Sunday, February 26, 2006

BONUS post! The Rogue Hog, Stuffed.

Here she is relaxing on the sofa...note the delicate features, in spite of her overpowering size...she has antique filigree rhinestone eyes, and a sweet litle worn leather nose, also antique. She's very soft and lovable in spite of her refusal to felt down properly. She lost zero inches in three hot wash cycles and a significant amount of hand scrubbing.

Then she received a visitor when the cat-dog jumped up to say hello. She attempted to be all euro chic by giving him a kiss on the cheek....

but some people have NO sense of class or humor, and she was rudely rebuffed. Since then I've been cuddling her in earnest so she does not feel saddened by the rejection of Mister Mel-evolent Mel-icious, the Mel-odrama Queen.

Rogue Hog is so named because she was made of the same yarn (something from the warehouse on a cone, nameless worsted stuff) I used in my Rogue sweater, and she used quite a bit. Fiber Trends 228x, Huggable Hedgehogs is the pattern, and the finished size should be 7-10 inches when felted. Lil Ro here is about a foot tall...a giant amoung hogs.

When I began this project...

I sat down when the torch was lit, pounded out 1/2 the body in a day and thought "No biggie. I have other stuff to do, and more than enough time to get this puppy whipped! I'll get back to it eventually."
Baby showers, toddlers, premature birthdays, regular birthdays, a sick cat (my mothers, not my own), disease and pestilence, hospital visits, shopping trips for tiny garb so mom and dad can rest a little more...yeah, sure, I got time...
But, as my kids say, "S'all good." Done, fini, completed, and I do like it, thought will change much next time.
Last night I finished the bits and laid them out and steamed them with Scunci, my buddy. I'd been running in threads as I went, and needed only to put the sleeves in and hem it. And have a nice finger or two of Sheep Dip. I had made a nice leg of lamb for the snow storm, so made stew from that. I totally love lamb, in about any form. Chop, stew, leg, roast...I bought a whole lamb once, local and grass fed. This was a mistake and I've reverted to buying grassfed bits as I want them. No one else in the fam eats lamb, because it gives them all indigestion (shows how far they've fallen from their roots.) Today I finished my hem and put my sleeves in. In spite of my totally screwing up the sleeve incs, I love the sleeve. I actually like the fit probably better than if I had done it correctly. I may do it right the next time and see what I think. I like the fitted look in the lower arm. I love the hood, though my grafting could be better. The cables show up well in the lighter oaten color, but if I were making it again I'd choose differently as I look better in stronger colors. It is the perfect Ren Fest (unless garbed correctly, in which case it would probably not look well with the blouse and vest and big skirt), sheep and wool, craft fair sweater. I just got back from grocery shopping and found it very comfortable for street wear. Warm and snuggly, and it's 20-something here with snow on the ground (ick, kind of tired of the whole cold and snow thing and really would like some of that 50-60 degree sunny stuff.)So it's done. Now I go back to the detritus of life, the knitty gritty, the grind, the preemie sweaters since everything for the baby was bigggger and put off till after the big O...the lavendar sweater for the store can take center stage back from the Rogue and gastroenteritis. But...I DID it. I thought I could, then was conviinced I'd failed, but I DID it, and it feels GOOD.

Friday, February 24, 2006

New Free Pattern, Just for Fun!

Girl's Hooded Poncho (Also called "Boo-Boo's Mancho")This is a simple hooded (yes there's a hood, but have you ever tried to get a Bernese Mountain Dog to wear a hood?) pullover poncho for girls in sizes 2-4, 6-8 and 10-12. Knits up very fast in bulky yarn at 3 sts per inch, could even be made of the dreaded fun fur (but then, kids can legitimately wear fun fur I am told)

Have at it!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Banana Made Me Do It...

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank God for thinking up bananas and my husband for bringing them home. Between the bananas and the ginger ale, I am a new woman. I still have not gone back to see the baby, but I did knit. Just a little. I really dig the whole grafting the Rogue hood thing. It is not perfect, but I am pleased and will be more so after blocking. It was tempting to do the three needle bind off but I am glad I did not. And this is, after all, the "practice rogue", and not the last one I'll ever make I am sure.
I am generally back in love with it after my days of disaster. Between the duck and the shower and then the whole baby coming a month early thing and this Nora-rota-or-whichever virus on top of it?? I was really hating existence as a whole. Breathing became distasteful for a few hours there. So I got up this morning and had nothing better to do, and since I can't really go anywhere yet being still feeble of mind and body, I decided to take up my needles and embrace the Olympic spirit instead. I started the sleeves this afternoon. I still have no hope of finishing in time. Well....That's a lie..I have a glimmer. A faint distant glimmer. Either way I go down fighting. I got my groove back. My family is so far healthy, and I seem the only afflicted member for which I am grateful. I am compulsively cleaning every surface I have touched since Monday. Every time I sit at the computer I clean the keyboard and mouse with disinfecting wipes. I am determined that they will not "get it". I have even convinced my husband that it would be very very bad if I were to cook this week, as I might still be contagious.
Oh, this EVIL animal. Would you look at Resident Evil?? My poor BooBoo was walking across the floor coming to see momma and this evil, evil creature who was sitting benignly on the floor lunged at poor BooBoo and gave him a heart attack nearly. Look at how he attacks the poor innocent cat toy... he's...nuts! This morning I called him Mel-O-Drama after his mistress left for work and he sat on a stool in the kitchen and cried at me, then sat by the front door and cried more. Plaintive wail of the wounded Mel-O-Dramatic. He's like a freaking DOG! She's even taught him to sit, and last night she ordered him "Off!" my bed, pointing her finger to the floor...and he got down.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Doping Scandal !!!!!!!!!!!

