Saturday, November 22, 2008

What to do?

Well, it's been knitting failure all around. But Boy E has been using his winter hats (both store-bought and hand-knit) as "homes" for his toys. All three boys want me to make "homes" now. I better get creative!

Oh, and I'm destashing, too!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Knitting Failure

Flashback: Thursday, November 12. I am happily knitting away on Petra (on US 10.5's) while the children are at school. Happily, I said. That is, until Mom, who is also knitting Petra, looks over and says, “Wow, your fabric is really dense.” I am off gauge by a stitch. I rip out the whole thing, eight inches worth--and let us not underestimate how long it takes me, the mother of three 4-year-olds and one 3-year-old to knit eight inches of anything, even in bulky! I start over on US 11's. Then, on Saturday, after knitting about 10 rows in Mom's company, I have a feeling--a feeling!--and ask Mom to measure. It's off again, about two inches too big. Now I'm pissed. I rip out again. I swatch on both US 10.5's and 11's. I can't get gauge on either. But would you believe it: some companies actually make US 10.75's. And I'm in luck, I can get 10.75 in Addi Lace needles, and Angelika got them to me in two days! On Monday! From Oregon! (And I didn't even pick expedited shipping!)

So after this problem, I had a bit of a finish-itis attack. I picked up Robot and started sewing. I just have to get my safety eyes (already on the way) and I can sew up the head, and then give it to Boy E who laid claim to it. After staking his claim, he helped Boy M leaf through Jess Hutchinson's book to find another toy for me to make for him.

In the meantime, on Saturday night, I came home to find my Lucky Lurker Club package waiting at the front door. I opened it, and it was beautiful yarn (as always)

with a pattern for a beret (note: the iPhone did not do a good job with the color). I've been wanting to knit a beret--I even ordered Grumperina's pattern and have it sitting in my to-do pile--but couldn't justify casting on one more project. So in light of the Petra failure, I swatched and cast on Saturday night. I'm having a good time with it, just have to get up my nerve to swatch again for Petra.

ETA 11/19: Swatched Petra on 10.75's on 11/19 and got gauge. Am working up the nerve to cast on.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Getting Back on Track

Well, outside the blog, I'm pretty much on track. I guess that's how blogging fell by the wayside. Plus entire summer days spent outside with the kids. Plus tennis elbow (due to knitting, a concept that the doctor found hard to accept) kept the summer knitting to a minimum. And to try to catch up on four months' worth, it's just too much even for bullets. Kids are fine, I'm fine, knitting's good...and I'll just pick up here.

Stitches East

Always a good time, traveling with Mom and my sisters. Excellent shopping even though we missed some of our regulars: Blue Moon Fiber Arts, The Skein Attraction. We LOVE cocoknits--I'm working on Petra right now.

(This is the first 8 inches of Petra that I ripped out this afternoon because my gauge is off by one stitch).

We also had a great time with our new friends Wendy and Amy of Woolworks. I bought yarn for the most gorgeous scarf designed by Amy and I swear, I'll be lucky if I can make it--the laceweight mohair is killing me. That stuff is sooo slippery and if I try to take out any stitches or rip back, it knots up, and I keep having to break the yarn and start over. I will NOT be defeated, though I don't know that I'll have enough yarn left to knit the thing!

I invested in several pairs of the Signature Needles: 7" straights in US 6 and US 7, stiletto points, for knitting the lacy scarves I bought from Woolworks, and 6" sock needles in 2.25mm and 2.75 mm. They are beautiful (although maybe a little slippery for the mohair)! Cathy and the women there were just delightful, and we spent a lot of time with them (Thursday night, Friday morning, Saturday morning) figuring out our purchases and buying more.

It was totally cool meeting Miss Babs and Jennifer. I had promised to come by with my Waterfall socks from the Woolgirl sock club, but couldn't wear them because my Dansko clogs were too big plus the suede was running onto my socks and I didn't want to ruin handmade socks.

We also spent time with and bought a lot of yarn (all four of us!) from Katie and Sharon of Yarn Love and Three Irish Girls. Their colorways are too gorgeous! This is Fresh Celery in Yarn Love's worsted and roving (maybe Maiden?) for thrummed mittens:

My sister, embryo1 on ravelry, loved the Maiden colorway so much, she bought it in sock yarn one day and in worsted (for mittens) the next, and didn't realize it until she got back to the room and reviewed her purchases! We all had a good laugh over it, especially when my other sister, borntoknit on ravelry, nixed certain attempted purchases of mine because I always buy the same colors these days.

This year, my purchases were mainly sweaters, a big departure for me. I'm knitting Petra in a chocolate brown Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Super Chunky right now.

In the pipeline are Loppem in Berroco Palace; a Filati sweater; and Tang in Malabrigo (which reminds me, I need to order a sweater stone). I did buy a few more skeins of sock yarn. I also bought a tabletop swift (handmade by Knitting Notions (all my surfaces have beveled edges so the swifts and ballwinders pop off in the midst of winding and wreak havoc) and a new ball winder. We set it up in our room and loved it! New policy: we bring a swift and ball winder to Stitches.

