Sunday, December 31, 2006

Lime Blue and Resolutions

I have pictures! And they are all related to knitting. But first, have you noticed the falling snowflakes? I'm still tweaking the size and speed, but this seems to be the only way to get snow in NW Ohio this year!

First up, the Lime Blue Malabrigo Merino that I found in a clearance bin... the really dark areas aren't black, but a deep navy blue. What will I do with Lime Blue, you ask? I already have plans! Check out Kureyon Chan from Mag Knits.

And next, my progress so far on IHS #2. Just changing the color of the yarn, and using a chunkier yarn has changed the whole personality of the scarf knit with the same pattern. Knitting magic. Waaaay cool.

Today is the last day of 2006. In many ways, I'll be glad to see it go; happy to look forward to a fresh start and new adventures. Make your resolutions - knitting and otherwise - if you're so inclined. Make sure the people you love know that you love them. Take the time to tell them, even if it's awkward. Don't assume that they know. Dream more. Worry less. Be kind. Spread peace.

~*~* Happy New Year, dear friends and readers! ~*~*

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Those who truly know me know that this warm weather was not going to stop me from having snow in some way, shape or form!

Friday, December 29, 2006


I'm seeing green.

Not really, but I have been working on the green raglan sweater, and enjoying it immensely. I cast on yesterday, got the bottom ribbing done for the front (or is it the back?) and have been working on the body of that section. Miles of stockinette stitch. It's not boring because there's just enough color variation in the yarn to keep me wondering if it's going to get a little lighter next or darker next. Gosh, am I easily amused or what? Don't answer that! It's also not boring because holy cow - I'm knitting a sweater! And, here's the kicker: I'm going to keep it.

Now, you already know I am not a monogamous knitter. I can't just knit this sweater and have nothing else going on. That would be... well... insane. Only one project going at once?

I am making Irish Hiking Scarf #2. I enjoyed the first one so much that I almost immediately started a second one. It's made of self-striping Paton's Soy Wool Stripes in a pink, green and cream colorway. I don't know who will end up owning this IHS, but it is definitely a feminine scarf.

Also on the needles is yet another felted clutch. My best friend in the entire world, my lifelong friend Karen, will be having a milestone birthday on January 6. She loves when I make her gifties, so she will be receiving a little purse for her birthday. It's the least I can do in exchange for all the grief I'm gonna give her once she is older than I am again!!!

Looking at the calendar I'm realizing I need a new calendar for the kitchen. For about six years now I have used The Mom's Family Calendar and I won't go back to anything else. Each family member has a column for the month and the days run down the side of the calendar vertically. I guess that's what I will purchase with the B & N gift card from my parents... but I also have a credit at Borders. Hmmmmm. Decisions, decisions.

One more thing... I finally had a chance to track down another LYS that I knew existed but hadn't had time to seek out. Fiber Works is a great shop in an old building. This store just keeps going and going! And I found some yummy Malabrigo in lime and green. I found Lilac colored Plymouth Encore. And their Brown Sheep Bulky is the lowest price I've ever seen!

OK, I'm done now. Can you say, "too much coffee"?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Where are my size 7's??? Not the short ones, the 14" bamboo ones??

I wound my yarn. I did my swatch on the #8's and got gauge (Yay me!). I was ready to start knitting my raglan sweater. This afternoon was mine, all mine, I tell you! Mayhem was out with her dad this afternoon and Absent-Minded Professor is at his Oma's this week with his guy cousins.

When I sat down to get started on the sweater, however, I couldn't find my size 7's. I needed them to start the ribbing at the bottom of the sweater!

They were nowhere to be found. I dug all through the basket that is home to my needles. Zip. Nada. Zilch. I don't have other projects right now that would be using those #7's... It's quite possible that Mayhem swiped them at some point. How utterly frustrating.

First thing in the morning I'm heading out to buy a new set of #7's. That's a sure way to make sure the original pair shows up, right?

I can post some finished items... All of the felted clutches together, and the Irish Hiking Scarf.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Musings

Wow, what a Christmas!

There were some amazingly beautiful moments that I captured with the camera in my mind, but not my digital camera. Christmas Eve Mass, said by the same priest I had for my high school religion classes, Father Keith... He still knows me by name, and still greets me with a hug; happy that I drove my parents to the late Mass since he knows they can't drive in the dark. "Try finding a priest on Tuesday," he said, "If you do it will make CNN!"

~My sisters loved their small felted purses so much that their daughters, my three nieces, promptly put in orders for some of their own.

~My kids hugging each other, thrilled with the gifts they had picked out for each other.

