Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Random Knitting-Related Ramblings

First - I saw this over on Knits and Grits - What's in your toolbox? I love seeing little glimpses into people's personalities... here's mine - who knows what it says about me... I do know it all better be in there when I look for it - I HATE searching for things. The Bud gave me the pretty box one year for Mother's Day, filled with candles. The cute giraffe eyeglass holder is a gift from my MIL. The hubby brought me the beautiful gold scissors from Germany when he was there on business, probably over 20 yrs ago.

Next, here's something I saw on both Donna's blog this morning, and Lolly's. Pretty cool, huh? here's the site- go make yourself one- it's kind of fun to see what turns up.

It's a "word cloud."

Kind of cool.

And last, but certainly not least - you have to head over to Amylovie's site and check out her daughter's very first FO! Very cool - gotta love young knitters! Good job!!!

Monday, January 30, 2006

"It's Nice to Have Nice Things"

That's the hubby's motto - adopted from my brother... They both have the same hobbies, mountain biking and hiking, and when you are serious about both, let's just say they're not inexpensive sports. However, it's like the Mastercard commercial.... bicycles worth more than some of our cars, down sleeping bags costing $100s, not to mention tents, boots, stoves, packs, etc, etc, etc, - having a stress-free hubby is priceless. He can spend all he wants - it keeps him stress free and happy. Priceless.

But, he does have good taste, and likes the best. So, this weekend when Kaity talked him and "The Bud" into stopping at our not-so-local yarn store on their way home from the backpacking store (the only reason Kaity went along for the ride) - this is what the hubby picked out for a hat - some beautiful KnitOne Crochet Two Ambrosia yarn, in a pretty spicy color - 70% baby alpaca, 20% silk, and 10% cashmere. The man knows how to pick a nice fiber combo!

He does have a few other hats we've knitted him, but they're wool and itchy. He wanted something soft, and not itchy. He picked well.

Kaity had steered the duo towards some chunkier yarn at first, and they each picked out a nice Debbie Bliss alpaca/silk for hats. Something you can knit up on a nice size 7 needle. But then the hubby saw the Ambrosia. I wish I could have been there - I still can't picture them in the yarn store. He showed it to Kaity and said - this would probably take a long time to knit, huh? (size 3 needles) - but he liked it and Kaity knew I'd take it on.

Here's our progress so far, a simple stockinette hat with a ribbed brim, and a little blue stripe. This yarn is gorgeous, and if I had the stamina for it would make a beautiful camisole. The stitch definition in the stockinette is beautiful.

Carmen says it's pretty soft, too.

And - get this - Kaity had him talked into buying a swift while they were there.... but they didn't have any in stock!!! Arghhhhhhh!!! He could appreciate a swift, practical and actually kind of a cool tool (I think the Bud called it a "$60 wooden whirly thing").... but it was an impulse buy kind of thing, not a "order and wait for it" kind of thing, so it wasn't meant to be, at least not yesterday. But, hey - at least he gets it and appreciates that even with knitting, "it's nice to have nice things!"

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Good News/Bad News

First, the good news. Instant Gratification Socks are finished! Here's the artsy-fartsy shot (albeit, slightly blurry - but hey, I was on my tiptoes, leaning over upside down to get the shot)...

and here they are in their natural habitat...

Specs: Hill Country Yarns, Instant Gratification Sock Yarn, color: BlueBonnet
One skein. Knit on two size 5 circs, in 5 days!
I didn't really have a pattern, but cast on 44 stitches kind of winged it from there, consulting a few different books.

They may be a teensy bit small, because I may be a teensy bit impatient and, besides, I was racing Kaity. The Bud came in Thursday night and said, "what is this, a knit off?" - and well, the race was on.... Kaity won, but hey.... she was only making footies. I tried to send her to bed early so I could finish first, but she wasn't falling for that. At least that's my story...

All in all, they're very pretty, very soft, and very wearable. Love 'em. Wearing 'em right now.

Here's the sad part of today's story.... look away if you can't stand pooling, or sock blowouts.

Now, the pooling I don't mind at all. I'm weird that way. These are the 2nd pair of socks I ever knit, with leftover Manos from the hubby's hat - knit as slippers on size 7 DPN's. Me, I didn't every know what "pooling" was back then, or that it was a "bad thing." I remember saying, "Hey, check out the cool pattern the yarn makes!"

Anyway, they make great slippers, but I obviously didn't know how to finish a toe, because I wore them about twice, put them back in the cupboard, then the evil sock elves came and unraveled the toe while I was sleeping.

I've been looking at them, and I'm not even sure how to fix them, because I'm not quite sure how the elves unraveled them.... but I'm gonna give it a go, because, pooling and all, I like 'em.

Well - I'm off to elf-proof the house, and I think I'll mosey on down to our local, TINY library and see if they have any knitting books. Kaity says she's checked, and they don't, but you know kids.... I'll just go check for myself.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Just The Facts, Ma'am

I don't like misrepresentation - or someone trying to fool me into something being better than it really is. I like genuine. Now - everyone tries to play up their good points, that's okay, but don't lie to me.

When I was in high school I remember a time when "playing up my good points" failed, miserably. One of my very best friends in HS and I used to go cruising in LC's Camaro every Friday night with all the cool kids, which I was not, but would have liked to have been. Anyway, we'd cruise up and down Main Street and look for hot guys and hot cars.... but the trouble was it was all the same kids we went to school with pretty much, and they already knew who drove what, and who was hot and who was not.... so it didn't really get me very far in the social world.

So, one night we had LC's CB radio (yep, it was the 70's, and I'm old now) and, I figured this was a cool way to be incognito and put myself out there without anyone really knowing who I was. I really had no plan on what I was gonna do if anyone was ever really interested in my "new persona," which really didn't matter because I got shot down my first time I put it out there.

