Archive for December, 2008

Ta Freakin’ Da

December 31, 2008

Liesl.  She’s done.  I promise you this will be the last time we talk about her.

There she is, newly finished – for the second time – and drying after a quick spritz of water in an attempt to pretend I blocked the bottom section.

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Here she is, sitting in the corner, having some time to think about the misery we’ve gone through together.  She feels kind of bad and wishes she had a voice so she could have told me to leave her alone.

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Here were are together.  Look how happy we are:

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Look how strong we are:

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We don’t have buttons yet, so we’re just using a shawl pin.

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We’re done!  Liesl and I are looking forward to some quality time together, quietly enjoying each other’s company.

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Now that I’ve freed up my knitting time, I can move onto a new project.  I’ve chosen the Cable Luxe Tunic from Lion Brand.  I’m using yarn from my stash – Valley Yarns Northampton in Dark Periwinkle from WEBS.  Look – I even swatched!010

Okay, so my swatches are teeny and don’t really count, but for me, they are amazing simply because I took the time to knit them.  The pattern calls for size 8 needles, but I didn’t get gauge, so I swatched with size 9 and hit it on the nose.  I think.  That swatch was kind of small . . .

I started to knit the cable yoke.  Only one 16-row pattern repeat across 26 stitches and I needed to break for a nap.

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This pattern is going to be a major challenge for me, challenging both my cabling skilz and my patience.  I’m going to try to knit it at an easy pace with no pressure whatsoever.  None.  It’ll be my Zen Cable Luxe Tunic.

Right.

So tonight, on this last day of 2008, my boy, my kitty, my sweater and I wish you all a very happy, healthy, and peaceful NEW YEAR.  May 2009 be a wonderful year for all of us.

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I May Be Cute, But I’m Really Dumb . . .

December 30, 2008

. . . and impatient . . . and impulsive . . . but cute.  Don’t forget cute.

It’s Liesl,  the purple cardigan.  Again.  I’m ready to throw her in front of a fast-moving train and watch her soft purple fibery goodness get ripped to shreds under tons of steel.

Remember yesterday when I showed you my Liesl as she was blocking?  I loved her then.  I watched over her with tremendous fondness as I waited for the water to evaporate from her.  I kept touching her, poking her, petting her.  At last, when I could wait no more, I lifted her from the blocking mat and eased her on over my trembling arms.

Gag.

I put the sweater on and was horrified to find out that it was  w-a-y   t-o-o   l-o-n-g.  Crappity crap crap!  Body looked about 6 inches too long and sleeves were about 3 inches too long.  Crappity crap crap crap.  No pictures were taken of the sweater during this meltdown.  It’s just as well.

I went upstairs to show my boy.  Here’s a summary of the conversation:

Me:  Look!

Boy:  Holy crap!  What happened?

Me:  It grew when I blocked it.

Boy:  What do you mean ‘blocked it’?

Me:  You have to wet it and lay it out to shape it.

Boy:  Why?

Me:  Because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

Boy:  But it was fine the way it was.

Me:  I know, but you have to do it.

Boy:  Why?

Me:  Because it’s a rule.

Boy:  That’s stupid.

Me:  I know.

Boy:  Sigh.

Me:  But I can fix it.

Boy:  How?

Me:  I can rip back from the bottom.

Boy:  Geez.

Me:  I know.

I went back downstairs, marked the place where I’d want the bottom to be, and got in bed with a good book.  I’d deal with the sweater in the morning.

When I woke up today, the freakin’ sweater was my first thought.  Crap.  I got up, made coffee, and set to work.  I inserted my needle into a row about 7 inches from the bottom and started to rip.  Rip.  Rip.  Rip.

Needle inserted and ripping has begun.

Needle inserted and ripping has begun.

I knit a few rows and got ready to bind off, but figured it might be a good idea to try it on once more before I pronounced it finished.

D’oh!  Now it was way too freakin’ short!

What I’ve neglected to share with you was that last night when I tried the sweater on, it was still . . . um . . . kind of damp.  Damp.  Not wet.  Damp.  Apparently, the dampness added enough weight to stretch the knitted fabric  w-a-y   d-o-w-n.  This morning, when the sweater was completely dry, it was a little more sproingy.  And short.