~The joy radiating from the faces of my parents as they had the house filled with all of their children, grandchildren and even all three of their great-grandchildren.

Some moments I did capture digitally and can share here, like the kids and Labs ready to set out to Oma's house...

And Mayhem's face when she opened Baby Alive. The sqeal she emitted was priceless! The doll's face has changed since my younger sister received the same doll thirty years ago, but she still performs the same bodily functions. I still find her repulsive. Mayhem's cousins found her fascinating albeit anatomically incorrect.

Absent-Minded Professor's face upon opening his metal detector showed his disbelief at actually receiving said item.

We can't leave out The Fruitcake Shirt, which now accompanies The Fruitcake of 1999 which is passed among us sisters. The box is signed annually from the giver to the giftee... a trophy of sorts.

And the first ball of yarn wound with a gift to myself - my ball winder. Sheep Shop wool, another gift to me. It's time to start that sweater.

Hope your Christmas was Merry and you were with people you love!

Friday, December 22, 2006

From Left Field

Today I was talking with buddy B and somehow, the subject of right handed vs. left handed came up. B is left handed, and so is my darling daughter, Mayhem. I am unable to unearth any other family members, on my side or her dad's side, that are lefties.

That sparked an interesting discussion about famous southpaws and how Mayhem is in good company. DaVinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Picasso, Ben Franklin, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Joan of Arc, Oprah Winfrey, Henry Ford, Helen Keller, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Albert Schweitzer, Carol Burnett... all of them left handed. Jay Leno. David Letterman. Paul McCartney. Simon and Garfunkel (both). Julia Roberts. Even Barack Obama.

But look at those names. What do you notice? You got it. There's a disproportionate number of males. It's even more noticeable if you do a search for famous left-handers. Are more males left-handed? Or do more left-handed males become famous?

And what the hell does this have to do with knitting, anyway?

Good question. I'll tell you.

Mayhem wants to learn to knit. I've managed to teach her some crochet basics. I was even able to teach her left-handed, even though I'm a righty. I want to teach her to knit left-handed, though. After all, she's a lefty.

If you read yesterday's post, you already know I managed to teach a seventh grade boy to knit. But for me, seventh graders are easy. I've been working on seventh graders for 16 years! Seven year olds are a different story! And one who does everything backwards (I guess to a lefty that would be an insult) from the way I do it is even more challenging. Yes, she looks like a mini-me. In many ways that is where the similarity ends.

I could teach her right-handed and then try to transfer it. Here's why I don't want to do that. My parents grew up in Germany during WWII. If you know anything about Hitler, you know he loved conformity. Anyone growing up left-handed during that time in Germany was forced to learn to do everything right-handed in school. My dear Tante Annamarie, who was like my second mother and grew up with my mother, had a horrible time as a natural left-handed person. Imagine doing everything with your dominant hand until you reach school age and then having to learn all over again, by being physically punished. I remember asking her growing up why she cooked and crocheted and sewed left-handed but used her right hand for writing. That's when Tante Annamarie told me about what school was like when Hitler was in power... until the war became bad enough for school to cease.

Mayhem is a lefty. There shouldn't be a penalty for that. She's smart, creative, artistic and bold. She already knows when we sit down to eat that she needs to be at the end of the table where she won't be bumping into someone. Mayhem advocates for herself at school when her teacher rearranges the classroom - "Put me at an end, please, I need elbow room."

During our break from school, while I'm working (hopefully) on my raglan sweater, I'll be teaching my lefty to knit... left handed. Of course, she might be too busy with the paint and clay and markers and colored pencils and...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

To really learn something, teach it

Recently, while doing my short unit on teenage depression in the classrooms, my students had the opportunity to see me knitting. While they watched the video portion of the lessons, I knitted. Many of them expressed an interest in learning to knit, especially boys. We're talking seventh grade boys here. You know, creatures that don't usually want to stand out from the crowd or go out on a limb, or do anything that might be cause for teasing or ridicule. Thirteen-year-olds.

One young man, a starter on the basketball team, has been particularly insistent about learning. "When are we gonna knit?" "I still want to knit!" "How about tomorrow? Can I come and learn tomorrow?" So guess what? Today I brought some extra needles and leftover yarn and got J- started knitting.

I cast-on 50 stitches for him, showed him the knit stitch and coached him thru it a few times. And then... the light bulb went on... and the stitch was made and passed to the other needle... Success!

J- was knitting!

I was teaching someone to knit!

In one class period he made three rows of garter stitch which I think was pretty darn good for a beginner. J-'s stitches started to become more even and he's talking about wanting to make hats after our holiday break. He also wants to get a few more guys into my office with us and I have a feeling I will have a line at my door when we come back to school in January.

