Archive for April, 2008

Twisting

April 28, 2008

Unable to stand the wait, I unwound my newly spun yarn from the drop spindle onto the legs of a stool.

The yarn was trying so hard to untwist itself and return to its original state and I had to work hard to show it who was boss. There it is before soaking to start the set-the-twist process. (I’m learning stuff.)

There it is again, soaking in warm water.

Hanging from a doorknob in all its glorious imperfection.

Weighted by my keys.

Dry and wound into a ball-ish type bundle of joy. And I’m already spinning more!


I’m so proud!

The boy said, “Um . . . you really didn’t make much. Whaddayagonna do with it?”

Maybe I’ll use this yarn to stitch his lips together.

Fiber Festival Fun and Frolic

April 26, 2008
Today was a great day for a knitter. I went to the CT Sheep Breeders Association Sheep, Wool and Fiber Festival in Vernon/Rockville with WifeMomKnitter, Mad Knitter, CostumeChick, Yankee Lagniappe, and Blog-free Pat. It was my first time there and although I knew it would be much smaller than Rhinebeck, it was bigger and better than I’d imagined.

As one would expect, there were sheep.

There were alpacas.

There were angora rabbits:
There were spinning wheels. (That’s an antique that reminds me of the one in my parents’ living room. No one ever actually used it for spinning because no one knew how. When I was a kid, I would stand at it in front of the window and pretend it was a ship’s wheel and I was the captain. Or it was a steering wheel and I was the bus driver.)
There were spinners in pajamas. (I didn’t actually expect there to be spinners wearing their pajamas, but I figured there’d be spinners.)

Then there were other things I really didn’t expect.

There was an extremely kind spinner who let Yankee give her spinning wheel a . . . well . . . spin.

She even let her take the yarn she made with her. Look how proud she is!

And there were cute kids in funny t-shirts. Yes, it says mama is a yarn ho.

Best of all, there were friends.


I wish I’d gotten a picture with Pat in it, but she must have been busy shopping.

Here’s my haul for the day. First, three pins made by two delightful little girls who had a little table set up at their mom’s booth. I was happy to support the young fiber lovers.

Two lampwork glass bead stitch markers from Glastonbury Glassworks.

A beautiful sterling silver shawl pin/eyeglass holder from Leslie Wind.

Tiny – and I mean tiny sock earrings from Things by Jeanne.

And my favorite purchase . . . a drop spindle and fiber!

I bought the Kundert Spindle from The Wheel Thing from a fine young man who the girls and I lovingly refer to as Spinning Boy. When I was shopping for a drop spindle I went to The Wheel Thing’s booth and asked about the difference between various types of spindles. This appeared-to-be-about-16 -year-old kid very enthusiastically explained what I wanted to know – and he knew this from his own spinning experience. He told us that he got into spinning after going to a spinning guild meeting with his mother. How can anyone not have a little crush on this kid? We were all gaga over him. Spinning Boy.

After a quick lesson from Mad Knitter and CostumeChick, I was off and spinning. Look what I spun so far!

I did that during the ride home. It’s so much fun! I don’t know if I’ll ever spin enough to knit anything with, but even if I don’t, the fiber is beautiful and it will look great just sitting on a shelf.

Now if someone tells me to go sit and spin, I will.

The Benefits Outweigh The . . .

April 24, 2008

. . . pain.That’s me. At Knitting Club yesterday. Frazzled. This picture was NOT posed. It’s the real me. My friend snapped it on her cell phone yesterday and I didn’t event know she did until she emailed it to me. The girls were wild. The girls wanted lots of individual help. I wanted some Advil.

For as much pain as I endure, I get tons of benefits. The girls are so proud of themselves and thrilled with every dropped-stitch ridden, mistaken-yarn-overed thing they knit.

Another gift has come my way. Here’s a lovely bracelet:

I also got a bonus:

This was made by the kindergartener-sister of one of my girls! She’s been coming to Knitting Club with her mom, who is one of the two angels who come in to provide me with much-needed support. Last week, this little girl watched a movie on a portable DVD player while we knit, but since this week is Turn Off the TV week, I knew she’d need something to keep herself busy. I bought a Wonder Knitter at Michael’s – a tool for knitting cord, and gave her a quick lesson to show her how to use it. With her mom’s help, she took to it right away. I told her she could take it home with her and she was so happy she hugged me.