See, I was gonna make up a cool and sexy "handle," something to do with my green eyes... So I make up the handle "Emerald Eyes." I mean, come on, what guy's NOT gonna want to meet me with a cool name like that. So, I get on the radio, and they ask who I am, and I mysteriously say "this is Emerald Eyes...." and the guy on the other end shoots back... "Hemorrhoids! - what kind of name is that?" I never got on the CB again, and never tried to pretend I was someone I wasn't ever again.

(LC - do you remember this??)

So, even here in blogland, where I could pretend to be anyone I want to.... pretty much what you see/read is what you get. I don't have the time and stamina to live a double life, and I'm not a good liar.

This is why I love knitting blogs - you get the straight scoop on yarn and patterns. If it's cra*, someone will tell you, and you don't end up wasting your time and money. And if it's great, everyone will jump on the bandwagon. I have yet to be fooled by a blogger. I like getting the genuine truth on products!

So, in the interest of full disclosure, and how much I am loving knitting a fast sock, here's a close up pic of my new (and finished) Hill Country Yarn sock next to my Trekking XXL Jaywalker (which I'm also loving), so that you can see the difference in the gauges. This is making a lovely, soft, functional and thick sock, and I'll be wearing them like crazy with my clogs. They weren't pulling your leg when they named it "Instant Gratification" sock yarn. Love this yarn.

And, here's a plug for my favorite product line, L'Occitane. Do you guys know about this stuff? I LOVE IT. And, for me, this is saying something, because I am the generic/whatever's-on-sale queen. Cheap. But I cannot live without their honey/shea butter soap, even take it when I travel, and this tin of pure shea butter is a lifesaver for chapped hands. It has been cold and dry, and WINDY here... and I LOVE this stuff. It makes my hands soft and, best, isn't wet, sticky, etc, so immediately after you can pick up your knitting!!! They don't know me from Adam, and this is an unsolicited commercial plug... but if you have dry skin, try it, it's the best.

Well - hopefully after watching ER tonight I'll have a pair of socks to show you tomorrow. Ok, well, I'm not gonna lie to you, maybe by Saturday, at the latest...

Emerald Eyes - signing off.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Were Those Weeds?

My son (the Bud): Hey mom... I was pulling weeds for Dad like you asked me to, but out by the roses and bougainvillea there were some that I'm not sure were weeds after I pulled them... they looked like onions on the bottom.
Me: My daffodils!!!

Luckily, he stopped after only pulling a few. The hubby has done the same thing to me in the past. Now, I can't complain AT ALL, because I HATE to garden. Hence, our yard consists of grass, roses, and a little bit of ground cover - all of which the hubby takes care of. I love the looks of a garden, but after a few futile attempts, I just had to realize I don't like to garden. Bulbs I can do. Stick 'em in once... they come back every year and surprise you... if no one yanks them out and calls them weeds.

The point - God gives us the promise of Spring and the daffodil greens are up and in a few weeks or so I should have more green grass and flower pictures for you folks suffering through the cold and snow. Just sending a little California sunshine your way.

And for some more beautiful color - here's the most productive knitting hour or so I've ever spent. Check out the progress on our Hill Country socks! Kaity is using the Strawberry Swirl, doing her first toe-up socks, making footies. I'm making a "traditional" top down sock with a regular heel flap, using the BlueBonnet. And look - no pooling - just beautiful stripes! We're having a race - but you can be sure we'll both be done with our first socks tonight!

I'm loving this yarn. It knits up quick (duh) and is making a really nice, thick sock. This is gonna be a great clog sock. They also make a lighter sock weight yarn, also hand-dyed, called Sweet Feet - which I think I'll try next. I love the colors.

It may be cold out, but the California sun is shining and I'm feeling all "springy!" The wind has stopped and it really is beautiful out. We'll need these few beautiful days to look back on when it starts to rain!

"Consider how the lilies grow...I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Springtime Anyone?

Here's a little something for all of you dealing with the cold and snow right now.... I'm sending you a a little promise of spring....

Look what came in the mail today - and isn't it pretty?!

Kaity and I are lucky enough to be test knitting a new sock yarn - and this has all the right stuff! It's from Hill Country Yarns and, get this, it's called Instant Gratification Sock Yarn, which means size 5-6 needles for a faster knit, 100% merino wool, hand-dyed, and, here comes my favorite part.... SUPERWASH!

Yippee! I'm setting the psycho-colored Jaywalkers aside for a few days and I'm casting on a little springtime tonight, as soon as Kaity and I duke it out as to who gets which color! At first I was sure I wanted the BlueBonnet - but now I'm kind of falling in love with the Strawberry Swirl..... decisions, decisions....

Monday, January 23, 2006

Groovy Baby

One down, one to go..., and as this yarn doesn't show any sign of a real "repeat" this is gonna be one funky pair of socks.... suits me!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Casa Lagarto

I've always thought houses with names had a high coolness factor. Like Tara, or Roseville, or The Breakers, or even Southfork (ok, that's a whole ranch). If we were going to name our house anything, it would have to do with lizards. We have an abundance of lizards. Just our house, too. Not wo much the neighbors. I guess we're lizard-friendly. You don't see them so much right now, when it's cold, but in the summer they bask themselves in the warm sun on the walls. The wall next to our walkway leading to our front door is a favorite lizard sunning spot, and people always comment on our lizards.

When it's at all warm, any time you look out you can find lizards if you just look. A couple of times we've had one get in the house - which is great excitement for the cats.... but generally they stay outside. We have so many that we've started collecting ceramic lizards for the yard to keep the real ones company.