All right, all right, I confess. Yes, I took a banned substance during my attempt at Olympic glory. I promise to never do it again. But you've got to understand that for the past 16 hours my Olympic Experience has been reduced to this:

Also ginger ale, crackers, the unleavened kind, and, more recently some applesauce and a banana.

It all began simply enough at about 10pm Monday. It felt so good to relax after the Saturday baby shower, and Monday spent nurturing a sick toddler. Sick with what you ask? A viral stomach bug, of course. Because he is walking typhus, and in the last two years I have been sicker in that in the previous twelve. Monday we also had a very exciting tour of the Birthing Center locally in preparation for the baby who was due March 18th. What's that you say? "waaaas due??" I was relaxing, reclining...and the phone rang. Girl answered it, and suddenly I heard loud screaming - "K's in LABOR! She's in LABOR!!!" I got out of the tub and got on the phone with M, father to be. Sure enough....felt sick at dinner Monday and water broke at 9pm. Four weeks early. I stuck some essentials in my Lady B bag (knitting, herbal tea, and my design notebook), assuming this could be a long ordeal, but knowing that with ruptured membranes there would be a baby, one way or the other, sometime within the next 24 hours. The triage room is great - two beds, a big chair, so we all were relatively comfy overnight. It was a fitful night. There was no organization of her labor. At 6am we got up, walked, moved into a birthing room, and prepared for the long haul. Mom took a shower, Dad went to feed dogs. Dad retuned just after we started the pitocin at about 9:40am. At about 11:30am mom asked me for drugs. We discussed it and decided that something to take the edge off would be a good plan. The midwife came in and checked her cervix and said "I have good news and bad news...." from the bed mom cried "You're gonna tell me it's too late for drugs aren't you??" Short version - she managed to go from 1cm to nine cm in two hours on pitocin, which may be some kind of record, and was astonishing to myself (who was thinking 4-5pm) and the midwife (who was thinking 5-6pm) and the nurse who was also assuming it'd be an evening birth. At 12:44pm on February 21 (my dad's birthday) Miss EJ was born, weighing a whopping 5lb, 14ounces, 18 inches long, and loaded to the gills with brown hair. She's so tiny. A button of a girl child, and beautiful to boot. (sorry, no pics, not my kid!). I can provide pics of the sweater I finished while waiting for pushing to begin, however...this is a size 1, in Kiss, and very sweet and cute. Of course, she probably won't wear it till she's 2. We spent a mild afternoon, moved into a much bigger room with a double bed for mom and dad to sleep in overnight. Miss EJ was checked and rechecked, eventually showing no more difficulty adjusting to life on the outside than a little low temperature, which was fixed by placing her on mom's chest with a heat lamp. Early babies can have problems with lung development, but EJ seems fine. She may yet develop some jaundice, and will have trouble with simple things like nursing, as she was not planning on learning that skill for a month, and has to become a quick study. And K? The mountain biker, tough girl, not sure if she can be somebody's mom? She's turned into a mushball. A blearly eyed, soft voiced, "that's my baby", breast feeding, worrying mommy.

So, my doping issue...well, I came home at about 5pm, had some supper and a bath and went to bed. At 1:30 I woke up and remember why we call the grandchild 'Typhoid A'. This is where the toilet comes in. I spent the next bundle of hours with the porcelain god. I spent most of today sleeping. My beloved husband brought home from work bananas, applesauce, ginger ale, and a desire to do laundry. I've been running a fever a bit, and got a whole two rows done on Rogue! TWO ROWS!! WOO-HOO!!! This is where the doping comes in....and I hope the IOKC can forgive me...I did it. I confess. I took....tylenol (sniff)

Feeling somewhat better right now, but heading back to bed shortly. I just want to sleep. The banana has been a big help, I think I really needed the potassium. I think my Olympic Careeer it at an end. We'll see...but the remained of the hood, the sleeves, steaming and seaming? I know I'm fast two rows a day?? Oh well. I fought the good fight. I did my best. And now I am going back to bed before I fall off my chair!

