Friday, September 26, 2008

Knitting Mason-Dixon Style

So I teased with a book review yesterday. Have you been so waiting anxiously for my next post? Here goes...

Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines

I haven't finished reading it yet (yes, it's a knitting book you'll want to read) but Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne provide many creative and funny perspectives throughout. While it is reminiscent of their previous book, it is more colorful and much broader in variety. Since I'm not the most eloquent book reviewer, I'll use more pictures than words here.

The book is divided into 5 chapters:

1. Decorating Yourself (a variety of patterns from jackets to socks for you)

Mason Dixon

Besides loving the color of both of these, the second sweater is knit top-down in... Rowan Calmer! A soft, comfy cotton sweater that will be perfect for my So Cal climate. I am in love... and I have the right amount of Calmer in my stash! But it's not green. It's off-white. Which would be good too. Almost as good as green I suppose. Maybe. Hmmm...

Mason Dixon

2. The Fairest Isle of All (technique, steeks, and more great patterns)

Mason Dixon
Mason Dixon
All fair isle worked in the round with steeks. I'm feeling tempted...

3. Covering the Small Human

I think I could actually get away with knitting this for one of my younger boys!

Mason Dixon
I know... say it with me... "Awwww" (or is it "Ahhhhh"?)

4. Occasional Knitting (Christmas stockings, totes, etc.)

I really like this... but somehow I don't think it will look the same with school papers and spilt coffee all over it. But it would be a great gift I suppose. If I were to knit gifts.

5. The Sophisticated Kitchen

I'm gonna admit right up front that this is where they lost me. I'm quite realistic in my limitations and anything beyond a hopefully clean kitchen is far beyond my reality. So, keeping in mind that I'm certainly not the best person to evaluate this chapter, I will silently present you with these unique ideas.

Mason Dixon

Okay, who am I kidding. I'm not gonna be silent. I love this picture... right down to the purple Crocs. And I pass no judgement on anyone who chooses to spend their time knitting a versatile mop cover/doggy coat. But... If I personally ever embark on such an endeavor... I fully expect to be committed.

But that's just me. Not you. You knit, you mop, and I will praise your efforts. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Anyway, it's a fun book. And you should get one too.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Economic Stimulus Package


Just doing my part to keep the economy stimulated.

The Mason-Dixon Book is great! Knits for you, your kids, your house, and even your mop!

More pics and words tomorrow.

(Oh, I finished a sock! But started a sweater. If there was a race right now I'd be the one stuck in the mud.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'm So Boring!!

5elementknitr tagged me with the '6 Random Things About Me' Meme, which is a good thing since I have no idea what else I would have to blog about.

The rules:
* Link to the person who tagged you.
* Post the rules on your blog.
* Write six random things about yourself.
* Tag six people at the end of your post.
* Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
* Let the tagger know your entry is up.

1. I looked to see who won Emmy awards before deciding if I was going to watch it tonight or not.

2. I secretly watch Family Guy when nobody is around... like now. Okay, well actually my teenage son is watching as well. I'm a bad mommy.

3. My ideal GPS navigator would have the voice of Dr. House and snap at me with wit and sarcasm when I didn't follow its directions.

4. I think riding along with the Blue Angels would be the ultimate experience. But other than that, I would be content to never have to fly again. (It's just not natural.)

5. I got a pair of Lavender Cornsnakes a couple of weeks ago. I picked them out at the reptile convention and am currently keeping them in our over-crowded living room. I've been kind enough to spare you any more snake photos. You're welcome.

6. I laugh out loud when my kids watch Phineas & Ferb.

Bonus: It is possible I have an unhealthy relationship to the TV. More season premieres this week!

Which one are you most excited about?

Do you think Survivor can survive another season?

Are you still upset that House was so mean to Wilson last week? (I am.)

Finally: I am not only boring, but rebellious... so I am not tagging a list of 6 people. But if you have 6 more interesting random things to share, (which should be just about anyone) consider yourself tagged.
Have a wonderful week of season premieres!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Just a Random Tuesday

So I'm wandering around the LYS today and notice that the employee and pals are gabbing about the last customer to leave. And it occurs to me that they are always talking about the last person to leave (if not politics of some nature)... or one that was in earlier... or maybe one of their pals who is absent at the time. Often times I've giggled, but today something clicked... what are they going to say about me when I leave? So I tried to act very normal (I'm not sure what this is in a yarn store but I think I managed) while feeling increasingly uncomfortable.

It seems more and more like staking out a knitting spot at the LYS gives one some kind of sense of entitlement to speak their mind with complete disregard for all other customers. Does anyone else notice this? Or is it just me? Or my timing?

Anyway, let's see... I'm coping with life without Julie nearby. It turns out I can still bug her constantly with the meaningless trivialities of daily life via cell phone. I like my cell phone.

I did cast on for Hyrna Herborgar and I have to tell you that the Handmaiden Mini Maiden is exquisite. I haven't gotten very far because we've been pretty busy adjusting to our fall schedule, but now that I've gotten a feel for the translations and charts it's starting to move along.


I've also been working on the Firestarter sock.


The construction is fascinating, but imho the pattern is not very user friendly. I've found it pretty awkwardly worded and hard to follow, but the results are impressive... and I'm so glad that the Wollmeise is more than just pretty to look at! I could definitely see using it for a scarf or wrap of some kind.

We also had a birthday!

Josiah 2008

For the first time in over 16 years, I have no children in the "5 and under" category. Field trips just got a bit more expensive. But JoJo had a wonderful day full of friends and pizza.

