Tag Archives: Knitting

I think it’s catching up to me

I’m cranky today.  It’s a zillion degrees out and the stupid little wall AC that’s supposed to cool our entire apartment isn’t, I have a bunch of packing to do and mayhem-in-a-diaper is making that rather difficult, and for some reason my computer is running slower than molasses.


So rather than sit here and bitch anymore, I’mma do something about it 😀


Exciting thing #1:  You know my beloved Dyeabolical Strong Arm sock yarn, the one that’s been discontinued? I have made 6 pairs of socks with this yarn.  It holds up better than almost anything I’ve knitted with, and it’s squishysoft and gorgeous.  Magical!


I love that stuff.


So when Kara mentioned she was de-stashing some, well…

That’ll be greeting me in Ohio.  All the Strong Arm for meeeeee!


Exciting thing #2:  I have disposed of the remaining donuts.  So they’ll no longer be haunting me.  Also, this is why we never buy donuts.


Exciting thing #3:  Simon has some new skills:  shaking thing with rhythm, manipulating his stacking rings really quickly (laboring over each piece is so yesterday!), and banging on his little drum.  Yesterday afternoon he was playing with the stacker and I was packing in the kitchen, and he tossed another ring on the post.  By that point I had said “YAYYYY!!!!!” and applauded about 400 times, so my enthusiasm for the accomplishment was, understandably, waning just a bit.  So I said, “Yayy!” and went on about my business.  Looked over a second later, and Simon was staring at me, solemn-faced.  Once we made eye contact he slowly clapped, once or twice, to show me what I needed to do.  When I said, “YAYYYY!!!!!!!” and clapped, he burst into a giant grin and, satisfied, went back to his  stacking.


It’s like he was saying, “That’s right, Mama.  You’d BETTER be impressed!”


Speaking of the lil’ stinker:

He comprises Exciting Things #3 through 13,248,895.


Exciting Thing #13,248,896, though, is that in less than an hour we get to leave to pick up Jeff, and once he comes home I’ll have the rest of the evening free to pack.  Whoopee!   After Simes goes to sleep, I think I’ll try to finish the lef oof that knee sock.  I’m about 3/4 of the way there!


Now that we’ve danced to Gangnam Style 5 times in a row (at least 600k of its 1.75 billion views have come from our IP address), it’s time to go be a Mama.  That is, feed him Joe-O’sand sing Jayhawks songs off-key while I make a racket arranging pots and pans in boxes.


What’s your exciting thing for today?

Laying low

After all of yesterday’s running around, Simon and I have stayed home today.  He made his wishes to that effect apparent when he took a 2 1/2 hour nap, from 9:30 to 12:00.  Little dude was tuckered out!


Yesterday evening we picked Jeff up from the train station and went up to this Mexican restaurant in Pasadena that we really like: El Portal.  Their fried fish tacos are the bomb-diggity!  And Jeff gets this carne burrito that’s essentially just a side of beef wrapped in a tortilla.  Massive.  Disgusting.  But he likes it.


The past two nights we’ve done something different for Simon’s bedtime, that’s actually worked out sorta well.  Our old routine (outlined in exhausting detail last week, if you care) was getting really frustrating for me.  Simon now likes to flip from boob to boob when he’s tired and avoiding sleep, culminating in biting me and whining once they’re empty and he’s not asleep.  So my new plan to put a stop to THAT shit has consisted of putting the boobs away, then pinning his arms down and doing the rocking back-and-forth and humming thing that I do when I’m wearing him into a nap.  Wednesday night the novelty of it was enough that he conked right out, but last night he struggled mightily (including several attempts to bite my boob through my bra/shirt.  Eewwwwouuuuchhhh!)  After he fell asleep from rocking, though, he startled awake a few minutes later and I ended up boobing him back down.  So we’ll see what happens tonight.  I still prefer boobing right up until he sleeps (because once he drops off he’ll usually sleep-nurse long enough to stimulate a second let-down), but I’m also a fan of keeping my nipples attached to my body, lol.  Nursing a big kid is a whole different game than nursing a tiny baby!  We still love it though 🙂


Yesterday evening I was thinking longingly of my long-neglected knitting, and all of a sudden I was struck by the undeniable urge to cast on for a pair of striped stockinette knee socks.  So I entered the blue room (which is where we’re keeping all our packed boxes) and climbed Empty Box Mountain to reach the far-flung Yarn Stash Binland:

And dug out a local handdye (La Jolla “Baah”) and some Fiberphile that I’ve had since the Great Stashbinge of 2011.  And then I fell asleep, because it was 10:00 an I am old.


