Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Wetter Shade of Green

A follow-up to this post. It's images from my new backyard.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Six Sleeves

"Experienced knitters don't make fewer mistakes than new knitters.  They make bigger ones faster."--Yarn Harlot
  1. Cast-on.  Knit.  Get 20 rows from the end and wonder why it's not right.  Discover that you increased every 8th row 10 times and not every 10th row 8 times.  Frog.*
  2. Cast-on.  Knit.  Make some inexplicable error in the math.  Curse.  Frog.
  3. Cast on again, Knit.  Bind off.  Phew!
  4. Cast on for second sleeve.  Knit.  Bind off.  Realize you cast on the wrong number of stitches.  Frog.
  5. Cast on.  Knit.  Get to end and realize you forgot an increase.  Frog.
  6. Cast-on.  Knit.  Bind off. 
It's a gift for someone.  It needs to be perfect. 


Also it's fat yarn which means I can finish this jacket in no time at all anything more than 3-4 stitches makes a real difference in the measurements.


*Frog, frogging: Pulling the needle out of your knitting and unraveling a large amount.  Derived from the sound/motion "rip-it, rip-it"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Flip Flop

The knitting machine, which really will need a name soon, is providing a pleasant distraction as I watch My Sewing Room being whittled away daily.  As much as I want to fight it, I realize I must put the bulk of my creative area in storage until we can purchase our next house.

Luckily, knitting is portable and my whole hobby can fit in a moving box.  Just in case I'm not the one doing the heavy lifting, I'll label that box "Raingear" which guarantees it will end up in our temporary Pacific Northwest residence and not a warehouse somewhere between here and there. 

Not that having an excuse to buy more yarn would be a bad thing...

...hmmm...

Anyway, while there are numerous advantages to my knitting machine--faster knitting, perfect tension, phenomenal stash reduction--there are some disadvantages, including not seeing the right side of my work until I'm finished with a piece.

While something might seem a gentle blending of harmonious autumnal colors on the machine:


It looks like an unfortunate choice in wallpaper on the "right" side:

Yuck!  I cancelled this project and used the yarn for other things.  Like this.
But, while something may look vaguely symmetrical and perhaps a bit too contrasty on the wrong side:


The right side proves stunning:


It's for Yummy, my 7yo.  He chose the colors.


I secretly added robots on the one sleeve.  I hope he's not too cool to wear them.  Even if he is, I can whip up a new sleeve in an afternoon. 

Basic raglan sweater with various modifications
Knit Picks Stroll (washable wool/nylon) Midnight, Pea Pod, Blue Topaz

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Status Updates

What my FaceBook wall would say if I had the time:

TBM has worked from home for 143 minutes.  We decided to drop the price of the house to get things going.  This was about 142 minutes and 28 seconds longer than I expected.

I've knit five sleeves for a coat I'm making for my mom.  Like most people, she only has two arms.  Sixth time's a charm.

Because TBM is working from home, I don't have access to my computer except during insomnia o'clock and why-don't-you-play-with-the-kids thirty.

This brief moment of blogging is marred by my inability to upload pictures because of "scheduled maintenance"

I've knit three sweaters for my kids.  Too bad you can't see them because of "scheduled maintenance"

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Bionic Knitter

I did it.  I made a sweater on the knitting machine.  It only took me a day and a half.

I love the fact that I can make a sweater for my kiddo in hardly any time at all.  And I used a decent supply of yarn.

So there you go.  I have figured out how to knit at supersonic speed.  It was only a matter of time.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Haute Couture

My mom and I went shopping a few weeks ago and popped into J.Jill.  We were enchanted by these sweaters:



I don't know why we liked them so much.  The sheerness?  The simplicity?  The idea you could wear a sweater without sweating?  Whatever it was we kept coming back to that part of the store.

But I just can't bring myself to spend $80.00 on a sweater, because I knit...

Wait a minute...I have a knitting machine...and a huge pile of lace yarn...

And now you know why I haven't been around the past couple weeks.  I don't have anything photo worthy yet--just a bunch of swatches, various partial sweaters strewn around the house, a couple pairs of socks and a knitting machine that's heard it's share of new words recently.

I'm not giving up yet.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'll Trade You This Sheep for Those Cacao Beans

I'm a knitter.  I acquire yarn at lightning speed.  I try to knit through it all but it's just not possible.  Especially when the project for which you bought the yarn overestimated the yardage (which is far better than running out of yarn but still).

