Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sweet Stockinette (bom bom bom) Good Times Never Seemed So Good....(Neil Diamond eat your heart out!)

First of all, let me say that I realize I'm not the first knitting blogger to apologize for her lack of blogging because of Ravelry distractions. Ravelry is just so very very much fun -- seriously, seriously fun!!!!. I love seeing my friends there, looking up their WIP's and looking up projects that I want to make. Look for me. I'm knittingmother!

With that in mind, I started on the Portland sweater (scroll down a bit to see the pics) pattern from Valley Yarns. I'm making mine in luscious (and I mean LUSCIOUS) Royal Silk Merino from Plymouth Yarns -- it's 51% silk and 49% merino and it's a deep rich red and did I mention that I love it? It's my favorite yarn today. Not only that, but the Portland sweater pattern is so beautifully mindless. It's almost 98% stockinette and knit in the round. I got some wonderfully kind help from plazajen (via Ravelry). She's da bomb! I believe we were both in Wichita when the Harlot was there, though I didn't know her then. Who knew?!

I cast on Thursday night (late) and this pic was taken early Saturday. As of this writing I'm 1" from finishing the sleeve...although I think I've been knitting the same 1" since 10:30 this a.m. LOL!!! I love the pattern, love the drape of the yarn...just love it all the way around. I think I'll be really happy with the finished project even though it likely won't be a fitted-looking finish (it's a rather swingy sweater).

Knittingjournal if you read this, look on the counter behind my sleeve. You'll see a box there (it formerly held trash bags). That's your package waiting to be mailed. Hopefully it will go out tomorrow!

See you at Ravelry!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I'm beginning to play a little more on Ravelry. It's so very much fun. You can find me as "knittingmother" -- there's so much there. Freakin' overwhelming in a totally wonderful way.
I finished BSJ #2 this time sans eyelet at the increases.

I've yet to sew it up or add buttons as I'm taking it to my knitting group (Common Thread) tomorrow and thought it would be fun to pass around for party tricks.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A little perspective

You could've knocked me over with a bamboo dpn when I saw the newest Old Navy commercial on TV. It's a commercial for their fair isle sweater collection that features the music of Ingrid Michaelson's song The Way I Am. I first heard The Way I Am on the marveous podcast Cast-On, and I immediately bought the CD. LOVE IT! Can't stop singing it. Check out the commercial, and let me know what you think of the song.

It's amazing what a few days distance from a finished project does to your perspective. I stitched up the shoulders on the eyelet-ridden BSJ and put on the buttons.

I'm immensely proud that I completed it, and I love that knitterly denial pushed me through to the end despite the eyelet. Buttons make it, and I gave it to my niece yesterday. She should get good wear out of it this season as it is sized just right for her petite little 2 y.o. frame.

Work continues on the second eyelet-free BSJ, and I just cast on some new socks using some delicious custom yarn purchased on Etsy. That's an entry for another day or two when I can post a finished sock for you all to see.

Friday, September 21, 2007


I would not win an award for mother of the year today. Getting three boys out of the door for school has to be done with military precision. We are organized. We practice the 3 B's (Bed made; Bodies dressed; Breakfast eaten).

Instead, one of my 5 y.o. twins decided that the best way to look for his shoes was simply to walk through the house saying "I can't find my shoes." UGH! Everyone else had their shoes where they were supposed to be, but not this child. On top of that, add a mother who hates to be late and is only two cups of coffee into her day. Well...let's just say that I got them all to school in plenty of time with no blood involved...but it was nip and tuck for a few minutes here at the house. Heard of the Duggar family of 19 in Arkansas? They homeschool, and here I am in the midst of a shoe crisis getting 3 out the door to school!

In other news, my new Knit Picks Options Harmony needles arrived. I quickly put my newest BSJ on it (I'm hell bent on doing those increases correctly) and I'm thrilled. Some folks have expressed concerns that the colors would interfere with their work. I'm working with a lively self-striping DK yarn that is holding up just fine against the colors of the needles. In fact, I love the way the colors flash in and out of the yarn. Very mesmerizing. They are very very smooth and very sturdy (I'm working on size 4's) and the points are PERFECT!