Monday, February 20, 2006


Ducks, pregnant women, baby clothes, games, blue punch..what a Saturday! This is the hat that I made on the way to the shower. It's angora that I got after Christmas, done on size five needles. I checked my gauge on the bootees, then did the medium hat to get a newborn size. If I'd had a darning needle the hat would have been done on our arrival. I am eternally grateful to my husband. Knitting all the way up was wonderful because I did not have to think about anything showery. Love the Last-Minute Knitted Gifts book. Very handy book to have around for...uhh...last minute knitted gifts.
Now, about the duck - after our disaster of Friday, I hestitated to decorate. BJ's Wholesale Club cakes were sounding pretty good. I re-baked the sheet cake, then mixed the frosting. First I frosted the base cake (this is going to be a VERY exciting post, folks). Then I spent 30 minutes trying to smooth the icing perfectly, becoming grumpier and grumpier with every attempt, until Girl threatened to take away my smoothing blade. "But it's not peeerrrfffeeect...." I whined. Next, we moved onto the placing of the duck - this is dicey. If placed to far to one side or the other, or too far front or back, there would be room to write something, like "Congratulations" or "Welcome Baby", or (my fave) ">SUCKAAHHHHS!!!!!!!!!" and the last thing I want to do is write on a cake. I assembled my toys for the next level of cake insanity. Icing and the...the...where's my small coupler??? A coupler is a pretty important gadget in the world of cake decorating. Think of is as equal to... the metal gauge measure thingy. You can forge ahead without it, but you'll wish you hadn't. I searched high and low, and then I did what every big grown girl does when disaster strikes twice in one day. I called my mommy. Twenty minutes later my son (who lives with my mother, he's 19 and trying to be 'independent') arrived at my doorstep with my mother's cake decorating kit. In the end, our duckie emerged, complete with fondant baby bonnet. Some icing to make a ruffle and a bow, and he's done. He was a hit, being adorable and having under him a not too shabby french vanilla cake. Anyway - the mother-to-be was 35 minutes late...we're probably lucky she came at all, as she was nervous as a cat about being the center of attention. Games were played, prizes given. Gifts were opened - all those tiny baby things that make you go "AWWWWW......" Well, they used to make me go "awwww...", now I sit back, smirk and go "Ahhaah!!!!!!!" and gaze lovingly on my soon to be 18 year old youngest child with the smug satisfaction of a race well run, knowing you're in the home stretch, glancing back and seeing nothing (like an additional bundle of questionable joy) coming up from behind to ruin your planned freedom.
I forgot that Saturday was my birthday (39). Would not have remembered but then my son called in the morning, and to warn me that my mother would be calling to wish me happy birthday (this is the way of the young male - "Uhh. An angry little bat just told me that today's your birthday. I thought I'd warn you that she's going to call...") I thanked him. I love boys. They're so...weird. I forgot again, till I got to K's house to set up for the shower - there was a bouquet of flowers from her with a Happy Birthday note. Then my husband came to fetch me from the shower saying we had reservations for my fave place...EXCELLENT dinner, slow waitress but good margarita...then home, and cribbage (which I lost, but considering my gifts I really did not care) and a glass of wine and let me tell you...on Saturday night it was good to be me:PARFAIT LADY B BAG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Beloved Dear Daughter strikes again. This is her second home run in a year. Great thanks are due to the staff of Webs who managed to assist Girl in pulling this off, including, but not limited to Jenni who managed to disguise it SO well that when I loaded groceries into the car on top of it, I did not have a clue, Cirilia who I am told had plans for how to confuse me (which worked), and Pixie, who blew the surprise in the first place and then assisted in the big cover up. Christmas was my Elizabeth R DVD's, and then the bag, my bag, my bag!!! DH also had a home run with A History of Britain on DVD, which I started yesterday and love. The wine and flowers are from K. The wine is a nice pinot grigio with a floral taste and an apple finish. Really nice, and I am not a fan of sweet wine, I prefer dry, smoky things. This is a good wine.Today (Monday) we had our exciting Birthplace Tour. It was very odd to walk around and think things like "C was born in that room, and E also I think..." and "D was born there and M there, and T was born in this room...." All these births are greater than ten years ago, yet nothing has changed - or it has, but not in essentials. Can't wait. We're getting close, March 18th is the due date. And the woman who I thought would never adjust to the idea of diapers and baby spit up now dreams, every night, of holding a soft wrapped bundle and rubbing it's back. It's amazing what impending motherhood does to you. This is a little hopeful v neck cardigan in Kiss, pink #3, because I want a girl. I will be happy either way, but if I had a vote, I'd vote girl. If she's not a she, some other small female will be wearing a cute little pink vareigated cardigan this fall!

