Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Let's put the "fun" back in dysfunctional! With a cherry on top...


"with the exception of Lisa, we were not a hugging people. In terms of emotional comfort it was our belief that no amount of physical contact could match the healing powers of a well-made cocktail..."

I giggled when I heard that. I recently enjoyed several hours of David Sedaris on CD while I drove to meet a friend. My gosh, this dry humored, vocabulary rich book was a fun one - every once in a while, I would bust out laughing in the car - the dysfunction - gosh, is that the Amercican way? Well, it was good fun.


I finished knitting a cupcake hat from Itty Bitty Nursery by Susan B. Anderson this weekend for my little one. The pictures aren't great - it was dreary out and I interrupted "Ratatouille" for these poses - geez, mom. OMG, it is so cute - I almost don't want her to wear it to school - because what if it does not come home? Reminds me of the commerical where the mom is taking collateral from the kid to take Tupperware to school - kind of the same thing. I need to knit up a "Gladware" equivelent for school, huh?


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Go Big Red!


These are my finished Belevedere socks - designed for me by Kirsten Kapur of Through the Loops. I've mentioned them before, only now I have a second one. I finished it up last night. (isn't the word finished a wonderful word, like the exhale in a yoga pose, where you settle in and appreciate - ah, finished...)

I really enjoyed this pattern and love these socks. I feel like mine comes pretty close in gauge to Kirsten's. The pattern has a 24 line chart which is a treat to knit, I didn't find myself getting confused or lost - and this is an accomplishment, believe me. I am so pleased to have a pair- and just in time. I wore them today to the UW-Madison men's basketball game, how auspicious - go Big Red, go Bucky!

What a great game - I always have fun people watching and studying the program - once I can name the players, I'm in for the season. Right away, I wanted to offer a vendor money for a pen, I mean - I forgot my pen - I couldn't write my random thoughts - darnit. I'm could be that weirdo with the notebook - jotting whathaveyou's. Afterwards we stopped at the new Anthropologie shop, had to write my scribbles - what a lot of sensory candy there - the textures and colors. Thank gosh I had my pen. Anyone else do this? I'm a little notepad whore just for this reason.
Lastly, life is good. I have been trying savor the little things as I prepare for holiday stress and insanity - so, yoga deserves a second plug today. I finally returned to my organized yoga practice this morning after several months of fearing my back pain - it felt so good, namaste. My teacher was so wonderful, I am sure she added some back opening stretches, just for me... I took a little less strenuous class just to assure that I would not injure myself - good move as my tight hamstrings were screaming. If you are looking for a muscle toning, relaxing (okay, well, not right away - but patience grasshoppa), non-competitive class - please open your mind and schedule to yoga, it is the next best thing - next best to knitting, silly.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Blooming with goodies


I received my very last Petals kit from Sundara Yarn. So sad. but the finale is good, I like the pinky pink yarn - Magnolia. With a lovely pattern of the same name. I will miss receiving this gift every other month, the packaging, the pattern - delicious eye candy. I have learned that Sundara may be publishing a book next year which will include some, or all? of her sock club exclusive patterns - fyi. How wonderful it that? In my own mind, Sundara is like King Midas - everything she touches - pure genious. Meanwhile, I somehow practiced restraint and avoided diving into her next club endeavor - Seasons. It will feature a diverse offering of her different yarns in a various pallettes - I let the price tag discourage me until, thank gosh, it was too late - the link was down. I now will have to vicariously look forward to what it has in store and save my nickels for the next round.

I made this fun little bag yesterday - it's a major practice run, the top stitching is kind of pathetic, but look it matches my yarn.


I stood in the fabric cutting line at Joann's for an eternity today - I didn't want to do a lick of Black Friday shopping, yet, there I was. I got some upholstery fabrics and more suitable interfacing - for a sturdier bag. I practiced with quilting cotton and some warm n natural batting. I tried some Timtex - egads, it was so stiff, which led me back to my sewing closet - hmmm, batting it is - so I am hoping a mid-weight decor interface will be more appropriate. If I had taken the time to quilt the piece, it might have held it's shape better. We'll see how the next round goes, I'm pretty excited about some sweet bags for holiday gifts - stuffed with goodies.