Need to run to the fabric store today to find some buttons for the eyelet BSJ. Hope to finish the second BSJ this weekend.

In the meantime, time for another cuppa.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I did it!

I did it! I did it! I did it! I finished my BSJ. Is it perfect? Far from it!

Do my increases look like eyelet? Yes!

Will I pretend the eyelet is intentional decoration? Yes!

Are they supposed to look like eyelet? No!

Do I give a damn? Hell NO! (considering that this is my fourth attempt at mastering this pattern! )

I also have no doubt that I couldn't have done it had I not found a magical cheat sheet on-line (sorry, copyrights don't allow me to post the link here, but I found it on Google).

I am soooo proud that I was able to fold this error-filled piece of something into this:

I have sewn no seams or buttons. I don't care. For tonight, my little BSJ is wrapped up in a towel out of reach of Max-the-yarn-chewing-wonder dog. I will curse my inability to understand the EZ's desired method of increases tomorrow when I sew up the seams. Tonight I am a near genius for finally kicking this pattern's ass!

Monday, September 17, 2007

A road trip well worth the trip

My girlfriends and I hoofed it up I-35 yesterday to see the Yarn Harlot in Wichita, KS. And in honor of the Harlot herself, today's blog entry will be in the form of a list:

1. The girls and I had a great time. Some of us "bullied" Hillary into starting her first sock:

Despite the usage of the harsh word (bullied) I assure you that Hillary was very excited to be biting into her first sock.

2. Wichita is a nice town. I've never been there before, and I enjoyed myself. It's got art, great shops and food. Some of us dropped some coin; some of us dropped a lot of coin; some of dropped a little coin. Apparently Lindsey thought it important to catch me in action:

I'm in red, and that's the owner of Twist, Shelly, happily helping taking my money. Shelly was a delight. Very very gracious and helpful and again, she has a great shop.
3. There was also lots of fondling:

Lindsey fondling some lovely wool.

Chris and Hillary were all about the stuff.

And Hillary knit some more on her sock. It seems like just yesterday that we coerced her into changing her 100'th scarf into a bag, and here she is starting her first sock (sniff sniff):

4. Then we walked about a block down the street to eat a quick bite at a little Mexican restaurant. There was beer, warm chips, spicy salsa, and an exciting afternoon in store.

5. But really, let's get to the good stuff -- the Harlot. She was a delight. Witty, smart, wildly entertaining, and everything you could've ever imagined or wanted. The venue was very very roomy and very very chilly (which I loved, but then I have extra insulation).

And when the Harlot arrived, the energy rippled through the room. None of my pics of her behind the podium came out worth a damn, but this one did.

A lovely young girl standing behind me took this picture. I commented that I didn't need a do-over on the pic even though I looked "old and pissed" -- Stephanie related to my comments (being the victim of photos like this for years and years herself) -- but she's a real trooper. We like her....I brought her a small gift (hope it was good and cold, Steph) but what I should've brought her was an ice pack for her signature hand. How she manages to sign all those books legibly is beyond me.

Then when it was almost over, I heard a loud chorus of voices shouting my name. More Oklahoma folks were there. Meet my favorite masseuse (near left) and the rest of the Oklahoma contingent:

But now I must dash. Time for a bit of yoga.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm in!!!!!!!

OMG OMG OMG OMG I got my invitation to Ravelry!!!!!!!!!

Watch out!

Doing the Snoopy dance!

Friday, September 14, 2007

I need an intervention

I really need an intervention. I just bound off a pair of socks (dk weight that I started Monday), and I should pick up either the BSJ or the present from hell. Instead, all I want to do is dive into this lovely bowl of sock yarn:

and whip up something delectable! (Yes, you may remember seeing this picture in a previous entry. But it's so beautiful I had to use it again!)

