Sunday, December 20, 2009

Oh knitting my knitting

What the Hell? I thought we had a deal knitting, I love you and you love me. I'm starting to believe that we're not on the same page so to speak. I am looking at all three of you current projects. You have been knit and reknit and reknit. I'm starting to think you have separation anxiety. I will still spend time with you after you're knit up. Yes, it will be different but I will love you more for your warmth. It is OK for you to reach your full potential.

I am at the same point on D's sweater I was a week ago except now I am wiser. Why is it wisdom always comes with a price tag attached? At least my inner knitter saved me some trouble. She whispered to me that I should not completely bind off the bottom cuff till I tried the sweater on D. It is just too bad that she let me get so far with the sleeve before we tried it on him. The wisdom I obtained from the sleeve was: yes it is possible to make a weird hybrid puffy pirate sleeve while knitting a sweater. Turns out if you decrease to quickly on a sleeve it makes the sleeve look "poofy". Yep poofy, just how D described the sweater to me. "Hey honey can you make me a poofy sweater?" Yep, honey I sure can just let me try to make a normal sweater and it will come out that way. Sweater knitting this is your official warning. I will put you in time out if you poof on me again. I know I did not listen to inner knitter but this is the fifth time I've made something like you I should understand the process by now. Remember sweater I'm watching you.

Don't worry I still think you're pretty, in a manly way.

Sock knitting you're on my naughty list too. Ok you're right I expected this of you. I cast you on not really knowing what I was going to do with you. I told you we were just trying things out. It was OK if I had to rip back. But then I decided what to do with you after the third ripping. What you did not get that memo? Sorry sock knitting. Are we good now? I really think you're lovely. I like you just the way you're working up. No don't say those things about sweater, it's not "stupid", that is not going to get you more time with me. There is enough of me to go around.

Shhh don't tell the other knitting but I think your colors are especially Christmasy.

Mittens oh mittens. Just because you're my first "real" colorwork project does not mean you should try to make me grow by leaps and bounds. We can save some of my learning for the next project. Right mitten, I've been thinking about it and I'm afraid I don't understand you like I should. You know what that means right? Yep I am going to rework you yet again. I'm sorry that is just the way it has to be. You know you're not like socks people will see you more and notice that left you and right you don't quite match. They will judge you harshly for this. They will say things like "home made" and "knit wrong", and they will not mean it in a good way.

Never fear mittens I will not allow that to happen. I want you to hear only good words like "beautiful" and "wow". I promise to stop thinking of you as "bad wool", I promise to see deeper than that, you're just "misunderstood wool".

I will endeavor to try harder with all of you. You did teach me yet again that I should not knit Christmas presents. We're both way to fickle to have such a large deadline.

So knitting do we have an understanding? Are we good? Don't make me knit something else because you know I will.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An Invitation

I am the queen of going to and want to. I have great plans...I'm going to....I want to....
Since I am such a homebody at times many of my plans never make it off the ground, or if they do they're usually much later than planned.

Last year at this time I was sweating bullets. I was scheduled to make my first hop across the pond to England. I was nervous about everything: the plane trip, customs (going both ways), international travel, flying over water, the exchange rate, our credit cards not working, our passports being stolen. If there was a bad news scenario I came up with it. I had lists upon lists.

Well one thing that did not make it off my to do list was, start a blog to document our trip. I was going to, I wanted to. Now I'm very happy I did not. That would have been way too much pressure.

Now I had a brilliant idea. I'm going to go back in time and take you with me. Starting January 19th I'm going to blog what we were doing on that date the previous year. So on the one year anniversary we will relive all the excitement. Wait till we go to Windsor Castle. I was so excited to see it that I was surprised any of the pictures turned out. I swear I should have been blurry because I was so excited I vibrated the whole time we were there.

Luckily I did do one of the things I wanted to, a couple of years back. We try to keep a travel journal. The journal has gone camping with us (many a time), to Maine, and most recently to England.

Now I freely admit my entries are sometimes lacking but between the both of us we usually get the trip covered. Initially it was really interesting to see things through the other person's eyes. D would see something I would not or I would remember something he did not. It is one of the ways we keep our memories.

So I invite you to journey back in time with me, to see London through the eyes of a small town South Dakota girl living out a dream. Thank You D for making the dream come true. When can we go again?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm a selfish knitter

There I've said it, I feel so much better. When people find out you knit there is usually one of two reactions: "Oh?", backing away slightly while looking for an exit door because I might attack them with a horrible sweater that they must wear, or "Oh crap now I have to pretend I care."

We knitters, we're a relatively smart lot. We get that just because we like it you may not like it. It does not mean that we will force you to wear a scarf that only a third grader on crack would appreciate. We might be artsy or crafty but it does not mean that we're looking to give it all away.

I started off knitting a couple of things for others and quickly learned that my time and friends are too valuable to waste disappointing both of us. Most people use the words home made and cheap interchangeably. If you make it yourself it must be because it is cheaper. I can not tell you how many times people have smiled at me and said why do you make socks is it cheaper? NO, it is not cheaper, only about a gazillion times better. I pay for my socks what some people pay for dinner out on the town. It is not cheap but way more entertaining. I spend a lot of time with my socks before I even get to wear them.

Yep, that is what I call a gratuitous socks shot. What store could I go and buy socks that actually fit my little 2X4 wooden block shaped feet? I knit because I love it. I can create something that fits, is warm and the color I like. You think I am going to go out of my way to knit you something you don't like when I know what to make for me? I don't think so.

First thing my husband asked for was a sweater, I told him no! He did not own a sweater and I don't think I've ever seen him in a sweater. Why would I spend all that time and effort on something that would sit in his closet? Well as you can tell he has proved himself sweater worthy. Once I proved to myself I could make a sweater that did not look homemade, I knit one for him. He wears it, he likes it and he tells me so. That is how you earn another sweater in my house.

I received a stellar compliment from a non-knitter last weekend. While attending a friendly get together, one of D's bike buddies asked me what I had made recently. I was wearing this sweater.

Disregard blanket background, please. So I said I made this sweater. His reply was "You did not!" I did my standard twirl and said yes I did. He even came back to the topic later and said he would have never known, it looked store bought. It was a big compliment for me.

