Friday, August 31, 2007


Ahhhh... My son's first scrimmage as a High School student! He's down there in one of those fine yellow shirts. Apparently their practice jerseys don't have numbers but fortunately my mother's intuition allowed me make a quick scan of those yellow jerseys with black helmets and quickly identify my son.

Okay, well my 13 yo son was a bit of a help... he knew what his brother's shoes looked like. Fortunately he was one of the few with white shoes... and even better, he had on tall black socks.

See him up there standing right next to the coach in the white shirt and red hat? So then all I had to do was keep my eyes on the shoe/sock combo so I could see him on the field pictured below... can you? He's a linebacker if that helps (wouldn't help me by the way).

No? Maybe this helps...

And that's all I watch... white shoes. Those white shoes made some great tackles today!

As for knitting... today I started the Retro Redux Shrug from the Lace Style. I've wanted to knit this since I first got the book but didn't know if it would be practical. Actually, I've wanted to knit a shrug for a long time but I kept thinking they were going to go out of style before I finished one. Not to mention the concern over whether or not I could pull one off. But when I found this new yarn by Berroco I figured I'd give it a go.

It's a nylon/acrylic blend, but feels wonderful. Very soft and squishy... and only $5.50 for 210 yds! So we'll see what becomes of the $11 shrug.

BTW - thank you for your compliments on the sock in my last post. The pattern is Floral Lace Anklets also from Lace Style.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A New Day, A New Year

Today was my oldest boy's first day of High School. Since he has been homeschooled his whole life with the exception of a brief stint in middle school, I felt that a picture was in order. Don't you just love that look of pure teen tolerance...

Donna was quick to ask what he thought of the day... He said it was boring. (Imagine that.) He has a block schedule so he has 3 classes each semester that meet for 1.5 hours each day followed by a couple hours of football practice. (I would go crazy myself.) He thinks it will be better when they're doing something in class instead of just listening to the teacher talk. I'm not sure what exactly he's expecting but I think he grossly underestimates the stamina of an enthusiastic teacher given a captured captive audience.

JoJo however, had quite a different perspective on his first day of Kindergarten...

The first day of the new school year is always a bit of a roller coaster for us. I've learned to have very low expectations because there's nothing worse than starting off a new year feeling like you'll never make it past the first day. I try to avoid the visions of cheerful children neatly working in workbooks and enthusiastic listeners sitting attentively at my feet while I read... so I'm not so freaked out by the reality of 5, now 4, boys sitting in a 300 sf room together while trying to keep their hands to themselves and their mouths shut.

I always try to start our morning with Bible time because I so want to have God's word in our hearts as we proceed through the day. It really sounds beautiful. But somehow an insane woman yelling at bewildered, babbling boys really shatters the impact of the message. (I admit this with great shame... but hoping desperately that I'm not alone here.) I will say that I have put great effort over the years into learning to expect their imperfect behavior and handle any interruptions and/or distractions with gentleness, firmness, grace... and a bag of lollipops for good behavior. (For those of you who have not figured this out yet, the character building we parents talk about so much is taking place in us much more so than in our children. Maybe they'll get it when they have their own kids.)

We kept things relaxed for the most part today but I got to have a great history discussion with my 8th grader and I was overjoyed with the enthusiasm and questions of sons 3 & 4 during our reading time. I'm going to add a list on the sidebar of books and curriculum we're using just for anyone who's interested or wants to share their experiences with same. (Don't worry, I have no intention of turning this into a daily homeschooling blog... nor do I plan to start a separate one... geesh... I do have a life after all... I think.)

And... I finished a sock.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm Blaming it all on Paypal

I tend to be a rather logical (note that this doesn't necessarily have to mean rational... although I am good at rationalizing), linear thinker. While this may sound practical, it can often lead me down a path that I wasn't quite expecting or prepared for. For example, the following selection of patterns came in the mail yesterday...

Both of the Lana Grossa booklets are full of cotton patterns (which is not necessarily great for knitting but good for our climate) and I happen to have quite a collection of cotton yarns. Cool.

