I'm a huge sap

but this was just too cute!! Happy Saturday!



I've never dealt well with change that I didn't make myself.

Case and point - when I was about a year and a half old, my parents decided to rearrange the living room furniture one day, while I was napping. When I saw the new set up I burst into tears, and threw impressive tantrums for a few days. So they decided to move it back. Apparently I must have gotten used to it, because I started the whole tantrum process all over again.

I guess I hadn't realized how accustomed I've become to the patterns of my day, but between visiting family and new job stuff starting next week, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

And I'm a cave dweller - when the outside world is more than I can handle, I retreat into my cave until I can cope. When you live in a two bedroom apartment and have house guests - you don't have a cave, or at least, it's not really your cave for a while.

This too shall pass.


Just Three Words

The rules are simple. Answer each question in three words. No more, no less.

01. Where is your cell phone? left rear pocket
02. Boyfriend/girlfriend? neither, I'm married
03. Hair? growing it out
04. Your mother? quite close by
05. Your father? kinda miss him
06. Your favorite item(s)? wool and cameras
07. Your dream last night? did not dream
08. Your favorite drink? scotch and drambuie
09. Your dream guy/girl? married to him
10. The room you are in? lots of buttons
11. Your fear? sucking at life
12. What do you want to be in 10 years? cool farmer mom
13. Who did you hang out with last night? very cool chicks
14. What are you not? quite awake yet
15. Are you in love? see number nine
16. One of your wish list items? huge canon lenses
17. What time is it? two twenty one
18. The last thing you did? made phone call
19. What are you wearing? my comfy jeans
20. Your favorite book? not just one
21. The last thing you ate? yummy bran muffin
22. Your life? goin' pretty good
23. Your mood? pretty relaxed now
24. Your friends? darn cool people
25. What are you thinking about right now? knitting a sock
26. Your car? George the truck
27. What are you doing at this moment? typing three words
28. Your summer? no summer break
29. Your relationship status? see number two
30. What is on your TV screen? news channel three
31. When is the last time you laughed? five minutes ago
32. Last time you cried? I can't remember
33. School? maybe later thanks


Of Bread and Family

I did a bit of baking a couple weeks back. I was having a little fun with my knife - see?

Unfortunately, that's the extent of the fun/photographed stuff I have to post about this week. And it may be a little while before I get around to anymore of that stuff. My MIL and SIL have come to visit this week, which is great. There was a mixup with their rental car, which isn't so great, but totally workable. And I'll be coming home over my dinner breaks to hang out with them, so not much knitting (I have mixed feelings about this, is that sad?)

If we have madcap adventures, I'll try to take pictures.


Yarn for a long time

Remember my big all o'yarn?

This is what happens when you wind the yarn off of the giant ball, soak it in the tub for a while and then convince it not to be so curly. And by convince, I mean hang it from the towel bar in the shower such that it is in long hanks with a piece of PVC pipe running through the bottom of the loops and then suspend two milk jugs full of water to stretch them until they dry.

So now what? I have a lot of yarn from that sweater, and although I've only straightened about half of it, that's still a lot of yarn. I think it's destined, in part, to be these socks. Cute no? It may be a bit too scratchy, but at this point, only knitting them up and finding out will tell.


My pal is awesome!

I have been completely put to shame: pictured above is what arrive in the mail yesterday from my wonderful pal, meanwhile, I have yet to do thing one for mine. The good news is I have ideas, but I need to get the errands run to have the cool stuff to mail. It's coming, it's definitely coming.

But for now I'm enjoying my goodies. Thanks so much to my pal! The yarn is Cascade 220, which I hear is great for felting. I haven't decided what to make yet, but I'm excited. And once the weather gets warmer, and I can do more outside with them, I'm going to try planting some of the lavender seeds to see if I have better luck with them that way. I didn't do a good job of giving it a prominant position in the picture, but in the back is one of those nifty bags with the collapsable wheels on the bottom, and it's got a pretty cherry pattern on it - I foresee it filling up with yarn soon.

I had mentioned something about not running out of yarn . . . I'm not up for it today, but it will come, I promise.

