cocoa purl

Chocolate Covered Misadventures (knitting, childrearing, surviving) of a Passable Mind

I’m BACK March 10, 2009

Filed under: blog,crafts,knitting — cocoapurl @ 3:37 pm

My poor, poor blog. Its been highly neglected. In fact, I can’t think of a thing that’s been more ignored by me in recent weeks months, except for maybe the laundry. To its credit, the blog doesn’t make things stinky when ignored.

I’ve made more than my share of excuses, mostly to myself, as to why I haven’t been blogging. I could go through them, but methinks its sort of like beating a dead, boring horse. Let me just say SORRY, and we can close this boring chapter in the life of a blog and move on to more important interesting things like:

Babies

Or more specifically, baby (sorry to freak you out, Mom). This one is 7 months along (hmm, duration strangely similar to absence of blogging), and kicking like a soccer champ. She’s a she, and somehow I thought She would be quiet and gentle compared to LG. Oh, so wrong. The upside is that I haven’t eaten my way to a Tom Wahl’s (local burger joint) customer appreciation plaque, as I almost did last time round. She just doesn’t seem as HUNGRY/RAVENOUS, and I am therefore not nearly as keen on eating every hour and a half.

Everything is going swimmingly (knock wood) and I’m just passing the cute pregnant lady phase and entering into the nervous-glances (as in “My God – she could deliver any minute!”) phase. And I’m nesting. In a HUGE way. Which leads me to my next segue:

Knitting

My knitting mojo is back with a vengeance. Thanks to my lovely chiropractor, my hands are fully functional and not numb this time around, and I’ve had a full outlet for my nesting tendencies. In fact, I think knitting is a much better alternative to, say, washing the kitchen cabinets. Or scrubbing the bathroom floor. Though the bathroom actually needed it, making a baby sweater is WAY more satisfying.

First, I made this:

Easy Baby Hoodie

Easy Baby Hoodie

  • Pattern: Easy Baby Cardigan, by Diane Soucy (link to Ravelry)
  • Yarn: Gedifra Florida, pink and purple
  • Needles: KnitPicks size 5

Thanks so much to Denise for getting me past the DUH! moment of how to make just the sleeves striped, where to start, and not laughing at me for being a dummy.

I also made this:

Hooded Baby Blanket

Hooded Baby Blanket

Pattern: Hooded Baby Blanket by Nikol Lohr, The Thrifty Knitter

Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Superwash Wool, 7 skeins

Needles: Maybe 8’s? Can’t remember…

For my new cutie-patootie nephew Maximo Wilbia Sisson! Now, if I can just find thier address…or phone number…maybe poor Max will have his blanket before summer. (more…)

Advertisements
 

FOs and Flying off the Handle August 13, 2008

Filed under: knitting,LG,rambling — cocoapurl @ 9:10 pm

I finished not one, but TWO projects this past week. In fact, I got so carried away by Finish-itis (which I NEVER have had before, mind you) that I stayed up far past my bedtime to get the second projecxt done in the SAME day, just so I could say I did. Ask BG how personable I was the next day, but I have TWO FOs, people. Did I mention that this was heretofore unheard of?

Pattern: Liesl by Ysolda Teague
Yarn
: Debbie Bliss Cotton Silk Aran, 10 skeins (I didn’t use that many, I don’t think)
Needles
: US 7 KnitPicks Options
Started
: July 7, 2008
Completed
: July 31, 2008
Modifications
: Changed to stockinette after bodice, continued garter stitch edging, bound off after about 2.5 inches of garter stitch.

Liesl is done – and she’s purty, and wearable (gasp)! I changed to stockinette under the girls to give a sort of empire waist look (but in reality, between the weight of the cotton/silk and the fact that my waist is a scant inch from my ribs, its more like my actual waist). Truth is, this was a bit of a leap for me, as I have been very much a married-to-the-pattern knitter thus far, but having the whole thing feather-and-fan would have been just too busy for me. After consulting my knitting group about my plan (thanks, ladies!) I modified. And wonder of wonders, it actually worked. Hooray!

