Archive for April, 2007

Finally!

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

The computer is still not up to 100%, but most of the laundry list is cleared up. Did you know that Photoshop Elements 5.0 doesn’t fully cooperate with Windows Vista Home Premium? Well, just don’t try to use the organizer side of the thing and so far so good. At least I can use the editing part, which is what I want 90% of the time. Also, I seem to have lost pretty much every e-mail anyone has sent me in the last….forever. Yep. For now, at least, I can’t recover my backup file. It sucks, but Outlook 2003 locks up every time I ask it to open the damned thing. I’m also going to have to figure out how to synch my Sidekick contacts back to Outlook without accidentally losing that whole mess. But anyway, if you sent me an e-mail recently and haven’t heard back yet, best send it to me again, please! Barf. Enough of that boring stuff! The good news is that I have saved up all kinds of fun goodies to share with you, and here we go!

In the order that they came off the camera:

A finished object! My first pair of self-striping socks from my own hand dyed yarn. It’s KnitPicks with Wilton food dyes, my own toe-up sock pattern. I am pleased.

Here’s Julie being shy and reluctant when we first got to the bowling alley the other night. You should have seen her at the end – she was running down to the lane grabbing the ball – the pink one – the moment it was her turn.

Of course, one pair of socks finished, another pair of socks had to start. I cast on for a little pair for Julie out of the small skeins I dyed at class last week. I’m glad I’m doing toe-up, because it’s going to be barely enough and the cuffs are either going to be very short or I am going to have to add some other yarn in at the top. Julie did a good job letting me try it on her foot, and of course Sophie wanted to be involved.

Julie was having a little party with her friends at home the other day. I have a fun little video of it to share with you, but I am so sick of looking at the computer it’s going to have to wait for another night. I’ve been thinking of designating a certain day of the week home video day. I’m thinking maybe Sunday nights so those of you who go to bed early can get up on Monday morning and have a nice start to your work week. That’s a homemade magic want Julie’s holding. She made the star in school and the teachers had her put it on as a necklace, but the moment she got home she had us snip it off and asked me to help her make a wand for it to go on. More about that when I introduce the video.

Sophie was stuffing her face with strawberries the other day, and it was just so cute. I take way too many highchair photos, I know. But look at the happy face and the chipmunk cheeks!

Here’s a picture of the computer. Look! A new mouse! It’s a Microsoft wireless model, and so far I’m loving it. It works really well, and I don’t have that giant wire to drag around when I move the computer. Also, one of the first things I did when I got the thing up and running again was change the desktop wallpaper. Toshiba has some butt-ugly default wallpaper.

I got a schweet little package in the mail today from Suzanne in Pennsylvania. Suzanne, I would link to you if I had your URL, but my stupidity ate all my e-mail history. Please comment with it and I will edit the post to reflect your lovely self. I’ll have you know, it’s not reflected in tonight’s pictures, but I’ve already knit two of your yarns into the blankie, and may add the glittery one next, as soon as I look up whether it’s superwash or not. The cotton ones are also beautiful, and I’ve added them to that stash. Thanks.

And speaking of the blankie, here are your long-awaited pictures! I am so sorry it’s been so long. I’m counting 35 new squares in the two weeks since I posted a picture. That’s 2.5 squares a day, and not too shabby considering that I have a busy life. I’m still within a reasonable schedule. I’m just another row or so away from having a square blankie, which will make me 2/3 done. Yay for milestones! Click on the picture for the full-res version.

Hey look! See the turquoise and blue square right between the two big ones? That’s yarn that my dyeing teacher gave me!

Hey look! See the blue, burgundy and brown square second from the right in this picture? That’s from those socks I just showed you.

Oh, and did I mention that I got my Sidekick 3 back in the mail? I am so happy! I missed my little buddy. I am so addicted to constant e-mail connection. It’s sad, really. But I just realized that some of the recent e-mails are on there, and therefore I can respond to a few comments.

