Archive for December, 2005

Oooh – I Got Told

Well, the other day Kaity and I trip it on down to our not-so-local yarn store to spend our gift certificates. I didn’t really have anything in mind…. but I thought I’d like some new #2 DPNs for sock knitting. Those are my favorite size, but mine are a little long and I wanted to try shorter ones. This is what else I found!

Cool new sock yarn, Trekking XXL. This is new to our LYS, and it had some pretty funky colors (I bought color #100). And a Chibi – everyone needs a Chibi.

We’re driving home, and Kaity reads me this line out of her new Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns – “There’s a sense of intimate luxury that comes with wearing a pair of handknitted socks – whether or not anyone else can see them.” I said “exactly, and I think my goal is to get to the point where I only wear hand knit socks.”

So, Kaity asks if I’m wearing handknit socks right then – heck yes I am… my Holiday Sox Exchange socks from Julia! Kaity looks at my feet, “Mom…. ugh… hand knit socks and those ugly clogs – what are you, some kind of hippie!” I said, “hey, Wendy has these clogs!” (Wendy is very cool) to which Kaity shoots back – “Mom, you are NO Wendy.”

Ooooh, burn, I got told…

Oh well, I’m still wearing my clogs whenever I want, and my goal is still to get to the point where I only wear handknit socks. I’m gave up on every being “cool” long ago – I’ve got teenagers who keep me in my place…

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Take Me Camping

Sock Landscape, Red Wood Forest colorway. Pretty aptly named, wouldn’t you say? This yarn just makes me want to go camping, especially in the Sequoias.

I love camping. I grew up camping. My sister’s birthday is in July and she used to say that every birthday she remembers as a child was spent in a campground somewhere.

The hubby loves camping. One of the things that drew me to him was that he was the “outdoorsy” type…. (well, that and he was cute, and we were both in college, taking Algebra II for the second time…. we were obviously meant to be together).

So, we’ve always camped. The kids have always camped. Since they were babies – months old. We usually tent camp, but we’ve done it all, trailers, campers, backpacking… but we mostly tent camp. Get to our destination, throw out assorted bags with tents, poles, ground pads, and sleeping bags, and even my girls can set up their own tent in no time flat.

People are always amazed when a girl can set up a tent. This comes in handy for the girls when they go camping with their church Youth Group. All the “guys” are standing around, not knowing which way is up with their tent poles, and the girls are all moved in, laying on their sleeping bags, and starting in on the snacks they brought.

A few months ago the hubby and I went camping with about 40 or so of his “manly men” friends when they had swift water training. Families were invited. Only three other women went, and one never left her 40′ luxury camper the whole weekend – never saw her. I know the other woman pretty well, and we spent the weekend together, camping around and watching the guys. After a nice campfire, when everyone retired to their tents and campers for the evening, it was not lost on the majority that they were going to a lonely sleeping bag and, well, the hubby was not…. let’s just say… you rack up major points.

The morning we left, while the guys were all freezing their you-know-whats off in the freezing river water, I packed up camp and got it all stowed away. One of the other guys walked by, amazed, and said “you packed up camp for him??? Man, I’m gonna go home and kick my wife’s butt!”

I love camping. I need to go camping.

So, checkee out my Jaywalker camping socks… coming right along! I finally figured out what I was supposed to be doing, and these are really fun to knit! The pattern is a snap (well, yeah, once you do it right), and that’s my favorite part…. totally portable, don’t have to bring your pattern along, and just different enough to keep it interesting.

So, back to camping. Last year the hubby’s parents gave us their trailer, when they were “trading up.” I tell ya – this is the big time. Everytime we take it somewhere I can’t believe it’s ours! Indoor plumbing, and a kitchen. Okay, to tell the truth, we hardly go in it, except to sleep. We still cook outdoors, run to the campground bathroom…. this’ll take some getting used to, living like a queen and all.

Actually, the hubby’s hauling the trailer home tonight. It’s also our “spare room.” His parents are coming from Texas to stay a few days for a late Christmas. We set them up in their old trailer in the driveway. Good of us, huh? Actually, they love it, and we love having them. Don’t know how much knitting will be done, or blogging, but I’ll check in when I can, maybe with a finished sock!