Now I’m in search of a button to work with it – I’m in no hurry, as I inherited some cool clasps (the giant safety pin type) that are working just fine. I’ve worn it twice already, and it isn’t even blocked yet. Is that wrong?

I also finished my Jaywalker socks – finally. I’m not sure why these have taken so long – maybe its knitting wool socks in the summer, maybe this yarn, however gorgeous, has worn on my last nerve with no pattern being quite good enough for it. (You see, its NOT me, its the yarn. This beautiful, demanding yarn.) I am happy with the final result, and am already electronically window shopping for just the right shoe for them. What about these? Or maybe these? Doesn’t everyone dress around their socks?

Jaywalker Socks out of Koigu - a little loud, but I love em

Jaywalker Socks out of Koigu - a little loud, but I love 'em

Pattern: Jaywalker, by Grumperina
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM, 2 skein
Needles: US 1 KnitPicks Harmony DPNs
Started: May 27, 2008
Completed: July 31, 2008
Modifications: None, I don’t think

I’ve started two more projects, following my new rule: One mindless project (in this case, a pair of vanilla stockinette socks), and one more challenging project. I’m hoping this will keep me in my new mode of FINISHING things.

If you use your imagination, you can see a sweater.

If you use your imagination, you can see a sweater.

The challenging project is the February Lady Sweater – well, it is for me, since there will be lace, and you know how I feel about lace. Its not that I can’t do it, its that I can’t have ANYTHING else going on when I do. Like television. Or conversation. Or breathing.

OOOOH - Stripes!

OOOOH - Stripes!

The second project is a pair of plain, vanilla stockinette socks. Am I the only person who is endlessly entertained by self-striping, self-patterning socks? Completely rhetorical question. The yarn is Sockotta, and I’m using my size 1 KnitPicks Harmony DPNs. Because I refuse to use a size 0 – so there.

So it was the perfect opportunity to cast on for the FLS during our garage sale this past Saturday. Before you’re impressed by my ability to knit AND handle the swarm of people wanting to buy my wares, let me clear that up right now – there was NO ONE. It rained. It rained hard, and it rained often. So I knit, and took the fact that I had worked on setting this dumb sale up for the last week and a half in stride. (In other words, I swallowed my frustration like a good repressive does.) I knit under stress. Probably better than drinking.

No – I didn’t fly off the handle then. It was today, when it hit me – THERE ARE THREE MORE WEEKS UNTIL THE FALL, AND I HAVEN’T FIGURED OUT WHAT TO DO FOR PRESCHOOL YET. After beating myself up for a good couple of hours (lousy mother, what have I been doing with my time, knitting! instead of researching my child’s future, etc.), I’ve made several appointments to see a few schools. To be fair, I did the same thing a few months ago, only to discover that the one we had sort of settled on was mucho expensive. I mean, second-job expensive. So to plan B.

But I have a bone to pick and a bit of a rant to go on, since I have no idea how women people (sorry, that was sexist) who work full time (i.e. all year round, unlike me, academic slacker that I am, who only works ten months out of the year) are supposed to juggle most preschool programs given they are a HALF DAY. I completely understand that its probably the most academically responsible approach, given that most 3 year-olds wouldn’t do with a full day of school. What I don’t get is how I’m supposed to make that work, AND go to work so I can pay for said preschool, AND provide for the best educational prep for LG.

Did I mention that guilt is a huge motivator to this rant?

Ahh, MommyGuilt. Guilt is huge for me – its in my genes and in my upbringing. I can’t escape it. And now, I’m being told in order for my son to get the best start in school (which could ultimately color his perception of school in general, and cause him to either love it or hate it, and if he hated it he would end up living in the basement into his forties – you see what I mean about the guilt?) I have to make it work somehow to drop him off at noon and pick him up at three. While I’m working all day.

Is there something I’m not getting? Is there a transporter available? Or some sort of manipulation of the fabric of time and space?

Please don’t get me wrong – I WISH I were a stay-at-home mom. I do. If I could take a time-out from working, I would. But I can’t – that’s pretty simple and obvious. So, I need to make it work.