Emily, yes, I did try all kinds of software for the DVD player before resorting to wiping the hard drive. It was an issue with the DVD driver, and even after uninstalling and reinstalling the drivers it was still doing this thing. The Toshiba tech thought it had something to do with the version of Quicktime I had installed, and so I’m going to be very leery about installing Quicktime again any time soon. DVDs are working just fine right now. I’ve had Sesame Street A Musical Celebration! in there about 20 times over the last two days, checking to make sure that it still works after every new install, and I’ve been setting restore points out the wazoo in the hopes that if something I do does screw it up I’ll be able to fix it this time. I’m also considering buying some imaging software for whole-system backups just to avoid these headaches again.

About those cookies – where did I get the idea for the cayenne? Well, cayenne and chocolate have always gone really well together since the ancient South Americans started using chocolate. Putting it in the cookies was not a very big leap. It goes really well in brownies, too. As for how much, that’s up to you and your taste buds. If you like spicy, put in a bunch. If you don’t like spicy, put in a tiny pinch. Just mix it in with the flour mixture before it goes into the dough mix. Use a wire whisk so it gets spread throughout. I just shake a little sprinkle in – maybe 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon – and it ends up making just a nice little afterburn of pleasure.

Oh, and Ruth – it’s only the new Nestle DARK chocolate chips that are soy-free. Always check the ingredients list carefully, and save the package to show to your friend as well because sometimes allergen ingredients hide under confusing names. Also, I bet they’re all made in the same facility, so if your friend is highly allergic to soy, she may still decline eating them. Enjoy Life brand of foods makes allergen-free chocolate chips, which I’m pretty sure are made in a separate facility because the whole company is aimed at allergic customers. I’ve tried them, and they are good too.

Oh, and about the yarn dyeing – I’m sorry, but the Rainbow barf yarn is a one-of-a kind skein. I’ll never make that one up again! 40 colors – I’d have to charge $50 if I were going to make another skein of that!

Someone asked about Yarnover and how to get notice of the event and to sign up. It’s open to the public, but you have to join the guild to sign up for classes. I’m a member of the guild, but I rarely make it to meetings any more because of my schedule with the kids and with teaching. I hate missing bed time. If you join the guild and pay dues by the end of a calendar year, you will get the Yarnover signup information and priority access to classes for the following calendar year (like if you paid your 2007 dues by 12/31/06, you were eligible for this year’s Yarnover early signups). If you’re not a member, you still have to pay membership dues before you can sign up for classes, I think. There is no fee to simply attend the marketplace, though. All the information is available on the guild website.

Meg asked why I don’t weave in ends as I go on the blankie. I personally don’t care for the technique where you weave the ends back and forth as you knit the next little bit on – I’ve tried it in this and several other projects, and it never looks as neat and lovely to me as I’d like. Also, I just don’t think it’s as secure as the method that I use (described ad nauseum in the tutorial for which you can find a link over there on the right somewhere). I do weave in ends every couple few weeks or so – when they start driving me crazy, or when I’m planning to take it somewhere. I don’t do it square-by-square because I don’t want to have to move off the couch to grab a needle and scissors, and I don’t trust myself to keep needles or scissors with the blankie stuff because the kids might get ahold of them.

Alright, it’s way past time for me to Back. Away. From. The. Computer.

Creeping Along

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

It is after 11 and Sophie is upstairs crying. I took my 20-minute turn and Joe is taking his now, so I have a limited amount of time. I’m really sorry. I was planning a real blankie Friday post today, and was actually excited about it. But I am in the throes of Windows Vista upgrading. The good news is that the DVD player on the laptop is working properly again. The bad news is that this whole process is hurry up and wait, like watching paint dry. Download something, install something, download some more somethings, reboot five hundred times, uninstall a bunch of crap that Toshiba thought I really needed pre-loaded on my computer – crap like AOL and games that connect to the internet and turn out to be shareware that they expect you to buy, and other advertisement crap.

