Archive for June, 2007

Sock Class

Friday, June 29th, 2007

I had my sock class tonight, and it went really well. This was the second session in a three-session class, and a bunch of people missed the first one (it is summer, after all, and schedules are busy). All my students are super-nice, and they all seem to be pretty good knitters, so I don’t think anyone’s going to have any problems.

As an added bonus, they are all sock yarn junkies just like me, and we spent two and a half hours talking about various knitterly goodness. Looking around the table was like an o*r*g*a*s*m of yarn pron. Two people were knitting with Fleece Artist Seawool, and it totally made me want to cast on a pair in the skein I bought a few weeks ago.

At the end of the evening, everyone agreed to lay down their socks and let me take a quick picture. Hopefully we’ll have an updated picture in a couple weeks. Just look at that orange Pomatomus. Isn’t it beautiful?

Speaking of Pomatomus, I did manage to get the heel flap mostly knit before class today, which turned out to be a good thing because it allowed me to demonstrate purl-through-the-back-loop right where it belonged in the pattern.

Because everyone in the class seemed to have their act together, I was able to sit and knit pretty constantly too. There’s good news and bad news to that – the good news is that I came within an inch of finishing the stockinette portion of the second pink sock. The bad news is that I now have no more mindless stockinette cast on. Danger! Danger! Warning!

In the back of my mind I’ve been thinking all day about getting those pants started. For those of you who weren’t around last year when I was knitting these up, here are the pants that Julie wore all last winter. They’re size 4-5T. The ruler is there for scale.

I brought down a pair of pants in size 2T that I think Sophie will fit into this Fall/Winter. I want to make her a pair that starts off a little big in late September/early October, and hopefully will fit through the end of the year at least, maybe through Spring.

I think it’s really do-able. Comparing these two pairs of pants, the pink ones are a looser fit – the leggings are meant to be close-fitting and the pink ones are more yoga-pant fit. Still, the waist size between a 2T and a 5T doesn’t really change that much, especially when there is a big fat cloth diaper involved. The biggest issue is length, and it’s easy to knit a pair of pants an inch or two longer then roll them up a bit while she grows into them.

I dug around a little bit looking for my notes – I know I took good notes last year while knitting these up – but they aren’t in any of the places I would have expected them. I’ve given up – I have the pants themselves to refer to – an easy read – and it’s a simple knit anyway I’ll consult with a couple of size charts, take a few measurements on Sophie herself tomorrow, and then do a little voodoo averaging the numbers and putting together a game plan. Hopefully I’ll have some sweet, sweet mindless stockinette going by bedtime tomorrow.

Oh, and I was all excited this afternoon when a box came for me in the mail. I thought it was going to be my new niddy-noddy. Instead, whomever packed the box at the online retailer who shall be unnamed in this post at least, packed up a nostepinne and sent it my way. A very lovely wooden nostepinne, which I don’t need and won’t serve the same purpose as a niddy-noddy. An e-mail has been sent, and hopefully the matter will be cleared up soon. I like this retailer, I’ve met them in person at festivals and camps. They’re the real thing. I think it was an honest little mistake and will be put right quickly…I just hope it’s before I want to wind back yarn again!

Pictures – Yeah!

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

I was looking at the last few posts on the blog, and it has really been way too long since we had gratuitous cute-kid pictures. Let’s see if I can scrounge some up….

Julie made a couple of very long pom-pom necklaces from a kit I bought on clearance somewhere a while back, and Sophie had some fun wearing one the other day.

Corn!

Sophie LOVES our neighbor Jason. He’s a great kid, and really good with her.

Noodles at the swim lessons. Julie insisted she didn’t want to use one, then talked about wanting to use a noodle again non-stop for the rest of the day.

In the tub.

Sophie continues to explore the locker room. A game of peek-a-boo climbing in and out of the locker can last a good ten minutes.

It was so stinking hot yesterday afternoon that I took the girls to the mall to play. Sophie’s finally big enough to enjoy the interactive light show thingie.

We ventured back into the soft play area, and this time there were no incidents.

Back at swim lessons.

Today was much cooler and drier, but I went ahead and set up the pool anyway.

Our little friend Radley from across the street came over to play too.

Our sandbox is just barely big enough for three.

Now on to the knitting…

I finally got the yarn untangled and wound up. Now I just need to take a few measurements and cast on for the first pair of pants. It took a little getting used to, but I think I can live with this colorway after all.

