Monday, October 31, 2005

Old Dogs

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So, we're making the half hour drive to my sister's tonight for "Monday Night Dinner," and daughter #2 called "singing," which means we will be listening to music - and singing is allowed. My son usually tries to call "no radio," but it's hard to beat daughter #2 to the call. They also call "front seat," and "no singing," - etc., - it's all very complicated, getting into the car.

So, I've got that little thingy that lets me play tunes off my iPod through the car speakers - so D#2 dials up Phantom of the Opera and they start singing - loudly. Now, my kids have been singing Phantom of the Opera since it came out on Broadway - when they were about 4, 5, and 7, maybe even younger. They always sing "parts" (also "called"). My son, the Bud, is too cool to sing along anymore..., he tries to ignore the fact that he's even in the same car with us most of the time. But, way back when, when they first learned Phantom, the Bud would "call" being the Phantom, Kaity was always Christine, and D#2, being the youngest, always got stuck singing the part of Udalgo.

So, one day, when they're all about 4, 5, and 7, we get in the car and they want to sing Phantom, and they start singing when their assigned parts come up - about the 100th time they've done this, but this time D#2 starts complaining that she's wants to be Christine this time, she's tired of being "the old dog." All this time she's been singing the part of Udalgo - I guess figuring she was always stuck playing the part of some old dog!

Yeah - well they still sing Phantom, but Kaity's now the Phantom and D#2 gets to be Christine, because she can hit the high notes, and the Bud just rolls his eyes and swears his ears are going to bleed.

Now, in all fairness, towards the end of the ride tonight they switched to "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen - singing every word, loudly. They also know the words to a lot of B-52's, Devo, and way too many Doors songs (yeah, I know, many drug-influenced lyrics, most of which totally don't make any sense, thank goodness - what was I thinking - wasn't Jim Morrison perpetually stoned?) Okay - I blame the doors on their Dad, he started that one. Their favorite rainy day activity is still to light a fire in the fireplace, light incense and candles, and put in the Doors Greatest Hits. Don't even get me started on the hubby's "Pure Funk" CD. Yeah, "Brick House," that's appropriate. My gosh, they're gonna be warped for life.
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So, speaking of "old dogs," check out what I taught myself today! Magic loop for socks! I Googled it and found a site with a video. It's actually pretty cool, but I think I like two circulars better.
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However, I don't have two size 3 circulars yet, so I'm plugging along on my DPN's. But, check it out..... I'm knitting continental! I've been practicing switching over to continental all day today. Pretty good for an old dog, huh? (Nice halloweenie picture of monster-size hands, don't you think?)

And, isn't that geranium Sock Garden yarn knitting up pretty - and in these pictures you can't even see the five of six glaring mistakes.... I almost frogged them today, but what the heck - most of the mistakes will be in my shoes. Will I ever knit a goof-free sock?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Would I Buy This for $30? Does it Matter?

Actually, it doesn't in this case. I love this sweater. It's made from thick Cotton Tots, and it feels like wearing a sweatshirt. I can fasten the button and pair it with trousers and it looks nice, or just throw it on with jeans, which is how I'll wear it most often.

But, really - I ask myself, if I saw this in a store would I say, "Oh, I really like that..." and shell out $30 for it?

I have to admit - I'm notoriously cheap, and yes that's probably the best word for it. I rarely shop for myself, and usually buy items only if they're on sale. I rarely buy trendy.

Since the kids were little enough to leave my eyesight in the grocery store, I'd send them off to bring things back to the cart, to keep them busy. They were good kids, knew not to run in the store, etc., and they loved to help. Easy stuff. Kaity - go pick out two boxes of cereal. Bud, go buy cookies everyone will eat... and they'd head off down the aisle, yelling "we know... on sale or Von's Club." However, I will shell out $8.99 every week or so for Starbucks ground coffee for our morning coffee. So I'm cheap - but I have my splurges, which I can totally justify to myself. Scott toilet paper, 1000 sheets a roll, so it lasts more than a day, but I buy boxed mashed potatoes for convenience instead of "real" potatoes. I'll pay whatever it costs to buy boneless-skinless chicken so I don't have to mess with a real whole chicken. I remember when my son was a toddler we were at my Mom's and she had a whole roasted chicken on the counter, and he asked "why is there a big cricket on Grandma's counter? Poor kid.

Cheap on my terms. but on my terms. But really - I knit cheap too. I find my pattern then shop around, on line, at my not-so-local yarn store, and figure out Karabella would be beautiful for this sweater - but I'm not spending $80 on yarn, with no guarantee it's gonna fit in the end, or if I'm even gonna like it. So I settle. Maybe I'll get there someday - but I'm not there yet.
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Yep - I really love this sweater, but if I play the game, I don't know if I would have ever bought it ready-made. Does it matter?

Yep - I'll shlep off to dreaded K-Mart of all places for Hanes socks on sale - and buy bundles for the family - cheap, boring tube socks and footies..... all so I can spend $9 on sock yarn for me, for one pair of socks.... duh! I mean, anyone can understand that one!

P.S. Here's a closeup of the chosen button, and my nearly non-existent eyelet detailing. I thought the little flower was gonna be my first choice, too, but it just didn't look right. So I went for simple - go figure.

Friday, October 28, 2005


Okay - remember how I said I was a "one project at a time" kind of person - can't have more than one thing going at once? Well, going against my better judgment and having two projects going at once has come back to bite me in the butt.

I come from a looooong line of "unfinished projecters"... my mom always has lots of things going, my Dad and brother are even worse, because they don't finish stuff most of the time.... but they fully intend to, "some day." I didn't get that, though.... more than one project going at once makes me twitch.

