Monday, July 31, 2006

Shawls are the New Sweater

You know - like how every season "they" tell you the new hot color... "orange is the new pink" - or whatever whim they're on and trying to promote.

For me - shawls are the new sweater. I have found that I am completely a shawl person. Icarus clinches it. I LOVE wearing it. I love how it keeps the chill off - but it's not a sweater. It's so much more fun than a sweater. It flows when you walk - kind of fulfilling the love affair I've had with capes since childhood - something about they way they flow. Very Dramatic. For me, a shawl is the new sweater.

Maybe I'll start my one woman campaign to bring back the shawl. You don't see a lot of them. Someone told me it's because they were for "old ladies and grandmas," you know, like knitting...

Yeah, well - I may be old-er..., but I'm not a grandma yet - and I still think and pretend I'm young.... and I hang with a younger crowd - and yesterday, they all loved my shawl at its debut. So there. Young and old alike. They loved it.

I'm going to be knitting a lot of shawls - all different kinds, and I'm gonna wear them everywhere.

So, if you're looking for me out and about, I'll be the one with the gorgeous shawl worn with the dramatic flair - you know, so it swoops alot. The woman with the slightly frazzled look, the wild woman hair... but the gorgeous shawl.

Hey, I gotta start somewhere on my road to glamourdom - it's gonna be a long haul.

Specs: Icarus, Summer 2006 Interweave Knits.
Yarn: Interlacements, Rick Rack II (Judy Ditmore), color 119, about 1200 yards. 100% Rayon. And yes.... to my great relief, rayon blocks well and makes "points"
Needles: Addi Turbos, size 3, 24"
Comments: Great pattern, fun knit, well written. Big payoff. I still walk into the other room just to look at it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

If It Were Only Sock Weather

Check out my cool, new socks! No, I didn't knit them, they're from my buddy Uhoava Gnu, all the way from Finland!

I meet Uhoava Gnu through Count Your Socks, and was fascinated when she had mentioned that in Finland they learn to knit socks in school! How cool is that?

So, I asked her if she would be interested in swapping socks with me, and she was up for it! I made her the Black Purl socks, and these are the ones she knit for me - very pretty, icy blue socks, with a very pretty scallopy lacy pattern.

Thanks Uhoava - I love them! (go check out her blog - she even translates it for us!, and she just finished the cutest blue tank top!)

She also sent some other Finnish stuff.... some nail polish (oooh, she's been paying attention - I do love nail polish!), some very pretty napkins, a pretty pair or earrings (that I'm wearing right now), and a chocolate bar!

What a fun package! Sure beats getting bills and junk mail :O)

Just another reason I'm looking for Fall.... knitting weather, sweater-wearing weather, sock-wearing weather..... I'm ready - enough of the heat!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Variety is the Spice of Life

Sometimes you just don't know what your missing. You're not looking in the right places - or you're just not seeing it with new eyes.

"Check it out, Bud - Mom's been holding out on us..... look at all these different hot sauces! - I bet she just cruises right by all this good stuff and never even looks."

The hubby and The Bud went to the grocery store with me last weekend. Funny stuff - I tell ya what.

They RARELY go to the store. Maybe a couple of times a year. So, they had no idea what was out there. See..... me, I admit I totally get into a grocery store rut. I buy basically the same stuff, every week. Over and over.

It was such fun to watch them go up and down each aisle as I followed along. I guess they thought that what I brought home every week was all that was out there. But, they saw the stuff I just cruise past. They just kept chucking stuff in the cart. They came up with all kinds of new dinner ideas. And, hey--- when they pick their own cereal, etc, they can't complain about it, right?

So, now we have a pantry stocked with all kinds of different and new things, and a HUGE grocery bill this week. But it was fun, and it was worth it. It opened my eyes to other possibilities. To look around at the stuff I just cruise by every week.

I was thinking about this in regards to my knitting the other day. I was wondering, if I didn't know about knitting blogs, would I still be so fired up about knitting? Would I still be knitting at all? I mean, if all I ever knew was what was at my LYS, or.... worse yet, Michaels, think about how much I would be missing.