That is why I'm a selfish knitter, I know what I like and I knit what I want. D, you're my other half so I knit for you too. Hope you still like it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I ran into my first what the heck is wrong with me and this pattern? After 15 minutes of me making frustrated noises D says "Maybe the pattern is wrong. " Which would be a brilliant solution if I was not knitting from the corrected pattern at that moment. I'm knitting Selbu mittens from Folk Mittens.

I knit the left mitten up where I will start the decreases to close the mitten, then I froze. I read the directions that stated something about doing a "flat" decrease. What am I to do? Should I go buy a can of soda and leave it open around the mitten while I knit decreases?

So I start to worry and fret for a bit and a voice says, put this one on hold and start the second mitten. That way when you figure it out you can do both together. Brilliant! That way I will not forget what I did in the process of knitting the second one.

I cast on the second mitten yesterday I merrily knit the single colored cuff up. I start the color part and get a round in and the color changes for the last stitches don't work. I count, yep right number of stitches. I look at how it is set up and see I've moved the start of the knitting by one stitch. I rip back to the cuff. (I'm not totally stupid just inexperienced.) I move the stitches to proper needles and start again with the colorwork.

Again the last few stitches don't work out. I go a couple of rounds to see if magically it will all be correct. It was not. Sigh. So I do what I think is best and put the knitting away for the night. Nothing like a little "Time Out" to show your knitting who the boss is.

Yep, you guessed it, it is still not working. I ripped back tonight and restarted the two color part. Same results. So here is my plan, I'm mentally moving over a stitch in the palm color work section. If I know what I need, why not make it work? Anybody else see a massive knitting related cursing session coming? Don't worry I will try to keep it down, and use less offensive words like SUGAR and FIDDLESTICKS. But I am not promising anything.

When I finally finish these mittens, how long will it take D to pry them off my hands? I think I will want to wear them all the time everywhere. Friends do not let friends wear wool knit wear in June (unless they live in the southern hemisphere).

You ask about D's sweater? How it that coming? Will it be ready for Christmas? I don't know either. I better have it done before January 1 2010 or else he is liable to throw me out in the snow and keep a half finished sweater. Oh we got snow! Snow, snow, fabulous snow.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

At the bottom of a very long hill

Last week was a tough one for me. I'm a person that can handle a lot of down time. Conversely I can not handle a lot of up time. I blame my anti-social genes.

Tuesday night was a dentist visit. Wednesday was supposed to be choir practice. Thursday the house and I had a date with Mr Rooter. Friday was our company Christmas party. Saturday afternoon was spent with some friends distracting a pregnant lady. Saturday night was spent with friends I've not seen in quite a while. Sunday was to be choir at the early service and a meeting after.

Poor choir got dropped like a hot potato in that schedule. Turns out I needed to convert it into sanity time for me.

I like to feel wanted as a friend but this week was a bit much. Even the cats thought so and put me down for a nap this afternoon.

On the plus side I found a new handbag. It was even on sale! I'm still adjusting to it. Takes me a while to work with new items. As you can tell I don't do "change" very well. I don't like to think of it as a rut just that I have very well established patterns and methods.

Well what is new in my knitting world? Nothing. D's sweater is still moving along even though I hit a few bumps and had to rework the start of the bottom ribbing 4 times. They are not ruts I tell you just extremely well established patterns and methods.

I also yanked back the sock and restarted it twice. I think I have figured out what I would like to do now and expect to move along on that front too.

My poor mittens have stayed in the bag for far too long now they have not seen the light of day since Thanksgiving. I'm at the point of starting the fingertip decreases and I need to concentrate on getting that right. No time to concentrate I'm a busy bee.

The sad thing is I've not even started my Christmas shopping. Man my whole schedule is shot. Maybe I should just knit more that should make it all better?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What a Squirrel and Moose do on Turkey Day

I love my husband, you know how I know? I was up and dressed at 7 am on Thanksgiving Day and I did not have to cook this year. We did our first turkey trot this year. By we I mean of course he ran it and I "supported" him.

I blame #823. He introduced D into the joys and agonies of running. Well I'm not sure if that is a true statement maybe he did not introduce him but he sure as heck is enabling him. #823 is super cool because he gives really good advice about things that D is becoming interested in, biking and running. When D said he was trying out a couch to 5K program, 823 said you should try a turkey trot that is a 5K. When D sprained his ankle he said worst case scenario you could walk it. 823 is an evil genius that way.

This is them walking to the start line. There was much discussion about if they would run together or separately. They choose separately which I think took all the pressure off both of them. D could run at his wounded beginners speed and 823 could run at his normal speed of Mach 2. OK I exaggerate, it is only Mach 1.

You can not really see it here but that is the whole street, under the green lights, full of people running in a turkey trot. That is a lot of trotters.

I did not get pictures of 823 finishing the race because I blinked and he was standing beside us. Dude is seriously fast.

I love it when I finally see him coming in at an event like this. Makes me all gushy in the knees and proud. My man has some seriously sculpted legs. I think I might be falling for my man in tights.
Do you see it that look of satisfaction? Yeah I see it too, I think I'm a runners wife.

I know I'm a knitter. My Selbu mitten is coming along very nicely. I did not have time to knit at the trot but I worked on it later in the day and am up to where I start the decreases for the finish. I am so excited to be able to do color work. I am totally in love with this mitten.

I will leave you with the funny story of the day. Mrs 823 and I walked down to Starbucks to get a Chai tea before the trot. Yep, Starbucks was open. When we walked in the door the guy behind the counter yells out to us "I love You, You get Free Coffee!" Now I'm thinking to myself 1) I'm feeling pretty good about you too right now mister and 2) they must have been bored and were betting on whether or not certain people would come in. Nope I was wrong on both counts. I was wearing the Iowa Hawk-eye sweatshirt that D's brother had given me for Christmas one year. The dude behind the counter was from Iowa, he was so happy to see something that reminded him of home that we got free chais. Mrs 823 kept thinking the cops were coming for us because we did not pay. I could not figure out why this would worry her so much till I realized she does not get the whole "midwest" thing. We midwesterners will give each other free stuff just so we can talk about home. We look at license plates and smile when we see one from home. I've even had conversations with random people that have Mt Rushmore T shirts on. Home will always be home to a midwesterner.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm so cute

I'm burning up the yardage on D's sweater. At this rate I will be done with it before Christmas! Which is funny because I've thought that all along. I finally placed his Christmas present order today. For me, I'm totally behind on my Christmas shopping. I have to send gifts back to South Dakota since both sides of the family live there. So I tend to get my out of state shopping done early, then I have a mad rush for the local shopping a couple of days before.

