Sunday, December 30, 2007

Cabely Mittens and Grumpy Children



I finished some Very Cabley Mittens yesterday. I made them with Velvet Grape worsted Malabrigo - holy cozy. And the cables (even though they are slightly lost in the variegate) add such a nice texture, they massage my hand. I think I am taking a brief trip into Malabrigo addiction, my current "drug" of choice - and the mittens only took about 2/3 of one skein. Why do they pose so awfully, though? They look so *blech* laying there for pictures. Anyways, I have cast on an Amanda hat to go with my mittens. Why do I make hats, I mean, I give them all away because I look so stooopid in them. I can't seem to help myself. Does anyone else just make stuff to inevitably give away...someday?

Another aliens abduct anyone else's kids during the holiday season? Seriously, the crazy schedules and missed naps really have resulted in a bad case of the uglies around here. My little one had a colossal melt-down on Christmas night as we were trying to pack up for my parents. I was able to distract her with a quick bath - but it's so tough - the holidays must go on. Today I packed up the tree and stuffed everything with a Santa on it away until next year - such a sigh of relief. I really enjoy the holidays, the projects, the family get togethers, thinking up gift ideas - but I'm never terribly sad to see it go, we've all had about enough by I told my little, albeit grouchy, sweetheart - the tree is going night night until next year...shhhh. Goodnight tree.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hello winners! And some holiday loot!

Yesterday I used a random number generator to pick my two winners for the Dirty Wow Wow contest. A copy of the book goes to Aline over at Laine de Bergere - she was a new commenter, and she said it is the first contest she has entered! Yay! Some yarn goes to Christine, my blogless friend from the East Coast, the yarn will need to be negotiated. So, someone who I have known on-line for awhile and someone brand spankin' new - that makes me feel great! Thank you to everyone who played along and offered up their own warm fuzzy story about a childhood lovie, I truly enjoyed reading every one.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I sure did. I have had the last two days off and let me just say, I take "long winters' nap" too literally. I don't do well when my time is unstructured - further evidence why I would not make a good stay at home mom - I would never get out of my jammies and the kids would eat waffles for every meal. I'll head back to work tomorrow just for a day - the reality check I will need to survive 4 more days off.

Anyways, I did get some terrific yarn from my husband and sister - I got some Sundara from DH. Charcoal over Crimson - nice, the picture is pretty close. Very rich and lots of color depth.


And the crowning jewel, as it was last year, was from my sister. Direct from Yarntini herself - who literally just had a baby - sweet Babytini. I got a skein of Susie's Itty Bitty Susan, delicious like sweet tarts and two skeins of 100% cashmere in my "signature" Peaknit colorway - bubble gum pink - I feel so humble to have a pretty pink named after my blog. Gosh, what will it all become? I have never even held cashmere like this in my hand, like feathers - suggestions welcome - I know not what knit is worthy enough for such fanciness.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Hatmas!

I finished a couple of hats for the holidays - one for my brother-in-law, who went to The Life Aquatic with some movie certificates we gave him a couple of year's ago - so I present the Zissou hat - seems quite fitting, and the fit is quite stunning!

zissou hat for joe

I like how chose to wear it in the gnome-like fashion first - later he flipped up the cuff. Nice.

I also knit another Koolhaas for my sister to gift to someone. I had given her the Koolhaas I had meant to give her for Christmas, for oh, Halloween. I love this hat, love this pattern, I will do it again - only perhaps Ochre Malabrigo will be next. And maybe I will just suck it up and wear the fabulous hat - on my not-meant-for-hat-wearing-head. Some patterns are so cool, I may just have to wear a hat around the house, I am willing to take one for the knit-world team, if you will. And it's worth mentioning that Interweave is offering this pattern separate since the Holiday Knits mag is sold out.


All of this hat knitting has led my husband to ponder, he might even wear a hat. I consider this a victory. So another Zissou in yellow is in the queue. Other hats I have lusted include this Frivol which I first saw and loved over at Yarn Ball Boogie and the Amanda hat - I saw this one at Ravelry being knit by Bockstark - nice, with some seemingly So-Called-Scarf influence.

Now, please do not think I am leaving my comfortable life of sock knitting, I will not forget the security of my relationship with sockenwolle. I just want to fool around with hats for now, (sock) monogamy is so over rated. Hats are so instant gratitifcation - no commitment - they leave me breathless - sounds a lot like a 7-year-itch (without all of the complications of the real thing)...what can I say?

I have two winners for my blog-test, more on that tomorrow!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Read meme

I have been tagged by Auntly H. for a quick meme - it requires that I open the book I am currenting reading to page 161 and read the 5th sentence, and then tag 5 people...