I mean, really, the exciting hot-sauce yarns and patterns aren't what you generally find in the store. Other people have found them somewhere on line, or deep in the depths of knitting blogs - and then they say, "Hey, check this out!" Patterns and yarns I would have walked right by without them being pointed out to me. Websites and yarns I would have never know existed.

Knitting through life with blinders on.... that's no way to go! Thanks to ALL of you who keep broadening my horizons.!

Summer Knitting

Not so much fun today.

It's 114 degrees outside. Oy Every time I look at the thermometer, it's hotter.

All I want to do is sit, and sweat. And I've even got the air-conditioning cranked. Hot. And Sticky. Ugh.
I need a pool. I need a friend with a pool. I at least need to run through the sprinklers. I need to not be afraid to be seen in a bathing suit. I'm that desperate to cool down.

Not knitting weather.

The irony of it is..... I've got lots of free time today. Lots of free knitting time. It doesn't come in "chunks" like this often. I really don't want to waste it. I'm that close to finishing Icarus.

The picture of me in the backyard? I took that a couple of days ago, when it had finally cooled off enough to go outside. 7:30 or so in the evening.... sneaking in a half hour of knitting time with a nice glass of iced tea with a little bit of Limoncello added for kick.


Think I'll make a glass right now, with LOTS of ice - plop on the couch and see if I muster up some knitting strength.

Oy- did I mention it's hot?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The 9th Month

I just want this shawl to be done.

It's not because I'm tired of knitting it - I'm still really enjoying it, but I'm ready for it to be over. Move on.

I want to block it and see how big it gets. I want to wear it. I want to drape it around the house and pat myself on the back everytime I look at it because it's going to be so gorgeous (modest, eh?). I'm itching for quickie - like socks.

I'm also dying to start another shawl. I'm thinking I'm gonna make a great shawl person. I think I'll wear them well. Remember - in my mind, I'm extremely glamorous. I'm thinking the art of dramatically wearing a beautiful shawl will start me on my road to glamourdom...

But, mostly I'm just ready to be done. To move on.

If you've had a kid, or more.... it's kind of like that last month of pregnancy when - even if it's been a relatively easy pregnancy, you're just ready to be done. The novelty has worn off - about now you just think you've always been pregnant and always will be. You can't really remember what your toes looked like....

You're excited for the next step - the payoff. The process has run its course. You're actually even looking forward to labor, just because you're ready to be DONE! Now! Well, unless you've already been through labor before, then you have those panic moments that set in where you realize what it's gonna take to get this kid out. You know, that part you absolutely swore you would NEVER do again.... yet, here you are, again.

I'm sure that thought will set in during the big "bind off." That's gonna suck. I'll be telling myself I'll never make another shawl.

But- hey, this is the woman who had 3 kids in 3-1/2 years - I'm good at lying to myself, and I obviously have an extremely short memory.

but - definitely worth the payoff. Better than you could have ever imagined.

Right now, though.... I'm just ready for it to be done. I want to see my lap again.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Entertain Me

Seriously friends - I am EXTREMELY bored, whiny, restless and needy today. Tomorrow's my day off. I want it to be today. I want to go knit - instead I need to work.

Wah, wah, wah. Did I mention I was bored?

So, here's my question to you.... what is your all time favorite yarn? For whatever reason - it doesn't mean it's the yarn you'd pick if you could only knit with one for the rest of you life - nothing that dramatic - just.... what's your gut-feeling favorite?

Mine is Cascade 220. Love it. Love the deep colors. Love how it knits up. Love the value. Love the vast numbers of colors in comes in.

There ya go - let's hear it. What is your favorite, and why?

Let the entertainment begin!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

No Knitting today - just Movie Stars and Pirates

This Friday we went down to Hollywood to the El Capitan to see Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest.

Never mind Kaity had already seen it - but we bought these tickets quite a while ago - and since Disney now owns the El Capitan, it's quite an event - with performers, and real props and costumes from the movie on display. FUN! Besides, neither Kaity or I can get too much of our favorite pirate, Johnny Depp.