So far I have gotten Vista and its updates installed, Office 2003 is installed and Outlook is configured, but I’m downloading updates right now. I realized late last night that I had made a critical error in my backup scheme. I had forgotten to get an up to date backup of all my Outlook crap. I have a backup from January, and I am going to lose all my new data since then. Which isn’t the end of the world since my contacts haven’t changed all that much and my Calendar is not *all* that full. Really, it’s just the e-mail archives, and it’s probably good for me that I’m not going to get to save four months of communication minutia. As long as Outlook decides to let me import the backup that I do have when it’s done getting its updates.

Then, I need to install Money and Photoshop and Firefox and Stitchpainter and some drivers and I will be somewhat close to back in business again. I really thought I’d have Photoshop installed by now and was planning a nice picture post, but I’m not going to download the pictures off my camera till I can do my little dance with Photoshop the way I’m used to.

I promise you that there will be a blankie update as soon as I can make it happen without driving myself further into insanity. In the mean time, I need to go comfort a teething baby and get some sleep – I’m going to the craft fair tomorrow.

Quickie Thursday

Friday, April 27th, 2007

Sorry, folks, but this one is just a quickie with no pictures. There are some great pictures on my camera, and even a finished object to report, but I have so much to do and I need to get some of the monkeys off my back.

I spent last night finally getting the patterns I had promised out the door, and as usual I had to print several of them out twice because I made mistakes in assembly. I swear, I am going to change the format on the booklet ones so I can slide ‘em in to page protectors and call it a day.

Tonight, I am going to start tackling a problem with my laptop, and hopefully will have it resolved enough to post for Blankie Friday tomorrow. This is the new laptop that I just bought a few months ago, and it is still great except for one thing. The DVD player isn’t working right, and every time I try to watch a movie on it the sound is all jaggedy sort of like static. I’ve tried all kinds of DVDs on it, and it’s the machine, not the media. Toshiba gave me a work order number to send it in for repair, but I’m going to try wiping the hard drive and going back to factory settings to see if that fixes the problem first. Also, my Windows Vista upgrade came in the mail the other day, so if I get the DVD working properly, I may just try that while I’m at it, computer gods help me. Right now I’m backing up all my data in preparation for this business, and I’ve got about 20 more minutes to wait. Then comes the real fun!

I will share one little nugget with you. Julie got to go bowling for the first time last night. She was invited to a little friend’s birthday party, and they had the bumper lanes set up with the ramp thingie that the kids just have to put the ball on top and push it down the lane. At first, she was really shy and didn’t want to do it, but by the end of the night she was saying “I want to go play bowling some more!” If everything goes okay with the computer, I’ll post a picture tomorrow.

Oh, also – everyone go look at page 24 of Craft magazine! The robot stained glass that I bought Joe for Christmas is in there! I was shocked when I saw it, and had to go check – it’s a picture of the actual one we have hanging in our house. They’re one of a kind works, and she even has a link to a picture of Joe holding it on her site. Joe’s is the one at the bottom of the page. Joe was embarrassed when he saw the picture again – it’s one that I’d posted here a while back – “You can see my laundry basket in the background!” In any case, the fact that the magazine wrote it up just confirms for me that it is indeed one of the coolest things ever and worth what I happily paid for it.

Self-Medication at its Finest

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

When you get only three or so hours of sleep because the baby (almost a toddler now, really) wakes up crying at midnight and does not go back to sleep till two or so, and then sleeps only fitfully till about 6, finally waking up for good with her feet stuck in your face (teething and snotty nose)….

When you have gotten through the day by breaking down and getting a grande skim half-caf mocha at the Starbucks drive through (gotta love the Starbucks drive through!) and then treated the girls to lunch out and done a little shoe shopping all to help make the day go a little faster…

When you give in to a little nap with the girls in the afternoon, but are still dead tired when half an hour later the preschooler announces that she is done making poopy and is ready to be wiped…

When the baby falls asleep during dinner, only to wake up on the way to bed and despite a nice warm bath and all the normal night-night routine, including the mandatory teaspoon of Motrin for the teething pain, refuses to go back to sleep and it is past her bedtime…

When the husband comes in and offers to take a turn…

Do you run downstairs and do the work that needs to be done, the work that should have been done last night? Hell, NO! If you are me, and it is today, you run down to the kitchen and mix up a batch of the best damn chocolate chip cookie dough on the planet* and you eat about five cookies’ worth raw and you bake ten more cookies and while they are cooling you go back upstairs to relieve the husband.

