has linked. It's worth your time. :)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Power of Indecision (& Headaches)

Floral Lace Anklets from Lace Style
Regia Silk
Magic Loop w/Knit Picks 32" size 0 circulars

Well, they're cute... I have no idea what I'll wear them with. No idea at all. But, again, they're cute... and finished... maybe I'll just need to find some new shoes. Shoes that you can wear with lacey little socks. I'm not sure I'd recognize them if I saw them... or want to wear them if I did. But aren't they cute?

In a rather surprising twist, I find myself with nothing else on the needles right now except for my House sock. Oh and my Clementine Shawlette. Of course there are at least a dozen things I'm dying to start but the decision is paralyzing me. Well, that and a splitting headache.

In more exciting news, my 8 year old has made his biggest decision of the year and picked out a Halloween costume...
Any guesses? :)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sneak Peeks

The highlight of my day....

This would be the first time I've ever had anything done in the way of hair coloring... well at least professional hair coloring. I've messed it up myself plenty of times... I've turned my hair orange and my bathroom purple more times than I'd care to admit. And once, with all of the care and wisdom that is inherently present in a teenage girl, I was even successful in completely stripping my hair of all (all) color leaving it a pale peachy white. (I would highly discourage anyone with short term memory issues to carry a commercial highlighter out of the local beauty supply store without detailed written instructions. And if you're under 20 and think you have a good memory, just trust me, the consequences are just too severe to rely on your memory alone.)

Aside from some shine, I really don't see much of a difference. I guess it's one of those so good, it looks natural things. My hair doesn't withstand the whole beauty treatment thing very well in general so I snapped a picture right away in the car hoping to capture the new* style before it collapsed... but once my hair has been conditioned, moussed, styled, and sprayed, it falls flat pdq.
*I use this term loosely since style changes in my case are usually limited to slight variations in length and layers.

Now I'm on a quest for just the right buttons...

I thought I found them today... they were black. Plain. Very black and plain. Probably the plainest black buttons I have ever seen. I like plain. There were, in a word, perfect... but in a number, $3.85 EaCh! I had to pass. I just couldn't spend more on buttons than I'd spend on a tee to wear under the garment.

I'm not a particularly picky person, but after finding the perfect buttons, I just couldn't settle for any of the fancier, funkier $1.10 buttons. So while Juliet soaks and blocks, I'll track down buttons.

Now I'm off to clean up the house (well sorta... that's kind of an expression I like to use for when I get up and move around) and take care of any loose ends (or missing children) so I'm ready for the best night of TV! Julie are you coming?

Monday, October 01, 2007


I'm here... but I really don't have anything to say. A very odd place to find myself in I assure you. So here's the low-down.

My love of my Minimalist Cardigan (even though the weather has limited me to carrying it around the house and occasionally fondling it), has encouraged me to go back and take another shot at Maris.

Nothing quite as exciting as the partially knit back of a sweater, eh?

How about a close up. More exciting?
No... guess not.

Juliet is almost done... Monkey 1 is done... and some more yarn from The Loopy Ewe came in the mail today. Is it just me or am I in a bit of a color rut?

I'm still not quite sure about my Monkey. I like the yarn... and I like the pattern... I'm just not sure I like them together. And now it's stretched out because, thinking that maybe I just needed a different perspective, I insisted on trying it on my 13 year old son's foot (don't tell anyone, he'll kill me) which, as it turns out, really is bigger than mine (fatter actually, but again, don't tell).

The Caribou & Champagne Louet Gems is for Eunny Jang's Anemoi Mittens (they will be smaller for carrying and fondling) and the Cherry Tree Hill was on sale. I think I demonstrated remarkable self control here.

Daniel says hello and snapped this picture for you of his favorite cars.
Yes, you are that special to him. :)

BTW - I'm opting out of the Aspen Top Down Sweater I was going to knit so I have a bag of the GGH Aspen for sale over on the destash board for a good price if anyone is interested. I could exchange it at the LYS but they don't have anything I'm really wanting right now so I thought I'd try to sell it first.