Archive for October, 2008

Look at the Pretty . . . and Snort

October 28, 2008

Just stopped in for a quickie.  Too many papers to correct.  Let’s start with the pretty.

I’ve been working on the Antique Garden Cardigan in Malabrigo worsted in the color Cuarzo.  Love.  You’re looking at the completed left front and the almost-there right front.  I really like the fancy band at the bottom.  It’s called a brioche band – knit the wrong side rows and on the right side, knit one, knit into the stitch below and repeat.  Purty.

Now, we snort.  Or at least I will.  Again.  I’ve snorted several times over this.

Last week, my kids wrote paragraphs about their favorite TV shows.  This boy is really into wrestling.  I’m not.  I read along mindlessly, editing it before the boy wrote a final copy to hang up with an illustration.  The expression “hard core” bugged me a little, but I let it slide.  Then I got to the last line.  I just couldn’t edit it.  I didn’t know how.  Please enjoy.

Snort (1,000).

This piece of loveliness was written by the same boy who, during recess, was playing a game where two friends gripped him by the arms and dragged him forward as two other boys held sticks like guns.  I blew my whistle (yup – I have a whistle) and walked toward them, telling them that their game didn’t look like it was appropriate for school.   I reminded them that we never pretend we have guns at school.  This boy said, “Aw, come on.  We’re just playing “Going to Juvie.”



Goodies from Rhinebeck

October 22, 2008

Want a peek at the wooly and wool-related goodness I brought home from the New York Sheep & Wool Festival?

 Colorful stitch markers from Waters Edge Jewelry:

Handfuls of gorgeous roving from Delly’s Delights Farm:  (I see more felted balls in my future.)

Beautiful twists of color in merino and angora from Jamie Harmon:

I think that just might be my dream yarn.

An Antique Garden Cardigan pattern from Autumn House Farms:

980 yards of Cookie Dough yarn from Decadent Fibers:

Ceramic buttons that might end up living on the pretty yarn above:

I don’t recall the name of the vendor, but they had beautiful ceramics.

 The Ravelry swag bag from the Ravelry party, which included a ball of Valley Yarns Amherst from WEBS.

Lots of good stuff! 

I’m forcing myself to finish my French Market Bag (which should be remamed the American Monster Bag because it is HUGE) before I dig into my new purchases.  The newly felted bag is drying as we speak and I’ll show it to you soon.  Until then, I’m going to choose a yarn for the Antique Garden Cardigan from my ever-growing stash and pull out the ball winder.

Ball winder.

In Recovery

October 20, 2008

 . . . from a weekend at Rhinebeck.

What a wonderful weekend it was.  Mad Knitter and Yankee Lagniappe picked me up at my door (such a treat!) and we headed to Rhinebeck.  It was a beautiful weekend – chilly, bright and sunny.  Good fall weather.  We made it to the festival by 11:30 and jumped in.  There was so much to drool over, to buy, to eat, to drink, to giggle at, and to be surprised by:

Surprise #1:  Fancy tools.

See the label up close?

We didn’t know what they were for, but we imagined some pretty uncomfortable possibilities.

Surprise #2:  Fancy Inventions

 Check out the sign:

I really don’t think it would be a good idea for me to wear my glass of wine around my neck or even over my shoulder.  Spillage.

Surprise #3:  Fancy Animals.

Lemurs are snuggle-bunnies.  It’s adorable the way these little guys lined up on a branch in front of a heat lamp and huddled together to stay warm.  It was chilly willy.

During a day filled with shopping, eating, making our way through crowds, and trying to stay warm, we went to the Ravelry meet-up.  Here’s WifeMomKnitter with Casey and Jess, the team behind Ravelry. 

 Ravelry threw a big party on Saturday night.  It was an event filled with goodie bags, knitters, cupcakes, drinks, party food, and lots of wonderful raffle prizes.  Backstageknits was the only one in our big group who won something – two patterns from Knitspot and two beautiful skeins of yarn.

We mixed and mingled, oogling the beautiful handknits worn by knitters from all over.  There were even several knitting celebrites mixing and mingling in the crowd.  I attempted to kinnear Ann and Kay of Mason-Dixon Knitting, but I Ann spotted me.  I need to practice my kinnearing techniques.

 So I kinneared myself. 