This morning she brought me a necklace.

I looked so fancy today in my basic black with a beautiful handmade necklace in my favorite colors! What a sweet gift. This little peanut was so proud of herself and it gave me a serious case of the Warm Fuzzies.

In other news, there’s another baby girl in this world who is wearing a Baby Cuteness Cardigan. More Warm Fuzzies for me. This is the pink cardigan I knit for a friend, who then gave it as a gift for the new baby girl who is the newest addition to a family of boys.

That mom is in the pink now and I’m happy to have been a distant part of bringing some girlie delight into her life.

Some schoolwork cuteness:

This is the spelling homework of a delightful girl (who is also one of the knitters). This kid is so funny without even trying. Check out sentence #2, showcasing the word wrapping:

Exactly as written: “There’s a word that sounds like wrapping, rapping and it’s what the people do with there boxers showing.”

Love that kid.

(You might also note sentence #1 for the word stopped. She just got back from an island vacation. Don’tbe alarmed. I’m sure they were virgin pina coladas. I know her mother.)

In belated honor of Earth Day yesterday, I bought reusable grocery bags at Trader Joe’s today.

Emmie approves.

But now she’s wondering what Mommy is going to use when she cleans the litter box.

Time for a Little Variety

April 22, 2008

They’re done! My hand is cramped into a knotty little claw, but the boy is happy. I finished the Beatles jeans at about 11:15 PM last night. What a good mommy I am. I may not cook him any decent meals, but I can write on pants like nobody else.


He wore them to school today (!) with his green peace sign t-shirt. He thought he looked like a hippie and . . . well . . . he did.

I worried all day. My boy and I both thought the jeans were cool, as did many of you out there, but how would high schoolers react? I was afraid the boy would be 9th grade road kill. Happy to report there was no need to worry. Although some kids thought they looked like pajama pants, most thought they were cool and some thought they looked like he’d bought them at a store.

Now I want to write up a pair for myself – in much bigger print, but I need to take a little break. The Sharpie fumes are making me loopy.

In other news, we had the second meeting of our 3rd grade knitting group. Last week, the girls were calm and relaxed, chatting with me as we knit. This week – not so much. Wild children. We did get some knitting done and I even taught three girls to purl. They’re SO impressed with stockinette stitch. It seems to look real to them, “like a sweater.”

I even got a gift today from one of the girls:

Let’s call it a neckwarmer. She intended to knit me a scarf, but greatly underestimated the amount of yarn it would take her. She just had one little ball of this thick puple yarn. I’m making this neckwarmer look good.

Really.

It’s all me.

Look below.

You’ll see what I mean.

Go ahead.

Look.

This knitter had started with 5 stitches on her needles and ended up with lots more. We’re working on that little problem.

I, on the other hand, have not underestimated the amount of yarn I’d need for a scarf. My Smock-a-Ruche is coming along nicely. I’m into my second skein of Knitpicks Bare (220 yds. each), so it’s not a one-skein project for me. But that’s okay. I’m happy!

Look what I got in the mail. Arbitron, the company that measures radio station audiences, called me randomly and asked me to participate in a one time radio survey. I’m such a pushover. To thank me for my weakn – I mean willingness to take part, they sent me a crisp dollar bill. Sweet.

And finally, I leave you with a peek at my new eyeglasses. Just got them today. I’m never happy. I have such a hard time picking glasses. I like them when I choose them, but when I go to pick them up . . . yuck. I’m hoping these will grow on me.

I want to have cool glasses like other people. Sadly, cool glasses look dorky on me.

At least I’ll have these to give my eyes a break from the contact lenses I wear for weeks at a time. (Don’t worry, Mom. These contacts are specifically meant to wear them for up to 30 days straight. Really. And the eye doctor did an eye exam and pronounced my eyes healthy. I’m not lying. No, I won’t mess with my eyes. I know they’re the only eyes I’ll ever have. Yes, I’m taking care of them. Respect the eyes. I know, I know.)

