December 31, 2008
My resolution this year is to start my 2009 Christmas knitting in February. That way I can post it, hope no one in my family sees it (or does, and forgets by Christmas time). Starting my holiday knitting in February will allow me to get stuff done on time and I can keep my knitting groove on.
But it's not my only resolution.
Instead of making resloutions I won't keep, or even try to keep, and instead of denying myself some things I really want, I'm going to base this year's resolutions on past experiences. Things that were said to me (out of love, I'm sure) or things about myself that I know need changing.
My darling son, who loves me more than life itself I'm sure (who says he's never moving out, but ONLY because he doesn't want me to be alone and thereby ruining my senior citizenry to the grave), has given me one suggestion about how to improve myself.
My (then 13 year old) son told me that he HAS to have a mustache by the time he's in 9th grade, he was in 8th grade at the time. He said: "Mom, I just have to have a mustache by the time I get to 9th grade." To this I asked, "It doesn't matter. What's up with that?" His response was, as he enumerated his friends: "Lionel has one. Jordan has one. You have one ....". Zoiks! From that time to this there have been a few mutterings about a "fu manchu" and a "goatee like yours".
I resolve to keep my upper lip waxed.
I was on the train headed to work one day and I managed to get a seat, so I pulled out the sock I was working on. Somehow my one stitch marker went flying and landed on the floor about 3 feet away. I tried to will the stitch marker back to me with my eyes, come back, come baaaack to me! Ohhhh nooooo! Instead, it got stepped on and kicked farther away. I was distraught (and probably whimpering audibly), but not enough to get out of my seat. It ruined my day.
I resolve to buy (or make) more stitch markers.
My cat, Little Miss Kitty (who doubles as a Princess Diva hit woman assasin), has made mince meat out of more than one skein of yarn. Her trick is to use stealth to steal my yarn, then get as far away from me as she possibly can leaving a string trail so she can then eat said skein. How I usually find her is by the gaspy, raspy noise she makes when she's chewing yarn (and she chews faster when she sees me).
Believe it or not, I can live with that. What I can't live with is when (if) I catch her she's willing to fight me to the death for it, standing on her hind legs with claws bared an all.
I resolve not to kill the cat.
These resolutions are much better than swearing off chocolate (honestly, have you ever eaten a SKOR bar? Then I rest my case.)
Wish me luck.
December 29, 2008
I am sorely out of practice, and though I love children (and I love them to distraction, believe me when I tell you!) caring for them is a JOB. I can hardly believe I raised my son alone (who slept, on average, about 4 hours out of 24 until he started school at age 4).
To my mom, who is a little older than me, who does this every day (and night), God Bless You!
My son is 15 and I figured out that I have more freedom than I realize, because in the five days that Odessa was here, I did this amount of knitting:
It's because of the amount of time I spent doing domestic work - cooking, washing dishes, preparing the next meal, doing laundry, bath time, and the bedtime ritual that kept me from knitting. C'mon! It's been years since I had to do some of this stuff on a regular basis and I ain't trying to go back!
I dropped Odessa off on Saturday at noon, and from about 2p to 6:20p when I fell asleep, I managed to finish the sleeve:
I'm not trying to say ... I'm just saying.
I also managed to get to P&S Fabrics for buttons, and found a bunch of buttons that I love for the sweater. The store was having a one day sale if you buy 10 cards, but the sign looked like it had been up for months.
I found these which are perfect, but they didn't have enough of them:
I bought what they had anyway because I liked them. The buttons I finally bought were these, nice, right?
So my adventures in babysitting ended with me making a mad dash around Manhattan: P&S Fabrics, Borders Bookstore, Barnes & Noble, DSW, Seaport Yarns (where I may never go again - long story) and running various other errands. Now I'm even more tired than I was and I have work tomorrow.
It was a full week of shopping, fun and joy with a big boy and a little girl, and life.
Going to work is going to be a relief.
December 25, 2008
Cool! (I think clicking on the picture will make it larger than life.)
Anyway, enjoy your day whether you celebrate Christmas or not, because no matter what, almost every store and shop is closed and you've got to love a day when you can't spend a dime!
December 23, 2008
It'll be nice to have a small child in the house to appreciate gifts and that still believes in Santa Claus. The only hard part is going to be trying to keep her entertained. I'm only good for about 10 minutes in that department. I forgot all the tricks I used on my son all those years ago (he's 15 now).
