Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday :: the everything hurts edition

Tis the season for aches and pains. Between pushing a bit too hard in yoga Thursday night and some headachey-throat-garbage, today = ugh...

But I have things to share and knitting and spinning is a worthy distraction from feeling sorry for myself. My knitting penpal, Christine and I did a single sock swap. We had planned this last year and it came to fruition this week. I have been waiting to share.

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I chose the Marilinda sock by Cookie A. for Christine. I purchased some Woolen Rabbit Harmony Sock in Neptune and cast on before Inaugeration Day - thinking I would knit some Obama wisdom right into the leg. I loved this pattern - like most Cookie concoctions, it had just enough twists and turns to keep my interest. The heel flap was the most visually exciting I have done - the pattern runs down to the foot, a cable marks the center back right to the floor. I had done a lot of reading a Ravelry about how the gauge and fit was throwing people for a loop - I was thinking I chose lucky because that was not an issue for me - or so I thought. I really didn't make any significant changes on purpose. I did realize as I went to decrease for the toe that I had left 10 extra stitches on the sole - omg. But I had tried the sock on as I went and it was fitting. Christine's measurements up to the length of the foot are comparable to mine - I was stumped how I screwed up and yet it fit. So I went forward, promising to re-do it if it turned out not to fit the recipient. Strangely enough, it fit. So apparently, I did not choose lucky, I was just plain lucky.

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In return, I got a Cookie A. sock also - you know what they say about great minds. The strange thing is that I had considered this sock hard before deciding finally on the Marilinda. Christine knit me the Marlene from the Fall/ Winter knit.1 in String Theory yarn, which I must attest - is super squishey. The rest of the swap package she sent simply (and literally) knocked my socks off. I need to go to swap school, because Christine's thoughtful package was amazing. Not just a perfectly fitting Marlene, but Crown Mountain Farms Sock Hop in Pretty Woman...oh wait, that isn't the end either. Some gorgeous SW Merino Roving from an etsy seller, new to me, 1,000 Petals, candy, a pretty paperweight from another etsy person, 2 new books to read and an entertainment magazine with my Twilight loves in it. Wow - I was, and am speechless. Thank you!

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

pay it forward - check!

Over a year ago I committed myself to the "pay it forward" wave. I signed up on someone's blog, that someone was supposed to send three people a handmade gift within 365 days and then those three people (myself included) posted the same offer on their own blog - and so on. Okay, well, it's been more like 395 days but I did it. I have been feeling incredibly guilty about not being more timely - but alas - my pay-it-forwardees should have something today or Monday. Hence:

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sweetheart washcloths by Susan B. Anderson

I know, it's a repeat picture. This was part of my pay-it-forward though. I also included goodies from several etsy sellers I *heart* - spindlecat studio and a new one to me, Lippincott Soap Company. Esty is killing me with all of the wonderful goodies over there. I wonder if I could start working for roving at Pigeonroof Studios.

I've also been spinning a bit too.

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HelloYarn in Red Velvet Cake

I spin with no final project in mind...anyone else do this? How does it end up for you? I'm so darned aimless. I do have a Funky Carolina handspun hat swap in March, so I am about to depart from my usual lack of planning.

But til then, let me close out my randomness - saw Slumdog Millionaire last night. I just loved it. There were some tough parts - seeing children living in squalor is hardly appealing to the mass public, and there were some slowish parts - but the story was wonderfully woven. Lets see was Oscar thinks tomorrow.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Day!

Pigeonroof Studios - Helleborus

I just love Valentine's time - I love the girly colors, the special goodies, the overall goodwill. I don't know, I catch a happy little bug every mid-February. Um, the mild tempuratures we enjoyed for a couple of days probably did not hurt...

I am not a romantic - I think I fancied myself to be one early in my now very comfortable relationship. Now, I am practical. Contrived romance makes me giggle, sorry dh. Thankfully, he falls flat in that department anyhow, it is not his "gift" shall we say. However, we did enjoy a wonderful fish fry last night and stole away to see Gran Torino (which I absolutely loved, when crotchety old Clint Eastwood makes you laugh, it's a winner). You see, February 13th is our "engagement" anniversary - 16 years ago yesterday he handed me a ring - so it seems worthy of celebration - and each year we beat the Valentine's dinner crowd. We were meant to be practical.