The last time I felt this level of MommyGuilt was dropping LG off to daycare for the first time. Nothing will make you question every decision leading up to that moment as leaving your 8 month old with a veritable stranger. He was completely fine – I was, however, a mess. For months – in fact, I don’t remember being anything but miserable for that first year. I still have a twinge of it EVERY time I leave him to go to work. It gets easier only because I know he has fun.

This is a different sort of guilt, because I know he’ll have fun and I know that its best for him. Its not so much “I’m abandoning my child” guilt as it is “I need to do what’s best for my child” guilt (You see? I have categories). What I don’t know is how everyone else in the same position makes this work.

/rant  (That’s end rant, for those not web geeky enough.)

Sigh. Please, someone who’s smarter than me, clue me in. ‘Cause I don’t get it. I guess its a lot to ask for the answer to the ultimate Mommy/work balance, but ya’ll are smart people. Throw me a bone.

And in response to the stress, I knit. Or spin. Or pretend to shop for shoes online.

I’m off to do all three of those things before I have to shower for work, and do laundry – LG and I are going on a road trip to see YaYa the day after tomorrow. I’ve decided that 8 hours in a car – with just me and a three year old, ought to cure me of any guilt – I may want to sell him to the circus by the time we get there.

CPS

 

Those Lazy, Crazy, Hazy, Days… July 29, 2008

Filed under: adventures,crafts,knitting,LG — cocoapurl @ 8:06 pm

Emphasis on LAZY. Not that we haven’t done a lot, but apparently, blogging isn’t part of what I call our newfound “lifestyle productivity”. You know -knitting, spinning, swimming, watching fireflies and hummingbirds, going ’round the house naked (LG, who quite enjoys it). Nothing productive in the true sense – we haven’t been fretting over the state of the economy, doing much housework, or even much real cooking (unless baking counts). We may be kicked out of the adult club for this summer, truly. Especially if there are any surprise house inspections.

Let me ‘splain. ….No, no – there is too much – let me sum up. (We just watched the Princess Bride again for the zilliionth time. Love that movie.)

  • I got a wheel.
My new Lovely Lendrum

My new Lovely Lendrum

And many ibuprofen later, I’m coming up for air. Seriously. I’m not sure I even showered those first few days. What sort of fiber freak gets so sore from spinning she actually ices her wrist?

YO! That would be me.

I’m figuring things out, little by little (namely, DON’T buy felted merino, no matter how pretty it is, and DON’T spin for two days straight unless you’ve trained for it) and am actually making something that looks like yarn – how about that?

This is a Lendrum DT (stands for double treadle) – its an upright wheel, as opposed to the Cinderella-style saxony wheel that most people think of. And not only does it fold, but it fits just nicely in this little corner next to the window. And the air conditioner (hey, if I’m crazy enough to work with wool in July, then I plan accordingly).

After much hemming and hawing and driving all over to try every flavor of wheel I could think of, I bought this one from the lovely Louise from the Marion Sheep and Wool shop (not ten minutes away from my house, I kid you not).

I’ve spun a LOT. At least, to me…

  • LG went to his first 4th of July Parade/fireworks.

He didn’t much care for the parade at first.

And then…the folks on the floats started to throw candy.

HEY! CANDY!

HEY! CANDY!

Instant convert.

  • LG got a big boy bed.

And since we’ve been talking a lot about how big boys also go on the potty, and have heard this is the best way to get them to learn:

The Pants-less days of Summer

The Pants-less days of Summer

It hasn’t worked yet, but we’ll keep on trying until A) He’s potty-trained, B) it gets too cold, or C) the neighbors start to complain.

  • We went to the Air Show.

BG was VERY excited. LG was game to go along, as long as he had earplugs. (We also may or may not have bribed him with a toy plane.)

And this was the helicopter used in the series Airwolf...

"And this was the helicopter used in the series "Airwolf"..."

Oooh, look! A tiny sliver of plane!

Oooh, look! A tiny sliver of plane!

Commiserating on who can make the best plane noises

Commiserating on who can make the best plane noises

My boys on the big plane - my photomerge experiment

My boys on the big plane - my photomerge experiment

Stick a fork in him...

Stick a fork in him

  • We’ve also been learning all about expressing our emotions.