But this morning!  While Simon slumbered on the couch next to me, I painstakingly HAND-WOUND both of these hanks (and the Fiberphile was more than a little knotty, I don’t mind telling you), since my swift and ballwinder are also buried and we got rid of the lamp with a shade that was perfect for an impromptu swift.


And I’m about to cast on in a minute here, if Simon will stay engaged with his toy piano and push-walker long enough for me to cast on 88 stitches and join in the round without twisting 😉


This afternoon – I’m posting here, so you’ll hold me to it! – I have got to work on packing.  Tea said she should be able to watch Simon for a bit, and that’d be great – it would give me the chance to get started on the kitchen.  Packing the kitchen is so deceptive – everything’s tucked away in cabinets, so it doesn’t look like *that* much, but then you’ve gotta wrap everything, and …buh.  It’s a lot.


The good news is that I put together a whole ‘nuther box of stuff for Goodwill.  Mostly Jeff’s stuff :-P.


Happy Friday!


(PS – did you know that though Pyrex is incredibly durable, when it breaks it shatters magnificently into exceptionally pointy little grains of glass?  And that then you have to not only sweep and vacuum up the shards, but also go over the entire floor with strips of packing tape?  There.  Now you know.  So you won’t feel compelled to break any and find out the hard way.  You’re welcome.)

I’d almost forgotten what snow looked like…

Subtitle: The Monson/Hoops Family Secular Holiday Extravaganza (TMHFSHE for short.  Pronounced “tem-fishy”)


As far as I’m concerned, Christmas doesn’t exist in sunny Southern California.  I mean sure, we went to see Santa one Saturday at The Americana at Brand:

And yes, there were even ::shudder:: palm trees wrapped in Christmas lights.  But since Simon and I ran away to Missouri on 12/21, and Jeff followed after work on 12/24, well, I’m happy to take the “we didn’t see it so it doesn’t exist” stance. Our goal for the tem-fishy was simple:  see as much family as possible.  Best give Simon an early introduction to what he’s up against (poor little dude). First of all, I’ve gotta say that he was *awesome* on our two red-eye flights.  He snuggled into the wrap and slept on me the whole way from LAX to DFW, then was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (shit. I’ve gotta make the appointment to get that removed.) from DFW to KCI.  I mean, look how happy he was to get his diaper changed at gate D23! That was at 4am.  Seriously. Other highlights of the first trip included a surprisingly chipper TSA agent at LAX who made the whole security theater a tolerably fun experience (really!), and a spectacularly horrible egg bagel from Au Bon Pain in Dallas.  Whee! When we landed and collected our bag and met with Mom and Dad (who were kind enough to come pick us up even though there was thick ice on all the highways.  And there I was all ready to hitchhike to Gladstone…), Mom fairly sprinted to grab Simon from me.  I’ve never seen her move that fast, even that time when Ryan tried to run into traffic in the Wal-Mart parking lot when I was like 6.  I guess I underestimated the power of The Grandbaby. Simon was happy to get some boob and conk out when we got to their house, enjoying his new favorite napping spot: (little did he remember it was also one of his old favorite napping spots) After I had the chance to eat lunch and unwind a little bit, we loaded up the wee little jetlagged boy and headed to Grandma’s nursing home to say hi.  (It’s so nice that she’s just a couple miles from my parents and my aunt now.) She hadn’t seen Simon since August either, and seemed impressed with how he’s grown 🙂 He thought she was pretty cool, too 🙂 (Simon is Grandma’s 9th great-grandchild, if I’m counting correctly.) The next day Mom and I ran a couple errands and Simon spent plenty of time cuddling with her and Dad.  Jeff got to stay in LA and work (talk about getting the short end of the stick) That night, Dad read him some stories… …while Mom launched an impromptu pillow fight: (She made me promise not to post that picture. Oops.) Also? Notice how my child isn’t wearing socks in any of these pictures? That’s because Little Mr. Bigfoot decided that it would be a good time to have a MASSIVE foot growth spurt.  So until we went to Kohl’s and bought *12-24 month socks*, his old ones wouldn’t stay on his stinkin’ feet.  12-24 months.  Seriously.  I have no idea where he gets it. Proof: Also, evidence of how delicious Grammy’s arm apparently is.

