Wednesday, September 28, 2011

More of (not necessarily) the same

Today I had a great class with a student I very much like and my buddy Denise.  They were both working on socks while I was working on the color work section of Takoma (I know, no surprise).  So I was right in the middle of one of the rows when I stopped for a second and said "is this right?..." and then found my place.  My friend Denise started to laugh and then thanked me for making her feel better, lol.  Turns out that she has insecurities about her knitting skill when she knits with me.  So I guess what I've learned today is that we're all a bit insecure about something and that's okay.  The key is to be willing to admit them (for the theraputic aspects) and then to have a good cry and move the hell on. 

So in the spirit of moving-the-hell-on, I realized some things about myself today.  My friend and reader Daisy sent me a poem from Maya Angelou that really lifted me today, called Phenomenal Woman.  It reminded me that there are so many little parts to me that I love.  I have learned to love my hair.  I love my skin color.  I love my legs.  I actually like my streak of gray hair (not that it's gray, but that it's an awesome streak).  I like my hands, and feet, especially when I paint my nails.  I have nice nails (and as a former manicurist...I would know, lol).  I have presence and people listen when I speak.

I love to make things with my hands and I get a great sense of accomplishment out of it.  My boys love me for who I am, including my flaws (and there are many), and that's really all that matters.  Any time I dress up or wear make-up, Alex tells me that I'm pretty :)  The kids I teach at church actually like me, which is good because I love them.  And I mean love in the actual sense of the word.  I worry about them and I get excited about their accomplishments, and I get excited to see them every week, and I cry when they are hurt or upset.  I feel like an extra mom.  I mother them.  I mother anyone who will stand still for it :)  If you come into the shop and you look like you don't feel well (or aren't eating enough), I'll mother you too!  I love my pets like family, and I grieve for lost fish. 

Not to get all religified on you, but God made me who I am and had me go through what I've been through (good and bad) for a reason.  I believe that reason is so I can understand and sympathize with others who are going through similar trials.  He made me stand out so that people who were looking for a shoulder to lean on for comfort would see me better.  I'm good at comforting.  I'm good with children, and they seem to be drawn to me even though I'm so tall and could easily intimidate a small child.  He made me sensitive so that I would take extra care of other's feelings because I know what it's like to have my own hurt.  He made my face an open book so that people would know exactly what I'm thinking just from looking at my face, and all so that they would feel comfortable confiding if they needed to. 

I am a mother, and a daughter, and a sister to many women at church, and just like a sister to many others, and a friend, and an extra mom to children who need a warm loving adult in their lives.  I'm also an example to others going through trials similar to my own (not saying I'm a good example, just an example).  I'm also a representative of my faith, and I've been able to change stereo types of what a Mormon (or a black, or a woman) really is and what they can do.  I've been the exception to the rule.  I've risen to the challenge.  I've done what people told me I couldn't do.  I've fallen on my face and failed fantastically, but got up and tried again.  I can go.  And now, I can remember my own worth.  I hope that you can remember yours too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In this post, I wax philosophical about nothing much

This has been one of those weeks (so far).  The kind where you wonder what you did to deserve all the crappy karma stuff that keeps biting you in the butt.  Or maybe it's good karma that keeps things from being any worse than they could have been...  Not really sure.  Glass half empty/full type of situation here.

Anyway, Sunday I wore my repaired FLS to church even though my most recent photos made me look fat and I wasn't feeling too confident about how I looked in it.  I was showing off where I'd repaired it, when I looked down and found ANOTHER hole.  I guess the yarn is just done and I need to replace the sweater entirely. 

