Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Do You Like Surprises?

I don't.

Now, I'm not talking about little surprises like a check or hank of yarn in the mail. No, I'm talking big surprises... like surprise parties, or surprise vacations, or surprise out-of-town guests, or surprise plans... or changes in plans for that matter.... actually I'm not that big on change of any kind but we'll stick to my issues with surprises for now.

My husband once planned a wonderfully perfect weekend getaway and surprised me with the news over candlelight and champagne the night before we were supposed to leave. My resulting panic attack was clearly not the reaction he was looking for and I still feel bad that it didn't even occur to me to appear excited.

Anyway, travelling necessarily involves both change and, if you are doing so with 4 boys, surprises. And as I mentioned before, I don't travel well to begin with. I arrived at the airport with my online receipt and had to wait in line for an open ATM-type machine to get our boarding passes. This is where I discovered that our seats were scattered individually between rows 3 and 40. While this really wasn't a problem for me, I had a feeling it would leave at least a couple other passengers less than pleased. Based on this knowledge, I decided not to panic (huge step on my part) and figured that the flight attendants and other passengers would be accommodating. (They were.)

We then proceed to the mile long security line. For some reason that whole process always makes me nervous. I don't know why. I've never tried to get anything more dangerous than my knitting needles on an airplane... and I had all my liquids/gels/pastes in little less-than-3oz containers gathered together in a quart size plastic bag, but I always step through that gate with fear that some unknown metal object is going to set off the alarm resulting in detention and a strip search where we discover it's the safety pin holding my bra together. No, I don't actually have a safety pin holding my under garments together but I do have an exceptional imagination for things that can go wrong in an airport.

Then there are the other members of my travelling party... the younger, more carefree, more fearless, more curious members... no make that member of my little clan. The one who entertains himself by doing things like hiding in the refrigerator while I'm carrying in groceries so he can "surprise" me when I open it to put food away. (Yes, we had the lecture... and yes, you can thank me for not posting that picture - yeah I took one - for fear of giving any of your dear children naughty ideas.)

This fedora clad chap had never been in an airport before and was apparently curious at the effectiveness of airport security... more specifically, he was curious to know if his i-pod would really set off the system if he carried it through in his pocket. It did. And yes, once I had regained my composure and rid myself of the images of them discovering a safety pin in his hopefully clean underwear (which he doesn't have either... the safety pin I mean), we had the airline security lecture as well. Then I took a couple, uh, Tylenol and prepared myself for the next 5 hours of travel.

I've let him play a lot of X-box over the last few days just to avoid surprises for a while.

And I've knit a bit. Here are my 4th pair of socks for the Summer of Socks 2008.

Spring Forward

Spring Forward Socks
South West Trading Company TOFUtsies - Color 730 (pink)
Size 0 Knit Picks circular Magic Loop

These may be my favorite pair ever. I can actually imagine knitting this pattern again. The yarn was a bit splitty, but I love the finished result. I also found it worked well for this pattern because it was thinner than many of my other sock yarns which kept turning out too big in this pattern.

Next up...


A Swell Yarn Shop Skinny Duet in "Royal Tenor"

I'm knitting these while reading The Shack by William P. Young. Not sure what I think so far... about the book I mean... I love the socks.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mail Call

Well, I may not have done much damage on my birthday shopping spree, but the mailman hasn't forgotten me. See, I've been doing a bit of "reinvesting" and here's what I have to show for it so far.

Today I received this lovely package from Sonny & Shear.

Sonny & Shear order

Claudia's Handpainted SockMiss Babs Yummy

They do such a lovely job of packaging their orders that you feel like it's a gift even if you've ordered it for yourself. I got a hank of wonderfully soft Miss Babs Yummy Monochrome in "Verdegris", some Claudia's Handpainted in "Shells on the Beach", and a couple of Cookie A. patterns. (Since this is, as you know, the summer of socks!) Along with the beautifully wrapped yarn, I received a few tea-bags and a note from Kris. Very sweet!

For some time now, I have been admiring the work of Ruth at Knitting on Impulse. She uses her nature photographs as an inspiration in choosing colors for her hand-dyed yarn. After oohing and aahing for months, I finally (in the midst of pre-travel anxiety and a slight misunderstanding of currency conversion) placed an order. I'm so glad I did!