Here’s an overview of the current crop of socks…

The pink one of the left is done. The one on the right is all that remains of my supply of mindless stockinette. This makes me very nervous, and the solution to the problem is to hurry up and cast on those pants. The striped socks are ready for the ribbing at the top and I could finish them up in an hour or two uninterrupted, but they are low on the priority list. I’ll probably find time for them after the Pomatomus and Baudelaire and before I cast on for my second Sockapalooza sock.

Pomatomus is creeping along. I really want to have the heel flap at least started by class tomorrow night. It could happen if the stars align tomorrow.

Baudelaire is halfway through the gusset, and I would have liked to make it to the heel shaping on this one before class as well, but it just didn’t happen this week.

Today has been such a very long day. Julie talked non-stop all day, and it was all imaginary stuff that makes sense to a three-year-old and kind of to me because I’m with her all the time and I know from where she’s drawing all her mental images. But good lord it’s tiresome! And Sophie is working on those canines, or maybe she still has sand up her b*tt ch**ks from sitting in the sandbox after being in the pool today, but the kid didn’t fall asleep till well after 10, which meant that she spent from 7:30 to well after 10 alternately nursing, standing up in her crib screaming at me and/or Joe, and being laid back down in her crib ten bazillion times by me and Joe. It’s after 11 – I need some quality time with the couch and Pomatomus.

Apologies

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Argh! I had a great post planned for tonight, and a giant ball of tangled yarn got me sidetracked. I was trying to wind up those three skeins of rainbow yarn that I dyed for the girls’ leggings, and I’m not even going to tell you how it ended up as a big tangled wad. I’ve got it mostly sorted, but it’s time for bed and there are no pictures yet again today. I hate it when there are no pictures! Sorry.

More importantly, I owe an apology to blackbird, I’m afraid. I think I was too tired last night, and my reference to her post was confusing. Let me just start off by saying that blackbird is awesome – she is one of the best bloggers I have encountered. She’s nice (as far as I can tell), she writes wonderfully, takes great pictures, has awesome taste in just about everything, and I could go on and on. She leads what seems to me a very interesting, rich life as well.

I was in no way complaining about what blackbird had suggested or blaming her or the board shorts for my sunburn. They’re totally unrelated. I am actually very thankful for her post leading me down the path away from swimsuits with skirts to attempt to hide the unsightly butt/thigh area and towards the much more sensible shorts. Go read her post. I’ll wait. Okay, see? She’s cool, right? Now add her to your blogroll and I promise she’ll amuse you to no end. You’re going to want to go back and read her archives.

And for those of you who were wondering where to shop for board shorts, she had some great suggestions. The problem with board shorts for me (at least, as far as I can tell from the pictures) is that most of them are too short to look good on my fat upper thighs or they’re cut too straight. I need loose-thigh pants or trust me, it’s even less pretty than we want to think about. Don’t argue with me, just please take my word for it that that’s how I feel about it.

Allright, I have to go to bed now, but let me just share the other thing I did tonight – I got involved! Our neighborhood has almost no stop signs, and we really need some because of cut-through traffic. I went to the planning meeting to put my voice in to get it happen. I know, not that big a deal. In fact, it was an excuse to sit and knit for an hour instead of feeding the kids dinner and giving them their bath. But it feels good to be doing something – something small – that will improve our neighborhood for our family as well as everyone else.

Tomorrow – sock pictures. Really.

Sunburned and Mending

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

It seems to me a bit late in the season to be sunburned. I have, after all, spent a good portion of nearly every day for the last couple months out of doors, weather mostly permitting. It has been quite dry here in Minnesota, and our lawns are all turning brown despite some watering. But that’s another, even more boring, story.

Today the girls and I joined some neighbors and rode bikes and bike trailers over to the splash pad again. This time, I went ahead and put on the tankini top half of my swim suit, along with a pair of semi-matching men’s swim trunks that I bought a week or two ago. Blackbird had a post about how board shorts were her new preferred swimming attire, and I thought to myself “That’s what I need.” But then when I actually did the shopping I realized that the shape of the board shorts would not work with the shape of my body. So I went shopping for just water shorts and ended up returning the $24 Lands’ End pair that I had to mail order for two pairs of $7.50 men’s swim trunks from the sporting goods store next door to the Lands’ End outlet. Okay, this is getting really boring.