Monday I went to the gym (because I was feeling fat after trying on clothes and comparing my photo in the FLS to an old one on my Ravelry project page).  I felt really strong while working out and was impressed at how much energy I had.  I was feeling pretty good about how I looked in my yoga pants (compared to when I first started working out) and I was having a good time.  Feeling confident.  Then, one of those tiny girls with delicate bone structure in super cute, matching workout gear (and her hair down and styled...) got on the machine right next to me and instantly in that moment I was back in high school all over again.  Awkward.  Freakishly tall.  Dateless.  Clothes that didn't fit properly.  And fat (that's a new condition by the way, I was not fat in high school).  I was instantly envious of her and how she was average height and how I bet all the men feel an instinctual need to protect her from harm.  She's girly.  I'm not.  I'm 6' and 187lbs.  I wear a size 10 shoe.  I have big hands.  I am an Amazon that comes lumbering into a room.  I am literally big and tall.  I hate it.

See, I know that everyone always tells me how they with they were taller and how luck I am, but don't want this.  I'm 34 and I just now find clothes that fit, but I'm forced to order them online and only 3 stores carry talls that are tall enough (that I can afford).  Skirts aren't long enough.  I have bad knees and scoliosis and I can't just sit in any seat comfortably for a long period because my knees and hips cramp up.  I can't fit into several small car models.  I intimidate children.  Adults stare.  And on top of all this, I'm now overweight.  I have never (nor will I ever) fit the traditional standard of beauty.  That's usually okay but every now and then I just wish I was like everyone else.  I wish that I could just once feel like a girl.

Where is all this bitching going, you ask?  Well, first it was a wake up for me to realize that even as a grown woman in possession of above average intelligence, a gorgeous husband, two really great children, and an impressive yarn stash, I'm still incredibly insecure.  It's also a wake up call because one of my classes is shining a light on how a child's early years can affect them for the rest of their adult life and I can clearly see how mine is still affecting me.  Don't misunderstand me; my parents were warm and loving.  I had friends and I lived in a pretty safe neighborhood.  But I was always the outsider.  The tallest child in school.  The only black kid in the family/class/neighborhood.  The only kid who couldn't go to all the parties (although I know for sure that this wasn't a bad thing).  It was hard to watch all of my friends be asked to the prom and not have anyone ask me.  It was hard to be the only girl to not have a boyfriend.  I grew up feeling ugly, and I didn't shake that until I was in my 20's.  I'm mostly comfortable with my height by now.  But I can't stop feeling bad about my weight.  You know why?  Because Western culture tells me I should be a size 4.  I should have straight hair.  It should preferably be blond.  I should have straight white teeth and perfect skin.  I should be glamorous and delicate and wear make-up every day and my entire worth as a being is based on how many men find me attractive.  I've been beaten over the head with this since I was old enough to watch t.v.  And I wish that one of these advertising exec would look at just ONE longitudinal study about what this crap does to a child's self-esteem, and then think better of it.

Oh, and my fish died today too.  So...if you're still reading this post after all that heavy crap I've dropped on you, then you must not have had anything better to do with your day, lol.  You'll never get that 15 minutes of your life back ;)  Thanks for listening, and please please don't feel like you have to comment on this (unless you truly want to).  I just needed to get it out there.  I'll be looking for your invoices for services rendered in the mail (you know, for therapy...) lol.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Saga of the February Lady Sweater

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, then you know of my recent sweater tragedy.  I don't know why I did this, but I certainly learned a valuable lesson.  I knit a FLS out of a lovely yarn that a friend gifted to me.  The sweater only took 5 balls, so I destashed the 7 I had left over.  I never really wear the sweater because I didn't like the buttons and for some odd reason I thought that it was ill-fitting.  However, I recently acquired a beautiful set of buttons and decided to pull them out and put them on.  I stabbed my finger and made it bleed.  I fought to get them all off the card.  I got them all in place and they were beautiful!  Then I started to fold up the sweater and noticed a giant hole in the lace.  I was crushed!
My friend searched her stash to see if I'd given her a ball of the yarn but no luck.  Then I realized that I probably put them in the "make room for more" sale at the shop, so I called Naomi to see if she still had the bag of partial-balls and rewinds.  Nope.  We'd already sold it.