Friday, February 17, 2006


Generally speaking there are few disasters around here. There is little ruined that cannot be repaired, and little completed that cannot be re-purposed. Too big? Felt it and find someone it fits. Wrong size? Make it a cat bed/hand bag/dog toy. This is not true in the world of baking. My most beloved husband is meeting a friend for lunch and did not need one prepared (yes, I do indeed prepare his lunch every morning). I was slacking right along side him, snuggled in and contented, thinking how great it was to have nearly all the baby shower shopping done, and how simple to just get up this morning and bake the cakes, make a quick run to good old Target; so glad I did my duckie test runs, confident in my knowledge as a baker as only years of experience can make one.

The day was all planned out. Bake cakes. Knit while baking. Cool cakes. Knit while cooling. Run to Target. Finish last minute baby shower shopping. Return home and prepare gallons of buttercream icing, color icing in appropriate duckie colors, knit more, and frost the cake early tomorrow morning. Leave at 11:15 Saturday morning for shower location set up. I had not counted on this:

Something is pouring out of the front of my oven within seconds of the pans going in...what is that?'s SMOKE, of course! And not a little bit either. A ton. A whooooole bunch! I tested the pan - TWICE. I've been baking for as long as I can remember, longer than I've been crocheting but slightly less than I've been able to read. It appears that Mister Duckie is leaking around his eyeball area. Shoot the duck. It is reminiscent of a previous smoke incident...all was in readiness: Melissaknits (who was then just plain old Melissa-works-at-a-nursing-home-homeschools-her-kids-sews-crochets-cans-bakes-and-makes-dolls) would enter the Homemaker of the Year contest at the local county fair. Just a friendly little competition between people who bake, can, craft and sew. I'd even taken a day off from work to focus. Baking completed, all was in readiness but for some lace on a nightie. I was attaching it when I smelled it. Smoke. And not just a little smoke. A LOT of smoke, like a house fire, a hay barn fire. A huge, monstrous hay barn fire, practically in my back yard. So close, in fact, that by the time I registered what was going on and began to plot my escape with dog, kids, and fair-bound items in my Subaru, I was trapped by fire trucks. Smoke poured into the house, over the cooling baked goods, the sewn goods, the crafted items...smoke everywhere. The desolation I felt...well...that's about how I feel right now. Burnt Duck. No one wants to eat a charcoal flavored french vanilla sheet cake topped by a charcoal flavored devil's food duck. Back to the drawing board. A trip to the store, more cake mixes (no scratch, I am busy knitting), more baking...time table thrown off by hours. Babies Suck.
I need something knitterly to improve my day. OK, here's a good one - I gave this to my friend S for Christmas and she loves it. She carries it everywhere containing a current knitting project, a small Bible, and a wallet - the essentials of life in one bag. This makes me feel better. Also my Rogue Hog - here he is before felting, still not done and not felted nearly as much as I would have liked, but I adore him all the same. AND last night in BJ's I saw a woman I thought I recognized, and knew I knew but was not sure how I knew her (this happens a lot, and I've told all my students - I will never remember your name, but I will remember your project, so if I look clueless, HELP ME, and tell me what you were knitting), and she called out "Knitter Lady! Melissa, my sock teacher!!" (thank you thank you thank you, now I know exactly who you are, one of my compulsive students who showed up at the second class with six cuffs done desperate to learn heels). She thanked me again for teaching her how to make socks, and told me she's made 32 pair. THIRTY TWO PAIR OF SOCKS since late fall. Very gratifying. I need things like this today. I need reminders that I do not totally suck as a human being. The smoke is clearing. Finally. It did not reach the smokes (which are not the kind you can just smack down with a broom, they're the hard wired, super loud, go on forever kind) thankfully. So we adjust the day and move on. I vented here instead of knitting. I could not even stay in the kitchen, I had to walk away. I've got 7 inches of the lace cardigan done, and can't wait to see it finished. It's still in a place where I love it. A few more inches and I will begin to be disatisfied and by the time it's on a dummy in the store I will hate it. I still can't walk past the shawl collared cardigan without getting queasy, to say nothing of the v-neck blue pullover and the felted bag. It's as if, once done, they distress me like adolescent kids who've join the dark side.
I am going to go do what I love. I am going to take a knitting break before running off to buy more cake mixes, Baby Price Is Right game items, a baby book, and six Target gift cards. I am going to sit and knit and for a minute pretend that's all in life there is for me to do.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I'll Bite...

OK, so I am totally a sucker for these things, and I really don't know why, so when Persnickety Knitter goes out and finds them, I simply have to play
Your Candy Heart Says "Get Real"

You're a bit of a cynic when it comes to love.
You don't lose your head, and hardly anyone penetrates your heart.

Your ideal Valentine's Day date: is all about the person you're seeing (with no mentions of v-day!)

Your flirting style: honest and even slightly sarcastic

What turns you off: romantic expectations and "greeting card" holidays

Why you're hot: you don't just play hard to get - you are hard to get

Wow. Totally true.