Impulse of Delight

The green yarn is a 2-ply Bluefaced Leicester called "New Spruce 2". It is super soft and will most likely become a lacy scarf. The other is a Superwash Sock yarn called "Summer Grass". She comes up with tempting new colors frequently as well as plenty of beautiful photography.

Thanks for all your kind birthday wishes!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

We Tried...

We tried so hard!

As Julie was so kind to point out on her blog, today is my birthday. Taking advantage of the excuse for frivolous yarn shopping, we headed off to Santa Monica to check out a couple of the fun shops we rarely get to visit.

Julie treated me to a delicious lunch and we explored every nook and cranny of a couple of wonderful shops. We drooled over a wall of Koigu, piles of sock yarns, and fondled a beautiful, snuggly Flower Basket Shawl knit using Trekking and Filatura Di Crosa Superior (a cashmere/sik blend that looked like mohair) held together.

But we didn't buy anything. Can you even believe it? We couldn't. Still can't.

We made one more stop on the way home where I immediately spotted Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in the new color Franklin's Panopticon. Just what I'd been wanting. It was the only yarn I purchased. (Although they had some bamboo that was to die for... not sure I'll forget about soon enough to keep me away.)

And awaiting me at home...

Keurig & Lorna's

The perfect coffee maker! Yay me!

BTW - Addicted to knitting has some beautiful yarns she's giving away in a contest on her blog. Check it out!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Summer of Socks #3

Summertime Roll Socks

Zen String Serendipity Sport
"Summertime Roll"
Magic Loop w/Size 2 KP Options

I had forgotten how fast sportweight socks knit up. I've got to dig through my stash for some more because these made a great travel and reading knit.

I was delighted to discover the arrival of the new Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn at our LYS today. The colors are amazing... so many to choose from and, like most Noro yarns, the color scheme can look totally different depending on which color is on the outside.


Today I felt like playing it safe. Plus I love the beiges and know it will go with so much. Someday. When I knit socks with it.

I picked up the Knitscene primarily for Wendy's Opulent Raglan. I love the cabled front and flared sleeves. But I won't be knitting it until my summer of socks and lace is complete. Most likely.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

And of Course there was Knitting

These were my travel socks.

Zen Sport Socks

I cast on and knit the ribbing on the first one before we left but the rest was knit during travel times... in the air or on the ground. I grafted the toe of the first one and cast on for the second one in the Dallas airport before we boarded to come home and knit all the way home. Sportweight sock yarn is great for the ego!

I also just finished my first Spring Forward sock.

Spring Forward Socks

Now to be completely honest, this was a total bandwagon knit, however, I absolutely love it! It knits up quickly (or at least kept my interest), even with the fine yarn and size 0 needles. The TOFUtsie yarn can be a bit splitty but it feels great knit up. It's going to be a perfect pair of socks for our warmer weather.

As a treat, DH took me by a Dallas yarn store, The Shabby Sheep, for a quick visit. It was a very friendly shop and after chatting with the owner for a few moments, we realized she was from my hometown! Her brother actually went to the same high school as me! Anyway, she had a lovely collection of Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 that had been especially dyed in colors selected by people in the shop. I chose her color, Rhonda...

Fleece Artist Merino 2/6

A perfect Texas momento.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Whirlwind Weekend

I'm still too tired for too many words, so here's our weekend in pictures...


That's alotta boys!


There's something about a swimming pool that brings peace and harmony between brothers. It warms my heart to watch the older ones take care of young JoJo (as opposed to, you know, torturing him).

No trip to Dallas would be complete without a visit to the JFK Sixth Floor Museum.
JFK Sixth Street Museum

The museum was very moving and, of course, just being in such a historical place had a very profound impact on me. My guys are standing on the Grassy Knoll with the Book Depository (& museum) behind them.

But here is what I really wanted to share...

Dallas Wedding

We clean up pretty good don't we? Notice Swallowtail in action? I really enjoyed wearing it and it was the perfect accent for a rather plain black dress.