So as I peruse the patterns, I hop on my laptop and begin to check out the specs on the suggested yarns and begin a mental search through my stash, checking out specs on yarndex and various websites, and even begin to make a list. At some point as I travelled down this path, it occurs to me that supposedly stash can be photographed and recorded on Ravelry. A couple of clicks later I find that, yes, it can... and not only that, it can be downloaded in spreadsheet form into Excel. I'm not even going to get into my love affair with spreadsheets. Suffice it to say that before I started knitting and discovered the vast time-sucking black hole we call the internet, I was certain that computers were invented solely for the delight of creating spreadsheets. Think what you will, but I am immune to your criticism on this point.

Anyway, I tend to avoid such large (possibly insane) tasks because I usually approach things with an all or nothing attitude (my still yellow kitchen would be an example of the nothing side), so this led to untold (not unknown, I'm just not willing to tell) hours photographing and recording my stash on Ravelry because once I started I couldn't walk away.

However, now that I am almost done (Flickr has limits on uploads so I need to wait until next month to finish the sock yarn), I can look at a glance and see which yarns I own might be potential subs for any pattern... and if I have enough of it. Whew! But I'm too tired to think about it tonight so I'll save the cool patterns for another day and another post and just get to the yarn from yesterday's mail.

Some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Denim and Natural for the IK Snowflake Socks...

A pleasant variety of mostly solids from The Loopy Ewe (hey, I had a gift certificate after all)...

L to R: Nature's Palette in Ripe Wheat, Lorna's Laces Sock in Old Rose, J.Knits in Pueblo, and Misty Mountain Farm Jubilee in Rainforest.

And, my biggest pure indulgence...

Duets Skinny in Chocolate Fantasy from A Swell Yarn Shop. And a close-up...


Personally, I'd like to take advantage of the opportunity we have as Americans today to be free from the responsibility of our own actions and blame my late night yarn binge on Paypal. I mean, what's with an online bank that offers me access to my own money at any hour of the day without any sort of field sobriety or fatigue test? Shouldn't they have some sort of trick questions to assess my ability to shop. You know... something like, "Is it a good idea to spend $5 on shipping for a single hank of yarn?" or "Are you feeling pressured to buy more yarn simply in order to meet the free shipping minimum?" Then, based on my answers they would be able to evaulate my emotional stability and restrict access to my funds as necessary, thereby assuming all responsibility for how I spend my own money.

While we're at... maybe Ravelry should impose a time limit on each user... bloglines too for that matter. Of course that would still leave me with sites like this where I found this too cool bumper sticker...

ETA: Lest you think I'm a horrible person, this is, of course, in reference to House.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Finished Top and More

It's been a big day for me here... huge I'm telling you!

For starters, I have a finished object to share!

However, after a bit of school work but before I was able to grab a photographer, I got an e-mail from an awesome and generous reader passing along a Ravelry invite! Friends... I am now on Ravelry. Don't even ask me what happened between the hours of 10 and 3 today... total time warp. After getting a bit more familiar with Flickr, I was able to get all of my socks onto my Ravelry page! I've knit a lot of socks this year! Just when I was feeling sure that I had found the absolute gold mine of all things knitted and my life would never be the same, I found... a message board for Ravelry members who love the show House! Could I possibly be more excited?

Please look me up if you're on Ravelry. Because I'm so wildly creative, my username is tammyknits.

Moving on, I managed to drag a teen away from x-box long enough for a quick photo shoot. (Actually, now that I think about it... nobody was supposed to be playing x-box today. Hmmm... wonder how they got away with that?) I really enjoyed this pattern and the finished top is soft, light, and colorful. While admittedly my skills as a model are lacking... I just don't have that sass factor, or balance for that matter... I still love the top.
It's not really as poochy in front as it looks... just think camera angle (and restless teen).

It called for Tubular Cast-Ons and Bind-Offs which give it a very nice finished look and were interesting to work once I got the hang of it. Overall it was a quick knit.

Jamaica Boatneck
(aka Pattern 28 from Katia No. 48)
Yarn: Katia Jamaica
Size 5 needles (I think)

I did take a brief Ravelry break when the mail arrived...

but these pictures will have to wait for tomorrow as I'm fairly certain that my computer is going to overheat and self-destruct soon.