And the baby is still crying, still agitated and still chewing on her fingers and snuffling the snot in her nose. So you leave her for a minute, you go fill a syringe with Tylenol, and you bring it back and let her suck it down (thank goodness she’s decided she likes to drink the medicine these days). And now, even though you are still exhausted, you have a belly full of sugar and fat and you are calmer and have a bit more energy for a little while.

We relax together, and the baby drifts off to sleep. I lay her gently in the crib and cover her with her fuzzy blanket and creep off down the hall, down the stairs…

Down to the kitchen where my still-warm cookies are waiting for me, calling. And I went ahead and indulged in a plate of ooey gooey goodness, with a glass of cold-cold milk. And I read a few blogs and type up one of my own and I will watch a little TV and knit a little blankie and I will try to go to bed just a little bit early so that I can hope for at least a couple more hours of sleep tonight.

*My chocolate chip cookies really are to die for. When I crave chocolate chip cookies – all too often of course – no others will do at all. It’s nothing special, reallly. I just follow the recipe on the back of the Nestle’s chocolate chips package – and it’s important because there are many other recipes out there, but they tend to use different proportions of sugar and flour. Make sure you use real, unsalted butter. Use real vanilla, and maybe splash a bit extra in there. Lately, I’ve been using the new Nestle dark chocolate chips which are awesome. Better yet, they don’t have any soy lecithin in them like the other chocolate chips, which means that when I have them on hand I can either make cookies for Julie or just let her eat a couple out of the bag. Go ahead and throw in that cup of nuts, and make them pecans. Then, for the added extra-special super kick – mix a little cayenne pepper and cinnamon in with the flour mix. That’s it. Can’t buy it, most people don’t use the high quality butter and vanilla and nuts, so even most homemade cookies disappoint me. And the spices mixed in – over the top! The kicker is, they’re great the next day, but fresh out of the oven is the only true bliss. Uh-oh. They’re calling.

Mired

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

I am suffering from creativity overload. Geez, I know. Poor me. There are so many things running around in my head that none of them seem to be able to find the teeny tiny window of available free time and squeeze through it. Instead, I sit down after getting the girls in bed and look at my incredibly messy office. Messy because there are so many half-finished projects loitering about. Messy because there is a constant stream of paperwork to file and process. I have to choose between trying to catch up on the most urgent family business, catching up on knitting pattern business; and fun new design thingies.

Instead, I sit here for an hour catching up on blogs and answering e-mails about playdates, then updating my Netflix queue. I must write up a to-do list and prioritize it, but I promise I won’t subject you to it. Instead, I am going to subject you to random pictures from my day. You’ve been putting up with that for ages now anyway, so here comes a bit more!

Did I mention that the Yarnery had my baby hat pattern at their booth at Yarnover, and they sold out of all the copies they had, plus another store placed an order for some? Very exciting. Now I just have to print more out and get them shipped. Woot! And because I know some of you are going to ask, this is a picture of the baby hat, and no, I don’t have an online store, but if you really want a copy and you’re outside the Twin Cities, e-mail me at shellyk at shellykang dot com and we’ll work something out.

The girls and I spent more time outside this afternoon. I spread out our ugly lawn blanket and tried to do a little knitting while they amused themselves in the sand box. My first hand-dyed self-striping socks are almost knit up. This is one of the many things I’m trying to ignore tonight. When a pair of socks gets this close to done, it is very hard for me to restrain myself from just working on them constantly to finish.