In addition, I'm suffering from dirty house syndrome. I have de-shi**ed some shelves in desperate need of deshi**ing (applause please), I've done some laundry and made a tomato soup cake too (my first...I'll let you know). I still need to mop my floor and clean my kitchen. I need to put away laundry and maybe even vacuum. I'm selfish...all I want to do is cast on for another pair of socks.

Someone tell me to step away from the sock yarn, work on one of my other two WIP's or clean the damn house.

....guess I could've mopped the floor in the time it took me to write this.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mattie Marie

My grandmother, Mattie Marie, was born on April 19, 1911, just 4 years after Oklahoma became a state. When her mother ran out of milk to nurse her, she had a nurse maid who was a neighbor. Grandmother was a child of the depression who got a college education, married, had three children, and was a beloved elementary school teacher.

Grandmother was also a master of handwork. When she wasn't bustling in the kitchen, she was crocheting or knitting or quilting. One of my most treasured items of hers is a quilt that was pieced by her mother and quilted by Grandmother 70+ years later on a quilting frame my grandaddy made for her. That quilting frame is still in use by her church family in the Texas panhandle. Every Christmas for years brought us a pair of crocheted house slippers. She crocheted afghans for each of her three children and five grandchildren. Each of our children got baby blankets, and we each got at least one quilt.

She tried to teach me to crochet when I was a young girl. It didn't take. When Grandmother died last summer, I inherited her needlework basket (I'm still sad that she never knew that I came to love knitting). I also inherited a bag of embroidered, knitted, crocheted, and tatted items. Of these items, there seemed to be a plethora of unidentifiable tatted pieces that looked like this:

I couldn't tell if they were intended to be dresser scarves, place mats, or doilies. They weren't doing anyone any good sitting in a bag, and it was very much unlike my grandmother, a child of the depression, to make something and not use it or gift it.

I decided to honor her by putting these otherwise useless items to use. I contacted an angel friend, Lisa, who fell in love with the pieces. I told her I was desperate to turn them into something usable but I was at a loss (of imagination and skill) to know what they should become. Lisa lovingly took the items and ran ran ran with them. This is what she has made:

Lisa is also a master of handwork. She treasures family heirlooms and handmade items, and she is so unbelievably creative. She applied Grandmother's pieces delicately and lovingly by hand to a quilt. She even sewed on a little info. square on the back so that I can write in the history behind the piece. It's my understanding that there are enough pieces of Grandmother's work for her to make three blankets. What a treasure that I now have to share with my family.
Thanks to angel Lisa for honoring my Mattie Marie and for creating usable treasures my family will cherish for generations.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Stash Enhancement

So much for my yarn diet! One of my LYS had a HUGE store wide (I repeat: STORE WIDE) 50% off sale over the weekend. I bought yarn yarn yarn and it was fun fun fun! I spent quality time in advance planning projects I want to make so I went there with a specific mission and I only fell off the wagon a couple or three times when I found something I just had to have. Let me tell ya', 50% off makes a big 'ol difference. I got yarn for two (or three) felted Lucy bags and a sweater for $79! Am I a rock star or what?

In the meantime, I kicking the BSJ's arse! How do I know? I know because I FINALLY got past the "screw it and rip it" point in the first ball of yarn AND I started on the second ball of yarn. It's hard to knit confidently for fear that I'm screwing something up, but it's nice to know that she at least resembles other BSJ's in progress I've seen on-line.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Road Trip

I've been planning it for a few weeks, but now we're just days away from scooting up the interstate to see The Yarn Harlot in Wichita, KS.

OMG can you say EXCITING!! Her. The Yarn Harlot. You're jealous aren't you? Admit it!

A few girlfriends and I have a day of knitting, munching, and listening planned. We'll leave in the morning and return in early evening. Wichita is about 2 to 2.5 hours away. Lots of time to knit in the car!!!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Great expectations

Here's my plan. I'm going to cast on for the BSJ again today. I'm going to try it again. I'm going to crawl inside that pattern and live and breathe it. I. Will. Make. The. BSJ.

