Thursday, March 29, 2007

Knitters Treat Exchange

Because I don't get sidetracked enough. Because it sounds like fun. Because it's a one-time exchange, and that's a commitment I think I can make. Because the Enablers spell "favorite" the British way, with that slightly exotic "u". It's the Knitters Treat Exchange! Here I go!

Knitters Treat Exchange Questionnaire

1. What's your favourite type of yarn? Wool, the softer the better. I'm currently loving hand-painted/hand-dyed.

2. What's your least favourite type of yarn? Novelty yarn, synthetics.

3. What's the first thing you do when you visit a new yarn shop? I cruise the new yarn.

4. What other crafts do you do / would like to do? I needlepoint when I find the time (read: not much lately), and crochet on occasion.

5. What magazines do you currently subscribe to? National Geographic, US Weekly (guilty pleasure!), Everyday Food, Everyday with Rachel Ray, Cook's Country, Vogue Knitting.

6. Put this type of magazine in order of preference:
Knitting / Crochet / Other Craft / Food / Home / Fashion / Celebrity Gossip / Garden

Celebrity Gossip, Food/Knitting, Crochet, Fashion (just can't keep up), Home, Garden/Other Craft

7. What items do you like to knit / crochet? Lately, I'm into socks, but I've been simultaneously working on sweaters for my toddlers, hats (infant, toddler and adult), gloves (adult), mittens (toddler/adult), and baby blankets.

8. Are you allergic to anything? Well, since we're talking about treats outside of knitting treats, I'm allergic to nuts, melon (I don't expect anyone to send melons, but extracts of allergens used in things like lotions can make trouble for me)

9. What do you like to* smell of?
(*This is not a typo. The question is: What do you like to smell of) Lavender

10. What's your favourite way to relax? Go to a quiet place without children and knit and catch up on movies.

11. You're stood in front of a Victorian style sweetshop, an Italian cafe, an old fashioned bakery and a dainty tea room. Where do you go first? The old-fashioned bakery.

12. What do you come out with? Butter cookies and those spritz sandwich cookies with the rasperry jam filling and partial chocolate dip.

13. Where do you go next? Probably the tea room--going for tea in London was so delightful, I wouldn't mind recreating it.

14. Any other words of wisdom for your pal? Just looking forward to some fun and the excitement of receiving a mystery package!

March is a wash

Ok, that's it. I am obviously not going to finish my March socks. I am just about to turn the heel on the first sock, and it's not going well. I've had to "un-knit" it twice; the pattern calls for a garter stitch heel with wraps (short rows), and I've miscounted several times. It's the Timberline sock from Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks Warm Feet. It looks like a short sock in the picture, with a garter stitch heel and toe that I thought would be fun and different, and a quick knit. I even blew off the tubular cast on and used the regular long tail cast on instead. I don't feel like ripping it out--the Scarlet Fleece is wonderful and so pretty, but I'm not making fast enough progress--obviously, since March ends Saturday and I'm not past the heel yet.

Honestly, I thought I'd get some knitting time yesterday evening (meaning before 10 p.m.) and I'd be fresh enough to not make the same mistakes on the heel wraps yet again. But as I was walking out the door at 6:20 p.m. last night, the babysitter said, "Do you smell something burning?" And I did. And it smelled electrical. I loaded the children into the minivan ("Who wants to have an adventure? Let's put on our shoes and watch a video in the car!"), put my nanny and babysitter in there with them. Then I called the police because I was too embarrassed to roust the volunteer fire department for something silly.

Long story short, I had the entire fire department (4 trucks) and 2 police officers at the house. It turned out to be related to my ceiling fan, and they told me it would have become a fire. Yikes! Nobody ever thinks they could have a fire in their home, certainly not me. One of the firefighters was someone I went to school with, too--that's what happens when you move back to the small town you grew up in. But here's the key point: the fire chief told me that the two mistakes people make with fires is (1) not calling the fire department because they're too embarrassed (yep, that's me), and (2) trying to fight the fire themselves (now that, I wouldn't do).