Some knitting news later today, maybe...there's a Rogue-Hog in my life now, and I don't mean the pullover...and he's sucking my time from me, but worth it!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Happy "V" Day

Cool, huh? Get the pattern free HERE

Another Olympic Update, and Observations

1.) I do love this pattern.
2.) I will however make the next one slightly shorter in the body to accomodate my petite but..umm..shall we say "robust"?..self. Or perhaps buxom? Yes, buxom would be the preferred word. After all, if the wedding site had not burned to the ground, I would have promised to be "bonny and buxom at bed and at board" in my vows.
3.) I really really love this pattern. I knew I would when I saw the hat Katie did. KatyDid. Sorry. I believed that the simplicity of the celtic cables would add interest without being overwhelming. Creating subtle shaping while imparting a smidge of drama. I had to have it and am eternally glad I bought it.
4.) This movie sucks. If I had less knowledge of the era and the heroine, it would have been perhaps tolerable. If you are seeking fictitous nonsense, total alteration of documented historic fact, and romantic modern values superimposed over a historical figure, watch this film. If you are truly interested in the period and the woman, watch this one instead, but with the historical commentary overlay.
5.) Time this week is not my beloved friend. It is, instead, my mortal enemy. Aidan will be here at 11am today and Thursday. The baby shower is Saturday. I have a plan involving some muslin and a doll pattern kicking around here someplace, but more on that later. I have too much on my plate, as usual. Pattern for the store took much longer than expected to write because of lace pattern needing to fit neatly into all five sizes, lots of math which I despise. And I now lack motivation for the project being distracted by baby showers, Olympics (although at the current rate of Olympic progress I will probably stop for a while and dedicate all knitting time this week to the store sweater), and the red socks. Speaking of which...FINALLY!...they look adorable on, and will someday show up here as a free pattern. Valentine Cabled Socks. From the woman who refuses to celebrate most holidays, and sees St. Valentine's Day as another example of shameless, compulsive American consumerism...makes perfect sense, doesn't it?? It's like my Disney World problem. Doesn't fit...or does it?? Really I am still sucking up from December when I forgot my wedding anniversary. "See, honey I DO love you, I even designed socks with hearts just for you".....better pic tonight of them on his feet once they are dry!!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

This Olympic Update brought to you by...

a stretching break.

This is a fun garment, and I am really enjoying it, this Rogue thing. This was a good idea, and all for me, and I am glad I chose it. It is rare that I make more than an occasional sock for myself. I started at about 4:00pm Friday , and have got the kangaroo pocket done, and am working up the sides, about ten rows from attaching the pocket back to the front.

The trouble is that I really have to start work on this sweater for store demo. I finished the math calculations for all sizes this morning and am all ready to go. Rogue is distracting me. I must put it aside shortly and forgo the spirit of Olympic competition for the spirit of "Kathy needs her new garment". It helps that I don't have cable. I can forget about the whole Olympic thing if I have to. I know what I need. What I really need is a Martha Stewart type staff...someone to clean the house and walk the dogs so I can just knit!

Friday, February 10, 2006

They're just never going to be done. Never...

And it breaks my heart. Because I really really really wanted them done by tonight, so I could start the Olympics with a nice clean plate. Instead I can add "special socks" to the list of stuff hanging over me. (whinnnneee.) I could have gotten them done today, were it not for the Blog Gallery, and my falling asleep while knitting. Must be some sort of Pre-Olympic Rest Period? They're just never going to be done. But the heels are turned. Whatever happened to a sock a day? Am I aging? Can I no longer keep up?? Am I...losing it???

Let the Games Begin!

As we begin this monumentous and historic effort, let us remember the words of our leader, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot.....

The Knitting Olympics Athletes Pledge

I, a knitter of able hands and quick wits, do hereby swear that over the course of these Olympics I will uphold the highest standard of knitterly excellence.

I will be deft of hand and sure of pattern, I will overcome troubles of yarn overs and misplaced decreases. I will use the gifts of intelligence and persistence (as well as caffeine and chocolate) and I will execute my art to the highest form, carrying with me the hope for excellence known to every knitter.

I strive to win. To do my best, and to approach the needles with my own best effort in mind, without comparing myself to my fellow knitters, for they have challenges unique to them.

While I engage in this pursuit of excellence and my own personal, individual best, I also swear that I will continue to engage with my family in conversation, care for my pets, speak kindly with those who would ask me to do something other than knit, and above all, above every stitch thrown or picked, above every cable, every heel stitch, every change of colour, I swear this:

That I will remember that this is not the real Olympics, that I'm supposed to be having fun and that my happiness and self-worth ride not on my success....

but on my trying.