Maybe it's a "crafty people" thing. Like I've said before... I don't think outside the box well, I don't have the "muse," - I don't have a lot of original ideas. I'm a copier. I'm not the "crafty" type.

Now, Kaity, she takes after my mom - supercrafty... and Kaity also has about a million knitting projects going. It makes me crazy - everytime I see her she's casted on for something else. "But... But..., you haven't finished....." She just gives me the "pshhh, I'll finish it." Oh man - I can hardly stand it. It makes me uneasy, I tell ya. Like looking at some of your blogs with the big "on the needles" or "WIP" lists.... with alllllll those unfinished projects - it makes me twitch, and they aren't even MY projects!

Ok, let's face it, I'm probably just jealous.

So, I figured, if I'm going to try and be crafty I oughta lighten up and at least get socks going on the side. Oy.... remember my blue cabled socks I was "making up the pattern" for? Well, I started them about three months ago, back before I was a knitting polygamist, fully intending to work on them uniterrupted until they were both finished, so I wasn't writing anything down.... then I got sidetracked and seduced by my Marilyn's Not-So-Shruken cardigan, and Ella, and my Sitcom Chic and, you guessed it, when I picked up the socks last night I couldn't figure out what I was doing.

I tried to figure out the stitch counts - and what would have made the most "sense," and which way the cables fell, front or back.... needless to say... I ended up with a mess, then tried to unknit and got a big knot where the cable was supposd to be - so I gave up and ripped the whole thing out, wound up the yarn, put it back in the cupboard and got out my Sock Garden yarn in that pretty geranium color.

Knitting polygamy - I KNEW it sounded like a bad idea... of course, you know what they say, once you've tried it, you'll never go back. Maybe I can still pull off socks on the side, we'll see. But, I guess I'd better at least learn to write things down, or quit trying to make up my own patterns and go back to basics. I mean, I haven't even been knitting a year - who did I think I was fooling? But, I'm also a glutton for punishment, and I'm determined to make that blue yarn into cabled socks, or maybe some EASY lace design.... later though, after I've practiced my basics a little more.

Oh - and see that nice "ladder" between my needles... yep, I think I need to work on my basics some more... or knit them on two circulars. At this rate I am SO going to be kicked out of Socktoberfest - I hope Lolly isn't looking!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Happiest Place on Earth

Ok - we really do think it is. We had a wonderful day yesterday- great weather, overcast so it wasn't hot, NO lines.... we never waited over five minutes to get on any ride.... and great company - we met up with my sister and her family (they love Disneyland even more than we do, go every year, and were on day 3 of a 4-day stay!). Here's a picture of me and the kids at California Adventure. The hubby didn't get to come - had to work, but - truth be told, he doesn't "do crowds" and Disneyland isn't his idea of a fun day. Oh well, we missed him, but he was probably happier at work! That's Kaity on the left, daughter #2, me, and our son.

No, I'm not wearing my Sitcom Chic as you can see.... at about 11:30 the night before I still had about two hours to go, and since I knew I would be braving the HORRIBLE L.A. rush hour traffic the next morning, and having to drive home LATE after a BIG day - I figured my time would be better spent getting a good night's sleep.

Here's a picture of our whole gang heading towards "Main Street USA" in Disneyland, and a picture of the lagoon at California Adventure.
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I gotta say.....we rode EVERYTHING we wanted to and wore ourselves out. Since we live in So. Calif, this was the kids fourth or fifth trip there- but Kaity had never rode anything more adventurous than Dumbo's Flying Elephants before... so for us it was great watching her be brave and actually ride ALL the rides... She finally figured out how fun it is to be scared out of your wits and yell your head off on a roller coaster!
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The only low point of the day was daughter #2 got dissed by Pooh. I tell ya - it's a sad thing watching a 16-year old running after her favorite character (she has loved Pooh forever), yelling "Pooh! Pooh! Wait! Come back! I want a picture with you...!" Really, I think he just didn't see or hear her, but it was sad.

Oh- and here's a picture of the great knitting bag the kids chipped in together for and bought me. How great are they! It really was a fun day, watching them enjoy each other's company, buy things for each other, and encourage each other to be brave on the rides.

Now, back to the real world. School, work.... although it was kind of fun yesterday morning calling the girl's school, while standing in line at the entrance to the park, telling Attendance that they wouldn't be in school today because they were "attending a family function." I hope they couldn't hear the Disney music playing in the background. Hey - everyone needs to play hooky every once in awhile.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I am SO not tangy

Oy - I am a knitting moron. My Sitcom Chic pattern is "Tangy." Theorhetically, at this point I should be able to handle this. I made "Ella," and she was Tangy. Somehow Ella even looks like the picture... yarn-overs included... Except I just now find out I've been doing my yarn-overs all wrong. Come on - any bonehead can do a yarn-over.....

How in the world did I make an entire "Ella," and just now find out I've been doing my yarn-overs wrong? I knew I hated yarn-overs.

Look at this little close-up of the "eyelet detail" on my Sitcom Chic.... the holes should be very obvious - not!

Or this one....
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yeah.... I can hear you saying, "What eyelet detail?"

I'm knitting along, thinking, "Where are my little holes?, and why are my little holes soooo little? - Maybe it's just this yarn...." I mean, Ella was full of holes, looking like they were supposed to.... so I must be doing it right.

Of course, my resident expert, Kaity, is at school and I can't exactly yank her out of class because I have a knitting emergency.... so she gets home and I consult with her and - yep, I've been doing them all wrong. What the.....?!