So, for a house name, I guess we'd have to go with Casa Lagarto, Spanish for lizard house (loosely translated). Most things in So. Calif have Spanish names, so that would fit in well. We could pretend to be French and go with Chez Lezard... but we're not French. We are German, but Haus Mauereidechse is a little unwieldy - not to mention I don't have a clue how to pronounce it - and it's a little much for signage.

Anyhooooo, my new Jaywalkers with the Trekking XXL yarn reminded me of the ceramic lizards by our front door. I'm kind of liking these socks - but Kaity says they're the ugliest things she's ever seen. I think they're kind of hippie-funky... I don't know - they're growing on me.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Procrastination, and snoring cats

Check out our sluggo cat, Carmen. This is where she spends 80% of her day. She lives on this computer monitor. Luckily, this is the kid's computer, my new monitor is thinner and she can't fit on it anymore. I was constantly having to push an errant foot or tail off the screen so I could see what I was doing.

As you can see.... she's pretty relaxed. She sleeps so soundly up there she's been known to fall off. Sometimes off the monitor onto the desk, off the desk onto the piano bench, and off the piano bench onto the floor before she wakes up. Then she just shakes her head, looks a little embarrased, and hops back up.

It's a good thing she's "fixed".... because if she ever reproduced I know her kittens would have three eyes or something from all the radiation she must be absorbing. It can't be good for her... but she won't listen to reason. Come to think of it, I'm sure it's not too good for the monitor, with her up their clogging up the vents with her furry fatness. Hmmm, maybe that's why the screen had been flickering between a white and pink background for the last couple of weeks.

I think when I replace the monitor I'll check into a flat panel... is that mean? What would she do, where would she go all day?

Yesterday I caught her snoring. Little soft kitty snores. Yep - it's a cat's life.

So, Jeanie tagged me last week, and I've put off this meme long enough. I'm a champion procrastinator if it's gonna involve sitting and thinking for too long... Here goes.

New Year's MeMe

What are 5 things you'd like to do more of in 2006
1. Read my Bible
2. Spend time in prayer
3. Knit
4. Camp
5. Exercise

What are 5 things you'd like to do less of in 2006?
1. Eat
2. Procrastinate
3. Frogging
4. Worrying
5. Wasting time

What are 5 things you learned how to do in 2005?
1. Knit
2. Blog
3. Be a braver Search and Rescue wife
4. ?
5. ?

What are 5 things you'd like to learn in 2006?
1. Knit lace better
2. Entrelac
3. To organize/prioritize my time better
4. Discern better the Lord's will for my life

What are your 5 best memories of 2005?
1. My sister and her family NOT moving away
2. My helicopter ride
3. My weekends away with the hubby
4. Times together with family
5. Taking the kids to Disneyland with my sister and her family

What are your 5 worst memories of 2005?
Not gonna dwell on those

What are your 5 best purchases from 2005?
1. New furniture for my home office
..... I really don't buy a lot

What are 5 things you'd love to purchase in 2006?
1. A swift
2. College educations for two kids, and one more next year
..... that should about spend it all...

Who are 5 bloggers that inspired you in 2005 and how?
1. Kaity - for showing me what a blog was....
2. Wendy - my first real blog friend, and then a "real life" friend - she's a great knitting encourager, and a great friend to Kaity. I appreciate her most for that.
3. I have met so many great knitters and made some REAL friends, I'd be afraid I might leave someone out if I started listing names. I hope you know who you are... you do, we talk back and forth and email and leave comments. You all inspire me in one way or another. Some by knitting amazing things, some with your love for the Lord which shines through, and others who share my quirky sense of humor.... and many of you do all of the above! You all inspire me.

Tag 5 people for this MeMe - I think I've tagged enough people this week! I'll spare you.

PS - THANK YOU all for your kind words and prayers and wishes for my hands and headaches. I'm glad to report that a couple of weeks of taking it easier with my hands (making kids do chores!) and wearing my splints EVERY night has really helped and they are much better!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

That was last night and today.... wasted.

Not being the hypochondriac type, I always thought it was interesting that while working for neurologists and neurosurgeons I would end up with migraines and carpal tunnel.

If I had worked for an endocrinologist would I have diabetes and thyroid problems?

Nah - I know none of it's related, but it's interesting. And, believe me, if I was gonna come down with a neurological ailment - I could have ended up with something much worse!

Anyway.... last night I woke up around 3:00 AM with a doozie of a migraine. I'm blaming in on the Snowdrop Shawl. I picked it back up again last night, like I said I would, and it was two hours of torture. Knit - rip. Knit - tink. Knit - curse. and on, and on, and on. See all that chicken scratch on my pattern. That is no less than nine attempts to get this far.... and, again.... it's not right. Argh....

Finally I just ripped the whole thing out, went to bed, and decided my knitting a laceweight shawl was just not meant to be. I just don't have it in me. I need to put the laceweight back in the closet and stick with smaller lace pieces for awhile, like scarves, with DK weight yarn, no laceweight, and practice. I went to bed rather sad... resigned.... defeated. I had really wanted to be able to knit a shawl.

So, then the dumb migraine. I blunder through what seemed like an eternity of a day until about 3:00 this afternoon when the sledge hammer in my head finally quieted down to just a small hammer banging away behind my eyes..., then finally just the medicated, head-numbing aftermath.

It was then I decided that, darn it, I really could make a shawl, I just needed another pattern. Now, I have bookmarked about 10 Flowerbasket shawls made by numerous knitters. That one always catches my eye. So, I get out my pattern, and grab my yarn, and look! Compared to the two-hour migraine-making knit fit that was last night.... in half an hour this afternoon.... even with my fogged-up brain, I knit this!