On another note, the 90 minute newscast this afternoon was hellish - but when it was over and my pulse was still through the roof, my boss said I did a good job. It made my day! There will be more news on the job front soon, but not just yet.


A roller coaster day . . .

Up until 8pm, this had been a fairly rough day. The morning was a bumbling mess for me. Work didn't go terribly well. I did the grocery shopping after. But when I got home, it began to improve. First I put away the groceries and did the dishes, then I put a couple chickens in the oven. I love the smell of chicken roasting and lemon.

Then I made a quick supper, artichoke tortellini tossed with sausage and asparagus - scraps from the fridge, a bit of sausage from the half we didn't use for biscuits and gravy over the weekend, and the last of the asparagus before it went off. The tortelini is frozen, a less than recent purchase from trader joes. I'd made them once before, and didn't like them - they needed something with them, and at the time I couldn't figure out what, but the sausage did the trick, and hit the spot. It made up for not being able to eat the chicken.

Then it was time to check the mail - and low and behold, the packages I'd been expecting were waiting for me. First a box of yarn from an internet forum aquaintance, she didn't like how it knit up, but I'm really excited about it. Four balls of Knitpicks Essential, two in grass green, and two in chocolate brown. It's a fingering weight sock yarn, machine washable. I think it's destined to be a pair of boy socks, and a hat for me.

The second was a goodie box from my secret pal! She's the best! I'll post about it tomorrow, when there's better light to take a picture of the goodies. Nothing like a box of sweet thoughts to make a dull day a bit brighter. And I have a very sweet pal.

And to top it all off, after all my talk about the sock club I went to check the blog today only to find that in the contest they'd held to name some new yarn colors, not only had my suggestion gathered enough votes to be chosen, but my name had been drawn to win YARN!! I never win things - this improves a what had started as a bad day, considerably.

Now does anyone have a brilliant suggestion for creative ways to prepare cooked chicken?


Sock Club - February Sock Kit

It is safe to say that I've lost my mind. What started out last June as a hobby to pass the time during my long breaks between shifts at the station, has obviously become an obsession. I find myself making long mental lists of items to knit for myself, for friends, family, co-workers, complete strangers. I have dreams about knitting, and some about just yarn. My first thought when I'm tossing things in my little backpack is "do I have what I need to knit what I want to today?" While my list of unfinished objects is of a fairly reasonable size, my list of to be knit items as yet not begun is gargantuan. I take requests, not that I need any more projects. When I find a pregnant woman in my circle of aquaintances, I immediately cast-on for a pair of socks, bare minimum. I have begun to resent dishes, laundry, even baking at times, when they interfere with my knitting. I've gone over to the dark side, and I like it!

In the midst of all that, and partly to blame for most of it, I've become quite fond of knitting socks, so as a treat for myself, and because it just sounded like a total blast, I joined a sock club. The sock club, for the uninitiated, functions thusly:

1. the addict/victim signs up for the club
2. the addict/victim provides their mailing information and payment
3. the yarn company teases the addict/victim for a month or so
4. the yarn company sends one kit every two months, with yarn and a pattern for one pair of socks

* often this sock club decides on a theme
** generally the yarn company is well known for wonderful yarn

I may have fallen victim, but I'm having a great time. The theme for this years Rockin' Sock Club (from Blue Moon Fiber Arts) is the foot - and appropriate to the theme the first sock pattern was designed to be a very comfortable sock. I made a few changes, due to a difference of opinion on what constitutes a comfortable sock, and what I ended up with makes my foot happy. Only one foot. I've only finished one sock, so far.

It took me at least 8 re-starts to get this sock going the way I wanted it to. At first I worked the pattern as written, then I frogged the whole thing and changed the garter stitch toe (that bumpy fabric you get when all you do is knit on both sides) to stockinette (think the "right" side of your favorite t-shirt). Then I frogged back to the toe and changed the k2p2 ribbing on the sole to stockinette as well, because I didn't like the way the ridges felt under my foot. The designer had put them in there to provide arch support, and while I don't think they really accomplish the job, I did know of something that did.So when I got past the ball of my foot, I knit a tighter pattern for a good 3 1/2 ish inches.

It's called eye of partridge, and it makes a hand dyed yarn like this one make really pretty patterns, see?

