Monday, April 25, 2005

O, Great Teddy Bear King

O, Great Teddy Bear King. The Princess Zahn, and I, the Princess Zanzibar, bring you greetings. We have come on a perilous journey accompanied by our steadfast donkeys (one who is hidden) to bring to you these long and pointy sticks. O, Your Crocheted Majesty, we beseech you to tell us the meaning of these truly wonderful creations.

At this point, my imagination ran dry... This picture was taken while roaming my house, avoiding anything constructive to do. This photo was not set up (beyond moving the junk that I couldn't crop), but all the key pieces were just as my DD left them. I wonder what SHE was thinking when she set them up???

Finished my magic stripes socks today. They almost match, except for the toe. They are a combination of two patterns, plus a bit of changing by myself. Next time, I'll write it down first. (Or even during. I had nothing written of what I did when. I guess I like to wing it.)

Also finished two soakers. Did a twisted rib on the blue/green one to give it more stretch.

I love the colors of the red/pink/green/brown one. If one I could wear those colors, I could make a great sweater!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Fourteen days and counting

There are very few days left until the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Fourteen, to be exact. This is how I've been preparing:

Talked my friend Lori into going with me. She's the only friend that can handle looking at yarn and sheep products for the whole day. Plus she has a great color sense and will help me pick out interesting colorways. She hasn't even backed out when I told her the horror stories about the long bathroom lines (she's pregnant, so that says it all...)

I've printed out loads of papers that detail which vendor is in which barn. Soon I will be hilighting each section. Hope that my marker doesn't run out.

Printed out maps. That may sound like a normal thing to do, but I'm the type of person who is printing out maps with her coat on, on the way out the door. This proves how prepared I am.

Contemplating what form of liquid caffeine to carry along to avoid the dreaded caffeine headache. Should it be a Coke? Or a Starbucks Frappachino in a bottle? Or several of each?

Bought a bag today for my yarn purchases. When it's full, I'll make a trip to the car, empty it, and carry on. I'm kidding myself, I know. I most likely will keep jamming the yarn into the bag until the zipper breaks and I'll have to drink another Coke to make room. (But wait--those bathroom horror stories!! Maybe I'll just have to take a couple of Excedrins.)

Now. we have approximately 20 million bags in our house. At least. But none quite so pretty as this.

Sigh.... It's gonna be fun!

I've been working on my CIC sweater some more. My kids seem to think it's a bit of a mess. I agree, but it's a controlled mess. I've committed to detaching some yarn balls, but haven't hidden the ends. It's coming along, though.

My socks got some more work done at the car shop, but I figure you all can do without another picture of them. The yarn is starting to run out, so I'd better start knitting faster!

For those of you interested in my solitaire gameplaying, I put a progress tracker on the right. The average winning is 5% of the time, and I'm at 6.1%. I was at 7.4%, but then tried to play more to make it go up, and you can see what happened.

I also randomly typed in numbers for my color codes for the WIP (Work In Progress) and FO (Finished Object), just because.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Bleached out

As many times as I've dyed yarn, I managed to bleach this one out in the sun. In my defense, I always set this on a towel in the corner of the dining room and build a cocoon around it with more towels on a drying rack. That pesky sun, however, managed to sneak its way in and bleach out the pink. And just the pink, not the brown.

Finished another soaker from this lovely variegated yarn I bought from 100purewool on ebay. Super soft, wonderful stuff.

I had major dental work yesterday, and while waiting in the chair, I worked on my sock. Wondering as I did so....I'm nervous enough that I'm almost shaking--will that throw off my gauge? Didn't stop me from knitting, though.

Another trip to the car shop tomorrow, which will speed this along.

Started a sweater for CIC. Note the lack of commitment here--I have yet to cut a single strand of yarn. I prefer to knit with a big old glob of knots until I decide it won't need to be frogged. Using this pattern, and so far it's fun! I knit the blue portions on my knitting machine to speed it up.