It's the beginning of my Flowerbasket Shawl (Interweave Knits, Fall 2004). And this one I can do! I haven't had to tink back a thing yet! (note, the lifeline though.... I'm not taking any chances).

So, I'm just gonna take it easy, have fun with it, and put it down if I feel uneasy. But so far, so good. It's fun, it's a pattern that makes sense to me, it's just repetitive enough.... I think I'm gonna make it after all.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I'll Buy That Tinking Machine!

How did Wendy know I was posting about STOOOOPID tinking today. She's talking about how someone needs to invent a tinking machine... among other wonderful things that would make our knitting lives easier.

The tinking machine - I'd be all over that if it could tink lace..... Errrrr. Nothing will put the brakes on my lace knitting faster than finding a mistake and having to tink back.

I can hardly knit lace forward, as much as I love knitting lace for some insane reason, but tinking it backwards takes every brain cell I can scrounge. Like I've got a lot of those to spare. Not to mention, it would help if I had magnifying eyes.... even with the granny glasses - argh!

So, see the piece to the left... where up at the top I lost my mind for a second and didn't finish that middle medallion before going ahead with the next two on the sides? Well, it sat there for about a week-and-a-half, waiting for me to get the guts to tink back four rows of lace. Four stinkin' rows. That's it. We're not talking half a scarf or anything, just four stupid rows. And this is SIMPLE lace! But for days, I just couldn't muster the brain cells. After that, all I had was about 10 minutes more of knitting and I was done. DONE, finished, fini...., but did that make me pick it up and tink away.... nah.

The lesson learned.... NEVER get so cocky as to assume I can forego the lifeline. ALWAYS keep moving up that lifeline. The minute I don't, that's when I forget to do a yarn-over, or my personal nemesis, pass that darned slipped stitch over.... I sing it in my head, "slip one, knit two, pass the slipped stitch over." That PSSO - it gets me every time.

But, I'm nothing, if not stubborn -

So, last night I unknit, then reknit, and finished the Sister Scarf for my MIL. I had to. Her birthday is next week and I have to mail it to Texas.

Another lesson learned.... the pattern is probably written that way for a reason. The body of the scarf between the little motifs was supposed to be done in garter stitch. Me, I think it'd be prettier in stockinette, so that's what I do. So, of course, what do I find out too late (anything that would cause me to start over is what I consider too late!) - duh, stockinette curls!

yeah, I know, we all know that... even I know that....

So, I blocked it like crazy, and it doesn't curl too bad while you're wearing it. I considered doing an edging, maybe crochet around the whole thing, but I don't think it would have helped. So, it is what it is.

I do like it. I think I'll do another one with just the horseshoe lace pattern from the bottom edges of the scarf. And follow the directions. And remember my lifeline.

So, with another lace project under my belt, and cocky knitter that I am, I'm picking up the Snowdrop Shawl again. It's still the size of a Barbie shawl. I need to work on it a little. So I have visions of grandeur.... what are you trying to say? I'll finish it - some day. I'm in no hurry. This is laceweight though... not to fuzzy, but WAY too small for my eyes to see to tink back... so I'd better not wait too long, the eyes aren't getting any younger. I'm just making sure I move up that lifeline before I even knit a stitch.

This old dog can still learn trick or two, it just takes longer!

Monday, January 16, 2006

I'm Jaywalking!

Do I have a jaywalking story? Why, thanks for asking, yes I do.

On one our trips to the airport, sending Grandma and Grandpa off on one of their far away destinations, we had parked the car and were hoofing it off to the terminal to see them onto their plane, and stand at the big window and wave goodbye. I don't know how old I was, grade school age, probably just old enough I didn't have to be holding someone's hand...

We were waiting at crosswalk, waiting for the light to turn green, and I saw Grandpa start across, so I started across with him, just to hear my parents and grandparents yell, "Lynda, get back here! What do you think you're doing?"

It wasn't Grandpa I was following, just another bald-headed grandpa traveler.... wrong Grandpa.

This may or may not have been the trip where I was sure we were lost while driving around LA on our way to the airport, and I was getting a little worried. Grandpa was teasing and said something like, "maybe we are lost, I think we're in China!" - when just then we turned the corner and who might be standing on the corner but a nice Oriental family..... I started to cry, oh NO!! - we were lost! - lost in CHINA...

I guess I was a gullible child.

But, these new Jaywalker socks of mine - I love them!

Here's the specs:
Pattern: Jaywalker, by Grumperina.
Yarn: KnitPicks Sock Landscape in RedWood Forest - two skeins
Needle: Size 2 DPN's
I made them the smaller of the two sizes, casting on 76 stitches.

I really do love this pattern - I can totally understand the hype. Enough that I've already cast on my next pair. The pattern is easy enough that I can knit it without taking the pattern with me, and it's just interesting enough to keep me from getting bored. No long, boring stockinette sections. That's where the socks usually stall for me. With these, no stalling.

I love the yarn, also. It pools a little, or maybe just does large swirls, around the tops and the gusset decreases, but I'm one of those who really doesn't mind pooling.

I'm wearing these babies right now, and they're warm and comfy. I'm wearing them with my brown leather Simple clogs (the ones that look like baked potatoes on my feet) - you know, hippie style, just so I can hear the girls groan as soon as they see them. It's all about embarrassing the kids. Yep. It's my job, and I'm a pro.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

People, Really, I'm Not That Interesting!!

I've been tagged again! Twice! By Karyn, and Jeanie. Today, I'll do the easy one... maybe later next week I'll tackle the harder one. And, to prove to you how boring I am, except for places I've been on vacation and favorite foods, I couldn't come up with more than four in any of the other categories! ok, well, maybe movies...