Of course - I'm now way post the point of frogging this thing. I refuse to go back - and it's NOT just because I want to wear it tomorrow.... actually, when I started it with this particular yarn, I wasn't even sure I wanted the eyelets - and I'm NOT just saying that! Really!

So, I'm gonna carry on, and later if I really want one with eyelets, I'll just make another. Yeah - that's likely.

Monday, October 24, 2005

We Are Odd

Dinnertime at our house is a dining experience. Now, I didn't necessarily say a pleasant dining experience - but an experience nonetheless. The kid's friends come over, and we try to be on our best behavior - but my hubby is the biggest kid and has a bizarre sense of humor... so things usually deteriorate into.... people laughing and me just hoping food isn't spit. Friends always say, "your family is so fun!" Fun....? You mean there are people who sit quietly and politely with their napkins in their lap? Their husbands don't start a fry fight.... everyone throwing them at me, of course. How do you stop that when the guy in charge is leading the fight? I sit there and say to myself, "this isn't the family I pictured when we started..... that family was much better behaved." Oh, who am I kidding, they were probably boring.

Tonight we were discussing how the hubby came home with about 40 pairs of tube socks he bought from some guy out of the back of his truck. Black market tube sock guy.... and, where exactly is the black market?

Then, Kaity was doing her sweet dance moves from Napoleon Dynamite when she thought no one was looking. That gets the ones who actually catch a peek snorting and laughing. Then the rest of the meal is spent shooting back and forth lines from the movie. I've lost all control, again. Snorting at the dinner table... how rude, how common - how everyday around here. Usually they're all ganging up and laughing at me. "Ha, - mom, she thinks she's so cool..., she can't even get the line right"

Then daughter #2 was refusing to do the dishes. I told Kaity she could at least take out the trash and recycling to help, but she said she wasn't answering to Kaity anymore and only if we guessed her name, would she comply. The hubby, says "I'll guess your name... it's "I'll kick your butt if you don't take out the trash." No? Okay, how about "Lucky #6?" Where did that come from???? Lucky #6? The worst part is, that name will probably stick - like the time he named the poor kid across the street Justin Nick Time.... get it... Justin Nick Time -"Get it?" he kept saying.... "wouldn't that be a cool name?" The hubby just kept saying it, over and over... "get it, get it?" The kicker - the kid's real name was Justin Case...... now, that's just as bad but, poor kid, to this day he's Justin Nick Time around here.

Anyhooo..... this in no way has anything to do with knitting... except to say that me and Lucky #6 will be knitting like the wind tonight to get our projects done in time for our Disneyland trip Wednesday. I'm trying to finish Sitcom Chic - it'll be down to the wire on that one. As you can see from the picture, I got both LONG sleeves attached and am about to start the eyelet detail in the yoke - then I should be home free.

And, Lucky #6, she's knitting something for her sister (the one in the kitchen right now, doing the dishes loudly, so we all know how much she's suffering). Lucky #6 - she'll probably finish hers tonight.... she's lucky like that...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Yarny Goodness

Oooooh, look, look, look at the yarny goodness!!! Okay, you've probably already seen this beautiful yarn on Heather's blog, but now it's mine and so I'm showing it off! She sent it to me because she's just SO COOL like that, because I gushed over how pretty it was. It's even unbelieveably prettier in real life! She spun it herself - I'm not worthy. Thank you Heather! (She should probably check her mailbox later next week.... just saying, something fun might show up...)

I'm thinking this yarn might end up as stripes in a sweater... but I'm not sure yet. For now, it will live on my messy desk - so that as I'm working I can look at it, and stop and pet it from time to time. I'm taking it on a field trip to my not-so-local yarn store today to pick out something likely to go with it, so I can swatch around with it this weekend. I don't know though.... this might be one of those yarns you can't bear to wind out of it's hank and actually use.... I might just have to look at it a while longer.

In other knitting news - lookie what I learned last night, thanks to Kaity - and her just saying... "Mom, trust me, you don't have to understand it, just do what I say..."
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My second sleeve - knit on two circulars. Ok - now I know, for knitting purists, to knit one sleeve on wood DPN's and then to knit the next sleeve on two metal circs is just asking for problems with gauge, etc. Gauge smage.... I'm going for it. Doesn't make me twitch in the least. I'm so bored with these cream-colored sleeves at this point.... Ok, if it comes back to bite me on the butt... if they turn out weird, I'll just have to walk around alot and stand so that you can't see both of my arms at once. You know, a moving target. Besides, no one should be looking that closely, right?

It does seem to go faster this way - or perhaps it's all in my mind - kind of a knitting placebo - don't care. And yes, I made the long sleeve, didn't give into the 3/4.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Duct Tape and Short Cuts - Just Say No

Ok - we have three kids, now ages 16,17,19. Stuff goes on. Stuff I don't want to know about, stuff I wish I didn't know about.... stuff I'm sure I still don't know about! They pick on each other, they "love" each other... stuff goes on. It's like with babies, you learn which noises/yells are serious and which don't require investigation. You can usually tell a "call 911" scream from a "If I have to come up there, someone's gonna get beat" scream. (No, I don't really "beat" them.)

It's amazing the stuff kids will do- stuff beans up their noses, "trim" their bangs... oh you know, if you've got kids you've got a list a mile long of your own "stuff." Most of it makes us laugh.

So, about a year ago the girls are 15 and 16, and they're upstairs in their room. I'm downstairs. I hear this blood-curdling scream. A "call 911 scream." I jump up and head for the stairs... then I hear uncontrollable laughter. I stop....hmmm, that's weird. I guess their okay. I don't go up and check. (I know, what was I thinking. I'll tell ya what I was thinking... I was thinking I've been up those stairs a bazillion times already today, to break up a fight, to look at a cat doing something cute, to check on .... whatever). So, a few minutes later, another scream - you'd swear someone's arm's being lopped off or something.... but then, again with the uncontrollable laughter. I mean, they're laughing so hard they're probably peeing their pants kind of laughter. Now I've gotta know what's going on. I head upstairs....