  • I’ve been doing some knitting.

The hat is the Republic Hat (free pattern on Ravelry), made with my first ever handspun. Spindle spun, no less. I can’t quite decide if I love it or if it looks like a Redskin’s mascot threw up. On my head.

The dinosaur is Norbert from Knitty.com – I made this for my dinosaur-lovin’ nephew for his birthday. Knit up two weeks in advance, check. Assembled, check. Double-check on his birthdate…

CRAP.

Sorry DW – this one’s going to be late. Your Aunt C has a mental deficit when it comes to dates.

The end.

CPS

 

C’mon Baby, Do the Locomotion June 20, 2008

Filed under: adventures,BG,knitting,Uncategorized — cocoapurl @ 10:39 pm

Racecars, boats, trains, trucks, motorcycles, even dirigibles. All boys LOVE locomotion.

This father’s day weekend was all about locomotion. We went to the Poconos this weekend to redeem BG’s raincheck for his stockcar driving lesson (warning – very annoying web site) that we (me and pretty much our entire extended family) got him for our anniversary/his birthday. The weather held out, though we were a bit nervous given the little lightning bolt icon that came up when we checked local weather Saturday morning.

This time around it was a little different atmosphere – being the day before Dad’s day, there were lots of families that treated their respective “Dad’s”, mostly to rides. Slightly less testosterone than the last time, but I had my Koigu sock with me – as good an estrogen shield as any. A purple, green and yellow handmade sock is a fine antidote for sitting in the pit of Pocono International Speedway. Which, by the way, matched the purple car that BG drove just so, though I kept that to myself at the time.

If you look closely, you can see the whites of his teeth.

And while I didn’t make it to my local WWKIP in Rochester, I represented at the speedway. I’m pretty sure I was the only one there. But who knows – maybe the tough-guy drivers, instructors and pit guys were sitting in the trailer in their badass fireproof jumpsuits, knitting away on some socks and debating the pros and cons of dpn’s and circulars. Not likely. But the mental image amuses me to no end.

Not too many men can pull of a bright red, white and blue jumpsuit. But even dudes are checking him out.

As for how he liked it, I give you exhibit A:

Clearly he didn’t have any fun. At ALL.

I asked him as we were leaving how his back dealt with it all (I was afraid to even mention how he was going to twist his three herniated disks into that car, Dukes of Hazzard style. You’d think for $120,000 they could afford door handles. Or even DOORS.) His answer: “My back?”

On Sunday, we went out on the Colonial Belle, a local canal boat that does tours down the Erie Canal. It was a great day – they had a guitarist on board, who, in addition to lovely canal-touring ditties, also did a fab rendition of the Gilligan’s Island theme (which is still in my head, unfortunately) and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”. (He had some ghost karaoke-style backup singers doing the ba-ba-ba‘s, but I couldn’t seem to locate them. Did I mention they had a full bar on the boat?)

The captain was a great guide, and pointed out all sorts of areas of interest and points of history. BG and LG had hot dogs, BG got a beer, mom-in-law had a margarita – good times. LG wasn’t completely enthralled, but tolerated the 1.5 hours of relative inactivity fairly well. His high points included going under the bridges (he has a bit of a thing for bridges – and ones that raise up? Forget it. He loses his mind.) and spotting the high tension wires.

And, dutiful historian of family activities that I am, I FORGOT THE CAMERA. Dumbass.

Over the course of the weekend, I finished one Jaywalker, out of previously mentioned purple Koigu, literally by a nose. Or a toe. I was getting very nervous as my remaining yarn ball got smaller and smaller. I kept holding it up to BG in an effort to use his spatial soothsaying abilities to give me some sense of things – will I finish the sock? Should I put in a contrasting toe? And where can I find Koigu in northeastern Pennsylvania? He was no help, but I managed to finish the sock. I think it was because I knitted faster and faster as I got to the toe – I hear that helps.

Will I make it?

Must knit faster…Hey! Are those caution cones ahead? Oh, wait, that’s just my toes.