Four Jobs You Have Had In Your Life:
1. McDonalds, first job, worked up to shift manager
2. Medical front/back office
3. EEG technician
4. Medical transcriber - last 17 yrs.

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over:
1. Gone With The Wind
2. O Brother Where Art Thou
3. Princess Bride
4. Napoleon Dynamite (sad, I know)

Four Places You Have Lived:
1. El Paso, Texas (born, lived there six months)
2. Ventura, California
3. Oxnard, California
4. current So Cal Location

Four TV Shows You Love To Watch:
1. ER
2. Survivor
3. Gilmore Girls
4. Law and Order, all versions

Four Places You Have Been On Vacation:
1. Europe (LOTS of different places in Europe)
2. Alaska (Homer, Soldatna, Anchorage)
3. Manhattan, New York
4. Seattle - and MANY more

4 Websites You Visit Daily:
1. Bloglines (about 10 must-read knit blogs)
2. Google (has virtually made my VERY expensive collection of medical dictionaries and PDR obsolete!)
3. My banking website

Four Of Your Favorite Foods:
1. Chocolate-chip bread pudding
2. McDonalds french fries
3. Diet Coke
4. Pot Roast

Four Places You Would Rather Be Right Now:
1. Zion
2. Camping anywhere with the hubby
3. On vacation in Manhattan with my girls
4. Solvang

Four Bloggers You Are Tagging: Hmmm, this is harder - don't feel obligated, I'll forgive you...
1. Kirsten
2. Chris
3. Talitha
4. Kaity (she actually asked to be tagged)

And, to play along with Kaity's new meme she's starting, -here's a childhood pic of me. And, don't read ANYTHING into the fact that I'm old enough that all my baby pictures are in black and white! (Kaity said, "Whoa Mom, those are some serious bangs!)

Friday, January 13, 2006

I'm Hit!

Tagged by Ruth!

List five quirky things about me... hmmm. Do inquiring minds really want to know?

1. I eat my fries by size, and my M&Ms by color... I've posted about this before... (11/02/05)

2. If we're sleeping in a strange bed (hotel, etc), I can't tell which side of the bed is mine.

3. If one of my girls cracks open my crisp new InStyle magazine before me, it ruins it. Makes me crazy.

4. I am always on time. Even when I had three kids under the age of four. It especially bugs me that in a small town of 4 square miles, people can't be on time. It only takes a maximum of five minutes to get anywhere in town. Come on people!

5. I HAVE to have an hour's worth of down time to myself at night, ALONE. I go to bed twice most nights to achieve this. The hubby is an early-to-bed person, not me. So, I go to bed with him, get up after he falls asleep, then veg... usually in front of the TV, and knit, and unwind.... I must have about an hour alone at night where it's ONLY me, no one wanting anything from me, to stay sane.

I'm only tagging three (do I risk 7 years of back luck or something for only choosing three? is it like a chain letter... none of our wishes will come true now? Make that #6 on my list... I'm NOT superstitious). See small print below... yada, yada, yada

So, here we go, I'm tagging Kaity, Linda, and Marion. Spill it sisters!

This weekend I hope to finish up my Jaywalkers and Sister's scarf, so hopefully some pictures of FO's next week!!!

***Ground Rules: The first player of this "game" starts with the topic "5 weird habits of yours" and people who get tagged need to write a blog entry about their 5 quirky habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next 5 people to be tagged and list their names.***

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ok, I'll Keep Her

So.... how do you like the new look? Trying to redeem herself and get back into my good graces, the needlebreaker vamped up the look of my blog!

I love it! Thank you Kaity Doozer!

And, maybe someday in the future I'll let you borrow needles again... we'll see.

Watch out!

Oh, THAT child. You know who I'm talking about... I ask her to PLEASE bring my FAVORITE #2 bamboo DPN's down from her from room (I know they're scared up there), the ones I so kindly allowed her to borrow. This is what she brings me...

Not only that... she tried to pass these off as a set of four... hmmm, one is broken, and another seems to be shorter...

That child has gotten entirely too big for her britches. She mocked my pain, and then went skipping off with my #2 circulars! AND, I could hear her taunting, "what are you gonna do about it?" Oh yes she did.... Little Miss I-can-get-away-with-whatever-I-want-in-knitting-world-because-you-need me."

Yeah? Well, I may be old, but I'm learning stuff. I can fix almost all of my own mistakes now, and I'm slowly figuring out all that voodoo-HTML stuff on my side bar. And, she was even asking ME to help her with a lace pattern the other day. What now! Hey, I even changed my own "listening to" pictures on my side bar the other day. All by myself, thank you very much. Get Me. That uppity chick will be out of a job soon, and the mother-daughter-time-space-continuum thingy will be back as it should be, with ME in control!

Be afraid, Kaity.... be very afraid...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Turn, Turn, Turn

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

To everything, turn, turn, turn...

When my kids were about 6, 7, and 9 I took over our church's Childrens Choir. I had a great resource for music which included a version of the music tracks for the Byrds song, "Turn, turn, turn." I had about 25 kids in the choir, ages 5 to about 15, and actually ended up being able to teach them all parts and harmonies - and they all got up makeshift bleachers one morning and performed as part of the service. Swaying and singing, turn, turn turn.

It is truly one of my favorite memories.

It was great, it was uplifting, it was challenging, it was "real," and I think touched the hearts of everyone who was present that day. When I hear that song now, I still think of those kids, and how hard they worked.

So, here's the segue.... wait for it..... Turn, turn, turn..... I LOVE turning heels. It's my favorite part of knitting a sock. Heel flapping, not so much... for as simple as that is, I ALWAYS mess it up, somehow.... but I love the magic of turning the heel. Love it, love it.