Moving right along, I spun some 60/40 merino bamboo (nice sheen) called 'fraises' which means strawberries in french:
After not having spun yarn in months, this single came out pretty good, but I'm reserving judgment until after plying. That's where all my disasters happen.
I knew I was admitting defeat when, instead of making a little pillow and blanket for a small doll stroller, I cast on for the Tangled Yoke Cardigan. What was I thinking?
Rowan Felted Tweed in 'scree' (blue gray). It's a fairly easy pattern, but I'm not up to the 'tangled' part yet so I'm reserving my rating on the ease of the pattern until I get to that part.
And then the final straw - I went to Seaport Yarns and made a small purchase:
That was the last straw! I knew there was a pair of socks in that Colinette yarn just waiting to be made. Not a gift, although I'll probably give them away, but just what I was looking for. And the Ornaghi Filati lace weight - well, just wait and see what I do with all 22,ooo yards of laceweight!
So, there you have it. My new resolution is this - I'm going to start making gifts in February 2009 because that's the only way I can meet my holiday handmade gifts deadline on time.
Besides, I haven't been struck by lightening, and I don't hear any of my stash yarns threatening to douse me in gasoline, so it's going to be OK.
December 14, 2008
So here's my newest love interest:
Just hanging in the doorway - the only place in the house that gets early evening sunlight. And if you can imagine it a denim blue (Patons Classic Wool Merino in new denim) instead of the fluorescent blue it appears to be on my monitor. It's really cute beyond words!
And if all those cables and stuff don't impress you, then what do you think of my beautiful buttons? They totally 'trick out' my sweater.
Whenever I finish a project I like to have pictures of it in a flattering light. Unfortunately, I don't have a dressmaker's dummy to put the sweater on, and whenever I need my son to model or to take photos of my work, I have to fish him out from under his bed. He's nowhere to be found, so I had to make do with what I had:
December 12, 2008
Mind you, I am close to the end and I should be feeling happy about it, but the closer I get to the end the more I feel it should go to someone other than me. I can't explain it, but I'm feeling guilty about this sweater.
The buttons (obviously not sewn on in the picture or in real life) were purchased about a year ago and they're absolutely beautiful! I fell in love with them the minute I saw them. I'll hold judgement on how they look after I see them on the finished sweater, but considering how neurotic I get when button shopping this is button nirvana.
So, that's it. All I have to do is sew it up, wrap it up and put it under the tree with no name on it. Just in case someone loves it more than me.
December 10, 2008
Student A: "I don't know where I'm going yet. Where are you going?"
Student B: "I haven't really thought about schools around here. I might study abroad."
Student A: "What broad? Is there a school for that?"
All I could think of was that one of them is going to president of something and I'm going to be at their mercy.
That's my commentary for the day.
On to my sweater.
My sleeves are done and they came out perfectly. Amen. Now for the part I hate, sewing seams.
Tomorrow I promise to have some pictures of my progress. You know things are going just right because you haven't heard me mention 'gasoline' at all (tonight, that is).
December 08, 2008
December 06, 2008
Today was the last day of the sale so when some of the bins got empty, they didn't get refilled. It was sad looking at the empty Rowan bins, but I did score some Patons SWS (soy) which I'd been coveting for a long time, TLC Wiggles, stitch markers, and some 14" needles - so that I can knit my sleeves simultaneously - which I should have done in the first place. Lesson learned.
The twins are rapidly becoming sleeves again:
It helps to have repeated the pattern so often that I barely need to look at the instructions. I do look, but mostly to make sure I'm on track. I don't want to have to make twins out of my sleeves again! If I screw up the sleeves this time - well - let me just say, the price of gasoline is down to $2.32 a gallon and I'd need considerably less than that.
I have to go now because Little Miss Kitty thinks I can't see her eyeballing my yarn like it's caviar. I tried the Cesar Millan move of poking her as a distraction, but she turned into a mountain lion and tried to poke me back - with her claws out! I wonder if she's ever heard of kitty cat reform school ...
December 04, 2008
My decision wasn't easy, but it boiled down to a picture of my former sleeves or pictures of my scalp with chunks of hair missing.
Why is there never a Madeleine around when you need one?
December 03, 2008
Case in point, I finished both sleeves of my lovely sweater. They are the same size. These lovely sleeves were the last pieces before seaming and here they are:
And then I took a good look at them and thought WHAT THE ....
