Archive for November, 2005

(Sitting next to me on the couch while everyone is knitting last weekend)

Kid Bro: Whoa, what are you making – is that a whole sweater? (everyone else is working on scarves, hats, socks).

Me: Yep, it’s almost done. I’m working on my last sleeve.

KB: Cool (watching for awhile).

KB: Why are your needles different than everyone elses?

Me: They’re two circulars – I’m knitting sleeves in the round, so I don’t have a seam.

KB: Really? That’s neat (the engineering/draftsman side of him appreciates the mechanics of knitting).

KB: How do you do that? (pointing to my raglan decreases)

Me: You just knit two stitches together, and it makes it slant like that. Cool huh?

KB: Yeah, that is cool. How do you make it different at the bottom?

Me: That’s ribbing, you….

KB: Knit one, purl two? (why does everyone say that?)

Me: Well, knit one, purl one. (demonstration of the difference betweeen knit and purl follows… then is tinked back because I’m really not purling right now)

KB: You can go backwards?

Me: (laughing) Oh yeah, I do that a lot!

KB: That’s a lot of work. How long did it take you?

Me: I’ve been working on it for about a month.

KB: Wow, that’s a long time…. or maybe not.

KB: It’s nice. What’s it made of?

Me: Wool.

KB: Hm. What about this other stuff? (Pointing to Heather’s pretty spun vareigated wool)

Me: A friend of mind dyed and spun that herself! Pretty cool, huh?

KB: You mean, with a real spinning wheel?

Me: I thinks she uses a drop spindle – but really I have no idea. I don’t know anything about spinning. (Then we have a LONG coversation about wool…..)

KB: That’s very cool. How much does wool cost?

Me: There’s probably about $35 in this sweater, but I bought pretty reasonable stuff. That’s not too bad, you’d probably spend $35 on a wool sweater in a store. (there I go, justifying my “art” again).

KB: Oh, yeah, at least. But, how do you know it will fit?

Me: Yeah – well, I don’t actually. I just hope for the best.

KB: Hmm….. Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Well…… my Wendy/Heather Essential Stripe sweater – it does fit! I love it.

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Another holiday “tradition” – my sister and I start referring to each other as “Noel” and “Christmashead” in all our emails to each other. I tell ya – we get absolutely giddy about Christmas in this family.

And, lookie- here’s Kaity keeping watchful eye over Christmashead as she learns to cast on. She taught my sister and my niece to knit while we were all away together for Thanksgiving. Christmashead’s hooked now…. still only knitting, not purling, but already thinking about her “next project.” It was fun watching Kaity teach her. She taught her this little nursery-rhyme thingy I had never heard before – “In through the front door, around the back, peek through the window, and off jumps Jack!” My sister kept repeating the jingle…. we’d hear her every once in awhile “and off jumps Jack!” And, at the end of every row she would “ta-da!” She said she knit all the way home in the car yesterday – probably ta-daing the whole way!

Kaity is a VERY patient teacher. She was practically glued to Christmashead’s side all weekend….. “Kaaaaaity – something’s wrong.” “Oh – it’s nothing, Jack just didn’t jump yet!” Ohhhh, memories – 10 months ago that was me yelling for Kaity every half hour!

It was cold – “muy frio” as we all kept saying. However it gave me a chance to wear my scarves, and the guys wore the hats Kaity made them. You’ve gotta read her post from the weekend. It’s pretty funny.

And, I finished my Wendy/Heather Essential Stripe tub sweater! Yeah!!!! It’s blocking today, pictures tomorrow. I had to do the neck treatment a couple of times, but I’m happy with it! Man, sleeves…. I hate sleeves… they take FOREVER, and there are TWO of them! I’m off sweaters for a little bit.

Here’s a picture of the beautiful Sierra mountains, and some of our gang on their minibikes. The kids had a blast – but just about froze!