I’ve been thinking a lot about yarn-dyeing lately. More, even, than the blog would indicate. I want to do a lot more of it. Like, enough that maybe I could sell some. I know a few of you have expressed an interest in that, but I am so teetering on the brink. Am I good enough? Can I produce it quickly enough that I can make a decent return on my time? I still can’t find a base yarn that I’m perfectly happy with. The Knitpicks is fine, and probably the best price for the quality I’ve found online without looking into wholesale prices. I still want a superwash wool/nylon fingering weight with the texture of Koigu, or at least with the texture of Regia or Opal. But even buying base yarn at the Knitpicks price, I would have to charge at least $20 a skein plus shipping to make it anywhere worth my while. Even then, we’re talking less than minimum wage. If I’m going to bother dyeing yarn, I want to do multiple colors of self-striping – like at least 4 or 5 different colors of stripes. I’m just not very efficient yet, and the only way to get that way is to *do* it and figure out how to save time.

In the mean time, the girls were happily digging in the sand again. We got a good rain last night, and Julie found some earth worms in the sand box when we opened it up. I tossed them into the grass and hoped they’d recover.

Sophie is very excitedly practicing her walking skillz. She’s getting better, and it is awesome to watch the look on her face as she stands up and takes teetering little steps. She is so proud of herself, so happy, so shocked to be actually doing it.

We came in when Sophie plunked herself down in my lap and continually made the sign for nursing. I put on a video tape for Julie (she is in love with a set of Disney song videos that our friends across the street loaned us. I’d be fine with that except now she is obsessed with Princesses. Help me.) This is what she looked like when I came downstairs after putting Sophie down for her nap. She was in a complete TV-induced zombie haze. It’s really pretty scary to see, and the reason why I limit her TV-time to about an hour a day.

We remedied the situation by pulling out the finger paints. Every finger paint project ends up looking like the exact same thing – a brown mess entirely covering the page. But that’s okay. It’s the process that counts here.

Finally, a collection of some of our favorite little kid books. I borrowed them as inspiration for a little project I have brewing in my head, and Julie was very upset when she saw them in my office today. I told her I’d have them back to her when she woke up in the morning, so I just took a few pictures and they’re stacked up ready to go back upstairs as promised.

You know, having too many ideas and not enough time is not always a bad thing. It does give me plenty of chance to let the good ideas ferment and bubble to the top and the less-good ideas sink back into the mire to pop up again later in a better version. If only there were a few more hours in the day!

Yarnover and Blankie

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

I am so utterly exhausted. I didn’t end up getting to bed early last night like I planned. Instead, I stayed up late watching Borat, which is hilariously funny, and also very telling about American culture, in many cases quite unfortunate. One of the things I found most interesting was how the media handled one certain situation in the movie – the scene at the rodeo – in the news clip that was part of the extras. Anyway, I won’t say more in case you haven’t seen it yet.

I still managed to drag my hiney out of bed at 6:30 this morning and get out the door by 7:30. It would have been quicker, but everyone else woke up too and I wanted to help get breakfast ready for Joe to serve the girls before I left. I still managed to get over to St. Paul and into Arlington High School, where they’ve been holding the event these last several years, just before the keynote speech began.

What is Yarnover? Well, it’s the annual event run by the Minnesota Knitter’s Guild that involves all kinds of amazing knitting and fiber-y classes usually taught by the best in the field including big names from across the country. There is also a market place with vendors from all over the region – yarn shops and mills and other knitter-friendly people. It’s pretty great, or at least I always have a good time. Annie Modesitt was our keynote speaker this year.

Anyway, I had signed up for an all-day class with Janette Ryan-Busch all about handpainting yarn. Let me just say that I had a great day. Janette is this awesome farm gal who does all kinds of amazing fiber stuff, along with running a farm in Iowa.

I learned a bunch of great tips on handling dyes and making pretty yarn, but even better, I had a great day just playing with the colors and watching what everyone else in the class came up with. As promised to my classmates, you can click through on the following two pictures for the full-resolution version. Then, if you want to save it to your hard drive, just click on File-Save Image As and choose a place on your computer where you want to save it.