But before I go, I just came across one other bit of way-too-cool news...
The Yarn Harlot is coming to Los Angeles!
September 15: Los Angeles California, 2pm, Los Angeles Public Library
Who's with me for that one? My car fits 8!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Headache

Have you ever had one of those really bad headaches that you just can't shake? Maybe the headache leaves you a little lethargic so you end up wasting hours of your day window shopping on the internet (of course a headache is not a prerequisite for this type of time vacuum). And then you finally get so fed up with the headache that you end up taking the rather strong pain medication that your doctor recently prescribed because you're a human barometer who suffers unbearably with any change in weather? Medication that seems to possibly impair your judgement just a wee bit.

You know what I mean right? Then suddenly it's 1 AM, pain medication and fatigue are teaming up against you, all sense of balance and reason have long gone to bed... and enter Paypal. No wallet to find, no ability to judge value, just a password to remember. Funny how I never forget that password.

At any rate, the headache was Thursday night so I'm figuring that this week will be a good week for mail... which will make for some fun blogging... and probably at least a fair amount of guilt. Oh well, you gotta take the bad with the good right?

In other news, the 3rd season of House came out on DVD last week. Yay! So we've been working our way through those. He's been really mean in a few of them (as opposed to his usual charmingly sarcastic self) so I'm feeling a bit disappointed in him. Hopefully he pulls himself together and goes back to his sexy shocking self soon.

And... I finished my Katia top! I love it... but I'll have to post pictures tomorrow.

PS... This post obviously has nothing to do with JoJo but he felt that it was important that I include the picture of him with his first very own Star Wars Lego guys.

Oh, as for Ravelry... it may be awhile...

Found you!
You signed up on June 30, 2007
You are #11680 on the list.
1408 people are ahead of you in line.
17038 people are behind you in line.
35% of the list has been invited so far

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Brunch is Served!

This was really more of like a lazy, too-late-for-breakfast, actually even past lunch time meal... but that's not the point. My Wy-Guy loves to cook. Can you believe it? Well, I'm sure some of you can because it's my understanding that some people actually do like to cook. I'm not one of those. Actually, the fact that he likes to cook suggests an even greater gap in our genetic make-up than his blonde hair.

Anyway, he made this entirely on his own and served it to me for lunch/brunch/whatever... and I was very proud. So proud that I had to share... but you must ignore my yellow cabinets in the background. We've been wanting to paint them for 14 years but we keep optimistically believing that we are going to remodel the entire kitchen at any moment so why bother. Just picture them in a nice maple, 'kay?

Here is the first of my Claudia's Handpainted Sport Shorts socks. I used 1 hank and a little bit left over (maybe enough for another 1/2" or so). I got just the length I wanted.

I used a slipped stitch rib from Sensational Knitted Socks. It looks a little sloppy in this picture... but it doesn't bother me so it's staying. (Maybe it will block out??)

I love the neat little toe and now that I've done it once, the 2nd one was a snap to cast on for. I have such a sock crush right now. I'm sure it's the variety of colors and patterns that can be knit in a relatively quick time. But it's still odd considering the fact that I haven't been able to wear a sock I've knit all summer. Oh well... maybe I'll knit tank tops all winter.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

And She Knits! (A Little)

Thank you all so much for your encouraging comments and for sharing in our celebration!

And now that you've indulged my trip to the beach and tales of home life, here is some actual knitting.

Finished "Steelers" Socks

Black & Gold are the team colors for our local high school and youth football teams. My kids may not think much of these socks... but I know I'm going to be the envy of all the other moms!

Yarn: Claudia's Handpainted Sock in "Steeler" Colorway from the Loopy Ewe
Needles: Size 1 Knit Picks via Magic Loop
Pattern: Simple K3P1 rib
Cast On: 60 stitches

Claudia's Handpainted is one of my absolute favorite yarns. Not only is a pleasure to knit with but the colors are simply stunning.