And speaking of goodies...I came home Wednesday to a delightful treat! I had talked back and forth with Auntly H. about purchasing the XS Firestarter kit from Yarnissima - maybe pooling our resources and our shipping - well, Auntly H. surprised me with a kit - what a treat - many thanks! I would love to make several of these for my own tree. If I had off between now and Christmas I'd love to make one for every participant in the KAL - ah, but my day job gets in the way of everything. What a great way to use up some of my Wollmeise scraps - such generous yardage.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

the road


This book leaves me so much to be thankful for. What a sad, heartbreaking story yet, somehow - in spite of the desolation and agony - it's a painfully sweet love story between father and son. Readers have many theories as to why the Earth is in ruins, but in any case - this book kind of left me afraid to close my eyes at night, I could feel the empty pain of the two main characters - the end felt near. Thankfully, I was able to open my eyes and renew joy for what I do have - this book reminds you to do that. I read it in three days because I could not bear to feel so sad before morose and cryptic. In spite of the dark, dank setting - somehow it is a good read - quick, odd prose - a candystore full of lost words - sepulchre, veneration - a plate full. (Even one tiny reference to knitting.)

Other than reading sad books today - I am making a small Thanksgiving feast for my own family - just me, dh and the girls. This is a departure from years past but I have actually looked forward to this pajama party all week. We are being so lazy and selfish, lounging in front of the Packers and Ratatouille. I hope to sew one of these bags - a test run, if you will. And of course, knitting will come in somewhere. Maybe after the apple pie?

On the knitting front I have finished and mailed my Harvest Jaywalker to my partner - sigh of relief. I have never had a sock wrestle me to the ground quite like this Jay. And I am working away on my Belvedere - I've turned the heel - I see a pair in my future.

I've read some wonderful posts about being thankful. This is the part of the season I do look forward too - the Rip Van Winkle feelings wake up - the warm fuzzies, the love - I mean even the Grinch could figure it out. So I hope you are enjoying family time or even just reflection - it's like a nice rejuvenation before the stress begins - time to remember indeed what is the reason for the season before all of the wrappings, boxes and bags. Have a delightfully thankful day!

**my favorite part of the day was bedtime - my youngest has a hard time settling down- so the four of us all laid like logs in the dark on the living room floor. Tutti was out in a minute - but I laid there truly realizing what it is that I am thankful for today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

never enough time and have you wandered over...

sereknity, madeline tosh, wollmeise and sheep shop

Yarn, so intoxicating. I'm not sure when yarn became the stereotypical woman's shoes for me - but I have to have every color. For some reason, I think it's my addiction. That's not new information - more of the same. I used to be a fairly serious quilter - I wasn't so endeared to fabric, loved it but never like this. So, I've decided there is no immediate cure in sight. I must embrace this "disease", use my yarn allowance wisely and figure out how I can insulate my house with yarn.

Above is a collection of my most recent acquisitions - less sock clubs of course, gulp. Wollmeise is the only repeat...the rest are all new things I want to try. I think the Madeline Tosh will be my very own pair of Embossed Leaves socks. The Sheep Shop is earmarked for a vibrant Koolhaas hat for a friend for Christmas. The Wollmeise will go under my pillow - and the Sereknity, sport weight, might make a quick pair of lounge socks. Where on my to do list will all of these fall? God only knows.


Have you wandered over to the Sew, Mama, Sew blog? November is a month of handmade gifts. What a load of great ideas.

They also have a meme posted, so go on over and link up!


Do you have a favorite gift that you love to give? Unfortunately I have fallen victim to giving too many giftcards - it's easy and you please the giftee. And quite simply, not everyone loves hand mande and I don't get enough hand made gifts so I must treat myself, right?:) Seriously, I like to make hats and mittens to give - or another fun thing was embellishedpocket warmers for my parents last year - they are avid walkers and enjoy warming their mitts.

If you’re making gifts this year, what are you making? (Post photos if you have some!) Technically I already made and gave my sister this hat. I hope to make another for a special girlfriend. I have handknit clog slippers in mind for a special family member and a novelty hat for another. I would like to make these cute bags for some friends with some silly, fun lipgloss and handmade keyrings. Look at all of the neat things that Lisa Leonard makes...

Do you have any good stories about handcrafted gifts you’ve given or received?
Sadly, no one makes me anything anymore. I think my "reputation" as a crafter scares potential handmade gifts away, people just figure I can make it myself:( But, growing up my grandma made me a beautiful crocheted wedding dress for my barbie, complete with a hat and nosegay - I still have it - a treasured piece. I really need to get it framed as a keepsake.