I was so proud of my boys... they behaved well and we danced all night. It was, without a doubt, the most fun wedding I've ever been to. Unlike some weddings where the dance floor is slow to fill, this floor filled almost immediately and these young people knew how to dance! Quickly a group of cheering onlookers gathered to cheer on one of the dancers. I squeezd my way into the circle to get a peek...

Wedding - JoJo

Uh... do I know him? *blush* (What can I say... he learned all his moves from Troy.)

All that swimming, sightseeing, and dancing left us worn out and ready to come home.
Loopy w/JoJo

Loopy and one completed sock were ready as well.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Texas Treat

Just a quick note from Texas:

The trip has been great... everything has gone smooth so far (Praise God!) and we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves. I'm hoping to visit a popular LYS today or tomorrow and am anxious to share more pictures with you later.

But for now, this delicacy from the reception really stands alone.


Have you ever seen mashed potatoes served like this before? They had a whole mashed potatoes table set up with all the fixin's.

Finally, potatoes getting the respect they deserve!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Good to Go

In case you wondered what I meant when I said "I don't travel well," in my last post, let me clarify. Think "basket case". Any clearer?

Actually, with the last minute relief of 4 extra days to prepare, I'm feeling pretty good. And I'm still so relieved that I'm not driving that I haven't even started thinking about the whole chaos of airports and airplanes with young children.

But I have thought about yarn, of course, and what I will take.

1)An interesting, addictive little sock.

Spring Forward

Spring Forward from the Summer Knitty with TOFUtsie sock yarn.
I needed to find something really thin for this sock since the 66 stitch count was too big for me with the other yarn I tried.

2) A plain stockinette sock because one should always travel with some stockinette on hand.


Zen Serendipity Sport in Summertime Roll

3) Something new to cast on. A little spice just for fun.


Rivolo by Anne Hanson. It was love at first sight... and perfect for the Handmaiden "Smoke" Casbah I have been wanting to use. Or possibly my "Stone" Somoko. Maybe I should bring both...

Of course, I also have a good mystery and the pod.


Oh! And my mom made this beautiful shawl pin for me to wear with my Swallowtail Shawl to the wedding.


Good to go. For now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Travel Plans

Back in January, we found out that our oldest niece was getting married in July (that would be this July) in Texas (that would be 1500 miles from here). This was going to be a big family occasion and we knew immediately (back in January) that we would all be attending as a family. Of course we wanted to figure out the most cost effective way to get there... and we had to consider my husband's work schedule and my oldest son's football schedule (apparently the world stops spinning if you miss a week of football practice in the summer).

With all the cheerfulness and rationale that my perfected state of denial allows me to muster, I offered to drive our 4 younger boys the 1500 miles each way, so my husband could fly out for the weekend with our oldest.

Based on his years of experience in dealing with my intense travel anxieties that round out my completely lovable personality, DH says to me, "Hon, you say you want to do this now... but you know you'll freak out when the time comes to leave."

"Oh no!" I reply, "I can do this. Really. It will be fine!" (It is reflections like this that make me painfully aware that the surface me really does not know the inner me one tiny little bit because the reality is... I don't travel well. At all.)

Not long after this, my dental trauma began which totally distracted me from the upcoming trip. Last Wednesday, the day after I had my root canal it was brought to my attention in casual conversation that we would be leaving on Monday for Texas. "This coming Monday?!" I exclaimed. Yes, this coming Monday... as in less than a week... only 5 days away. This was seriously shocking to me and clearly nowhere near enough time to prepare for a 2 week trip that involves haircuts and formal wear in addition to the normally required packing and planning.

By Friday morning, I awoke in a panic of things that needed to be done. Then came the very real thoughts of what it's like to be in a hotel room with 4 boys. The confinement, the noise, the jumping on beds... then there's the bathroom stops, fighting, and whining in the car. So I did what any reasonable woman would do, I got up and began looking at airline prices.

Right away I found 5 non-stop tickets (with the return flight being the same as DH's!) for under $1500! With gas prices, I wasn't going to be able to drive for less so I jumped up and down, called my husband, yelled at my kids to get in the car (haircut appts.), begged them to get clothes for #5, waited for my husband to call me back, yelled at the kids WHO WERE NOT MOVING again, and finally ran them down the street, dropped them off for haircuts and rushed back home. The tickets were gone. GONE!