That part of the sock was frogged at least three times, while I tried to figure out how long to work the pattern and where to start the increases for the heel gusset. I like working socks from the toe up, but I dislike short row toes, so while the pattern called for one, I had already decided from the beginning that I was going to work a reverse gusseted heel with a flap.

And that is where the changes ended. I still had to frog the cuff of the sock twice to figure out which needle size I needed to use to make the cable pattern fit over my heel when I put the sock on, but I thought it was a pretty pattern, so it was worth it.

It takes a little tugging to get the sock on and off, but I love the way it feels around the ankle, a fair compromise in my book. Now I just need to finish the other one, and a thousand and one other things. It's safe to say I won't run out of projects, though yarn could be more of an issue, but more on that tomorrow.


100 Things . . . or more

. . . that I want to be able to check off this list:

1. Bake bread without a recipe
2. Master flaky pastry dough
3. Master fluffy biscuits
4. Make yogurt
5. Churn my own butter
6. Make cheese (goat brie, yum!)
7. Make shepherd's pie with my own lamb
8. Learn how to best to preserve different foods
9. Put up enough tomatoes and tomato juice from my own garden to last through the winter
10. Develop a set of basic make-ahead-and-freeze dishes that we like to eat
11. Raise dairy goats
12. Raise alpaca for fiber
13. Raise sheep for fiber
14. Raise ducks (or maybe chickens) for eggs
15. Master consistently attractive (nay, gorgeous) hand dyed yarn
16. Sell my own yarn and fiber
17. Learn to spin and ply singles into usable yarn
18. Go through the whole process from shearing to sweater (hooded)
19. Make my own soap
20. Make more of my own clothing
21. Grow "lawn" furniture
22. Enter my photography in an art show
23. Work, if only briefly, as a professional portrait photographer
24. Develop a basic sock pattern that fits me
25. Publish a knitting pattern
26. Write a book (and until then, write more)
27. Find and attend an open drawing session
28. Model for an artist
29. Raise thoughtful and responsible children
30. Work for a college, preferably in a media or theatre department
31. See rural France, and spend a day or two in Paris if I feel like it
32. Learn three more languages to a 4th semester college level
33. Raise bees and eat more honey
34. Spin the whole fleece of a sheep I've had a chance to meet
35. Own a spinning wheel
36. Collect attractive and useful drop spindles

This list is a perpetual work in progress. I intend to add and cross off items over the years, and someday I hope to have more than half of the items crossed off.



After a total of 8 restarts on the project,
a 10 minute abbreviated noon newscast,
Davidson almost beating Maryland,
the 5:30 news disappearing altogether,
Duke almost not losing to VCU,
and the 11pm news not going on until nearly 12:30 . . .

I finally finished my first sock club sock!!



I'm taking a hiatus for at least most of this week . . . I just don't have much to say or much time to say it - I'm working an almost full time week, which while it doesn't really tie up all that many hours of my week, it keeps me away from the apartment for whole days, so I can't work on stuff or take many pictures. I shall return, likely with a vengeance, once there's something to say.



There is only one thing to report about yesterday - I had grand plans for the day. I thought I had to work the 90 and then I'd have the rest of the night off, so I was going to do a little cooking, and knitting, and maybe clean up around the apartment a little. Well, as it turns out, I did have to work the 11, so I came home to grab some dinner, since I hadn't packed any, and tried to accomplish as much of those goals as I could before I went back to work. And after the 11 was over, I was bushed, so I went to bed fairly directly.

I did finish that pesky black sock, pictures to come next week I think.


Enough Baby Knitting For Now

Here are the final pictures of the baby stuff, right before I wrapped it up. This was fun, and the yarn was delightful, but I'm done with little stuff for a while, and I've had enough pink for the year.

I went to sew the zipper onto the sweater, only to realize that I'd bought a zipper that didn't separate at the bottom (oops), and I didn't want to make the two sets of ties that the pattern called for, because they didn't sound very practical for a toddler's sweater. So I finally decided to knit some icord, and make a button and a loop - just something to hold the sweater together near the neck, but not be hard or scratchy. And I managed to make the labels for the tags - I ironed them onto some ribbon and sewed them into the hats and the sweater. I'm not sure how they'll be as far as being scratchy, but I hope they'll hold up. I only made what I needed for these projects, so at least for now they're "Woolly Ones." I even found a little lamb picture to put on them. I'm such a dork.