Okay, so I am sitting here, after a hectic day of pre-Santa cleaning with an Old-Fashion sweet, my thinking cap is on. Though after I finish this drink, it may be a little askew...I am so hoping...okay, not really - but it is appealing sometimes to get a little tipsy when so many responsibilities beckon. Is it me?

Book I'm reading: A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas


Quote: "He was a tall man, and often drank from something in a brown paper bag, and he murmured "pretty lady" when we passed each other on the sidewalk."

Comment: I'm on page 146 so far - it's fair. In my opinion the writing style is somewhat disjointed, which given the topic is probably appropriate - though it is not reeling me in like I expected. It is a memoir about a woman whose husband is hit by a car and he suffers a traumatic brain injury. Her life, the aftermath for her, how everything changes, her struggles. She "collects" three dogs - hence the title. The quote is kind of weird - doesn't have any relationship to the big picture - but interesting.

update - I finished the book - last night. The writer grew on my by the end - her interesting perspective. I found this quote (page 160, go figure) compelling "I watch my dogs. They throw themselves into everything they do; even their sleeping is wholehearted. They aren't waiting for a better tomorrow, or looking back at their glory days. Following their example, I'm trying to stick to the present." Nice, good insight - food for thought.


Photodee (knowing I totally have to follow up with the Pay It Forward task - *sheepish grin*)
Nell at Chicken Knits
Marisol and Purls Just Wanna Have Fun
Susie at Susan B. Anderson
and anyone else that might like to play along...and if my tag-ees aren't into this kind of thing, that's okay too. It's Christmas afterall. *giggle*

Another thing Auntly H inspired is what are my favorite books...I would love to hear what other people like too, since I am always in search of a good book, always looking for the next suggestion...

My favorites, in no particular order are:
1. The Tales of The City collection by Armisted Maupin - I have read the whole set 5 times or more. I see Michael Tolliver Lives: A Novel was published in 2007 - glad I checked the spelling of Maupin on Amazon, another book on my wish list.

2. East of Eden by John Steninbeck

3. Just about Anything by Elizabeth Berg, but especially The Art of Mending.

4. The Pact or My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

5. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

5. Roots by Alex Hailey

6. The Runaway Pancake

7. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

8. Light on Snow by Anita Shreve

OMG, there have to be so many more - but that's it for now.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm *not* a loser, baby!


I won a contest over at Purls Just Wanna Have Fun - I left the 999th comment (with pleasure!). I love reading Marisol's adventures - and she has the most enviable stash ever. She posts regular enhancements that make me swoon. For my prize, she sent me some Vesper Sock Yarn (yes, coveted Vesper - wowza!) in Lovie, there could not be a more "Stacey" colorway - a neat felted bag pattern that I had admired on her blog and some home made cookies - I have already dipped into the cookies - so good. What are those teeny ones with red bits - gosh they are fabulous.


I also recently won a contest over at Knitterella - I have been remiss and have not posted about it before today. I got a whole variety package of her great knitting themes notecards - go buy some. She regularly updates her blog with the most incredible FO's.

Holy generous bloggers - thank you ladies for making my season a little brighter:)

Now, in case you haven't - please check out my little contest (scroll down to the previous post) - tell me about your lovie, the stuffed companions of your childhood. So far, I have been left breathless over the comments I have received - I feel like I am walking right down memory lane with a few of you - such thought, such true love for that bear or lamb. Meanwhile, I have been reading some of the entries in the Dirty Wow-Wow book - some make me giggle, some make me tearful - some delightful story-telling. And remember if you comment before noonish on the 26th there could be some yarn or a copy of the book in it for you:)

Lastly, my thought for the day - I was reading Susie's blog and she has written about "joy", feeling joy in your body - which fits like a glove for me today . I had the best yoga practice - it felt so good to have a quiet moment before the holiday insanity tries to kick in. I imagine yoga to be like "piling sandbags" - preparing for the storm, protecting *the house* (which is me) - I like visuals, yoga is good for that. Anyways, after practice, the small group of us shared some holiday insights - being accountable to yourself, avoiding others' toxicity, remembering the holidays are stressful, but finding time to enjoy some peace and serenity. I hope each and every one of you find a moment to enjoy the silence of the season. Thank you for stopping by and your continued support of my rambling. Bless you all!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A warm fuzzy deserving of a contest...

To know "Dirty Puppy" is to love "Dirty Puppy". My yougest has her favorite stuffed raggy ole dog - he goes everywhere - no amount of washing can get him clean again. He's, well...dirty.