Four years go I finished up a coat and had LOTS of the yarn left.  It's a unique yarn--fun to use for this project, but I wasn't itching to knit with it again.  Honestly, it wasn't ranking too high among the 30 miles of other yarn I have.

But I had too much leftover to toss, or donate:

Unspun Icelandic (100% wool)

I plopped it into my stash and ignored it for four years.  Recently, I got a simple request via Ravelry: Do you still have this yarn?  Can I buy it from you?

Buy it from me?  Heck, I'd be happy to not have to move it across the country.

I sent it to her at a price that covered shipping and breathed a sigh of relief.  Because I always feel good when I can help another knitter out and because I no longer have to pack it or inventory it during my annual Airing of the Stash.



She thanked me in chocolate.

Honestly, I think I got the better end of the deal.

I can't wait to see what she knits,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

At Least I Didn't Include An Invoice

Buttons really pull it together.


Weaving the ends in really finishes it.


Stuffing it in a box and sealing it before I can add a nice little note...


...really adds to the professionalism.

Dear MW,
Can't wait to meet you.
Love, MM

Monday, September 13, 2010

More Things Nice

I've found my go-to pattern for baby girls.



The pattern is well-written. It's fast, a little technical, and so stinkin' sweet I think I have a cavity from knitting two of them in a row.

This one is still waiting for buttons.  It will also be much nicer with all those choking hazards ends woven in.  I still have time, the baby isn't here yet.

Debbie Bliss Smock Jacket from Celtic Knits
Lambspun Prism in Pomegranate Torte (50%wool/50%silk)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All Things Nice

Have you ever...


...created a gift...


...so charming...


...you couldn't bear to give it away?


Yeah.  Me neither.


Smock Jacket by Debbie Bliss
Sensations Bamboo & Ewe (wool/bamboo/nylon)


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Attn Gypsies: One 4yo For Sale

My youngest child.  My baby.  He's the one who's supposed to be on my side.  He's the one who's supposed to shower me with unlimited affection. 

He's the one who I almost sold to gypsies yesterday.

The Businessman took Yummy out leaving me and Vish behind to man the fort.  Vish went outside to ride his bike, play at the playground and explore like Indiana Jones. Later I heard him open the door and patter into the house.

"Mom, don't turn around and look at what I have because it's a snake"

I of course turned around, screamed, and demanded the child leave my home immediately.  Once I had stopped hyperventilating I carefully opened the door and talked to Vish:

MM: Honey?
V: What?
MM: Do you still have that snake?
V: Yes!  I put it in my bug catcher!*
MM: Well, snakes aren't allowed in the house, why don't you take him out back.  You can let him go (far, far away) or wait for Daddy to get home.
V: Okay!  I'll keep him in the bug catcher until dad gets home.  He'll like my snake.

When TBM got home, I explained what happened and while doing this the cat stepped on my foot.  I jumped and screamed and my husband laughed at me.  He laughed at me.

Maybe the gypsies would buy him too.

Sorry about all the snake stories lately.  There is one story I haven't told yet.  It involves my cat Clive, barbeque tongs and a speaker phone.

*Note to self: Thank my mother for the gift.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ssssspectacular

Our home is on the market now so the frantic aspect of "getting the home ready for market" is finished, only to be replaced by "why is nobody helping me keep this house clean?"

The Businessman was in charge of all things outdoors which included weed whacking.  He found three baby bullsnakes during the weedwhaking process.  Well, the weedwhacker found two of them so maybe I should say TBM found 1 and 4/2 baby bullsnakes.  This is still about four too many for my taste.

There's a nest somewhere.  Probably under our front patio. 

I'm never using our front door ever again.

Later, TBM and our neighbor were talking and neighbor mentioned that his kids have found several baby bullsnakes in various areas of the neighborhood.

To quote the Businessman:  "So it's not a nest under our doorstep.  It's a neighborhood infestation."

We are so moving.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Good Ole Summertime

Summer is not my best knitting time.  For so many reasons. The kids are home.  It's hot.  It's sticky.  The kids are sticky.  Oops, I just dropped ice cream in my lap of knitting.  Again. 

And then there's the kitten.  Kittens find yarn, knitting needles and the synchronization of the two the most fascinating thing in the world.  It's instinct and Midas is a self motivated gentleman--his destiny is to kill it.

My only goal this Summer was a project I owe a friend in barter.  She sent me a pattern.  I knit.  She'll take care of my mother's Christmas present.  Love that.