Last night I cast on for another pair in sport weight (also from The Loopy Ewe - my current obsession). I wasn't sure about how long I wanted to make these so I decided that I would give the toe-up pattern from Interweave another chance. Here's the good and the bad so far...

Good: I found this cast-on which I think is much easier than the one in the magazine.

Good: I like getting the long boring foot-work out of the way so I can look forward to the leg.

Good: The short-row heel is much quicker than the standard heel.

Bad: I had to work the heel 3 times to get it neat enough (although this may be due to the heavier yarn). Pictured is my 1st try. I did get it a bit tighter than this.

Good: On size 2 needles it's knitting up quickly.

Great: The yarn! The colors (Blue Terra-Cotta) are amazing. I've been mesmerized just watching each strip of color appear. Rust, pumpkin, orange, pink, raspberry, blue, green, purplish brown, gold, pale yellow... I know it sounds just awful but it's amazing! I am so appreciating my new glasses so I can enjoy it in all it's glory. I just wish I could get a photo that really captured the colors.

Bad: I have no idea how the leg is going to fit yet... or how I'm going to like the finished sock with the short row heel... and I love the yarn too much to have it be less than wonderful when it's done. My, my, a sock yarn that has me willing to frog... it must be love.

I've also put in some time on my Katia top. I know it looks funky in this picture but the boatneck is a bit hard to photograph without a model. Actually, I think I'm really going to like it. But again... I'm worried about size. It seems small... even the depth of the sleeves seems small. Yet I keep going. Since I usually make the mistake of overestimating my size, I figure I'd better stick with the pattern. Oh well, only time will tell.

As you have most likely noticed, I've been accumulating quite a collection of sock yarn lately... and have been investing most of my knitting time in socks as well. I love having the variety of colors and textures at my fingertips. So far Claudia's has got to be my favorite... but I have many more to try!

What's your favorite sock yarn? And if you don't knit socks... well, you really should! :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


This post is a bit off the subject, but I just had to share...

At the beginning of June, DH found out that the industrial complex where he leased his shop space had been sold and all the tenants would have to be out by August 1st. This would be a hassle under any circumstances, but DH owns an auto repair shop and constant city re-zoning has made finding a suitable (or even acceptable) location possible. He looked in the surrounding communities as well, but shy of buying land and actually building a shop in one of like two available locations, he had hit a dead end.

We spent about 6 weeks hitting dead end after dead end and really having no idea what God's plan was for us... but we held onto the faith that He did in fact have one.

As August 1st drew nearer and nearer, DH struggled deeply with the reality that he may have to give up the thriving business he had built, and began to look into other options. With a son starting high school we didn't really want to move, but without many local job opportunities, we became quite stumped. Yet we knew that God was not stumped. So we kept praying and DH kept pursuing every option he could conceive of.

Towards the end of July, DH found somebody who had an auto repair business he wanted to sell. An established business, in a better location, in a better facility... and the money became available to us through a family trust to embrace this new challenge thereby not only securing a new location but increasing the size of his business as well.

Today he became the official owner of the other shop and it is his first day at his new location!

And I just wanted to praise God.

(Knitting later... I promise.)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Day at the Beach

I'm not a beach person. So even though we live 12 miles as the crow flies from the coast, we rarely go there. It's all the sand mostly... and while it always annoyed me on my towel and in my food (you can't keep it out) to begin with, once I started having children, it became a real hassle. Sand in their mouth, rolling in sand, throwing sand, more sand on me, sand in my car, and sand in the tubs at home. And as they got older, I not only had to deal with the one rolling in sand and eating bugs, but also had to keep track of the ones venturing out into the waves... becoming one of the countless heads bobbing up and down in the surf. And of course, once I, with great relief, track down the bobbing heads that belong to me, I turn around to find that the little sand monger has wandered off. Panic! This would usually be followed by a blessedly quick search ending with the discovery of him plunging his sand encrusted hand into a stranger's bag of chips. Geesh... a gal can only handle so much.

