Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mountain Mama's Costume Emporium

ETA: Why yes, I do sell the Mantis costume...with improvements!  Drop by my Etsy Store and contact me from there.  

The Businessman is a wonderful guy. But sometimes I wonder what, exactly, he's thinking.

Really. I mean, he knows I have a blog about my creative pursuits. He knows my skill, my desire to use my skill, and my speed with my desire to use my skill.

And when Yummy asked to be a praying mantis for Halloween, I gleefully obliged:

Because that's what I do. Bend over backwards to prove to my children nothing is impossible.

But when Vish decided he wanted to be a skeleton the Businessman went to Walmart and bought this:

And then had the nerve to say he did it for me, so I wouldn't have to be bogged down with making two costumes. Because that's the point.

I'm sure it would have been laborous to buy a cheap, black sweatsuit, felt, and fabric glue.

I'm sure my version wouldn't have fit nearly as well.

I'm sure Vish would have loved my version as much as he loves this cheap, junky skeleton.

But...I'm sure mine wouldn't have glowed in the dark.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Choirs of Angels

Even though the kids have no school today, the snow keeps them occupied with angelic thoughts.

I love that we got 15 inches of snow...a week before Hawaii. Perfect timing!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Socks Suck

A million years ago, I bought a pretty little sock yarn while on vacation. It looked a little like this in the skein:

Then I wound it into a ball and it looked like vomit.

Devastated, I tossed it into my black hole of sock yarn. More recently I purchased a basic little sock yarn and also tossed it into the blackhole, but to my amazement:

The basic little sock yarn and the vomitrocious sock yarn became friends.

So, I cast on:

My daylight is a little bit lacking, what with the 15 inches of snow expected.

And when I was done with the first sock, my hands seized up in terror because these socks used up a negligible bit of the puke-y sock yarn I needed to make a second sock. Because the very thought of knitting another sock was a bit repulsive.

Which is what you've all been waiting weeks for.

However, sock recipient (Vicious) looked at m with his darling, too long, blond curls and asked when his socks would be done. And I thought it would sound heartless to say "When you start losing all that great hair" (which I predict will be in his mid 20's).

So I finished the second sock. And now I'm done. I never want to knit another sock again.

At least not until after I knit this. Because it's the most useless thing in the world but so friggin awesome.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

(Insert Super Mario Music Here)

The key to my freak speed knitting on socks is that they're not frilly, lacy, cable-ey patterns. Except for a few rows of rib at the top, and a slip stitch heel flap, the whole sock is stockinette stich. Which I can certainly do with my eyes closed and possibly with one hand tied behind my back (though that would slow me down).

It's a round about way of saying, I just finished another pair:

But even more pathetic. I did this (turns out I needed an 8-bit image):

In duplicate stitch with some spare embroidery floss I had lying around. Because Yummy asked me too.

I would never want my children to think anything was impossible.

Basic sock pattern from my head
8 bit mario image-Googled
Knit Picks Stroll Kettle Dyed in Soot, Superwash wool and nylon

Friday, October 23, 2009

Who Wants To Pay It Forward?

Last December, I received a gift certificate for $15.00 to Cold Stone. But I don't like Cold Stone.

I know. No normal person dislikes Cold Stone. You'll just have to love me regardless.

I took Yummy on a date. I let him order whatever he wanted and then I told the clerk to use the remainder of my gift card on any following customers. Four more people enjoyed a small break from their pre-Christmas frenzy and had smiles on their face to prove it.

It feels good to Pay It Forward. My friend TinkerFrog posted about a Pay It Forward challenge the other day and I jumped at the opportunity.

Here's the deal. She is making something fabulous for me. I don't know what but she's already asked me what my favorite color is. In return, I will make something fabulous for the first three bloggers* to comment on this post. Technically, I have a year to put out, but more likely you'll get it sooner than that.**

In return, you will make something for three other bloggers, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah.

And all this tremendous karmic blogging will create World Peace.

*If applicable, I'll make a fourth something for the first commenting non-blogger. Also, US bloggers only please.
**Hello, Fate? Consider yourself tempted.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sock-tober Fest

First, I am pleased to announce that the recipient of the baby sweater has arrived. More importantly, he is small enough that the sweater is bound to fit him eventually. Unlike my ten-pound turkey who was too large for the hospital diapers, much less his hand-knit sweater.

Insert bad segue here.

Are we sick of socks yet? Anyone? Anyone?

Not me!