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I Am Not Tense…

…just dense. Kaity and I were “discussing” the fact that it takes me at least three trys to get a new knitting project successfully started. Knit, rip…. knit, rip… knit, rip.

So, we’re both making Jaywalker socks. Kaity’s got hers started, looking fine… first time out of the starting gate – of course. Me, I decide to use my Sock Garden in Redwood Forest. Cast on, start the ribbing…. I’ve made enough socks that at least I can do that right. But, the cuff already looks a little big, and I’m determined to do them on my size 2’s – so I figure maybe I’ll switch to my Vesper Sock yarn that Julia sent me, in the Knit and Tonic colorway, and do them with that instead. So, start over… start #2. I’m knitting away, past the cuff, onto the pattern. Man, this is making some beautiful stripes!!!

Then, they seem awfully small. And tight. And puckery. Hmmm…. go get Kaity’s Jaywalkers-on-the-needles. Nope, mine don’t look anything like hers. Mine look like some kind of Barbie bustier.

I show them to Kaity… help meeeee. “Mom, what the? Why are they so tight? Calm down!” I am calm, I am knitting loose, I’m not tense! No really…. I’m really not… I’m happily knitting – why are they SO tight? Darn, I don’t know. Well, this certainly isn’t going to work. Maybe it’s the yarn. Maybe I should go back to the Sock Garden. So, rip….

Try #3 – back to Sock Garden. Cuff done… looking good. Okay, start the pattern. Hey! (insert light bulb over head here!). Duh, idiot, moron, can’t follow a simple pattern. I NOW remember back when I first read the pattern (you know, just the once), that the “patterned” part of the sock had TWO rows, one a pattern row, one a straight knit row. I’ve been doing the patterned row every row… no wonder. “Duh Mom.” Yeah I know. I’m not sure I should be allowed to knit. And Kaity should really pay more attention to what I’m doing when I do knit. Yeah – let’s blame her!

So….. Still on try #3, and they’re looking beautiful. I’ve already turned the heel and picked up my stitches. Pic’s tomorrow. You’ll be impressed. I am. Of course, at this point I easily impress myself! But hey – it’s the third try on the same socks….. so it should be smooth sailing from here on out!

And…. check some of this Christmas loot – a nice basket for my knitting from a dear friend (the Branching Out recipient),

and, these most gorgeous stitch markers….silver and gemstone! My first “pretty” stitch markers. The adults on my side of the family choose names, and my BIL got my name (Christmas-head’s hubby). He actually went to my favorite LYS and picked these out himself! – along with a nice little gift certificate! What a guy! Nice job.

(sorry about the wonky picture at the top…. for some reason I can’t get it to post right. If you click on it, the enlarged picture is better… not my fault, I’m sure)

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Merry Christmas To All!

No “White Christmas” here. It’s 9:30 AM Christmas eve, and already 80.

We had a cold snap about two weeks ago…. but we knew it wouldn’t last. In Southern California, it almost always warms up for Christmas. Christmas morning all the neighborhood kids will be riding their new bikes, skates, and scooters up and down the street in their shirt sleeves. It’s as it should be I guess… it’s as I’ve always know it!

Besides, the weather has to stay nice for the Rose Parade next weekend…. then, in typical fashion, it will get cold and start to rain. God blesses us with warm Christmases, and we have grown to love them.

I’m off to finish my preparations…. my family, Mom and Dad, Sis and her family, my brother and his wife, will all be here bright and early. Well…. we’re threatened my brother within an inch of his life to get here “on time….” They have no kids and don’t understand that kids can’t wait on Christmas morning. Last year all the kids were lined up on the driveway, waiting, to make a point that he couldn’t miss when they drove up! We can’t wait! We always spend Christmas together, trading off between my sisters house and ours.

I’m ready, I’m excited! The gifts are all wrapped, “Santa” checked out his loot last night and double-checked that all the stockings are ready and “even”, I’ve been through the Igloo that is our Vons and done my one last shopping trip, and the turkey is thawing in the fridge (oops, still need to clean that out…)

Today, it’s house cleaning, cookie baking and candy making, then Christmas eve dinner at my mom’s. I’m loving it. I’m such a Christmas-dork. I’m more excited than the kids (aren’t the parents, always?!)