I turned the heel on my second Jaywalker last night, now I'm on the home stretch with pair #6.

Also - I just wanted to say THANKS to all who have joined Count Your Socks so far! We have 33 people counting their socks, with a grand starting total of at least 215 pairs of socks!!! Check out the "Visit Fellow Sock Counters" and you can see who has joined so far - go visit their blogs and check 'em out!

Count Your Socks will run indefinitely - so It's Never Too Late to Join! Just drop me a line.

Turn, turn turn....
"a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace." Ecclesiastes 3:2-8 (NIV)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I Love... Cake

The conversations in our house are heavily interspersed with lines from our favorite movies. Mostly Princess Bride, O' Brother Where Art Thou, and Napoleon Dynamite (yeah - we're real culture freaks around here) - but we glean a line or two from most movies we watch, and some TV. The line "I Love Cake" is from The 70's Show, where Donna tells Eric she loves him, for the first time, and he's caught off guard and stammers "I love..... cake." Whenever anyone in the house says "I love....whatever" someone evitably states they love cake - or my hubby says "then why don't you marry it!" (PeeWee's Fun House reference). Yep, we're a class act here.

ok - wait, at least O'Brother is loosely based on Homer's Odyssey.... there ya go, a classic thrown in the mix.

The wasted brain space in our combined family brains, filled with stupid movie quotes, is scary. We could be watching and quoting Shakespeare, or any number of cultured things.... but no, around here it's lines shot off from "Blazing Saddles" (the funniest, and most irreverent and politically incorrect movie of all time - I can't believe I just outed myself on that one....it's bad, really) ,"Sand Lot" (your're killing me Smalls!) and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

My poor children, they don't stand a chance. Thankfully, they have a lot of Bible verses tucked away in their brains and hearts, and the verses to sooo many hymns and praise songs.... they'll be okay.

Anyway, I had a point...... oh yeah, well, I like my yarn in cakes. I LOVE the ball winder that was gifted to us by a fabu blogger/friend. I can't stand to see a hank of yarn - it must be wound into a cake. I like to stack them up and look at them..... I just like them in cake form.

They sit on my desk and taunt me, these little cakes - every day they want to be something different. One day the purple one wants to be a scarf, then next day it wants to be wrist warmers. The Knit-and-Tonic Vesper sock yarn won't quiet down about wanting to be next...., when it knows the Trekking XXL has pushed it's way to the front and is acting so smug about being the next pair of Jaywalkers. And that purple/pink/green lace weight that just keeps harping at me, trying to convince me it's really not as ugly as I think it is..... an ugly duckling, promising to be a swan. They try to get me to stop working and knit. And they REALLY try to get me to be a multi-project kind of gal.... They're incorrigible, really. So far, I'm stronger than they are, I have NOT cast any of them on until it's their turn.... but they're growing in numbers, and it's inevitable that someday they'll overpower me. THIS is why I don't have a large stash. I couldn't take the taunting and pressure. I.am.weak.

Monday, January 09, 2006


No, there's nothing wrong with this knitting, it's my stooooopid carpal tunnel syndrome, back with a vengeance! If you look closely you can see a lovely scar running up my wrist and into my palm. I have a matching one on the other hand. Between typing all day for a livin', and knitting whenever I can find a free moment, I guess it was inevitable.

I had surgery 15 years ago, and it was the best thing I ever did... however about five years ago I started noticing the dreaded tingling coming back. My neurosurgeon said I would be his first repeat customer (I guess it's somewhat unusual for it to come back), and he would be happy to do surgery whenever I was ready. The point is - I've been putting it off for the last five years because I DON'T WANT to have surgery again!

#1 - It HURTS after surgery!
#2 - They have to do both wrists separately (unless you want to be totally helpless and have someone do EVERYTHING for you while you have no use of your hands for weeks - I mean, the hubby loves me, but he draws the line at wiping my butt) - so for the first three weeks you can't use one hand, then they go and debilitate your "good hand." So, you're pretty much out of commission for awhile. Not fun.
3# - The surgeon said since it would be a re-do surgery the incision and scar would be more extensive than last time (read, bigger, longer and hurt more!)
#4 - I couldn't knit!!!!! Now normally sitting around recovering from surgery would be the perfect time to get LOTS of knitting done - but sitting around when you can't use your hands is completely frustrating. And to not knit!!! I'd go crazy.

So, I'm going to continue in denial and continue postponing surgery - for the rest of my life if possible. I'll try everything to avoid that again. I've still gotta type, I've still gotta knit, but I'll knit things that don't require a lot of wrestling - really thick yarns, or stuff that sticks to the needles.... I'll figure out something. I'll play the piano less. I'll take ibuprofen around the clock until my stomach revolts. I'll even wear the dreaded splints at night... anything. Oyyyyy, I'll even lose weight. That would be good for me anyway.

Okay, enough whining - sorry....

Speaking of knitting. My Sister's Scarf is coming along nicely, but look at this puppy curl up!! The pattern calls for you to knit it in two separate halves and then graft it together, so it's all matchy-matchy, so I think before I knit the other half I'll block this half and make sure it'll lie flat.

And, did you know it is De-Lurking Week??? Neither did I, until I read it on Donna's site! What a great idea!

So, if you've been out there lurking, stop in and just say "Hi" today - it's time to delurk!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Random Knitting

This post is not about me. I am NOT a random knitter, you know that by now.... it's about Kaity.

The other night, Kaity's getting ready to go over to a friends to sleep over....

Me: Kaity, you're not going anywhere until you pick up all the random knitting you've got all over the downstairs.