If only I’d allowed the sweater to dry completely before trying it on.

If only I’d tried the sweater on this morning before I ripped it back.

If only.

If only I could be done with this sweater and actually wear it instead of having it balled up in my lap.

At least I’m cute.  And I’ll be cute this afternoon sitting on the couch and knitting the sweater that wouldn’t end.

Sigh.

And why is it that whenever I eat Quaker Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal, I smell like maple for the rest of the day?

Nothing But Knitting

December 29, 2008

I’ve got lots of knitting to show you – gifts that are now living with their new owners and my finally finished purple cardigan.  Without further delay . . .

Slipper socks for Mom, knit with Lamb’s Pride Bulky in a denim blue.  Snuggy for my mommy’s piggies.

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A neckwarmer for Dad, knit with Malabrigo Worsted Merino in color Autumn.  This is meant to go with his cool, new, brown leather bomber jacket.

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He didn’t quite understand the purpose of it at first, but I’m sure he’ll figure it out.

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Another neckwarmer – this time for my brother-in-law, modeled by me.  It’s knit with Sirdar Big Softie in a chocolate brown and is complete with Celtic knot buttons to appeal to his love of all things Irish.

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And look – it’s another neckwarmer.  This one is for my knitting sister.  What do you knit for a person who can knit circles around you?  Well, you knit something snuggy and soft in her favorite color.  Simple.

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Oh my!  It’s another one.  You’ve seen this one before.  It’s the Captain Crunch neckwarmer modeled by my crocheting/sewing sister, it’s new owner.

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This last gift is a special one that I made for my mom.  To thank her for teaching me to knit and for giving me the gift of knitting, I filled a shadow box with swatches of some beautiful yarns knit into pretty stitch patterns.  Now I want to make one for myself.  Knitting as art.

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I’ve been having fun dyeing yarn with Wilton’s icing colors.  This is Berroco Cuzco, originally ivory, dyed with violet, royal blue, and cornflower blue.  I dyed two skeins together, so I should have plenty to knit a pretty scarf.

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And finally, Liesl.  Finally.  She’s done.  Finally.  This sweater has been a thorn in my side. The yarn was originally knit into the Antique Garden sweater, which I hated.  I frogged it and knit Liesl, which I love.  Beautiful sweater, but the arms were too snug.  I ripped back, snuck in 4 extra stitches under the arm carried them down the underside of the sleeve.  Thanks to my knitting sister for advising me what to do and talking me off the ledge.  It worked.

Here’s Liesl before blocking:

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And here she is while blocking:

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Blocking this scares me.  The sweater is so fragile when it’s wet and I’m so worried about shaping it exactly the right way.  My other worry is keeping my freakin’ cat off of it.  I had to transfer the sweater onto just two of the four foam squares I’m using for blocking and hide it in the downstairs bathroom for the night.  It’s still very damp today and I want it to dry quickly so I can try it on.  I’m so impatient.

I’m going to get my boy out of the house today. He’s doing well and keeping busy.

Thank you to everyone who left comments on my last post and contacted me privately to send some good thoughts our way.  It means so much to me and to my boy.

I hope 2009 will be a happy and healthy year for everyone.

Just Need to Take a Moment

December 26, 2008

My boy and I have been going through a rough time.  His dad, my ex-husband Nick, has been battling an illness for a long time and  made the decision to give up the fight.  For the last several weeks, my boy, his brother (my step-son), and I have been spending a lot of time with Nick, remembering good times and making some new memories for the boys.

Life with Nick wasn’t always pretty, but he had a huge heart and more than anything, he loved his boys.  He wanted to be a good father to them and he did the best he could.  He wanted them to grow up to be good men – and his boys are more than he could have ever hoped for.  They’re kind, caring, sweet, and loving young men.  (Nick made really good choices about the women he chose to marry, too.)

On Tuesday night, two days before Christmas, my boy and I, with his brother and his mom, were at Nick’s side as he took his last breath.  He had his boys with him.  They knew he loved them and he knew he was loved by them. It was devastating for all of us – so hard to let him go – but this is what he wanted.  He’s at peace now.

I’m so sad for my boy and for his brother.  They’re both missing out on so much – losing their dad this early.  He was only 49 years old.

We’ll all miss him.

