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.