We spent the evening of the 23rd working on a SUPER SEEKRIT sewing project.    That’s when I learned that a “super easy 1-hour pattern” is LIES LIES LIES.  So then Mom got to spend the afternoon of the 24th working on it, too.  I also learned that I’d bit off a bit more than I could chew, so I’m glad that I had an expert sewist to do all the tricky bits.

On Christmas eve we went to visit my other set of grandparents at their retirement home.  Granddad’s made nearly a full recovery from his illness this summer, and Grandmother’s having the time of her life making friends with everybody in her “neighborhood” (aka wing of the building :-D).  Aunt Linda and Uncle Jeremy came up from Sedalia to meet Simon, and then we all had lunch with Grandmother in the dining room so she could show the little dude off to all her friends.  I think she dragged us to just about every table in the place! 😀  It was pretty awesome – I just wish Jeff could’ve been there!

(The last time they met, in August)

Simon played on the floor of Grandmother’s apartment, and even busted out a laugh or two.  I’m proud of my little performer!

(“What’ve you been up to, Great-Granddad?”  “Getting well.  What about you?”  “Growin’.”)

He also gave his Great-Granddad a real, proper kiss on the cheek!  No one seemed to mind that it was a bit slobbery 😀

Simon’s obsessed with cups and glasses and watching people drink.  But he also loved cuddling with his Great-Aunt Linda 🙂

After lunch we headed home, then went to pick up Jeff at the airport.  This was our Christmas Eve evening:

No one read “The Night Before Christmas”, but we did put some cozy new jams (curtesy of Aunt Julie) on the Littlest Christmas Elf, and told him that after making a good sleep, Santa would come.

He was rather incredulous.  Good little skeptic! 🙂

Santa butt!

Proof that I was there too:

Simon decided to sleep in on his very first Christmas morning.  Merry Christmas to us! 😀  But when he woke up, there were presents!  Like a wooden teether from Grammy Granddad:

And books!

Santa even brought me something:

Simon’s gift to Grammy and Granddad:

Mom and Dad were much more excited to receive Simon’s clay handprint than mine and Jeff’s.  I suppose they don’t care how little our hands are.  Psh.

Jeff’s Christmas Socks this year are Malabrigo, in “Onyx”.  Plain stockinette.  BECAUSE THAT’S HOW MUCH I LOVE HIM.

Mansocks.  ::snore::

I gave Mom some handspun:

Just proving that you’re never too old to give your mom crappy homemade presents. 😀  (Said handspun is currently being knitted up into a snuggly little shawlette that I wish I could keep for myself.  Alas.)

Oh, and remember that super secret sewing project? It was these:

Man-sized Star Wars pyjama pants, to match Simon’s!  Either Jeff really likes him, or he’s good at faking elation.  Either way, awwwwwww.


I didn’t take any pictures of Christmas dinner, but Dad cooked a feast for the five of us.  And it was delicious.  NOM.


We spent the last few days in Kansas City seeing more relatives (and some of the same ones for a second time):

Olivia is his closest cousin in age, on my mom’s side (on my dad’s side there’s little Jett, who turns 3 this month).

We all had so much fun hanging out at Aunt Judy’s, eating leftover Christmas cookies and receiving (apparently) much-needed advice.  (Love ya, guys! :-P)

(My mom captioned that one “a meeting of the Kansas City chapter of the Simon Hoops fan club”)


The next day, Mom and Dad took us to a Brazilian restaurant where waitstaff walk around with giant spears of meat:

Needless to say, this experience was more fun for Jeff than for me, but I did get a good sangria and a nice salad bar 😀


Storytime with Daddy and Granddad:

(I think Jeff was learning as much as Simon!  “Ohh…chicks are YELLOW!”.)


Jeff flew home on 12/30, and I followed the next day with Little Dude (who, against my mom’s protests, I did insist upon bringing along).  This was his fifth flight!


As soon as we got to LA, it was back to our old routine:


Then a couple weeks later we were on the move again…but that’ll be another post! 🙂


PS>It has taken me two freaking weeks to write this post.  Simon has discovered the fun of banging on keyboards, rending nursing time useless for blogging.  I hope you appreciate it 😀

In which I die of warm fuzzies and appreciation

Working to shorten my queue of woefully-overdue posts, I HAVE to share this.

First of all I’ll say that believe it or not, I actually have some real-life friends (I KNOW!).  In addition to living in the computer, they also exist in meatspace, and before I left St. Louis we would regularly get together at this little institution called “Knitorious Knit Night”.