Here’s the gang (or a pretty good chunk of the gang): 

From left to right:  Yankee Lagniappe, Mad Knitter, me, WifeMomKnitter, Backstageknits, and CostumeChick.  Take a closer look at CostumeChick.  She’s ready for anything with a fork tucked into her purse strap. 

After an iffy-night’s sleep at a hotel, we returned to the festival for more shopping on Sunday.  My sister Kim and Peaceful Knitter joined us.  Nutmeg Knitter and Theaterknitter were with us, too, but they somehow escaped my camera.


It was much less crowded on Sunday than it was on Saturday, so we were able to get a better look at each booth and do some serious shopping.  (I’ll show you my purchases in my next post.)

Kim and I drove home together, sustained by a bag of kettle corn.  Here we are just as we arrived at my front door.  Happy girls after a happy weekend.

And now so happy I took today off!

Ready for Rhinebeck!

October 17, 2008

Finished my Juliet-Inspired Cardigan with Anthropology Undertones – just in time to wear this weekend. 

Here’s the front.  Kinda makes me look biggish, but I can live with it.

A view of the bell sleeve:

And the rear view:

I’m happy enough with it.  There are things I would change if I knit it again, but it’s okay.  I’ll try to remember to tell you about it after the weekend.

Ready to go buy more yarn.  Have to go make myself sleep.

With One Arm Tied Behind My Back . . .

October 14, 2008

I could wear my sweater to Rhinebeck. 

It only has one sleeve.

I’m getting there!  So determined to have this baby done. 

Here’s a closer look at the sleeve:

I’m excited about it and hoping that I’ll love it when it’s done.  I don’t want to go through another nasty break-up.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A few week’s ago, I decided to piggyback on a great idea that my grade partner had.  (piggyback = totally copy)  She has a pug named Pablo at home and she talks about him all the time with her kids.  She brought a Pablo-like stuffed dog to school as a class mascot and she sends the stuffed Pablo home with a different student each week to have an adventure.  The child writes about what he/she and Pablo did together and illustrates the story. 

Since I talk about Emmie all the time, I wanted to do the same thing.  I bought a stuffed black cat (a Webkinz) and colored its pink nose and ears with a black Sharpie so she’d look more like my Emmie.

When I pulled the stuffed cat out of my bag and presented the idea of Adventures with Emmie to the kids in my class, I couldn’t get over how excited they were.  I knew the girls would love it, but the boys were just as thrilled about having the chance to take Emmie home.  She went home for the first time last weekend with a delightful boy and spent the long weekend with him and his family.  Here’s what the child brought in to share with us today:


~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Thanks to those of you who commented on my happy mammogram results.  You’re a bunch of goodies.  Now go get your boobs checked!

I Was Wrong.

October 13, 2008

This is happiness:

Happiness is . . .

October 11, 2008

. . . recovering from being an idiot.

I know I’m being hard on myself, but I did a dum-dum thing the other day.  In the process of knitting my Juliet-Inspired cardigan with Anthropologie Undertones (from now on to be know as the JICWAU), I used a helpful tip I learned from some of my lace-knitting friends.  I put in a lifeline into a row of my stitches. 

For the non-knitters, a lifeline is a string of dental floss* or fine yarn that you insert into a row of stitches at a point where you’re sure you’ve got things right but are about to begin a trickier part of a pattern.  If you mess up, you can rip back to the lifeline and easily put your stitches back on the needles.  Without a lifeline, it could be really difficult to get all of your stitches back if you have to rip.

*A word about dental floss:  Waxed floss + metal needles + yarn = sticky mess.  Lesson learned.

When I’d knit the top of the sweater and was ready to put the sleeve stitches on scrap yarn and continue knitting the body, I put in my lifeline, a length of dark sock yarn.  I was happy with the fit at that point and knew I was about to begin an experimental lace pattern.  Pretty sure that I’d mess up, I wanted to be able to get back to that point if I needed to.  So, instead of putting the sleeve stitches on scrap yarn, I just used the lifeline to hold them.  Simple.  Easy. 