Friday, April 15, 2005


While waiting for my car to get fixed today, I worked on my magic stripes socks. The lady behind the counter asked if I was "sewing" my socks, like the ones I had on. Well, I decided not to correct her on the "sewing" part 'cause she actually noticed the socks on my feet! That's the first time someone has noticed that other than when I say "Hey! look at my socks! I made them!"

I also read more of my book "At Knit's End..." by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee aka the Yarn Harlot. I totally expected to read that book from cover to cover without pausing for air. But, due to the book's arrival during the frantic birthday party cleaning, I couldn't read more than a few pages that day. Or the next (while recovering. :) And that's the way I've been reading it. Just savoring it page by page.

Now occasionally I read snippets to my family. After all, they need to know that this is how knitters think--I'm not alone in my craziness.

DD#2 asked me the other day what was so funny, so I told her "well, you wouldn't really get it. It's a knitting joke." Just then DH walked thru the room and exclaimed, "I like the way you explain how we won't get it, but then go ahead and read it to us anyway."

This is true. I will read it, laughing so hard they can barely understand me, and all I get is a blank stare in return. I suppose I deserve it.

In other knitting news, I've been balling yarn today. I don't have a swift, just my new winder, so tomorrow I'm sure to have some sore muscles.

My CIC comfort shawl is dry. and I promise this is the last picture. I just wanted to show that I have a 6' wingspan, and the shawl seems long enough to wrap around and tuck in. I used an 8 oz. skein of Fisherman's wool dyed purple (which split in the dye bath making it nicely variegated.) and another 5 oz. of Fisherman's dyed blue.

My short metal needles arrived in the mail, bought from some kind soul on the knitlist. I've got 5 sizes, including another set of 8's so I no longer have to steal DD#2's.


Monday, April 11, 2005


I was all excited. Wound my yarn into balls. Reformulated my soaker pattern for two needles and printed a test copy. Packed my needles (and sunscreen, and food, and drinks.) DS#1 was finally pitching in a game close enough for us to go for the day. I figured I had time to knit in the car, while the first game was finishing, between innings, and on the way home.

See what I got done?

Just the ribbing. Well, just the ribbing, twice, but I ripped it out the first time.

It was just too exciting being there and watching the game--couldn't concentrate enough on the knitting, so finally put it away.

It wasn't just the excitement, though that kept me from knitting. It was also
I'm hungry.
I'm thirsty.
I need sunscreen.
I need the bathroom.
She just threw up.
I'm bored.

By the time DS#1's game started, I was done! with everything!

Here he is.

I tell him, when I see a picture like this:
How does your arm bend that way? Mine doesn't. It's just not possible!

He insists it's normal (and when I look at other pictures of other pitchers, their arms bend the same way.) Still, when it's your kid, it's hard to believe.

That's not the only thing that I have a hard time believing. It's that my baby, who was toddling around the house just a year ago or so, is close to realizing his lifelong dream of pitching for a major league team. He's had scouts from at least 7 teams taking a serious look at him. And I personally talked to 4 yesterday.

Only time will tell what will happen, but it's looking more and more likely.

I don't know how to describe it--it's totally surreal.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

It was a good day.

I had good intentions of blogging last night, but instead I decided to veg out in front of the TV. Here's what I've been doing the last couple of days.

Finished a soaker out of brown "spun in the grease" handspun.

Lovely yarn, but the lanolin puts a drag on the needles that hurts my wrist, so I have to take it slowly.

CIC Shawl completion! The last time you saw this I had 47 sts short of being finished with no yarn left. I opted for over-dyeing some leftover purple with the blue and hoped for a match. (This is what I did with the blue originally, but since I measure by globs, I wasn't so sure.) Since the yarn is variegated anyway, it turned out fine so I spliced the end and bound off the rest.

Washed it in Eucalan to get out the vinegar-used-in-dyeing smell and blocked it last night.

Over-dyed my not quite so brown Fisherman's yarn to a better yarn.

Used up the rest of the brown dye. It still wasn't dark enough, so over-dyed that with green. I think I got it right this time!