And for SOME REASON (hell if I can figure out why), they have decided that they like me.

They like me enough, in fact, to plan and purchase and dye and knit/crochet and wrench their backs seaming not one but several gifts for me and my little family.

I know, I can’t believe it either.

But look!  Proof!

A month later and I’m still all blubbery about it.  YOU GUYS!!!

I seriously almost cried, I was so touched.  I was touched until I died.

Wait, that came out wrong.

You know what I mean.

Doesn’t the Dyeabolical blanket look lovely in my spinning chair?

(Psst – that’s Dyeabolical roving on Gretchen, too)


(the matching pillow is in the rocker in our bedroom, where Simon’s asleep.  Don’t want to wake him…)


Guess what else?  That gorgeous Dyeabolical-dyed yarn is special for an extra reason, too.  A secret reason that I can’t wait to tell you all about.  LATER.  Much later.


And if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve already seen Simon’s blanket in heavy use:

And the car seat blanket, too (which has been SO handy, let me say!)


I just get so happy inside every time I look at and use these.  Almost like how I feel when I look at Simon, except I built him.


You, my dear knit night-ers (Ann and Rachel and Deborah and Kara and Mindy and Margaret and Rhonda and Lois and Cheyonna and Kim and Davina and Madeline and Monica and Sharon), are the awesomest people ever.  I ❤ you.  And when I’m back in St. Louis next October with a crazy 15-month-old, I’ll be sure to stop by and thank every blasted one of you in person.



Five years ago today

I can hardly believe it, but it’s true:  five years ago today, I learned to knit.

On Thursday, June 7, 2007, when Jeff and I were newly married, still living in Kirksville and finishing up our undergrad degrees, I went to Wal-Mart and bought some straight needles and Red Heart, and did this:

It took me 20 minutes to cast on three stitches, and the rest of the afternoon to create a few wobbly, mistake-ridden rows of garter stitch:

My heart aches for the tender young thing that I was, so dedicated and so confused.

I started to sort it out pretty quickly, though: the next day I learned to purl, and three days after that I was off and running.

And I haven’t looked back since.

Now it’s been five years (my gawd I can hardly believe it), and I’m still on the knitting journey.  We’re living in a different city (soon, a different state), Jeff just finished law school, we acquired this thing sometime along the way, and there’s the impending arrival of Hoopling.  Our lives are just about as different as they could be.

Except for the yarn everywhere, of course.

So how does one celebrate an occasion so momentous as a half-decade knitaversary?

How about with an FO?

(Yeah I know, any more self-congratulatory pats on the back and I’m liable to pull something.)

As the Knit Night-ers can attest, a few weeks ago I got a bee in my bonnet to make Veil of Isis, after getting lusty-lusty grabby-grabby about the one that Amanda at Knitorious made.  So rather than steal hers, I decided it might be better to make my own.

About 6 weeks later, I was done.  But not without much wailing and gnashing of teeth and bitching about 1,004-stitch rounds. I may have even offered to trade Hoopling in exchange for someone – anyone – to bind off on this fucker for me.

But none of you jerkwads took me up on that offer (::accusatory glare::), so I just put on my big girl panties and did it myself.


But anyway.

Summer 2007:  Red Heart and holey garter stitch.

Summer 2012:  Laceweight merino and (even more) holey (but now deliberate) lace.

To quote my dad:  “I’d say that’s fair progress.”

Here’s hoping for many, many more years of knitting (and now, spinning)!

It would be an understatement to say I’ve been ‘bitten by the knitting bug’ these past five years.  I’m pretty sure that at this point, knitting should be regarded a chronic, incurable illness.  An illness that sucks up all my free time and too much money.  An illness that offers no chance of recovery (and, if I’m being honest, one that I have no *desire* from which to recover.).

Last week I was talking on the phone with my aunt, an incredibly talented and prolific quilter.  She and I started chatting about the idea of finding your true craft: the one which perfectly meshes with your proclivities and ambitions and passions, the one that comes naturally to you, the one that you can’t imagine living without.  Some people are easily multicraftural (I flatter myself that I might be in that number), but if you sit on them and poke them with pointy sticks I bet most crafters will admit to having one thing that they just get.  One thing that they’d choose over any other, that their lives would be truly empty without.

I think it’s safe to say: for me, it’s knitting.

I’m so glad I picked up those crappy-ass needles and that nasty acrylic yarn five years ago.

