Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lucky lucky me!

The beautiful and talented Pamela was my One Skein swap pal! She crocheted me this fabulous bag for my final present. I"ll let you in on a secret: I've never had anyone knit or crochet anything for me. So this was so much fun and especially fun to have her and the scrumptiously adorable Squid (seriously, I just want to eat him and his gorgeous red hair up) deliver it to the shop while I was working yesterday.

One of the Bean's jobs around the house is to feed the dog.

Molly didn't quite finish her meal yesterday, so Bean gave her some encouragement.

Yes, that's a plastic sword. She told the dog that she could play with the sword after dinner was finished.

Usually, the pile of change on my husband's dresser is kind of annoying. It spills all over the place and gets fairly out of control.

Here, it's pretty small and I am thankful it exists. Because there is not Enough Coffee today and I have no cash. I hope Starbucks doesn't get to annoyed with three bucks in dimes. (Blazing Saddles anyone? "We're gonna need a sh*tload of dimes")

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Give me my week back

It's getting mighty busy around here. Today was one of those time sink days where you plan to get all sorts of things done and then, you don't. Tomorrow, I work at the Sheep until 2.45, pick up Bean, and then go back to the Sheep to teach Sweater 101 at 6pm. Moth didn't see much action.

I love the Sweater 101 class. We meet two weeks in a row and then for three meetings every other week. I remember taking sweater classes back shortly after the earth cooled and it always bugged me that they met every week. Because I didn't always have time to knit much during some weeks and it's hard to learn if you aren't knitting.

Bean cried when I picked her up from school today. She was mad that she wasn't getting to stay late and have lunch with her friends. She's used to Mother's Day Out, where she goes until 3, but only a few days a week. I think that's been the hardest adjustment. But, tomorrow she gets her wish to stay for "Stay and Play".

Monday, August 28, 2006

Palate Cleanser

Felted bags are the intermezzo of knitting. The sorbet in the midst of socks and lace.

I realized that I've knit four lace shawls this summer. I needed something fun and mindless to knit.

This one works pretty well! It came out a bit wide, so I folded the sides in to make a gusset and put snaps in. That way, if I need the extra room, I can open the snaps. (You can see the red bias in my camera in the way the floor looks different in this shot and the next.)

I also completed this cabled bag last week. All it needed was seaming, handles, and a lining.

Now I can use it and just in time. Dr Pig walked in and said, "Hey! They have something like that in In Style this month!" Whee - I'm trendy.

(The fact that Dr Pig knew what was featured in In Style proves that men will grab anything to read in the bathroom.)

Moth looks pretty much the same as yesterday. I'm another repeat in and hope to manage one more repeat today.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


There aren't many things in life that allow you the luxury of a do-over.

If you burn dinner, you can always cook
another dinner, but you can't remake that same dinner. Once you cut cloth, if it's too small, you're screwed.

One of the things that recommends knitting to those of us who have a more haphazard approach to details is that you can always rip it out and start over. There are very few yarns that truly cannot be frogged. You can even frog KSH if you stick it in the freezer first.

There will be no frogging in this post, but, I decided I loathed the blocking I did on River. It's had another bath and is now drying.

I have a tendency to block big which, coupled with the fact that I'm a loose knitter, sometimes produces overly open lace. I didn't like the way the pesky little peaky bits came out either.

NOTE: You have until 10pm tonight to vote for Kidlin Pixie vs Habu in the What Should the Next Shawl be poll.

I received my KSKS kit yesterday. My swap pal did a great job and spoiled me rotten.

The final package is my third from her (I told you. Spoiled rotten!).

First, a fab felted bag complete with little flower buttons on the corners and the cutest cat button in the middle that coordinates perfectly with the colors of the bag.

Then the yarn. Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Bitterroot Rainbow. I picked up a skein of that very yarn not two weeks ago and then decided I didn't really need to buy any more sock yarn. So I'm thrilled to have that!

Clover bamboo needles, a needle spring to keep them together as well as a needle holder just like the one on Yarn Harlot this spring, delicious and addictive chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, knitting mints, a Chicks with Sticks notepad, a Chibi with a different assortment of needles than the one I have - yay for a full assortment of darning needles!, an orange glitter pen to mark my Twisted Sock pattern, AND some truly cute stitch markers made by her husband, AND a little package of art stuff for Bean. Talk about going all out! I am overwhlemed by her generosity and her sense of humor and fun. Thanks, B. You're a peach!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Goodbye to a River

(A really good book by John Graves)

Pattern by Sharon Miller from Rowan 38
Two skeins of Kidsilk Spray in Medici (blue-gray)
Seed beads added on the cast on and cast off

Molly was unamused at being used for a model.