Stitches East Accommodations

We stayed at the new Hilton and here's our report card:

Convenience: A (nothing like being connected to the convention center. We still have vivid memories of 2007's bitter wind as we struggled back to the hotel with all our bags).

Rooms: A (modern, clean)

Service: D (My sister and I had to tag team the front desk and work our way two managers up the chain to get the connecting rooms that we booked but were not booked properly nor confirmed properly by Hilton staff at central booking and the hotel, then had snarky comment from second manager. Not to mention the line of 20 people behind us shooting daggers with their eyes. Terrible breakfast Day 1; ok breakfast day 2. Room service couldn't get our dinner order right. Redeeming note: our new best friend, Assistant Director of Food & Beverage who came to our room after room service fiasco and listened to all our complaints, whether food-related or not, and took good care of us).

All in all, it was a delightful trip. Next knitting adventure: Yarnings on December 6 to meet Debbie Bliss!

FO report:

1. Valentine's socks from my Woolgirl sock kit from January. I ran out of yarn and when the 1/2 skein arrived, I threw it in my project bag and left it. But I've been motivated to finish things (!) and finished them up yesterday. The color is actually more vibrant than the picture indicates:

2. Clapotis. That thing has been on the needles for two years, only to be forgotten on the blocking board when we left for Stitches East. Here it is on the blocking board:

3. Muno. To replace Boy E's broken Muno. I finished this about 10:30 p.m. at night and woke him up to give it to him. He was hardly awake yet so delighted, it was charming!

4. Second Koigu Kersti garter stitch scarf:


1. Ombre scarf in Rowan Colourscape chunky:
This is totally mindless although I ended up a stitch off and ripped out until I realized that was stupid--it's a stockinette stitch scarf with an increase at the beginning of the row and a decrease at the end.

2. Blue Sky Alpacas Eyelet Cardigan. All I need to do is set in the sleeves. This is a picture of the seamed side:

After I cast on and knit a few inches, I found modifications on Ravelry and decided not to rip out, but I probably should have done it. The pattern does not match at the shoulder or side seams, but since people won't likely be looking down at my shoulders or under my arms, it won't be much of a problem. I know it and will just ignore it.

On a final, non-knitting note, thanks to Lici for tipping us off to this clock to keep the kids in bed (or at least their room) until a decent hour that falls anytime after 6:30 a.m. (yes, I've been up with them at 5 a.m.). It arrived today, and they are all fascinated--too bad I can't figure out to program it with three four-year-olds climbing all over me to play with it and one three-year-old pleading for one for her room. That's the next order of business.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Killing time

Or blog space. I'm just too tired: it's hot, we had a great time at the pool and our barbecue and just got the kids to bed (at 8:30p). I've made no knitting progress, so here it goes:

Your Linguistic Profile:

40% Yankee

35% General American English

20% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

It makes sense, considering I'm from the Northeast and lived in the South for 7 years (college + law school). Good night!

p.s. The Dark Knight rocks!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The drive to finish

I got the urge to cast on something new today. Why, I'm not sure. I have plenty of UFO's to finish. I was leaning toward the February Lady Sweater, probably because I have always wanted to make the baby sweater. Then Mom steered me toward Zephyrstyle's Juliet. While we were trying to determine if Mom's stash had enough of any bulky or worsted (to use doubled) yarn to make Juliet, I tried to download the pattern and had a problem with the website. I then flirted with the idea of making a run to a LYS, at which point, I got the bright idea to perhaps finish the Blue Sky Eyelet Cardigan before starting another adult sweater. The back was already finished, so I finished the right front after dinner and just cast on for the left front.
[picture to be added when blogger permits--if you're on ravelry, check here.
The cotton is a dream to work with, and the pattern is easily remembered, too. I forgot how much fun this was to knit!

And good news: I'm now downloading Juliet directly!

Here's the bittersweet news: I think the cardinal family has moved out.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The best of summer

It's mid-July (almost) and summer is hitting its stride. I love dusk, when the fireflies come out. Usually, they make their appearance in early June, but this year, I didn't see them until the end of June and I had started to worry (you know, the bee collapse, frogs are disappearing). There's something magical about the flickering glow through the yard, amongst the bushes, up in the treeline. It's even more magical now that the boys are old enough to understand and appreciate how amazing it is. I've had them up late chasing fireflies twice: the first time was a Sunday evening after they came home from their first baseball game (minor league) with their father; the second time was a drizzly July 4th evening while their father and I were talking to the police and getting a report regarding the damage to his car (someone backed into his car, damaging the hood and grille).