What’s your One True Craft?

Teh stupids: I have them.

Let’s play a game.

For one second, pretend you’re me.

(Stop crying.  It’s just a thought exercise.  You can stop being me in just a sec.)
You’re 26 years old and for the first time in your life you have real boobs(!).  You’re married to a dashing young lawyer.  You have a rotten cat and a rottener dog and a surely-rotten Hoopling on the way.  You have a whole closet of yarn, and half a dozen projects that you’re knitting – and enjoying – right now.  You also have a hamper full of dirty laundry and a sink full of dishes.

What do you do?

Let me tell you (since I *am* me, I am uniquely qualified to tell you this).

If you’re me, you ignore all your other knitting, and ignore the dishes and ignore the laundry.  Instead you pull out a skein of Skacel merino lace (which has been snuggled up in your stash since ‘way back when you lived in the place with that weird textured carpet)

And you cast on for a Veil of Isis shawl, post-haste:

I am uniquely qualified to tell you:  I AM SO STUPID, Y’ALL.

I have an Evenstar Shawl in progress.  I’m nearly done with the body of Featherweight.  I still have two Christmas gifts outstanding.  A garter stitch Habu scarf has been occupying one of my Clicks cables for nearly a year now.  A Hoopling will be emerging from my nether-regions in just four and a half months, and it will need to be clothed somehow.

So what am I knitting?  More lace, of course.  New lace.  A giant-ass square shawl on US1 needles.  (I blame Amanda at Knitorious for her gorgeous one, which I fairly drooled over last Wednesday.  Just goes to show – you never know when you’ll be blindsided by yarn.  It’s dangerous.)

Someone come take my needles away.

Or actually, don’t.  Not until I have the chance to knit this up:

That’s Dyeabolical Strong Arm Skinny in “Fate, PhD”.  AKA my new most favorite colorway ever.

Te amo, yarn.  Te amo.

Oh, and I may have also ordered a little something from TLE:

That was supposed to be black, with purplish blue streaks.  It was going to become Jeffsocks.  What arrived is, instead, most definitely a uniform dark purple.  He has declared the yarn inappropriate for his manly man feet, so into the stash it goes.  It may possibly eventually become one half of a Catkin.

And then I had a $25 TLE credit burning a hole in my pocket, so I caved and bought this for myself:

I’ve had my eye on that colorway since the dark winter of the Yarn Diet, and a skein has finally found its way into my grubby little hands.  I am happy about this.  I just want to own it, not knit it.  Not yet.

But friends, I have to tell you.  I love buying yarn.  I love having a hefty (by my standards) stash, and you KNOW I love knitting up that hefty (by my standards) stash.  That said, though, I think that as of late my stash has officially reached its own unique level of maximum reasonable heftiness.  I’m not quite ready to send it to fat camp or anything, but I do think it’s time for a little bit of portion control, healthy choices, and exercise.

Look, even Roxie is appalled at how bad it’s getting:

(You know it’s bad when even Roxie’s ashamed.)

So with that, I actually think I’m leaning toward another diet-y thing.  Not as long or as strict as last time, to be sure, but I also don’t think I can go stash-acquiring with the wild abandon I’ve been practicing as of late.

Let me mull this over for a while.  I’m not making any decisions yet.

But…there may be another diet on the horizon.

Someone hold me.

PS>Did you notice the stitch markers on that shawl above? I love them.  They’re my most favorite stitch markers ever, from BeaGin Design.  They’re perfectly unobtrusive in my knitting and come in a rainbow of colors, so it’s always really easy to keep track of all the charts and counts persnickety things that come up in lace knitting.

FO’s for HH

Opinions vary greatly on knitting for a bebeh while gestating.  My unofficial research seems to indicate everything from “ALL BABY THINGS ALL THE TIME NOW!” to “meh.”

I suppose I fall somewhere in the middle.  I’m not about to stop knitting for myself or Jeff or my friends/family, but I have found myself – quite logically – drawn to making wee things, too.

Like this:

Since we’re not finding out HH’s gender before it appears, I’m trying to make most things gender neutral.  This is theoretically neutral – being grey and cable-y and all – but it also seems sort of boy-ish, yes?

The pattern is Sunnyside, and the yarn is Cascade Heritage sock.  This thing (knitted in the smallest size, with obvious short-sleeve modification) only took 60-70g.  If that’s not an economical knit, well, I don’t know what is.