Do you have any great gift compilation ideas (a grouping of gifts just perfect for certain recipients?) I think so - that "pump it up" lip gloss I mentioned is called "sexy mother pucker", with the little handmade bag and some other little pretty goodies. I like to make theme gifts - like stress reduction kits or silly movies with popcorn and treats. One year I filled a bulletin board with giftcards for the movies, groceries, restaurants for my sister and her then new husband. So fun to put things together.

Name one thing on your personal wish list.
Um, yarn.

Do you make and sell things that would make fantastic gifts?
Not now, but maybe someday? I so missed my calling.


What is your favorite family holiday tradition? Food - seriously, watching my husband and his siblings count the "smoky chubbies" to make sure all is fair for the past 20 years is always amusing, and the appetizers we have at my parents house is so good. Otherwise, I love going to church on x-mas eve - so peaceful, except too many people. I'd like to go to a midnight mass, but then I should be Catholic for that, right?

Have you started any new traditions with your family that you didn’t practice growing up? I subsribe to many of the same things I grew up with - why change a good thing? Oh wait, I started having a drink before a certain holiday get together - totally a great tradition! Ah, the power of a buzz.

What do you love most about the holiday season? The music, I have compiled a music CD for several years that I send out to super special people and enjoy hearing kind comments back about how they put their tree up to "my" CD - that makes me feel great - spreading cheer. The day after Thanksgiving my collection of holiday CD's gets rolled out. I start thinking of next years CD right after Christmas - though I missed last year, so we'll see if I can get the tradition up and running again.

What do you like least about the holiday season? The stress and perfectionism of it all. The fact that I do things because I should not because I want to.

Anyone close to your heart that you’ll be missing this year? I think I'll be blessed enough to see or touch base with most everyone I really want to - special friends and family.

What is your favorite holiday food? bacon wrapped cocktail weiners, they give me a tummy ache, but oy, so good!

Do you have a great recipe to share? I surely do have one or two - holiday wassail - let me know if you want the recipe, I'd be happy to e-mail it to you:)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

sugary sweetness


At last, a finished project. I love that moment, when the last end is woven in and I can pack my yarn scraps away, put the needles where they belong and feel accomplished. My teeth almost ache with the sweetness of the victory. Usually by the end of the second sock, I won't lie to you, I am glad to be done. I've been making good on my attempt to finish pairs rather than singles - I present the "dahlia". Lots of twisted stitches. I think that twisted stitches really define each little row of knots. This particular pattern was exclusive to Sundara Yarn's now defunct Petals Collection. It is fitting that I am waiting for my last installment.


The yarn I chose was also Sundara but not the skein that was paired with the pattern. Grape Hyacinth. I enjoyed this sock - it took just over a week - I could measure my progress in 6 row charts. Now, here's the question - do I now need to buy a sweater to match? I have made several great pairs of socks only to realize when I am done - what the hell can I wear those with? Would it be too Beetle Juice to wear all black and my electric blue socks? *giggle* Seriously, my recent Firestarter led to the purchase and return of two blue tops at the Gap that didn't quite match. I wanted to blurt out "I knit" when the salesgirl asked "is there anything wrong with these?" when I returned them - talk about a missed opportunity to see a dumbfounded head tilt - doh! But seriously, how matchy is too matchy?

What's up with all of the blue?

So, what's next up? Well, Belvedere, for one - my half of a pair created by Kirsten over at Through the Loops. I. can't. wait. Then there are holiday projects - my minds moves faster than my knitting needles unfortunately. Would being sick from project ideas welling up in your head be reason to call in to work? I thought so! *naughty knitter*

It might be appropriate if I worked for Dunder Mifflin, eh? But then Michael did sacrifice himself and reported to work after he burned his feet on a George Foreman...Pam, will you butter my feet? Instead, I could say, "Dan, could you sharpen my knitting needle? Wind my yarn? I won't be well until my ends are woven..." The Office fans, I know you feel me. "Give me a break, give me a break, break me off a piece of that...Fancy. Feast."

Totally gratutitous, yet speaking of Fancy Feast - doesn't Ernest look just, well, earnest?