However, The El Capitan is in downtown Hollywood. If you're not from California - and if you've never been there - Hollywood is not especially somewhere you want to go - unless you have a really good reason. It's very cool to see Grauman's Chinese Theater and all (which is right across the street from the El Capitan) and check out all the the cool famous hand and foot prints (that's me above, with Clark Gable) - and see all the stars on the Walk of Fame - but, as Lilly said, "This??? is Hollywood?" Let's just say - when you see it on TV for awards shows, or when someone is "getting their star" - they probably clean that block up a bit and bring lots of security. It's a little unnerving, and you definitely all stick together.

But, we had a great time. The show was great- they really do a good job. There's a very old and famous, HUGE pipe organ on stage, which sinks down before the movie, with a guy in costume playing all the music from the movie before the show starts, then there's even a quick stage show before the movie. Just before the show they gave away two tickets to Disneyland and, wouldn't you know, my niece won them! Sweet!

After the show we stuck together and made it back to our car - then went to The Cheesecake Factory and had lunch - made a day of it. Girls' Day Out - gotta love those.

Blogger's being a poop about uploading pictures today - so click on the links to see some more pics of us on the Walk Of Fame, the girls in front on Grauman's Chinese Theater, and the three of us in front of the El Capitan.

Well - off to work a bit on the never-ending Icarus Shawl. Good news though - I'm onto Chart 3!! Some day..... some day it'll be finished.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I Do Wish There Wasn't Already Cat Hair On Them

"Something for me?"

"But, don't you already have needles?"

"How much did they cost?"

"Wow- they look just like your Addi's"

"Ooooh, I like these. No, I REALLY like these." (Back off, Kaity)

"Why is the cord purple?"

Various quotes from various family members. Ya know what, people??? Let me be - all that is irrelevant - I just bought them because I wanted them. There - I said it. Just.Because.I.Wanted.Them.

Everything about these appeals to me. I love the case. I love the nerdy little pockets - a place for everything, everything in it's place. I LOVE the cords. I love the pointy little needle tips. I LOVE the almost imperceptible joins. I love that the cords are purple. I love the shiny nickel finish.

Love, love, love.

And, I haven't even knit a stitch with them yet. It's sure to only get better.

That's it, friends. See ya. Have a great day..... I've got to go play with my needles.... again.

PS - Hi Sis, Hi Nancy.... I know you're there.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cool stuff, and Black Holes

Check it out - more craftiness from Kaity. Grandma sent her home with a sewing machine the other day, and she's been sewing up all sorts of stuff. Today, she made me this cool DPN holder!

But, hmmmm, what's wrong with this picture. There seems to be only one set of DPN's in here.

Well, to be completely honest, there are three sets in the three pairs of socks that sit on my desk in the current sock graveyard....

However, there are a few sets that are just MIA. Gone to that great void that is The Black Hole of Kaitydom, where knitting supplies and notions go and are never seen again.... things like - well, heaven-only-knows how many circular needles, my little birdie scissors, enough stitch markers to circle the globe and, oh yes..... those darned tapestry needles!

I tell ya - it's finally come to this.

Could be worse - the hubby's wrote on the back of his calculator, in bright red Sharpie - "Dad's - touch this and die like a dog in the dirt!"

Whoa- ho! Stand back! - yeah right - the guy talks a big story, but he wouldn't hurt a fly.

Me - on the other hand..... it's good thing Kaity's such a good girl, and spins me yarn and makes me stuff....

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Knitting is my lifeline. Well, to be honest - it's not as much the knitting (I can't believe I'm saying that outloud), as the TIME I get to spend knitting. It's the time. The Me Time. And, it's barely enough.

I hold onto that lifeline tightly. It saves my sanity.

It doesn't have to be a LOT of time, although I readily admit I wish there was more, but I HAVE to have my Me Time. Quiet time alone, when I'm doing exactly what I want, which can be absolutely nothing at all, but the key is I'm alone - and it only happens at the very end of the day, when everyone is settled for bed.