I’m feeling the urge to cast on another big(ger) project still – I have a slew of Debbie Bliss Silk Aran burning a hole in my stash that I got on sale at Knit n’ Purl’s going out of business sale. I’ve been thinking (still) about Something Red, but I may go with Sprout instead. I’m not completely sure about the cables, though – they strike me as a little out of place. So basically, I’m still deciding to make a decision. I’m feeling a little flush with victory from the CPH – a pretty dangerous thing, as I’m even thinking of trying Lace Ribbon. Again.

Lace Ribbon

Lace Ribbon – so pretty, but I don’t know that my attention span and lace are compatible.

Happy Father’s Day to my BG, and to my Dad. Thank goodness for Dads. Who better to teach about how that liftbridge actually raises up, or why you probably shouldn’t somersault off the couch (they speak from experience). BG is a combination of good cop, explainer of all things, kisser of booboo’s (the bumps, not the dog. At least, not very often – BooBoo’s oral hygiene is questionable), giver of bear hugs, and builder of the best train tracks. Not to mention that he plays endless rounds of CandyLand, changes poopy diapers (level 4 toxicity), cleans the litter box and even the dogs’ late night gastric emissions from ill-conceived “snacks”, and watches the Do the Alphabet video AGAIN even though This Old House is on. All without complaint. (OK, maybe the diapers evokes a fairly dramatic grimace and a shudder.) Thanks, sweetie – you’re the best.

And while I’m sure my sister and I were such angels that discussions of gravity vs. us were not required, I thought I’d say: Thanks, Dad – not only for keeping the number of visits to the emergency room down, but for helping to make us into decent, law-abiding citizens. Who also know the merits of carburetors vs. throttle body injection – an important life skill.

And to my Mom and stepmom and mom-in-law – it goes without saying you rock! I neglected to give you a blog shout-out on Mom’s day. Sorry about that. So much for the “decent citizen” part – you did what you could with what you had to work with. On the upside, I comb my hair regularly, floss, and eat all of my broccoli. I even take a vitamin. Usually. And I’m doing my very best to make the world a nicer place, and raise my boy to do the same. But I just can’t bring myself to wear pantyhose/knee-highs. Or eat beets. They’re just gross.

You all have a pair of pretty hand-knit socks with your names on them. See, you DID raise me right.

CPS

 

File Under: What Was I Thinking? June 9, 2008

Filed under: adventures,crafts,knitting,LG — cocoapurl @ 9:21 pm

Ever get caught up in the moment? Your heart pounds with anticipation, excitement, and a touch of fear, and that inner voice tells you, “Go for it! What have you got to lose?”

I’m old enough that I ought to take this voice as a warning. Otherwise, I end up with this:

What Was I Thinking?

Maybe it was a reaction to the giddiness of the summer’s first pedicure. Maybe it was the acetone fumes. It seemed so cute and summery in the bottle, and yet somehow, on me, it’s like I have caution cones on my feet. The photo doesn’t do it justice. They glow in the dark, or it sure seems that way.

Other than my personal fashion setbacks, I’ve had a fabulous week in knitting news. I FINALLY finished the Central Park Hoodie for Tori:

Central Park Hoodie

Needles: US 7 / 4.5 mm
Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool
How much? 2.5 skeins = 1195.0 yards (1092.7m)
Colorway = 8063 (“Latte”)

I was pretty darn proud of myself. My first REAL sweater (not counting Green Gables, or the Baby Kimono Sweater, or Dean’s Sweater that Shall not Be Named. Okay, maybe not my FIRST FIRST sweater, but first fully successful sweater), with set-in sleeves (not fun), picked up button band (not fun until I found out the whole 3 out of 4 rule, then it was a snap!), and its not gimoungous. Its a little small for me, but that’s okay, because its for Tori, who is about half my size. I sure hope it fits her, or maybe it could be a cozy, lounge-about sweater. How’s that for rationalization?

A bit part of the CPH’s success was the pattern itself – it was so well-written, even I could follow it. The only modifications I made were to make it a couple of inches longer in both the body and the sleeves, and no buttonholes – I’ll add loops if she wants some, but am just praying she doesn’t want a zipper. I don’t want to push my luck.