Let the games begin!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Recovery Day

Tuesday between Ikea, the JC Penney Outlet and Webs I thought I might die from the joy. Life is truly good. Stuff on my Ikea list was in the As-Is room. I actually left under budget, with nearly everything I wanted (and, of course, a couple of things I had not planned on, but had been considering). My primary goal was a child sized table, and more Lillabo train parts. Our first stop is always the As-Is room. Last time I managed to get my Poang chair for half price. This time it was a Speja crawling tube for $1.99, a Latt child’s table for $4.99 (instead of the alotted $19.99), and roman blinds for my bedroom, thick heavy things, for $9.99 each. I have made them, but for the money and the time, this was totally worth it. The blue Ikea crawling tube works well with the crawling tube set my mother in law found so now he has two tubes and a little hideout in the middle. As a bonus I snagged another collapsible toy bin, love these things, so now trains live in one and Mega Blocks in the other. In short, my home now looks like a daycare, and I spent half of yesterday trying to arrange it to look less so. We stopped off in the exit Bistro for caviar to take home and hot dogs and frozen yogurt for Girl and mother in law. Then Penney’s Outlet - I had not been since they closed the one in Connecticut - they had my husband’s beloved 100% cotton white mock turtlenecks for $2.99 - I bought six. Then I decided I really don’t care what initials are on my bath towels, for $3.99 they could monogram just about anything on them and I'd buy 'em- Egyptian cotton towels that retailed for $17.99 – so now we’re mAp, and pLg, but who cares??? And, I suppose, if I did really care I could always get a seam ripper and tear the letters out, but it’s really not that important to me. I am a real stickler for 100% egyptian cotton and high thread counts in towels and sheets, and also amazingly, painfully cheap. This fit my bill perfectly!
I also learned a valuable lesson…do not try to chart a cable pattern on your husband's computer ten minutes before it is time to leave, assuming you can just email it to yourself to print. It just did not work out that way. Instead, I got an empty file, and spent 2 hours trying to cable from hand written directions scrawled on graph paper in three different directions with x-outs and pen hacking of all kinds while moving at 65 mph on a major highway. Not good, great overwhelming nausea. I did get a little done, but not nearly as much as I’d have liked, but managed to get another inch last night. Last night was also a Rogue evening – talk about Olympic feats. Twelve balls, wound and ready, and in their own bag. Then I did a bit more on the cabled socks, which I hope to finish today, but that may be tough with the baby...I mean Boy...coming for the afternoon. Then the Olympics start, but I also will start the actual knitting of a new design for the store this weekend, once I have done the final math checks and revisions - thank God for calculators. It's going to be very pretty though, of Longmeadow, and feminine and sweet, but not too sweet. In fact, I may have to make one for myself.

THE BEST PART….while driving to Ikea we stopped in N’Hamp at Webs for a little visit, to drop something off and pick something is up….I bought 2 hanks of Silk Rhapsody, one for myself and one for mother in law. I almost wish the Olympics were behind me, and the sweater I’m designing for the store as well, so I could get my dirty little mitts on this stuff. It’s SO lovely to look at, it doubles as living room decor!! The put-up is great at 260 yards per skein, that’s a LOTTA yarn, $39 retail but well worth it for silk and kid mohair.

The another wonderful thing happened yesterday…my husband put my new slick tire on my bike on the trainer. It is amazing how much difference a tire can make. The treads on the MB tire were causing the bike to bounce around on the trainer. Now it is smooth and slick and no vibration in my poor little tush, so I can sit up straight, pedal and knit to my heart's content. With my new girlie seat and slick smooth tire, I am very excited, and can’t wait till morning to test it out more. I love my husband!! (and Performance Bike)

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Hive....

