Tag Archives: yarn

Less than a week!

This weekend was pretty awesome.  Jeff and Simon enjoyed a LOT of quality time together, while I worked on packing.  (Jeff says – rightfully so – that it’s better for him not to try and pack, since I’d just yell at him for doing it wrong.  Smart man.)  So my boys left me at home to get stuff done, while they went off on such exciting adventures as “get the oil changed!”, “buy more bubble-wrap!” and “walk the dog!”.  Regardless of the packing, though, I think some one-on-one quality Daddy Time is good for Mr. Simes.  Learn that he can exist without a boob 2 feet away, you know.

It all paid off, too.  The living room is now completely packed, except for the things we can’t do without (Simon’s toys, iPod dock, and PS3), and that’ll all be quick and easy to pack on Saturday or whatever.  The blue room is long since done.  The bedroom is mostly done, except for my top-of-dresser stuff (jewelry boxes, hankies, coin jar).  That’s 1 box and will take about 10 minutes.  Bathrooms will just take a minute and obviously need to wait a few more days.

That just leaves the kitchen.  Ugh.  Jeff got all our appliance boxes out of the storage unit on Saturday (knife block, KitchenAid, slow cooker).  I just need to buckle down and do it.  I hate packing the kitchen.  Everything is so fiddly and breakable and I always pack up some tool then realize the next day that I need it.  But last night I made us channa masala and naan and these little tandoori wraps for dinner (thank you TJ’s frozen section!) and I made a big deal about it being the ceremonial LAST COOKING EVERRRRR in that shoebox kitchen, so now we’re on tofu dogs, sandwiches and yogurt full-time.  Whee!

Yesterday while I was packing, I came across a box of Jeff’s old family photos.  Look what I found?

Who does THAT look like???

And if that’s not proof enough of Simon’s parentage, check out this one:

I showed that to Jeff and said, “NOW do you believe he has your nose?!”  (Jeff had previously maintained that “all baby noses look alike” and “it’s impossible to tell”, every time I or any of Simon’s grandparents insisted that there is great probiscular similarity.

 

Finally, a little glimpse into Simon’s future:

It’s the feet that kill me, there.  So wee!

 

What’s interesting to me is that Simon looks so much like my dad one minute, and so much like Jeff the next.  With just a change of posture or expression.  Genetics are awesome!

 

I’ve had a hankering for donuts for a few weeks now.  We were going to go to the iconic Randy’s, but that never worked out.  So yesterday afternoon we ran to Abuelita’s (the LYS here in SouthPas) so I could get a sock bag since I packed all mine.  (I may have also run out with a skein of Pagewood Farms merino/bamboo sock.  Ssh!)  And while we were at it, we stopped by Winchell’s and got a few donuts.  They’re adequate – nothing to write home about – but to my donut-needing self they’re OMG SO GOOD.  I can’t keep my face out of that damned box.  This is why we never buy them!

 

But yay for breastfeeding – these things aren’t going to my hips!  Whoopee!  I may have to breastfeed someone forever.  Become a wet nurse or something.  It’s the best diet plan out there.  It will be a sad day when I must once again refuse cheesecake and hollandaise and french fries.

 

Now I’ve gotta get to work on that ( ::sigh:: ) kitchen.

 

Simon is currently occupied with his IKEA stacking ring toy.  He works tirelessly to get a ring on:

 

And then balance it carefully on the rubbery post.  Mission accomplished, he turns to me for grins and accolades:

And then I die of love and happiness.

 

Have a great day, y’all!

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.

SO THERE.

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.

And then he marinated the baby Jeebus in barbeque sauce

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Just a quick note before we run off to Kansas City…

 

(Actually, as I’m currently sitting here in my bathrobe, having not yet packed our clothes, cleaned the litterbox or fed the cat, I obviously *do* have rather a few other things to do also, before we run off to Kansas City.)

 

Last night I dreamed that one of the older Duggar girls came out as a lesbian – she had the Bieber haircut and gauged ears and looked super cute and happy.  Then I was sightseeing at the library (?) in the National Mall  and the Duggars were there, and I was disappointed because they’d apparently disowned that errant “blessing”.