Oh back to the sweater, I'm almost done with the body then I go back and knit each sleeve and the collar. I figure a week per sleeve and a day or so for the collar. I took the sweater for a little outing today. It came to the dentist with me, so I could knit while I wait, for you all know I'm a bad waiter. So I'm knitting along and they come into the room and ask 'Are you knitting? That's so cute.' Yep I got called cute by a guy I'm pretty sure is younger than me. Note to self don't argue with the guy that has access to power tools and your teeth at the same time.

I am sad to report that I frogged my sock that I was half-heartedly working on. But really it was not a sock yet in my mind. I was really doing a sock shaped swatch to see how the yarn colors melded with the cable pattern I want to do. I tried a couple of things with the cable section that I would not have been able to reproduce on the second sock, so she is back in the planning process. Ultimately she will be better, faster and stronger, or just more pretty.

The Christmas lights are going up in my neighborhood, how about yours? I have a confession I don't get the people that put up lights and a spotlight. Don't they just negate one another?

Well my brain is fried so I think I will listen to Gus and "COME TO BED NOW". Cats what are you going to do?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pass it on

So here is my thought of the day. Recently I've rediscovered how chocolate is a mood improver. I've never been much of a chocolate fan, I'm more of a vanilla fan. However I do find I feel more relaxed and happy when I have some chocolate soy milk or Nutella. Things just seem not quite as big when I taste chocolate.

We all know how stressful the holiday season can be. I remember working with Christmas music ringing in my head, note that was not a good time for me. Today at Target I bought some Dove chocolates and thought maybe the clerk could use a bit of holiday chocolate mood enhancement. I opened the package and gave her one. Next time you're at the check out and you think of it offer some chocolate. What is the worst that could happen? They could say no and you leave anyways.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Little bit of this, little bit of that

I hate sitting down to the computer getting ready to post and as soon as the screen pops up my brain empties. Happens more than I am willing to admit. What have I not talked about in a while?

Books! I finished Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Mr. Quin a while back. Loved it! I love books that have mysterious benevolent characters in them. This one is a collection of short stories that feature the same two main characters. I was pleasantly surprised in the stories. I'm not a huge fan of short stories. In this case I was not able to figure out who and why but I enjoyed the story telling.

I'm one of those people that try to figure out the endings. My Mother trained me to pick up the clues. Well, trained is not how it started, she continually frustrated me by knowing the ending all the time. How could she do that? So I begged to be let in on the secret and finally she started pointing out little clues. I'm pretty good at it now, not as good as the original but still good. Sometimes it leads to my husband's frustration so I try to be quiet. Other times I let him in on the clues too, but only if he asks. Not many things in this life are as frustrating as living with a know it all.

On a totally unrelated note I use pictures of my yarn purchases as my desktop at work. You know looking at yarn all day is a good thing for me. I find I am calmer if I can sneak a yarnie peek. The bad thing is I constantly have the urge to cast on projects at work.

I think I found a pattern for a shawl for the grey alpaca yarn I bought at Saratoga Fiber Festival this year. It is in The Knitter's Book of Wool. I wonder if the yarn will be too dark to show the pattern. It is a lovely charcoal grey. I had to ball up the yarn the other day because Gus tried to bring it to me in my sleep again. Do you think he's trying to tell me to knit faster? But he sort of mangled the yarn a bit while dragging it out of the bag. Not enough to hurt it but enough to make me go argh. So now it is all neat and tidy and ready to knit from. I currently have three projects on the needles so I don't think I will be casting on any time soon. But you know how the yarn and needles like to gang up on me.

D's sweater is moving right along. I had him try it on the other day to make sure what I had so far would work. His comment about the sweater that at this stage resembles a very short football jersey, "I think it needs to be longer". Really honey? Ya think! You know it made me laugh when he said that even though I knew something was coming.

I think it will be ready by Christmas but I don't think it will meet the record set by his first sweater. I had that one done in a month. Can you see how proud of that I am?

I will just keep on knitting, it is bound to be long enough one of these days.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Good or Bad too early to tell

I keep a knitting journal. Have since almost the start of my knitting. It is a must have when you're knitting socks, and want to make the second one in a similar way to the first one. I try to write the significant things in there.
  1. Starting date/Ending date
  2. How much yarn I used
  3. Changes to the pattern I made
  4. Which size of something I made (sadly this has not made it in for most of my sweaters)
  5. Lessons I've learned while knitting something (See #4 - document projects better)
  6. Silly stuff like what was going on in my life at the time (burned my fingers on the lawnmower but still able to knit)
  7. When our knitting group meets and where
  8. New techniques I want to learn (I'm working on color work now)
  9. Purchases (when, where and how much)
My confession for the day. I have not wrote in my journal since 10/28/09. Gasp, and the world is still spinning? I know it is not a big deal but the longer I go the less I remember. Which is why I don't know what size some of my sweaters are.

The good and bad is that I have substituted writing on the blog for writing in the journal. So tonight I went back through old posts and filled in the details for my journal. I want to catch it up before the end of the month. Plus my knitting journal does not contain any photos of projects. So the blog wins the photo fight.

The funny thing is that I belong to this online knitting community where I can post all the details of my projects that my heart desires. Bonus other people can admire them there. So no wonder that the journal got left out. I'm keeping track of the data in three places. Yeah right I'm lucky if I can get data in one of the three. Between the three I may be able to document the whole story, if I try real hard.

Moral question of the day - Is it wrong for me to be checking out everybody's purse? I find myself purse watching, TV, at work, in church, shopping.... Is it wrong to be weighing the pros and cons of other people's hand bags?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Purse Problems

I've never considered myself a purse person. I had to lug around my Mom's purse as a kid and always told myself I would not have a big purse. That lasted 20 some odd years, till my lovely new sister in law sent me a purse as a thank you for helping out with her wedding.