To make matters worse, I showed my husband the hole...and noticed the second, larger hole!  I was so disgusted that I tossed it into a corner put it on the dress-form and stuffed it into my closet until I could find the time to deal with it.  Meanwhile, I checked Ravelry, Ebay, Amazon, and put out calls for help in two groups on Ravelry, Facebook, and Twitter looking for the yarn to repair it.  No luck on any front.  The yarn is discontinued and I'm SOL.  That'll teach me not to keep a yard or two around for emergency repairs.

Now, if you haven't had a chance to tap into the genius of the employees at Bella Yarns... you're missing out.  After agonizing over this issue for days, I told the story to Ann who replies "so, you're gonna pull back the bind off on the bottom and take some of the yarn from there?...".  Genius!  Why the heck didn't I think of that!!  All this angst for noting.  So, once we got that straightened out , I decided to pull out the bind off on the sleeves and cannibalize the yarn from there (because I love the length of the sweater).

The first thing that I did was pull back the cast off on one of the sleeves.

Then, in order to be able to bind off the sleeve again (once I had my extra yarn), I had to tink (knit backwards, literally lol) another row so that I would still have some yarn left over.

With my free strand of yarn, I decided to try my usual trick for repair work: follow the yarn.  It's similar to duplicate stitching.  I just run my needle with the yarn attached along the path that the knitted yarn is following, and walah!  Repaired hole.

Now, I know that there are better ways to do repairs, specifically with lace, but for now I had to go with what I know.  The final result isn't perfect, but if you look at the before and afters you can see that it's wearable and it's hard to spot the repairs unless you look hard for them.
Look closely at the photos.  On the left are the repairs, and on the right I circled them so you can see them.  I had a particularly tough time finding the repair on the last set of photos, so that's a good sign that they'll go unnoticed. 

 So friends, let this be a lesson to you.  Always wind off a few extra yards so that you can repair your beloved sweaters later.  Or, always knit your sweaters from the top down so you can more easily pull back a row or two for repairs.  Or, always use commercially produced yarns that are readily available in the United States (and check Ravelry to see if others have used this color before or stashed it) so that you'll have a resource if you need more.  But I say, go for option one :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Takoma, here I come

I was innocently surfing Twitter today when I saw an announcement that Knitty's Deep Fall 2011 issue went live I clicked the link to check it out.  That's when I saw this!  I swear I gasped and my hands went right to my face, and my heart rate increased.  Of course I clicked the photo and went to the pattern description, and started to plot about what colors I would use, and about how I already have multiple skeins of Eco Wool and Eco + in my stash...  Then I went to Ravelry and stalked it until the pattern was put into the database so I could que it.  I just saw it there a few minutes ago, so I qued it so fast that my fingers caught fire and the keyboard may have melted a bit.

I've been obsessed with Cowichan-inspired sweater patterns like this one I saw on Knit-Picks website, or like this one, or this one, or this one.  Yep, they are all in my que right now.  That would be the que that currently contains 10 pages worth of patterns x 30 patterns a page, that I'll never live long enough to knit through if I started today and did nothing but knit for the rest of my life.  That que.  So.... if I ever get done with school, and I finish my current knitting obligations, I might get this sweater finished before I die.  Or at least right after Alex gets his back-to-school sweater and Aaron get's his afghan.

Oh, how I love that sweater!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reclaimed yarn

Yesterday I faced facts, that a most beloved pair of socks was ruined beyond repair.  They were made for me by my buddy Rain of Honey & Ollie, in my first ever sock swap.  Somehow my socks got bagged up in a giant plastic bag and shoved into my closed, where a carpet beetle got ahold of them and two more pairs of my socks.  When I finally found them, they were chewed up in so many places that I just couldn't fix them.  One had to be tossed out, but the other wasn't quite as bad off so I saved it. 

Well, as you know I'm knitting the Beekeeper's Quilt and that uses sock yarn leftovers.  I realized that this was a perfect opportunity for me to reuse the yarn from these special socks, so that I could keep the with me as a special memento...sort of like quilters do when they take squares of fabric from christening gowns or wedding dresses, and add them to a quilt to pass down.  That being said, it was time to reclaim the yarn.

If you've never reclaimed yarn before, here's how it's done. 