Saturday, November 10, 2007

I Want Handspun

Sing the title to the tune of I Want Candy by 80's sensation Bow Wow Wow.

Funky Carolina Poison Blue-Faced Leistecer

Zen String African Superwash in Parfait

Funky Carolina Handspun in Cole

The Gabby Knitter Handspun in Strawberry-Peach Tea

So I have been collecting some handspun and to-be-hand-spun roving over the past month. I am so curious. I never thought - no, I told myself "stay away from the spinning wheel..." but here I am looking wistfully at hand spun and wanting to make some. I am seeing whimsical hats and mittens, scarves and socks, oh my. I signed up for a drop spindle class at The Sow's Ear - I have my spindle ready - I have a teeny roving pile prepped...look out, here I come!

And since I love a, who can I blame for this spiral into spinning? Well, for starters, Carrie from Funky Carolina for being so amazing. Then there is Tina who made this recently (scroll down). And Christine, my wonderful non-blogging knitting pen-pal who provided me the spindle and some roving. Then there is Dianne at work who keeps mentioning how we need to go try spinning wheels somewhere (by the way, Dianne, I heard of a place today). And Elemmaciltur who has started spin and won't stop talking about it - oh wait - I mean he has stopped talking to spin per the last Knitter's Uncensored podcast - he is now banned from spinning during recording so he can speak:) And Hello Yarn - wow. Oh who else? I'm sure you know who you are. *giggle*

Now, if I ever actually spin something, you will be the first to know.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

This Sock (wait for it...) ROCKS!


Introducing "Belvedere" designed and knit expressly for me by Kirsten over at Through the Loops as part of a swap. Her pictures are so much more fabulous - I think I can easily say I have been knit for by a knitting Rock Star! What a neat, generous, thoughtful swap package. The sock alone is amazing - it's hard to see the details in my photos - but twisted rib cuff, a 24 line chart, not to mention professional pattern and design work. She even wrote this for my favored dpn method when she typically writes for two circulars - how unselfish. Peek over at Kirtsen's blog and you will see she is no stranger to pattern design. She has people test knitting the Belvedere as she plans to offer the pattern. (um, did I say "wow"?)

I could not have tailored a more perfect sock for myself - the fit is exquisite. It is knit in Socks that Rock in Brick - and my task is to now knit the other one. I hope to cast on this weekend, I can hardly wait! I'm still feeling a bit overwhelmed. The rest of the goodie bag was equally thoughtful - and color coordinated. Anyone who knows me - knows that I truly appreciate symmetry and coordination - Kirsten's attentiveness to detail was not lost on me.


Kirsten's package also included 3 sizes of dpn - #1, #1.5 and #2 - wow. I am a tight knitter so I will start on #2's but how wonderful to see I have lots of choices. She also sewed a knitting project bag (with an i-cord pull) and she included a skein of Araucania in a beautiful heathery blue. (again - may I just say "wow"?)


My pal in this particular swap was Jazz over at Crumbs and Co - I knit the Embossed Leaves sock - which pales in comparison, but for the record, I loved the Sundara yarn and EL pattern with my whole heart. :)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

stolen survey

What I am really psyched to post about is my sock pal, the sock I received and the much love I have for my incredible new sock - but it was dark when I got home and that post is totally deserving of the best photo I can take. So until maybe tomorrow - I am robber, a thief, a burglar, a bandit...

The following survey was blatantly stolen from Elemmaciltur ...

01. Can you cook? Yes (well, I think so) - and sometimes I truly enjoy creating things and being kind of daring (as in fire). Mostly, I love making brunch or fabulous desserts. I've actually been pondering this a lot lately, I feel like I don't cook fun things for my family enough - always looking for the latest, quickest, easiest what-have-you - please feel free to link me to any simple recipes.

02. What was your dream growing up? That I would be a veternarian.

03. What talent do you wish you had? I wish that I could play the piano or ballroom dance.

04. If I bought you a drink what would it be? Rum and diet coke - or just diet coke - love fountain soda.

05. Favorite vegetable? corn on the cob - I live in the Midwest, it's like a rite of passage.

06. What was the last book you read? Mercy by Jodi Picoult

07. What zodiac sign are you ? Taurus

08. Any tattoos and/or piercings? just generic ear piercings.

09. Worst habit? Impatience, stand-offishness.

10. If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride? Heck yes - I would recognize you from your blog - which has happened a lot lately.

