Sunday, April 30, 2006

Leftover birthday cake eaten straight from the freezer is really, really good.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Yes, I'm totally snaffling this concept from Carole but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so...

The Good: Having a fairly nice teaching schedule set up for summer knitting classes.
The sort of Bad: Having to teach on Saturdays.
The sort of Ugly: Realizing that I now have to knit a ton of samples.

The Good: Bean slept all night. The trip to Austin upset her sleeping a bit - although that didn't manifest until we got back. Combine that with a bit too much busyness lately and she reverts to her former Non-Sleeping Self.
The Bad: After going to bed, she started hollering that she was hungry. I brought her bread and water (no, really) and told her to put her snack on the bedside table when she was finished. I came back in about 15 minutes later to check on her and she was pretty close to sleep. I put the snack on the bedside table and tucked her in.
The Ugly: Either I got the napkin and missed the bread, or she got up and grabbed the bread again, but either way she slept with half a slice of bread. And I just washed her sheets yesterday. This morning, I vacuumed my child's bed. Bean thought it was the funniest thing she had ever seen.

The Good: I slept all night myself. No insomnia!
The Bad: Waking up a bit too early because husband had an early meeting.
The Ugly: Stepping into a puddle of dog pee on my way to the kitchen.
The Uglier: Finding tons of dribbles of something very sticky all over the kitchen and den floor and having no clue how they got there or what they were.
The Ugliest: Having to mop the floors at 7am.

To summarize: I'm knitting, but not for myself and I had to not only vacuum my child's bed and room this morning, but also mop the floors, even though I had cleaned the entire house on Wednesday. And it's just turned 8am. Stellar!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I need a recommendation

I have 3 skeins (750 yards) of Kidlin Pixie. I'd like to knit a shawl and I need some recommendations. While Louet classifies the yarn as "laceweight", it's closer to fingering - one strand of mohair and one of linen. I'd say it's like a strand of Zephyr wrapped with a strand of Kidsilk Haze.

I'm looking for patterns other than the Diamond Fantasy Shawl, Leaf Lace Shawl, Flower Basket Shawl or Kiri. I have either knitted those patterns or I have plans for them in other yarns.

It doesn't have to be a free pattern.

I'd really appreciate some help. I'm itching to knit this yarn, but I want a nice project that would be suitable. My main issue is not running out of yarn - I bought the last three skeins in the Cranberry colorway and I don't want to have to search for another skein in that dyelot. So, it has to take under 750 yards.

Thanks in advance!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hissy Fit

Bean threw a major wobbly this evening when Hubster drove her to the store to get cupcakes for school tomorrow. She's always pretty firm on her musical preferences (Instanbul not Constantinople by TMBG is on the hit parade this week) and today was no exception.

Unfortunately for Bean, the car was already in motion when she decided, "I WANT THE BOSS!" The CD was in the house. No Thunder Road for you, Little Bean. Hub said she was majorly mad. I, on the other hand, am still laughing.

RE the school thing, it's a really laid-back Mother's Day Out type of preschool and the main teacher (who recently left) was pretty crunchy granola in her discipline style. It isn't a big enough deal for me to raise a stink about it (especially since we go to church there). Also, the mom is a single mom with two adopted girls from China and that's got to be awfully hard so I hate to be an ass about the whole deal. Doesn't mean I can't vent a bit of frustration, but I think acting on that frustration would blow the whole thing out of proportion.

Dear G's Mom

I'll cut to the chase.

It's annoying that you constantly bring treats for the teachers to dole out to your child during the day for good behavior and not bring anything else for the other children. The other kids don't understand that this is a side deal you have worked out between you, your child, and the teacher. All they see is the teacher giving your child a treat and nobody else getting one, even though they behaved themselves equally well. I picked Bean up a bit early and the teacher told me that she has to explain this to the kids every day your child is there.

don't have a problem at all with you bribing your child. And I'm not talking about what people pack in lunch boxes. I just think you should give bribes after school, rather than in front of the other children. It's gotten to the point where the teachers are starting to hand out lollipops after nap just to keep the peace. They buy the lollipops with their own money.

The treat thing is making the other kids not like your child. You have created a situation where the teachers treat her differently, so the other children see her as different as well and these little ones are, unfortunately, getting to the age where they notice different. OK, there's also the problem of what Bean terms as "I don't like playing with her because she swipes everything," but Bean has also commented that she's not particularly fond of your child because of the treat issue. The treat thing is seen by these little kids as being a big example of not sharing.