A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I were doing some holiday shopping and we found this book at Anthropologie.


I was so awestruck by it - I mean, that's almost Dirty Puppy - this guy however is dubbed Dirty Wow-Wow, and he is the stand out star of the book. It is a "tribute to the threadbare companions of childhood". Now, isn't that a warm fuzzy? I had to have it, I couldn't stop thinking about it after we left the store - you can imagine the two-step - do I get it? leave it? - what the hell will I do with a book full of raggy old critters? Answer = love it. It's a total charmer. A great holiday gift for someone you know who has a long lost childhood lovie. Aint reminiscing grand? It's just a hug - if you need a hug or want to give one - here it is.

I had "Raggy" - and was she ever by the time she retired. I have a shoe box of Raggedy Ann arms and legs now - she was sewn together so many times. Sometimes a limb would even end up sewn on backwards, but I didn't care. This was the doll that my folks scoured town for more than once when she was left, accidentally abandoned, at Woodman's or forgotten at grandma's. (mom, if you are reading - leave a little story verifying Raggy and there will be something in it for you *giggle*) One year, I even got a new Raggedy Ann AND Andy from Santa but they were no comparison to my special dolly - they were just cheap reproductions - I mean I already had THE real Raggy, right?

Anyone up for a contest?? Just tell me if you had a lovie or special bear - or maybe if you didn't. I'll draw on the 26th for - let's say some yarn? Probably some other goodies as well. I love goodies...almost as much as I *heart* Raggy.

added later, after some thought and some really touching comments - I will also give away a copy of this book - it is too sweet not to share!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

More holiday knitting, wrapping - and rock and roll

**warning, ADD post ahead...

I have cranked out a few more Kolenyas - teacher gifts - with one spare in the middle. While leads to my only doubt about using Noro - I really like that middle mitt but the colorway does not really repeat, the next color is green, then orange? I am thinking the mate will look too fraternal. So back to Stitcher's Crossing for another skein so I can make a more compatible pair.

Look at this post over at Bella Dia - what a great collection of free gift tags to print off of the net. How cool someone did all of the leg work compiling the list.

How is your shopping and wrapping coming along? I may have mentioned this before - but wow - the more I get done, it seems the more my list grows - is someone throwing presents on my pile to wrap - what's going on here?

We wrapped up Christmas at the in-laws last night - my sibling-in-laws come from out of State so it makes sense - and it is nice to have a kick-off celebration before getting lost in the confusion of the holiday chaos. We had a great time! My husband and I got Guitar Hero for our Wii from his brother and wife - yes, my husband and I, not for the kids. DH was rocking out like he was a member of Poison today - Talk Dirty to Me (this is what the game actually looks like). Ah, tis the season to be a kid. Aint it great? What an awesome gift - thank you Mike and Joanne - we were tired from our festivities today - but next time you're here - we're having a rock concert at our house, okay? Booze will be provided.

Another Book Review


Another good read. I think I even found a bit of surprising insight at the end.

The book revolves around an upper middle class family - the promising 18-year-old daughter is involved in a car accident. She runs over a classmate while being distracted on the cellphone. The story is told from the mother's perpspective - and features glimpses into her own past, her underpriviledged life, her own relationship with her mother.

The narrator weighs heavily on the relationship she has with her daughter, she can't understand why her daughter "hates" her - she can't understand because she is nothing like her own mother, right? At the end there is such an "Ah -Ha" moment for me - her daughter confronts her - points out that she feels like the narrator looks at her with disdain. And you know what, she does, the mother realizes that she judges for the priviledged after her own poor childhood - and she sees her daughter as priviledged. Makes sense to me that this woman allowed her own envy towards people who have when she was a "have not" ebb into her family life - even though she provided this lifelstyle for her daughter. She is unconsciously jealous of her daughter's limitless possibilities, the way things come easily to her - until the car accident sweeps that away. I think it is only then that she can see her daughter struggle, almost wants her to struggle because of her own past lack of opportunity.

I am not sure I can get into words what I want to say. But this realization about the narrator was a wake up call for me - I was more of a "have not" as a child and I see a generation of kids with so much stuff - my own children - and I wonder - do I want them to fall on their face because they should "earn" it? I say "they'll appreciate things more if they have to work for them" - but is that really the truth? I know I envy people that I perceive have had things handed to them - and I know it's wrong for me to think this way - it's totally an insecurity thing, fear of being accepted. Makes me wonder out loud what wedges I create because of my envy? I think my own rush to judgment is a downfall, as it is this narrator. I also think it's the rush to judge before I am judged - beating someone to the punch - when who we were is not necessarily who we are.