I'm a stay-at-home mom, with three kids, who also works out of my home - and all day long it's about someone else. Truthfully, that's as it should be. My first job is wife and mom. - but the point is, after it being about everyone else all day long..... I HAVE to have time to unwind. Have to have it. I need that lifeline.

So, for as long as I can remember, even before we had kids - I've gone to bed twice, almost every night. The hubby and I are on different time clocks - he's in bed by 9:00 every night. For a mom, at least one who needs some Me Time - that's practically impossible. Besides that, there's no possible way I can fall asleep that early. I just stare at the ceiling and my mind races - over things that are not conducive to sleep.... lists for the next day, what I did or didn't get done today, joys or problems of the day..... etc. I have to unwind first.

So, I go to bed with the hubby, then about an hour later, after we've had some "quality time" together and he's fallen asleep, and I'm still wide awake, I get back up. I go downstairs where it's quiet, and I grab that lifeline.

It's the one time of day where it's just about me. I can unwind. Alone. No one needing me. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't give up the wife and mom part for anything - it's who and why I am - but I need that part of the day to do what I want, for me, with No.One.Needing.Me.

I knit. I watch TV. I just sit there and veg. I do nothing. Usually, though I knit.

So, last night, it's finally time to knit... I'm all excited because Icarus is FINALLY to the point where I'm done with all the repeats of Chart 1 and I'm starting Chart 2. But, first I have to put in that other important lifeline - the knitting lace lifeline. I've been knitting this sucker forever, and now I'm getting ready to venture into the unknown of "Chart 2" - there's no way I'm going in without a lifeline.

I look for my tapestry needle to thread my lifeline, and it's not there. I look everywhere. I can't find it. I'm seriously about to cry. The fact that I have some extra knitting time and I'm not going to be able to knit - because I can't find the needle to put in the lifeline, and without the lifeline there's NO WAY I'm going forward - it just about snapped my Me Time Lifeline.

The hubby even looked at me, trying to figure out why I was in such distress. I NEEDED to knit, I needed to start Chart 2 of Icarus - had been looking forward to it all day, and I couldn't. Not Good.

Finally, after turning the couch literally upside down, I found a tapestry needle. Lifelines saved. Good to go. I could calm down. I put in the lifeline, and actually got the first row of Chart 2 knit.

I know it doesn't sound like much. One row. But, Me Time doesn't have to be about productivity, or hours of time.... last night it was barely an hour. But it was my time. My lifeline. I HAVE to have my lifeline.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Brushes With Fame

Just to perpetuate the myth that everyone in California has met or knows a movie star.... here's my contribution.

Well, my actual contribution is that I think that maybe Peter Frampton came through my line while I was working the counter at McDonalds in my college days. Yeah - I know, hardly bragging material.

However, the hubby and Lilly have fared better. On a couple of occasions, the hubby has worked the Grammy's. Right on stage, well, in the "wings" - with the stars. Now, his job has nothing to do with show business, usually, but on a few occasions they have needed his "expertise" and he has found himself rubbing elbows with the stars. Elton John, Mick Jagger, Phil Collins, Sting, James Taylor.... do you see a pattern here - he only recognizes the "more established" - ok - older ones. Oh wait - he did recognize Madonna, Britney Spears, and Sheryl Crow.

This drove the girls crazy - they can hardly have him get autographs (like he would anyway) from their favorite groups if he can't recognize them. To this day, he'll see someone on TV and say something like "I stood right next to her/him - who is that?" And they say - "Dad!!! That's the Black Eyed Peas! - or, well you get the drift. Me, I'm saying, You stood next to Jimmy Smits??? Andy Garcia??? Hello!

Oh yeah - and he peed in the backstage Men's Room with one of the guys from Blue Man Group - and, no, they're not blue all over.

So yeah - he could care less, hopeless.

But Lilly - yesterday and today Lilly got to be an extra in the Dukes of Hazard 2 movie! Pure luck - they were filming in our little valley and needed extras in band uniforms, so someone called the high school band director - and he picked out a few kids. Lucky Lilly! And, believe me, SHE could care! AND, she actually recognized the actors - and some of them were young and CUTE! She talked to them in line at craft services, getting breakfast and lunch. Now, she "knows" them! She has had a fun two days - her little brush with stardom (she's sure we'll be able to pick her out in the movie - they did some close ups.... we'll see). Not to mention she made $140 a day! Not bad for a high school kid.