Yeah, no post yesterday . . . I had something else to do when I got home . . .

I had finished my first Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style

And the boy and I had made a pair of blocking boards over the weekend, in anticipation of my casting off the shawl. We stretched some cheap walmart sheet and batting over foam core (we doubled up the 1/4" boards, because we couldn't find the 1/2" board where we were shopping) and stapled it on the backside - we basically upholstered two rectangles.

So I dropped the shawl in a bowl of cool water with a little soap, and let it soak for half an hour or so. Then I stretched it out and pinned out the points to let it dry.

Those striped rectangles are my blocking boards, which proved to not be quite enough space for the shawl, so I grabbed a couple cardboard boxes, of which we have a plenty, to expand my space.

The great part is that after blocking, the fabric of the shawl is flat (it was really lumpy before) and it drapes nicely. This is the first of four, I hope. I don't think I'll use the exact same pattern for each one, but I may knit one more of these, I enjoyed it.


On a green hillside . . .

. . . in a vast meadowed valley, under the widespread shade of an ancient tree sits a little girl with two braided pigtails, in faded denim overalls with holes in the knees, three rocks in her left pocket, and bare feet coated in dust and dry grass. Sometimes she paces in a ring she's made in the grass beneath the tree. Other times she dances and sings, whooping and hollering, sending out waves of joy felt hundreds of miles away. There are times she sits against the tree and cries, often causing the sky to cry with her, great alligator tears. But much of the time she sits high in the branches of that tree, and watches the birds, studies the clouds, or scratches pictures in the bark with a rock. Tonight she is watching the vast heavens above her, naming the stars and watching the fireflies dance.

She is my inner five year old.


Eye Candy Friday

I'm not feelin' but so great today, but I did bust out the camera to play for a few minutes . . . so enjoy.


K. A. D. D.

I have evidence of my Knitting A. D. D. - and for the record, I still blame the media communications department for the start of the problem.

I was searching for my tapestry needle in the bottom of my backpack, and I found something wooly and soft. I thought I knew which projects I'd tucked in my bag for the day, so I was curious - it is the second in a pair of black socks that I started OVER CHRISTMAS!!! I don't suffer from second sock syndrome, I like to wear my wooly socks, so I finish them pretty easily - yeah, oops! Looks like I need to get my act together.

In other news . . . I'm having fun knitting lace - figures, doesn't it?

What improves a day?? More socks!!

So, I decided to take a stab at these socks. Why? Perhaps I'm slightly masochistic. (Seriously, go check out the link.) I even dyed yarn specifically for them - because I wanted a deep wine-ish color that varied slightly from time to time, and I hadn't found any available. (Have you checked the link let, did you see that craziness??) Well, I've cast on for the first sock, and I can tell that this will be a long if not hard fought project, and it makes me want one of those progress bar thingies for the side of my page. I think it might be a great form of accountability for the A.D.D. nature of my list of knitting projects.

Anywho, I did start them, and they are looking very nice. Mind you, I've only finished the ribbing at the top and just started the patterning. I've completed one half-row of the pattern, as I'm taking these pretty slow. This shot is from more than a week ago, when I was amidst the ribbing. I haven't had time to take progress shots this week, at least not when there's any daylight.

I'm excited, but I don't think I'll have a whole pair of them until I'm 30. Maybe not, maybe they'd be great travel knitting, because they are definitely not good take to work knitting, which is most of why they're going slow.

And Rosie - I needed to thank you publicly for all the great suggestions - you rock my face off! Also, I need to thank Cheryl, both for kindly offering to coordinate a second monthly meeting of us yarn crazies (and tonight was a Godsend, seriously), and for the offer to teach me continental - I hope you're patient!

{/ oscar moment}

PS - I hide links in my post folks, believe it or not, there have been many over the last couple weeks, but the underlining only shows up when you put the mouse over the words. Happy hunting!!