I hate to admit this but I thought I would not really use it because of the before mentioned vow of non-bulkiness. I liked it I carried it around with my couple of items in it, and thought a purse will be handy when we travel because it is another carry on allowed by the airlines.

Then I started knitting. Now I usually have at least one project in the bag and possibly a knitting book or two. I would never have picked out my bag but now that I have it I love it! And sadly it shows on the bag.

It's a cloth bag and my handles are falling apart. I can not tell you how much this bums me out. I have thought of replacing the handles but that always looks wonky when you attach something new to something old.

Today I went purse shopping, and discovered another level of my own personal Hell. So if I'm not a purse person and I would not have picked out the bag that I love so much now, what qualifies me to pick out a new bag? What?

Add to this that I am very cheap about certain things and bags are one of those items. I want quality but low cost. I want big enough to carry knitting and a book but not the current fashion of suitcase big. I want something classic yet fun.

I know what I want but am not sure if I will like it when I see it. I want to my current bag to look new again, so I don't have to find a new one. But I want a different one now too. Do you think they would mind if I put all my stuff in a bag and carried it around the store to try it out? Maybe I just need a new knitting bag.

The search continues....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lesson Two

Well I think an addiction to the fiber arts has formed in my Padawan. She was laying on the pressure for lesson two today. And she bought yarn all on her own. I heard "The yarn was so pretty I just had to have it. I don't know what I'm going to do with it". Yep that pretty much makes you a yarnie right there.

We covered knitting in the round on double pointed needles (dpn), how to work a simple cable, and how to pick up dropped stitches. I think the dpns made her mind go into overtime. She is excellent at identifying mistakes and quick at learning how to fix them. Not many more lessons to go before she is beyond me.

I will say that I am still the sock master. So I got that going for me.

D's sweater is moving right along. I am totally digging the color, deep plum purple. Would it be wrong/boring for me to make sweaters in twos also. He likes the color of my red sweater and I like the color of his plum sweater. Do you think we would start to look to much alike if we started wearing matching sweaters? Darn I thought so too. Now I will just have to find another color to fall in love with. There was a deep rose color yarn the last time I went to the yarn store. Do you think he will let me have that color?

Gus is here beside me giving me bedroom eyes so I think it is time for some of his I need you time.
Moose out!

Monday, November 16, 2009

I have a Padawan

I am teaching someone to knit. D came up with renaming her my Padawan, which is an apprentice from the Star Wars movie series.

Sorry about the blurry picture, those hands must have been moving faster than I thought, or could focus. She is already exhibiting signs of a true yarn convert. Where do I get yarn, how do you make cables, what did I do here and when are you free for another lesson?

My proudest moment to date is that she brought knitting to work. I actually heard the phrase "It's in the car" come out of a formerly non-knitter's mouth. OK I will admit I teared up a bit at that one. I am so proud.

She is a visual person so she picked it up very quickly. Her work had very few mistakes. Yes I am a wee bit jealous.

So our next lesson will include how to pick up a dropped stitch, cables and how to pick out yarn for a project.

I'm trying very hard not to pass on any of my preferences. Well that is not totally true, I'm trying not to discourage any of her new-by urges. I talk about wool a lot but that does not mean she can't look at cotton. (Please not cotton)

I'm trying to let her make her own mistakes and choices. I think you learn more from seeing the consequences than just being told something without an explanation. And really why can't you choose what you want to do? Maybe you don't have the skills for that yet but maybe you do, who am I to say?

I'm just happy passing on the knitting love to someone else.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Moose and Squirrel - Official Announcement

OK I told my fellow car poolers for knitting today so I will also announce it here. D and I have renamed ourselves Squirrel and Moose.

Those of you that know me from childhood will give me a big duh on this one. For some reason that no one in my family can expain, my nickname is Moose. Now to my memory I've never had a big linebacker body type, I'm not that tall either. My husband would say that I have a nice "rack" but I certainly did not have those back then either.

I will admit to hiding or attempting to hide this nickname since I hit my teen years. Maybe I was afraid of going through high school hearing "rack" jokes. I've never heard moose used to describe anything petite or delicate. So as a result not that many people know of my old name. Well for a while now I've been wishing I could bring that connection with my past back. That is a bit difficult when the only person that knows of it here has been instructed very firmly to never call me that in public. I am proudly acknowledging I AM MOOSE. Sarah Palin if you try to hunt this moose it will not turnout well for you. It is not a threat I'm just saying no to moose hunting.

So the flip side to this story is Squirrel. Sadly I have no hidden nickname story for this one. D just likes squirrels. Anytime we're around them, I usually find squirrel pictures on my camera. I have squirrels from camping trips, squirrels in mid tail bob, I've even got English squirrels.

This one is from our first day in England. He calls Reagent's Park his home.

The squirrels in Hyde Park are much friendlier. This shot makes him look like he has no front legs, don't worry he had front legs, he just heard that the camera adds 10 pounds. This was our last day in England. You know what that means? I have bookend squirrel pictures from England. Told you he thinks squirrels are cute.

Sometimes he even dresses a bit like a squirrel, or a moose hunter. Either way I call him my Squirrel.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'm trying not to be catty

I realize I talk more about Gus than Jack here, even though I think of Gus as D's cat and Jack as my cat. It is just the things that Gus do are so very personal. I've never had a cat nag me like Gus. Or tell me it is time to go to bed like him. And I have never had a cat bring me yarn in the middle of the night like Gus does.

I really think he gets the French-Russian accent we have given him. Last night he went in to the yarn bag from Rhinebeck and brought me the Rambouillet yarn, get it? It is a yarn from French sheep. He cracks me up with the things he does.

Part of it is that he is such a standoffish cat till he needs you then HE NEEDS YOU! And let me tell you it is like when two men are caught in the woods and need to cuddle to survive. It never happened and we will never talk of this again. Except that I do, I tell everyone how cute he is when he's needy.

The other thing is that he is an excellent observer (when he's awake). He turns into the comfort cat on the drop of a hat. He always knows when something is wrong and is willing to stay with you till it is right again. He took on this role when we had to put Bitsy down. He took one look around the room and realized why Mom was crying and transformed into Comfort Cat. He's a very good cat even if he never wants to talk about it.