Why is it at 36 years old I still have to find out ugly things about myself? *ugh* Though seriously, I am always glad to see things in the rearview mirror I otherwise wouldn't have. It's good to have your vision challenged. I do think it is so important to look at yourself, your behavior - I lecture this everyday to my criminal offenders - YOU CAN'T CHANGE ANYONE BUT YOURSELF - but man, to still be figuring out things every day - isn't life just amazing? It is probably a good thing that the journey never has to end - and that it is never too late to change and try harder. So I am resigned try harder.

I feel a little naked after this post - being honest with strangers that I am not perfect - ouch. *sigh - to err is human*

Up next - real knitting content - I hope (I'll feel less naked:).

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sign of the Times


We visited Santa last night at the Hilldale Mall. When we got there he was on his cell phone - imagine. A fellow mom walked by and whispered "He's on his cell phone?! That's sick!" Actually, sadly, it's a sign of the times. I mean why wouldn't Santa be calling Mrs. Clause? Checking on the Elves? I mean people everywhere are on their damn phone right? (myself not excluded on occasion) I had a holiday meet up with some girlfriend's at a restaurant tonight and a man hugged a friend who had just arrived, while talking on his phone - wtf? What a multi-tasker. To compliment my previous rant about wanting to heighten my mindfulness, how about a little attentiveness? I love the convenience of the cell phone but egads, the annoyance of it all - is everything just a little too easy?

Well, I 'll tell you something that wasn't easy - spinning! Okay, it wasn't hard either - I think it is an art. I took a class last night at the Sow's Ear - what fun. I learned basic drop spindle and some plying. I have several balls of roving to practice on and hope to hone my skills over the holiday - I was a bit too thick and thin for my taste last night, I like simple lines, so practice, practice! If the sun ever comes out I'll have to post my little schmibbles.

BTW, the Hilldale Mall has an Anthropologie store!! I was so excited to get to see one in person, beautiful! My sister asked what one gets at Anthropologie - my response "inspiration"!


**update - my first spun yarn - Ernest loves it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I don't *heart* those kamikazee freaks

who sneak up and steal your ebay prize at. the. last. second. Okay, I feel better having vented. I had a good bid on a little something to "go with" a secret holiday knit and darnitall if someone didn't rip me off at the last minute - nice. I am taking it far too personally, right? I realized as I was searching for that something to go with my knitted something-something, being thoughtful is time consuming:) You know it is, between knitting things and then finding complimenting prizes. (but also so worth it for special peeps)

After that disappointment I needed a shot in the arm - I admired yarn.


Some so soft Malabrigo - for a hat. And after seeing Jared of Brooklyn Tweed's recent version of the Koolhaas in the same - I think I have made a decision for this skein. Maybe it will be next, maybe after the holidays. Even though I do not wear hats - I almost want this one for me - it is a work of art, or architechture.

Along a seperate vein...Photodee has made me think lately with all of her recent thought provoking blog this is what I came up with today...

I have realized that my word for the day should be "mindful" - to be aware and attentive. This time of year is a good time to slow up and consider this word, consider what it means. To me it means be in the moment. It's pretty overwhelming - packages, wrapping, shopping, baking - wow - easy to let things get a little chaotic and think "I'll pay attention later" - since when don't have time to pay attention? So I know I need to slow down, breathe and find some sweet spots through the day to be attentive to my surroundings...sounds an awful lot like meditation doesn't it. My goal for tomorrow is to be mindful enough to take time to be mindful. I challenge you to do the same *grin*...I'm only think of your mental health. 13 more shopping days til x-mas...ugh.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Batting .500

I'm batting .500 because I have read two books this week - one a winner, one not so much...I have read several Ann Patchett books in the past and have enjoyed them, passed them on and even recommended them, but then I read Run. I did not like this one. I did not find the characters very warm or interesting and I felt that the story was predictable. I feel kind of bad not liking this book - I think she has just hit it out of the park for me before and this one...I just didn't enjoy it that much - kind of rushed through at the end simply to move on. And move on I did - to a much better read.


I truly enjoyed Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen...after a year or more of avoiding this title, I finally gave in - I have leaned away from this book simply because I hate clowns and by virtue - hate the circus. This book is all about the circus - don't be scared folks - it was a wonderful story. The setting is the Great Depression and the narrator is so innocent and likable. It is told from the perspective of Jacob, a promising young man whose life has fallen apart in the most tragic way. We watch and see how he he handles himself in the face of struggle and inexperience. The storyline flips back and forth between his present life as an elderly man in a nursing home feeling forgotten and confused to his robust youth in the most colorful setting. The author offers such rich description - I could taste the cotton candy and smell the hobo-like men who nworked the circus for peanuts - almost literally. It paints the circus biz as corrupt and criminal - but the characters - shady as they may be - are interesting. I found myself having strong feelings about some of them while rooting for Jacob.