While the finished product is very pretty, and the KSS is as cracklike as ever, this was a really boring knit. I had to make myself finish it.

I would not used the Kidsilk Spray again in a fixed-width project. I think the variegation would be lovely in a triangular shawl, but the stole repeats in a wierd fashion and one skein is definitely different than the other (I'm not going to alternate skeins on a shawl. I'm just not.)

It's that time of year when knitters look to the golden days of fall knitting and feel guilty about their UFO basket.

Especially those items that only need small things done to them. Like buttons. Not that I ever put items like that in my basket and then move on. River was one of the more major UFOs.

I'm going to draw a name for the Vote For The Next Shawl contest on Wednesday, so you have a couple of days to vote (see Friday's entry). The prize will depend on the tastes of the winner, but will most likely be either some nice sock yarn or some laceweight yarn. If you don't sock or lace, I'll have other options.

Bean loves her new school and seems to have grown up overnight.

I walked in to pick her up and she gave me a huge hug and a kiss and then reprimanded me for not picking her up in the carpool line. "You're supposed to pick me up in the car, Mommy!"

She also told me the names of the girls in her class and then proclaimed, "We don't play with the boys, so I don't know their names."

For lunch we had chicken soup with rice (Maurice Sendak).

Integral to the making of chicken soup with rice is adding pirates and pears.

And crackers and potatoes and bananas and peppers and I think there is a Sleeping Beauty earring in there, as well. Yummy!

Monday, August 21, 2006

When did this happen?

Bean has her first day of big girl school today. Pre-K 4, but it's five mornings a week. I'm torn between wanting the time I'm going to have to myself (alone! in the house alone!), and missing the heck out of her already. She's growing up. I love it and hate it.

River is almost finished. I have plenty of yarn, so I'm going to knit one more repeat and then finish it up. I probably have enough yarn to knit two repeats, but I'm psychologically done with the project. This is the most boring thing I have ever knit. The repeat merely shifts one stitch to the left or right for each row. I've knit alot of stockinette sweaters, but somehow they never actually bored me. Probably, because I can see the mistakes almost immediately, whereas KSH hides everything until you have to tink a couple of rows. So, River was boring and hard. I considered knitting to use up the maximum amount of yarn, because there's not much I can do with a quarter of a ball of KSH. However, the color goes well with the colors of the Habu stole, so that solves that problem.

The worst part about Bean's new school is that she has to be on time. You can't be early and you can't be late. Guess it's time to grow up. Me, I mean.

Friday, August 18, 2006

If the River Was Whiskey*

Thanks to Wendy for linking to me yesterday. Much fun! More on Handmaiden Sea Silk throughout this post and you can see the finished shawl in Sea Silk in Tuesday's post (still on this page).

Last night, I told Bean to stop scratching one of the ant bites on her hands. She told me, "I'm not scratching it! I'm smoothing it. See, this is scratching (demonstrates scratching with fingernails) and this is smoothing (rubs side of finger over itchy part of other finger)."

She's got me there.

I'm now headed downstream on River. I've completed 9 repeats. The pattern calls for 11, and I think I have plenty of yarn. It'll be done when it's done.

I've finally gotten the rhythm of the pattern. I think my earlier problems were due to the fact that it's the most boring knit in the world. I don't do well with boring.

I've been thinking alot about Sea Silk vs Kidsilk Haze. The cracklike seduction of Sea Silk is pretty equal to that of the KSH. Both yarns feel so lovely as you knit them and both block beautifully. I'd give the Sea Silk a slight edge because it's easier to tink/frog!

The edge to Sea Silk is also influenced by the fact that we are in our 34th day of temperatures over 100F (that's real temps, not adjusted for humidity).

I have some hints for blocking sea silk. Don't let it sit in the water for too long. I usually let wool shawls soak for 10 - 20 minutes, depending on the yarn used. The Sea Silk got totally soaked in maybe 3 minutes. It will also retain a bit more water after soaking, so it will take longer to dry than something from KSH. I used dental floss to help keep the center line and top of the shawl straight. The sea silk shows crooked blocking much more than any of the yarns I've used for shawls this summer.