Jack on the other hand is my kitten. In some ways he never grew up and that is a good thing. He will be the perpetual younger brother. I never laugh as hard as I do when I watch him chase his tail. Yep that is right my cat likes to chase his tail. The truly funny thing is when he slows down and sits looking back over his shoulder and slowly flicks his tail. You can see the irritation with the tail start to rise in him. Stare, flick, stare, flick, Attack!

He got the nickname "Jackie Chan" when he was racing around the apartment and hit the patio door with all four feet while his body was parallel to the ground. It was like for an instant he was standing on the glass door. This led to the comment that he is like the real Jackie Chan he does his own stunts.

Jack is my heat seeking missile which also makes him a comfort cat at times. Jack likes to be warm. He will burrow under blanket and cuddle without shame. When I'm aching Jack usually knows just the right spot to cuddle up against to lull me to sleep.

Those are my boys, I would not know what to do without them.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm not a great communicator

So what was up with my favorite color post? Sometimes I come up with a jumble of thoughts and hope that when I throw them all in the same box and shake it up, something meaningful will come out of it. Yep that did not happen last time.

I used to think that I was a good communicator, now I know that I am not. I used to think that I was a good joke teller till someone told me I am not. (I'm still mad about that one.) I've been told that I am funny but that does not mean that I can tell a joke. I'm one of those people that if I manage not to mangle the actual timeline of the joke, invariably forget the actual punch line.

OK confession time our cats have voices, I know most cats have voices but in this case I mean that it is not unusual for me to do the talking for the cats. Gus is a Russian-French accent and Jack is the male feline version of a Valley Girl. Gus' accent comes from the way he carries himself and how he looks at the world; stoic and haughty. Jack's voice has more to do with his actual voice and the way he sees the world. His meow is high and has an inflection that always makes it sound like he is asking a question.

Jack was adopted from the shelter before he could even remember being there, Gus remembers the good old days when it was just him and Dad in the bachelor pad. All the palmetto bugs and pizza crusts you could eat. I'm still not sure that was not the happiest time in his life.

I think he forgets how much D was gone and how bored he must have been. Mom is OK, and a great (Gus says adequate) chin scratcher, but his heart will always belong to Dad first, unless there is food. Wait it is food = #1 and Dad = #1a, a cat has to have his priorities you know.

Wait what was I saying? Communication, I'm still working on it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

My favorite color

So when people ask me I say my favorite color is green. What don't random people come up to you on the street and ask what your favorite color is? What I really mean is a shade of green, dark deep forrest/pine green. Makes my heart happy even thinking about it just now. The funny thing is I don't care that much for other shades of green. Many are to yellowish for my taste.

But if you look at the yarns I pick out many people would assume that I love red. Or maybe as a second guess blue. I don't tend to pick out all that much green. Now in my defense my first sweater is green, pine green. The majority of my socks are red or have red in them. Do you think it is because red is considered a warm color and subconsciously I want my little ice blocks to be warmer?

My fall back color tends to be grey. If I can not decide on color I usually end up getting charcoal grey. Makes for some dreary knitting in the winter. Cold and grey outside and warm and grey inside.

You know the end of the movie "The Holy Grail" when they ask the three questions that you must answer correctly in order to cross the bridge? I always laugh so hard when the guy gets tossed for guessing his wrong favorite color. Red no BLUE. How do you not know your own favorite color, and how did they know that was not his favorite?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Facing Fears

Well I did it. I sang in the church choir today!!!! I didn't have a panic attack or even throw up on anybody.

I could tell once it was done that I had been a bit nervous. I was extremely thankful it was over. Sadly I'm not sure I was focused on the rest of church as I should have been. The sermon was based on two women that gave all they had. I did catch that much.

You know I truly believe God has a sense of humor because before we left for church what movie was on TV this morning? Sister Act, You know the one where she teaches the nuns to sing well. I bet God had a chuckle while planning that one.

I might not have been in tune but man did I make a joyful noise! Our God is worthy of Praise!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Let the project wars begin

Yep my blistered hand is still healing. I would post a picture of the awesome blisters I have on my fingers but I don't know how squeamish you all are so I will choose to skip it at this time. I not in pain it just feels very awkward still, and I am oddly protective of that hand right now. Wonder why?

So my startitis has caused me to start actually casting on projects. I mean the top three projects that came to mind when the needles and yarn were in my hands. That is right three projects in two days, along with one of them still in the works.

I did manage to finish socks for D.

He says he likes them but we will judge that by how often I'm washing them. I subscribe to the theory that you always use what you like more. I know my favorite socks are always in the dirty laundry pile because as soon as they're dry they're on my feet.

Back to the project wars. I cast on my test knitting for my kilt hose from the Rambouillet yarn.

The yarn has some tightly spun/thin sections so I'm trying to figure out how that will work. Plus this is mostly test knitting now. I just want to find out how the yarn knits up and if it will really work for the project.

I started another sock. It is from the Decadent Fibers Savory Sock yarn. I just could not resist this yarn any longer. It kept calling to me, socks, socks I want to be socks. I think I'm going to do my basic sock pattern but put in cable panels down both sides of the top of the foot. Sort of like D's socks above but with a cable. Hopefully these will not take me as long, but with them calling to me all the time I will probably blow right through them. So that was the problem with D's socks they're like the person they're made for, not super chatty.

Oh and D's sweater attacked me too. It was cast on this morning. I'm grooving away. Who knew I would like knitting sweaters so much? I absolutely love the idea that in a month or so I can have a whole new sweater. Guess I'm not much of an instant gratification person, hmm? I'm trying out my new harmony needles from Knit Picks. I was waiting for them to arrive so I could start this project.

It is out of Cascade 220 "Galaxy" colorway. I am totally digging this yarn. I'm thinking this one will be done before Christmas. I'm still counting it as a Christmas present. Fair warning on that one, even if you wear it 2 or 3 times before Christmas D, I'm still wrapping it up and putting it under the tree, your surprise will be optional, your appreciation will not be optional.

I read through a pattern last night for mittens for me. I have the yarn and the needles, they're probably in a corner somewhere planning their attack on me. Seems like everything wants to be cast on. Plus I really want/need a pair of mittens.