We got a bit into the magic of fireworks, too: when we opened the door to the two police officers on July 4th, Boy E said, "Ooh, look at the fireworks!" One of the neighbors was setting off fireworks in his yard, which is illegal here. One of the police officers muttered, "I don't want to hear it." That's life in a small town! While the police officers were doing their best to ignore the fireworks and to avoid having to bust the neighbor, Boy E kept exclaiming each time one went up. Then the other police officer looked over and said, "Oh man, a roman candle!" Fortunately, we were able to "distract" them. But I have to laugh--they were trying their darndest to avoid having to go over and the neighbor, unknowingly, kept escalating the situation!

I also have a new treat this summer: I have been noticing a cardinal pair spending a lot of the time in the shrub (pretty much a tree) in front of my study window. My desk is under this window, so I spend a lot of time eyeing these birds. Yesterday, I realized there must be a nest, and was able to find it, shielded by a few leaves. Today, I watched as the fledglings shakily jumped to the edge of the nest and surveyed their surroundings. What a treat for me! I hope they stick around...maybe I should fill my birdfeeder.

On the knitting front, I once again cast on the Koigu Daydreams blanket (check out my previous troubles here. This round is on ravelry here. I've used ugrzanna's correction and knitabull's correction, and some math and rewriting of my own, and I think I'm getting somewhere. I'm about 10 rows in on the large center triangle and I finally have 4 points showing up--it should be a triangle when sewn...although that may be an ambitious prediction at 10 rows in.

I'm also working on my second Koigu Kersti garter stitch scarf. It's perfect mindless knitting, and great for working on when I'm waiting for the camp bus. I took pictures of the yarn yesterday with my iPhone, and I think I couldn't keep the iPhone steady enough, but it's a picture:

Oh, and I'm nowhere on Summer of Socks. So be it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's 9 a.m. and here's what I've accomplished

1. disciplined biting son at 6:30 a.m. and dealt with resulting hysteria;

2. disciplined son (not biting son) for waking up baby sister;

3. informed baby sister she is not coming out of crib yet and to stop screaming;

4. read 1/2 of discipline book to figure out what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it;

5. got myself washed and dressed (at 7:20 a.m.);

6. got sons ready for camp (use bathroom, put on sneakers, put lunches and water shoes in backpack, spray sunscreen;

7. play games with children and wave at garbage truck until camp bus comes;

8. bring in our and neighbor's garbage cans;

9. speak with contractor about parents' roof leak and get referral for my slate roof repair;

10. eat breakfast;

11. consult with sister-in-law (early childhood development specialist) about discipline;

12. watch the cardinal parents feed their young in the nest in the tree outside my study window.

Gee. that doesn't seem like seemed much busier when I was doing it!

Anyway, last night, I finished crocheting Muno (of Yo Gabba Gabba fame) from this pattern:

I just need to embroider Muno's eye, mouth and teeth.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Two months in bullets

It's been a while since I posted anything of anything, so I think I'll just hit the highlights. Thanks to AmpuTeeHee for the idea!

Here it goes...ready?

* GI consults resulting in crash course in remedial toilet training for one boy with negligible success, leading to CHOP consult next week (hoping for the best and trying to avoid a breakdown (mine));

* a fabu 38th birthday celebration (mine) with great knitting swag and awesome party favors!;

* a disputed case of head lice based on purported evidence in one child 5 days before vacation resulting in all children being sent home from school and generalized but contained hysteria and chaos in the house, with the attendant shampooing of children, and washing and vacuuming of every toy and surface and bedding in the house. End result: no head lice in any child including the alleged patient by evening, and three boys with buzz cuts;

* a low blood sugar episode rolling into panic episode while traveling at highway speeds on the New Jersey Turnpike three days later. (Every time I get that damn anxiety under control it leaks out another way);

* a call from the police the day before vacation regarding what turned out to be a non-incident but raised anxiety levels of entire family;

* the discovery 22 hours before takeoff that previously packed suitcases are too heavy and damaged to take on trip resulting in crazed trip to purchase new luggage and repack same;

* a successful 10-day family vacation (husband around weekends only). Yes, I can wear high heels and take a fish off a hook. Three loads of laundry per day. Wake up 2-3 times per night for disoriented children/children who have fallen out of bed/children who are annoyed by the sibling who is sharing his/her room. Put in request for second vacation...alone;

* return from vacation one week before day camp begins and immediately call nursery school director to see if triplets can attend nursery school camp for one week (starting next day) until day camp starts;

* raging case of pinkeye (mine) following our association pool's season-opening pool party last Friday. Run halls of house screaming "Noooooooo!" and examining children's eyes (without touching them) to see who else is infected and would be unable to start camp;

* three head lice-free and pinkeye-free boys successfully start day camp on the bus;

* day 2 of camp = day 1 of toilet training for smart and completely uninterested two-year-old daughter;