Daughter #2 is "waxing" daughter #1's eyebrows - with duct tape. Oh - my - gosh. What are they thinking? Where do they come up with these ideas? Step away from the duct tape and In-Style magazine.... Do you know how lucky you are it didn't work and you have ANY eyebrows left at all??? I mean, to begin with, duct tape is not a precision beauty instrument. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? Did you really think your sister had your best interests in mind when she was coming at you with the duct tape? Whose idea was it to begin with? And.... after it hurt so much the first time.... you let her do it again??? This conversation, of course, while I'm laughing so hard I'm trying not to pee my pants!

Short cuts- she just couldn't take the time to pluck her eyebrows hair by hair.... so someone had the bright idea to find a short cut.

So..... my Sitcom Chic. Someone stop me - I'm desperately looking for a short cut. I'm making it with long sleeves rather than 3/4 sleeves, because I want a wear-everyday functional sweater, with full sleeves. But, don't you know... I hate making sleeves.... they're boring, and worse, there are TWO of them. I've got second-sleeve-syndrome already, and I haven't even finished the first one yet.

I've tried this one sleeve on numerous times, trying to talk myself into 3/4 sleeves - it really wouldn't be so bad.... Okay, it's not what I want, but I would be done sooner. The constant cream-coloredness sleevage is boring me to death at this point. No, I really want full sleeves - just suck it up and keep knitting. If I give in to my impatience and knit 3/4 sleeves I'll be unhappy every time I put it on.

Okay, okay, okay.... I'll keep knitting. But, I'm gonna get a hold of Wendy , now that she's mastering the two socks on two circ's method, and have her teach me, so I can do two sleeves at once.... I mean, worse than second-sock-syndrome, who wants a sweater with one sleeve.

And, if I show up on this blog in a cream-colored Sitcom Chic with 3/4 sleeves, it means I've given in - someone come over and beat me.

BTW - do you know how hard it is to get a picture of your own eyebrow? Oh, and sorry girls, I just had to share ; )

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Dam*ed If I Know

Before my grandparents died, they did a lot of world travel. My Grandpa would always take slides instead of pictures, and we'd all gather at my parent's house to watch the slide show and hear about their trip. One trip was especially memorable, and funny, because they had lost Grandma's luggage somewhere (ok, so now I know that really isn't funny...), and in almost every picture Grandma was in the same purple shirt. Grandma in front of the Taj Mahal, in the purple shirt.... Grandma in front of the pyramids of Giza, in the purple shirt... and our all-time favorite - Grandma on a camel, in the purple shirt. We were just cracking up at the end of the slide show, yelling out "there's Grandma in her purple shirt!" Come to think of it, I'm not sure Grandma was as amused. When we cleaned out their house after Grandpa died we came across that picture of Grandma on the camel.... we laughed and cried, and everyone wanted the picture! A family classic.

Another fond memory of their slide shows was that they went so many places, and took so many pictures, and didn't take any notes... that half the time they didn't remember what the pictures were of. "Hey Grandpa, where's that castle?" "Damned if I know...", he'd say. "That's a pretty lake, where is that?" "Damned if I know..." We also laughed a lot about that. It's one of those phrases we fondly recite whenever applicable.. and laugh, and remember Grandma and Grandpa, and Grandma in her purple shirt on a camel!

So, I'm thinking of using one of Grandma's buttons for the closure on my Sitcom Chic. (See Sept. 26 post for "Grandma's buttons"). Those are the likely candidates pictured above..... and I'm asking for opinions. The ones on the top are some kind of shell or abalone. The brown one on the bottom right you can't really see well, but it has an art deco-kind of bow in the center. The toggle button on the bottom left is wood. Which would you pick?

I'm gonna do a one-button closure like on the picture below. I need help deciding.

Which button do I like best? Damned if I know.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Socks Past, Present, and Future

In honor of Lolly's Socktoberfest 2005, I give you this very busy picture of socks, past, present and future.

The finished socks in the forefront are slippers I made, my second-ever pair of socks. These are made with Manos del Uruguay, on #7 DPN's - the total learner-cheater way to make socks! I got the pattern from Knitty Gritty on DIY. It's rainy today (love it!) and I'm gonna wear these in front of the TV tonight watching Gilmore Girls, knitting of course.

What will I be knitting?? The little blue pair of socks by the pumpkin paper bag. These are my Jaeger Matchmaker Merino socks I started a while back, and got excited about finishing because of Socktoberfest. The pattern is one I'm kind of making up as I go along, so it's anyone's guess what will happen with the cables when I get to the heel turning and gusset decreases. I mean, I think I know - I do have a plan of sorts, so we'll see. This is very nice yarn, and sooo soft. I'm likin' it.
The future socks will be out of this pretty geranium-colored Sock Garden yarn out of my stash (ok - so that one skein makes up my entire stash.... sad, I know). The color is beautiful and I can't wait to see how it knits up. It's gonna be footie socks, made from my favorite footie pattern, from Mind of Winter. I like knitting footies, they go fast, and I actually wear a lot of footie socks - so it's a win-win.

Here's a better picture of my blue cable socks and the Sock Garden yarn.