Even Gus got in the knitting spirit today and tried to steal my yarn. What can I say everyone in the house is a yarn lover except D. He falls into the yarn wearer category, doesn't play with it as much as uses it.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My knitting schedule is shot

I do believe that I'm trying to cremate myself one day at a time. When ever I cook I usually burn myself once a week. If I do they are usually small oops burns that heal in a couple of days. D teases me that I must think I am coated in kevlar and don't think I can burn.

I blame the years I spent working in a restaurant. I pulled so many hot pans out that I think I killed off my heat sensing nerves in my hands. Nope they still work.

Today I tried to do an act of service for my darling husband. I raked up 3 bags of leaves and then switched to attempting to mow the majority up. I did a swipe up and down the side of the driveway but it seems to not be picking them up. I look at the mower and decide the wheels are to high, it is just spinning them around and shooting them out on the lawn. I lower 3 of the wheels and attempt to lower the last one by bending over and placing my hand on the top of the engine that is covered in plastic. Sadly my fingers were firmly touching the exhaust. Turns out that area heats up quite quickly!!!!

I run for the water and plunge my swearing hand under. I tentatively touch the area and it feels really "thick", sort of like my skin has turned to cardboard "thick." One of my friends was a nurse and it turns out she is the one I call. I take my hand out of the water do a mad dash to my cell phone and back to the water. My hand in the meantime goes from mild words like pooh and shucks to full on swearing mode till its plunged under again. I dial my friend, thank God she is preprogramed into my phone. I'm trying to decide if I'm a wimp or if I need to go to urgent care. She confirms that I am not a wimp if the skin is blistering, which by this time I think it is. I get directions on how to transport hand to medical office and also take her up on the offer to hitch a ride. I tried to tell her I was fine but she would not take no for an answer. Thank God for good friends. Yes she is another "yarnie" so I think I know how I can repay her.

Luckily D was in the area we were going to so he signed me in. As we're driving down I realized just how distracted a throbbing hand will make you. I only tried to back seat drive once. Long story shorter my middle two fingers have 2nd degree burns on them, and my index finger has a small burn too. Burn pain for me comes in waves and can be intense. So my new favorite drug of the day is Motrin.

I did a test run when I got home and I think I can still knit. It seems to be only with a deliberate movement that I have not experienced since I started. But some knitting is better than no knitting. It was either that or I would finally get caught up on my reading schedule.

It took me about 10 tries to get a decent picture of my bandaged hand. My fingers looked like little sausages. OK they look like that most of the time but I'm not usually photographing them.

Oh yeah we have a dinner date with a deaf couple, so my signing will be worse than usual. Luckily it was my non dominate hand so I can still write and what not.

You know the really crappy part of the story is that once we got home Hubby went to put the mower away and showed me that the plug was in to block the grass from going into the bag. It was never going to work, my act of service for my D. Don't you just feel like satan is sitting on your shoulder laughing at your efforts some days?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ta Da

My latest creation, made with Cascade 220 wool. The picture is not the best but who am I to judge. I never know what to do when someone is taking a picture of me. My clever co worker stood on the other side of me so we could pretend we're having a conversation so I don't have to stare the camera down.

I'm working on a list of clever poses. So far I've got none. The photo could have been taken while I was actually working, which would have been me holding the phone to my ear. Seems like that is all I do some days. I hate the phone! I mean I like it when I need it but hate to be on it for any amount of time now. Too many years of being a receptionist and answering the same questions over and over.

OK back to the sweater. It's made out of Cascade 220 wool in red heathers. D wants one out of the same or similar colors. I had to say no not this year, I think I would get sick of the color if I knit it again too soon. I changed the ribbing to a baby cable rib but you can not see that here. Took me a little over a month to knit, which I think is pretty good. I'm sure there are faster knitters but I want to enjoy what I do not beat the clock. I hate it when people ask me how long it took me to knit something. I keep a knitting journal that includes (usually) when I start and end projects, but as far as how many hours it took total, that is not a math problem that I want to do.

I do love the sweater. It is soft, warm and wooly, just the way I like them. I love the fact that I am not scared to make sweaters now. When I first started I thought there was no way I would ever do that, way too much time and effort for me to risk. Plus I'm not a huge fan of homemade looking items, unless it is food. I know I am a bad person. I just like the way a finished item looks, must be that little perfectionist voice inside of me, it is not very strong and not as particular as you would think but when it speaks look out.

Good thing I bought yarn for D's sweater because I'm itching to do another. The sweater bug is biting. I told you it was going to be a cold winter and I still think that is true. Wool is the first line of defense against cold/winter right? Suit up

Monday, October 26, 2009

Startitis, again

So knitters have defined the word "startitis" as an overwhelming urge to plan or start many projects in a small time frame, usually without finishing any projects in the same time frame.

I've got it bad! Well bad for me, I only have three projects on the needles, but I went out Sunday and bought yarn for 2 more. I narrowly escaped buying yarn for a third one, it was beautiful soft yarn and I don't know how I resisted. I think I may be ill.

Now a trip to the yarn shop that lands yarn for only 2 projects is pretty good. But If you look back to last week's posts all you see is festival yarn that I bought for projects. Wait a minute I'm going to go count that project amount now. You can either scroll down with me or hum a little tune while I'm gone.

Eight projects! That brings my total to ten for the last couple of weeks. Crap I forgot about the fiber festival in September, hold on. Poo, I had five there. New total 15 projects bought with in about a month.

In my defense, hubby said it was OK, the festivals only come around once a year and I usually knit up what I buy in that time frame. I don't know why I feel I should defend myself, I've never heard a bad word from any of you.

On with my story. I found yarn for D's sweater. He even thinks the color will be OK. It is a very deep plum almost black. I'm itching to start this one, but I really want to finish his socks first.

You remember his socks I've been knitting on them for a while now. I think it is that his foot is so much bigger than mine that I get distracted. Usually for my little feet once I finish the heel of the sock it seems like it knits itself. For D it seems like I just started the sock (which is true). There is nothing to keep it spicy in the middle for me. Sorry Hon that is just the way I'm wired I guess.

I bought yarn to make some super cool two color mittens from "Folk Mittens" for me. I've started about 20 pairs of socks in my head, now if I could knit as fast as I think I would be set. No wait all the projects would be odd mutant projects if that were true. I tend to think way too many random thoughts for that to work for me.