Obviously, the only thing to do now was to spend the next 5 hours bitterly searching ticket prices hoping another miracle flight would appear while growing increasingly cranky and stressed.

Fortunately for me, my husband is willing to put up with me a man of great patience and flexibility so... we are all flying now... different airplanes, different airlines, and landing in different airports... but flying none the less. I was so relieved that I was able to get a good night's sleep before I woke up Saturday morning worrying about suitcases and carry-ons getting lost. DH has assured me that he will take all the suitcases with him... that I only needed to bring my purse and the kids. (And the airline tickets... and yes, I'm worried about remembering those too.)

So I was also able to relax enough this weekend to finish a pair of socks.

Grumperina Dublins

Dublin Bay Socks
LL Sock in "Grumperina"
Size 1 Magic Loop w/Knit Picks Options
Cast on 64 Stitches

Now I must return to my pre-travel state of being distracted by everything but getting nothing done. You would not believe the enormous amount of energy this involves!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Setting Sail


I've mentioned Zac Sunderland before... and by now you may have heard about him on the news... but you truly need visit the link below and see what he's been up to. He just arrived in Hawaii after leaving So Cal three weeks ago. Why 3 weeks? Because at the mature age of 16, he's attempting to be the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

16... can you even imagine?! I have a 16 year old... and while I'm very relieved that he is no longer trying to ride his bike off the roof, I'm a bit concerned that he just figured out that the movies on the wall at Blockbuster are arranged in alphabetical order.

Zac also happens to be a great kid... mature, polite, helpful... all the things mother's pray for in a young man.

Please visit his blog and support him with your encouragement and prayers. I know both mean a lot to him as his journey really just begins.

You can find out more about him at his main website too.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Just Another Day

Well I survived the root canal yesterday. Actually I did more than survive, it really wasn't so bad. Yes, it was very long and very uncomfortable, but not nearly as bad as the pain I've been dealing with. Today my gums are a little sore but that's it! Yay! (I actually thought for a moment what a funny picture it would be of me in the dentist chair but decided against asking the dentist to take a picture. Sorry.)

Anyway, thanks for all your encouragement and prayers!

Today started out peaceful... until the boys woke up. Then my friend called because there was a rattlesnake on her back porch. These type of calls get relayed through me to DH who then dashes from work to rescue our friends and the snake.

Well the boys heard the phone call and insisted on joining the adventure. Even though I stalled a bit, we got there before my husband and my 11 year old son was out of the car before I had even come to a complete stop. He is quite the snake hunter himself, yet knows to stay away from rattlers and has called DH the few times he's seen them. But apparently this one had just started to slither off into some bushes and my friend was afraid it would get away so he felt the need to act fast.

By the time I walked into the back yard, he had a 4 foot rattlesnake pinned behind the head with a 5-6 foot pole and boy was it mad. So mad in fact that he couldn't just let it go so he was stuck there until DH arrived about 5 minutes later. I was so... so proud... so nervous... so completely freaked out... that I forgot to take a picture. Sorry again. (DH, btw, couldn't be prouder.)

Before DH returned to work, he took a moment to "play" with the tarantula my friend had found in her bathtub and decided to keep as a pet. (Just so you know, I find all this snake/spider behavior just a bit more than bizarre myself.) Once again, I forgot to take a picture. I hope you can forgive me for all the fascinating pictures that I haven't shown you today.

Maybe this will help...

Colinette Jitterbug

It's nothing at all like I described it, is it Julie? Apparently my vision was impaired by the noisy ladies at the yarn store last weekend. I thought it was more green and purple than blue... but I was seeing red at the time so that could explain some of it.

Monday, July 07, 2008

On a More Positive Note...

I also love Amazon... and these 2 books that came in the mail today. Actually, I've only had a chance to look through one, so today I'll show you a bit from The Eclectic Sole.


For starters, I love the blue and gold sock on the cover! (Although as a Buckeye fan, I would most definitely have to choose different colors.)