* battle with insurance company and collection agency over unpaid bills medical bills from three years ago. Yes, I am the only one who has a clue about what's gone on for the past three years and the only party involved who is not in violation of the Fair Claims Processing Act (a specialty of mine prior to triplets) and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (as per husband) is me. Apparently, doctors do not know how to bill appropriately and insurance company does not know how to process claims properly and collection agency does not care. You will find my head exploded and my eyeballs stuck to the ceiling by tomorrow morning;

* repeat mantra of "take two steps away from your brother," "keep your hands to yourself," "we don't call names in this family" every five minutes until children are turned over to school/resort camp program/pre-school camp program/day camp bus counselors, and resume no later than five minutes after children are returned;

* Oh, some knitting and crochet:

The Topsy Turvy Doll (details can also be found here on Ravelry):

The picture of the purple dress shows the doll before I made the bonnet tie and hair--I'll post those when I can do another shoot.

I also finished the Loop garter stitch koigu scarf:

Who knew taking self photos in the bathroom mirror would be so hard? It doesn't help that I'm breaking out like a teenager for some unknown reason (what did I say about stress earlier?), so the position of the camera relative to my face is equal in importance to capturing the scarf.

In casting-on news, last month, Mom and I started our own Funky Monkey knitalong. In the race to the finish (because we're competitive in a non-competitive way), I made a crucial error:

Yes, in my race to get ahead of Mom while she was at work, I put the tail on the front of the body instead of the back. Apparently, my competitiveness overwhelmed my common sense, resulting in lost time ripping out. Here is the monkey now:

Now that I finished the Topsy Turvy Doll, I think this is the next on the list to finish. Oh, and I used the monkey as an excuse to learn Magic Loop (from the pamphlet, of course).

And, I joined Summer of Socks again. I received some great sock club yarns, just haven't been able to cast on yet (it takes more time than I thought to pack three camp bags and make three camp lunches every night). It's almost 9 p.m., so time to pack, then shower, then maybe wind yarn for first pair of SOS socks.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How to feel old, Part II

So, I think I'm finally over the trauma of nearly passing out at the gym in March (or was it February?). No, I haven't back. But after catching sight of The Couch-to-5K Running Plan on someone's blog, I decided to get back on the horse. Not yet fully recovered from the humiliation of nearly passing out at the gym, I hit my mom's treadmill. Whereupon, for the first time ever in my not-as-short-as-it-used-to-be life, I felt my ass bounce violently, the vertical manifestation of the tricep wobble. How did that happen?!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Has it been a whole month? I hardly remember the projects I mentioned in the last post. Well, I remember the amigurumi goldfish. I've now finished three of them, but can only show you the second one, knit in Lamb's Pride (I think), with sewn eyes because I couldn't find safety eyes:

Feeling slightly guilty, and much taken with the fun of crochet, I made a cupcake purse for Baby Girl from another Amy Gaines kit:

The only modification I made was to tie the drawstring ends together without the beads. Baby Girl is only 2-1/2 (although she thinks she's 4), and has a definite tendency to put things in her mouth. She's enjoyed the purse and has used it to carry her toy animal figures around (she likes them in pairs: "I need two for a family," she tells me). Boy M tried to poach it, so now Mom is knitting him a Buddy Bag.

The only downside to all this crochet: I've hurt my left shoulder. I think it's from having to manipulate the stuffed fish body while trying to crochet the last few rounds of decreases. But I'm done with fish for a while. I've actually cast on a new project, Blue Sky Alpacas' Eyelet Cardigan. I was on gauge right out of the box--shocker!--and made it too far into the pattern before I checked ravelry and found alltangledup's modifications which make a lot of sense. I'm just going with the pattern and trying not to think about it. I also can't make the sweater longer, since I raided Mom's stash for the yarn, and only have 4 skeins. I'm just hoping for the best!

I brought my unfinished Summer Solstice sock with me for the big friends' 40th birthday trip to Las Vegas. Tons o' fun, Vegas is! Good food, great company. A little Cirque du Soleil--Ka is amazing!--and my first try at gambling! I should just light the money on fire, though I was only $11 down. I didn't get to knit much, maybe a little on the return flight--my favorite airport experience was when the TSA guy, while contemplating whether I was going to be allowed to keep my metal KnitPicks dpns, asked me, "are you going to take them out during the flight?" To which I replied, "Well, yes, if I'm going to knit." He let me pass. I guess I didn't look that dangerous.

The boys' 4th birthday party was fabulous fun and went off without a hitch. Now we're on a school break, and we're trying to keep busy all day long. Fortunately, we have excellent, almost-summer weather, which keeps us outside all day long. The plus side is that the kids are totally knocked out at bedtime; the downside is that I'm also knocked out, which is not good for project progress. Did I mention that in the past two weeks, Baby Girl has come into her two-ness?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

March Madness

Ever since college, March Madness always hit hard. I went to Duke, and Duke won its first Men's Basketball National Championship my senior year. Need I say more?