I'm also waiting for a shawl to appear on my needles in the middle of the night like it does in my dreams. I still have to find a pattern for that one, maybe that is why I'm dreaming about it.

So I'm dreaming, I'm planning and I'm casting on a few projects 'just to see how they look'. My house is a happy place once you move the yarn and needles from the chair.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sheep Junk

We will start this post off with more lovely sheep ladies. These two were cool because it was like they were twins, they keep moving their heads in unison. Maybe their training to be synchronized swimmers?

D was oh so happy to run across a banjo player. He loves banjo music, me not so much. This guy was good though not as choppy as banjo can be, more melodic. I told D if we were separated I would know where to find him, staring longingly at another man's banjo. D says you can not be sad while listening to banjo music.

No words for this one but that may be the moment I realized he was going to have a good day with me.

Lunch time! D's not really as unhappy as he looks, he's just eating a pickle.

We got lunch from the 4H booth. This of course started the conversation about whether or not I had been a member of 4H. I was not, but both my brother and sister were. By the time I was old enough to join, we had moved off the farm. We had a local group where we moved but to me it was the diet version of 4H, no animals. Sort of took the heart out of it for me. City kids playing country was not to my taste. You can take the girl off the farm but you can not take the farm out of this girl!

This is my warm steamy goodness shot of the day. Remember we went back to the car for some tea. The cup was set on the dash and it caused a steam blush on the windshield. Did I mention I love thermos tea? "Keeps hot things hot and cold things cold the only question is how do it knowed?" What movie is that line from?

I think this yarn may be today's favorite. Decadent Fibers Savory Sock Yarn. I must have really liked it, because this skein is what caused me to stop at the booth, and while there I pulled out another skein I thought about getting. It was the same color scheme. I think I was at the check out two seconds after that. It seems very Christmasy but those colors called to me. Plus I got a free sock pattern.

Here is another gratuitous shot of my stash enhancement, such pretty colors. The cream colored yarn in the center was my impulse value buy. Each skein is 217 yds of fingering weight Rambouillet yarn, for $5 a skein! It called out to me that it would make a fine pair of kilt hose. Now when yarn knows what it wants to be I try to listen. I stood there with a couple of skeins in my hands kicking myself because I did not look up how much I would need. I really expected to do more research before buying anything. So I stood there thinking crap what if 2 skeins is not enough? Then this brilliant little voice inside my head said "Get 4 that's like 20 bucks, KILT HOSE you ninny." My inner voice may be helpful but it's cranky sometimes.

The funny thing is I just handed cash to a lady that said "Can I help you?" and left the booth without getting a receipt or anything. It was not until a couple of barns later that I realized there was no way for me to know she worked there. Maybe I just gave another fair goer $20 and took the yarn. Just cause you're helpful does not mean you work there. The yarn is not tagged but I remembered the store I bought it at, Mees and Ewes. I had forgotten what breed of yarn it was by the time I got home so I called them on Tuesday. I got the breed name and made sure I paid the right person. Load off my mind. I test knit with it yesterday and it is lovely yarn. I still can not believe the price. Maybe because I buy hand painted sock yarn, but the value makes me love it even more. I'm not cheap, I'm just greedy, no wait that does not sound right either. I'm not cheap, I'm economically sensible. Great now I sound like a politician.

OK now I will leave you with the dirty story of the day. Sorry Mom E but maybe you will get a chuckle out of this as well. As we were looking at the sheep D asked me if they were all ewes. Now having been a farm girl I'm not exactly shy about looking at animal genitalia. Don't judge me. So I start looking around to see if I really am still a farm girl, can I tell the difference between a ram and a ewe? I sight one, point it out to D and say nope not all girls here.

His comment was that hangs really low, oww, what happens if it hits a rock? You know being a girl, I did not have an answer for that. Now he wants me to change the name of the blog to Sheep Junk. I feel stupid saying this but if you did not know "junk" is slang for the male genital package. Yep that is my Hubby, he makes me laugh!

How would you feel if this was your sheep and you walked up when I was taking this picture? Excuse me do I know you? Getting a little too friendly with your camera aren't you? Security!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I miss my cocoon!

I was thinking all day about all the funny stories and things we saw in Rhinebeck, alas it is not to be for this post.

As you know I'm a very private and insecure person, you're shocked I know. Well tonight I went to my first choir practice to actually sing at. Poof there goes my cocoon of comfort, first I'm out of the house on a week night and second I'm singing in public. I'm trying hard to be someone I'm not and this stage sucks so very much.

One of my control methods is very counter intuitive. I control by making someone else control the situation. Here is an example, whenever we go to a new church related event I make D take the lead. That way I can signal him if need be and it is his job to extract me. I'm not saying it is logical, I'm just saying it works for me.

I went in tonight with certain expectations that were not met. I thought I would be placed in a group, soprano or alto, I was asked where I wanted to sing. Nice for other people but not for me because I don't have a flipping clue where I should be. The only place I sing is in the car and she has never told me how I sing.

Since I've never sung with a choir, I don't read music. I don't hear the differences when they play different keys. Sometimes I do, but I don't know what I need to do to get there. Since I've only just started singing out loud I sound very flat to me. I think I may be tone deaf. People were saying if you stand between two good singers you will naturally adjust to them. Yeah don't think that happened tonight, I'm pretty sure I kept pulling the lady next to me off because she had to have someone sing in her ear. Being an incompetent newbie sucks! Sucks Sucks Sucks!

The worst part is knowing that the only way I will get any better is to keep going back. I don't want to be a better person! I want to be scared lonely me. Damn, no I don't. Thank God there is no practice next week. I will have a week to de-stress myself. I think it will involve yarn and some sticks.

Well I think I vented some frustration there. Did I get any on you? I hope not. Thanks for listening. I will return you to your regularly scheduled programing with the next post. See you then.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rhinebeck 2009 The First Installment

This is D at his first sheep and wool festival. Notice the look of contented curiosity. We had been through one building and I had made one purchase at this point. I had forced him to make a purchase though, hot apple cider, very enjoyable on a cold day.

This is a morning shot of one of the vendor buildings. Oddly enough this is the only shot of booths I took. I think I was too excited to really think about pictures much. This was the second to last building we hit. By 1 p.m. we could hardly make it through, so many people!