Here are the skeins that I created today, hanging to dry at home

Janette also brought a big pile of her samples for us to see and buy, and I brought home this beautiful skein of hers. I love her dye style – very uninhibited and unstructured, and cool because she uses small bits of color seemingly randomly spread through the skein, which knits up with fewer big pools of color.

The day was also great because I got to see a lot of awesome knitting friends and acquaintances. I only wish I had more time to socialize.

A couple other quick things. I bought this really cool mug from Jennie Lanners at the marketplace today. I already have one of her bowls, and I love her work. Such cute little sheepies and yarn! I have no affiliation with Jennie, don’t really know her other than having met her a couple times at fiber events in the last couple of years. I just like to give praise to awesome people where I think it is due. Go check her out!

Also, one of the things we got as gifts with our registration package were these lovely little stitch markers. They are so cute! I would seriously consider buying more to give as gifts, but it wasn’t clear to me where they came from or who made them. If anyone reading here knows more about them, please give me a shout-out!

Okay, on to the Blankie update. And crap! I had a picture of the whole thing, but it somehow got deleted. You’ll just have to look at the closeups for the week. Sorry to disappoint, but I will share that the blankie had a lot of fun today. Every time I pulled it out to show to a friend, it attracted a little crowd.

Now I’m going to go weave in some more ends.

Everything But Blankie Friday

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Time is short tonight – I must get to bed relatively early so that I can be up and out the door at the crack of dawn for Yarnover. Woot! I get a whole day off from my family and I will be in a class on dyeing yarn, not to mention the chance to see a bunch of cool knitters and shop the marketplace.

Blankie is doing fine, no worries. I’m going to weave in a few ends tonight so I won’t have as many dangling around when I show it off tomorrow (yes, I’m quite the show-off, but people to seem interested in the blankie as well.) We’ll have an update tomorrow night perhaps.

Barfie sock is going to stay Rainbow Barf. Sorry, people. There’s a thing about names and power. When my dear brother-in-law Dave used that phrase, it was meant as a joke, and at the time it was a sort of offhand insult that he didn’t even realize he was making. My feelings were hurt at the time, but it was long ago and I’ve since realized that it wasn’t meant hurtfully and he was just having fun. Dave is a super nice, funny guy who really means well. Over time, I see the joke and I laugh at it too. It’s funny. Even though the object – then a baby blanket, now a sock – is beautiful in a certain way, it is still garish and wild and obnoxious. When you take a name that has negative power and embrace it, that power becomes positive and your own. Plus, I derive a childish pleasure from saying barf.

Now, I’m about to go off on a tangent a bit. The other day I showed you this picture:

And on that post, I got a comment from Sue, who has chosen to stay anonymous, and who has given me some unsolicited advice to the tune of “Mama, you really need to wear some eye-makeup!” Geez, Sue. Ya think? Thanks for sharing that astute observation with me and all my readers. Well, let me share my feelings with all y’all on makeup and a few other things.

1. While I’m pretty open and honest and friendly on this space, and you all know a lot about me, I keep finding myself receiving attention from readers acting as if we are old friends. The thing is, no we are not old friends. I don’t know 99% of you for diddly. Yes, there are a few lovely people who comment on a regular basis, and I love you. But even those people, I wouldn’t want them just dropping by the house unannounced or calling my home and asking my husband where I am or can they have my cell phone number. Think about some boundaries before you contact me, people. If I’m out in public and you see me, especially at a knitting event, by all means say hello. Feel free to send me an e-mail. And remember, you may feel like you know me, but really you know only the portion of me that I choose to share on this site and *I* don’t know you at all.

2. That picture was taken in November 2004 when Julie was just over one year old. Back then, we hadn’t figured out Julie’s food allergies yet and she was up most nights screaming in pain for hours on end. During the days, she wanted me to hold her pretty much all the time. If I look a little tired in that picture, it’s because I freakin’ AM! Unlike some people, I think that if as a mom you’re freakin’ tired, maybe it’s okay to look that way most of the time. Maybe the people around you should be able to glance over and think “DAMN! She looks tired. Maybe she needs a little help or at least commiseration.” Also, when I look at that picture? I see a happy mommy and a happy baby, a very bright moment in what was often a dark time what with all the screaming and unhappy baby moments that there were back then.