  • if the yarn to be reclaimed is knit into a garment with multiple pieces, then you need to take that garment apart first.  Then, start from the bind-off edge, and pick back the yarn until you have a free thread...then pull that sucker out.  You'll want to wind into a ball, or on a niddy-noddy (or your arm), or even wind directly onto a ball winder as you pull the yarn out.  Once you've unwound the piece, you'll have something that looks a little like this.

  • As you can see, any yarn that's been knit into anything for any  length of time will look a lot like Romen Noodles when you rip it back.  It's not ready to be reknit yet, because the kinks will interfere with you ability to get a decent tension, and the finished piece will look like crap (to use the technical term, lol).  To fix this, you need to wash this baby (and it could probably use a good wash anyway...) in an approved wool wash.  I like Eucalan, and I literally have a gallon of it.  It cleans and conditions the fibers, and there's no need to rinse.
  •  Once the yarn is soaking in the water, you want to gently squish it to make sure that it gets completely saturated, as well as to encourage the dirt to float away from your yarn.  Then just walk away and leave it for about 20 minutes.   As you can see, the kinks start to drop out of the yarn right away.

  • Once the yarn is finished soaking, carefully remove it from the sink and squeeze out the excess water.  Try not to pull on it, because the fibers are fragile when they're wet and you don't want to cause the yarn to wear out earlier than it normally would, now would you?  I like to put the yarn into a towel, roll it up, and step on it to get the last of the excess water out.  Next, the yarn is ready to be hung out to dry.  This is what my yarn looked like after being left out to dry over night.  See how much more relaxed it is?

  • Finally, you're ready to wind the yarn into a ball and knit with it all over again!  I used a ballwinder, and made a center-pull ball. 

I'll be knitting hexapuffs with my skein, and adding them to my future afghan.  That way I can point to those little hexagons and say "this yarn was a pair of socks that my friend Rain knit for me, and I wore them all the time, and they were loved".  So go forth, and reclaim yarn from you much loved (or even not-so-much loved) projects, and use it again for something you'll be more likely to use and love!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A sad, sad day (sort of)

Please join me in mourning the passing of my all-time favorite pair of pajama bottoms. My mom sewed these for me a few months before I moved to Rhode Island (10 years ago...).  The seat finally gave out and there's just no more wearing them.  They are survived by one pair of lavender flannel pajamas (the last of the five pairs that she sent me away with).

I loved these pants for several reasons.  First, I was a huge wrestling fan for several years and my favorite wrestler was Stone Cold Steve Austin.  These are Stone Cold p.j.'s.  Second, the little blue and white skulls in the background.  Third, the giant skulls glow in the dark!  I know, right?!  So, I've worn these constantly through the last 10 fall's and winter's, but now I have to toss them out.  I'll miss them greatly.

It is also a sad day because I have faced the realization that I am addicted to hexagon puffs.  I've pulled out various left-over balls of sock yarn (and was just SHOCKED to see exactly how many of those I actually had) and I've knit about 7 in two days.  They're pretty quick and they're easy to pick up and put down when I'm teaching knitting class.  I can see that this is going to be a problem.  Good thing I can turn them into a blanket when I'm all done (a year from now, lol).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Look what I got today!

Today was a good day!  My book order arrived from Knit Picks, including Modern Top Down Knitting (by Kristina McGowan), The Knitters Handy Book of Sweater Patterns (by Ann Budd), and Itty-Bitty Hats (by Susan B. Anderson).  I've wanted these books for a long time now, but I've always held off until now.  I really need the handy book of sweaters to help with an upcoming project, and since Knit Picks has that trusty free shipping with purchases over $50... I just had to get the others.  Really!  Don't look at me like that.  I was only going to get two but the price difference was only about 7 dollars after shipping was added in, so I just decided to spend that money on another book instead of shipping.  I managed to literally squeeze them onto my bookshelf, but if I try to add one more book to my collection, I'm going to need a new shelf.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Bride of Frankenstein!