It's so hard to knit something not of your choosing.  To not stray from the pattern at all.  Not to curse fall and harvest colors (generally my favorite) when you have a lovely creamsicle colored yarn screaming to be knit but the only size 6 needles you have are being used to knit fall and harvest colors.

It was a battle.

The only concession I made in the pattern was adding a bit of elastic in the waist.  There is no way these pants would have fit a toddler otherwise.

Once the final end was woven.  I dove into my stash, pulled out two skeins that have been calling to me and cranked this little number out in 24 hours.

I knit the same pattern last winter.  It's a mite too small this year so I promised Vish a new one.

In other news, I have about 3,275 friends who chose to have lots of fun last fall and are now paying for all that fun in the maternity wards of various hospitals across the country.  I've been remiss to all of you.  I apologize.  Especially BFF in Seattle.

I'm on it.
The yarn brings out his eyes. 
The camera brings out his lower lip.
Harvest Moon, designer unknown.  Knit Picks Comfy (cotton/acrylic)

Peruvian Hat by Pam Allen.  Noro Silk Garden (wool/silk) and Tahki Savoy (wool/silk)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

All Cats Are Simon's Cat


His name is Midas.  The children love him. 

After watching the video below...
7yo was laughing so hard he fell off the chair.
4yo laughed so hard he started wheezing and needed his nebulizer
The Businessman laughed.  (Let it suffice that he is now a cat person--it took ten years for that transformation.  Little steps.)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Addition



Meet our new family member, name as yet undecided. He is three months old, has huge feet, and the incessant curiosity known to all members of his species.

Did I mention how large his feet are?

Sasquatch? Yeti?

He'll fit in well with our family.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Devil's Advocate--Macrobiotics

Before I eliminated meat from my diet, I did a whole lot of research to make sure I wasn't doing something really stupid to my health just to prove a point.

I'm now exploring vegan which has led me to several variations on the theme.

I started with macrobiotics. I'll admit, I was researching the idea of losing weight with a macrobiotic diet because I know a few people who have done that very thing. What I found was a diet centered on whole grains and vegetables with beans and non-tropical fruits rounding out the meal--sounds okay so far.

Fundamentally it's yin vs yang. The closer your food is to the center of the yin/yang scale, the more balanced you'll be. Foods that fall to the extremes (sugar, dairy, eggs, tobacco, alcohol and drugs) tend to rock the boat a little too much.

As does, for some inexplicible reason,* spinach and chard, my two favorite greens.

Upon learning this little factoid I curled up into a fetal position on the couch, effectively making my own yin/yang symbol. Except I had a pint of Coffee Heath Bar and a spoon. At that moment Ben was Yin and Jerry was Yang and I was cursing a diet that felt spinach was a no-no. Maybe ice cream and spinach cancel each other out.

More to the point, is there any sound research out there that says eat whole grains because they are only slightly yin...or is it yang? How do you scientifically determine a food's yangness?

To me, the core foods of the macrobiotic diet seem sound but the reasoning is a little too Eastern for me. Not that Eastern is bad, it's just that I'm a product of European ancestry. I practice yoga because I like trying to do contortions (whew! Glad that's off my chest) and I will eat whole grains because they taste...right.

But it's not enough to convince me to be vegan.

*I know. It's the oxalic acid. Whatever.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Anticipation

The new kitty I'm getting as soon as I get back from the cruise
The cruise
The new Twilight movie (yes, I know)
The line-up of summer movies at my local drive-in theater
Holes at my local theater
Weekly picnics at my favorite, free, Spray Park

School is almost out. Summer is almost here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Slithy Toves...

Check these out:



'Twas Brillig. Right?

I've been in negotiations with the artist, who is a friend and just happens to need something knitted by October (alas it's not a hookah).

Now that my pair of shoes is safely in her to do list, I feel it's okay to broadcast her Etsy site to the rest of the world.

Gyre and gimble on over to Mamagems Etsy store.

Don't step on the mome raths.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Swimsuit Shopping

Well, despite my being in the gym 6+ days/week, ellipticizing 15-20 miles, yoga 2-3 hours, and lifting weights 3 times/week, I have gained 3 pounds.

But I have lots of energy, better posture and can see and feel results. Especially notable is the inch I lost around my neck.

Be sure to compliment me on how skinny my neck looks.

The same event that is motivating me to spend my knitting and blogging time at the gym--a cruise in June--is the same event that drove me to the mall last weekend, to buy a swimsuit.