I had ordered a couple of items at my LYS, and they came in.

I got a ball winder, and it's the blue one! Yeah! Thought it was going to be the red one, but the blue one is more sturdy and doesn't snag the yarn as much.

I'm so excited. Usually I have the skein wrapped around my knee as I knit. It works well (being as I don't have any toddlers or cats), but looks a bit awkward when I go places. Now I can make my center pull balls.

Also got some locking rings with their own little pouch, so no more safety pins! And this is a new soaker in progress.

As I was running around the house last night, my DH commented that didn't I want to move the junk from around the picture subject to make the picture better. I blissfully replied that I just crop each picture to remove the junk--much easier to crop than to actually MOVE the junk.

Because, after all, who wants to see a picture like this?

Notes, empty snack bowl(not mine), socks (not mine), bookbag (not mine), socks with a blob of spaghetti sauce (mine. Hey, but I DID cook supper! And I didn't include a picture of my hand where the sauce jumped out of the pan and burned my hand. It might have been at the same time as the blob on my foot. I was too busy running for the cold water to notice where else it landed.)

This yarn came in the mail today.

Beautiful, beautiful handpainted merino yarn from Uraguay. (That's probably not spelled right. I should go look at the stamps--there were stamps ALL OVER that package.) (Sorry, too lazy...)

The faster I finish my current projects, the sooner I can use this yarn!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


My neighbor, or "She who climbs ladders in pajamas" as I like to call her, was good yesterday. She was at the bus stop in jeans and tennies. She's not going to get locked out again and not be prepared. So....I took a camera to the bus stop today to report on her progress, and look what I discovered!

Yep, that's PAJAMAS!!! She was good for ONE whopping day! I promised to cut out her face, or you would also see her HUGE cup of coffee. That's how she's preparing--by making sure her coffee is WITH her, rather than locked inside the house. This way, if she gets locked out again, she can survive.

I've given her lots of grief about trying to manage the ladder all by herself, rather than calling me for help. (coffee inside--must get in...) She's getting rather sick of it, and is forcing me to admit here and in writing, that I would do the exact same thing.

Well, I can type it, but that doesn't mean that you need to believe it. I'm way too organized and level-headed to ever have that happen to me. I ask for help at ALL the appropriate times. (Okay, those who know me--Shut up already--all that laughing can't be good for you!)
Not much knitting to report, but I hope to do some tonight to relax from my stressful day of madly cleaning the house. There's a birthday party going on here. Dani's turning 10 tomorrow! (Did take out a few moments to play Gaps--I even won once!)

I paused from my vacuuming to look at my wonderful new books. Brand-new, hot-off-the-presses book from the Yarn Harlot called "At Knit's End. Meditations for Women who Knit too Much".

I'm showing it here amidst the party supplies. How far is that? After waiting and waiting, it comes when I don't have time to read it? I also got "the Best of Knitter's Arans and Celtics". I might be dreaming, but I'd like to make one of these soon.

Here's the party going in full force. There's more girls than this. (maybe a gazillion. Or, maybe it's 7 and just sounds like a gazillion.) They're all watching a movie now to knit!


I'm stuck on this Solitaire game called "Gaps". I don't get any better at it, but in hopes that someday I will win (chances are 1-in-20, but I'm not even that good) I keep playing. Now some games have a learning curve, and then you gradually become better. Not this one. It just stays the same.

It's not even like it's a hard game to play. Just moving the cards around according to ascending order and suit (suite? you know--hearts, diamonds, spades, clubs). I even had "HE of the 80 Boggle words" play it. "please play this for awhile and figure out the strategy and tell me" I ask him. Even he says, "there is no strategy".

I am an unbeliever, so I must play it over and over and over again. Nope, not any better this time. Or this time. Or this time....

I play it when I let the dog out. I play it when I let the dog in. I play it when I'm waiting for my super slow modem to send. I play it when I'm waiting for the laundry to finish. I play it when I'm avoiding my housework. I write about it when I'm REALLY avoiding the housework. And that's what I'm doing right now....