Pants Progressing Perfectly

April 20, 2008

I’ve made some serious progress on the Beatles Lyrics Jeans (The BLJs? – um . . . nope. Don’t like the sound of that.) I’ve finished the whole back side of the jeans and I asked my boy to try them on so I could get a sense of what they look like. I still think they’re totally cool . . . but what is up with that baggy-ass look? The boy loves to wear his pants like that. The waistband is at his hips. It’s a waistband – not a hipband. And he could double the size of his butt and he still wouldn’t fill up the rear-end of those pants.

But anyway – the writing is pretty snazzy.

When my boy was little and wanted to pick out his own outfits, I was encouraged to allow him his freedom of expression. There were days I would shudder at his color and pattern combinations, but I let him go off to kindergarten. I remember wanting to make him wear a note pinned to his shirt that said, I dressed myself today. Now I want to pin a note to the back of his pants: The fit of these pants is in no way endorsed by nor supported by my mother.

I sure hope my boy doesn’t read my blog.

Chicken and Jeans

April 19, 2008

My April vacation has flown by. It’s been a good week, with beautiful weather and a happy, pain-free back. (An MRI showed that I have two bulging lumbar disks. Yuck. Let’s just not talk about it.) On Tuesday, I knit these babies during a train ride to NYC.

We went to see Bodies – The Exhibition at South Street Seaport. It was an amazing thing to see. Although some of the exhibits gave me goosebumps and made me put my hand over my mouth as I slowly tiptoed closer to get a better look, I’m so glad I went. It was so interesting to see all of the bones, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and organs that make up the human body and even though I know I shouldn’t say this, I’m going to. . . . . . Human muscles look like chicken. Sorry, but they do. I think chicken has been ruined for me. I’ve never been a big meat eater, ever since that day in high school when I came home to a pork chop dinner after dissecting a pig in biology. Still, I’ve always eaten seafood, fish, and chicken. I went out for dinner on Wednesday and ordered a pasta, broccoli and chicken dish. The chicken ended up getting pushed around on the plate as I ate the pasta and the broccoli. After seeing what I saw on Tuesday, I think my list of protein sources has gotten shorter again.

I’ve made some good progress on my smock-a-ruche scarf this week, but I’ve been sidetracked by a new project. May I present the fancy pants:

I had an idea the other night that it might be fun to doodle on a pair of jeans with a Sharpie. I pulled an outgrown pair of my boy’s jeans out of a pile in the garage and started to play. Fun! I liked just writing on the jeans, rather than drawing. (I’m so not an artist.) I thought about poetry, but unless I were to fill up the fabric with some of my silly and not-so-appropriate limericks, I didn’t know what I’d write. Then I thought of song lyrics. I started to write the lyrics to different Beatles songs, just to see what it would look like. My boy thought it looked so cool. So today, I went out and bought him a new pair of jeans and spent a few hours writing the lyrics to a bunch of Beatles songs, like A Day in the Life, Because, Across the Universe, Here Comes the Sun, All You Need is Love, Nowhere Man, Hey Jude, and The Fool on the Hill. I’ve only finished the back side of the left pant leg. Lots more to go.

The boy wants me to finish them this weekend so he can wear them on Monday. “I don’t care if people think they’re weird. I think they’re awesome.”

I guess this makes up for all of the things he hasn’t let me knit for him.

I Have Some Ideas

April 10, 2008

Last week, when I knocked my back out (actually, my back knocked itself out), the kids in my class got a little nervous. Some of them could see the pain in my face and just kept staring at me. I told them that I was okay, but that my back was hurting me. One of the girls said to another, “Oh, she’s just having back spasms. That happens to my grandmother all the time.”

I laid down on the rug and pulled my knees up, trying to stretch out my back. Another girl leaned over me and asked, “Do you want me to walk on your back? I do that for my dad a lot.” Um . . . no thanks. Yet another delightful young person squatted down next to me and said, “It’s so funny that you can even do that because you’re . . . ” I’m what? “. . . an adult.” (Nice save.)