Kaity: Hey, I do NOT have "random" knitting.... no - wait - all my knitting's random!

(laugh, laugh)

Me: I tell ya- this is gonna work itself into my blog someday - I'm taking pictures of all this.

Kaity: You wouldn't do that. You don't want them to see your messy house...

Me: It WOULDN'T BE MESSY if your knitting wasn't laying all over the place!!!

Kaity: You know you love me...

Yeah - I know I do.

Everytime you try to sit down, anywhere, you have to move Kaity's knitting. It covers everything in the family room, and MY office. Everyone knows you do not sit down without looking very carefully - I can just see the day one of us ends up in the ER with a DPN up the you-know-what.

My MIL last weekend said, "Kaity, everytime I see you you're knitting something different!"

My FIL was reclining on the couch (after I cleared him off a spot) and his pocket knife and nail clippers fell out of his pocket while he was sleeping, and fell through the couch into that never-never-land under the couch. He got up and started to look under there to find his pocketknife.... I jumped up to save his life - "Pa!, Don't! there's no telling what's under there!!!" I'll tell you what was under there... random knitting, a couple of lost DPN's "borrowed" by you-know-who, many stitch markers, YARDS of snipped threads, needles she didn't even know were lost, and enough cat hair to build another cat (okay, well that's not Kaity's fault)! Oh yeah, and his knife and nail clippers. Just a little embarrassing in front of the in-laws.

This is what was gathered up from one day's "random" knitting:

Tomorrow there will be a whole NEW set of random knitting... spread all over.

And she wonders why I cringe when she asks if she can borrow ANOTHER set of DPNS's.... it literally makes my stomach hurt. She, however, couldn't be happier - she thrives in disorganization and her knitting ADHD.

We won't even talk about what's up in her room. Ten times worse - and all tangled together.

It's a good thing she has her finer points, like keeping my blog up and running, and making me blog buttons, and getting me out of all my knitting mishaps. That's the problem... she knows she irreplacable!

Friday, January 06, 2006


Sorry bout the pics if you're not seeing them- but I've exceeded by bandwidth this month. Whoulda ever thunk it? I'll try and get it resolved this weekend, please bear with me :(

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Yeah For Me!

Today is my one-year Knittiversary!, and that....
is my very first project (I know, how original, a furry scarf).

As of today, I have officially been knitting for a year. I knew Kaity taught me to knit during the rains we had last January, so I went back to my checkbook and found the entry for the fateful day I wrote that check to Michaels - for something fuzzy to make a scarf out of. Really fuzzy, to hide all my mistakes.

My very first entry on this blog tells all about how I started to knit, and why, if you care...

Anyhoooo, I think I've come pretty far in a year.... and here's what it took to get me where I am today..

5 scarves (three of them, straight garter stitch! Can you say s-l-o-w learner?)
2 ponchos (oh, the horror)
2 pairs of slippers
5 pairs of socks
3 sweaters (all of which I actually wear)
1 camisole (which I don't)
1 One Skein Wonder (gave away)
1 shawl
2 bags/purses
1 hat

23 FO's! I impress myself (okay, I know there are far more prolific knitters out there... but hey, I'm slow and old, and it's my first year; and I impress myself easily).

and, here's what I've "amassed" after a year (I know, even I have to admit that's a pitiful stash.... but I'm working on it)

What have I learned:

1. I could NOT have done any of it without my in-house knitting guru, Kaity (thanks Doozer!). She's the BEST!!

I mean really - what do people do when they're learning to knit and they can't wake their guru up at 11:00 at night because they're on a roll and refuse to be stopped by a whatever-it-is-I've-done-here moment? I need instant gratification.... I would have called it quits if I had to wait days for someone to come and save me from myself. (Jeez, how old do I sound, 5?)

2. Anyone who says they're only gonna knit occasionally, maybe a scarf, just straight knit, maybe a purl or two, is sadly fooling themselves - or isn't a "real knitter."

3. Nothing is as hard as it looks (well, at least not after three days of frogging when you finally get to the "ah ha moment"). I was NEVER going to learn to knit socks, too hard; or lace, too hard; or make something as big as a sweater, too daunting. I love it all, especially socks and lace.

4. Okay - maybe that's not true... there are still a few things I'm afraid to try - Entrelac, FairIsle...

5. I NEVER would have come this far without my blog friends. I mean, seriously, searching the internet endlessly for patterns (free patterns), looking through knitting magazines, and even spending hours in your LYS just doesn't cut it. Puhleeze. There's nothing out there to compare to true knitting friends who will tell you the truth, encourage you, and steer you in the right direction and away from the crap.

I thank you and love you all!

I know.... what a sap, but I do.

and... by-the-by.... are you counting your socks yet?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Count Your Socks

As part of my goal to get to the point where I only wear handknit socks, I had Kaity make me a little button where I could keep track of how many pairs I have knit.

So far, I have five pair (pairs?, I can never decide) of handknit socks - Four I've made, and the pair Julia made me for the Sox Exchange. I also have two pairs of slippers, but I'm not counting them. As you can see.... I need to knit a lot more socks.

So, I figured I need an incentive, a push, a motivation... so here's my idea for anyone who wants to join in - I'd love it if sock-knitters all over blog land copied my button and kept their own sock tally going on their side bar. I would love to see the tallies. I want to be inspired by seeing how many socks are being knit. I'm sure there are some of you with LOTS of socks! I want numbers, baby, to keep me awed and inspired!

If you email me that you've put up a Sock Tally button, I'll record your starting number, whether you have one pair of socks when you join or 50, and at the end of 2006 I'll recheck everyone's numbers and see who has knit the most socks in a year... for a fabu prize, of course! (no cheating - this means PAIRS of socks - no singles!... 2, count 'em, 2 to a pair)

Or, if you don't want to go for the prize, just put the button up for fun, to keep track for yourself!

