Thursday, February 28, 2008

Puppy Porn

OK, today we're just going for some gratuitous puppy porn.....

Jo-Jo and Rosie having a little cuddle (aaawwwwww, how sweet).

And our resident "emo" Otto, contemplating the futility of an empty dog dish.

And Finally - what we affectionally call "The Black Mass" lounging on "their" bed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Number Two

I've got a start on shawl number two now. A real start this time. After playing with about six different lace patterns until 1am Monday morning, I finally found one that struck just the right chord. It's just a simple zigzag pattern, but it's simplicuty is deceiving. I have made two dumb mistakes in the two repeats I have done already (they're corrected now), just because the pattern is so easy and lulls you into a false sense of security. I have to keep the pattern close by, until I am sure I've learned to read it right every time.

I wasn't so sure of the color, at first, thinking red might be too vivid. But the color really does compliment the lines and angles of the pattern. A softer color might not make the pattern "pop" like the red does.

Still, I'm anxious to get this done. I want to do other stuff. For myself and for others. The list of things I would like to get done this year is nearly as long as the list of books I want to read. might be longer

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Finally finished Auction Shawl #1. I think it's great. I hope folks with money to bid on it feel the same way. It blocked like a dream. I think the color and the rawness of the yarn really works for an all-round wearable wrap. I can see it with a simple blouse and a pair of jeans, a floaty summer dress, or something dressy for evening.

Here are the particulars on the shawl - 21 inches wide by 75 inches long, knit in a mystery Shetland-like fingering weight Welsh wool, in a yummy lavender color. Cast on 84 stitches (9 - six stitch repeats, plus 2, plus 10 for the seed stitch border edges). Pattern is the Alternating Motif stitch from The Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns, page 207. Eight rows of seed stitch bordered the ends. Used about 5 skeins of yarn. There was no yardage on the ball band of the yarn but I figure they were at least 150 yards each.

Then I packaged it up all pretty-like. I figure you can get livelier bidding going on when even the packaging even looks nice. Even tucked in a little lavender sachet.

I started on shawl #2 yesterday. Originally my plan was to knit it length-wise. I cast on 387 stitches on to a 42-inch circular to knit it length-wise. But once I started on the actual pattern, I realized that I miscalculated, and ripped it all out. For efficiency's sake, I abandoned that plan and am going to knit it width-wise. But I am not giving up on that plan altogether. I still want to knit a length-wise shawl, but the time I have to complete this project won't allow me to do it this time. So after I get this one finished, I'll knit a new swatch, revisit my math (three or four times) and try again. One thing I did learn, however, those new Addi-Turbo lace needles ROCK!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Techno-Dork that I am, I am just beginning to learn about the really cool stuff that Flickr can do. Talking to my MIL this evening, it dawned on me that if I created a private Flickr group, open to my family members, that we could all share pics of the kids and the grands with "The Grandmas" who are totally scrapbook divas. Let me make it clear, my GIL (Grandma-in-law) Cha was scrapbooking before there was scrapbooking. My husband, his two brothers and sister, and all of our collected seven kids (and hubby's cousins and their kids), ALL have scrapbooks that date from their births to at least last Christmas. I am not shittin' you guys.......these ladies are serious scrapbookers. Probably one of the reasons I am the scrapbook anti-christ of the family. I take pictures, and then shove them in boxes, unmarked, unreferenced, never to be seen again.

The Flickr account is my way of making amends to the Grandmas for my laxity of sharing family pictures. If the pics are there on the inter-web for them to access, then I don't have to worry about getting hardcopies to them, ever....again. I believe a new photo-friendly printer and digital camera is in my mother-in-law's future. From then on, gift giving occasions can be used to replenish their photo-quality paper and ink supply. Oh boy! This could get way easy for me!

Thought I would share a pic from the long lost family archive of pics I've just downloaded:

I've gone against my normal policy of not showing any identifiable pics of my kids to show you this one. It's at least six or seven years old, and if you can recognize my son now, from his toddler shot, good luck. And hubby without beard. Believe me folks, I think this is one of the last pictures that was taken of my beardless hubby. He was cute then, but he is way cuter, now.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


The announcement of registration for the upcoming round of Sock Wars came out the other day. I immediately signed up! I will likely die in short order, but I hope I last a few rounds at least. I have one small advantage.......The day after the War begins, I will be on a cross-country flight. All that lovely knitting time! (as long as the TSA doesn't "disarm" me at the airport). Hopefully I can develop my two at a time sock knitting skills enough by that point, to knit strong and FAST! I have about two months to "train." I am so excited by this, it's almost unreasonable!