I love Eddie Bauer. Scratch that, I love Eddie Bauer, but I really love their outlet store.

I found a $135 swimsuit (brown) for $29.99. It's a miracle suit which advertizes looking ten pounds thinner in ten seconds. The work is actually done while putting on the suit (10 seconds? Ha!) but it enhances my neck bust (which has lost 1/2 an inch) and slims my torso (no measurable change).

I also decided to try on a swim skirt. I am not a skirt wearer. Skirts are as pointless to me as dress socks are to my children. But all these cute athletic skirts have been living in my head (thanks to a certain VW who gave me some trendy wardrobe suggestions) and I decided I needed to try one on so I could veto it with authority.

I came home with this one. It's pink and it's a skirt and I can't explain it but I liked it. And it was only $19.99.

I also got a top sort of like this one to go with it. $75 marked down to $19.99. And it's green. I heart green.

Yes, a skinny necked, flat chested, overweightwoman can enjoy swimsuit shopping.

Thank you, Eddie Bauer Outlet.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Crazy

Not sure I'm liking that this blog has become my weightloss journal, but I've lost four pounds. So there you go. This puts me one pound away from my first goal, which was to start losing weight.

It's crazy because I've done it while eating in excess of 2000 calories a day.

It's crazy because it's hard to eat 2000 calories a day (unless I allow Whopper Eggs to enter my house).

It's crazy because, I could lose weight faster if I ate, say, 1400 calories a day, but then my body would think it was starving, screw up my metabolism and hit a plateau.

But what's really crazy are the Burpees. Because I'm such a weanie. I broke a sweat yesterday after doing seven. Seven!

And I'm doing push-ups on my knees.

Friday, March 19, 2010

More Exercise

So are we all up to snuff on Burpees? Today we do four. Unless you're just joining me. Then you're stuck doing 1+2+3+4=10. If you slack until day 32 you'll have to do 495 just to catch up.

I've also been sticking my arse on a cardio machine of some form and going three miles every weekday. Sometimes the treadmill, sometimes the elliptical. It depends on several variables like how good my achilles are feeling, what shoes I'm wearing at the time, and what's on my iPod.

Speaking of which...

I discovered the Fat 2 Fit Podcast. It's very motivational and informative. I've been on this boat before but this one explains why all the other boats have sunk. For starters, there is a physiological reason why I can and should eat 2200 calories/day. As it turns out, when I limit my socializing with my good friends Ben and Jerry, 2200 calories is damn hard to accomplish.

I two weeks I've lost three pounds. And that is exactly as it should be.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Burpee Challange

I'm here. Still kickin'.

Vish has decided to forgo his afternoon nap. I had hoped he would take after his older brother, who would still take a nap if his schedule, his pride, and our affirmations weren't hindering it. But alas, his little body has decided it doesn't need the extra sleep.

My body is using naptime to get healthy.

To begin with, I started my own Burpee Challange. In 2009 a group of people did this challange, but since I didn't know about it then, I decided to start now. I have a small group of people on Facebook joining me (okay, so two of them live with me) but I'm inviting you to join me as well.

March 18th is day 3. If you join me today, you will have to do 1+2+3. It's better to join me now then on, say, day 32. By day 100 we will do 100 Burpees. After that, I will be on a cruise and you can take your year of rest.

I did 3 on day 1 just to make sure my form was okay and that I wasn't going to mutilate my joints. I was sore on day 2. This is a full body excercise that works your arms, core, legs and heart. You may split them up throughout the day (though I would hope this won't be necessary until about day 20).

There's a good video of a burpee on the above link. The process is: Stand, squat, jump to plank (push-up position), push-up (I do them on my knees, Yummy skips 'em), jump back to squat, jump to standing.

Repeat.

Will you join me?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Blue Washcloth Anecdote

During his final year of college, the Businessman and one of his fellow RA friends (we'll call him Al) decided to rent a house together and found lodging with two other people. One bathroom, four bedrooms, coed.

Before the Fall semester started, one of the dorms lost their water so they invited another RA friend of theirs to use their shower. Once the water was back, she resumed showering in the dorm.

Fast forward several months when the three boy roommates started whispering behind the back of the Girl Roommate.

Have you noticed that smell in the shower?
Yes! It's that rank washcloth.
Is it yours?
No, I think it's hers.
What is she washing with that thing to make it smell so bad?
*pause*
Are you going to tell her?
Hell no.

This went on for a few weeks. They affectionately called it the Poon Cloth. Finally the Businessman confronted Girl Roommate.