Although I never imagined that my March Madness would turn into what it is today. The triplets turned 4 (!) last week, so we spent the week celebrating--loads of fun but exhausting! And the first official birthday party with friends is happening next week...I have to wrap up those last details.

Also, last March nearly killed me with everyone, not just the kids, but everyone, being so sick. We're holding our own on that front. In comparison to last March, the stomach virus was a blip on the radar. And for more excellent news, we were at the pulmonologist today, and he reported that the boys seem to be outgrowing their asthma. Hooray! Though I'm not sure how long it will take me to outgrow the fear and dread that strikes each time someone starts coughing.

My knitting has been...neglected? I'm not sure that's the right word. I've been describing my situation as "Knitting Malaise." I'm dissatisfied with pretty much everything I've got on the needles. That's no mean feat: I have 3-4 pairs of socks in progress; a knitted doll that I picked up at Stitches East intending to make it for Baby Girl for the holidays, and am shooting to finish it for her birthday at the end of the summer; a Clapotis; a Tulip baby sweater; the Blue Sky Alpaca Cropped Sweater that I frogged and need to re-swatch (not that gauge was the problem); the Decadent Fibers baby blanket that I bought at Stitches two years ago and had to basically re-write the pattern; and, I'm sure there are others that are just not coming to mind. I was doing well with the Rockin' Sock Club Serendipity sock, but I'm not sure if the sock is too tight, I'm turning the heel and have messed up the short row wraps a few times, plus I think something in the stitch pattern may have hurt my arm, or maybe that was just the chair I was sitting in. I find myself toting around 6 or 7 projects but not even working on them, instead, I'm reading knitting blogs and cruising Ravelry. Or I find myself at the end of the day being just too tired to do anything without totally messing up the project, such as wraps on a short row heel.

But on Sunday, when I found myself at my mom's for several hours without a project, I raided her stash for something to cast on--thereby breaking my unvoiced intention for the year to not cast on a new project until I finished something on the needles. Instead of palming some cashmere, or one-of-a-kind handpainted fabulousness from her mini-yarn store, oops, I mean stash, I went for...crochet. Amigurumi, to be exact. This Amy Gaines goldfish, but a kit.

The goldfish is, obviously, adorable. The kit is so cute--it comes in a Chinese food takeout carton with yarn, safety eyes, fiberfill, sewing needle and a crochet hook. The pattern is clearly written and gauge seems to be irrelevant--great for a "jump in blindly" project. It's load of fun, except for the incredible splittiness of the yarn, which means I crochet really slowly. But there's plenty of room for forgivable mistakes. Like not weaving in the yarn tail from the beginning ring of the body. And mildly understuffing the body. And putting the safety eyes in asymmetrically. And sewing the tail on horizontally instead of vertically (mental note: check placement of eyes before sewing tail to body in order to determine proper alignment). And the best part...Boy E keeps asking if he can have it, and the other boys want one too. I guess I'm not doing that badly.

So, because I need to look at the fish to crochet it, I decided to rustle up a project I could work on while watching Dancing With the Stars, the last element of my March Madness. It's my number one guilty pleasure! So while the children were watching the Curious George movie, I re-swatched and cast on the Decadent Fibers Creme Puff jacket--I purchased the pattern from the Decadents at Stitches this past year, and the yarn from Karida at Neighborhood Fiber Co. It's superbulky--2 sts/inch on US 17. Maybe I can finish it relatively quickly and still wear it before it's seriously warm out. But I found a typo in the gauge: it said 2 sts/inch, 9 sts/4 inches. I did the math based on the finished dimensions and found that it is definitely 2 sts/inch. The directions for the back are a little confusing so I'm kind of revising them and hoping for the best. I'm knitting in the waist shaping and am hoping it works out. If not, and I have to rip it out, at least I'll feel that I only spent a few days knitting it instead of months. Oh, and in finding the link, I'm noticing that the Decadent's yarn does not seem to be thick and thin like the yarn I'm using. But my sister the style maven and Karida both thought it would work, so we'll see. Otherwise, I'll have to do some sort of pullover, but I'm not there yet. And as an extra treat, I'm using the perfect tote that I received in a swap from KaKi.

Hopefully, I'll get the knitting back on track. If not, it may be time to finish a sock monkey blanket from the Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet that I made about two years ago. I just have to seam the squares, which is ridiculously easy and fast, and crochet a few sock monkey faces. Mom needs to help me with that part, though. I've also been thinking of getting Babette out of storage, which, now that I see it's from the Spring 2006 Interweave Crochet, means that it's been in progress since Spring 2006. Oh boy. Did I mention that I have a Mountain Colors sweater in progress upstairs in storage in the attic? And that I bought it at the first Stitches show I attended in, oh, 1996 or so? Let's not go there.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Vacation? Did anyone say vacation?