Central Park Hoodie

In other knitting/fiber news, I took my first spinning class last Saturday, at Village Yarn and Fiber Shop in East Rochester. I was ridiculously excited to go, so much so that I was EARLY (and I’m NEVER early. Ask anyone). I’ve been thinking about it ever since going to my first Finger Lakes Fiber Festival last fall and seeing all that glorious roving and the resulting handspun. It wasn’t so much that I was interested in the process, in all honestly, as the product – sooo pretty. Not only that, but its an economical way to feed a yarn habit – you can get a pound of gorgeous handpainted roving for 30 bucks. That’s nearly a sweater!

There is a catch, though – I’ve never been one known for my coordination. I can hardly carry on a conversation and drive a car, much less treadle with my feet while my hands are supposed to be doing something different. And if I’m expected to talk and behave like a normal social creature all the while – invitation to disaster.

So it was a mix of excitement and trepidation that I went to my first class, and sure enough, my hands and feet steadfastly refused to listen to instruction (Deb’s or mine) for the first hour or so. The Louet wheel I was using was cooperative enough, but I couldn’t seem to avoid the mega-twisties (for lack of a better description), in which the yarn formed little twists that stuck out like dreadlocks all over the bobbin. So while most everyone else had lovely, delicately twisted yarn with just enough variation to look organic and homey, and I had dread yarn. NOT the goal.

I’ve come to terms with my lack of coordination many many moons ago (somewhere about the time when, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t hit the damn baseball even though it was sitting motionless on top of the T) but this was upsetting, as I started to get the feeling that I could REALLY like spinning. I LIKED feeling the wool in my fingers, treadling barefoot (Deb assured me that it counted as aerobic exercise, and politely ignored my garish toenails) and watching it literally and magically transform into yarn.

Just about the point where I resigned myself to the fact that it was going to take me a LOT longer than my classmates to get it (“Do you have a remedial spinning class?”), Deb told me to adjust my tension a bit (the little doojiggy in front of the orifice).

{Cue Hallelujah chorus}

Suddenly, wonderful, thin, even yarn started coming out of my hands. I can’t describe how cool it was – clearly, I’m easily amused, but it was just so ….COOL. I had a few hiccups whenever I stopped to get more roving, and had to remind myself to breathe, but I DID it. The downside is that when I went to ply, it meant I had to ply my Bob Marley single with my heavenly, even single, but that’s okay. I like to think its organic.

My first handspun!

So I’m now thinking about a wheel of my own. Ahh, but money is always the issue – these things are NOT cheap, unfortunately (how do I always DO this? Why can’t I come up with cheap hobbies?). Since bake sales or a “Buy Christye a Wheel” walk-a-thon are probably out of the question, I started to eyeball the giant kitty litter bucket full of change we have in our closet. I was thinking MAYBE fifty bucks out of it, and that would be a great start, like found money, right? Nick and I took two coffee cans worth to Wegmans this morning (they have one of those Coinstar machines that you just dump it into) and we walked out with $150. Dollars. I guess its a good thing I never tried to guess the M&Ms in the jar or anything, because I’m apparently lousy at it. But free money! Its a sign – the wheel will be mine.

The Louet is okay, but I’ve read that you should try as many wheels as you can before you buy. I’ve been scouting eBay and craigslist too, just in case I can score a bargain.

I’ve also been threatening to have a yard sale for awhile – this seems as worthy a goal to clean out my clutter, and our Scoop Away bucket of change, as any.

Cursed Koigu

My precious Koigu yarn, so pretty and yet so cursed, has finally agreed to be knitted into a sock pattern. One that fits my foot. I must have started and ripped and started again 6 times. First with one pattern – didn’t like it with the yarn. Then with another, and another. Then finally a good pattern (Jaywalker)- but I got all the way to the heel flap before I realized it was TOO SMALL – I couldn’t even get it over my foot. Finally the right pattern/needle combo: There’s a reason why Jaywalker is such a hit. It really shows the colors to their advantage, but is simple enough to warrant not-too-much concentration. Good for watching “Lost” or to distract from “War“.

In Nick news, he finally worked up the courage to go through the sprinkler.