 

Chalk that one up to “what the hell was I smoking?”  (Answer: nothing.  Nothing except yarn fumes.)

 

YARN FUMES, you ask?

Yes. Yarn fumes:

This is yet more evidence – just in case you still didn’t believe me – of Rachel’s dyeing prowess.  And also her ability to work with a difficult client (ie, me) to create a completely new colorway (ie, this), in a highly stressful situation (ie, what I cause all around me, at all times).

 

Even though I already blabbed and told everyone at knitting last night what this is for, I’m not gonna tell you.  You’ll see soon enough.  It’s super exciting.

 

I LOVE YARN. I LOVE EVERY KIND OF YARN. AND I WANT TO HUG ALL IT, BUT I CAN’T. CAN’T HUG EVERY YARN.  (To the tune of this, obv.)

 

 

Changing topics…

 

My mom and her friend were in town last weekend, and I was FINALLY able to turn this:

(those are neatly-stacked boxes containing all of my Currier and Ives, as well as all our wedding china)

 

Into this…

My parents bought that hutch cabinet about  15 years ago at an antique store. Recently my grandparents gave them their old and awesomely-refinished pie safe, so Mom and Dad passed this along to me.  So now all my china doesn’t have to live in boxes anymore! Yay!

 

(It’s a seriously sad situation: I’ve never had a place for my china before, so since we moved here – in May 2008 – my china has always lived just like in that first picture: securely packed in boxes neatly stacked on the wall where a china cabinet should stand.  It makes me so happy that it’s out where I can see it now!  Just in time to move in 8 months…)

 

While Mom was in town, we went to one of the antique malls on Big Bend.  Which is where I found this gem:

I guess they edited out the part in the Bible where Santa comes to see baby Jeebus.  And looms menacingly over him like he’s a holy snack.  (Hang on, Santa.  The “this is my blood, this is my flesh” stuff happens a few years later. And is symbolic.)

 

I also found this little tchotchke:

Aah, yes.  Horribly racist bullshit.  Wonderful decor for any home!

 

(If I had any photoshop skills at all, I’d copy Helen Killer right now and try out “see it in a room”, with much hilarity as a result.  But I don’t, so you just get to imagine it.)

 

And finally, this dude:

I call him “The Contemplative Friar”, and isn’t he kind of awesome?  I love the look on his face, and the way he holds his violin just….so.  He’s writing holy poetry with music.  But he’s on a mug, so he also has a sense of humor.

 

If The Contemplative Friar is still there next weekend, I may go buy him.  He was only like $4.

 

All right, it’s seriously time for me to go pack and get on the road.  Happy Thanksgiving!  May all your mugs picture happy, fat Catholics, and may none of your kitschy decorations be racist.

 

 

 

BULLET-Y

1)The Yarn Harlot is coming to St. Louis TOMORROW!!!  I’m going to be there – will you?  (Note: the location on that site is not current – Left Bank says it will now be at the Episcopal Church on Euclid)

 

I am toying with the idea of wearing a completed Traveling Woman shawl of Dyeabolical Strong Arm Skinny to this shindig tomorrow.

 

Difficulty: I do not own a Traveling Woman shawl of Dyeabolical Strong Arm Skinny.  However, I do own a hank of Strong Arm Skinny, and the Traveling Woman pattern.  Maybe if I knit like the wind all evening/morning…

 

(Someone should probably talk me down off that ledge.  And do it fast.  Rachel is not helping; she is – and I quote – “poking the crazy”.)

 

2)Remember how I blogged about buying a bushel of apples a couple weeks ago?  I’m happy to report that they have now nearly all (but for a few set aside for baking &c) been put up.  I made 6 half-pints of maple apple butter, 5 qt applesauce, and 7 qt apple pie filling:

I’m considering my first canning experiment a success.  An exhausting, finger-bleeding, water-boiling (but not house-exploding!) success.  YAY ME.

 

I’m going to do so much more next year, and so much different.  I can’t wait.  I’m so addicted now, y’all.

 

3)I went to Maple Leaf on Saturday.  It was awesome.  I’ll tell you more later.