 My latest pattern  for the Super Sock Scarefest!  Click the link to see all of the beautiful photos taken by the talented Raini Stout
 It was a dark and stormy night...
 The monster demanded a mate, and Frankenstein was working hard in the lab to give him one
 When we finally see The Bride, she's all wrapped up in gauze from head to foot.
Now you can have matching feet, just in time for winter pedicure season ;)

The pattern is free to Super Sock Scarefest members, and available for download for a short time.  After the group winds down for the year, it will be available to the general public through Ravelry, as well as this blog.  Please feel free to email me if you would like to be notified of it's general release.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A beautiful Saturday

Today was Alex's first trip to the temple, and while it wasn't without incedent (Alex knocked the prayer roll box off the counter and made a huge racket in the quiet temple), it went about as well as I could have expected. 

 We waited outside the distribution center for the rest of our group to arrive, and then we went in and heard some stories about how the site for the temple was chosen.  Did you know that there are fossils in the granite floors of the entry way?  I had no idea, but they pointed a few out.

 Then we got to go inside the temple and see the visitor center (for lack of a better word), and listen to another story about the sacrifice of early saints as they built some of the temples.  They also pointed out some of furniture and the rugs, and talked about how the trees and flowers symbolize the tree of life.  It was really neat.
We all got together after, and Raini took family photos of everyone, and some group shots in front of the temple.  By that time, Alex had just about enough of being still and quiet so we decided that we would skip the picnic afterwards and just head home.  (Can you believe I took that photo?!)  Anyway, if you would like to see the full album (there are just too many to post in the blog), you can view it by clicking on this  link.

Oh, and I made great progress on my socks yesterday.  I like how they're coming out but I really had my heart set on a certain element of the pattern and it just doesn't have the same impact without it.  I think I'll try it again on the second sock and see if I can't somehow get it to work.  

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

Friday, September 9, 2011


Just wanted to pop my head in to share my latest purchase: Coastal Knits.  I just pre-ordered my copy and I'm excited about knitting from this collection.  It called to me right away because I'm originally a California girl, so the West Coast knits all feel familiar and nostalgic to me.  However, I moved to Rhode Island about 10 years ago so the East Coast knits all feel like home.  What a perfect book to meet my bi-polar knitting needs :)  And as a fun bonus I got an instant download of two of the patterns, plus a few other neat little things.  I just need to find some time to knit just for me.  And I just realized...I'm self-employed when it comes to my design business, so I can knit for myself when ever I want I guess I'll start right after my commissioned piece :)

Also, I have just over 24 hours before I can upload my SSS2011 pattern!  And to help me get over the anxiousness I've started another design for the Fest, which I'll toss in as a potential bonus.

Oh, and Alex did just fine today on his second day of school.  He told me all about his day and I think he's going to end up having fun after all.  Tomorrow I'm driving him and a few others up to the Boston Temple for a Primary Activity and I can't wait for him to see it.  I'm sure he won't react like I expect, but I think he'll like it just the same.  So, I'm off to finish watching Halloween Resurrection, and then I'm off to bed.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rainy with Raini

This is my buddy Raini, and we were getting completely drenched in the rain while doing a photo shoot for my latest pattern design (which goes live 9/11/11).  She's so talented that she managed to take some really great photos with my little point & shoot camera.  I'm sure that we looked completely crazy to passers-by.  As a matter of fact, I know we did because a woman walked past us while we were doing one of the sidewalk shots, and she gave me The Eye.  Here's why:
Yep.  I looked like this, in public.  Plus, I was standing outside in the rain, in my handknit socks and a white skirt, getting completely soaked.  Sorry I had to cut off my feet in the photo, but the socks still can't be seen until after the pattern goes live.  But can you see my Vlad Shawl peaking out from under my husband's gortex jacket?  It rained so hard at one point that even his military-issued rain-proof coat couldn't keep me dry.  You should have seen me, with my wet sweater sleeves and my wet socks and crocs, at physical therapy.  I certainly made an impression in these socks, lol.  But at least my feet were still warm (wet socks and all).
Oh, and it also might have been Alex's first day of school today.  Lets just say that things went about as well as I expected they would, and that's why his teacher met me right as I picked him up to tell me that he'd had a difficult day.  I looked her straight in the eye and said "That doesn't surprise me."  We'll be scheduling a conference ASAP.  Also, Alex said school bored him and he doesn't want to go every day.  Sigh.  This is going to be a very, very long year.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What did I do to deserve this?