Nick and the Sprinkler

Nick and the Sprinkler

Wet Boy

I miss the elbow dimples, but what a little man he is. A cheeky monkey, too.

CPS

 

Could It Be? April 14, 2008

Filed under: adventures,knitting — cocoapurl @ 3:34 pm

I try not to get my hopes up. This is Rochester, and I’ve been burned before. And yet, I can’t help it. All you have to do is look at my face to know that I haven’t seen the sun in awhile (to be fair, I pretty much always look this way, but by the end of winter, I’m translucent).

The sun is out, and by George, it feels like it could be creeping up to 60 degrees. The seasonal summits of snow in the plazas are disappearing, and I think I saw something green on our back hill. It could be an empty Mountain Dew can, but I’m not using the binoculars to burst my bubble.

Local weathermen are even starting to sound optimistic. They’re a hearty bunch – easily the most reviled members of the local news, they are the cheerful harbingers of doom (and cold. and snow) 8 months out of the year. Its sort of a game of ours to guess how long the new guy (usually freshly minted from meteorology school in an ill-fitting suit) lasts – not much past January, though the persistent ones can last until February.

GASP! Shadows!

Anyhoo, the forecast this week called for THREE DAYS in the big 6-0.

And an even better antidote than a SAD machine for a long, cold, winter is: RED SOCKS (or as they say down south, REY-ed. And they sure are REY-ed).

Alas, they’re not for me. But that won’t stop me from caressing them, trying them on (the recipient has daintier feet, so I’m hoping for a better fit) or just pulling them out to stare at their lovely redness (yarn: Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet – how fitting!). The pattern is Monkey, from Knitty – my first fingering weight, and my first patterning (and only my third lace experience) sock design.

In other words, they took an embarrassingly long time.

Rey-yed Monkey In Law Socks

The up side is that the self striping stockinette sock I’m doing now (Felici, in Dakota, from KnitPicks ) is whizzing by. I cast-on yesterday and am already doing the heel flap. Don’t be too impressed, though – I haven’t done much else. Like cleaning (later). Or laundry (later). Or feeding my family (takeout).

However, I did accomplish one other thing yesterday that doesn’t happen very often, and left me feeling adult enough as to fritter away the rest of my day knitting a sock. We washed our dogs. BOTH of them. Collectively, that’s 162 lbs. of dirty, hairy, cranky canine – one of which howls like we’re removing his toenails pretty much the entire time. I spent the next couple of hours brushing and drying and brushing some more – somehow, that ad I saw about spinning your dog’s hair doesn’t seem quite so silly – until, miraculously, they were CLEAN. I was filthy, but it was something.

We go to this great place to get them clean – its a self-service dog grooming place where they have raised tubs complete with collars and hooks, shampoo, treats, towels, and aprons (hah!). They even have these great high-powered hair dryers, if the dog will actually put up with it (Boo-Boo kind of liked it, Yogi felt it was a violation of the Geneva convention.)

The best part is leaving the mess behind, and hoo-boy, you better believe their was one. At one point, Yogi somehow twisted his 78 lb self onto the 4 inch ledge where the tub attaches to the wall, and took the sprayer with him. There weren’t just a few drops here and there – “puddles” is not quite an adequate word either. Think much, MUCH bigger.

Ironically, Yogi is the dog that people are most afraid of. He’s big, nearly all black, and a little jumpy, but you could never find a bigger coward. He loves to swim, but somehow, baths are simply torture. Even the seasoned dog groomers kept looking over to be sure we weren’t secretly tazing him or something. Nope – just conditioning.

The tally: 8 towels, 10-15 treats (including the ones given to the house Boston Terrier to keep him from terrorizing Boo-Boo, who really could have swallowed him whole), 1/2 bottle of Oatmeal Shampoo, 4 ear wipes, two bandannas, one extremely wet me (except where the apron was – that was dry), $40 dollars for services.

Two clean but still somehow stinky wet dogs sleeping for the rest of they day: priceless.

Clean BooBooClean Yogi

Oh, yeah. And we got our taxes done. Well, BG went to the accountant and HE did them. But it was still an adult accomplishment. In celebration of getting back some of our own money, we got takeout.