 

And now, I must go.  So much to accomplish, so little time.  Someone bring me some tea?

 

Strange Folk 2011

Friends, I mourn.

Because I have just attended what I fear may be my last ever Strange Folk festival.*

So, of course, I appreciated the hell out of it while I still could.

Remember my challenge from late last week?  By Thursday evening I’d finished the largest portion of the calf.  I knitted during the entire Cardinals game – and on the train, both ways – on Friday night.  Then I woke up at 7am on Friday, knitted the foot, and kitchenered-off at about 9:30 while Jeff was in the shower.

I had plenty of time, dudes. No sweat.

Proof:

(That color is accurate, if a bit overdark).

Further proof (photos taken Saturday evening back at home):

And then I’m all, “Holy shit did I really just knit a pair of knee socks in 5 days?”

There HAS to be a 12-step program for knitting.  Please tell me there is.

I love those knee socks, though.  The yarn is glorious, and made that much more special by the consideration shown in its procurement.  It’s the perfect combination of knitting + love.  Jeff rocks.

Anyway.  Strange Folk.  (My mind is way too scattered lately…)

That banner gives me a happy.  A sight for sore eyes.

I think this was the largest I’d ever seen the festival:

In a way, approaching that field was like coming home.  I knew exactly what to expect, but at the same time I had no idea what I’d find.  I love that feeling.

I also love how they have the adoptable animals strategically located near the entrance/exit, and these awesome directional signs scattered about:

Kitten cheeks = universal navigation.

I really wanted to take these babies home with me:

I bet you can guess how THAT turned out, though.  ::sigh::

(Tenth Life, y’all.  Great organization.  Give them money, or take a cat.)

After Jeff dragged me away from the kittens, I started yarn bomb stalking:

I love it.

So cool:

You know Jeff and I can never resist a cupcake:

It provided the vital energy required to go forth and shop.

Speaking of shopping (and people-watching :-)):

We also nommed gyros (Jeff) and chicken sausage in dubious casing (me, and I won’t be doing that again.), and caught up a bit with Kara, Deborah, Sharon and Mindy.  Allegedly Kim was there, too, but I didn’t see her.

All this went down with a background of great music – every singer/group I heard was fantastic, especially the harpist: who knew that “Space Oddity” lent itself so well to the harp?

The booths were all amazing this year: great variety, and very little duplication of genre.  All my favorites were there, as well as some newcomers.  Everyone I spoke with was super nice,  and my only problem – as usual – was that I was unable to purchase something from everyone.

(I’m also, apparently, too shy to ask people to take photos of their booths:  I didn’t get a single one, even of Dyeabolical and their primo location.)

I was good.  As good as I could be.

This was my favorite: Lets Be Friends had a whole bunch of super adorable furry stuffed”Woodland Friends” monsters, and I wanted to take them all home with me.  Until I saw that she also had mystery Woodland Friends: you buy a little felt bag…

And open the top stitching, to reveal your mini Woodland Friend inside!

That’s about the cleverest thing I’ve ever seen, and I love my tiny new Woodland Friend.  (He’s destined to live on a shelf in an eventual Hoopling nursery, I’m thinking.)  I hope the shop owner puts some of her other Friends online soon, for you to see!  They’re all just so adorable.

(Update 9/27 – I just found some great photos on Flickr, from another festival attendee.  Here are the full-size Woodland Friends!)

This apron was my “big” find, a half-apron from Thimblism:

Check out that print:

Is it not absolutely fantastic?  And I love a half apron with a pocket.  So useful.

I also found a yarn (of course):

That’s my first dose of Dyeabolical Bling sock, and I think it’s destined to be some pimpin’ winter socks.  I may invent a pattern and call it “Pimpin’ in a winter wonderland” and it’ll have mountains and snowflakes and swirling drifts.  And bling.

I also got some more Candle Kitty tart melts and a little tealight:

These are seriously the best-smelling soy candles ever.  Love it!  (I got the melts in “Amish Harvest”, and it’s amazing and complex and wonderful.)

And from Rar Rar Press, a “Knitta Please” button:

My life is now complete.