I should have taken pictures. The store yesterday was alive with activity and resembled a hive of some very industrious mostly female insects. I would say the AlterKnitive SuperBowl Bash was a raving success. There were door prize give-away's, including some of Gail Callahan's hand dyed silk scarves. There was yarn, coffee, tea, VERY yummy snackage, and about a million persons of fiber orientation - crocheters, weavers, spinners, and a large proportion of knitters. They were strung from the rafters, sitting on the floor, on rented chairs, and generally filled every space the store could offer up. It was a lot of fun. Girl came along and found a small spinning child, also homeschooled but about 8 years her junior. They wandered aimlessly, chatting. Always interesting that homeschoolers seem to find each other in a crowd, the way the kids in "real" school all seemed to find a group. I find that homeschoolers tend to not be selective about ages though - a ten year old homeschooled kid will happily spend a day with a 17 year old homeschooled kid, and never question that it might be "uncool" for the 17 year old to take an interest in her, nor does the 17 year old find it odd that she's fascinated by this "little kid". They seem to me much more accepting of people of all ages and types, and make no generalizations about groups or individuals.
In knitting news...I finished a pair of socks last week, Artyarns Supermerino that just sort of called to me when I walked by the rack, and so I bought it. I just did a simple cuff down sock with a mock cable pattern on 6's, no big, and really worked up very fast. I am a sucker for red.
Also finished the first baby set for the petite unborn, who perhaps we should now call 'Kermit'. Mommy picked the yarn, so he/she can blame her when the time comes! I love the yarn (Filatura MilleFili Fine which is a steal at $3.00 a ball for discontinued colors), but do not love this particular color. I love the pattern but think it very feminine.
While driving bike routes with Mr. Wonderful (try finding roads in NH with a breakdown lane, or a smooth shoulder...good luck) I worked on the Baby Bunting Bag From Heck. It's a Dale pattern, supposed to be knit in Hauk but I am doing it in Cleckheaton Country 8-ply on size 2's and very slow going to me. The yarn splits a lot, and is annoying as a result. I have used it before but for simpler projects on larger needles. I just want it to be done. Then I did more baby shower shopping and decided I'd really like THAT to be done as well!! It's down to food and finalizing, which is nice. I have selected four games to play, bought about everything I need short of food, selected a theme, invited the guests, and fielded a variety of phone calls of all types - acceptances, rejections, and confusions. It's amazing what can happen when you get addresses from a pregnant woman who refuses to look in her address book and is convinced she can remember it all. She transposed phone numbers with zip codes, streets and towns, and all manner of interesting things. She has not accepted that her mind is lost to her for the next 18 years at least.
I thought this was cool - a pile of swatches since a few weeks before Christmas, incomplete actually as there's more underneath and I did not lay them all out. I pulled them all out of the basket for blocking and transportation to the swatch holding area ( a Grey Goose Vodka box with a sliding top) someday I am going to pull them ALL out and make something. Some are washed and blocked, many more are just bound off and tossed in the basket. I figure when the box gets full I will petition my local liquor store manager for more. We have a bunch of the boxes, and they're incredibly handy. We use them for storing dyes and dye materials mostly, though I use a mini version for my circulars.
Last, but by no means least...Girl started making "a bag to felt". We've been sort of keeping track, writing it down as she goes, and if it works I will post it here as a free pattern. It is 2 strands of her most beloved Berkshire (Girl truly loves Berkshire and is even considering the creation of a sweater in the stuff) on size 15's. It will be round, with a flat bottom and drawstring top, although I think she may need to rethink that part in the end, but we'll see. It is freaking huge! I think she will line it with fabric (or get her mother to line it) to keep the Berk Alpaca Haze off whatever she's carrying, but generally I suspect this thing will be SpEcTaCuLaR when done, and I may need one myself.

TAGGED, I'm it...

My first meme. I am so excited!

Four jobs you have had in your life - ice rink DJ, car exhaust shop receptionist and general office scut shuffler, shoe salesgirl, Registered Nurse in long term care facility
Four movies you could watch over and over - Gone With the Wind, Price and Prejudice (newer BBC version), Waterworld, Emma (old BBC version)
Four places you have lived - scary apartment complex, creepy spiritualist summer camp, former corn crib (seriously, and we sold it for four times what we paid), and cold, drafty dormitories at Christian boarding school.
Four TV shows you love to watch - not a single one. We don't have cable. When we had cable I watched ER, old M*A*S*H* reruns, Trading Spaces and While You Were Out.
Four places you have been on vacation - Southern California, Florida, Vermont and Niagara
Four websites you visit daily - accuweather, google, yahoo, bloglines (my feeds!!)
Four places you'd rather be right now - Disney World, Hawaii, Europe, Ikea (can't wait for tomorrow!)
Four bloggers you are tagging - persnicketyknitter, kraftygirl, and two random sock counters, yet to be determined.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Ranting Steeker