So an hour later, with the house cleared for occupancy by us, I got everyone back in, but only had time for a quick dinner with my folks before I met my girlfriend for ice cream, which was part of the original evening plan. I got home around 9:30, reviewed events with my husband (who was working at the time of the event), and got into bed around 10:30, and then, being exhausted yet all nerved up, proceeded to screw up that heel once again. So basically, for the past few nights, I spent the nighttime knitting time screwing up the heel, and nap time knitting time un-knitting it.

I think it's become a Sisyphean task, so I'm giving up the ghost: no March socks. Besides, the April Socktopia newsletter just came out. Here are the themes:

...Orange you glad I didn't say bananna?

Let's get Physical.

Bumblebees and Butterflys.

Sunshine on my shoulders.

April Showers

What am I going to do with these themes?! I don't even know where to start.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Where was I?

Well, it's March 27. I've just started turning the heel of my first sock for March. By the way, it's not even the Stillwater sock; that's been abandoned. I'm making a more basic sock with the Scarlet Fleece, but my thinking is that I'm not going to finish them in March.

Here's the good news: the third round of antibiotics is finally working on the horrible sinus infection I've had for the last month. The headache and jaw-ache have finally abated. The kids are better so I can finally attend to myself (a little bit). Knock on wood, we're out of the woods.

We had fabulous weather, so I kept the kids outside after preschool. One would think they'd be exhausted, but today was "Give all our pacifiers to our friend's baby sister because we're not babies anymore" Day. Suffice it to say, the two boys who used pacis are not happy. Oh, they were at the time we bagged them up and gave them to the baby's mommy (who made a big deal about it, so fabulous!), but not at naptime when they were rooting around for them, and not at bedtime. They're still awake, but not complaining about the pacis--big shout out to Grandma who bought them these ages ago but never gave them to the boys. I broke them out at naptime and they've helped a lot.

So back to knitting. I've nearly finished the KPS Hooded Vest for Baby Girl; I just have to kitchener the hood, weave in ends, and buy and sew in the zipper(!), which I think I may have the tailor do. The last time I sewed anything (other than for some knitting finishing) was in 8th grade Home Ec. It's really cute, and Boy M actually keeps saying, "I want one" every time he sees me pull it out. I may actually get around to ordering the yarn.

I'm also making this adorable baby hat, the Tilli Tomas Flurries Baby Beanie. It's pretty mindless and fast--perfect for watching "Dancing With the Stars"--such a guilty pleasure! Fortunately, it's knitting up fast (a little slower than expected because of the beads, but nothing major). My girlfriend is due at the end of May, and I've made negative progress on my other knitted objects for her.

Again, no pictures, but can you blame me? I'm ever hopeful I'll get to it!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I thought I was stalled out before...

I'm so tired I can hardly see. The kids have been so sick. Those of you who are interested in knitting, skip the next paragraph.

I've had at least one child at the doctor every day since Thursday (that was an all-clear ear check visit for Baby Girl, who had an ear infection two weeks ago, developed one over the weekend, and now has a double ear infection with a ruptured membrane), and spoke with doctors on Friday night and on Sunday when the office was closed. I've been giving four fever baths a day, on average, several with two children in the tub. Sometimes, they wake up from sleep and have to go straight from bed to the tub. And everyone cries in the tub. They've been spiking fevers between 104 and 105F and break through the Tylenol and/or Motrin. I've had two separate and isolated (thank goodness) incidents of vomiting. We've been up in the night dosing them with Motrin to keep the fevers down. Boy E's fever broke today and he's in fine; of course, that may have to do with the antibiotics he was put on yesterday when he was diagnosed with an ear infection. Boy J was still spiking a high fever this morning, and was up a lot in the night. At the doctor this morning, he was diagnosed with an ear infection. When I got home with Boy J, Baby Girl had yellow fluid coming out of her ear, so right back to the pediatrician we went for that double ear infection diagnosis. Then, this afternoon, Boy M went back to the doctor because of his high fever, but his ears are clear. And it goes without saying that we're nebulizing the boys three times daily. Poor boys: their third birthday was yesterday, and I think they enjoyed it as much as they could when their fevers were down, but it's not anything anyone would want for his or her birthday. And my husband and nanny both have bronchitis. My dad has something awful, and my mom is getting sick as well (although it didn't stop her from making dinner and dropping it off for me--she's the best). Our babysitter is also sick. But fortunately for us, one of our old babysitters is home on spring break, and she's helping out. I'm not sure if my sinus infection is returning, but I don't have time to find out.