I keep thinking it's time to break out a Miss Bea's book and get knitting for Bean. Then, I remember it is 106F outside. Bleh. Even lace is sort of hot and steamy. I'm thankful that River is a stole so I can drape it over the arm of the chair and not knit with a lapful of mohair. I don't think I could handle it.

Since it's not likely to be sweater weather any time soon, I do have two candidates for the next shawl:

A Habu log cabin-influenced stole


Kiri in Kidlin Pixie

I'm open to other suggestions for the Pixie, but I only have 750 yards of the stuff which is a pretty big limiter.

I have no idea what will happen with the pile of Habu. No plan of attack. I do have a pile of groovy yarns, so it will be mostly about texture.

The Kidlin Pixie is also really intriguing - it's a strand of mohair paired with a strand of linen.

Which one do you think I should cast on next?

Leave a comment and I'll draw a name at random and send someone a nice yarn prize. (I had this planned before Wendy linked to me, so the link was sort of seredipitous.)

(*T. Coraghessan Boyle. A collection of short stories including the wonderfully titled "Sorry Fugu".)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Whisper of the River*

About two weeks ago, I picked River back up. It had been wadded up in my knitting basket since last September or so; abandoned after something went awry.

When I picked it back up, I tinked back a few rows and thought I'd fixed the problem. I'm certain I fixed at least one problem.

After knitting about 5 inches, I noticed two dropped stitches from a K2tog, waving in the breeze a good 7 inches down. I tied them off and this will be the first of what I am sure will be several "bends in the River". I've decided to just knit and not worry about perfection. This one is going to be all about the process of knitting. Otherwise, I'll never finish the darn thing! Swallowtail was pretty perfect, so I think I've used up my alottment this week.

I'm almost finished knitting the first ball of yarn and I refuse to knit the little hair scrunchy tie thing from the picture. Instead, I used beads on the cast on and will repeat it on the cast off. They are very tiny beads - just a touch of fun sparkle. I can probably get one extra repeat on the body of the shawl by not knitting the scrunchy. The Kidsilk Spray really lends itself to the pattern - yummy.

Bean is doing much better. She's got at least 30 bites, but she's not too bothered by them. Cortisone cream is helping alot. Poor baby had a rough day yesterday, though. She slept from 11am until about 4pm and our dog, Molly, stayed on the bed with her keeping watch. Very cute.

(*Book by Ferrol Sams. Hysterically funny stuff.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ants in her pants.

This morning, I was all set to Get Things Done.

I took Bean to Mother's Day Out, and was home by 9.15! I knit most of a repeat on River whilst watching the Diet Coke and Mentos episode of Mythbusters (hilarity!). I put a load of laundry in the dryer. I was all geared up to jump in the shower and then attack the pile of paperwork on my desk and organize it, pay some bills, and drop some paperwork off at Bean's new school. Take a short nap. Pick Bean up at 2.30pm, go home and play. Take her over to my parent's house at 5 and then take Dr Pig for his birthday dinner.

At 10.15am I get a call on my cell phone from Bean's MDO. Never a good sign. She's gotten into an ant pile. I get the Benedryl and shove my unshowered and mid-row self into the car and go pick her up.

Poor Bean. She's probably got 30 ant bites on her legs and hands. I don't think they are fire ant bites, because between the Benedryl and calamine lotion, they are just little dots (gotta love the clear Caladryl - no pink stuff all over the place). Nevertheless, ant bites suck.

I gave her the option of coming home or staying at school and she chose home. She's all set up in our bed with a Wiggles video fresh from the library. She is, however, insistent that she go to Nana's tonight. It's not contagious, so what the heck. She's a trooper.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

In Evelyn A. Clark We Trust

Swallowtail Shawl from Fall 2006 Interweave Knits

Handmaiden Sea Silk in Moss - 1 skein with a teeny bit left over

Size 4 Clover Bamboo circs, switching to size 3 Addi Turbo circs for the Peaked Edging when yarn started looking really scarce.

Mmmmm, pretty.

I cast on Saturday afternoon before we left for Iowa and completed the body on Sunday. Picked it back up this past Sunday and completed the shawl on Monday morning.

I adore this yarn. It's soft and beautiful and supple and gorgeous and and and .... I think I'm addicted.