Well I need to feed the boys and get them reigned in for an early bedtime so our more mature family members (as if) can watch the season premiere of House (woo-hoo) at 8:00! The doctor is in!

BTW - Did anyone else watch the premiere of Fringe the other night? It looks like it has some potential... kind of like a more extreme sci-fi Alias or something.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Woe is Me. And Knitting too.

Oh friends... I have been having quite the pity party. My dear, dear friend Julie left with her family this morning for a move across the country. She is my local knitting buddy and constant source of strength and encouragement. I will miss her dearly.

I'm not much of a party person, but I must admit, I throw one heck of a pity party as evidenced by the piles of laundry surrounding me and my overflowing e-mail inbox. I have excelled at neglect and getting absolutely nothing done for several days and now I'm just partied out. So I'll move onto the good stuff...

I'll start with this yarn...

Hand Maiden Mini Maiden

Handmaiden Mini Maiden in "Cedar". This is exactly what I was hoping for colorwise when I ordered this yarn some time ago.


I am absolutely smitten by this yarn and ordered it for a very special project. After months of longing, I finally ordered this (Ken, look! A rattlesnake behind you) ridiculously expensive book.


I ordered this book, because it became increasingly apparent that I wasn't going to be able to live a full, contented life until I was able to knit this shawl...


Hyrna Herborgar by Sigridur Halldorsdottir.

(Yes, I do already have the makings for a Finnish shawl, but of course you must know that receiving 2 packages in the mail far outweighs the excitement of having one bag in the stash.)

So great was my excitement when I received everything last week that I couldn't wait to cast on. However, since I have just a few larger projects on the needles right now it seemed prudent to wait until I had finished one of those before I started.

So I cast on for 2 socks instead.


Firestarters with Wollmeise in the very appropriate "Campari Orange" and Hedgerows with ShiBui Knits fingering. I absolutely adore the Wollmeise. It is just as nice to knit with as it is to look at. (Maria - I will be getting your Wollmeise out to you ASAP. I should've warned you that the post office is very far away from me... mentally, not physically. For some reason, going to the PO is a bit of a challenge for me.)

However, as I wrap up my pity party, I really think that starting a new lace project will do wonders for my distracted brain. So, should I persevere with the dozen projects I already have going? Or comfort myself with Handmaiden and Hyrna Herborgar?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Back to School

Well, with great reluctance on the part of both students and teacher, we have begun to tread back into the book cluttered waters of fall. I generally like to tread lightly by slowly adding to our schedule over the first few weeks so we don't get overwhelmed and collapse into tears (me) or freak out and throw fits (okay... me again) or simply meltdown because of the absence of games, TV and X-box in our days. I also tend to start this process in early August, but, well, I had socks to knit and stuff... and it was inconceivable to get other children to do work when my oldest wasn't back to school yet... so we waited a bit longer this year. At any rate, I must say we are off to a good start. Such a good start, that I am able to sit here and blog for a few minutes in the middle of the day.

School Daze

I thought I'd share a bit of what we're doing for those who might be interested. If you're not, go ahead and skip to the socks. ;)

I'm especially grateful to have discovered Teaching Textbooks for math this year. I'm using it with my 9th and 6th graders (and can't wait until my 4th grader is ready for it). It is a text with CD-Rom support that teaches the lesson, checks their comprehension, then grades their work! If they get stuck on a problem and can't correct it, it will lead them step-by-step through the solution. (I am doing less math with them than I am with my 10th grader!)

Aside from that, my 9th grader is taking Spanish, English, Science and American Government with other teachers, then doing a Formal Logic curriculum with me. I LOVE Logic! My 6th grader was even able to sign up with a few classes through our homeschool group (Astronomy, Writing & Latin II) so that leaves me as his History teacher; the younger three and I are doing a literature study of American History this year to supplement 6th grader's Child's Story of America.

Now my 4th grader, Daniel, is just not the normal 4th grader. Actually, I don't think I've ever used the word "normal" in any description of Daniel except to say that he's NOT. But I'm learning... he moaned and groaned through the math drills I would give him last year, instantly forgetting every set of multiplication facts he learned... so to get started this year, I've been relying on Math Worksheet Factory for some amusing worksheets. Apparently if the problems are put in circles (see photo) he will actually beg for more sheets! Add in a bit of spelling, copywork, reading and Explode the Code and he's doing fine.

I'm so glad I waited a year to start my youngest in Kindergarten! We worked a bit on reading, 'riting & 'rithmetic last year but only as his interest held out. This year he's ready! He also loves the number worksheets and I've been using Startwrite software for some basic penmanship skills such as his name and numbers. He does his work cheerfully and is finally conquering the blending skills in his Phonics Pathways book. We've also been working on his memory work for his first year of Awana, where his older brother will be one of the helpers.

Back to knitting:

I haven't gotten much knitting done lately and when I do knit, I've been surprisingly content to focus on my DIC Baby wrap. Monogamous knitting only comes in rare spurts for me.

I did manage to finish up these socks though...

Boomerang Socks

Southwestern Socks by Wendy Johnson
Fiesta Boomerang "Cool Breeze" on size 2 magic loop
Quick and squishy.

When one of my very stressed friends saw these she described them as peaceful colors so I'll be giving them to her. I love that my friends are starting to get interested in my socks!

Okay... break over... it is clear that they are ready for more work. Or straightjackets. Must go.