Around here, Valentine's Day is for the kids. I admit that I felt a pang of envy as my 8-year-old tucked her cool, handmade Valentine's "locker" and her i-pod treats under her arm for her school party. I remember being in grade school and writing out cards for my classmates - leaving no one out, yet I personally could not help saving the most treasured of the commercial bunch for a special friend or two? As a matter of fact, thinking about this blog post prompted me to dig out one such special card from 1979. omg, I had the biggest 7-year-old crush on "Steve". This crush lasted through grade school, we remained friends until he left this earth in 1993. And I was, and still am sure he saved this one for me in 1979.

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It is stashed in one of those old magnetic paged albums - and archival no-no. I almost teared up looking at all of these cards, such fond memories. There is nothing like a walk into yesterday. Okay, for now I need to get back today and clean those bathrooms.

Oh, and because this is a blog about knitting afterall...
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more about these later...

Sunday, February 08, 2009

pinch me

Seriously, I have been blessed with so many knitting friends lately. Yesterday, I enjoyed the day with Carolyn, a friend of my Boston-area knitting penpal, Christine. Long story short - Carolyn moved to Chicago - so I met her and Christine there last fall - and then Carolyn and I orchestrated a get together. Talk about paying it forward, thank you Christine, for sharing your friend.

We met at Fiddlehead Yarns in Kenosha, pretty close to the center of the map between our houses. What a charming store, I was pleasantly surprised. I guess I didn't have any expectations really, I was just looking forward to the meet up. The shop had some delightful yarns - Malabrigo for one. Plus, I got to see a Drops jacket in person. I purchased a few things - with no purpose so much as they looked so pretty in my hands together. I got some great buttons too. (I think yarnsnob has inducted me into some button-loving-club...)

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I think I have an undiscovered orange fetish...

Then we had lunch at a delightful cafe - thank you Carolyn for loving egg salad and joining me in a two scoop shake right at the counter. We capped off the day with a mini knitfest at a local Starbucks. It was so nice to talk to someone with shared interests (a.k.a knitting), who is absolutely down-to-earth. The only thing that would have improved the day is if Christine could have been there.

The good news of the day did not end there. I came home to my swap package in the Vampire Valentine Swap. It was so thoughtfully created by Jennifer, at orange butter cat.

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I think I have gushed about my Vamp-lust plenty, so I'll spare you - but the book with the Twilight movie characters may have to be tucked under my pillow, em. She also sent along Debbie Bliss to make Bella's Mittens. I have to admit I casted these on using some crummy, uninspiring yarn - so I am stoked to frog those and make way for DB goodness. Among other things - she made me a Chickadee Cowl out of some True Blood inspired Bill Compton yarn from Fresh from the Cauldron. Here's a close-up on my daughter, the yarn is silk/ merino - truly squishable. Seems quite exciting to have Bill Compton wrapped around my neck at any given time, huh? *wink wink*.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

It's a Red Velvet Day!

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It didn't really start out that way. My little one is home with a fever and the sneezy/ coughy combo - so I am home with her. I am not fond of vomitous sick days but this is actually a sick day I don't mind - although I wish it was not at the expense of my little one. The TLC consists of blanket layering, pillow fluffing, tissue running, kissing rosy cheeks and "I bet if you lick my spoon you'll feel better". So far, so good, except that pesky fever lingers.

Sick days of this variety are a bit of unexpected decadence, between my mommy duties I can do things around the house I wasn't expecting to get done. I have been wanting to make a batch of something Red Velvet. I ripped this cupcake recipe out of a magazine from work and secreted it home. One batch of is done, another baking...if they are as good as the batter, we have a winner. They are dense little cakes. Cream cheese frosting too. Note to self *have more food coloring on hand next time for a redder velvet.*

In addition to little cakes, I have two big cakes of Red Velvet roving from Hello Yarn. I was lucky enough to purchase some from a club member, and it has been asking to be spun, who am I to say no?