Did I screw up? Is that possible? Let me look again:
ACK!!! OMG!!!! Diamonds are apparently NOT my best friend.
I have 3 choices:
1) rip out one sleeve (but which one?)
2) make yet another sleeve and hope it looks like one or the other (yeah right ... next)
3) try to seam it up and pretend there is no knitting error
(that would never fly & the sweater would end up in the bottom of the hamper for the rest of it's unnatural life.)
None of these options appeals to me. The not listed option is to lay the sweater in the middle of the street and run it over with my car, then douse it in gasoline and fire at it with a rocket launcher and beat out the flames with a big stick! Y O Y!! (why oh why!!)
OK, I'm taking a deep breath ...
I'm going to fling the sweater to the WIP pond - let it stew over its crime against me while I knit something else - NOT for myself.
November 30, 2008
Well, there will be no seaming going on tonight. All I have to do is fight the cat off so I can re-knit this small mountain of ripped out yarn.
Thank you, knitting gods. For keeping me humble.
November 29, 2008
Here are some of the ladies who did all the hard work knitting sweaters for Knit for Kids. From left to right are Jeanette, Cindy, Yvonne, Maria, Carmen, Carol, Renee and little Erin who didn't make sweaters, but she's a great supporter of knitters (being on the receiving end of Auntie Yvonne's knitted goods).
There are more contributors but they were not present for the picture, like little Carmen, Winnie, Nilda (who is camera shy) and Amparo. We put together 22 sweaters which is a lot for 3 months of knitting, especially since sweaters are a rather large undertaking for a group of women who all swear that they are 'beginners'.
But I'm getting there.
November 28, 2008
Anyway, I've been wandering around the house wondering what to knit and decided there was nothing very inspiring to do, so I pulled out an old WIP. The Must Have (been crazy) Cardigan (Patons).
You're probably thinking that I saw the Yarn Harlot make this one and I took on the task, but no. I actually saw the pattern here and thought how pretty it looks. Of course I rushed right out and bought the pattern. I bought the Patons Merino a year later at $2.00/skein and started the sweater.
Imagine my surprise when the Yarn Harlot had it done in ike 3 days! I was sick in my heart and wondered if she'd finish mine.
You may also think the yarn looks familiar, as in Howard's socks:
Alas, no. Howard's socks are made of mystery yarn and if I still had his socks you'd see for yourself.
Anyway, I'm working on the sleeves now. It's quick going unless I stop to do dishes, or laundry. The whole sweater is driving me crazy, but I'm not putting it down until it's done. It'll be the 5th thing I've ever made for myself (2 pairs of socks, 1 scarf and 1 shawl) in my 30 years of knitting. The miracle will come if I keep it. I'm always giving MY away stuff.
I've got a long weekend coming, so let's see how far I get.
Feel free to pass along some words of encouragement, or sympathy.
November 24, 2008
1) Though this is not a rule exactly, it is what I do. I always knit for charity. They need stuff, I've got stash, and they never complain about quality or color or that you sent too much or to stop. Besides, I never use just my name, so they can never send stuff back. In my world, that's a compliment.
2) If I make something for friends/family, it's because I feel it in my HEART to make them something - whether they want it or not. For example: she says green is her favorite color and I happen to own some really NICE shiny acrylic booger green yarn that would be PERFECT. (What do you mean 'booger' green isn't her favorite color? She SAID green, didn't she?). Accept it and follow Rule #3.
3) If you get one of my pieces though luxury items they are not, you may discuss (among yourselves) how talented I am. Just make sure I can hear it, and comments may range from enthusiastic (loud) or gushy (quiet). And NEVER use words like "itchy", "off color", "re-gift" or "ew" in my presence. That could get you cut off for LIFE!*
4) If you are a family member staying at my house for say, the holidays, and I finish a project late at night, when I wake you up to brag, the appropriate sleepytime remarks would be: "Gee, that's so pretty! You are so talented!" After that I might let you go back to sleep. However, YOU must bring it up again in the morning so we can make sure you got it right.
5) If I made you something and you show up with it at a family function and it's in mint condition you may mention that I made it for you. If on the other hand it has pills, stains and smells like it plugged a hole in your damp basement, do NOT mention my name. In fact, don't say my name even when you are 25 miles away and alone in your own car. Not following this rule will get you cut off for LIFE!*
* Cut off for LIFE sounds harsh, I know, but it actually means that I will send you knitted goods anonymously until you admit that you like the gift - or at least say it's 'soft'.