The pattern as written calls for the cables to all go the same direction, but I went ahead and alternated them (the raglan cables all end at the arm divide), for a little bit more symmetry and prettiness.

Love the buttons, too.  Jeff picked them out:

Those are from my grandmother’s button box, which she gave me when she and Granddad moved to a retirement community last year.  I love Grandmother’s button box so much more than my own.  She keeps sets neatly strung on bits of thread, and some even have tags telling which garments they go to.  It’s so tidy.  Mine, however, is…not.

Anyway, I love the way that teal looks with the grey yarn – really brings out the blue tones, yes?

Maybe this will be a “if HH is a boy” sweater after all, and I’ll make a tiny little FBS or something for if it’s a girl.

I also made another soaker (you can never have too many soakers):

That’s my first go of the EviePants All-in-One pattern, with the ribbed waistband and short ribbed legs.  The yarn is Dyeabolical non-superwash worsted, in “Flower Shop Inferno”.  (I love this colorway)

When I got the yarn from Rachel, I pointed out that it would be shat upon.  Apparently the yarn agreed, and so it obligingly pooled in golden orange right over the bum:

Very clever, yarn.  Very clever.

This pattern is nice.  Honestly, there’s not really much to its bones that you can’t discern on your own, but I do like all the variations (long pants, skorts, ruffle-butt bloomers, and various pretty edgings).  I’m sure I’ll use it again and will get my money’s worth out of that steep price tag.

Do me a favor though, eh?

Let’s not talk about what I’ve *not* been knitting, while churning out all these Hoopling things.

Reasons for my good mood

I am in SUCH a good mood today, y’all.  An unreasonably good mood.  A borderline creepy, why-the-hell-is-that-idiot-grinning-as-she-walks-to-work mood.




1)All of the congratulations and well-wishes and nice thoughts and emails and Tweets and FB messages that you guys have sent me (and Jeff) since the announcement on Monday.  You have truly touched my shriveled little heart.  And I’m so glad that others share in our excitement!*


2)I have finally resigned myself to the fact that St. Louis just doesn’t get winter this year.  It’s going to be 62 degrees today.  So I’m trying reallyreallyhard to trick my brain into thinking “yay, early spring!” rather than “boo, tepid winter!”.  It might actually be working.  A bit.


3)I’ve made two batches of cinnamon rolls in the past two days, and have not yet eaten a single one. I’m OK with this.  Come to knitting tonight if you want one, though.


4)Last night I cast on for a new project, and for the first time in what seems like ages it’s something that I want to make, with no deadline or impetus for hurry.  Just a simple, quick little knit (of a nature that I’m sure you can surmise).  Nevermind that I still have two Christmas gifts outstanding.  ::waves hand dismissively::  I’ll get to those next.  Aforementioned new project is being made with yarn I acquired on Sunday at Ewe Knit Yarns**.


5)We had Red Robin for dinner for the second time in two weeks.  Just in case you were wondering, I made you a graph of my lifetime Red Robin consumption habits:

And for this I blame Jessica and her constant talk about the stupid restaurant.  And its onion rings.  ::shakes fist:: DAMN THOSE ONION RINGS!


As I told Jeff last night though (while we nommed onion rings), he may as well just wait a week or so, because at some point soon I’ll surely get over this Red Robin kick and move on to something equally nutritious and delicious.  Like IHOP, or gas station cheese sandwiches.  Or maybe half-rotten pears.  YOU NEVER KNOW.  ‘s all I’m saying.


6)Some things haven’t changed, though.  Like my love for clementines, of which I have consumed three 5-lb bags in the past 8 weeks.  I’m pretty sure this thing is gonna come out bright orange with a Cuties sticker on its forehead.  And I just bought another 5 lb last night, and Jeff laughed at me as I danced merrily and starry-eyed through Target clutching the box to my chest.***


* As an aside – since this whole thing got rollin’, I have had the line from this ecard stuck in my head.  It’s true:

**AKA the last yarn shop in the St. Louis area at which I had not yet darkened the door.  It’s a lovely shop, and now I feel quite silly for having not gone before.

***I asked for clementines for Valentine’s day.  He got me tickets to West Side Story instead.  I forgave him 😉


I cannot let a month go by without a single post.  It makes me twitchy.


(I’m sure y’all also feel deprived of my sparkling witticisms and charming presence. I know it.  ADMIT IT.  YOU LIKE ME.)