I bet you're shocked at the lengths I will go to so I don't have to knit on the Norwegian Sweater. If you feel an intervention is in order, please do it in the form of chocolate, coffee, or worsted weight yarn. Or cashmere in any weight. I could never knit a sock in cashmere.

I finished the first sock of this pair and showed it to Yummy, who put it on, marched around with it for a bit and then asked if I can make him socks with Mario on them.

Would you ask a woman holding five, FIVE, double pointed needles in her hands a question like that? Child, that is one sharp point for each or those toes I'm keeping warm.

ETA: The Businessman just told me the 16 bit Mario would work just fine. Like he knows anything.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What She Made Edition--A Little Halloween Bling

Last night was Boy's Night Out, which actually means Mom's Knitting Night but sounds more fun to the kids. When I got home, the Businessman was cleaning the remnants of a nuclear reaction AKA my kitchen. I gave him a kiss, ran upstairs to kiss my kiddos and did a quick email check. One little email so enchanted me, I was glued to my computer for the next ten minutes.

The Businessman came upstairs, a little miffed that I didn't come down to praise his cleaning skills chat with him so I showed him what had been occupying my final waking minutes. I was instantly forgiven.

My Personal Illustrator added a little Halloween bling to my header.

I heart my PI. Twice now I've given her a vague request--"I want green, and yarn" or "can you stick a couple spider webs in the corners?"--and she has provided the perfect little image. Essentially she reads my mind, processes what she finds, and makes it better.

Anyone who can take the Mountain Mama Head Tour without serious psychological consequences must be an amazing person. Especially when I ask her to draw images of her biggest phobia (spiders not yarn).

Oh, and KRI, remember that idea we had almost a year ago that we've had to put on the back burner because we both seem to have lives? The answer is tidepools.

Monday, October 19, 2009

More Socks

I am in a sock knitting frenzy. The only thing my hands want to knit is socks, on size 2 needles. For some reason size 2 makes the stretchiest, and fastest knitting sock.

These socks were knit on size 1s. Size 1 needles are 2.25 mm wide (about the width of pencil lead).

I used 2x2 ribbing the whole way, so they stretch wider than they look. The cuffs are 64 stitches around.

Yummy can't pull them over his heels. Someday I might post about the unfortunate foot genetics my (and the Businessman's) children have inherited, but not today. Vish (my younger, smaller heeled child) ended up with a new pair of socks.

These socks...

...use the same yarn but are knit on size 2s, which are 2.75mm wide. I used 48 stitches. Not only did it take me about a day and a half to knit these, but they are stretchy enough to go over Yummy's heels. I didn't have enough yarn to make them long enough for his feet (refer back to the threat potential post I mentioned earlier), so they went to Vish. Again.

There you have it. The universal laws of science rarely pertain to knitters. Decreasing stitches results in stretchier socks.

And if nothing else demanded my attention, I could knit 100 pairs of socks in a year. Stretchy ones that I could pull over my mutant heels.

But who needs 100 pairs of socks?

My own sock recipes
ONLine Supersock 100, wool and nylon I think.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Soft, Pretty Thing

As I mentioned before, the Yarn Harlot (finally) published her pattern for Pretty Thing which readers have been bugging her about ever since she had the nerve to post about how perfect her Pretty Thing was and how everyone should have something so nice. When the Yarn Harlot covets, aspires, or effbombs up, knitters around the world take notice. When the Yarn Harlot promises a pattern on her blog, knitters everywhere will salivate impatiently until she provides.

The Yarn Harlot has great power.

The thing is, at the time, though I thought it was lovely, I didn't really see myself wearing something like that. Then I found my kittens. Macanudo and Cohiba were born for just this sort of thing. But even my savvy math skilz didn't put the two together until YH (finally) published her pattern.

Thus Cohiba, lived up to her name and became a smoke ring.

It's pretty, yes. It's green, obvious. What you can't comprehend is how obscenely soft it is. Of course, this yarn is also obscenely expensive. But once you feel it, all sticker shock floats away in a puff of smoke.

Pretty Thing by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Filatura Di Crosa Golden Line Superior, 30% silk, 70% cashmere

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What She Made Edition--A Baby Quilt

Face Book has its advantages. For example, you come across a friend you haven't seen in years and she remembers you as always being a crafty, creative person so she starts reading your blog and decides if you have two kids and can knit a sweater in two weeks, then she can make a quilt in a weekend, because a book says she can.

Of course, she learned first hand about trusting book titles.

And she learned first hand why you should avoid giving yourself a deadline (especially one that you can't control).