I've had a mixed day folks.  I managed to find the two balls of Blackstone Tweed in the discontinued colorway that I needed to reknit one of my samples to match one of my patterns-in-the-works.  That was fantastic, and I bought those bad boys before my debit card knew what hit it.  I also got quite a lot done in the shop today and I had the satisfaction of being able to see how my hands (which touched just about every yarn on the machine-wash side) were able to make a big difference in how pretty it all looked.  But then I got a few customers today who were having trouble with projects because they were trying to knit something with a different yarn than called for, in a totally different gauge than the pattern is calculated for, and they wondered why it wasn't working.  Someone actually asked me to explain to them why they liked knitting with one yarn but not the other...?  How should I know why you like one thing and not another?  And honestly, you have the right to like what you like and to dislike what you dislike, so you don't need to stand at my counter and try to justify it to me over and over.  We have a simple exchange policy.  If the yarn is still in original condition, and you have your receipt, that's all I need.  No explanation necessary.  And I tried to tell this customer that, but she continued to justify.  Let the guilt go.  It's okay to dislike a yarn that we like.  Just tell me what you want and I'll point you in that direction...and if you don't like it...just say so.  We'll move on.

Now, that being said, if you want to knit something but you don't have a pattern, and you don't want one (which seems to be happening more and more often lately), I respect that but I can't be responsible for the finished outcome of a project if you wing it.  There are no guarantees in knitting, just like there are no guarantees in life.  And there are lots of little pitfalls that less-experienced knitters (and even very experienced knitters) can get into when knitting a garment with no pattern.  Why?  Because maybe the yarn has more drape than you realized and it flops all over the place when it's supposed to be structured and firm.  Maybe you knit a yarn at the necessary gauge, but got a fabric so dense that it can stand in the corner by itself.  Maybe you got something that is delicate and will pill if not treated gently...and then knit mittens out of it (like I did).  Or maybe it's not even the yarn.  Maybe the yoke depth is too deep and it bags under the armpit (happened to me).  Maybe the rate in increase is too fast and the gusset isn't long enough to fit your thumb without pulling up the cuff (again, happened to me).  Maybe you wanted to make a boat-necked cardigan and wondered why you never saw any patterns for one (only to find out exactly WHY there aren't any).

Designers make a million mistakes and they learn from them all, and then they pool that knowledge into a well written pattern so that you can knit a garment without going through all that.  You just knit.  We cover most of the unexpected issues so you don't have to.  It's hard work, and it's all available for your convenience.  So, if you want to know how many yards of some random yarn you'll need to knit a vest for an eight-year old girl, I'm going to point you to a pattern because there are way too many variables to go over and it would make your head spin.  And if you decide that you still don't want one, I'll respect that, I'll give you a very rough estimate, but don't hold me to that...cause things are probably going to go off the rails.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Finally! haircuts!

It sure took long enough!  I've been pestering these boys all summer about getting a haircut and they've been putting it off and putting it off until they both had hair so long it was curling.  Legitimate curls.  Dante had ringlets!  Honestly I think that Alex dug in his heels because Dante was refusing a haircut, because once Dante finally gave in he was willing to get one too.  And that poor girl earned her money today.  He wiggled.  He giggled.  He whined.  He complained.  And through it all she just kept clipping and cutting, and when it was all done, he had his mohawk back.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the shop, Dante was getting a fade and having a chat with the barber (who is a friend of my husband) about fantasy football.  Then, we all came home and had something to eat, and then showers.  Now, they're truly ready for school on Thursday.