Ah – I love those weekends we’re all together at the “little house” as we call it. The kids, old and young, have a blast, and for us “girls” it’s heaven. All weekend long with no chores, no laundry waiting to be done, everyone helping with the dishes and cooking, and NO guilt about sitting around knitting all day. I tell you what – you can’t beat sitting by a fire, knitting with your mom, sis, daughters, and cousin, sipping some warm egg nog with a little somethin-somethin in it…. No obligations, for three or four days. Heaven. Not to mention my dad’s famous breakfasts cooked out on the cooking porch on his big restaurant griddle. He makes the best pancakes, french toast, breakfast burritos – we eat REALLY well up there, and pretty much nonstop. Everything tastes better up there – maybe because most of the time someone else cooked it!

Ok – today it’s back to the real world, chores, work, dishes, cooking, bills to pay, and I’ve got to stop eating nonstop.

On Thanksgiving we all went around the room and said what we were thankful for, and for all of us at the top of the list was a family who loves each other and gets along well enough to spend four days together in an 800 square foot house with one bathroom! When it’s gets too cold to stay outside, that’s 13 of us in there! Also, thankfully, the hubby hauls up our trailer, and Mom and Dad have their own motorhome…. so we can spread out – a little.

We are very blessed and God is good…. and I’m so glad I have a chance to slow down every once in awhile and really revel in it!

Ok – off to the real world, but first I think I’ll email Christmashead and see how the knitting’s going!

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We have a LOT of holiday traditions, and they start with Thanksgiving. We are traveling to our family vacation home (not NEARLY as ritzy as it sounds, but fun) to meet up with my sister’s family, my brother, and my parents. We have been spending Thanksgiving there for about five years now. My dad BBQ’s a turkey, and my hubby cooks one in the outside “pit” – and they are both delicious. Our girls are old enough to help in the kitchen with making pies, and all the other preparations. Kaity actually LOVES to peel potatoes. It’s all just great fun. I am blessed with a great family.

Another great Thanksgiving tradition is when my husband so eloquently announces “everyone with hangy-down parts in the kitchen!” – the boys do the dishes Thanksgiving night! Yep – we’re a class act, my family.

Our newest tradition is Thanksgiving weekend “spa night.” We save a cucumber and get it cold in the fridge and cut slices for our eyes, and lay around the TINY living room, all the girls with cukes on their eyes, my youngest niece giving hand massages, and we even get my dad in on the action, cutting fresh slices and keeping ’em coming. Man, I can’t wait.

We play all the board games, read, hang out by the fire pit at night, and KNIT! We knit while the boys go off into the cold, riding mini bikes or target shooting in the desert, or whatever else they find to do. This year we’re gonna teach my sister to knit. I met up with her today at my not-so-local yarn store and we picked out some yarn for her to start a scarf. While I was there I bought some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino to make my Branching Out scarf. I thought I’d better save my lace weight until I know what I’m doing. Besides, there is so much of that stuff I have enough for a shawl, which is what I’d really like to save it for. This Debbie Bliss stuff is nice and soft!! I also picked up some Baby Alpaca, bulky weight, in black for D#2, who is gonna give knitting another try and wanted something “super soft.” Yah – those baby alpacas are the softest!

Here’s my knitting getting ready to be packed for the trip. Get me – three projects! I plan on finishing my Wendy/Heather Essential Stripe tub sweater, and I HAVE to get some work done on my “secret Christmas project,” and I thought I might work on my Branching Out scarf. Three projects – what am I thinking!

Also packed will be all our Christmas music for the ride home (actually, I loaded it all on my iPod today). Our rule is no Christmas music or movies until the day after Thanksgiving. So, for the entire 4-hour ride home, Christmas music will be blasting in the VW Beetle. Everything from Il Divo’s new Christmas album to Brian Setzer’s swing Christmas, along with the classics, you know, Burl Ives, Perry Como, etc. We have a LOT of Christmas music – more than enough to fill a 4-hour trip.

So, this will be my last post for a few days. Hopefully I’ll have some knitting to show you when I get back. I pray you all have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving with your families!

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Here’s a picture of Carmen…. protecting my “stash” She crawled in there this morning when I left the door open. Yes, sadly that is my entire yarn stash…. comprised of the leftovers of prior projects – about eight balls of yarn, most of them half used. And I call myself a knitter.