Here's a peek at some of the wonderful designs inside.

The Eclectic Sole The Eclectic Sole The Eclectic Sole The Eclectic Sole The Eclectic Sole

I must start knitting faster!

Thanks for allowing me to vent yesterday. I'm going to take Yarnhog's advice and keep my participation in Ravelry limited to knitting related interests, lest my pesky brain get all in a dither when it could be used for knitting instead.

BTW - My root canal is scheduled for 10:30 tomorrow morning... and a good friend has kindly offered her couch (and childcare assistance) for my wimpy rear to rest on following the procedure. I have really been blessed with some wonderful friends... and I would be remiss if I didn't thank Julie again for her (hastily accepted) invitation to spend yesterday afternoon watching House DVDs on her couch. Blessed I tell you... blessed!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rambling and Venting Ahead

I love blogging. I love meeting so many interesting people and the new friends I've made. I get ridiculously thrilled when I find somebody who shares a common point of view or quirk (especially quirk), and I have also enjoyed a couple of respectful discussions on points of difference with people who I otherwise might have never had a chance to sit down and chat with, or get to know better... people who I also now consider my friends.

Sometimes I'm just all full of blogging love.

I think it is mostly because there seems to exist, at least in the majority of knitting blogs, a respect for their guests. The "hot topics" of religion and politics tend to be ignored, downplayed, or at least respectfully approached, and ideas are shared without name calling or ridicule. This gives us a chance to get to know each other as people... not just as labels. Ugh... I'm struggling with phrasing here, but, maybe since so much of my time is spent with children, other SAHMs and my like-minded friends, I really love how blogging has expanded my social circles to include such a variety of fascinating people.

And then comes Ravelry. I LOVE Ravelry! The organization, the creativity, the patterns, the ability to see every Clapotis that has ever been knit! Priceless! And there are groups (forums) for everything (and I do mean everything) on Ravelry. I have met some wonderful people there too... and that seemed like fun at first too.

But something is making me sad.

While the forums provide a great opportunity to unite with other people who share your interests (from significant to trivial), it seems to me that they end up breeding a lot more division than unity. And I think that's a shame. There is something less personal about the message board or forum format that seems to make people feel they can check their manners at the door. I actually stopped visiting homeschooling forums years ago for this very reason. People (especially in the general forums) just get downright rude... and not only that, I find people visiting groups just to insult or disagree with the members. Why? I mean really... why?!

The real kicker was a visit I made to an LYS yesterday only to endure a gathering of women who raucously discussed a variety of topics (including politics) with very little concern for the other shoppers in the store. Now don't get me wrong... I am in no way offended by the political views of others... but when insults and condescending remarks have to be thrown into the mix, I think it's just rude. They even started making fun of other Ravelry groups. Hello! You're in a yarn store... do ya think you might be insulting somebody standing next to you?

So, sadly, my illusion of knitting unity and love has been shattered. Sniff.

And my tooth is infected and needs a root canal... or so my dentist informed me when I called him today with unmanageable pain. Now I have antibiotics and "House meds" as my friend up north calls them. So if I sound cantankerous... or don't make sense, that may be why. At least we'll go with that, 'kay?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sidetracked by Socks

So I noticed that most of you agree that, assuming all other valuables were secure, your finished knits would be sacrificed in favor of your stash. Isn't it funny that we spend so much time and energy on a project only to abandon it upon completion (or sometimes in the middle) for a new ball of yarn? I'm glad it's not just me.

Anyway, I finished my first pair of SOS socks a couple of days ago.

Speedway Socks

Speedway Socks
Chameleon Colorworks Bambino in "Klee"
Size 0 Magic Loop

Feeling like I'm on a bit of sock knitting roll now, I grabbed some more sock yarn and picked a couple of patterns. Yes, a couple... way start one pair when you can start 2?

I started with Cat Bordhi's Spring Thaw socks from the new Knitter's ______ . I quickly learned a few things.

1. Cat is an absolute genius and knitter extraordinaire.

2. I am not.

3. My ability to comprehend and follow instructions is greatly impaired by pain. (My toothache is back with a vengeance.)