Wishing all my new blog friends a very merry Christmas and happy holidays. I count you all as gifts!

Joy to the world
the Lord is come
Let Earth received her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
and Heaven and nature sing.

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I finished my Christmas Knitting!!! Of course, this is the only thing Christmas knitting I did…. and even that was not planned. I totally planned to make this scarf for myself. I know….. get me, giving away my knitting! There’s a first time for everything. I’m a totally selfish knitter…. me, me, me.

But I wanted to do something special for this friend, and I thought she’d really appreciate it (she did…. I’m NOT patient and made her open it right away). Yep…. in less than 12 hours I finished it, blocked it, wrapped it, gave it away…. and saw it on the recipient’s neck. Instant gratification – that’s what I’m talking about!

And I loved making this enough I can see knitting this pattern again. I know – a day of firsts. Usually, I’m so darned bored of something by the time I finally finish it I would never knit it again. But, I’m pretty sure I’ll do this again.

I REALLY love this pattern. I mean – come on…. take a gander…. you’ve gotta admit, it’s gorgeous. And I’d really love one for myself. You know- me, me, me.

Pattern: Branching Out
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, color 03 (mint); 1-3/4 balls

Did I mention I love this pattern… yep – fun to knit, and easy enough to take in the car for short knitting bursts without totally getting lost as to where I am in the pattern.

Can you tell I’m so happy with it I can hardly stand it. I miss it already. Good thing my friend lives about two minutes away… I can go visit it.

Knitting lace – I think I’m hooked.

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Oh What Fun!

I have the best Sox Exchange elf ever!! Lookie what the mail lady delivered yesterday!!! It was a race to the door because Kaity and I have both sent off our Sox Exchange socks and have been waiting excitedly to see who was knitting for us! (Sorry Kaity, maybe yours will come today!)

My Sox Exchange elf was none other than Julia Vesper!! All together now….”LUCKY!!!”

Look at my beautiful socks! She knit these with yarn especially dyed for me, and a beautiful lace pattern of her own. They’re so pretty. I love them, and they’re a perfect fit! I feel special!

She send the cutest box filled with not only my beautiful Sox Exchange socks, but other goodies. A box of chocolates, some beautiful Vesper Sock Yarn in the Knit and Tonic colorway…., and the cutest buttons with my blog name on them!

Thank you sooo much Julia! It was all very thoughtful, and a fun and beautiful gift to open… and I LOVE my socks. Thanks also to Ariane for coming up with such a great idea!

And – more Christmas goodies from wonderful bloggers – look at the pretty ornament my friend Lynne sent me.

It’s already on the tree. Knitters are the best and I am blessed!!

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A Shawl Is Born

What a nice weekend. This was one of those great weekends where I got a lot accomplished, knitting and otherwise. The hubby was gone all day Saturday, so I got up early with him to get the coffee made and send him off. Then, I did some bookkeeping I’ve been neglecting and did my Christmas cookie and candy baking. Then, about 10:00 the kids woke up and the girls helped me with the housework. After that I was “chore free” and we made a fire (it was a great, COLD, crisp day), watched movies, knit, worked on a Christmas gift project, and finally got the snowflakes made for the window.

I told myself I could put Branching Out on the back burner and spend the whole weekend trying to get my Snowdrop Shawl started. I have never knit with lace weight yarn before, and it took a little getting used to, but I’m finding it very satisfying!

I made quite a bit of progress Saturday night in front of a fire and “The Sound of Music.” Talk about a perfect setting for knitting! I had to frog the first few attempts, but it helped me get the pattern in my mind, doing it over and over again…., then I finally remembered to put in a lifeline. Of course, after that I never needed it! Still – it’s in there, and I keep moving it up every 10 rows or so….. I don’t trust myself!

So, after a full weekend the above is the beginning of my Snowdrop Shawl. I’m using KnitPicks Shadow, in the Lost Lake color. This may take me a lifetime, but, hey – I’m in no hurry. I plan to live a while longer yet.

Today, it’s back to the real world, back to work, and back to Branching Out. I still hope to finish it in time to give it away to a dear friend for Christmas. But, no pressure. I’ve got a back-up gift if I don’t finish it in time, and then I’ve got her birthday covered!