The point is, that normally I wear crewneck t-shirts or polo shirts as my daily uniform, and today there was a lot more exposed skin than usual, and despite a half-hearted attempt at getting sunscreen on my back (Julie and Sophie were drifting off toward the sprinklers without me) I ended up with a nice crispy burn on my upper back. It’s funny – we were there for more than two hours and it felt like no time at all because everyone was having fun and playing and keeping busy.

Joe laughed himself silly when he saw my back this evening. In a day or so, it will be better, and next time I will do a better job of getting sunscreen on before we leave the house.

The unfortunate thing about spending the entire afternoon splashing in the water is that it’s not at all conducive to knitting. Only when we arrived back home and Sophie was asleep in the trailer did I have a few minutes to sit and knit while Julie messed around in the sand box. Pomatomus #2 is coming along, and I’m getting close to heel flap time. I’d like to get the heel flap complete before Thursday’s class.

But instead of spending the whole evening knitting fish scale lace, I had to spend a good hour mending clothes. Buttons have been popping off of shirts and pants left and right all week – mine and everyone else’s. The clincher that got me attacking the pile was a hole in the seam of Julie’s Hello Kitty under*wear. She was quite upset, so I had to promise her I’d fix them by morning. I still managed to squeeze in a few minutes of good sock knitting after all the mending and folding of clothes.

I can tell I need to go to bed. I’m simply rambling here. Tomorrow there will be pictures. Kid pictures and sock pictures.

Gone Done It

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Uh-oh. I’ve got a giant pile of Superwash Merino/Nylon sock yarn coming my way from Pennsylvania as of this morning during breakfast. The nice lady who took my order was a little shocked (I think) when I told her I just wanted the one kind. I wanted to say “Hey, I’m a little shocked too.”

Also, I ordered a niddy-noddy from Mielke’s Farm, which should be here in plenty of time to help with the re-winding of the long repeat yarns.

Now I need to go check my supply of dyes…I think the month of July is going to be all about the yarn dyeing.

Must go get the girls’ breakfast wrapped up and all of us out the door for swimming lessons.

I don’t know what to say!

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

I can not believe what y’all did to my etsy store today. I mean, I woke up this morning and there were only four skeins left in there. And then, by the end of dinner there was one lonely skein in there…and then I came down after putting the kids to bed and the store was EMPTY!

I know, there wasn’t all that much to start with, but I can’t believe you really bought ALL of the yarn. You’ve really made my decision about what to do next that much harder. I really want to place that wholesale order on the yarn that I really want to be working with instead of waiting more than a month for more of the yarn that I can settle for working with. Gulp. And knowing that someone might actually buy some of this stuff makes it all the more tempting to possible invest the $500 in the minimum order from the manufacturer….oh, the decisions.

So anyway, back to today! Look! I made cute little labels to go on the skeins of yarn:

And Sophie and I ran to the post office – literally we ran or I did with her in the sling – while Julie was in her half-hour swim lesson – to pick up boxes in which to ship out all that yarn. And then I spent every other free moment I had during the day winding yarn and wrapping things up and printing things out and sticking labels and generally trying not to screw up any orders.

And I loved every minute of it. I will run all those boxes to the post office in the morning, and hopefully ya’ll will be getting your yarn in a few days. One special person got a surprise bonus skein in her box.

As promised, I found time to show you the yarn I just dyed for the girls’ leggings. It was raining here today, or I might have tried to find time to wind it back into smaller skeins this afternoon.

I’m not sure what to think about this mess yet. This is three skeins worth of yarn, and it’s going to be pants for the girls that I will have to look at at least once a week all fall and winter. I think it’s generally okay, but the yellow is a little bright amongst the other colors. This might still be okay because they are meant to be wild crazy stripy pants. But I haven’t re-wound the yarn yet, and I could do a little overdye job but I can’t decide on that front either.

Anyway, thanks for all the well-wishes today.

Hey Ruth – ask me that question in an e-mail!

Hey Erin – you know what? I was already listed on your blogroll – now I’m on there twice – once as Shelly Kang and once as Heathen Housewife! Go ahead and keep it that way if you like – makes me giggle! By the way, I love The Yellow Dog in Eau Claire. Super nice store.

And if you didn’t get to see all the yarn in the Etsy shop before it sold, you can go to this page and look at it – but it will just make you sad because someone else owns it now. But don’t worry – there will probably be more soon.