And, about the Sitcom Chic.... the good news is I'll be able to finish it in time for Disneyland, because Disneyland got postponed until next week, instead of tomorrow. Well, the kids aren't too happy about it, but come on people, it's all about the knitting and getting a picture for ya'll of me wearing my sweater, standing next to Mickey, or Pooh, or whoever I can wrangle. Hey! - maybe I can get one of them to hold my socks-in-progress for a picture. I love those silly pictures! There ya go - something to look forward to next week.

PS - the cut off to sign up for Socktoberfest is tomorrow....what are you waiting for? - Join the fun!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Not Always What You Expect

Remember I mentioned a few posts back about our trip to Europe, BK (before kids)? Here's a picture of me (on the right) with my MIL and SIL in the alps, wearing hats the guys bought.

This is the trip where we optimistically bought the skis, and the tandem. This is also the trip where my luggage got lost between Amsterdam and Frankfurt. Now, normally my MIL and SIL and I were about the same size, so I could have borrowed clothes for a day or two until my luggage showed up - but, no, remember - I was six months pregnant. Me, the only one with "specialty clothes," gets the lost luggage. So, the 2nd day after being in the same clothes, we went to a German maternity store and bought some clothes. This was way back in the day when people actually wore "maternity clothes." Now, you can wear most anything as long as you can make it fit. Just what I wanted to spend my vacation money on.... German maternity clothes!

About a day after this picture was taken, I came down with about the worst cold I've ever had. Now, I'm in a German pharmacy, none of us really speaks any German, and I'm pointing to my belly and my stuffy head, trying to explain that I neeeeeed something, but I'm pregnant. Through hand gestures, I ended up with something, not sure what, but it worked. The day after we got home I ran to my OB and showed him the foreign medicine - "pleeeease tell me this was okay to take, I have no idea what it is, but I was desperate!" It turned out to be a European equivalent to something like Sudafed, and all was well. My first born wasn't going to be born with three eyes or anything.

Now, what I wanted to spend my vacation money on was crystal and dishes. My MIL and SIL and I had scoped it all out, and found out where the Villeroy and Boch factory was in Germany. We got directions from the hotel desk clerk and got the guys to drive us out to the country to the factory. We were so excited! We were gonna buy tons of dishes, dirt cheap because the exchange rate was good, and ship them home! Wooo Hooo! We get there, and it turns out to be the Villeroy and Boch factory that makes sinks, and toilets..... not a dish in sight! NOT what we expected. Who even knew V&B made toilets! I can tell you, the guys never let us live down our trip to the "toilet factory."

So, this Cotton Tots yarn I bought for my Sitcom Chic is not what I expected, either. I never thought I'd LOVE it. Really, I only bought it because I had a gift certificate to Michaels, and this was the best yarn I could find for the purpose, and I really didn't want to spend any money. But, I have to tell you, I LOVE this stuff!!! It is so thick and soft. This is going to be like wearing a sweatshirt, but just slightly more fashionable. Here's my progress so far:
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This sweater is made from the bottom up, and I'm up to where you bind off for the sleeves. Now I've gotta make my sleeves and attach them, then work the yoke. I was hoping to have it done for a trip to Disneyland this Wednesday - but that's not looking likely. I can't knit that fast! I tried to farm a sleeve out to Kaity - but we figured I'd just end up with two different length sleeves.... so I'll be patient and do it myself.

The cream color is getting a little boring, though... I must say. I'm gonna be ready for some color changing on my next project. I've got me another harebrained idea - just the thing. More on that later!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Ella Enchanting

It's a beauty

I am so happy with how my Ella shawl turned out.

I'll be the first to admit - I wasn't sure at first. I almost gave up - well, no, that's not true - I refused to give up. This was my first lace piece, and it took me a while to get it right, but once I got the hang of the pattern, it was such fun! It really got to be addicting, and as happy I am that it is finished and I can start using it, I'm going to miss knitting it!

Since I don't "dress up" often - I didn't want something too fancy. I wanted to make Ella a "working shawl," something that I would get a lot of use out of. This is perfect - I can throw it around my shoulders while watching TV (it looks fab lying on the eggplant-colored leather couches), or wear it with my jean jacket and go to the mall... but I can also see dressing it up. The pattern makes it so pretty, and the yarn I chose makes it practical.

The yarn I chose was Knit One, Crochet Too's 2nd Time Cotton, color borealis, and I used three hanks. The color is true in the first picture. The yarn splits terribly. I had used it before for another project, Aibhlinn, another project, and swore I wouldn't use it again because it drove me so crazy... but I guess it's like giving birth... next thing you know, you've forgotten the pain and you're doing it again.

Wendy gives you directions for making a triangular shawl if your prefer, which is the style I made. The pattern was very easy to follow, but you do have to pay attention - but like I said, it's a very fun and addicting pattern to knit. I can easily see myself making this again someday.

Ella is very enchanting, and mine is somewhat of a chameleon. The true color is as in the pictures at the top of the page and at right, but in the sunlight it is a little more blue, and in the evenings when I was working on it it would look almost brown (see the picture in the "blocking post" below). Maybe it's because it has all those flecks of color in it and they just pick up on their surroundings - or maybe she's really enchanted!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Just A Peek

Shhh, be very quiet. Ella is blocking. She wants to be rested and ready for her photo shoot tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wasted Brain Space!!!

Warning, this post has no knitting content- except to explain why maybe I'm such a slow learner now as an adult.

2nd warning - anyone under 30 will probably not know who I'm talking about, and quite possibly many under 40... but here goes.

My sister just burned me a bunch of CD's to put on my iPod. 70's classics. We're talking Bread, ABBA, Bobby Goldsboro, Neil Diamond, and the Carpenters... just to name some of the fav's. Some of these you still hear from time to time, maybe some Neil Diamond, and ABBA has had a slight revival of late, but I haven't heard Bread, Bobby Goldsboro, or the Carpenters since I was a kid.