....and I may watch a bit of football today!

Boomer Sooner!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Me and EZ and her BSJ

Here's the deal with me and EZ and her BSJ. She's a genius. Not only is she a genius, but she is apparently a math genius.

I have an English degree, which means that I am numerically illiterate.

I tried the *($#'ing BSJ again tonight. I figured out where to put the stitch markers, I knit forth, I was DOING IT -- but there's just too much counting -- too much math -- three too many boys interrupting. It's just not working.

I'm a miserable failure.

I remain numerically illiterate.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

For Chocolate Sheep

Ms. Beth? Ms. Beth??? Where are you? I can't help but think of the following every time I go to your blog and see that it's been days since you've posted....

Lyrics to Maggie May (Rod Stewart)

Wake up Maggie I think I got something to say to you
Its late September and I really should be back at school
I know I keep you amused but I feel I'm being used
Oh Maggie I couldn't have tried any more
You lured me away from home just to save you from being alone
You stole my heart and that's what really hurt....

Where are you darlin'????

Check in with us!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Working my way through the stash

I'm getting over being pissed and bitter about Max-the-yarn-chewing dog and have resumed work on his latest yarn snack. Do you think he looks like a yarn-snacking Schnoodle?

Sweet huh? He found this masterpiece -- this lovely lovely hand painted yarn that made this lovely sock.

Then he promptly chewed it to bits -- okay, two big holes but only one is shown here.

So here's what I've done. First of all, it became painfully obvious to me that I knit the ill-fated sock obscenely too long.

I finished what would have been the second sock (but it is now the first). See? It's at a much more manageable length, too.

And in a stroke of pure luck, I dropped a note to Painted Skeins on Etsy who just happened to have a cake of the same dye-lot. It wasn't quite a skein, but it was enough for this 'ol gal to knit confidently through to the next sock. And that is exactly what I'm doing. I'm confident that I won't run out of yarn from the cake, but in case I do, I am armed with scissors to cut into Max's handiwork, boldly retrieve enough yarn to finish the job, and call these socks DONE!

I did a little something different on the toe of this pair. I didn't decrease all the way down 8 stitches. I kitchnered at somewhere around 14 stitches. The toe looks much more square, but to my eyes, it looks much more normal than some of these very pointy toes I've done in the past. 14 stitches in DK yarn is a big 'ol chunkof kitchnering. I don't know if I'll do it again as I feel as though I'm doing something wickedly unfair to the sock gods...
Here's a pic of the one completed sock, the other that's on the sticks, and the remains of the first sock that was attacked by Max.

And if you're not exhausted after trying to sort through all this, then this will help you continue on through your day. A bit of yarn p-o-r-n. This is what has arrived in the last few weeks. It keeps me motivated to knit on so I can dive into the next pair of socks. Oh how fun!!

I also knocked out an amazing amount on the project from hell over the long weekend. I'm about 2/3'rd done. WOOO HOOO!!! It isn't rocket science knitting, but it takes a few brain cells and really must be knit when the children aren't around lest I really jack it up!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Food glorious food (and other stuff)

I'm hardly mother earth, I don't even subscribe. I do, however, remember reading my mom's copies of the Foxfire Book(s) with fascination about the different ways people live, make, earn, and strive to do better and be better. Let me repeat, I'm hardly mother earth....I'm just a wanna be.

But if you've ever wondered, wanted to do better, or be better, check out your local food coop and frequent your local farmer's market. I joined my local food coop recently and have been ecstatic with my purchases. It feels so very good to be helping local farmers (who need all the help they can get) and to help my family by providing them with healthy, local alternatives in our home. There's always something good and healthy -- and even different stuff that will excite my little (and big) men. As far as food coop's go, there's usually a modest membership fee, but to quote a popular ad campaign...membership has its privileges.

Go forth, find your local food coop (or farmer's market). Order and then order again next month and let me know what you think!