And, I must say, I knit a few rows on it last night while we had “forced family viewing” (aka, family movie night), watching one of our all-time favorites, “O Brother, Where Art Thou.” (okay, you have to ignore the language in a few places, but it’s gotta be one of the funniest movies ever – you know, the kind that gets better with every viewing) – and knitting on Branching Out seems like a cake walk now compared to knitting and struggling with the shawl all weekend!

Today I’m just looking forward to beginning this last week before Christmas, finishing up some shopping, spending time with the kids now that they’re on break, more baking, more knitting, and today I’m bringing the hubby lunch. I think it’s this cold snap we’re having. There’s nothing like a fire and bundling up in hand knit scarves to make me feel all happy and homey.

Watch, it’ll heat up by the end of the week and we’ll have an 80 degree Christmas, which is more the norm around here…. I hope it stays cold!!!

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Ornaments for Miz Booshay

One of my favorite bloggers, Donna, of Quiet Life, asked people to show their favorite ornaments. If you are not already reading Donna’s blog, please go check her out – I am blessed every day by her beautiful writings and gentle spirit.

So, Donna, these are for you:

First off, the most unusual ornament on our tree is also D#2’s favorite, her braces. She wore these babies for five long years, and makes sure they go front-and-center on the tree every year now.

Okay, so not my favorite, except that seeing them as an ornament every year makes her so happy.

It’s so hard to chose my favorites. We literally have hundreds of ornaments. The kids have each received one every year of their lives, and we collect them everywhere we travel.

This is one my hubby and I picked up in Berchtesgaden, Germany when we were traveling with his family, while I was six months pregnant with our firstborn. We were actually in Berchtesgaden on our anniversary, and we bought this ornament that day, and had the greatest dinner at a little outdoor cafe, with a real (probably touristy) “oompa band” playing in the background.

This next one is a favorite from my childhood. It’s an old, sad-looking “cat” that I made at my grandma’s house when I was probably about 7 or 8. My kids tease me every time I put in on the tree because it’s so ugly, but I just remember sitting at grandma’s fancy dining room table covered with Styrofoam balls, sequins, pins, and ribbon, making ornaments. This is one of two that have survived.

I also have a collection of ornaments from my Bible Study ladies. Every year we have a Christmas luncheon and exchange ornaments and Christmas memories. This is the ornament I received this year.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com I have been going to the same study for about 11 years now, and each of the ornaments is from a very special sister in Christ, and they are all precious to me.

No knitting content today…. but this was fun, for me anyway. Thanks Miz Booshay! Now go visit her blog (you’ll be glad you did), and follow her lead – share some of your favorite ornaments with us!

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Music To My Ears?

I was tagged by my Darling Daughter Doozer. List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now.

I thought about this a bit, and realize I don’t listen to enough music. Ok, it’s true, I sit at home wearing headphones for hours on end, every day…. but it’s not music. Granted, I get paid quite well to sit in my sweats or pajamas and listen to doctors yap (sorry, dictate) in my ears, but it’s not music.

For starters, let’s just say for most of these docs, English is not their first language. I am so good at deciphering English with a heavy Vietnamese or Indian accent it’s scary. And, quite often this with the added challenge of the doctor eating their lunch while talking, or chewing gum, or the grossest sound, slurping on a sucker. I really hate that one. And don’t get me going on proper sentence structure, people just don’t talk that way…. I’m just supposed to make it look like they do, while typing “verbatim,” – yeah, that works.

Then there are the hospital sounds in the background…. Code Blue blaring over the background speaker, their beeper going off (which is SO loud it makes your ears ring), and the one that always gets to me…. the tiny babies crying in the NICU. They sound so sad…. and they’re VERY loud!