Now, I had all these albums, yes "albums,", LP's if you must... and I knew every word to every song. I sat in my 70's style bedroom, painted all green and yellow with groovy flowers and smiley faces plastered everywhere, and sang into my hairbrush - and my brother and I would switch off singing harmony. We wore the records out.

So, today I'm on my way to pick up one of the kids at a friend's, and I have that cool adaptor so you can play songs off your iPod through your car stereo, and I cue up The Carpenters. Honestly, I really can't remember the last time I heard "Goodbye to Love," or "Top of the World," or "For All We Know," probably not since I was about 11, and that was a long time ago.... but I knew ALL THE WORDS!!!

Complete wasted brain space, I tell ya - no wonder I'm such a blithering moron today..... no brain cells left, and I can't seem to clear out those "Carpenter's brain cells." I need to reformat my brain's hard drive.

Up side, though..... I still love the songs! My kids are screaming "Noooo!"..... but I'll wear my iPod out listening to my 70's pop! - and singing along!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Seemed Like a Good Idea At The Time

Why do we talk ourselves into things we really don't need. Like on our trip to Europe, BK (before kids), when I was actually six months pregnant with our first, and we not only bought cross country skis in Germany, but ordered a custom-built tandem bicycle in England. You know, we had such lofty ambitions, you know, the "have it all" myth - kids weren't really going to change things that much. We'll still do all those things we've always done....

Well, as you can guess, I've been on the skis once, and the tandem twice..... We ended up with three kids in 3-1/2 years, and I got REALLY busy! It's been GREAT, but like everyone before they have kids - we really didn't have a clue how things were going to change! And, even though the changes are all for the better and I wouldn't change a thing, the tandem and skis are still in the rafters - now waiting for a time "after kids." (is there a such thing?).

Well, I was also sure I needed a poncho. Hmmm. It probably falls into the "if you wore it the first time the fashion came around, you probably shouldn't wear it the 2nd time" category.

I had a great poncho once, when I was in grade school. My mom knit it for me, and I loved it. It was out of a blue, kind of homespun chunky yarn with black flecks. I felt very "groovy" wearing it. Then some mean chick named Josefina stole it. She actually had the nerve to wear it to school and flaunt it in front of me. She was so mean and I was sooo afraid of her, for awhile I just told my mom I lost it. I never got it back - mainly because I was afraid to confront the "mean girl."

So this one - it's okay.... I just feel like a dork every time I wear it. Maybe I'm too old for it, may I'm not the "poncho type" anymore, maybe it's fine.... I just feel very self conscious everytime I put it on. But, after all the work I put into it, I keep talking myself into trying it on "one more time." This was my first BIG project after scarves, my first time using a pattern.

Believe, me, Kaity had to talk me through every step - getting me out of all my mistakes. I even woke her up once late at night because I finally had some "knitting time," but ended up with some kind of mistake I couldn't figure out. I was just settling down to an hour or two of "me time," TV and knitting after a long day, all excited about my new-found love of knitting, and right away, there's a mistake and I can't go on.... I sneak upstairs into her room, with a flashlight no less, and nudge her.... "Kaity, are you awake?" She's such a good sport! She woke up, fixed my mistake by flashlight, and I was able to go back downstairs and make some good progress.

I mean really - I HAD to wake her up, I really needed to knit! What do people who don't have their own knitting coaches in-house do? I'd never get anything finished!

Too bad she says she's not the "poncho type." I'd give it to her!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Designer help?

Here's a project for ya'll. I found this in a fashion magazine, and want to make it, real bad. Sorry for the blurry image, but you get the idea. I'm pretty sure I can figure out something for the cables, but need a basic pattern. Have you seen anything close? I was thinking I could tweak Bonne Marie's Cutaway, by lenthening it and thereby making the button stance a little lower. If I increased the ribbing around the neck I could make a collar, right?

I'm in no hurry, I've got a couple of other projects in line... but I really love this. The original in the magazine is cashmere blend, and $415! I could screw up a lot of cashmere yarn trying to figure this out and never get near $415!

I know some of you who have more experience than I can either point me in the right direction, or tell me I'm just fooling myself, thereby saving me a lot of frustration. I'd appreciate any help/ideas you all might have!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Black Boogers of Death

That's what you get with our current weather - according to my youngest daughter (ladylike and eloquent, don't you think?).

Fall weather around here = nasty East Winds and brush fires. I have to agree with my daughter. I HATE this weather! For those of you not in So. Calif, East winds are hot, very dry, strong winds that just blow all day and suck the moisture out of everything in sight.... nasty. It's about 90 degrees, humidity about zero. We happen to live in the "Y" of two canyons, so we get particularly gusty winds - 60 to 80 MPH, the kind that blow the patio furniture all over the back yard. A few years ago one gust blew over our glass table and busted it all over the patio - so now we weight everything down with sand bags! I'm always afraid a branch or the neighbor's errant patio umbrella, or something's going to go flying through a window. I tell you, keep your small pets inside if you don't want to see them fly across the yard! These go on for about a week at a time, on and off through September and October. Even if you don't suffer from allergies - there's so much junk flying through the air everyone's head is stuffed up - not to mention the dry eyes and skin. Crispy, I tell ya - ick. Black Boogers of Death. She's right.

The point of this story... I fall (pun intended?) for the whole romantic "Fall Weather" myth - every year! I hear "Fall" and see all the magazine covers with skinny girls in all their coordinated lightweight jackets and sweaters, and I think crisp cool days - you know, my beloved sweater weather. But no, we don't get that kind of autumn here, we get hot and windy. The same, now very boring, short and, sandals you wore all summer, and ponytails to try and keep your hair out of your face in the wind. And, every year I block it out, then remember we can't have the cool, nice sweater-weather until we go through the East Winds.....