The radio silence hasn’t been due to anything particularly awful or traumatic.  I’ve just…not been writing.  You know how it goes sometimes.


And now that I’m actually posting? I’m coming up with a big fat lotta *nothing* to talk about.


This may be the first time that’s ever happened.  Ever.


So instead of words, how about pictures?


Just after Christmas, Jeff and I went to the Star Trek exhibit at the Science Center:

The inside of the exhibit was camera-free (boo!), so you’ll have to use your imagination when I tell you of the childlike joy Jeff expressed as he dragged me around looking at “omg a real Tricorder!”  “Look! Picard’s quarters!”  and (Jeff’s favorite), a walk-in, scale model of the bridge from TNG.  (Jeff sat in the captain’s chair and made me sit in the first officer’s.  This is after he spent ten minutes wandering around in a daze, pushing buttons and commanding things under his breath).


He’s just so darned cute, I can’t stand it.




I seem to recall that I owe y’all a holiday gift summary thingy.  Believe it or not, I still have a couple gifts outstanding, so those must go undisclosed for now.  But aside from those…


That’s a blanket for Granddad, out of Vintage worsted.  I kind of just bought a bunch of yarn and started making stripes ’till I found a pattern I liked, then I reversed it for the other half.  This after much wailing and gnashing of teeth and a rather heated Knit Night discussion of  the merits of garter stitch v. stockinette for such a project.


This here’s an awful photo, but I promise you the actual thing is quite nice:  last spring my boss asked me if I ever knit hats, and if so, if I could ever knit a hat with a Bears logo on it.  I’d said yes, then there was no more discussion (but I did hang onto that thought in the back of my tiny little brain).  So when Christmas rolled around, I retrieved the thought, dusted it off, bought the yarn, and turned it into a hat of Rowan Pure Wool:

I know that’s the worst photo EVER, and that pictures don’t usually lie, but you must believe me that this hat is actually quite symmetrical, a very nice color, and looks absolutely lovely.  I improvised most of it (as much as one *can* improvise the concept of “turned-rib bottom plain stockinette cap”) and then had to try twice to successfully chart and then duplicate-stitch the “C”.  The first go was rather comically squat and aggressively forward-leaning, and the whole “stitch-unpick-rechart-stitch” ordeal turned this from a 4-hour project into a 12-hour one.  Whee!  But my boss liked it, so I’m happy.


A long time ago, I found a beautiful shawl pattern (Holden Shawlette) on Rav but knew it was one I’d not really want for myself.  So I queued it with the vague idea of “Carol might like this”, and let it percolate there for a good long while.  This Christmas I decided to combine that pattern with some gorgeous magenta Jitterbug, and made this:


The scallop-y lace and bobble-y bindoff still isn’t really my thing, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t fun to knit.  Everything about it was super quick except for that bindoff which – I’m not gonna lie – I was pretty sure I’d be working on until I keeled over of old age.  It was totally worth it, though – I love this thing!



Jeff’s sister had better start telling me when she gets sick of socks, because otherwise I’ll keep knitting her a pair every year until the sun implodes.

(2009’s are on Rav, and here are 2010‘s).


Those were actually my first bit of Christmas knitting for 2011! I started them way back in August at a get-together for my family.  I picked up the Madtosh “Tart” at a yarn shop in DC last summer because I thought Laura would love the intense, dark shade of red.  Then I just cast on and started moving around YO’s and dec’s until I came up with something pretty.  (I love designing on the fly.  It’s about as spontaneous as you can get, isn’t it?)


2011 was a very sock-y year for gifts, too.  I found this Fleece Artist at TLE and cast on to make socks for Jeff’s cousin Katie in September.  These were my purse socks for a long time – I started them while at Allstar getting my tragus pierced in September (ok well not actually DURING the piercing. I can knit while getting tattooed, sure, but not during piercing.  That’s crazytalk.), then worked on them through our Wednesday lunchtime movie times off-and-on all fall.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this colorway, and thought it worked well with the busy-but-simple lace pattern.

I’ve owed Katie a proper pair of socks for a long time.


I’ve got a work friend who seemed needing of fingerless gloves.  And, coincidentally, I am capable of making fingerless gloves.  So I got some 220 Sport in a bright orange I knew she’d love, and I cast on for dearest Abbie’s Autumn Leaves mitt pattern:

The yardage was a bit shorter than I’d have liked, and the yarn a bit thicker, so the proportions came out slightly different than if I’d been making these for myself.  But I think they’re lovely anyway, and Rachael loves them, so it’s a win!  These weren’t actually a Christmas present, but were rather a “congratulations on being ABD!” present.  Which is better than Christmas, if you’re a PhD student.