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We’ll miss him.

We STILL Can’t Have Nice Things

December 15, 2008

The boy thought that tonight would be the perfect night to set up our Christmas tree.  It’s a tiny one, bought last year to replace our shouldn’t-have-been-shedding-needles-like-crazy artificial tree.  Because Emmie climbed, clawed, and knocked the big tree down, we downsized.  This year, we thought she might be a little more grown-up and sophisticated and would treat the tree with respect.

Right.

This is the same cat who climbs the curtains and swings from the blinds.

Within two minutes of the tree being set up – before the branches were even fluffed, up she went.  Take a close look.

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She’s upside down and her mouth is open, ready to chew on the branches.  Such a little lady.

Thirty seconds later . . . down she goes.

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We need a little Christmas.  Right this very minute.

But this freakin’ cat won’t let us have it.

Hello . . . ello . . . ello . . . lo . . . lo . . . o . . .

December 14, 2008

It’s an echo chamber in here lately.  Just haven’t been able to get myself to click on that New Post button.  Today is my day.  It’s my day to sit on the couch in my pajamas, catch up on trashy television, knit, update Ravelry AND write a new blog post.  My kind of day.

Allow me to update you.  I can’t show you all of my knitting, because several of my projects are giftables for loved ones who may be reading (Hiya!), but I’ll flash a few at you.

Here’s Liesl.  She’s coming along nicely.

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I’ve put her aside for a few days to work on other projects, but there may be another reason why she’s laying on the couch being ignored.   It may have something to do with arms.  My arms.  My arms may be a little bit big.  Or it may be something to do with Liesl’s arms.  Her arms may be a little bit small.  I’m hoping that if I leave her alone for a while, my arms will shrink or hers will embiggen (love that word).  My sister assures me that blocking will help and Liesl and I will get along nicely.  I hope she’s right.  This is is already the second incarnation of this yarn.  It needs a permanent form.

Here’s the first of a pair of slipper socks.

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They’re a gift for my ex.  I’m nice that way.  He’s been under the weather and saw me knitting a pair of these when my boy and I were visiting him.  He loved them and requested a pair.  He’s not a fan of wool, so I’ve chosen Lion Brand Cotton Ease, a blend of cotton and acrylic.  I love this yarn.  It’s soft and really good-looking.  I’ll definitely use it again.

Not fishing for good wishes, but today happens to be my birthday.  Look what my boy gave me!

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It’s a number pad for my laptop.  When we were looking at new computer keyboards for his Christmas wish list, I mentioned that the one thing I don’t love about my laptop was that it doesn’t have the number pad.  I just said it once, but my good boy was paying attention and got me one.  He’s such a goodie.  Love that boy.

Let’s look at the boy.  I think I might have told him that I wouldn’t show these photos on the blog, but I’m really not sure.  Since I can’t remember, I guess it’s okay to show them.  (He doesn’t read my blog anyway.  I’d have to talk about XBox 360 or something in order to draw him in.)

The boy had a rather enormous head of hair.  He’d let it grow wild after promising his Grammie that he wouldn’t cut off his curls.  True to his promise, he stuck it out for many months – until his hair could have housed several small animals.  He decided it was time for a trim.

The before . . .

The before . . .

. . . and the after.

. . . and the after.

Once he got into the barber shop, he changed his mind about the trim.  He wanted to cut it all off.  The barber obliged.  It’s gotten a smidge longer since the cut and the curls are really fighting to make a comeback.  His hair tends to want to point in a lot of different directions.  The boy has already decided that he wants to grow his big moptop again.  Grammie will be happy.

In school news, we have bugs.

Twelve of these delightful creatues are crawling around inside tanks in my classroom.  As long as they stay INSIDE, we'll get along just fine.

Twelve of these delightful creatues are crawling around inside tanks in my classroom. As long as they stay INSIDE, we'll get along just fine.

And since it’s my birthday, I’ll end this with a present.  Not for me – or for you – a present that a boy in my class wanted to give to his mom.  He asked me if I had any wrapping paper.  Um . . . let me think.  Nope.  I encouraged him to be creative and use construction paper, and I gave him a party napkin that I found in the cabinet.

Voila!

Oh . . . you shouldn't have.

Oh . . . you shouldn't have.