November 17, 2008
It was my intention not to make handknit (by me) Christmas presents this year. I did it last year and the deadline thing was going to make me have a stroke! So this year I made no promises. Got that?
So Mom calls me yesterday and says that she bought her little foster child (age 3) a baby carriage and she needs me to knit a pillow and blanket ... just a little thing. "It'll only take you a minute. It's a small carriage."
Somebody please tell me, what does a minute mean to a non-knitter?
November 11, 2008
My Barack sock (notice I said 'sock', not socks) is done, but I'm having second sock drama.
I know that I have two feet and that they each need their own sock, but I've always had a problem making things for myself. It's an issue that I need to get over because I really do need a hat and scarf and I refuse to pay for stuff I can make myself.
Also, now that I've used the Koigu and seen it in sock form, I'm not as excited as I was when I started. I think I should gift the socks. My mom would love them.
I'm halfway through my Nana's shawl, but I need to do a recount because I either have one too many or one too few stitches on the needles. Yikes! You know that lately I can't count.
All my problems are small when I think about the gift my friend SojournKnitting got me while at the Stitches East event this weekend past. In her shopping frenzy, she thought of me and got me these fancy needles which I adore.
Rosewood. My first pair. She is the nicest person to think of me while doing her 'ninja style' shopping. I'm going to the next event with her because she knows how to find all the good stuff.! Pop on over to her site and have a gander at all her goodies.
This week I'm going to finish up my WIPs. My next project is going to be quick and easy and will involve NO MATH.
November 09, 2008
The doors opened at noon, but Maria B. and I got there at about 12:30p thinking we'd be the first ones there, but the place was jam packed! And the shelves were packed with (almost) every yarn that Lion Brand makes. The place is a pretty nice size with a knitting table in the middle and sitting cubes in the back.
It's very well lit and the store plans to offer knitting and crochet lessons, have book readings and they said anyone can work on any project at their studio. They even have computers set up so that you can download Lion Brand free patterns. That's a bonus! Like one-stop shopping.
This nice gentleman was there directing traffic, and there was plenty of that. I actually wondered if the afhan on the top rack was inspired by Kaffe Fassett but never got to ask.
I went shopping with Maria B. She loves to stash build, but her production is a little low because she has a 1 year old at home. When my son was born, I couldn't get enough sleep so knitting was low on my list of priorities. I put my needles down for years. When I picked them up again, I taught him to knit.
While there, we bumped into another Soundview Stitcher, Carol R. She wasn't there very long, but I managed to get a shot of her and Maria B. together.
After 2 1/2 hours shopping, I was glad to see John, the cashier. He was nice enough to pose with my only purchase and my half done Barack sock. He was pleased to get his picture taken, but he didn't keep his pose. Maybe I'll get a second chance at the grand opening on Nov. 18 (I think).
I took my little purchase and put it in the handy dandy bags they were giving away. It was a good way to spend the afternoon - browsing while not stash building.
Although ... there were a few skeins of yarn that caught my eye, and the store is close enough to my job to pop on over anytime.
November 08, 2008
I've eaten plenty of Madeleine's trying to figure out how I lost page length, how to put my page back and how to add elements in computer-ese - a language I couldn't possibly learn.
So, now my page is back. Ahh!
In further developments: my Nana's shawl. It's coming along swimmingly, thanks to Aylin. She's a genius! I know the shawl doesn't look like much right now, but just you wait. It's going to be a vision in Kauni when it's done, I tell you. A vision!
Lastly, I got high speed internet service today. Now I don't have to run through the house with my laptop looking for a signal. Hooray!
Tomorrow, I'm going to the new Lion Brand store in Manhattan. I'm praying there's nothing there that I want (fat chance!) because anything I buy will work against me in my serious effort to de-stash.
November 07, 2008
Well, it MIGHT be - if I ever learn to count. I believe that I learned MATH, but I just can't remember any of it when I'm working on this pattern.My situation was so dire, I actually asked my friend Aylin O. for help - and I taught her to knit! (I'm jealous of her talent, by the way).
I wrote her a lovely note that went like this:
And practice counting.
November 04, 2008
The suspense is finally over and Barack Obama is now the president-elect and will take office in 11 weeks. History was made tonight and I couldn't be happier. After all, the new Mr. President is a really down to earth kind of guy who took a picture with a sock! You can't beat that with a stick!