The Sea Silk solids are really semi-solids with soft variegations in color that really add alot to the finished piece.

The pattern is the usual genius by Ms. Clark.

Straightforward, excellent charts, and a simple knit.

The only challenging part is the P5tog through the back side of the nupps. The silk made that a bit of a pain.

I have another single skein of Sea Silk in Ocean (blues) as well as two skeins in Sangria, which are earmarked for the Lotus Blossom Shawl. I'm going to make myself be patient to stretch out the pleasure.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Chicks With Sticks

This post brought to you by the Iowa Pork Council and Sticks.

Mmmm, PORK CHOP ON A STICK. This is seriously the best thing at the Iowa State Fair.

It's a humongous center cut chop, grilled, on a stick. For 5 bucks.

Best deal in town.

Bean condescended to try a corny dog. She took one bite. Admittedly, it wasn't Fletcher's, but it wasn't
that bad.

She did eat a Monkey Tail, which is a banana, dipped in chocolate, and frozen on a stick.

The Food We Dared Not Try

Didn't even look to see what it was. Too scary. Afraid we'd be scarred for life.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Home again Home again Jiggety jig

My God am I tired.

We left Des Moines at 8.15am this morning to drive to Kansas City to catch a 2.55pm flight. Parts of I-35 as well as parts of the road leading to the airport in KC have been under construction for the last couple of years (No, I am not exaggerating. For once.) and between the New Terrorist Plot For Blowing Up Planes and the highway construction we thought it best to leave plenty of time for the drive.

It's a three hour drive under The Best Conditions and highway construction paired with a four-year-old did not strike us as The Best Conditions.

We made it to the rental car place in three hours flat.

Which left us with three hours until the plane took off. And, given that we were flying THE BEST AIRLINE IN THE WORLD - Southwest - we had little or no drama checking in. This does not preclude drama on the part of other people. People who could not quite grasp the fact that the humongous sign saying ABSOLUTELY NO LIQUIDS, GELS, (rest of list deleted) ALLOWED ON BOARD meant that they couldn't take their unopened bottle of water because they read that beverages wouldn't be allowed on board but certainly that didn't include THEM because who would conceive that they might do anything wrong. Apparently, the sign should have been appended YES, THIS MEANS YOU, TOO. DUMBASS.

At any rate, the flight was overbooked so we were pretty happy to have A boarding passes which means first crack at boarding because LUV (seriously, that's the stock ticker for Southwest Airlines) doesn't assign seats.

But it's been a long day and a long, albeit delightful, trip and I am too tired even to watch the Tivo'd Project Runway waiting for me. I'm off to bed.

Last Saturday, I bought the new IK. By Sunday night, I'd finished the body of the Swallowtail Shawl and started on the first border. I'm knitting it in Handmaiden Sea Silk.

Wonder if I can finish the sucker this weekend?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bean's swimming lessons ended last night and she actually swam a credible crawl for a few strokes. We were fairly proud of her after only 8 lessons. Of course, this means I'm going to have to haul her all over town to all my friends who have pools so that we can practice. Meanwhile, she's loving the bath. She makes me run the water extra deep so she can "practice floating."

We're off to Iowa for most of next week to visit the outlaws and go to the Iowa State Fair and see the Butter Cow. This year there is a special extra of a Butter Superman. It's never going to top the year we got to see the Butter Last Supper. In the words of the imortal Dave Barry, I am not making this up.

Interestingly, Dr Pig and I used to have annual tickets to a local lecture series and, one year, the speakers included Dave Barry and Pat Conroy. We went to the night Pat Conroy spoke, not expecting to be overwhelmed. I laughed my head off. He is the funniest speaker I have had the privilege of listening to. Dave Barry? Not so much. He pretty much recycled his columns. While they are truly funny, they don't have as much impact after the first time you've heard them.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I owe a big thank you to my One Skein Pal.

I received the most lovely package in the mail from him or her last week containing a much longed for skein of Shaefer Anne.

I've heard such wonderful things about this yarn and always wanted to try it, but I've never seen the beastie in person before.

The colors are perfect - reds going into rusts and blues going into purples. I knit a swatch in a lace pattern and it's going to be great.

I decided on lace rather than socks because this is fairly thin yarn and I had to rip my Trekking sock because, after knitting it on zeros, it was too loose. And I'm not going lower than a zero for socks. The actual shawl pattern is TBD, but it's going to be very nice!