In the big scheme of things, this isn't that big a deal. I know that. But it's a big deal to my kid.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

As part of my stash-cleaning, I also cleaned out my closet and found the dreaded Pile O' UFOs. UFOs in this instance are project left unfinished for five or six months or more. Most of them are from last summer.

I decided that I am going to finish them, frog them. or fix them and get to where I have mostly current projects.

The UFO of the Month is the Fiery Bolero.

This pattern is from the Summer 2005 Interweave Knits.

It is a UFO for several reasons: it was the third Debbie Bliss one-piece-construction garment that I had knit in about eight months, I decided I hated the color, and I knit most of it on last summer's car trip to Iowa and after 1500 miles of round trip knitting, I loathed both this garment and Soleil - the other car trip knitting - which also needs some fixing.

I picked this project back up on Sunday and am already finished knitting the fronts. That still leaves me with enough ribbing to circle the globe a few times, but it's a start. I'm still not crazy about the color, but I've decided that I like the knitted fabric and the look of the finished garment enough to get over it.

I had hoped to finish my orange Log Cabin socks for the April Project Spectrum. However, I can wear FB and Antoinette now and I can't wear the socks. Even though it's already in the 90s here, Texas public places think summer air conditioning needs to be set to the low 60s so a light sweater is a necessity. And if you're going to the movies, wear jeans and take a sweatshirt or prepare for frostbite.

The little black pile of crap is one of the fronts of Antoinette. It's bigger than the other front and, since it took about an hour to knit the whole thing and I have plenty of yarn, I'm going to just toss this one and reknit rather than try to figure it out.

My May UFO is Soleil, which needs to be frogged to about mid-chest and reknit with a different top half - maybe something cap-sleeved. I look like crap in most tank tops and the handknit factor did nothing to save that fact. Soleil also fits nicely in with May's Project Spectrum color of green - convenient that.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Habu any wool?

Well, as a matter of fact...

Hill Country Weavers is such a luscious shop with so many fabulous yarns and the nicest people to help.

With the exception of two skeins of Koigu, my purchases were all very textural yarns. I was interested in yarns I can't get here, as well as yarns that might do somethng different from my regular purchases.

3 skeins of Kidlin Pixie in cranberry. This is a new yarn from Louet Sales. It has a two plies - a core of linen wrapped in mohair. The fluffiness of the mohair makes the linen look really shiny. The yarn has a slightly stiff feel due to the linen, but I think it's going to make a fabulous lacy shawl.

The best way I can describe these yarns is architectural. Most of the yarns I purchased are little more than thread, but they produce very interesting effects.

Kasumi Triangle Scarf Kit

This wee ball of yarn is two yarns wound together: Kasumi, which is a polyester yarn that is dark grey and has what Habu refers to as "little legs coming out with white dots on them"; and Cork Chenille, which also has the little legs.

The scarf comes out looking for all the world like the contents of my paper shredder. It took me maybe two hours of inattentive knitting to complete the kit. A simple knit but, texturally, very satisfying.

Habu Bolero Kit.

Because I'm insane. The Japanese pattern didn't look too terribly hard until I got home and noticed a notation I had missed: short rows.

And, folks, that's all it says. A bunch of numbers and that term: short rows.

I'm sure I can figure it out when I get to that point.

Habu collection 1:

Tsumugi Silk Combination, I'd say this is worsted.
Tsumgui Silk, laceweight.
Cotton linen spiral, thread. Seriously.

I'm seeing scribble lace.

I can double the cotton spiral as well as combine it with the laceweight tsumugi. The result will be less drapey than your average laceweight mohair and chunky wool combo.

Habu collection 2:

Where I went overboard.

2 skeins of silk stainless steel and one of wool stainless steel. A skein of cotton linen spiral and a skein of a Louet yarn called Granite which is a slightly heavier and more homespun look, but otherwise mimics the spiral. Another skein of tsumugi silk combination - this one more of a dk.

And a pile of other interesting tidbits such as GEAR linen which is very crunchy, like paper; paper moire, which is softer and more like linen; mix tube which is a slubby tube yarn; and paper ring, which feels papery and has little flags on it.