Waa, Waa, Waaaa. Okay, sorry, I've whined on long enough.... are you still with me?

So, back when I was romanticizing Fall Weather... I started these:
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Yes - if you look at the thermometer in the background, it's 90 degrees in the shade (sorry, couldn't help it).

These fingerless gloves are pretty, and really soft. Blue Sky Alpaca, 100% Alpaca, sport weight, Kool-Aid dyed by Kaity and myself. I can't wait to wear them. Those baby alpacas have got to be the softest animals on the planet. I bet even cashmere goats and angora bunnies want to be them! I'm thinking they'll be great with my cranberry-colored suede jacket, and jeans of course. Always jeans.

Come on cooler weather..... I'm sooooo ready. Hey, where do those cute, soft little alpacas live? Maybe I'll move there!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Blogger Get-Together

To all my Knitting FWB's (Friends With Blogs)
This is an open invitation to all my friends with blogs - my daughter Kaity and I would like to have a get-together. We want to do a meet-and-knit, we'll serve lunch, and something chocolate, and we're thinking about some type of gift exchange. Bring your FO's to show off, something to sit-and-knit, and your camera, of course!
DATE: Sat, Nov 19
TIME: 11-3
PLACE: Our home, Southern Calif
I know that's a little vague, on the place, but for those seriously interested, leave a comment and your email or some way to reach you, and I'll send you more info - I just want to be a little respectful to my family about how much info I put out on the "blogosphere". It should be lots of fun - we'd love to meet some of you! Come on - you know you're curious to meet all of us in "real life." I already feel like I know so many of you! I'm targeting the So. Cal crowd, but hey, if you want to travel... we'd love to have you!
Ok - for some knitting progress - here's Ella so far:
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(The armadillo is for Wendy's benefit) Ella's grown to about 16", and she's gonna take a while!!! I'm going to have to think of something else interesting to talk about for then next month - you know how I'm a one-project gal, and it's going to get pretty boring on your end of this blog if I don't. Here's a close up of the pretty colors
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Ok - run, go check your calendars, you know you want to! Chocolate........

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Sitcom Chic - One Mile and 10 Minutes At A Time

Oh, the small town thing. I've mentioned before, our entire town covers an area of about four square miles. This means most of my trips are a mile or less. It seems like hundreds of times a day, but a mile or less. So, we bought this
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The hubby is the "King of Good Deals", and always "knows a guy," and got it used, for a song. It's great for those little trips around town, but it's a little hard on the hairdo - and believe me, I have major hair issues on a good hair day. But, it is good for embarrassing the girls - always a plus in my book. Keeps them on their toes. Boy, they HATE it when I show up at school in this sporty red model! So, I really don't use the economical little electric car as much as I should.

Sure - I could walk, and I do walk to the gym sometimes, but most of my trips are back and forth with the kids - you know, the ol' Mom-Taxi thing. To school, last minute "I forgot were supposed to bring snacks" trip to the store, to Youth Group, Band practice... you name it. If both girls are together I usually make them walk, but it rarely works out that way - and it's rarely worth the fight!

So, I figured I need some car-knitting, for those waiting around times. Here's my Sitcom Chic with my usual ride
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Sitcom will be perfect for these few minutes I can catch in the car. It needs to be relatively mindless so I can pick it up and put it down.... and remember what in the world I'm supposed to be knitting..... this is pretty much stockinette at this point. Perfect.

Of course, at 5 to 10 minutes a pop, this could take a while.... oh, who am I kidding? With as many trips as I make a day, it oughta be done next week!

BTW - Ella and I are getting along quite well now. But, she can't come in the car. She doesn't travel well and, well, lets face it - she's too demanding.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Beauty In The Light Of A New Day

Check it out!
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It's about Barbie-doll shawl size right now... but it's gorgeous! Hey, those Barbie dolls are never wearing clothes after their first day home, anyway, so it's a thought.

So, after all your encouragement and kind words, even some from Wendy Wonnacott herself, I sat down last night, with my back turned away from the TV, at the kitchen table where the "good light" is, and s-l-o-w-l-y and carefully, row-by-row, started back in on my Ella shawl. Everything went smoothly, and - this is HUGE for me, I actually understand the pattern as it is developing, so I know right away if something's off and can catch myself, instead of three rows down. It's fun now, not torture, and suprisingly easy.... funny - most things are once you FINALLY get the hang of it. However, sitting hunched over the kitchen table, for the "good light" is not my idea of relaxing knitting.

Hence my ongoing dilemma... here's where I love to knit
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I have my table next to me with the ever-present Diet Coke, the recliner end of the couch, my little box full of knitting necessities, and I can see the TV perfectly. However, it's in a darker corner of the room with no overhead lighting, and at night, when I have a chance to finally settle down and knit, that beautiful little stained glass lamp just doesn't cut it. Especially with this challenging Ella pattern and the dark yarn.

So, I pick up my knitting and go sit in the hubby's recliner, where there's good light... however, I am half brain dead most of the time, so I get settled in, and then figure out I don't have my granny glasses, or my scissors, or forget to bring my Diet Coke.... up, down, up, down.... I threatened to put all my knitting accessories in a fanny pack last night, and my granny glasses on a chain around my neck - but the girls said they'd disown me. Like I don't already embarrass them enough. (Hey, it's my job - I'm their mother).