And I know whereof I speak – at the Friends Who Blog party, they looked at me like I was crazy – “How can you not have a stash? How can you NOT buy yarn?!” I heard about wonderful and impressive stashes! I mean, if you want something to strive for, check out Jen’s! I am awed and impressed! I’ve got to work on getting me a stash if I’m gonna have any credibility at all in this knitting world.

Well, ok. So, why don’t I have a stash? I’ve only been knitting nine months now, and am still learning what all’s out there – and I’m finding some real faves…. and I gotta tell ya – the stuff I’m falling in love with and the stuff I’m drawn to is not in the sale bin. This stuff is expensive! Well, to me it is, but my cheap factor still kicks in. I just can’t buy something I don’t have a plan for and take it home for no reason other than I just because I like it.

Maybe it’s because I have two teenage daughters and am constantly trying to instill in them the fact that you just can’t have everything you want. Trying to teach them to live within their (our) means. It’s not gonna look good if I say, “maybe I’ll have money for your new jeans next week” and then blow it all on yarn I have no plan for…. no I still have very watchful teenagers and have to set a good example. Crap, excuse me, how fun is that?! It isn’t, but it’s necessary.

Maybe it’s because I’m a one-project-at-a-time kind of gal…. and honestly, even if I had a stash, when I found my next project, I would have to buy yarn specifically, and just perfect, for that project. I don’t think I’d go into my stash to see what would “do.” Except sock yarn, I can easily see amassing a huge stash of sock yarn, and that’s even feasible, money-wise. I’d definitely knit out of a sock yarn stash.

Maybe it’s because my car is in getting $250 worth of new tires today…. (argh!), and the plumber came last week, and the oven needs fixed, and the blinds in the family room just broke. Argh, I hate being responsible sometimes! Okay – there’s the truth to my stash issues…. at least in part.

Although, if I had unlimited funds, I still don’t think I would amass yarn just for the sake of buying yarn I love….. I don’t know, I just don’t have it in me I guess. For me I’ve gotta have a plan, and to know I had yarn sitting there, even the perfect yarn, for the perfect projects, just having it sitting there, waiting, not knowing when/if I’d get around to it…. it would drive me crazy. I guess I’m just stash-challenged.

However, check out this beauty –
Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis is my one and only ball of yarn NOT leftover from something else…. a beautiful yarn sitting, waiting to become this. This little beauty of lace weight yarn, my gift exchange present from the FWB party last week is the beginning of my stash. Not bad, eh? Thanks Ariane! You’ve officially started my “stash!” I’ll try to do it justice.

Oh yeah – I’d LOVE to see more pictures of your stashes! They intrigue and inspire me! I loved seeing Amylovie’s all laid out next to her girls for comparison (see her Oct 2 post). Come on guys – show me what you’ve got… I need some inspiration!

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Kaity and I had our Friends Who Blog party yesterday…. what fun! Here’s the gang, from L to R, Ariane, Shar, Jillian, Wendy, Kaity, Me, and Jen. What a great group of girls! They were all such fun. We had a fun day of dyeing yarn, eating, and knitting.

First we hung out in the kitchen and dyed our yarn with packets and packets of Kool-Aid, hardly an exact science we found out, but still fun! We were mixing colors like mad scientists, trying to get it just right – but you’re not quite sure what you’re gonna end up with!

Here’s Ariane’s wool dyeing in progress. After dyeing we had lunch, then sat around and chatted and knit, checked out each other’s projects, talked, knit, talked, knit… and then had a gift exchange, and then knit some more!

Here we are, doing just that! What more could a knitter ask for? It was a lot of fun, and it was great to get to meet everyone. Thanks for coming guys!

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Spleen damage

We have a term in our house “spleen damage,” which refers to anything even remotely suggesting to our kids that their parents might have a sex life… “ewwwww, gross you guys!”

When my son was younger he took a fall and had to have a CAT scan to check for spleen damage (he was fine) and I guess it was the first time he’d ever heard of a spleen, and had no clue what it was or did, but it seemed to fascinate him, and ever since then whenever they would catch us kissing or making cute little comments to each other he would yell out, “my spleen!”