This one is a keeper...meaning it will not make it's way to my swap pile for Paperback Swap. I just received A Three Dog Life today - if you like to read, go sign up, for just the cost of media mail shipping, you can get some "new" books - trade books, save some money. Genious.

Not so much...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Foliage and a little bit of this and a little bit of that...


I finished Foliage for a friend for the upcoming holidays - it's hard to mkae out the detials on my daughter's little noggin, but I think it will be perfect for my girlfriend. Nice and cozy in Classic Elite Waterlily yarn. What a quick and simple knit.

foliage crown

I Christmas shopped today and have determined holiday shopping is like Chinese food for me - the more I eat, the more I have left on my plate somehow...I shop, yet my list never seems to get shorter - I shop in true ADD form, flit from this to that and nothing on my list gets check off. I am sure that I making progress but I need to wrap and check off my list so I can feel some accomplishment.

I was, however, pretty excited to get one silly thing for my daughter. Anyone have a daughter who loves Hannah Montana? Well, Disney is releasing a Hannah 3-d movie for one week in February and you can pre-order your tickets - what a fun mommy-daughter day, and an event I can gift for the holidays from just me. (and it's waaaay cheaper than the thousands of dollars parents are paying for live concert tickets - holy crap) I also picked up the Hannah CD, got some Hannah stickers and a gift bag. I think young girls are into HM... I think there is something special about this little girl, she is a positive role model for now - Miley Cyrus - even Oprah said so!


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Off the socks.

It's been a week now since I knit so much as a stitch on a sock. I am feeling a little twitchy, but holiday projects require my attention. And no one is getting socks - I could try to knit a pair with good intentions - but I know one is getting socks.

I have been working primarily on fingerless mitts. Seems like I spiraled into these babies last year around this time - the Fetching had me by the ears - but this year is the Kolenya after seeing Elemm's holiday gift version for his friend (scroll down). I am not as excited by my colorway choice, but it was stash diving, so I feel accomplished about that. This pair, and several like it,will be teachers' gifts - along with a few other goodies and of course a note thanking them for having my daughters in "good hands" - I can't forgo the pun.

And my next Koolhaas is on the brain. I have the pattern laid out before me now and just finished surfing Ravelry for inspiration. I initially bought a vibrant blue Sheep Shop 3 for this project but it may be a bit thin...I could double it up? Then I see Jared himself is using Malabrigo for his latest - hmmm. Look at that, I write "Jared" like I know this knitting/ spinning/ designing guru - I hope he will forgive my familiarity - just knitters are amazing, we - are - fam-i-ly...right?

I have enjoyed hats - quick knits - well, Koolhaas is a bit complicated but still, it's not a socks-long project. How many hours does a pair of socks take you? I'm thinking 15-18 hours per pair - so am I slow or just about right?

Anyways - the Meathead, now there is an Instant Gratification (IG) project. I made these several months ago for no one in particular, though one daughter has staked claim on the Manos version. I am still considering embellishments...a felted flower would be about perfect, like the one from Susan B. Anderson's Itty Bitty Hats - but I must admit that my own childrens' needs are a bit lower on the priority list than those pesky holiday give-a-ways, as a consolation, their needs may be just above socks. But barely - a junkie needs a sock fix once in awhile. Maybe I could knit and give some bedsocks, something more IG? What IG's are you knitting? (please tell me, so I may steal your ideas - so shameless)

Other holiday knits...Stella probably needs a new outfit and my youngest daughter should probably get a doll or maybe Grumpy Old Bear (though I'm guessing I couldn't give him away either...I'm nothing if not a realist). Maybe we could start a new holiday on New Year's Day gifts-from-mom's-needles-to-children's-hearts - a.k.a. gifts that didn't make it for Christmas because of teachers, aunts, uncles, grandmas, friends, mail ladies, dog groomers - lest I forget buying, gift wrapping, Chistmas cards, decorating, dinner making, party going, make up applying, sparkly dress shopping, over indulging...gosh, that just seems all backwards when I really think about it. Maybe if I throw in church going, elementary school concert attending, caroling and volunteering - yep, that sounds a little better. Does your heart palpitate at the thought of everything that's coming? My gosh, I felt so in control and now it's December?! crap.