D perked up quite a bit when we went to look at the animals. I turn back into Farm Girl and that seems to amuse him quite a bit. Mohair goats first then followed by a few sheep friends.

I think I had to sweet talk this one a bit before she would strike a pose. Turns out talking to sheep is not a "skill" that I give up easily. I talked to them all telling them they are beautiful. Horses rank at the top for me because they are so elegant and powerful, sheep rank really high for opposite reasons. They are comforting and cute.

I can not remember what breed of sheep we had on the farm, or even if it was a specific breed. I remember lambing season and shearing season. I remember crawling into the huge burlap bags to run around and pack the wool down in them. I wonder now why we did not keep some of the wool and spin it. I guess it was hard enough to eak out a living, and cloth was cheaper pre-made.

We found roving that reminded us of food. It was called peaches. Even when I know I don't want to learn how to spin yarn, fibers colored like this make me wonder what the finished product would look like. Looks tasty as is.

D caught me stashing a purchase away. Is it just me or does it look like I'm just a bit high on wool fumes? I remembered my shawl! I kept pretty toasty while poor D went wool less and was chilled. The power of wool, will not be denied. I received a compliment on my shawl/scarf while waiting for the ladies room. Only at a wooly event is that acceptable.

We stopped to watch an auction. I know it made my Daddy proud. The first ewe went for $600. D looked at me like WOW! Yeah, I don't think we had sheep that would sell for $600 a piece. To answer a question I heard many times while standing there, yes people go to school to learn how to do the auctioneer's chant. I had to explain to the lady standing next to me what was going on, what the current bid was and what bid they were looking for. I'm not sure I got it all right but I sounded good, if I do say so myself.

We were smart and stopped for lunch early. Then headed back to the car for a bit of a warm up with a thermos of hot tea. There are few things in this world as comforting to me as tea from a thermos. Portable heat what is not to love?

This is a shot of the afternoon Ravelry meet up. I finally have a pin! You'll see it at the end. I have wanted one for so long now. I think it means I am part of the group now, part of the yarnhood if you will. We saw a couple of ladies from Beauknits. One of my local yarn shops. I was chastised for not coming to knit night recently. Sometimes life moves too quickly, you don't get to see the people you want to. Good thing D and I live together!

The moment I've been waiting a year for, my new Rhinebeck 2009 yarn haul. Starting bottom left going counter clockwise.
One skein Socks that Rock in Puck's mischief, one skein Decadent Fibers Savory Sock yarn, Creatively Dyed Calypso sock yarn in Street, one skein Luster Sox in Pine and one Comfy Sox in Red red wine, both from Dye Dreams, two skeins from Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farm, and four skeins of unmarked cream colored fingering yarn from Mees and Ewes.

The top one is my new Celtic shawl pin from Ram's Horn, and my super cool Ravelry name pin.

The funny stories will have to come in installment 2. With all my new lovely yarn I'm fighting startitis pretty bad. I finished my sweater the other day so now I have to wash it and get it ready for its inaugural wearing. Hmm that means I have to go to the yarn shop to get yarn for D's sweater. Poor me

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ahhh Sheep and Wool

Oh what a lovely weekend. We survived our first NY Sheep and Wool Festival. Not only survived but enjoyed it. D did not need any of the bored Hubby entertainment items we brought along, did not once complain, and even liked the sheep barns. He also learned to tell a ram from a ewe but that is a story for another day. His first thought was wow those hang low. It is up to you to figure out what those are, for another day or so.

Snow and rain were forecast but we had a beautiful cold clear day. It made the thermos of hot tea we brought with us taste much better. I did remember to bring my shawl that I said I would wear in a previous post and I was complimented on it while waiting for the restroom. I bought some beautiful yarns and pictures will follow soon.

The knees are a bit stiff from all the walking but I think I held up fine. D also discovered why you eat early at these events. The wait in the food lines was around and hour. That is valuable yarning time!

As the ultimate compliment D even agreed to go next year if the schedule works out.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I forgot to post this picture with my 'In praise of my hubby' post. The thing in his left hand is my new yarn ball winder. The thing in his right hand is the massive ball of yarn we wound. I pretty much have been wearing the winder out since then. I might have a skein of unwound yarn but they are getting few and far between.

So it is fall here in NY and the leaves are really showing it. Every year I promise I will take picture and every year time passes with no pictures

I managed to get one this year. It is so cool how some trees tend to develop patches of color while other trees wait and seem to turn color over night. Our neighbor's tree is dropping leaves all over the place so I picked up a few to show you the colors

That is the same photo without and with flash. Some of the leaves have three colors on one leaf. So cool to see fall all in one leaf. The reds are especially striking for me this year, but I really love them every year.

My sweater is almost finished. I just need to try it on to check the collar length and bind it off. Yeah I know I missed my finish date, but that was more of a theory than an actual goal.

I'm still plugging along on socks for D. Man I get spoiled having my small feet to knit for. Some days it seems like I blink and I've finished to foot of a sock for me. Then I do a pair for D and the foot almost does me in. Maybe I should to choose to view it not as a project that is taking to long, but as getting a jump on my Christmas present list. I think I might be able to finish them by that time.

I spent the weekend thinking about next weekend. Wooly goodness time! NY Sheep and Wool Festival is next weekend. I am thinking all the time about what I want to get, what I will see and how long the Hubby will last there. This is kind of the reverse of when he goes on one of his charity bike rides. For those events I think of everything I could possibly want for 3-6 hours and jam it into my backpack (restroom not included). This time I'm thinking of anything and everything that might keep him entertained. I've got a running list: Bike and accessories, crossword puzzles, books, our DS gaming device, the Ipod, tea and snacks. So basically I'm thinking like packing for the plane trip to England this last January. If you think of anything let me know, I will add it to the Hubby entertainment arsenal. And no the cats are not willing to go along and entertain Dad. Travel is not in their job description. Great now I am all excited to go yarn shopping, there is no way I'm going get to sleep easy tonight. Don't even think about suggesting I count sheep either! My luck I will be shearing them in my sleep, Hubby might wake up missing an eyebrow that way. Oh that was one of the things I wanted D to see at the fair, sheep shearing. I'm off to add that to the list.