Of course, now my hubby and I exploit this to the fullest – I’ll buy the hubby a birthday card, or stick one in his pack if he’s going off somewhere… and I often buy the “suggestive” ones… and once one of the kids picked it up and read it – something about sex on the kitchen floor I think – and now they are very careful about reading cards that aren’t intended for them…. “Is this a spleen card?” I save the hubby the green M&M’s, and when D#2 asked why, I told her…. “ewww Mom, that’s gross – you think your funny, but you’re not… that’s just gross.” I’m always telling them… don’t ask questions you don’t really want the answers to! Spleen damage – I love to see them squirm. I always tell them, it could be worse, you could have parents who can’t stand each other, instead of parents who, well, you get the picture.

My talking about being a “sexy knitter” would be enough to cause spleen damage. So, of course, I do mention it from time to time. Sexy and parents do not go together – spleen damage.

So, check out the progress on my Essential Stripe Wendy/Heather Tub sweater… it’s getting there! I know, I’m slow, but I’m knitting as fast as I can. I actually took a picture of it on me this morning, and it’s fitting beautifully. I can’t wait for it to be done. I’m hoping it will be ready for Thanksgiving, since it will be cold where we’re going and it would be perfect.

I actually posted the picture of me in the sweater – for about a minute, until I (thankfully) took a closer look at the picture. The sweater doesn’t quite cover my belly and there was about 2″ of “muffin top” action goin’ on. My stomach is not up for showing to the public any more – and I didn’t want to cause any of you spleen damage.

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No Psychos Allowed

Kaity and I are gearing up for our FWB (Friends Who Blog) Party this Saturday.

We’re working on the menu and our gift exchange ideas…. making sure we have all we need for our Kool-Aid dying. We are so excited to meet all of you!

The hubby thinks we’re nuts, and the Bud is trying to figure out where he’s gonna go so he doesn’t have to be here. The Bud was giving me such a hard time at dinner last night, because I’m always on the kids about safety on the internet, and you don’t really know who these people are… don’t give out too much info, etc. So, last night he’s teasing me, “Mom, do you really think it’s smart to have these people you don’t really know come to the house? They could be serial killers!” I told him he was more than welcome to stay upstairs, my little Criminal Justice graduate… so that If things got dicey I could yell and he could save us, “Help, I’m being attacked by psycho knitters with pointy sticks, posing as my friends!”

Ok, so no serial killer knitters allowed, but if you’re a knit-blogger and live in So Cal (or care to travel!), and we haven’t heard from you and you’d like to come… leave me a comment and I’ll make sure to get back to you. If you pass the Bud’s background check (just kidding!).

And, to all my great knitting friends out of state – I SOOO wish you could come, too! We’ll post pictures, though, so you can feel like you were here!

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Sexy Is As Sexy Does

Check out what my buddy Jeanie came up with – a sexy knitters club! I’m in! And yeah – I look just like that….. okay, maybe just the big curly hair, but, like I always say, sexy is as sexy does. There’s even a cute little link on my side bar now. I’m not sure yet what this all entails – but I know Jeanie – so I’m sure it will be fun, and tasteful…. and, it should make my girls say, “Ew…. Mom!” – so there’s reason enough to join!

Sorry Kaity– I’m not letting you join – like she wants to be in a “Sexy Knitters Club” with her mom…. ewwwww.

Not much knitting to show for my weekend, but I did have have a six-kid sleepover, then added three more to the mix today, all under the age of 9, AND put new blinds up in the girls room, and bleached all the grout in my kitchen….

I’m tired, I gotta go relax and knit, on my Wendy/Heather/Sexy Tub sweater!

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The guys are all gone doing guy stuff this weekend, so it’s just us girls… and the cousins are coming to spend the night tonight. See, Kaity’s already starting in… “helping” with the photo shoot for my progress on my Wendy/Heather Essential stripe (aka tub sweater). It could get crazy later on.

I warned her, if I get a picture of you dorking around in the background while I’m trying to get this picture – it’s goin’ in the blog. Ha!