I knit on and on for a few days and was amazed to find that I was happy with the body and with the sweater in general.  I went into the bathroom and tried it on in front of the mirror.  Happy!  It was working!  I liked it!  Woohoo!  I checked out all the angles and view of my lovely melange of stitches and decided that I was safe.  I liked the lace pattern and I was confident that it was simple enough that if I made a mistake and needed to rip back, I could do it without sweat and tears. 

And so . . . I pulled out the lifeline.  Lifeline?  I don’t need no stinking lifeline.  Once the line was out, I could see the sweater without a dark line of string going across the front of it, distracting me.  The front of the sweater looked even better.  The sleeves looked a little wonky, since they were short and rolled up.  Hmmm.  Wanted to get an idea of how they’d look once they were laying smoothly around my arm.  I pinched the knitted fabric under my arm to pull the sleeve tighter and . . . the stitches pulled away like a mess of blue spaghetti.  Crap.  The sleeve stitches had been held by that stinking lifeline.  Dope. 

I stood in front of the mirror, watching my face turn bright red and my forehead become shiny as I held the mess of stitches between my fingers.  Idiot.

It took me more than a half hour to put that underarm back together and to put it on the scrap yarn that I should have used in the first place.  And something hit me.  In the making of my sweater, there was sweat.  There were tears.  Sweat + tears = Sweatears.  I’m knitting a sweatear.

Here it is:

 With luck, I’ll finish it this weekend.  Then I can wear it to Rhinebeck!  Rhinebeck is next weekend.  Can’t wait!

 One thing I won’t be wearing is this:

Yes, I sat on it.  Sat.  On.  It.  Maybe I haven’t recovered from being and idiot yet.

Happiness is also . . . the journal writing of 3rd-graders.  Last week, one of the journal prompts I gave was this:  Would you like to be a mom or a dad when you grow up?  Tell why or why not.  I wrote the prompt on the whiteboard, read it aloud, and carefully explained that if you are a girl, you’d tell me if you’d like to be a mom, and if you’re a boy, you’d tell me if you’d like to be a dad some day.

From the boy who never listens to me:

I would not like to be a mom when I grow up because I would rather be a dad because I can drive myself to a football game in New Jersey.  I would like to watch the Giants win.  I can do whatever I want to do for the rest of my life. 

A few that would make their moms proud:

I would like to be a mom when I grow up because you get to have kids.  Kids keep you company day and night.  One thing about kids is that they keep you working.  When I grow up I will probably understand why my mom likes to go to work early.  When I get older (65) my kids will have kids and and I will be a grandmother.  Like my grandmother, they will sleep over and I will have to buy a million loaves of bread.  (My brother LOVES cinnamon toast.)

I would like to be a mom when I grow up because I like being with children.  I can tell my children about how it was when I was a kid!  I love telling stories.  My grandma told me to be good girls, as not to be like the girls in stores. They knock everything over and don’t pick it up! My mom has a cup that says, “Good women . . . May we have them, may we raise them, may we be them.”  It is yellow with daises on it!  I like that cup!

I would like to be a mom when I grow up because I love kids and babies are so cute when they’re young.  I would like to be a mother of two kids – a boy and a girl.  And kids keep you busy and compnay.  My kids would have kids and I would get to be a grandma and spoil my grandkids.  And I would let my kids pick their sport even if it was 100 dollars because they’re worth every penny. 

A few that might make their parents bite their lips:

I would like to be a mom when I grow up because you would get to have the baby.  If you were the dad you would have to watch.  if you were the mom you wouldn’t have to work if you don’t want to.  You don’t have to do anything you could just stay home if you want to.

 I would not like to be a mom when I grow up because you have to do a lot of work.  And you have to make dinner and wash the dishes and wash the clothes.  You also have to clean the house.  I don’t want to be a mom because of that stuff you have to do.

I would like to be a dad because I would be in charge of the house.  And also on Saturdays I would sleep in really late.  Also I could go to sleep whenever I want.  Also no one can boss me around except for my boss.

Hmmmmm.  Out of the mouths of babes.

Driving Myself Nuts . . .

October 6, 2008

. . . with this sweater.


I’m still happy with this it, but I’ve had to rip it back more times than I care to remember.  Knit 3 inches . . . rip back 2.  Crap.  I think I’ve finally got it on the right track.  After a lot of swatching (me!  swatching!), I finally chose a lace pattern.  It’s simple and I think I like it.  Because the lace portion of the sweater is knit on US 13 needles, I needed a pattern that wasn’t too wide.  This one is called the Little Lace Pattern from the 365 Knitting Stitches a Year Perpetual Calendar.  (It’s January 27th.)  It’s a 5-stitch lace pattern on a background of stockinette.