Oh! And someone asked if I plan to ever do custom orders. Heck, yeah! If someone has a colorway in their head that they want me to interpret, I’d be up for trying it. I don’t have any more blank yarn at the moment, but I have a feeling that I’ll be swimming in it pretty soon. Must talk to husband about wooly investments…

Sorry about the no-blankie Friday, all you blankie lovers out there. I’ve been busy this week with the socks and the sock yarn and the Etsy and the Amy Singer and the Yarnery class…I’ll have to force myself to sit in front of the TV and commune with the blankie more over the weekend. The horrors!

Off to bed!

Look! Another Little Etsy Shop!

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Oh, my but it’s been a busy day here. All good stuff today – I have no complaints although there were some funny foibles, including the dropping of a laundry basket of freshly folded diapers down a flight of stairs; a brief shortage of clean underwear; and wicked-witch green hands right before the first session of a knitting class. But it all worked out in the end, and there was oh so much more and it worked out especially well considering how much we got done today.

But it’s getting late, and I need to get to bed. I just wanted to pop by and share my excitement at my tiny little etsy shop that I just finished updating. I was incredibly surprised that just before I finished the last listing, I got an e-mail telling me that two skeins had just been purchased! So my little business has made its first sale. There’s only one more skein of the self-striping up there now.

Oh! and go check out Jaci’s blog! She’s already knit up one sock out of the electric stripes she bought last week. The woman knits fast!

I just finished dyeing up the last three skeins of blank yarn in the house this morning – they’re self-striping and are earmarked for leggings for the girls for fall. I’ll post pictures soon! Now I have to decide whether to order more blank yarn and how much.

Right after I get a little sleep…

It’s all good.

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

So, thanks everyone for offering your support and commiseration today, and especially for refraining from unwanted assvice. Really, I’m fine with who I am and where I am in my body. Yes, I would love to have my pre-pregnancy body back. Yes, I’m going to keep moving in the right direction. There’s a lot more to the picture than what I’m telling you, but it’s all good.

I got a bunch of good feedback from the right people about the sock class pattern thing. First, two people from the store let me know that my manager talked to Cookie and Amy at TNNA and got thier approval for the class. Second, I got a very nice e-mail back from Cookie herself saying that there was no problem. So it’s all good. No worries.

Cute pictures always make me feel better…

Sophie and I hung out in the locker room while Julie was swimming this morning. She loved opening the lockers then banging on the bottom of them to make lots of noise. Also, it meant that I got to sit in the corner and knit on Baudelaire for a bit. I’m up to the gusset, and I’m holding off on it till after the first class.

This afternoon we spent some time in the back yard as usual. I turned the hose on for Julie and let her go to town. A trickle of water from the hose is good for at least an hours’ worth of entertainment.

Sophie got in on the action too. We were all wet and covered in sand by the time Joe got home, but at least we had some fun.

Answering some mail…

SwissKnits wants to know about the stockinette sock I was knitting last night. Yep, that’s some that I dyed up myself. It’s one of the skeins that I did during the class I took at Yarnover, so it’s professional dyes that are toxic, but I can achieve the same effect with the food dyes at home. It is a short-row heel – just your basic toe-up wrap-and-turn version. I use my own pattern, although at this point it’s long-memorized so I never actually look at a pattern.

Damn! Sophie’s awake. Goin’ to bed. More tomorrow.

Awkwardness, Social and Otherwise

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

So I did indeed make it to the Guild meeting tonight and I saw several nice people that I was glad to run into again. It’s been so long since I’ve been a regular at the Guild, though, that I feel like a bit of a stranger walking into the room. And then there are the familiar old faces that come and talk to me and I strain to remember names – sometimes grabbing the correct one out of the ether and sometimes not. I am the world’s worst when it comes to remembering names, and it is not for lack of trying, honest!

Sometimes, and in some ways, I can be really good with social stuff. I can appear to be outgoing and extroverted, but really it doesn’t come naturally for me. It’s something that I’ve worked hard on my whole life and have developed what skill I do have. I have always had a knack for saying awkward things, though.

Anyway, I took along my stockinette sock that was just past the heel turning and ready for some good, mindless public-situation knitting, and I at least accomplished several new inches of that during the evening.