3. Priorities. If I have to choose between putting on eye makeup and paying attention to my children who are tired of waiting for me to finish getting dressed and take them downstairs for breakfast, I’m probably going to go get everyone fed. On the other hand, I do insist on getting a shower pretty much every day. It helps wake me up and make me feel a bit more human.

4. I spent most of my 20s obsessed with being attractive. Working out constantly, starving myself to be thin, dyeing my hair. In those days, I didn’t even go to the gym without makeup on. I looked great! People – strangers – would stop me in the street and tell me that I looked like a certain actress. I loved it. But I was also incredibly unhappy, full of self-hate that thankfully I’ve long since worked through and let go of. As part of that letting-go process, I kind of realized that maybe I didn’t have to look beautiful on the surface at every moment. Maybe I should take off the makeup and just look like myself and see who sticks around. The people who like me for who I am will still like me, and the people who want to be with a beautiful face will drift off. For a couple of years there, I wore almost no makeup at all ever.

5. I do wear makeup sometimes. I keep it pretty minimal – I don’t like looking made up, but I also do know how to apply a little so I look perkier, so my eyes are more defined, but so that most people don’t even know I’m wearing any. This picture is a pretty good example.

You know? To each their own. I do my best not to walk up to strangers I see in the mall or on the street and tell them they have way too much goop on their face or for gawd’s sake stop wearing so much stinky perfume. Give me a break, because I’m happy with myself. You make sure you’re happy with yourself and we’ll all be happy together.

Okay, and now that the mini-rant is over, I have a little something funny to admit. I dropped my mouse on the kitchen floor earlier, so now the right-click button isn’t working. I just ordered a new mouse on Amazon, and it should be here early next week, but in the mean time, I’m using my right hand to scroll around with the mouse and my left hand to click the click button embedded next to my keyboard. Oy.

Also, yesterday I had to send my Sidekick 3 back to T-Mobile to get fixed. The earphone jack stopped working, and luckily it is still under warranty. It’s going to be gone for at least a couple weeks, maybe more. Poor me! I love my little Sidekick, love being able to get e-mail and IMs all day every day, love being able to check my Google Reader during random moments of down time no matter where I am. The good news is that at least they gave me a loaner phone – it’s just a bare-bones flip-phone, but at least I have it for emergencies and making on-the-go plans.

Okay, time to go weave in some ends. Just till this DVD is over, and then off to bed. I can hear the wool calling me. I need all the sleep I can get tonight so I can have my act together and control my credit card tomorrow.

Barfy Strikes Again!

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

I couldn’t help myself. Last night I cast on for a Rainbow Barf sock. Somehow, I found myself halfway to the heel by noon today.

And it’s fine, you know…because a girl can never have too many plain socks on the needles…

As long as the supply of size zero dpns holds out, that is. It’s funny because too many projects on the needles at once generally makes me uneasy, but the more plain socks I have ready for a stream of plain old knit-knit-knit without looking – well, the more comfortable I am.

I am rather fond of my little barfy friend so far. The girls and I even took it on a little field trip to the Mall of America this afternoon. Don’t ask me what we were doing at the mall on a lovely spring day. Julie asked, and as we were already out of our little Wednesday routine due to an appointment this morning, I figured what the heck.

Julie is still wearing her sunglasses whenever she can get away with it. This morning she also finally agreed to put on the awesome soccer jersey given her by “Uncle Dave” last year during the World Cup. I don’t know why she hasn’t wanted to wear it until now, but I do know that she wanted to take it off almost immediately, and I think it’s because she doesn’t care for the squooshy fabric. It was awfully cute while it lasted, though.

Tonight has been all about the blankie, and I’m going back to it in a moment. Must try to catch up for Blankie Friday.