Suffice it to say, my knitting has suffered. I've cast on the Scarlet Fleece to make the Wildhorse Farm Stillwater socks, but I've only knit 1.5 rows of ribbing. And I have to knit on US 1 to get gauge. I'm not optimistic about finishing, but I am starting to find my groove with the yarn.

I'm also progressing slowly on the KPS Bulky vest. It's stockinette with garter stitch over the first and last three stitches, but remarkably, I've been too tired to focus on that, too. Although when Boy M sees me pull it out, he tells me he wants one, so I guess I'd better get cracking!

I also got some good yarn, and some more coming, but I'll have to write about it later. Photos are a long shot.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Stalled out

I'm stuck. It's March 10. I have yet to cast on a sock for this month's Socktopia. I haven't been feeling it with anything in my stash (most of which has been acquired in the past few months). I finally bought fabulous yarn hand-dyed yarn that I was feeling--I LOVED the colorway and I got gauge first time out for Jaywalkers--except the dye came off on my hands, so I have to send it back for fixative treatment. So now my default is the Regia Bamboo with a pattern from a book I bought in February (I don't remember the name and it's not in front of me now) or this really cool Scarlet Fleece yarn in a pink/green colorway--it's gorgeous, I got in in the last Loopy Ewe update, it's great to knit with--but I got a weird gauge and am going to re-swatch on different needles.

While I was struggling with the socks, I decided to make something for Baby Girl: Knitting Pure and Simple's Bulky Hooded Vest for Children. Totally cute, and I bought the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Bulky in Bright Red, and it's gorgeous! If it's fun and easy, I may make three more for the boys. And ordering from Angelika is always a treat--fast shipping, beautifully packaged, great brochures to leaf through! Of course, I ran into trouble swatching: the swatch got wider as I knit! I guess swatching at 11:30 p.m. when I can hardly keep my eyes open is not the best idea. When I knit during the children's naptime, I got a consistent gauge (yay!) but then discovered my KnitPicks Options cable was separating from the join. Ack! KnitPicks is sending a new one out, no problem. Oh, and when I was winding the yarn, my new ball winder, on its third use, fell apart. KnitPicks took care of that, no problem, as well. It's a delight to deal with vendors who make things easy for you.

One the plus side, I'm making progress on the secret project I mentioned earlier. And I organized my dpns in this really cool Offhand Designs clutch I bought at the beginning of the year, and organized my crochet hooks in a really cool hook roll from Po-Ka-Dot.comthat I received as a holiday gift.

And, in the middle of this, I've had a nasty sinus infection for about two weeks that is not cured, and I finish antibiotics tomorrow. Looks like I'm back at the doctor on Monday. I've been to the pediatrician three times this week: two boys are sick. They're spiking fevers around 104-105F. It's unpleasant for all. I'm giving lots of lukewarm baths, forcing fluids, and letting almost all rules go out the window (fortunately/unfortunately, they're still moderately interested in the potty, although Boy J uses it to get out of the bath he so desperately needs for his fever). Their normal selves mostly reappear when the fever goes down. Unfortunately, my husband is sick, so he's out of commission. And I have to wake boys in the night for Motrin; I was so tired last night, I was nauseous. And I had a wake-up call at 6 a.m. from Boy J and had to take him straight from bed into the bath. Thank goodness for ear thermometers! And we're waiting for the other two to get it. The doctor says this bug lasts for 5-7 days. We just finished Day 2 for Boy E, and Day 1 for Boy J. And their third birthdays are Tuesday--poor guys!