First, here are my Stockbridge Rogue swatches which I adore. I am going forward with the coned yarn for now, to be true to my original intention of only using what was on hand. However, when it comes time for the CardyRogue From Someday Land, Stockbridge will be the yarn of choice. Though not to gauge, it is very soft, blocked out well, holds it's shape, knits easily though did split at times while cabling - so I ditched my cable (Thank You Annie!!) needle and proceeded without further problem. The gauge problem will be easily solved by needle size or adjusting size selection to correspond with gauge.
Then I blocked, since I was at it, my Midwest Moonlight scarflet in Silk Rhapsody, and my Stockingette Stitch version of a modular pattern available to Modular group members only (sorry). I love them both. They are now laid out on the kitchen floor. This shocked my father (dare I say "floored" him), to see my laying out silk and mohair on a linear surface not above pet level. But they know better. They are not stupid animals. Years of going around mommy's fabric cutting area has taught them well.
Dad stopped by to see our new Thomas the Tank Engine Big Loader in action. He is mechanically minded, and had bought a similar toy for my nephew and decided A. needed one. We set it up and let it rip, and after some false starts, all our own fault, and some discussion about not touching, only watching, the thing has become a huge hit around here. I MUST find a Thomas BigBig Loader (it has a crane and an elevator!!) for my dad for his birthday. VERY cool toy! I have seen reviews whine about it's being plastic, and crappy, and with poor directions, but I say for $14.99 it makes my grandson sit, with hands folded and watch, entranced, as Thomas, Percy and Terrence chug about with loads of coal, switching directions and performing various tasks, and if the kid is not making some critical engineering decisions in his little brain I will eat my hat. (Thank God my hats are all wool or silk.) As for the crappy directions, they are very Ikea-esque, and we all know how Melissa feels about Ikea..and if we don't, we'll find out next Tuesday when I get back from my little expidition to Mecca II (Mecca I being Webs, of course)
Also done (yester)today were four swatches for a new design, only one of which I loved. You tell me which I love, A,B,C or D. Of the remaining three, one I like, two I don't like at all because they remind me of my grandmother.
It is now 'tomorrow'. For a day and a half I have been trying to upload pics to this stinking blog without any stinking effect. I am sick to death of the dark ages of computing. I am sick of saving drafts like it's 1991 and I'm in the GCC Computer Lab at 4pm writing a case study that's due tomorrow morning while my kids play at my feet with paper plates and straws stolen from the cafe. Pop-up...loading...done...NO PIC! Lose connection....regain quick, connection bails again. Over and over and over again. All this so I can live in the woods three minutes from Vermont on a ridge overlooking two brooks, with neighbors who let their stinking dogs run loose all over my chickens (I'm buying a gun.)
I am heading to Webs this morning to drop off a steeked sweater for a woman who was concerned about the steeking process. I have a few things to say about this project. This woman spent hours following directions. The garment is beautifully knitted, the work is very concise. I would post a picture of it, but it is not my work and don't feel right publishing pictures of other people's work without their knowledge. The problem is that I don't agree with the directions. The pattern is Sirdal from Dale of Norway Soft Treasures for Little Ones, a beautiful book with rich photography and incredibly cute Scandanavian infants and toddlers in these amazingly beautiful garments. This is one of those books that anyone with a grandchild, niece, nephew, potential child, neighbors child, borrowed child, ANY child in their lives should have because it contains the most amazing heirloom quality classic garments. Sirdal is a classic Norwegian cardigan that Dale has drafted in all sizes from infant to adult male, with a front steek and sleeves that are steeked though no actual steek is knitted in; you simply knit, sew around your intended sleeve openings with a sewing machine and cut away. I love cutting my knitting. I think steeking is next to godliness, right after cleanliness and just before selflessness. However, from personal (read "near death") experience, I have learned a few things about steeks and I shall now share this knowledge with you, dear reader. First, if color stranding, as most steeked sweaters are, work your colors across your steeks. If your steek is, say, six stitches wide then work one st navy, one st white, etc across each steek row, alternating the colors on successive rows so that navy is over white (or whatever your chose colors are) Had I time I should knit an example! (And perhaps I will, under the guise of preparing for the petite unborn who should own one steeked sweater, or even perhaps for the grandson.) Working your colors into your steeks prevents floats. Floats are not good for steeks. They draw the width of the steek in, causing the steek to pucker which makes sewing it difficult at best, impossible at worst. In this case it was nearly impossible, but in the end it was accomplished (I should get hazard pay). They are also called floats for a reason and when you go to stitch your steeks, by machine or by hand, you're left with these loose, floating bits of color here and there down your garment. Second, while I adore this pattern and appreciate that the sleeve openings 'worked' without a "true" steek, I would have thrown in a four stitch steek anyway, just to be safe. A steek Ala Knitting in The Old Way (which has been released in paperback, and which every serious knitter should own). I would have figured out my sleeve depth, maybe even knitted the sleeves first and meaasured them, and at the point where I expected my sleeves to be insterted, I would have b.o. four sts at the bottom of each intended sleeve opening centered accordingly, and then reverse c.o. four to six sts to work as a steek for the arm, to give myself a little buffer. Third, when selecting yarn for these kinds of projects we naturally tend toward washable wools for babies. Having made that choice we need to consider the slippery surface of the superwash when steeking. Your steek should be a little wider than called for, two stitches at least, and once cut should be turned under and stitched down with a whip stitch to help prevent any slippage. The superwash wools can be very slick and not catch as traditional wools do. This means that your machine washable steeked garment may not stand up well to machine washing, and stitches that normally would be held fast by wool scales will slip and slide. We shall see. I have decided to buy yarn this morning to accomplish this garment for somebaby, either a boy toddler 24 months, or an unborn gender-free infant.
Now, I am completely late in getting out of here, must hustle girl through her toilette, grab diaper bag, run for errands before Webs and boy-fetching...this is a good thing. My hands were getting sore and they'll have a day off. And the weather is supposed to suck tomorrow, so today is good for erranding. And the worst that can happen is that I over do with all the racing around, I make myself sicker and have to stay home for a week and knit. (awww...tooo bad...)