Rainbow Barf Rewound

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

It turned out to be a nice, if a bit windy, afternoon here once more. The girls continue to amaze me at how well they can play in the yard together, and despite my trepidation I set up my lawn chairs and got to winding. Then, in we came and while Sophie napped and Julie watched her video I got my color card all sorted out and wound the rest up into two balls for some toe-up socks.

The colors look better than I expected, even though a few – like one of the yellows – got a tiny bit muddied from its darker neighbor in the rinse. I’m actually looking forward to seeing how the socks knit up – I think they’ll be cute!

Speaking of cute, Sophie got a hair cut today. All that thick luxurious hair she had for her first year is finally falling out, and new puppy fuzz is growing in underneath. The topknot, while necessary to keep the long strands out of her face, looked like a combover because it was so thin. A nice little bob was in order, and it looks much healthier.

It’s eerie, though. She looks *just* like Julie at that age now.

Okay, not exactly. Julie has rounder eyes and a smile more like mine. Still, it was like deja vu watching Sophie this afternoon.

Today was free cone day at Ben and Jerry’s, so the girls and I went and had a treat after lunch. Julie doesn’t get ice cream very often, so it was quite the treat. This was only Sophie’s second taste of it, and she liked it but was not over the top.

Rainbow Barf

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Years ago, back when I was new to the world of knitting and Joe and I were barely married, I knit a baby blanket for some friends of mine. I knit it with some Paton’s Look at Me in the variegated rainbow colorway, and to say that it was a wild jumble of colors would be putting it mildly. When my brother-in-law Dave saw it, he said “It looks like a rainbow threw up.” He didn’t mean it in a bad way, he was just being his usual amusing self. But that phrase has stuck with me, and every time I see something in wild rainbow colors, that is what I think.

For better or for worse, my newly died yarn reminds me a bit of rainbow barf…

This picture shows it all laid out just after I pulled the last chunks out of the dye pot, so the strands toward the bottom are still wet. It’s hanging up in the bath tub now and will hopefully be dry by tomorrow afternoon. Maybe I’ll get my nerve up to try to wind it back into a manageable skein while the girls are playing. When I wound it out in the yard on Saturday, Joe was there to help corral the girls, and it is the kind of project that needs to be completed all in one go. We’ll see.

Let me just say, I can’t believe how quickly I managed to get this project done. There was a lot of work involved, lots of iterations of get the yarn wet, measure the dye, assemble the dye pot, cook the yarn, let it cool, rinse it out, hang to dry. The good news is that Julie enjoyed watching me do it the first few times, and I was able to fit in the various parts of the process in odd moments.

Just so you know, I wouldn’t normally choose to dye up a skein of yarn with this many colors in one go. Remember, my main goal here was to make up a color card. Still, it’s fun yarn. Maybe. We’ll see how it looks knit up. Actually, I made a kind of big mistake. Somehow I counted wrong when I was measuring out the yardage, and when I got to the end of my line of colors I realized that I had to do the last several colors in longer stripes. I’m hoping it will look funky-cool.

Someone noticed that there is an already-dyed strand of yarn running along with my naked yarn. That’s some commercially-dyed yarn that I used to sort of cheat on the measuring. And speaking of measuring, someone else mentioned a warping board. I’m familiar with the idea, and I’ve seen several do-it-yourself versions around the web. It looks appealing, but who has the time to pull all that stuff together? Not me! Also, I don’t think I’ll be needing such giant skeins again any time soon. The only reason I wound that skein so huge was so that I could fit all those colors into it. Normally, I’d need a skein at most only about a quarter the size. Still, if anyone has an old warping board laying around that they don’t need any more….

In the mean time, Julie has been begging for a new pair of sunglasses for weeks now. I don’t know what happened to the ones she had last year. Today we were at Target and I finally broke down and bought her a pair. She wore them all afternoon.

Sophie is still in love with the sand box, only of course after I bragged about her yesterday, she went ahead and took a taste of the stuff today. Bleh.