I finished my final project today and turned it in a little bit early.  I also sewed the buttons onto my socks and wove all the little ends in.  They are now on my sock blockers, looking cool, waiting for tomorrow night when I should be out in a cemetery in Warren shooting black & white shots of these socks with my buddy Raini (a talented photographer who has kindly agreed to lend me her expertise).  I sure hope we can make our schedules work, because I'm really excited about it.  I even shot off a quick email to The Powers That Be with photos of the design so she could get a sneak peak, just cause I had to show them to someone or I'd blow up!  But no worries.  I'm making some good progress on the next design and it should help take my mind off this one.  And the timing of these designs are perfect because it's been freezing around here at night and I've already pulled out my handknit socks (which are severely depleted due to worn-out heels).  I haven't knit myself a pair of socks in a while so the ones I have are really taking a beating.  Goodness knows, I've got enough in the stash for about 60 pairs of socks if I just sit down and knit them.  But that's a story for another day...

Oh, and I did a little experiment today.  I used my row counter to count how many times Alex asked me a question today.  I didn't start counting until 9am (cause I was sleepy and forgot about it...we were up at 7am), but from 9am - child asked me a question approximately 160 times.  That's actually on the low side given the 2 hours I didn't count, and all the times he asked questions that I answered automatically without remembering to click the row counter.  I discovered that when he starts a sentence with "Momma?..." he follows that with a question 90% of the time.  No wonder my brain doesn't work and I'm always tired :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

one down, one to go

Today, I not only finished knitting a full pair of socks for my SSS2011 design, but I also wrote the pattern!  I'm so stoked.  I wish I could show you a photo of the socks blocking, because they're hilarious looking (maybe I'll put up some blocking photos and photo shoot stuff after their release), but I have to wait till after they go live.  My husband told me that these are either going to be hugely popular (because they're so original) or they won't in between...and I think he's right.  Knitters are either gonna love this concept, or they'll hate it, but it doesn't matter to me.  I had a blast making them.  They're exactly what I want them to be.  And they represent a fun, old fashioned horror movie (one I could actually watch with my 5-year old, who likes old horror movies like his momma) so they're dear to my heart.

So what did I do to celebrate, you ask?  I cast right on for my next Scarefest pattern, which I hope will make it into the 10-day pattern rotation, but if not it'll probably be a bonus pattern.  This one was actually my first idea, and I'm really excited about it too.  I hope it turns out just as funky and cool as the first pattern did.  Now, for those of you who might be playing along with the Scarefest KAL this year, I can tell you that for next week's pattern, you'll need at least 400-600yds of fingering weight yarn with some elastic content, and 6 small buttons.  I used two balls of Knit One, Crochet Two's Soxx Appeal for my sample, in color # 9812 (fawn).  There are two leg options, and if you decide to knit a full pair using version 1, you'll most likely need 3 balls of Soxx Appeal (or 600yds), but if you decide to do one leg in version 1 and the other in version 2 (like I did) or both in version 2, you'll be fine with 2 balls.  You could also use Cascade fixation, but it's a sport weight yarn and that'll mean that you will need to recalculate the numbers a little bit to get it to fit properly...and I can't accurately estimate how much yarn you'll end up maybe you should just stick with something that knits up at 8sts per inch with elastic in it (you'll need the elastic!!).

And if you're wondering why I have a random picture of my baby boy in this's because he's super cute and I don't have any knitting photos that I can share with you yet (and also zoo photos haven't been uploaded yet, but they will be) so enjoy the mohawk!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fun with my boys, lol

Now I know that this is, at the end of the day, a knitting blog...but I've had projects that I wasn't free to share so I've been giving you some insights into my crazy day-to-day.  And I'm sure that you've seen just about all you want to see of my family on this blog (lol) but my mom (who lives 3,000 miles away) reads this blog to stay up to date on what we're doing, so you're gonna have to suck it up a little bit ;)  Or you can take it up with her...