Bonus Woodland Friend goodness:

My face looks happy, but my heart is sad: because now there’s no more Strange Folk.

Thank you, Strange Folk, for all the memories.  And music.  And food.  And stuff.

PS>For a fun sense of deja vu, check out previous posts here and here!

PPS>Upon reflection, it turns out I incorrectly attributed the source of my awesome necklace in last year’s post – must’ve gotten my business cards mixed up.  That necklace was from Anna Ourth Jewelry, and this year I had to go by her table and tell her how much I love that necklace.  And wish to purchase all the rest of her inventory.

~~~

*Unless the winds of fate change and for some reason we’re still living in St. Louis this time next year.  Which is highly unlikely – pending some clerkship-related anomaly – given that Jeff has received a lovely job offer in Washington DC.

On tenacity

This yarn has proven…troublesome.

 

First it was the sleeve and half the back of a Wispy. ‘Till I decided that I just can’t be an “embrace pooling and run with it!” person.

 

Then it was the top bit of a knee sock, following the numbers/measurements from this formula.  ‘Till I decided that I didn’t want to make a sock fit for an elephant with a glandular disorder (Clearly my measurement skills were sub-par…).

 

Then it was the top bit of a knee sock, following the modified numbers/measurements from the above formula.  ‘Till I decided that I didn’t want to make a sock fit for a sumo wrestler (I didn’t modify the formula enough).

 

Now, this yarn – in its fourth iteration – is the top bit of a knee sock, fit for a me-sized human:

 

The formula told me 112 stitches of rib.  I ended up with 88.

 

The formula told me to make a 120-stitch calf.  I ended up with 96.

 

I’m throwing that freaking formula out the window, and I love it.

 

I also – despite knitting the same 100 yards from the same two skeins four separate times (frogging alternating skeins can suck a bag of dicks) – still love this yarn.  I just needed to let it speak to me, and tell me what it wants to be.

 

We’re cool now.

I have decided…

That this will be my new knitting basket:

(H/T to feitomao)

 

I figure, if I’m forced to carry all my stash on my back it might provide a bit of motivation to actually knit from it occasionally.

 

Will let you know how that experiment turns out.

 

~~~

 

Also, thank you everyone for your birthday wishes yesterday!  Last night after I got home from knitting, at which I consumed delicious muffins (plural…), and after a workday filled with baked goods and flowers from my parents, Jeff had presents waiting for me:  chocolates (!), The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death* (!!), and this:

That’s two skeins of Dyeabolical Strong Arm skinny, via Knitorious, just for me.  From Jeff.  Which he purchased.  For me.  At the yarn shop.

 

I haven’t decided what it will turn into, but first thought is either Wispy, or maybe just a big squooshy wrap.

 

Yes, friends: I married a man who surprises me with yarn.  I’d say he’s a keeper 😀

 

~~~

* I love Laurie Notaro.  Everything of hers is like instant LOL’s forever.  FOREVER.  And nevermind how apropos the title is, eh? 😛

Only slightly derailed

So, when a project makes a sneak attack and you’re powerless to resist, what’s the best course of action?

 

1)Give in completely, become despondent, and eventually set down the needles and take up watercolor painting instead

2)Shun the interloper to the furthest reaches of your knitting bag, and force yourself to work on more pressing matters (only 110 days until Christmas…)

or

3)Acknowledge the new project’s allure, and vow to plow through it as quickly as possible so you may return to your original goal

 

I don’t know if it was the correct answer or not, but regardless: I chose 3).

 

Which is why I just made an entire baby blanket in four days.

 

 

Now it’s blocked and folded and tucked away with the other Hypothetical Hoopling items I’ve made, where it will live until such time as it is needed.  (Read: not anytime soon)

 

Oh yeah, self, that totally made sense.

 

 

It is charming though, isn’t it?  All scrappy and eclectic and cute.

 

 

And I guess it really doesn’t hurt anything, just chillin’ in a box for a while.  And it’s not like I made this rash decision on December 19 or anything.  Really, it could’ve been much worse.  And look at all the superwash scraps that get a new life!  Consider me content.

 

 

Now…on to the Christmas stuff! 🙂