My starting point is a rectagular shawl with intarsia blocks of the different yarns. I'll probably combine some yarns in sections and then double or triple yarns in other sections. I'm not too worried about the different gauges - that will just make the piece more interesting. I'm not expecting it to lay flat when I'm finished. The stainless will bend and crumple rather than drape and the paper yarns will be very stiff. The cotton linen spiral and the granite will be the only yarns with a "normal" drape.

I feel a bit guilty buying all of this yarn when I'm really trying to reduce the stash, but I can at least say that I have nothing like this in the stash. I have a feeling that there are more Habu purchases in my future. The Japanese patterns and textured yarns provide a new twist on the same old thing. And, as much as I love the same old thing, a new thrill is very welcome.

Tax Day


Blogger won't let me upload any pictures right now, so the post about the trip will have to wait for the accompanying visuals.

I read that the IRS has a plan to convert 80% of taxpayers to e-filing by 2007. All I can say is that it costs me a stamp to mail my tax return as opposed to fifteen bucks to e-file. I always knew the government was even worse at math than I am. Why the hell would I want to give the government $14.60 more than I have to?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Eat at Jo's

More like drink at Jo's. Jo's being a South Congress coffee joint. I'm sitting outside in the shade with a breeze blowing. It's a gorgeous, sunny day. Warm but not too hot (which non-Texans can translate to pretty hot - it's in the 90s). I love Austin. Except for Mr. Stinky sitting upwind of us. In Austin, there is usually the risk of a Mr. Stinky either from BO or an overabundance of patchouli. This guy is the rare OD of aftershave. I didn't even know they allowed aftershave in this part of town!

We ate breakfast at the wonderful Magnolia Cafe. Enormous pancakes for Bean and J., migas for me with big chunks of fresh jalapeno in them.

Last night was dinner at out favorite Mexican joint in the whole world: Guero's. Guero's has amazing margaritas and really good tacos.

And then there is the yarn. After breakfast, I dropped the fam off at the hotel and went on a teensy little expedition to Hill Country Weavers. I've only seen small bits of Habu yarns in person prior to this morning. So, understandably, I went a bit nuts. I bought a sweater kit, a scarf kit, and a pile of yarns that will become something yet to be determined. I also bought two skeins of Koigu and three of a really nifty Euroflax linen/mohair blend called Pixie. Now, all I need is a camera phone so you can see the booty (still stuck in pirate mode).

We've been to the Austin Children's Museum and are taking a break from a bit of window shopping. The most challenging aspect left in the day is deciding where to have dinner.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

We really are doomed

Husband to Bean: OK, it's bathtime. Let's put the pens up and get clean!
Bean: I want to play a monster game.
Husband: No, Sweetie, it's time for bath.
Bean: I want to play a monster game.
Husband: I said N-O.
Bean (with no delay): And I said Y-E-S!


At least I wasn't in the room at the time, because I can't keep a straight face when she comes out with her pronouncements.

Monday, April 10, 2006

HI! Remember me?

The Pirate birthday was a smashing success! Everyone had a ball. The day started out gloomy and chilly and very, very windy. We're talking Toto Level wind advisories. Around noon it was suddenly calm and warm but not hot and gloriously, deliriously sunny. We took about two digital pics - most of it was with the regular 35mm, so I don't have pics yet. It was the cutest thing EVER!

Each child got a pirate bandana when they came in. So, you had 15 4-year-olds running around in pirate headgear. A friend lent us his canoe, which was the hit of the party.

Once pretty much everyone had arrived, we went on a treasure hunt. We laid out blue tarps and put out a plank on a layer of bricks so everyone could walk the plank and then jump into the "ocean". They had to get to the "desert island" where the pirate ship had wrecked (the 16 foot canoe and a big pirate flag with the skull and crossbones on it). The kids found the pirate treasure (an old wooden ammo box hidden in the bushes), but it was chained up and locked with a huge padlock. Where was the key buried? Better find the map!

The map was discovered and then they had to make a mad dash to the sandbox where X marked the spot. 15 kids digging in a sandbox is too funny. My nephew was a big help and found the key and everyone ran like crazy back to the treasure box to unlock the padlock and get to the loot. Each child got their goody bag stuffed with fake coins, beads, fish necklaces, telescopes, and lollipops.

We let them play with that for a bit and then pulled out the cake and ice cream. After cake, it was time for the bubble machine and then time to go home.