I could go against fire regulations and up the wattage in my little lamp - or put another lamp there.... but I really love the stained glass one, it looks nice with my purple couches and glass table.... or maybe I'll just wear a head lamp - perfect!!! Functional, and it'll embarrass the girls to death. Gotta love a two-fer!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Motorcycle riding and yarn overs

When I was a kid we used to go motorcycle riding in the desert. We'd load up the family and spend the weekend riding all over the California desert. All day... taking turns with my brother, because we shared a motorcycle. We'd race our friends, ride the same trails over and over, the hills, whoop-de-do's, sand washes. Later, after a night around a desert campfire, we'd fall exhausted into our sleeping bags. And then, I would ride motorcycles all night in my dreams - all night long, the same trails and hills. I'd wake up and it would feel like I hadn't even had a chance to sleep!

So, Saturday night I planned to start my Ella. Here's the yarn I finally decided on
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It's a pretty tweedy-purple 2nd Time Cotton, by Knit One-Crochet Two, color #219, Borealis. The kids and I settle in to watch The Shining, the TV version with Stephen Weber (my favorite version) and I figure I've got a few good hours to make a start on this. I don't even really have to pay attention to the movie, because I've seen it before. I just need some background noise, and thought I'd keep the kids company.

Oy, this is my first stab at a real lace pattern... which I now know I'm not good at. About five rows in, my count is off. Rip out and start over. Then maybe I'd get to eight rows, rip out and start over. Sometimes I'd get about 15 or 16 rows in..... ahhhhhh!!!!!, rip out and start over. Let me tell you, The Shining is one looooong movie, 4-1/2 hrs, and this is what I had to show for it at about 11:30 PM when the movie was over:
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No kidding - nothing on the needles - I had ripped it all out again.

So, I'm exhausted and frustrated, and fall into bed.... and dream ALL NIGHT LONG about starting and restarting, ripping and re-ripping Ella. Let's just say I was NOT rested in the morning.

Well, I'm nothing if not stubborn. So, Sunday afternoon I sit down again, rested and ready to make a fresh start. Hey - I'm doing it! I'm about 12 rows in, and no mistakes yet! I get this bright idea to thread a "cheater yarn" through all the stitches on the needle, so when I eventually end up having to rip it out, I won't have to rip it ALL out. (I can't ever figure out how to rip out to a point, and then get it all back on the needles.... and with all these yarn overs and K2T TBL's, etc, I'd never get it all back on the needles). So, things are going pretty good, but at about row 18 or so, my count is off. I try to fudge it and do a few more rows but, no, it's not happening. So, I rip out to my cheater yarn, and go from there, feeling pretty smart that I thought of the cheater yarn. I wish I was smart enough to recognize the pattern as I'm knitting it, so I know when something's not right, but I probably won't have that down until about the last row.

So, look
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A whole Sunday afternoon's work, and it's not right. See that second row of yarn overs, with the cheater yarn running through them, how they seem to wander off to the right? Heaven's to Betsy. I can't stand it. I tried to tell myself I could live with it and just make it right from that point on, but those mistakes will always haunt me, and I won't be happy. I want it to look like this....
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Yeah, right.

So......, sigh...... I ripped it all out again. And went to bed, and dreamt of Ella, again! This thing is taking on a life of it's own, and it doesn't like me! However... I'm sure it's me, not the pattern, so don't let me discourage others. This is my first time with lace, and I'm a slow learner!

I refuse to be beat. I'm going to take the day off from Ella, and maybe try again tonight. First, I have to reprint the first two pages of directions because I've made so many marks on them I can't tell what's going on. Oh yeah, and I have to cut about three yards off the end of my yarn to get to a point where it's not completely frayed from working and re-working.

So, please check on me tomorrow, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel, and make sure I haven't hung myself with the yarn. (I'll leave a suicide note with instructions for Kaity to take a picture for ya'll). And please hope that I don't dream about this thing again all night, I need some rest. Who knows, maybe I'll have something to show for all my work this time!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Cameo Appearance

As promised, I finished my Marilyn's Not-So-Shrunken Cardigan last night. It's a beautiful sweater, if I do say so myself...
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...and here's a close-up of Grandma's buttons and the ruffles
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I modified the pattern just slightly - Wendy gives a lot of tips on how to modify it for your tastes and body type.... I made mine about 2" longer, and only put one row of ruffles on each side.

Okay, so I promised a surprise. Here's were I'm gonna make you jealous -and brag a little. Guess who I got to model my new sweater for, on it's debut outing....
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Yeppers! That would be me with the designer herself, the one and only Wendy! How cool is that?

My daughter, Kaity, turned me on to Wendy's blog a while back, and after we talked back and forth a few times we figured out we live about a half hour away from each other! She asked about my favorite not-so-LYS, and we made plans to meet there for shopping and lunch. Getting to meet and yarn shop with my favorite knitting friend/blogger/designer, going out for lunch, and then just sitting around talking and knitting. Does it get any better than that? I think not.

Here's a pic of Kaity and Wendy
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She helped me pick out yarn for my Ella, and helped Kaity pick color combos for her new felted bag project. Wendy's as sweet and funny as I'm sure you imagine she is, and we had a great afternoon. What fun! Thanks Wendy!

See..... I told you it was gonna be a good surprise! Now, admit it, aren't you all just a little jealous?

  • Knit Picks Palette Fair Isle Cardigan (on permanent hold - reconsideration status)
  • "Turquoise Jeans Socks", made up rib pattern, Claudia's Handpainted
  • Clementine Shawlette, Interweave Knits Spring 2007
  • Bonita, Interweave Knits Summer 2006
  • Clapotis, Knitty, out of a yummy Mountain Colors Mountain Goat yarn
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