Here’s a better picture of the actual progress.

Well, they’ve got their movies all picked out and have already conned me into three different flavors of Ben&Jerry’s ice cream (okay, that part was easy), and we’re going out for mexican food. Later, they plan to take over the downstairs, since I refused to unhook the TV and DVD player and relocate it for them. Uh – no. It’ll be bodies and sleeping bags all over the place. I’ve got all the fixin’s for waffles in the morning – we’re good to go.

So, I’m settling in for some serious knitting progress tonight, hopefully – with a break, of course, to eat ice cream and they have to promise to let me watch my Johnny Depp when they get around to watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Ahhh… Johnny, ice cream, knitting….!

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I twitch when colors don’t match – you know, just because everything you’re wearing is blue, doesn’t mean it matches. There are different blues, different grays, pinks… you get my drift. However, I’m not really good a picking out colors. I know when it looks wrong, but I have a hard time getting it right. I have pink stripes on my living room wall. It was just supposed to be ever-so-subtle, and not pink, but I can’t pick paint to save my life. Same with my office, it was supposed to be tan, it’s SillyPutty pink. Why does all the paint I pick out turn pink when it’s on the walls?

And colors look different in different lights, so that doesn’t help. There are times during the day where my living room wall looks perfect, it just doesn’t stay that way.

I few years ago we were thinking about replacing the furniture in the family room and my hubby came home and said he’s found a great deal on a three-piece set of leather couches/recliners, but they were purple. He kept telling me to go and at least look at them, they were a “good” purple. I finally broke down and went with him to check them out, and they were a beautiful, deep, eggplant purple. But, that was under showroom lights. And there was no sample, pillow, or anything to take outside and look at it in “real” light. My family room is flooded with light most of the day… so I was a little worried. I mean we’re talking a couch, loveseat, and recliner, all in purple leather – if it was delivered and put in my family room and turned out to be Barney purple in the light…. this was not going to be good.

We went for it. It turned out good. I say they’re not purple, they’re “aubergine,” and we really like them. We even painted some of the wall accents the same color. Of course, I didn’t pick out the paint, or the walls would be – pink.

Ok… I’m working away on my Wendy/Heather Essential stripe sweater last night, starting in on my main body color, trying to decide if I want just one more little dark stripe or not (the remainder of body from here on in is going to be solid, the lighter purple). It’s raining away, and I’m all happy in front of the TV, listening to the rain, knitting away… but something’s not right.

Now, granted, the lighting in the family room where I do most of my knitting is terrible at night (probably from bouncing off all that purple furniture). So, I keep taking my knitting progress over to the kitchen table to decide whether or not I’m gonna add another stripe, and just see now it’s all coming together, and – it’s – not. The colors look all wrong. How can that be? It all looked great together at the yarn store. The dark purple, with Heather’s pretty variegated purples, with the new light purple…. they all worked together. I even got opinions – everyone thought they looked great together.

But tonight, in the gloomy rainy weather, in the bad lighting in the family room, and the stark lighting of the kitchen…. it looks wrong. The new purple looks more gray. Now, I’m trying it on in the downstairs bathroom…. even worse lighting – no natural light whatsoever, and I’m really getting worried. I just bought all this yarn, and knitted all these rows, and it’s gonna be ugly. Now what? Just go back, buy more yarn, and make it all dark purple? Leave the stripes I’ve made so far? Ehhhh. Ugly. I’m really sad.

So, I wake up this morning and it’s still raining (which I love, just not for true lighting purposes) – and I decide that now it’s at least it’s semi-light out, so I’ll take my sweater back upstairs to the bathtub where the light seemed to be the best and most true, where it looked great yesterday, and see if it’s gonna be okay. It is. It’s great. The light purple looks purple, not gray, and it’s back to what I remembered. Whew!

The sun is supposed to come out later this afternoon, so I’ll take the sweater outside and see what it really looks like. Hopefully it all matches. I mean, who needs a sweater they can only wear in the tub when the lighting is right? Yeah, a wool tub sweater – that’s practical.

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