What I learned:
~Teaching knitting to someone is harder than learning to knit on my own.

~Knitting, or just giving kids yarn and needles to play with, might be a valuable counseling tool.

~Giving kids needles to play with might be dangerous. Hmmmmm. Maybe during the break I'll stock up on cheap plastic ones instead of the cheap aluminum needles.

~J- is going to be a great knitting ambassador.

Now I have to go wrap gifts and figure out how to teach the purl stitch after break!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Wow. I'm going to make it. Holiday knitting done in time! Clutch You'll Never Give Up #4 is completely knitted, seamed and ready to felt. It, along with Clutch #3, will go into the washer tomorrow after school. Irish Hiking Scarf is coming off the needles tomorrow. I estimate I'll be out of yarn after two more repeats, or 16 rows. I'm looking forward to seeing the reactions to the gifts.

Wrapping the store-bought gifts for Mayhem, Absent-Minded Professor and their cousins is an entirely different story, however. I still don't know how I'm going to get that accomplished. But hey, what's life without some stressful deadlines? It could be worse, I suppose. I could still be shopping.

My Sea Silk yarn arrived. I ordered it from Little Knits which is all the way in Seattle. Can I just tell you that their customer service is amazing??!! They have been battered by amazing storms and power outages, which you already know if you've seen the news once in the last three weeks. A few days after I placed my order, I sent an email inquiring about the order since I hadn't heard anything. The wonderful ladies there upgraded my shipping to priority mail AND refunded my shipping costs because of the shipping delay. Mind you, I didn't complain, just checked on the status of my order. They certainly couldn't control the weather. (If they could, I would have ordered snow instead of yarn!!!!) I'll definitely order from Little Knits again. As for the Sea Silk, well, I can't stop touching it. And looking at it. And touching it.

Mayhem asked me just today what I want for Christmas. I really don't want or need anything I told her. We have more than so many others. But I had to laugh because to her, six more days is a helluva long wait; all the time in the world really. It makes perfect sense to wait until six days before Christmas to find out what Mom wants. There's still plenty of time to find something.

Methinks she talked her dad into taking her shopping. Mayhem and the Grinch out shopping. Now that I would pay to see!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Great Tree Compromise of 2006

Sometimes, Mayhem and The Absent-Minded Professor really surprise me. After standing bare for two nights, decorated with only white lights, the Christmas tree is ready! My children came up with what I am now calling The Great Tree Compromise of 2006.

You may recall that I wanted to cover the tree with snowflakes and my Longaberger Tree Trimming baskets. The kids wanted their usual hodge podge of ornaments.

The Compromise: Snowflakes and Partial Hodge Podge sans Baskets.

And my beautiful, surprising, children. Once in a while, they let me know that they really do love each other! Maybe I don't have to give up hope for the future after all. (I don't think they're trying to squeeze the snot out of each other...)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Giving and Challenges

If you haven't stopped by to see The Yarn Harlot lately, check her out. She's issued a challenge for everyone reading her blog to dig into their pockets and send some money to Doctors Without Borders. Pretend you have just had one more person added to your family and you have to come up with a way to buy that person a gift. Adjust your budget, and send that as a gift to DWB. I already did. I cheated a little bit. I took the money that was sent to me as compensation for the chemo caps I knitted (unexpected compensation) and then added some additional money to my donation. Remember that here in North America so many of us die as a result of our excessive lifestyle, while others in the world die because they lack the basic vaccines we take for granted. I'm just sayin'.

And while I'm on the subject of giving, think about dropping a couple of toys in the collection boxes for Toys for Tots. Mayhem, Absent-Minded Professor, and I have already done that this year as well. We all have problems, but there's always someone worse off than ourselves. Spread some peace and joy!

I'm considering another challenge as well. A yarn stash challenge. Now, my yarn stash is not nearly as great as that of other, more experienced knitters, but it is growing. Wendy, just today, posted guidelines for knitting from stash only starting January 1, 2007 and lasting thru September. There are some exceptions, such as allowing the purchase of yarn if the item to be knitted is going to be given as a gift. That part won't be hard for me; nearly everything I knit is a gift for someone else. But I do have yarn to be knitted that has been hanging around for a while. This will be good. I haven't totally signed on yet, but I'm seriously considering joining the Knit-From-Your-Stash-A-Long. Sock yarn is allowed too. Maybe then I'll finally learn to knit socks!