I curled up in a ball on the floor while many of the kids stood around me in disbelief (and delight) and several other kids ran amok. When I was brave enough to attempt a standing position again, I shuffled to my desk chair and slowly sat myself down. Ouch.

One of my co-workers, the one who loves to be my at-school mother, came into the classroom and saw that I was in distress. She took charge of my life, told the principal that I had to leave, arranged a substitute, and sent me on my way.

While I was out, the kids wrote letters to me offering suggestions of how I could make my back feel better. Some even included illustrations. Let’s take a look. Shall we?

Here’s a fine example of my excellent spelling instruction:

And that’s me laying on the rug. I need to do a better job of rubbing in my blush. Oh wait, I don’t wear blush.

Here’s another letter by a student who had a little more to say. She drew a picture, too (below her letter). I think she and the first girl worked together. Oh – and I’d better keep an eye on her. She might be plotting a takeover.

This student thinks I should get off the floor and do some exercises.

I’m not sure what culups are, but I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to do any in the near future.


This next wiseguy must have been hanging around with my father. My dad used to tell me to do things like this when I was little. Give yourself a new pain to take your mind off the old one. Great plan.


This next illustration is perhaps the most alarming in the pile. This picture shows me on the floor with my son on my back. Nothing more needs to be said. (Except that when I showed my boy, he said, “What am I? A monkey?”)


This last letter and illustration is my favorite. I know I shouldn’t pick a favorite, but this child knows how to win me over. Look at #2.

Number 3 isn’t bad either.


I feel better now.

Coming Up for Air

April 8, 2008

Ahhhhhh. I can breathe again. After a rather nasty episode of bad-backness, a busy weekend, and 19 third marking period report cards, I’m officially back to my regularly scheduled life. My back is still a little wacky, but I’m upright and that’s good enough for me. Our April vacation starts on Friday afternoon and I intend to enjoy this one. No flu. No bad-backness. I will be peppy and perky – and I will leave the house. So there.

I love to open my mailbox and find something good. I found something good the other day – a wee tiny sock from the Wee Tiny Sock Swap 2008 sent to me all the way from Denver, Colorado. It was knit toe up with SWTC Tofutsies on size 0 needles. I love it! I had been thinking that I’d love to knit some tiny pink socks and make keychains and ornaments to sell at our school’s Relay for Life table in September. Now I have a beautiful tiny pink sock to serve as a reminder of what I need to do this summer. It’ll also be a lovely reminder of my very first, very simple and easy (just the way I like it) swap. Thanks, Sue!

Inspired by my friend Anphoe, I’ve started to knit the Smock-a-Ruche scarf from 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders. It’s the coolest pattern. I’m using my Knit Picks Bare worsted weight yarn, mainly because it was the only appropriate yarn I already owned that I knew I’d have enough of. (Sorry for ending my sentence with a preposition, but it is what it is.)

If I’m brave, I might dye the finished scarf with Kook-Aid. I was too impatient to dye the yarn first. I wanted to get right to the knitting – never mind that I already have a bajillion other projects on the needles, probably giving me the finger from their shelves on the yarn wall.

I’m off now to enjoy some knitting time while catching up on a bunch of DVRed TV shows I’ve missed. I might correct a few papers from the 3 inch pile of my kids’ work. Or I might not. I have some chuckle worthy kid stuff to share with you when I get it together. Watch for it!

A One Act Play

April 1, 2008

Sister is on the left. Brother is on the right.

Sister: What’s wrong, Brother?
Brother: You know what’s wrong, Sister.
Sister: No, really, I don’t. What’s bothering you?
Brother: Just leave me alone and let me sulk in silence.
Sister: Geez. Come on. Just tell me.
Brother: The sweater I’m wearing . . . It’s yours.
Sister: What?
Brother: I said it’s yours.
Sister: What are you talking about?
Brother: You’re wearing my sweater. The boy sweater. Blue, green, yellow. Get it?
Sister: I think this sweater looks lovely on me. The colors are beautiful.
Brother: But the one I’m wearing has the purple and . . . gag . . . pink in it. It’s supposed to be for you.
Sister: Oh. Right. But still – I look great! You need to be more secure in your baby boyhood.
Brother: Bite me.