Anyway, things are starting to get back to normal, which means that I've got lots and lots of stuff on my plate.  The boys both start school on Thursday.  Dante started seminary on Wednesday and I just had a meeting with his teacher about his expectations for the year (more stuff to keep track of).  I'm driving some of the kids and teachers up to the temple this Saturday for the upcoming Primary Temple Trip.  I have my final project due this Tuesday.  I have my first pattern for the Scarefest due on the 11th.  I still have physical therapy, and my cat is due for a check-up at the vet.  Whew!

Oh, and my MIL asked me to knit her a sweater that she saw in some high-fashion magazine.  She tore out the photo for me, and I immediately took out a pin and started sketching over the top of the photo, to correct the issues that make that sweater unwearable in real life.  Then I flipped through to find what the hot colors were for the season, and went to work to pick out single skeins of several different yarn options for her to choose from.  I have a feeling this monumental project is going to end up as my first official pattern release...since I have to design it anyway and will have done all this work.  This will be a project that I get to show you and I plan to take you through the bulk of the process with me so you can see how my brain works (can't promise it will be pretty, or make sense).

Now, unfortunately I had planned to upload a video for you but my blog was giving me a hard time, so you'll have to click here for the hilarity.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hurricane photos: The Final Chapter (lol)

 So, you've seen the last two episodes of hurricane/tropical storm Irene photos, and now I bring you the final chapter: How We Coped For 72 Hours Without Electricity.

As you can see here, we were pretty well stocked with snacks.  This is only a small portion of what we had on hand, and after all, when one has an apartment full of must keep the pantry stocked with Little Debbie snacks, lol.  Trail mix and wheat Ritz crackers were for me.

 Once we were able to leave our homes again, I took Alex to school and had Dante with me, running errands to the bank and walmart for additional supplies.  We had a charger that plugs into the car's cigarette lighter port.  It has regular outlets and a USB port so we could charge our phones, Nintendo DS's and Dante's iPod touch.  I didn't let the boys use the battery operated items until after 5pm when the light started to fade, and that way they had them when they really needed to have something to do, and no one's battery died in the middle of a game, in the dark.

After Alex got out of school, we went to the local libraries so he could play and we could take advantage of power, internet, and air conditioning.  We also keep up a steady supply of book for Alex to read.  At the newly remodeled Weaver library in East Providence, we found this awesome train table where Alex played for about an hour, during which I was able to sit at a tiny table in a tiny chair and work on my final project offline.

 There were several rooms with cool things like a puppet theater, a funhouse mirror, a lego table, and a station set up for babies 1-3 years old.  Dante went over to the teen section, found a beanbag chair, and read for a while. 

At some point in the day, Alex needed to go potty and when I took him into the bathroom in the children's section of the library, I felt like I was in Alice in Wonderland!  Everything was child-sized!  The sink was at his level.  The mirror was low enough for him to see himself in it.  He could actually reach the soap dispenser and the paper towel holder.  It was so cute, that I had to take photos of him at the sink, lol.
Later in the day, we went home to add more ice to the cooler, eat lunch, and stock up on snacks again.  Then it was off to the Barrington Library where we found half the town at the park with their children.  Unfortunately I wasn't prepared for the icecream truck to randomly pull up out of the blue, and Alex was pretty upset that I didn't have cash to get him an icecream.  That meant a trip to Riverside Creamery for a sub-par soft serve (because they take debit card).  At least the boy was happy.

Thankfully, the power was restored the day after this, so I have no more storm-related photos to show you.  Hopefully I'll be able to show you some of the knitting projects I've been working on, in an upcoming post.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hurricane Photos: part 2

Shaw's dairy section, 2 days after the storm

not much cheese left

donuts. the breakfast staple

cream cheese.  maybe it's going on all the donuts?

Target, the day after the storm.

I saw something just like this in Zombieland

nothing.  and it was dark.

still more nothing.

right about here I realized they had to pull all the refrigerated foods off the shelves.

a tree down.

trees down on either side of the street

tree down on the Blackstone Blvd.

more of the same.


clean up started first thing Monday morning, and was still going on as of Friday morning.
Tomorrow, photos of what got us through the first few days.