11. What is your favorite sport? Football

12. Negative or optimistic attitude? Generally optimistic with a dash of realistic

13. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me? So, what's on your needles?

14. Worst thing to ever happen to you? hmmm, I've been blessed. Recently, having my back go out was the omst painful, humbling thing ever. I cried and crawled a lot. MY temporary best friend was Percocet - glad we are no longer speaking.

15. Tell me one weird fact about you. I have "hitchhiker's thumb"

16. Do you have any pets? Two cats and a dog

17. What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly? I'd immediately think about the mess - then I'd have you in - explain the mess and offer you a drink.

18. What was your first impression of me? Fun! Sassy!

19. Do you think clowns are cute or scary? F-ing scary - hate them. At parades - and I am not kidding, they seek me out.

20. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be? less thick waist...botox...oh wait, just one right?

21. Would you be my crime partner or my conscience? conscience for sure - I work in law enforcement - have lots of ethics.

22. What color eyes do you have? Blue

23. Ever been arrested? Nope

24. Bottle or draft? Bottle

25. If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it? Pay some debt - and buy tickets to DisneyWorld - my sister-in-law is getting married in FL next year and I need to start planning.

26. Would you date me? Probably no - my husband wouldn't like it, and I think you prefer men. :)

27. Where's your favorite place to hang out? Just at home - on my couch - or at yoga class in my own head.

28. Do you believe in ghosts? not really

29. Favorite thing to do in your spare time? Um, knit - duh. Or read.

30. Do you swear a lot? Shamefully so. But I can monitor myself well - I usually let a "new" person swear first.

31. Biggest pet peeve? Cell phones - people yapping on them everywhere - the doctor's office, the book store, the grocery store, in the car - eeeerg.

32. In one word, how would you describe yourself? quiet (until you know me, even then, if I am not sure of someone...quiet) and dry, terribly dry and way funnier than my husband - we have a running contest.

33. Do you believe in/appreciate romance? not really - don't believe in soul mates. I'm too practical for romance.:) I do like a nice dinner, candles, nice music - combined with practical chatter about life.

34. If you could spend 12 hours with me and ask/do anything you like, what would it be? Knit, drink, chat - learn about Germany, learn about you - your history.

35. Do you believe in God? Absolutely - though I have occasional doubts - I like to think most people do. However, my faith is the first place I turn under stress.

36. Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same? I'm not sure I understand the question - but yes, feel free to steal this survey - like 20 questions. er, I mean 36 questions.

Let me know if you blog this, it's fun getting to know you bloggers.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Harvest saga sock continues


So I am nearly back to where I was when I had to rip back the whole darn thing. I went up a 1/2 a needle size and the sock subseqiently went from striping to it's current more pooley state. I'd be a big fat liar if I didn't say I liked the striping effect a bit more - but thankfully, the colorway (Punkinhead by Yarn Pirate) is subtle, so I don't think the pooling is awful - not like this, anyways. However, "pooley love" is in the eye of the beholder, right? Somehow, I have it stuck in my head that pooley = defective - where did I get this notion? It is unfounded, right?

So what do you think? I love the sock, I would wear it, even in this pooley state - but what I really hope is that my pal likes it. She said she wanted to try a Jaywalker - so I was guiltily thinking - "wow, easy peasey" - that was before I cast it on 4 different times, and completely frogged it from the middle of the foot. Ha, the fiber gods are laughing at me for being so cocky. Shhya. With any luck (and clearly this clever sock is requiring some good karma), I should wrap it up by the end of the weekend so I can put the package together. I am not sure what I will do if I try to pull it on again and it is too small...again. I'm thinking fire must be involved at that point. There will definitely a sock-rifice if it doesn't fit - and lots more of cursing...

Holy Sh*t! I have f-ed up again - really - look at my sock and compare it to the old sock - instead of a ribbed heel as the pattern dictates - I have made a stockinette heel. WTF? This sock is trying to kill me...

**please note that I noticed this error as I am about to start the toe - yep, aint ripping it back - aint doing it. Instead I will go to bed and scream into my pillow.

**disclaimer - wait - I don't hate the stockinette heel - I like stockinette - crisp, simple stockinette - but it isn't what the pattern calls for so I am just pissed at myself for not paying attention...ugh.