Auction shawl #1 is approaching completion. I think I have about one more skein of yarn to knit in to it. Takes me about two days to knit in a skein. I have no idea of the yardage of each skein. I am thinking they are about 175 to 190 yards each. No pictures just yet. Looks the same as before, just longer. I am itching to get started on #2 however.

Took away from my knitting time yesterday to get my 2007 household records in order. So now I am ready for taxes. Really can't wait to get the taxes done early this year. We're getting a REFUND! That happens so rarely, that it is a genuine occasion when it does happen. Looks like I get my completely remodeled family room this year!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Knitting monogamy is a hard row to hoe, folks. Yes, I am sad to report that I broke down and cast on a pair of socks last night.

I swear! I couldn't help myself. The knowledge that I had sock yarn sitting at my bedside waiting to be made into snug little socks for my 10 year-old to wear inside his new hiking books, wore me down! OK, so his feet aren't that little. He can almost wear my shoes, I and wear a very substantial women's size 9. I'm OK with my youngest having feet the same size as mine, as long as he keeps his sweaty toes out of my little sparkly, strappy, high-heel sandals!

Along with the two auction shawls, I want to knit three pair of socks before we fly back to Kansas the end of March. And if that means I'm finishing sock #2 of the third pair of socks on the flight to Wichita, so be it.

Found some Trekking XXL in colors I actually didn't own for the socks for the big boys.

#2 son placed dibs on the blue stuff. So #1 son gets the browns. Gotta use Trekking or something like it for #1 son. Every inch of the generous 459 yards in a skein is needed to cover his size 14 feet. Now if the thought of buying shoes for that kid doesn't send a shiver down your spine, you are stronger than I am!

Monday, February 11, 2008


I have been true to the Auction Shawl for the past week. Knitting exclusively on the lavender lovely. I have to admit, I usually have a pair of socks going at the same time, and right now, I don't. Even though two of my boys need new socks for the "Great Kansas Bird and College Hunting Trip of '08" The whole Fam Damily is going to Kansas in March to shoot birds (for me, read that "knit") and look at a couple of colleges for #2 son. Hubby swears by my handknit socks for warmth and comfort in the Kansas winters and early spring, so the boys need to be equally outfitted. Originally, I was not going on this trip, then hubby decided that I need to go. There goes my three days alone with just my knitting.

In preparation for the Safari, we trekked down to the new Cabela's store in Lacey to buy hiking boots. I have been told that it is the largest Cabela's store in the country....if it's not, it is missing a great chance to be. This sucker is HUGE! Imagine the largest Costco or Ikea you have ever seen - and add a second story to it! Oh yeah, there's a restaurant, a video shooting gallery, a gun library, a mountain and an aquarium in the store. They have a boat section....with six boats in one corner of the store - and they aren't crowded in! We spent four hours looking around in the store, and DH claimed we were "rushing" him. Of course, his idea of heaven is a Cabela's in his backyard.

I have to admit that I drew a few chuckles knitting while walking through Cabela's. I was not going to waste all that good knitting time!

But, I may have to cheat on the shawl soon........

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


So this is one of the auction shawl projects:
Yarn - some unpronounceable Welsh wool - fingering weight.
Needles US 7.
Pattern: Alternating motifs from page 207 of The Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns from Sterling Publishing, with a seed stitch border.

I've got about three and a half repeats of the pattern done. The picture is of the unblocked pattern, just pulled flat by pins. Not perfect by a long shot, but it gives you an idea of the finished product. The yarn is not the softest in the world, but it's slightly rough hewn quality appeals to me somehow. The funny thing is, the yarn is not soft, but I would not call it rough either. Just textured. I'm hoping some auction bidders will like it as much as I do.