Well, back in February, I signed up to help with a beach event for our homeschool group figuring that it would get us to the beach at least once this summer. Of course I didn't want to go when the time came and my husband was tied up at work, so I set off alone with the boys who, for reasons that I'm sure were merely to torment me, didn't want to go either. (Of course JoJo still wanted to go... heck it's sandbox heaven for a 4 year-old.)

However, in spite of our lack of enthusiasm, we ended up having a good time.

My 8 year old, who wouldn't even swim in a big pool until this summer, was eager to check out the water...

I don't think he's ever even been willing to get his feet wet at the beach before so he took his time checking it out...

Cautiously, he got a bit wetter...

Then he went for it... and had a blast.

Son #2, who didn't have any friends there much as he has suspected, has the sweetest servant's heart. After a good swim, he spent hours playing cheerfully in the sand with JoJo.

Check out that white skin... the boy sunburns like crazy! In spite of several layers of SPF 50, he still has a few blotches of sunburn.

I would've taken a picture of my oldest son (the one who usually loves the beach more than any of us)... but somehow a teen sulking in the shade was a bit of a downer. Personally, I think it was withdrawals from all the football and Little League World series coverage on TV.

But would you believe that I actually enjoyed it?! The kids had fun (my teen eventually joined in a volleyball game) and I got to kick back and relax with some other women. Not too bad. Maybe we'll go again soon... next summer is only 10 months away.

ETA: Apparently it was quite an exhausting day too. I just found this picture on my camera...

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Other You

I imagine when you're shopping you are drawn to certain styles... I'm talking about fashion mainly. You may prefer tailored, trendy, high fashion, casual, exotic, classy, etc... but whatever you call it, you probably have a definitive style.

But are you ever repeatedly drawn to another style... one you know just isn't you. You know what I mean. It's the style you bought when you were out shopping one day and decided to just give into that one item... maybe if you're conservative, it's a sparkly gauze gypsy style top or a trendy tight tee with pirate skulls on it... that you are just sure is going to spice up your wardrobe. You know, it's the one item that hangs in your closet repeatedly rejected as you feel you are never quite able to pull it off.

For me it's always the casual layered look. Maybe a cute little skirt with a casual tee and some beads and hip sandals. I like the look that says... I just grabbed this out of my closet... and oops maybe the t-shirt doesn't match perfectly but don't I look positively pulled together? I even have a variety of skirts of varying lengths in my closet as evidence of this appeal.. but the problem is... I never wear skirts and I just feel frumpy when I go for the look I love on others. I would love to wear a flirty little sundress with a handknit shrug... but I won't. I know it's all in my head... simply a matter of self perception... but I'm just a jeans and t-shirt kinda gal. I like cotton... refuse to iron (this alone rules out a variety of wardrobe choices)... and feel way too girly in flirty little skirts and dresses. Silly I know. But I bet at least some of you know what I mean.

Anyway, take a look at the gal with the lacy socks from Lace Style pictured above. I cast on for those socks today on a whim... the Regia Silk is very pleasant to knit with and I like the pattern... but, really, what am I going to do with cute little lacy socks? I'd like to picture myself wearing a cute little sundress or even the casual white skirt that's tucked in my closet, with a relaxed light blue tee and these socks... with... what? Some little flats I suppose.

But see... here's me. Even with a good shaving of the legs, I'm not going to pull of the look. I'm just a no frills gal. I mean are accessories really necessary? So maybe the socks will get a chance with one of my pairs of pocketed capris and a tee and... sneakers? Oy.

Maybe this is why I have all boys... 'cause I'm going to feel totally comfortable sporting these with my levi's to the football games this fall. Yes, I admit it.. I'm a fashion disaster. But I guess it works for me.

What's hiding in your closet?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Things I've Learned in the Last 2 Days...

1) When your 13 yo son is at the hospital awaiting x-rays and blood work for persistent, yet not-specific, abdominal pain and he asks you what it could be... he doesn't really want to know. Based on his reaction to my list of options (which were many and creative and mostly inspired by House), I'm guessing that he was actually looking for reassurance as opposed to a differential diagnosis (as I liked to imagine I was giving).