And I made 1/2 a sock.

CPS

 

HELLO….hello…ECHO…echo March 3, 2008

Filed under: knitting,news,rambling — cocoapurl @ 2:02 am

Yes, I am in fact still here.

I’m not entirely sure why I’ve been so neglectful of the blog of late. It could be because I’m not feeling all that interesting, or that the chronicles of what its like in Rochester in late February doesn’t seem all that blog-worthy. Or it could be that I’ve just turned 36, its flippin’ -30 degrees (or thereabouts) outside, my beloved Subaru seems to be rebelling in a big way against the new kid in the driveway (more about that in a bit), I have a single inch-square of emergency Ghiradelli in the house, and I’m hip-deep in grading. BLECH.

So much for my promise not to wallow. My apologies.

On the upside, I’ve learned to make socks. ME. The probability of me pulling this off was really right up there with losing 20 pounds, winning the lottery, or discovering the secret to Barack Obama’s charm (my vote is on subliminal messages, or some kind of hypno-blinking. Or maybe he just smells good). Needless to say, I’m ridiculously pleased with myself. When I turned that heel, it was like the heaven’s parted and the hallelujah chorus kicked in. And don’t even get me started on grafting/kitchener stitch. I was already rationalizing how fashionable it would be to have toeless socks – pedicure socks! Brilliant! – when, quite surprisingly, at about 1:15 am, I got it (Knit, slip, Purl…Purl, slip, knit…..). And behold, there was a toe. And it was good.

OK, I had some help. A lot of help. I took a sock knitting class. For the non-knitters among you, this may sound like a pretty sad way to spend three consecutive Saturday mornings. And I would probably agree that knitting socks sounds about as exciting, say, as a 25-year anniversary “Thriller” video tribute. (I told you I was feeling old.)

But I and my fellow intrepid sock knitters were a united front, giving moral support and sharing mutual tales of woe, until one day, one of us produced…a SOCK. (It wasn’t me – I was in the remedial section). The reception of that first sock by the group was on par with the arrival of a newborn baby. We passed it around, cradled it gently, =at its beauty and construction, and oohd and aahhd at how soft it was.

Now you’ve gone from mocking to pity. But that’s OK. Because I’ve made not one, but TWO PAIR at this point.

100_2694.jpg

These are barrel-distortion induced cankles. Really. Ask any optical engineer. Please.

100_2690.jpg

Doesn’t everyone put their handmade socks on their nightstand? Right next to my copy of Friday Night Knitting Club and my cinnamon schnapps nightcap (like mouthwash, but you can swallow it).

I’m graduating to fingering (sock) weight yarn – the REALLY COOL yarn, on teensy-weensy needles. These things (size 1) are nearly microscopic, and feel so delicate I’m afraid to hold them too tightly (which I feel myself doing, along with not breathing, on account of not wanting to drop a teensy-weensy stitch). My hands have never felt more like meaty mitts as they do when I’m using these needles.

100_2683.jpg

I feel like I’m in the “man-hands” Seinfeld episode.

Quarter break is approaching (have you noticed the correlation between finals week and blog entries? Sheer coincidence.), and I am quite looking forward to spending some quality time with my boys and my yarn. Because that’s how I roll.

(The one cool thing about getting older is that you really begin to care less how un-cool you truly are. Peace out.)

CP

P.S. I think our new too-cool-for-us Scion xD must be sticking its tongue out at our poor lonely Subaru, because the latter has developed a wonderful crunching noise when turning, a gas perfume that’ll knock you over, has burned out one headlight and one fog light (almost like winking), and has begun to sing the siren song of an alternator on its way out. And the check engine light is now on. All in the last week.

There are good reasons for this. One – the inspection is due, uh, tomorrow. Two – we paid off the darn thing. Three – we bought a new, young, cheeky car, and the middle-aged gal’s feelings are hurt.

I’ve tried reasoning with her, telling her that we’re just giving her a break – 50 miles a day for 6 years – you’ve earned some time off, my friend! It didn’t work. She proceeded to short out the headlight-switch wand thingy and chew up the wiper blades.