Amy spoke, and she was great – she was funny and smart and I learned a few new things. I am such a wool lover, and my experience with plant fibers in the past has been painful as cotton and linen fibers don’t usually have much give and therefore aggravate my repetitive-stress injuries in my hands. But Amy mentioned Rowan Calmer as a good blend with stretch, and now I am tempted to try some. Also, I took another look at her book and went ahead and bought one. Even if I never knit one of the designs in the original yarn, they are all classy and beautiful, and great inspiration for wool projects since I have such a hard time stepping away from the animal fiber. And it was pretty cute how she kept pointing at the Powerpoint slides on her laptop screen instead of on the projector screen – something she was aware of and pointed out that Yarn Harlot Stephanie had made fun of her for.

So then the speech was over and there was a line for the signing and instead of standing in line right away I sat around and chatted with some people and it was good for a while. And then, not long before I was going to go up and stand in line, someone came up and asked me when I’m expecting my third baby. Gah! That’s the third time in less than two months that someone has assumed that I’m pregnant. I have to admit, I do look a little pregnant with my pot belly. I’ve always had relatively weak abdominal muscles, and being pregnant, a c-section and being pregnant a second time haven’t done anything for them. The extra 30 pounds that I’m still carrying around don’t help the situation any either.

I’m kind of working on it, but not all that seriously. I mean, I love my dark chocolate, and I indulge in treats on a regular basis. I’m not looking for advice on how to lose weight (so PLEASE keep the advice to yourself! REALLY!) I know what I need to do if I want to get into shape. But to be honest, food treats are a coping mechanism that I’m not sure I’m ready to give up at the moment. There are stressful things about my life that I don’t share with you. Things that are somewhat ameliorated by a few strategically-timed bites of dark chocolate or a bowl of Cocoa Puffs at the end of the day. Yes, there are other ways I could be coping, but for now I’m consciously choosing my poison.

Argh! I’m okay with looking a little bit ambiguously pregnant for now. Hell, I even empathize with the people who stumble over themselves asking me when the baby’s due. They’re obviously embarrassed. And that’s the thing – I’m not embarrassed for me, I’m embarrassed for them, but I’m still embarrassed and it takes up emotional energy. And that’s the key right there.

So moving on, I got in line and asked Amy to sign my book and she recognized me from the blog (Hi, Amy!) and told me that I have cute kids (Thanks!) and then she signed my book really cute, see?

I love it when authors do little drawings with their signatures. And then – I’m not sure what happened then, but I know that it ended with a random fangirl verbal diarrhea on my part and something about how she’s one of my knitting idols or some weird crap like that. See – now THAT’s the kind of thing I can get embarrassed about so much more than the tubby tummy thing.

Oh, and I mentioned to Amy, all excited-like, that I’m going to teach a class on the two patterns from her magazine, both designed by the marvelous Cookie A. and Amy looked up and asked if I had checked with Cookie about this. And that was the moment when I realized that no, I did not check with the designer of these two marvelous socks whether it was okay for me to have people pay me (via the store) to help them knit them up. It simply hadn’t occurred to me that I needed to – they’re published patterns, and the students will be obtaining copies of the pattern legally by downloading and printing them from the magazine. But maybe it’s not okay for me to use them this way without permission. I’m still freaked out about it, but I’ve sent an apologetic e-mail off to Cookie, and I will totally respect her wishes on the matter.

In the mean time, here’s where I am with that second Baudelaire sock.

This pattern knits up really quickly, and is very easy to memorize, especially the second time around. It’s beautiful, and I only wish I had picked a slightly more solid color to show off the lace better.

Now, I think I need to go spend a little quality time with the blankie and gather my nerves a bit before bed.

Two Quick Things

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

Hi, a rare daytime post to mention two things happening this evening.

1. The ebay auction on my basic knitting machine is ending late this evening – around 10:30 or so CDT. So far, the price is pretty low, and if you have been wanting to try machine knitting, now is your chance. If you’re local, I’ll waive the shipping charges as long as we can arrange a meetup/dropoff within a reasonable amount of time.

2. The blankie and I will be attending the Minnesota Knitter’s Guild meeting tonight. I’m a member, but I haven’t been an active one for a few years now. It always comes down to being here for bedtime – a very special, warm, loving time of day in our house – or going to the meeting, and usually bedtime wins out. Tonight Amy Singer is going to be there speaking, and even though this means I will miss bedtime twice this week, I’ve decided to go. I hope to see some of you there!