And also? One of these days I’m going to get 50g of a rusty autumnal orange fingering-weight and make myself a pair of these.  That was seriously a lovely and fun little pattern.  Those leaves on the thumb gussets make me so happy!


I’d never made socks for my MIL, so I was able to quickly knit up some simple ones out of Fiberphile for her:

Though I wondered about the usefulness of wool socks for someone who lives in Florida, Jeff insisted that she’d like them.  Maybe to wear on that one day a year when it’s actually vaguely chilly there?  😛


There were a couple more Christmas gifts, but the photos are so terribly bad that I can’t even bring myself to post them here – but they’re on Rav if you’re dying to know. I made Jeff’s cousin Lynn a snuggly cowl of cardinal-red Baby Alpaca Grande, and some Sleekit Mitts (one of my favorite patterns, in case you haven’t noticed :-D) for my grandma, from Heritage silk.  Oh, and I made Jeff some charcoal grey ribbed socks, but I won’t abuse you by making you look at those.  They’re so boring they’d put you straight to sleep.  Seriously: no Ambien needed. But Jeff likes boring socks, so he’s happy 🙂




I think the weather is part of what’s throwing my mood all out of whack.  We’ve had ONE halfway-decent snow this season, and even that was just 2″ that lasted for like a day. I didn’t even bother to bust out my LLBean snow boots, ’cause that would’ve just been sad.


HOWEVER, even I’m not completely mad.  I cannot deny that today’s 65* partly-cloudy stuff is nice.  My walk to work this morning was simply lovely.  I just wish this was happening in April instead of, y’know, FREAKING JANUARY.




Speaking of “walk to work”, that’s one of two informal new year’s resolutions (the other being a vague but thus-far-successful aim to “drink less Diet Coke and more water.”).  For the past couple years, I’ve been riding my bike to work almost every day.  Which is nice, because biking is fast and efficient and fun.  Love biking.  But I also feel like walking doesn’t really get the love it deserves.  I’ve always enjoyed going on really long walks – in the summer when Jeff’s been gone, that’s just about all Roxie and I would do: we’d harness up and go wander to campus, through the Loop, around the beautiful neighborhoods here in U City, just everywhere.  But during the week, I don’t always have time for a nice long evening walk (and it’s like 85% less fun to walk in the dark, anyway.)  So I’ve been making a specific effort to get ready earlier in the morning, and then walk to work when I can instead of biking.  It’s about a mile and a half or two miles each way, so with a morning walk to work and an evening walk home, I feel like I really get the chance for some nice, meditative low-impact exercise.  The only thing that’s missing is the dog:  alas, the university has a strict “faculty and staff cannot bring dogs to work” policy, even though Roxie is so exceedingly cute and polite.




(Afternoon addendum):  Just a moment ago I was given a copy of The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker.  I flipped through this mofo and HOLY COW.  Dudes, I’m going to make everything in this RIGHT NOW.  The Indian section especially is amazing.  I just ate lunch and I’m hungry again just looking at this stuff.  If y’all like using the slow cooker and hate that half the shit out there calls for either a pot roast, Ro-Tel, or disgusting “cream of ___” soup (or, ::gag::, all three), then go buy this freaking book.  You won’t regret it.




OK I think that’s enough miscellany for one day.  I promise I won’t disappear for a whole month again.  🙂

I’ve been knitting on my lunch break…

If I were a wise person, I would put actual Christmas knitting in my goes-with-me-everywhere knitting bag, and I would knit on *that* during my lunch.


But I am not a wise person. At all.  (And as you shall learn in just a couple days, I’m also a very smug person.)


So instead of working on a gift to be given in less than 20 days, I am knitting socks for my giant-footed cousin: a gift with no deadline or incentive for quick completion whatsoever.

HA! A test!  Here is where the knitters shall be culled from the non-knitters.


A non-knitter’s response to the above photo:  “Yes, that appears to be the leg of a sock, being knitted on funny-looking pink needles.”




Excellent question, knitters.  And my answer?


I have no fucking clue.  But as of right now it’s not behaving as a tangle – the working yarn still feeds from it freely and evenly – so I’m just holding my breath and hoping that it remains so.


Please, yarn gods, smile upon me for once.