Finally sussed out the pattern for the other shawl. But I do need to go yarn shoping before I get started (oh durn!). After trying all kinds of yarn in my stash, I decided I need to get some different stuff to work the pattern the way I want. It really calls for a smoother yarn. I've also decided this one needs to be knitted width-wise. This could be a nightmare, but I can't imagine it working as well any other way. Once I get started, I'll do a little more show and tell.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Project Socks

Finished my project socks from the "2-At-A-Time Socks" book over the weekend. No, these aren't meant to be a pair. The book suggests knitting with two different colored yarns to keep the different socks in your head while you're learning the method. The whole method was pretty easy, but I got lost around the heel gussetts for a little bit. The problem righted itself and the rest of the sock was a breeze. I'm going to knit another practice pair, and this time be more mindful in reading the directions. I couldn't tell if it was my sloppy reading of the directions, or a problem with the way they were written. I will report back on this later. These socks will go into my Afghans for Afghans collection to be mailed later.

I think I've got one lace pattern settled on and started for the auction shawls. The other one, I have the pattern chosen, but after several tries with several types of yarn, I've come to the conclusion that I need to visit a yarn shop! I think I want to knit the second shawl in Lavold's Silky Wool. I have some in my stash, but I stashed it for myself (LOVE the color), so I have to find another color that I can bear to part with to make the shawl.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A Day Late is Never Too Late

In honor of the third annual Silent Poetry Reading, I offer you all a poem from one of my favorite authors..........

Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World
by Sherman Alexie

The eyes open to a blue telephone
In the bathroom of this five-star hotel.

I wonder whom I should call? A plumber,
Proctologist, urologist, or priest?

Who is most among us and most deserves
The first call? I choose my father because

He's astounded by bathroom telephones.
I dial home. My mother answers. "Hey, Ma,

I say, "Can I talk to Poppa?" She gasps,
And then I remember that my father

Has been dead for nearly a year. "Shit, Mom,"
I say. "I forgot he’s dead. I’m sorry—

How did I forget?" "It’s okay," she says.
"I made him a cup of instant coffee

This morning and left it on the table—
Like I have for, what, twenty-seven years—

And I didn't realize my mistake
Until this afternoon." My mother laughs

At the angels who wait for us to pause
During the most ordinary of days

And sing our praise to forgetfulness
Before they slap our souls with their cold wings.

Those angels burden and unbalance us.
Those fucking angels ride us piggyback.

Those angels, forever falling, snare us
And haul us, prey and praying, into dust.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Puttering Around

Yesterday, I visited one of my favorite places - Packaging Specialities. If you don't have one of these stores near you, I pity you. PS is a wonderland of gift wrap, ribbon, and boxes; in short, everything you could imagine to create wonderfully wrapped gifts. I found this:

The only reason why I bought it, was because I wanted to figure out how to copy it! $3.50 for that! I had some cotton chenille left over from making washcloths, and have been wondering what to do with them. After some puttering around, these emerged:

I like the purchased one, but I like MINE better - mostly because I used my own scraps that cost me nothing. (I am not mentioning the beads, thread and pin backs I bought to dress up the flowers. Those don't count, you see.)

I also went to my LYS for a skein of Muench "Touch Me" (wool chenille) to experiment with what they would look like in felted wool chenille. Those are the dark purple ones in the above pic. Currently, they are unfelted and un-embellished. I hope to get around to playing around with those this evening when the Hub takes #3 to a Sonics game. Gotta get the high-maintenance males out of the house before I can get anything done.

So did I get anything done on the two auction shawls???? Of course not! But did you see my pretty flowers??????

Mine. All MINE!

These are MY new socks! I know it sounds stupid to be so excited about finishing a pair of socks for myself, but so much of my knitting lately has been for others. It's nice to finally finish something for myself. I started these things the end of October and finally got them done yesterday. That's just too damn long to take to knit a pair of socks. But Holiday Knitting got in the way. We all understand that.

The particulars -

Yarn: Trekking XXL ombre (wish I could tell you the color, I keep losing the ball bands on this stuff) It's a purpily to almost baby blue with a touch of grey mixed in.
Needles: US1
Cast On: 64
Pattern: My own dubbed "DT Diagonal Rib"

Next up: a pair of socks for son #3. I'm going to work on the two socks on one magic loop method - using this book, and want to knit the smallest socks possible. But since his feet are nearly as big as mine now (he's only 10), I won't be saving myself that much work. A glance at the book looks like it should be a breeze to learn. Keep your fingers crossed.

Speaking of projects for others, I have two auction shawls to knit. I got one started yesterday, using some nice Trekking Pro Natura (wool and bamboo). Should be fun. The other? Well, that one is still rolling around in my head......wrap or triangular shawl? That funky purple Welsh stuff I found in my stash, or something else? Decisions......Decisions......