The parents loved it and the kids had the best time. Sarabeth had a ball!

And now, the inlaws have gone home and J., Bean, and I are going to go on a little mini-vacation to Austin!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

G is for Grumpy

I'm going to take a short break until Sunday or so.

I have to get out a newsletter today, I have a board meeting tonight, I have another meeting Friday morning before my class meets and I have a private lesson I'm teaching today.

Bean has her birthday party on Saturday and I still need to create a pirate treasure chest, pick up a canoe, order the cake, hope the favors arrive in the mail on time, and find a dozen small plastic shovels.

The outlaws arrive tomorrow for the festitivities (yes, AGAIN).

I need to run the carpet cleaner thing over the living room carpet because the dog decided to pee on the carpet and, while I got it all out, I'm paranoid because there are 15 mothers coming over on Saturday with their children. Yes, somehow we ended up with 15 children invited to Bean's party. Oh well, it'll be fun.

Bean's ballet required in person registration. Of course, that's Saturday morning. At least it's next door to a Starbucks.

All in all, I'm a busy bee and I'll be lucky if I knit a stitch, much less have anything interesting to talk about until after Saturday.

I was going to quote Warren Zevon "I'll sleep when I'm dead." but that's a bit creepy even for me. I'll sleep Saturday night!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Spring Cleaning

Flashing my stash has led to organizing my stash. Scary stuff.

I threw away yarn.

Don't look at me that way, it's nothing you wanted. And I was numbing the pain with a nice margarita. I tossed a large bag of little wads of this and that, accumulated over
the last 10 years. I found one bag of yarn from 15 years ago that had mated and melded and merged into pretty much one big giant knot. It was downright ugly.

The rest of the yarn has been separated into a few different piles. The sock yarn is in a small box in the linen closet. The wools are in my cedar chest. The cottons remain in their plastic tub. The felting projects are in a small plastic bin.

That leaves a large box to sell and a large box to donate to the women's prison knitting program.

And then there is the Cross Coat. I have a back and one of the fronts complete. The rest has been untouched for 15 years or so.

What am I going to do with it?

Everybody into the Whirlpool!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Fire Applesauce

Bean has invented a multi-charactered, multi-song, singing and dancing extravaganza called Fire Applesauce. The characters and songs and dances change with her whims. When I asked her what Fire Applesauce was, she replied, "It's not very good for you."

Upon further querying, I think it's something like applesauce mixed with hot Cheetos. Ick!

Saturday, April 01, 2006


If you like The Manolo, read The Manolo now for the best April Fool ever. Even better than that damn Norma.

And here's the best Yarn Flash EVAH!

Flashing my stash

My first thought was, "I have a ridiculous amount of yarn."

Then, I realized I hadn't photographed the Cotton-Ease or the sock yarn or the other cottons. I have a truly ridiculous amount of yarn!

Then I realized that I need to cull my stash!

Embryonic sweaters. From the top left and clockwise: Rowan Cork in Chilly and Sour, Araucania Nature Wool in green, purple Takhi Chelsea Silk, Blue Lonesome Stone worsted, pink Atacama Alpaca, gold Rowan Magpie, rust Rowan Kid Classic, Mountain Colors 4/8 Wool in Flathead Cherry, Noro Kureyon, and blue Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool.

Lots and lots of Cotton Ease. Good for kid's sweaters. Some of this is going to EBay because I have more of it than I want to knit.

Sock yarn. A little bit of everything.

And alot of STR!

The box of cottons. A huge sack of Rowan All Seasons Cotton in a lovely red that I got for something like 3 bucks a skein on Ebay. A few other things masking a large stash of Rowan Denim.

From the closet. Lots of yarn for Dulaan. Sari Silk from Cara. A Denim sweater in progress. A Calmer sweater in progress.

The lacy stuff. Mostly El Coyote Ranch handspun and Rowan Kidsilk Haze. Some felting things in there as well. And a kit for making Color On Color in the back.

Not shown is the big pile of 2 or three balls each of different yarns that I'm donating to a local knitting charity.

Alot of the Cotton Ease (hot pink, turquoise, and red) will be going on Ebay as will the Kid Classic (8 skeins) , and a bag of Rowan Cork in Sour. Leave me a comment if you are interested in any of it because I still have to get myself together to put it on Ebay and I'd rather sell it to someone I "know"!