Not too fancy, but wonderfully easy to knit.  Look ma!  No pattern checking!  It’s simple to memorize. 

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Want some sweetness?  In class my kids read an article about different ways kids can help in their communities.  A follow-up activity asked them to come up with solutions to problems in their own towns.  For example: “People at school are putting trash into the recycling bins.”  Kids suggested that they could make signs and posters to remind people where to throw out trash and where to put their recyclables.  Another problem: “Some elderly people at the local nursing home do not have family nearby.”  Look at this girl’s solution – in the center box.

I would come over and comfort them, call them, draw pictures for them, and ask other people to help. 

I wanted to hug her.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

And finally, the best thing about today:

Setting:  Outside on the field during recess at school today.

Characters:  Miss H. (my grade partner), Boy, Me

The event:  A group of girls and a group of boys are gathering acorns and putting them in big piles.  (Don’t ask me why.  They did this last week with dried grass clippings, piling it up and calling it hay.)

Boy: (running toward us) Miss H.!  The girls are taking our nuts!

Miss H.:  Snort.

Me:  They’re taking your nuts?  Tell them to keep their hands off your nuts.

Boy: (running toward the offending girls) Keep your hands off our nuts!  Don’t touch our nuts!

Miss H.:  Snort snort.


Boy: (running back toward us)  They keep grabbing our nuts! 

Miss H.:  Choke snort snort.

Me:  Tell them they have to get their own nuts.  They can’t have yours.

Boy: (running back toward the girls):  Get your own nuts!  You can’t have the boys’ nuts!

Miss H.:  (red-faced and hunched over) Giggle giggle giggle.


On days like this one . . . I really love my job.

Letters from the Edge

October 4, 2008

Dear Juliet,

I’m so sorry.  I just don’t think we’re right for each other.  You’re lovely.  Really you are.  We’re just not a good fit.  I know there are many others out there who love you and who look beautiful when you’re around them, but you’re just not doing it for me. 

I’ll keep this picture of you so that I can always remember the time we spent together.  We had some happy times.  We had some rocky times.  I apologize if I ever hurt you by tugging at you with a bit too much force.  You know I never meant you any harm.  I was just trying to help you better yourself.   Good intentions, right?  Anyhow . . . best of luck to you. 

Oh, and just to avoid any uncomfortable situations in the future in case we run into each other, you might see me with someone else. 

She’s a bit smaller than you are and I think she’s going to make me feel good about myself with she’s around me.  She’s better suited for someone like me.  When you get a good look at her when she’s ready, you might think she looks a little bit like you – and she will.  But please take that as a compliment.  She’ll remind me of everything that I loved about you. 

Thanks for the memories.  I know you’re going to make someone else very happy.

With great fondness,

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Dear WEBS,

Thank you so much for the Malabrigo Worsted Merino you sent me.  I love the Cuarzo coloway.  It’s beautiful.  I thought it would have a little more blue in it, but I do like its many shades of purple.   I know . . . I know . . . I don’t really need more blue yarn.  You know me so well.  I’m not sure what this yarn will become, but I’m sure it will be gorgeous. 

Thanks again for holding my order until you had 5 skeins in the same dyelot.  You’re good like that.

See you again soon,

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Dear 3rd Grade Boy,

You’re making me nervous.  Really.  I think you’re very cute and I know you’re a smart cookie, but still . . . I’m nervous.  Remember that journal writing prompt I gave to the class the other day – the one that asked Would you rather be a baseball bat or a baseball?  Yes, that one.  All of the kids in our classroom love those prompts where they have to choose between two wacky things.  When I read the journals of the other kids, lots of them told me that they’d rather be a baseball because they’d make kids happy.  They’d be played with a lot and they’d have fun.  It was all happy stuff.  Made me smile.  Then I read yours.  It alarmed me.


Please remember . . . you’re a boy.  You’re an 8 year old boy.  I’m a teacher.  I have eyes in the back of my head.   And I’m watching you. 

Ms. Teacher

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Dear O.J.,