I am not typically "into" heart-y things - I was a tom-boy growing up - heart = girly. But somehow February is an exception. My husband and I do not do much to celebrate Valentines, it's kind of another day for us - but I love to make and purchase goodies for my girls and make Valentines. License to girl-i-fy everything, to be almost giddy. It makes my insides feel all warm and fuzzy to make special goodies. The Valentine's season is too short - it is such a bright spot during such a dreary season. Nothing like an entire aisle at the grocery store devoted to candy to make me smile.

My eldest daughter and I made these cool Valentines for her classmates yesterday. The idea is straight from the February Family Fun magazine.

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They are conversation box ipods, complete with "headphones" - you can see the whole version here. I felt that warm feeling when my husband came home and saw them. He said that all our daughter had talked about yesterday morning was how we were going to make these, aw. It was fun - we pretended we were working in an ipod factory with our little assembly line. And we only ate one box.

Next up, Lib is on a quest to make the prize-winning-est Valentine box. Forever, be still my craft-i-licious heart.

Monday, February 02, 2009

auspicious lessons and pretty yarn.


I just have to share. I tend to let monkies get on my back that shouldn't be there. I allow my feelings to get hurt, and totally should not - can I say I hate being sensitive? Dammit.

So this weekend, yep - one of those "lessons" presented itself. Sometimes people I generally love are jerks. My inclination is to say "to heck with you and the horse you rode in on". I get undies all twisted and you know what - it's pretty much stupid. I am responsible for my own choices right?

The "lesson" came out in church yesterday, a pretty good place to learn lessons for me. The pastor had three youth group kiddos come out - each carried a box, one said "Anger", one said "Greed" and another, I think said "Revenge" (or at least that really fits me personally). So the kids are getting weighed down by these sins, until another kid acting as "Jesus" comes in and takes them away - the kids spirits are lifted, monkeys are off backs and so on. This just happens to be a Christian example, but I think it applies accross the board - I make choices to be angry and it does weigh me down, but it doesn't have to. So anyways, it was poignant moment for me, which of course I didn't think about until way after church. Instead of being angry, sad or vindictive, I need to let it go - ba-bye monkey. So there. (I might still think certain people are turkies, em. Letting go takes time...) Why did it take 37 years on this planet to figure this out? I was in the right place at the right time I guess. So the next time I am mad or pouting - remind me of this post, please?

That little epiphany aside, I got some Plucky Knitter in the mail today - yay! Actually it was a two-plucky day. I was able to snag some Golightly at the last update. Gosh, it is just lovely and so Tiffany-blue.

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The Plucky Knitter worsted MCN

If I could eat this yarn base, I might. Mmm, MCN spaghetti...

And here is a spoiler of the club yarn - just in case you want to be surprised:)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

departure from regular programming...

Cleverish. For a number of months I have followed the progress of the Neilson family. An amazing family, richly documented here by Stephanie, the mama. Mr. and Mrs. N. were in a small craft plane crash in August and have been fighting for their lives for the better part of the time since. Badly burned, medically induced comas. This gorgeous young couple has 4 capitivating children. Little cherubs really. What a scary time for them.

What has grabbed my attention the most throughout this saga is how the family's family has encircled and protected them. They have all stepped up to help, they have had auctions and fundraisers. Devoutly, they have reveled in their faith. A time when I believe faith could be rocked to the foudation and could even be abandoned in sorrow and anger. Instead, these people have risen to the occasion. I kind of want to adopt them as my own, please.

Anyways, cleverish - right. The book - it is a compilation of 25 funny and unrelated blog posts from various bloggers. People submitted entires to be part of this project and now it is for sale at Lulu. Proceeds benefit the Neilsons - and gosh, I have been lucky enough to steal a peek into their story wondering how I could help - so I bought the book. I giggled out loud at least three times last night - it's a different kind of reading that my usual but what a joy. And it has a pretty cover.

It's deemed a donation, but really, the prize is all mine.

You can follow along with the Neilson's progress through the eyes of one of mama's sisters, Jane blogs about her days - at one she literally absorbed 3 of the children into her family, formerly 3 become 6 in an instant - it's pretty awe-inspiring. The latest good news is that Stephanie is back to blogging - I truly believe that she may be an angel.