But she also finished it. I'm pretty sure she didn't learn that here.

Missed deadlines aside, the baby is still a baby. And a lucky one at that.

Congratulations RD. You inspire me. To finish. Someday.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hungry Bees Socks

My ungrateful son, Yummy, had asked for socks with a dragonfly on them last summer. I barely accommodated by squiggling some yarn in a sock I was knitting and he was satisfied.

More recently I was browsing Ravelry and stumbled upon these Hungry Bee socks. I grabbed some random sock yarn I had lying around (does sock yarn breed? I swear I didn't know I had that much.) and cast on.

By the end of the day I was covered in hives.

Bee socks. Hives. Funny.

I was slightly feverish and I may have convinced myself that the only way I was going to get rid of the itch was to finish the socks. I may also have eaten copious amounts of honey, ran through the house in figure eight formations shaking my ass, and/or wore a crown on my head while speaking in a weird buzzing language.

It would explain why my family avoided me for five days. Then again, maybe no one else wanted to be sick.

I did make bees.

The day I finished, Yummy had a new pair of socks.

And I could finally walk across carpet without actively trying to scratch the bottoms of my ridiculously ticklish feet.

A good trade-off, but I won't be knitting these* anytime soon.

*Because I hate snakes. I'm sure the pattern is lovely.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'm Feeling Much Better, Thank You

Um, I sort of took a week off.

It wasn't because I was sick, though I was.

It was because I was in a knitting frenzy and I didn't want to admit it to you...because I didn't touch this Norwegian sweater:

This baby jacket:

Or This Hat:

I know you are all eagerly anticipating the Norwegian sweater, the baby jacket and This Hat, but I betrayed all of you.

Instead I finished these (for Yummy unless they are too small already):

Started and finished these (for Yummy):

And found it ironic that I broke out in hives on the day I started knitting a sock pattern called Swarm of Bees and didn't fully recover my normal, sallow skintone until the day I finished them. I became rather manic about finishing them.

I also started and completed these (for Vicious) in 24 hours:

They are not pink. They are Yes, they are Fire Socks!

And I started knitting this (for me):

Because the Yarn Harlot told me to. And online knitters are like lemmings when it comes to the Harlot. I spend long hours praying the woman never decides to jump off a cliff.

Oh, and during it all, this happened:

Which means I (and my family) finally get to reap the benefits of knitting over 7 miles of wool over the past year.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


At the risk of revealing another psychosis but in hopes that someone out there will identify...

When you, as a woman, are sick, flat on your back and incapable of providing any form of care giving to yourself or your loved ones, there is one thought that you cling to. One thought that prevents you from actually wishing your body would just give up:

"I'm probably losing weight right now."

And even though you know that you will gain it all back the first day your body decides six servings of Stouffer's macaroni and cheese makes a fine meal, you have that one day when you finally feel good enough to go out in public and you wear your skinny jeans. Because they fit.

I woke up this morning thinking today was that day. Then I stepped on the scale, slithered back into bed, curled into a fetal position and sucked my thumb.

Because it is so unfair that I can spend four days eating nothing but the graham crackers necessary to keep my medicine down and still not lose a pound.

I'm so mad I could eat six servings of Stouffer's macaroni and cheese.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Benadryl, Cortosone, and Prednasolone Cocktails

Mountain Mama is sick.

My anniversary started with a mild cold and ended with hives covering 50% of my body. Two days later, when my skin had become one giant mass of itchiness, I saw a doctor, who told me I had a cold and gave me drugs.

Forgive me while I recuperate. It's hard to type with these oven mitts on.

I don't even want to knit.

Oh yes, it's that bad.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Three Thousand Six Hundred And Fifty Three Days

Ten years ago today, I began the biggest adventure of my life.

I married this man:

Whew! I'm pretty sure it's G-rated, but that picture makes me tingle.

He proceeded to drag lead me through hikes on mountains, swims in oceans, we have even walked the occasional paved sidewalk together.

We made babies.

Raspberries on Yummy Tummy

Vicious in the Skagit Tulip Fields

And got silly.

Curious George and The Man In The Yellow Hat

And sometimes we get to just laugh together. We've both grown and changed and we've learned from each other. I couldn't have done it with any other man.

I love you, Businessman.

Even if you keep mentioning "14 mile hike" and "vacation in Hawaii" in the same sentence.

You also might want to separate the phrases "birthday present" and "16 hours with the airline industry."

We can keep "Sunday mornings" and "yoga class" together.

Did I mention I love you? And that picture of you makes me tingle.
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