Of course, they don’t only dictate in the hospital. A lot of them dictate in the car…. I hope they’re not driving at the same time…. traffic noise, commuter train noise, the occasional road rage (am I supposed to type that, too? I can’t type that word!). I guess it makes good use of their time. Even better is when they get home and dictate….. oh my…. I’ve heard them dictate at the dinner table, in the tub (you know, the tub makes quite a distinct sloshing sound), around the hum of an electric razor, and I’ve even heard them dictate while they’re peeing (also a distinctive sound). Come on….. there’s an actual person on the other end of this who has to listen to all of these goings on. Not to mention, this is probably a doctor’s least favorite duty – so they are talking as fast as they can, to get it over with ASAP. Some of them remember that there is an actual person who has to listen what they are saying, some are very considerate, some even say thank you – unfortunately, they are the minority, but it does make my day when I run on to one of them – they are music to my ears!

My favorite was a female neurosurgeon I used to transcribe for daily. One day, I heard this strange whirring mechanical sound in the background. Hmm, that’s an odd sound. Then, I started hearing it every day….. for weeks. What is that weird sound? Where is she dictating? Is she dictating in the operating room, while she’s got someone’s brain laid open??? Nope. She was sitting at the desk in her office like always…. the weird sound? – her breast pump.

Oh yeah, what was the point of all this – what MUSIC do I listen to? Well, it’s most of it is in the car, so usually it’s what the girls pick out. If I get to pick the station it’s talk radio, and Rush Limbaugh doesn’t sing too often!

Seven songs I’m totally into right now: hmmm
1. Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano
2. Oh Holy Night – this version by Marie Osmond
3. Breath of Heaven – Amy Grant
4. Holiday – Green Day (ok, they’re about as left wing as I am right, so I hate the lyrics, but it’s a catchy tune, and I respect their right to their opinions)
5. Ave Marie – this version by Il Divo.
6. Dance, Dance – Fallout Boy
7. She’s a Rebel – Green Day (again, with my “disclaimer”!)

There ya go – I’m not tagging any one – join in as you please.

And, check out the progress? on my Branching Out scarf! This is a fun pattern. I’m hoping to finish it in time to give to a friend for Christmas, but I’m not putting any pressure on myself…. she also has a January birthday… it’s all good.

Hey, and don’t be perusing this blog for spelling and grammatical errors – they’re there… but this is my “down time.” I can spell and construct a proper sentence, I just don’t choose to…

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And They’re Off!

I mailed off my “Holiday Sox Exchange” socks today. I hope the recipient likes them. I was very happy with them. These are the nicest (read, no mistakes) socks I’ve made yet!

Love that Sock Garden yarn. This colorway is Pansy. I made not-quite-“shortie” socks, and these only took one skein – minus the 3-1/2 feet of yarn you see left at the top of the page. Couldn’t have called that much closer! I do have another skein I could have broken into, but now that means socks for me too! Score!

I haven’t ventured into fancy sock knitting yet, and didn’t feel a project with a deadline was the time to do it, or learn something new, but I’m thinking my next socks will be the Jaywalker socks everyone is making. A little fancy, but still simple enough for trying something new. Cast On!

And, hello, how totally fabu do these previous Sock Garden (geranium) socks look with my Ugg clogs??? I know – what an oxymoron, Ugg clogs. Uggs…, warm, ooooh so comfy, you’re not supposed to wear them with socks – but the clog factor messes with the warm factor…. my heel is hanging out in the cold if I go no-socks. I spend far too much time thinking about this every time I put them on (yeah, like I’m such a fashion plate!). But, I’m going with the socks – they’re just too perfect a match.

I’ll leave you with picture of Peanut enjoying the holiday (oh, she looks sweet enough in this pic, in between bouts of eating and yaking up pine needles from the Christmas tree… argh), and another of my favorite Christmas memories. When I was a kid, my sister, Christmashead, and I had bunk beds. I had the top. On Christmas Eve my parents would let my sister sleep up there with me. We’d anxiously and so excitedly try to fall asleep quickly, before Santa passed us over because we were still awake.

My grandparents (the grandma on the camel grandparents) always joined us for Christmas morning, stockings, and presents. They loved Christmas morning. I remember we were supposed to wait for them before we “started” Christmas. But, it never failed…. I don’t care how early we woke up, Grandma and Grandpa would be sitting out there in the driveway in the Cadillac, in the cold, in the dark, waiting for us to wake up. Every Christmas….. first thing, look outside to see if grandma and grandpa were there yet…. they always were. They were great.

Wishing you fond remembrances of all your family holidays.

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