They actually film a lot in our town. No kidding, tonight, not a quarter mile from our house, there is a train smashed into a car and turned over on the railroad tracks and they're out there filming away for something or other. We're big with CSI, and West Wing - and even ER has been here.

People around town see "stars" quite often - me, I'm the most unobservant person in the world. I see the sets, the road blocks, the Star Trailers, the base camps - but I never see anyone important. Now, unlike the hubby, I would probably recognize most of them, but I just don't see them. I gotta start paying more attention. I'll keep my eyes peeled and let you know. Maybe it'll be my new hobby as I'm driving through town umpteen times a day - star spotting.

Here's a better hobby - check out how good Kaity is getting with her spinning! She is spinning up this merino wool in a colorway called "Polar Moon." She's even spinning it to my "specifications." I'm thinking I'm gonna use it to make another Branching Out - this time for me. She spun herself up some pretty green stuff and is knitting herself a hat. I'm quite impressed! Check it out on her blog.

When she's really practiced up I've got my eye on some cashmere roving I felt up the other day in our new LYS - mmmmm, soft.

I've picked up her spindle a couple of times when she's not looking - and I have to say.... they do call to you. Stay away if you don't have the time. I don't. I hardly have time to knit. I'll just spin vicariously through Kaity.

....and get my brushes with stardom vicariously through my family.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I'm Back!

Well kind of. A little under the weather, but back. A 24-hour flu ran through most of us - but luckily it was over rather quickly - and we're a hard group to keep down for long.

The weekend was spent visiting with friends and family (23 of us in all) at the family "vacation home" - and I use that term VERY lightly. It's actually a VERY small, VERY old and run down little house, that we just can't get enough of. The scenery might be a part of it - set in a tiny town at the base of the Sierras. It's beautiful - but this time of year it's HOT! We spend most of our time sitting under the misters in the side lot - which doubles for camping space for the 5 trailers/campers that we all haul up - because at this point only my sister's family and our kids fit in the house anymore.

Our Little House is on the back street of town, and we fly a HUGE American flag, which we are becoming famous for. People around town know us as the family on the corner who comes up for the 4th and has the "big flag."

Visiting, eating, drinking, watching the kids (young and old) - makes for a nice getaway from the "real world." Up at the Little House, things like calories and what time or day it is don't figure into things while we're there.

Our Little House is in a tiny town of 574 inhabitants, called Independence - so the 4th of July is a big deal. The night before the 4th there's a band in the park, and the hubby usually walks the girls down to dance a bit. The 4th starts off with a big pancake breakfast in the park (but my Dad always cooks for us - we're quite sure he missed his true calling as a short order breakfast cook), then, it's off to the parade.

Independence has the best parade - this year it totaled all of about 15 entries. The actually close down the major highway that runs through the middle of town and re-route traffic! The parade runs about three blocks, then turns around and comes back! This is the third time our kids have entered - and our third trophy for "Most Patriotic!" This year they decorated my dad's Jeep and the older "kids" (my hubby, brother-in-law, brother, and family friend) rode decorated minibikes with my niece. We paint the kid's faces and everyone wears their red, white, and blue - and the guys even get into it enough to sport patriotic do-rags! It was poor Lilly's turn with the 24-hour crud, and so she couldn't ride. But, we took video and went back to the house and showed her.

Then, our particular favorite, a pie social at 1:00, put on by the local church ladies. A real, old time pie social - all home made fruit pies, ice cream, lemonade.... It's the kind of thing most local health departments have killed in most cities, and I hope they never find out about ours!

They also have a BBQ in the park, but we skip that for Dad's annual pig in a pit. Mmmmmmm.

Then, we haul all the lawn chairs into the alley and watch the fireworks they set off from the airport. Good Times - I tell ya what! It doesn't get better than that.

I even got a tiny bit of knitting done -

  • 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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