2) When an expert like Amy Singer suggests that cotton yarn should never be pulled from inside the skein but instead, unraveled from the outside... she knows what she's talking about... and it applies to the 2nd and 3rd skeins as well as the first.

3) It can take almost as long to unravel a tangle of cotton yarn as it does to knit half a sweater.

4) When the optometrists suggests that you get progressive glasses, it is not because you are so hip and ahead of the times that you need glasses that have progressed beyond what the average person should wear. No. Progressive just sounds a heck of a lot better than "You're old and need tri-focals."

This leads to the discover that "progressive" lenses require a larger surface area thereby eliminating all the cute, hip glasses and moving one into the "classic/traditional" section. This, however, can hardly be disputed as hip has never been a word associated with my style anyway.

5) Two hours at Lenscrafters is a long time for an energetic, inquisitive and highly creative 8 yo. After 2 hours of strange behavior (even for him) including countless questions and frequent gasps of "Those look horrible!" "Oh! Those are just awful!" "These prices are ridiculous!" "It would never take me this long to pick out glasses!" He was finally subdued by the long awaited opportunity to sit in a spinning chair.

Later that evening he boasted to Dad about his imitation of House in Lenscrafters. He was apparently trying to indulge me since his brother had not wanted to play along the day before.

6) I love my new glasses! Hip or not, I have achieved my passionate goal of being able to sit on my bum reading, knitting, and watching TV without losing my focus when making these drastic transitions. My life is complete.

And btw, my 13 yo is doing just fine. Apparently fear is a great cure for whatever was ailing him.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Finally Ready to Jaywalk

After 8 months in the making, I finally have a pair of Jaywalkers.

It was a great pattern and beautiful yarn (Claudia's Handpainted but I have no idea what color), it was just one of those singles that got set aside in pursuit of other obsessions. Note: I wanted a picture of the socks stepping off the curb onto the street as if to, you know, jaywalk... but creative disputes with my 10 yo photographer quickly wore me down into quiet submission.

I suppose I should've concluded my last post with this follow-up picture offering proof that no children were harmed during the highly professional removal of my son's cast.

More socks on the needles. Hoping to Monkey around soon! (You know everybody's doing it!)Now off to eat pizza.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Waiting to Jaywalk

I've been waiting to post until I finished my second Jaywalker. Each day I optimistically think I'll be done by the end of the day but... it's just not happening. Paperwork, lesson plans, laundry, and friends (you know... those non-knitting friends) have kept me busy. And non-knitting life is really quite boring... and not at all why you're here... or why I blog.

However, in a few minutes of perusing, I did find several patterns I like over at Kpixie.

From Blue Sky...

From Lana Grossa...

I'm absolutely crazy about the sweater but it wouldn't be cheap... I'll need to wait for a big ol' sale to knit that one. The cabled tee on the other hand, I could knit with some Calmer or Svale from my stash. I'd actually like to knit it in the round and could probably get something close without a pattern... I'm just not big on the whole trial and error thing.

Anyway, on the home front... repeated delays at the docs office led DH to take things into his own hands with the Wy Guy's cast. I've come a long way. There's a time when I would have never allowed this (I like to think I have some control) and now I'm taking pictures.

Nothing says trust like a dad with a buzz saw.

Friday, August 10, 2007

There's No Place Like Home

As much as I enjoy a good vacation, I really like being at home too. We had a great time and the kiddos are sufficiently worn out. Actually, that's just wishful thinking on my part... they should be wiped out, but they are stubbornly more resilient than I am. Following is a picture heavy post of our vacation...
This is my friend's home.

It's a private water ski lake, so it wasn't crowded at all. There was only one other family out there training for nationals next week. Two of my friend's children also compete, so it was fun to watch the practice runs.
The boys enjoyed some canoeing...
Lots of tubing...

Yeah, I know what you're thinking... good thing the cast is waterproof.

And my oldest tried his skills on the wake skate. (He's much more coordinated than I will ever be.)

Of course, this can get tiring...

As for me... what did I do? A little of this...
And a little of that...

Now off to tackle laundry and data entry for our school paperwork. But first I must find a good movie to subdue my wired children.