December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

To anyone reading this blog entry, I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I hope for you that you live well and that your hopes and dreams for 2009 are realized.

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

Christmas Child = No Knitting

Little Odessa Blessa (as I call her) was with me for five days. Five. The bags under my eyes are packed and ready to go! Sleepy doesn't begin to describe how I feel. Shipwrecked is a close description though.

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

Merry Christmas!

Well, the gifts are finally wrapped and the children are asleep. I am awake and wanting to go to sleep, but I can't put down the sweater I'm working on because I only get to knit when Odessa is asleep. She's visiting for the holidays and is only 3 years old - with a keen interest in my row counter. When I'm not looking, she rolls my numbers forward by a LOT!

I found out the secret to making boucle yarn. By spinning my yarn with a thinner yarn, I turned this:

Into this:

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


OK, so it's only a couple of days until Christmas and I am admitting defeat. The amount of work that goes into getting ready for the holidays- there's shopping, and housework, and even though I'm off this week, my mother and sister are leaving for Florida and leaving me with my mom's 3 year old foster child.

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

Must Have Been Dreaming!

I can NOT believe I finished this sweater! I'm sure I went through all 6 stages of grief over it (I know there's only 5 stages of grief! The 6th has to do with gasoline and rocket launchers - I'm sure they've written about it before.)

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:

Yep, that's me in my sweater. Headless and wondering if the rolls on the sides of the sweater are the 'positive ease' I read about at the Knitting Daily website or if it's my own girth! Ha ha ha! It's the positive ease! Honestly!

Anyway, my work here is done. And now on to all the rest of the hand knit by me non-Christmas presents that I'm not making because I'm not making anything for anyone this year. They're due by Saturday so they can be delivered on time.

Say good night Must Have Cardigan!

December 12, 2008

Almost There

I don't know why I opted to make myself this sweater instead of giving handmade gifts to everyone I know. I feel it would have been less mind bending to make everyone a gift than it is to make myself this particular sweater.

The sweater is pinned together in this picture, and if I hadn't gotten home at 10:30 this evening, I'd be sewing the seams right now.

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

Hmmm ...

Today I was on my way to the train and was walking behind two high school students, young men. They were talking about their choice of colleges, apparently.

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

I'm Not Saying a Word

I'm at the halfway mark with only about 2" until I start shaping my sleeves. If things get screwed up now, I have only myself to blame.

So as not to upset the knitting gods, I'm not putting a completion date to these sleeves, or on the sweater as a whole, but things are going great! There is nothing like doing two sleeves at once, I swear I don't know why I didn't think of it since I do two at once for baby clothes.

And if things do go south and I make a mistake now, well, the gas station is only 1/4 mile away.

December 06, 2008

Smiley's Smile

Today I went to the Smiley's yarn sale in Manhattan. I showed remarkable restraint considering that I was prepared to go and spend every dime I had on any natural yarns. Yes, I'm a yarn snob - but I prefer to think that I just outgrew my love of most acrylic yarns.

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

Take That!

After mulling over my options for a solution to my sleeve dilemma, I came to realize that there are no winners when it comes to fighting the knitting gods (they beat me up, but I always come back).

All I can do is take it in the chin, suck it up and start again. But in my heart I wanted to be victorious, so I did what I had to do. The shortest road to victory is the straight road.

To that end, my solution was this - meet the twins, formerly known as sleeves:

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

What the #&*@%!

I finished my sleeves ... or so I thought. The knitting gods must really not want me to make anything for myself. I've always known this to be true, so to avoid incurring their wrath I almost never make anything for me.

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.