Ready, set.... KNIT SOCKS!!

(PS , fine print cra*..... Please download the button to your own server, yada, yada, yada)

Fashion Excuses

In Southern California, we need fashion excuses. We don't get enough change in the weather to have much difference in our wardrobe throughout the year. Wendy was talking about this yesterday.... rain as a fashion excuse. That's about as drastic as it gets. We get a few weeks of really cold days, where you really need a jacket; and where I am, it actually does get hot in the summer, but that's only because I'm 30 miles inland from the coast. If you live on the coast of Southern California, it's about 60-70 all year long. However, there are not many "hot weather knits" I'd be comfortable wearing, so that doesn't help me in the knitting department.

My hubby works near the coast and, no kidding, wears shorts 355 days a year. About 10 days of jeans, otherwise he's in shorts, all year long, wherever he goes. And his Chaco sandals as soon as he can get out of his work boots. He has worn shorts for years. It's kind of like his trademark now. The kids laugh and tease him when he puts on long pants. It was 50-60 and raining for the last three days, and he was in shorts. He'll put on a sweatshirt or jacket quite often, but rarely long pants.

When I was a kid, my mom used to make my sister and I matching dresses, looking for event as an excuse. Even way back then California was casual, we were kids, and rough on our clothes. We had school clothes, play clothes, and church clothes. Not much excuse or money for frivolous clothes.

Our favorite were our "airport dresses." She made these for trips taking the grandparents to the airport. We never got on a plane, we just took people to the airport. Those were the days when you could go clear to the gate and stand at the window and wave at the plane. I remember the material was cute little paper dolls holding hands. I also remember matching "pantsuits" for a trip to Knotts Berry Farm, with matching purses that she had made (they were cute, green burlap lined of course, with beads - I remember that I dropped mine in a pond and the green dye from the burlap ran, and I cried).

Mom sewed all our clothes, except for jeans and play clothes. I didn't have a store bought dress until I was in high school. And, I lived in the olden days and didn't ever wear pants to school, until JuniorHigh, and then it was "pantsuits" with matching pants and vests. Ewwwwwh, what can I say, it was the 60's and 70's, not a great period in fashion.

Mom made the most beautiful clothes. Still does. But, remember, I didn't get the "mom-crafty gene." I don't sew anything unless I absolutely have to.

So, in California we need excuses to knit stuff. Not a lot of use for scarves and gloves.... but that doesn't stop us from knitting them. I have more wool sweaters than I'll ever need, yet I'll still knit more. Two days ago, when it was actually cold and pouring rain, the girls, my MIL, and I ventured to the mall. Half way through the trip I mentioned to Kaity that here was the perfect weather finally for a scarf, but did I remember to wear one? - no.

So, I'm knitting this scarf with a reason. My MIL's birthday. She lives in Texas, and it actually gets cold there sometimes (well, really, not much more than here, but I need an excuse). However, she does travel a lot and goes to cold places, so it'll work.

I tried three different yarns before I found the right one. The first was a variegated lace weight I bought from KnitPicks. I didn't get more than about six rows before ditching it. I've tried to make this into something a couple of times, and just don't like the colors. I may never use it.

The second was that blue Jaeger. This has tried twice to be socks, and I thought maybe it wanted to be a scarf, but it was just too scratchy and stiff. (Next time I'll try and remember to take pictures of these failed attempts, would make it a little more interesting, huh?)

Lastly, I remembered I had a few skeins of KnitPicks Shine left over from my Marilyn's NSS Cardi. It's working up perfectly. Very soft and drapy. We're good to go.

I've finished the horseshoe edge of the scarf, and am ready to do the eyelet row and start on the body of the scarf in a rosebud pattern.

I've discovered I really love knitting lace. This may be a good thing. Lace is more wearable in my climate. Lightweight shells, tank tops, lightweight scarves, shawls. This may be my niche.

Well, besides my goal to wear nothing but handknit socks for the rest of my life. See, inventing excuses to knit.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Is It Rude?

Here's Carmie, checking out my one finished Jaywalker sock... but the 2nd sock IS casted on, and the cuff (hate working the cuff) is done, so it's all good. This Jaywalker pattern is sure fun to knit.

It's been a BUSY last few days here with the inlaws visiting. Lots of shopping, and cooking, and visiting, and family around. Love it.

So, here's my question - while sitting around, visiting with family or friends, do you knit? When we're all lazin' around in front of the TV it's different, in front of the TV is fair game... but, say, everyone's sitting in the living room, "visiting."

We were all sitting in the living room the other day, the hubby and I, my parents, his parents, all visiting, and I picked up my 2nd sock.... but I couldn't bring myself to knit more than a row or two. I had to put it down. It felt like I was being rude, somehow. No one said anything, or gave me a look, it was totally me - I don't know.... what do you think?

Same thing at "Monday Night Dinner," at my mom's. Now, we do this dinner every week, and it's just my family, my sister's family, occasionally my brother, and my parents, having our weekly dinner and visiting for an hour or so. Nothing formal, believe me. But, I don't bring my knitting. I would feel rude. I don't really know why. I CAN talk and knit at the same time - I'm not ignoring anyone.... hmmm. I do, from time to time, think about how much knitting I could be getting done, though!

Tonight I may take a break from the 2nd Jaywalker and start this scarf for my MIL's birthday. They left for home today - so she won't see me knitting it. Maybe tomorrow I'll have some progress to show you. It's a cold and windy, rainy day.... just great for curling up in front of a fire and knitting.

  • 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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