Yeah, that was me. I got a stomach virus instead...for the whole family (except my husband--the one time working all the time actually works out). My parents won't even come over--and I agree with that. Yesterday, Mom was at Barnes & Noble and picked up some things for the kids and said she was going to drop them off at the front door. I asked, "What? Are you going to ring the bell and run?" And sure enough, the bell rings, my husband opens the door (I'm snoozing in bed) and I hear Mom shouting to him from the car in the road. We're set back at least 50 feet from the road! Seriously!

It started with Baby Girl in the middle of the night on Monday. The most plaintive and unusual cry of "Mommy" at 2:30 a.m., so perplexing to me that I went running in without my glasses. I can't see without my glasses. Pretty much blind. Really. So in my half-asleep and blind state, I made the mistake of reaching into the crib without looking. Enough said. Five minutes later, I had her in the bath. She was better by Tuesday night, and we were all in the clear until Thursday night, when I was felled by the bug. I spent the night on my cold, cold, tiled bathroom floor. I came to in the morning with blocks of ice for feet (mental note: when feet become ice, try sportweight instead of fingering weight hand-knit wool socks) and back and knee pain. I croaked to my husband, "You must stay home today." He took care of school drop-off and pick-up. Fortunately, I had an extra babysitter Friday afternoon, and my nanny was pre-scheduled to stay through Saturday morning because my husband had a meeting and I was supposed to make up my last sewing class. (Oh well, looks like I'm teaching myself how to sew a tote bag.) The bug hit Boy E at 4 a.m. on Saturday, Boy J at 9 a.m. on Saturday, and Boy M at 10:30 p.m. Saturday night. I am an expert at late-night bath. And the saddest part: Boy M had missed me so, he was happy to be sick and getting a bath alone with me at 10:30 at night. That is, he was happy until he got sick again. And again. And again.

The good news is everyone is on the mend and is bouncing back better than me. Unfortunately, I have to be off my GI meds until Friday, and I have to call my primary care doctor to see when to restart my antibiotics for the burgeoning sinus infection I was so proud about nipping in the bud last Monday.

Suffice it to say, I don't have any knitting content to report. I just have not been up to knitting, for obvious reasons. I did catch up on my blogging today, though, and just bought this awesome sock kit at Unwind thanks to Lime & Violet's Daily Chum:

“The Red Thread” refers to this Chinese proverb:

“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet,
regardless of time, place, or circumstance.
The thread may stretch or tangle,
but it will never break.”

Those simple lines have come to be the heartstone of many families adopting children from China.

The owners of Unwind apparently adopted their daughter from China, and 20% of the retail price will be donated to an organization that provides training for orphanage workers in China. How could I resist?

And for Lici: Yo Gabba Gabba is on Nick Jr. at 11:30 a.m. (I think) and this weekend was starting on Noggin (I didn't catch the time for obvious reasons). We TiVo it on Nick Jr., and my only issue is that the TiVo captures commercials, real commercials, which I don't like the kids to watch; there's no real commercials on Noggin (I don't count sponsorship messages or commercials for other Nick Jr./Noggin shows). Also, I may be taking liberties, but check my comments and email the Minister of Sparks and Lightning if you want to be on the blogger email list.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

And for the rest of my day...

So, by about 2:30 p.m. yesterday, I was mostly recovered from my gym experience--still freaked out by it, but pretty comfortable I wouldn't pass out on the three-minute trip to pick up the triplets at nursery school at 3 p.m. I left the house at 2:50 so I wouldn't be rushed and to account for high-school traffic (it's about halfway between my house and nursery school), and as I drive down my street, I'm muttering to myself about all those reckless high-schoolers speeding down our side street and swerving out of the middle of the road (again, feeling old, but this time, not in a bad way). As I'm sitting at the stop sign opposite the high school driveway, looking right and waiting to make my right turn, I hear the punch of a collision and look up to see a white car hurtling toward me. I was speaking to my mother on speakerphone and shouted, "There's an accident, I have to go" and braced myself for the collision with my car which, fortunately, did not happen. What did happen is that the teenager in the white car shot out across the main road and did not see oncoming traffic and was broadsided.

I called 911 and then debated whether to hop out of the car or try to get to nursery school on time. I checked on the teenager, she was crying, on the phone with her mother, and the driver in the car behind her was sitting with her. I told her I called the police already and head back to my car, only to see a very elderly lady, limping, get out of the other car. Fortunately, she wasn't injured (apparently the limping was unrelated to the accident), but she wanted to see the other driver--oh, and she said her heart was racing. Great. No way I could leave before the police arrived. I kept trying to get her to wait in the car but she insisted, and when I crossed the street with her, another driver almost hit us--I had to pull her jacket to get her out of the way. Are you kidding me?!

Anyway, everyone was fine. The police were there in about two minutes, and the officer let me go once I told him I had to pick up 3-year-olds. And of course, I was freaked out all over again. As was my mother, who thought I was in an accident, although I did call her once I got clear of the scene.