It's not mine! I thought it belonged to one of you.
Whose is it then?

At this point I suggested that perhaps the washcloth had been left behind by their Summer guest. After five months, it was bound to reek. The Businessman threw it out.

The next morning, Al wanted to know where his blue washcloth was.

We received a blue towel set from the roommates as a gag graduation gift. I threw the last one out today.

It was getting stinky.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Scary

The face of genius:



Now that Vicious refuses to nap, I have had much less time for knitting and far more time to discover that the child scares me.

In an attempt to keep him occupied during an award ceremony, I whispered various 3-4 letter words which he dutifully wrote on a spare sheet of paper. Sounded out, figured out the letters and wrote them.

While building rockets, jets, and guns out of Legos, he told me that two 3s make six and three 2s make six but there are are no 3s in eight unless you add 1 to make nine. My head is spinning, how 'bout yours?

He has started a science journal (thank you for the idea PBS). In it he has been drawing pictures of the weather; Taping various treasures into it; And asking for help with the spelling of words like protoceratops and exoskeleton. He didn't need help with T Reks.

While at the book fair, he asked if he could use his money to buy an anatomy book. Because he likes looking at bones.

Please note: He is four years old.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Victory

100,000 stitches.
6600 feet of yarn.
2200 cat heads.
23 Band Aids
16 days
3mm needles
1 finished sweater.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ugh.

I am sick of this color combination. Porcini and parsley?

I am thinking about the 10+ pairs of socks I want to knit by Christmas.

I am dreaming of spending an entire week NOT knitting.

I have watched more TV in the past twelve days than I have in the past two years.

I heard myself say: "No honey, I'm not going to play with you. I have to finish this sweater."

I may have been talking to the Businessman.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Can't Write. Must Knit.

I'm at the part that looks like I'm almost done, but my rows are now almost 500 stiches long.

Luckily I lose a couple stitches every row.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Acceptance

I'm still very, very sad. Sometimes I can smile and the tears have slowed. But I still double take every black object in our house, imagining it's my kitty.

Here's my knitting progress as of Sunday morning. I'm supposed to be halfway but I'm just shy. By about 124 cat heads (yes I counted).



The coincidence of knitting a sweater with 43,875 (that's a rough estimate) cats is not lost on me.

I do know he would have thoroughly enjoyed the process.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Grief

My cat died this morning. We chose to end his suffering in the comfort of our home.

He was a wedding present from my husband.
He lived in three states.
He thought my pregnant belly was the best bed. Ever.
He hated other cats.
He wasn't scared of dogs.
He loved the Businessman.
He loved me.

I, crazy cat lady that I am, love this animal. This beautiful, secondhand feline who entered our home and our hearts.

Oh Clive. I miss you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Set Back


I took my cat into the animal hospital this afternoon. I never take my cat to the vet unless it's bad.

He's in an oxygen chamber right now waiting for the vet to examine him, and I expect I'm going to have to make a tough decision in the next day or two.

It's hard to knit when you can't stop crying.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Four Days Down...

I'm realizing that I knit slowly. Maybe it's the 300+ stitches on my 3mm needles. Maybe it's the muscle twitch in my left eye. Maybe it's the knitting machine I set up proudly in my living room to show my mom, but haven't had time to take down because all my spare moments involve teeny weeny cat heads. And one torch.



While drudging through 45 7-stitch repeats my wandering thoughts figured out how I can do fair isle on my machine without a punch card.

Which means I can do whatever pattern I want. Not that these punch cards aren't appealing:



It also means that with every hand-knit Ravelympic stitch, I have to remind myself:

Cross country skiers could use a snowmobile to get where they're going.
Lugers, skijumpers, and bobsledders could use an elevator.
I could have knit this whole sweater on my machine.

But we choose not to take the easy way.


Tuesday morning. Day 5.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Olympic Knitting Day 1: Let the Games begin

It's all about the glory right?

After a rocky opening ceremony in which the actual ceremonies were great but my ability to count to 336 was severely impaired by no fewer than eight women, a bottle of wine and tons of carb-rich snacks, I managed to knit 10 of my desired 27 rows and chat with my mom until 2:00am.

The next morning I realized my self-imposed knitting needle hiatus (due to a shiny new toy) caused my knitting callous to soften and crack open.



Luckily, like Lindsey Vonn, I will overcome my injury.



By early Saturday morning I was this far:



Stay tuned for more Ravelympic coverage.
 
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