Cat's perfectly designed toe called for a variety of 6 different increases, depending on row and side. While I have moments of tenacity when it comes to such things, yesterday was void of such moments so I quickly abandoned her instructions and settled for a basic kfb increase to knit my less-than-perfect toe. The next step involved some measurements and math (see #1 above) so I stopped with the completed toe (see #3 above) and took a nap.

Spring Thaw

Later I thought I'd try something less complicated so I cast on (3 times) with a simple k1,p1 rib for some Dublin Bay Socks. Unfortunately, I finished the leg only to realize that it was not simply a 2 row pattern repeat like I thought but a 4 row pattern instead. Rows 3 & 4 were on page 2 of the instructions. Rip.

Dublin Bay Socks

Unfortunately, I'm no longer getting the neat little stripe pattern I was getting before. I spent some time obsessing over this and considered frogging them (they could also use a bit more negative ease) but then I realized that they were going to be left behind in a disaster anyway so it really didn't matter.

Okay... now I think it's time for more Alieve.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Question for Knitters

So this random sort of thought just occurred to me. It's really a rather typical type of thing for my rarely settled brain to dwell on but since I'm trying desperately to stay awake (killer allergies are attacking) I thought I'd post the question here.

Say you had to evacuate... doesn't matter why... suppose it's imminent flooding or forest fires. Now, assuming that you had all your important people, pets, photos, and papers secured, which you would grab if you then had to make a choice between your finished knits and your stash?

I knew immediately which I would take... my stash. Why? Because it represents new life, new possibilities. It can become something. And what if I can't afford to buy more yarn after the disaster? I would never be content just wearing the stuff I'd already knit. Hmmmm...

So humor me... what would you take?

What's Your Flavor?

I'm not sure about the results... but I do love Rocky Road ice cream.

What flavor are you??

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Sometimes It's the Little Things

Today when I walked into the LYS, the owner was looking in a magazine at this sock...

Spring Thaw Socks

Isn't it a great sock?

Spring Thaw Socks

They are called Spring Thaw Socks by Cat Bordhi.

Of course I had to have the magazine... because I have to knit these socks.

But you know what's been driving my pesky little brain nuts since I got in the car? The name of the magazine.



Now I'm no expert on grammar, but doesn't the apostrophe suggest the need for another word here? Knitter's _______. Right below the title it says knittinguniverse.com. So is the magazine's whole title "Knitter's knittinguniverse.com"? No, I don't think so. That doesn't make sense.

Do you think it's a magazine for "Knitters" as a collective group and they just made a goof? Doesn't seem likely.

I suppose the subject is just inferred by the fact that the word is stamped on a magazine implying that it is a "Knitter's" magazine. I'm quite sure this is the case, but just so they know, I find this unacceptable.

And annoying. Aren't you so glad that you have better things to obsess think about than I do?

Also troubling me is this.


But I'm not going to talk about it.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Dentist... and some knitting

First things first... I went to the dentist today. I decided to go to a different dentist who came highly recommended since, aside from my well documented issues with trusting doctors in general, I wanted a second opinion before somebody starts talking root canal and extractions. I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't had a regular dentist for years, so this crisis has kind of forced me to make a connection with one.

I really liked the dentist I saw today, and was especially won over when he told me he didn't think I needed a root canal! Much to my surprise, he was even ready to get to work on it this morning. I suppose this was good because it spared me all the days and hours of anxiety that would normally precede such a visit.

He ended up drilling (a lot), doing some work on my gums, and applying a temporary crown to hold me over until the permanent one is ready. I happened to have 2 pain pills left at home. This was good. (But there gone now. This is bad.)

I recently cast on for this Classic Elite lacy cardigan.

Classic EliteCEY Lacy Cardigan

The yarn is Classic Elite Sundance which is a nice squishy cotton/microfiber blend and is knit in one piece up to the underarms.

And I finished my first (well, actually second if you count the one I decided to frog) SOS sock.

Speedway Socks

The yarn again is Chameleon Colorworks Bambino. I am thrilled with the striping and the pattern.

Now my 16 year old has us watching a new show called Wipeout. The male species in this house find it hysterical and would like me to watch it with them so I'd better go.