Fortunately, I had my knitting to rely on. I'm really enjoying my Woolgirl Valentine's sock kit. It's more White Oak tv yarn in sport weight--great colors and a fun pattern. But I've noticed that despite knitting the cuff shorter than called for in the pattern, I seem to be running out of yarn. Check this out (and please excuse the poorer-than-usual picture quality--I had to use my iPhone because my camera memory card is full).

Sock 1:

and Sock 2:

And not really related to the topic, but irresistable to include: the socks in my super-cool Piddly bag from Piddleloop:

Back to the socks. I clearly do not have enough yarn to knit the remaining 5-6" of the sock and have been lying to myself for days. I didn't want to contact Jen at Woolgirl because the same thing happened to me with the Halloween kit, except that time I used a pattern other than the one in the kit, and I finished the socks with about three yards left in the skein. But Jen is the coolest! She said that someone else had the same problem and she was having the dyer dye more yarn, but it would take a few weeks. Hooray! Now I'm freed up to start my Rockin' Sock Club socks (already swatched), unless I go for the Woolgirl Sock Club February sock--Zen Yarn Garden and a cabled heart pattern!

And then, tonight, I had my latest freaky experience. I ran out to Target after putting the kids to bed, anticipating that the predicted snow tomorrow will make getting out nearly impossible, and of course, our need for a new iron and ironing board is so desperate we cannot wait until the weather clears (that's what an afternoon playdate spent printing Yo Gabba Gabba iron-on transfers and trying to transfer them to t-shirts with a lukewarm iron while six Yo Gabba Gabba devotees aged three and under are waiting teaches you). I had additional items on my shopping list, so while cruising the toy aisle for birthday gifts, I reached for a toy and grazed my hand on the underside of the shelf above it, and felt something wet. I snatched back my hand and saw blood, and immediately started to freak yet again--now I had someone else's blood and blood-born illnesses seeping into the very dry skin on my hand. I went racing to the opposite site of Target looking for anti-bacterial hand wipes, trying not to bean anyone, especially myself, with the large ironing board in my cart. In no time at all, I was vigorously wiping my hand, trying to remove all traces of the contaminated blood, only to was my own blood. I can't even explain how relieved I was (except when I began to worry that there wasn't enough alcohol in the wipes to kill any germs because the cut, actually, a skin split, didn't sting when I wiped it). I then went across the street to Nordstrom's and bought Kiehl's hard-core moisturizing the 8-oz jar.

I think I need a vacation.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How to feel old

So, a group of my college friends are turning 40, and we are taking a celebratory trip in Las Vegas (I'm slightly younger, but they thought I should be included anyway). For the past six months, I've been meaning to get myself to the gym on a regular basis, and thought, hey, we haven't seen each other in years (holiday cards don't count), why don't I get a jump start and work with a trainer. I've had to cancel twice (you know, kids), and today was my first day...and I almost passed out about 10 minutes in. I mean, for real pass out--sweating, slightly nauseous, laying down on a weight bench, drinking Vitamin (sugar) Water--and enough so that the trainer didn't charge me for the session. Crap.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Happy feet!

Nothing like a new pair of socks to cheer you up after a colonoscopy!

I'm ok, but still kind of shot, so here are the details:

Yarn: Vesper Sock Yarn in Dragon's Blood
Needles: KP Harmony dpns in 2.75 mm
Pattern: Knitting Pure & Simple Beginner Mid-Weight Socks (7 sts/inch)

The yarn is a treat, so soft and cozy. LOVE the color! They are a little loose, so next time, I think I'll use a pattern for 8 sts/inch. The pattern is really easy, and I wanted a mindless stockinette so I could enjoy the color. I think I'm going to keep a stockinette self-striping sock in the works in my bag--perfect for the doctor's office, etc.

We're doing another family project for a friend's baby, a baby blanket. I think it's from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms, but I could be wrong. I was assigned the two stockinette squares; the consensus was that I would be most likely to mess up knit/purl patterns (I've been known to fall asleep knitting and to mess up stockinette when I'm too sleepy). I took advantage of my post-anesthesia state to start one of my baby blanket squares and will finish square one tonight.

I've started my Woolgirl Valentine's sock kit, and also want to dive into my new Socks That Rock kit, even though I have lots of projects still on the needles. I'm just not in the mood to pick up those projects. In fact, I spent some of yesterday culling my working project basket in my bedroom, and sent a lot of things to the attic. I'm actually thinking of destashing, but I've got to get to it. In the meantime, I'm not buying any yarn. My exception is Wollmeise, but I didn't make it through the Loopy Ewe update, so I broke down and ordered direct from Germany. I think I ordered sport weight, but I'm not sure. How bad could it be?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Where does the time go?

It's been a month since I last posted? Well, let's see...