Got another birthday party coming up. Tomorrow, in fact. I SHOULD be madly cleaning, (or sleeping-- getting ready to madly clean tomorrow), but I'm just in here playing the never-winning Gaps.

I've racked my brain for a picture, but nothing picture-worthy has happened today. I have a start on a brown handspun soaker which feels wonderful to knit, but not that exciting to look at as of yet.

I have my brand-new soaker pattern that's been selling well. This has just been an exciting adventure for me--creating something new and knitting at the same time.

I'd better calm down by playing some Gaps.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

What we do on a rainy day....

It was a rainy, ucky day and the kids were bored. I knew that because I heard "I'm Bored" about every 5 minutes. Then they would repeat it (as if I could forget). Now I'm perfectly happy just sitting and knitting all day long, but the kids aren't so easily occupied.

They built a tent. Well, they actually built it last night to sleep in, but they weren't done with it so left it up all day.

This is not just any tent. This tent uses up almost the whole room, almost every chair, and almost every blanket in the house. It has two mattresses for the roof, and a couple of blankets for the bed. (I would've switched them!) They promise to put it away tomorrow.

I'm not holding my breath.

They also roasted marshmallows over a candle. (Notice our smartness of using a fork and not a toothpick as was suggested.) This progressed on to two kids and big marshmallows, but no mishaps.

This is me. While I'm happy knitting all day long, I never made it to real clothes. This is how I looked after walking the dog. Notice the sensible coat (raining, raining, raining) and sensible shoes. In between is my lounge pants. Yep, never got dressed. And, of course, lounge pants is just a fancy way of saying my flannel pj's.

This occurred just one day after my friend's exciting adventure (you know who you are!). She, too, was in her pj's at the bus stop. Arriving home, she found herself locked out of the house. Had her cell phone with her, but did she call me? No..... She got a heavy ladder, climbed up (way up) onto her deck, just on the off-chance that her door was open. Which it was. But if it wasn't, then what? There was no going back down. That's why Flylady says to get dressed first thing in the morning--you never know what will happen!

Even with this fresh in my mind, I never got dressed. Jeans just restrict my ability to eat all day long. And that's another thing we did--made a yummy dessert. Too bad the kids had to go to bed as soon as it was done. (More for me!)

I did some knitting today, too. Here's a soaker that used up the pink yarn from the other day. Well, used up some, anyway. There are 4 shades of pink used here, and 5 shades that I dyed the other day, but I still needed to dye 2 more to get this to match.

A couple shades were too pinky-pink, so I needed a more red-pink to match. Took the yarn to DD#2's basketball game last night, and knit for several inches. The team won the playoffs, "Go Wildcats!", and I finished the soaker today.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Beltway knitting

How many shades of pink are there? At least five. That's how many I had to dye before getting the shade I wanted. The winning shade is 2nd from the right which I combined with a variegated yarn. (No pic, since it looks like it doesn't match, but believe me, it does.) The rest may be combined into a soaker.

Went on a trip this past weekend, and had my 16 yr. old DD driving. I was actually calm enough to knit this in the car. This is a pattern for the buttonhole bag. It's just the cutest thing ever. I originally dyed brown yarn (see above), but even with lots and lots of brown Wilton's, it still didn't get dark enough. So this is with Cascade 220.

As you can see, it felts nicely. I might have to make a second one.

On the way back, I started this sock. got to the heel, but by then we hit the beltway with rain pouring so hard we could barely see, plus it was rush hour. I put the sock aside--after all, how can I know when to hit my imaginary brake if I'm not concentrating on the road? (In DD's defense, I didn't NEED to hit the imaginary brake, it's just a reflex reaction when I'm not driving and feel responsible for the driver.)

Loving the stripes, and am now almost to the toe.

Take a look at this picture. Now I ask you, is this fair?

Is it fair that I run out of yarn with only 47 sts. to bind off? (Yes, I counted.) I mean, really.

This shawl will NEVER get done!