We thoroughly enjoyed our first family vacation. I brought along this project:

It's Vesper Sock Yarn in Dragon's Blood. I'm using Knitting Pure & Simple's Beginner's Mid-Weight Socks pattern, a basic stockinette pattern, so that I can enjoy the self-striping of the yarn. I'm knitting on Knit Picks Harmony dpns 2.75mm. I'm actually liking the wood needles and TSA didn't blink an eye. The yarn is wonderfully soft and I'm not bored (yet) by the stockinette. I think next time I use this yarn, I'll drop down a needle size for a slightly firmer fabric; it feels a little loose in the hands, but when I try it on, it just feels wonderful! I definitely need to drop down a needle size for the ribbing, though.

I stuffed it into this Piddleloop Piddly bag I was fortunate to score when the first Piddly bags were posted in November (I bought it using my iPhone, what a trial, the wifi connection kept dropping):

Now, don't be fooled by all this progress. I cast on right before the flight, and did not even finish the 10 rows of ribbing at the top until after we got back. Seriously, what could I expect, traveling with three three-year-olds and a two-year-old? Though they were just delightful on the flight down to Florida--they slept!

The other distractor was a garter stitch baby blanket that is another group project for a pregnant friend. My mom and sister Elizabeth roped me into knitting a strip of seven squares, but something happened when I did not do an official swatch. Rather, I cast on and started knitting, and Elizabeth checked the width, and it didn't match the other strips. So I dropped down a needle size. It still didn't match. So I dropped down two needle sizes--good to go! I then spent half the vacation knitting four of the seven squares in the strip (definitely beating Elizabeth in the race to the finish), only to find it was too narrow! It must have been sabotage! Suffice it to say, we ripped it out, the three of us took turns knitting my strip; I knit maybe 1.5 squares of it and mom and Elizabeth finished the rest because Elizabeth seamed it while she was in Florida. Maybe I'll be able to get a picture.

We all enjoyed our vacation so much, we're working on making plans to go back. The children loved the opportunity to play outside and at the beach, and everyone was happy and tired every night. I was able to put the boys in camp at the resort. Boy J missed two days of camp due to a fever, and then we had to pull him out because of some toilet-training regression--UGH! But the boys and Baby Girl all got quality individual time, too, with Grandma, Grandpa, Daddy and Mommy (me), and Titi (Aunt) Elizabeth. We had family dinners, even in a restaurant! We're getting somewhere, I think, on this going out business.

We would have never made it there and back without my parents and sister. They flew down with us, and then stayed on after we left for their vacation (yes, you need a vacation from the vacation with us), but came with us to the airport for the return flight and helped us to the gate. The flight home was good as well, except Baby Girl and Boy J can no longer sit together: the two of them poked at each other for nearly the entire flight (two hours!), and Baby Girl knows just how to get on J's nerves. But we lucked out--our flight arrived 35 minutes early! And on the return, I didn't have to install 4 car seats in a rental car!

So now that we're home, and my babysitters are on winter break, I can get some time to myself. I've made a lot of progress on the Dragon's Blood sock. I'm also thinking of not buying yarn for a while and winnowing down my stash. I'm sticking with the Woolgirl and STR sock clubs and didn't renew my others. I'm also thinking of destashing, but I haven't even put the children's summer clothes in storage yet, so I definitely don't have time go through the stash yet.

In the meantime, I do have unblogged knitting acquisitions. Here is the yarn I got for Hanukkah from my mom:

It's PennyRose Yarns in City Socks. It's nowhere near as dark as it looks in my picture; try looking here.

What else do I have going on in yarn? here's the latest installation from the Woolgirl Sock Club

and STR

Oh, and before I went on vacation, I picked up the Tulip cardigan again. I must have been really foggy to not be able to think through navigating the corner with the applied I-cord because it was easy and fun! I'm now working a sleeve:

Here's another Piddly bag that was a gift from Mom, stuffed with (I think) sKnitches Syncopation self-striping sock yarn in Wicked from my stash (I actually thought I might finish the Vesper socks and need to start another pair for the flight home).

And just arrived, fresh out of the shipping box, is yarn I purchased at Stitches from Karida of Neighborhood Fiber Co..

They are three of the biggest yarn cakes I have ever seen! The shipping weight was 5 lbs.! Of course, when I took out the pattern I bought the yarn for (a cardigan for me), the pattern is misprinted and is missing page 2 of 3, which page must consist of instructions for the right front. So, right now, other than the pattern info (yarn weight, gauge, etc.), my pattern instructions begin with: "LEFT FRONT: Work as for right front, reversing all shaping." Not particularly helpful. Fortunately, the other sister bought the same pattern, so I have a call into her.

Other updates:

1. The stolen earrings were returned, unannounced, by being deposited in a flower pot by my front door. Are you kidding me?! I'm just glad to get them back.

2. Boy J got a clean bill of health. No evidence of a hernia, but if he has one, it will show more as he grows because these things don't heal by themselves.

And remember those Woolgirl Halloween socks? Here they are!

Happy new year, everyone!