One more thing. If you know someone who is more blue than usual, call and check on that person. Take him or her to lunch. Stop and visit for a while. This time of year can be very difficult for people with depression and other mental illnesses. I know, I know, you're busy. Your little bit of time will mean more than you may ever know. Trust me.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hodge Podge

I should be working. Seriously. But my head hurts and I can't see straight right now. So I'm waiting on my migraine medicine to start working.

Yesterday the kids and I put up the Christmas tree. Finally. We got the lights strung as well. Now we have to decorate the tree. I want to cover it in snowflake ornaments and my Longaberger Tree Trimming Basket collection. (That's a picture of this year's basket, 8th in the series.) Mayhem and Absent-Minded Professor want the hodge podge of ornaments they have made and collected over the years to cover our tree like always. I'll let you know who wins. Not sensing a compromise on this one, I'm guessing it won't be me, and I'm guessing my baskets won't adorn the tree. My house isn't big enough for two trees, either.

After looking at countless patterns, I have found an easy mitten pattern that I am going to try. I already have the DPN's and a yarn substitute. My first pair will be all one color, I think. I'll keep you posted. I have one more clutch purse to finish first.

Taking advantage of this ridiculously warm weather, the kids, their dad and I are heading to see The Lights Before Christmas at the zoo tonight. It was 50 degrees when I left for work this morning. Seriously. In mid-December. In northern Ohio. Who'd a thunk it! Anyway, the kids want all of us to go together.

Pictures coming soon, I'm sure, of the tree, no matter how it turns out. Right now I need more coffee.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I'm Not All Bad

I was home all day with the kids. I knitted and finished clutch number 3 which is now ready to felt. I cleaned. I did two, count 'em two, loads of dishes. Then I cleaned some more. I argued with the phone company about my land line. They say it's fixed. I don't have a dial tone and no one can call me, but it's fixed. *Insert scarcastic tone here* Maybe I'll send them my cell phone bill.

So... I bought this. If you haven't seen it before, check out Sea Silk. I bought two skeins, actually, in the Woodland colorway shown. I've been looking at it for ages. I also bought this Ball Winder. Hey, a girl's gotta have a way to wind the yarn, right? I have some other yarn to wind, so it's not just for the Sea Silk.

AND, in keeping with my self-imposed no-credit-card-use, I paid using my paypal account. The money came out of my bank account, real live money that I actually have. I haven't used my credit card for three months, not even at the gas pumps.

I'm not ALL bad... no matter what some people say! ;-)

Some of my other time today was spent searching for mitten patterns. Now that it's cold, I'm seeing more and more kids outside my school trying to keep warm. Some don't bother to dress warmly; it's just not cool. But honestly, some don't financially have the means to get mittens, hats, scarves. I figure I can knit mittens with my leftover yarns. I have access to all of the locker combinations at school and can leave mittens anonymously. Maybe I'll recruit some other people to help me.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Brrrrrrr! It hit a whopping high of 24 degrees today. Yes, that was the high. Now, I wouldn't mind it so much if we would just get some measurable snow!! Places that don't usually get snow have gotten snow, for pete's sake.

It's been a crazy, hectic week. Being in the classroom got me way behind in my office. Then there was the elementary school holiday program one night this week. "Snow Biz" was great fun, but kept us out too late. Absent-Minded Professor was such a trooper. Even though he had a bloody nose right before the show, he marched up there with his classmates and played the songs.

Plugged nose and all.

I didn't even know about his nose until he and his class came in. My big guy took care of it all on his own.

You'll never guess what I found out that night! The principal of my kids' school also knits! Did I mention that the principal is a guy? How cool is that?! He and I ended up sitting beside each other and I had my knitting with me (of course). First he told me, "My wife does that." We chatted about knitting and he asked about the cables in the scarf. Then he looked around to see if anyone was listening and quietly said, "I knit too. I find it very relaxing." I told him that I think it's awesome. I am running into more and more men who knit, and are willing to admit it. Absent-Minded Professor's teacher also knits and has decided to try felting after seeing my felted tote.

At my endocrinologist appointment today, two of the nurses admired the cabled scarf which is nearing completion. "Oooooh, can I touch it?" one asked. Another wanted to see how to twist the stitches to make the cable, so I ended up letting another patient go ahead of me when it was my turn to have my blood drawn for labs in order for her to see that row being knitted. She's newer to knitting than I am.

On the drive home I realized I'm not such a beginner anymore. When did that happen?

I also realized I am sooooo not ready for Christmas. Seriously.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Which Reindeer Are You?

You Are Blitzen

Always in good spirits, you're the reindeer who loves to party down with Santa.

Why You're Naughty: You're always blitzed on Christmas Eve, while flying!

Why You're Nice: You mix up a mean eggnog martini.

Awww, c'mon! Am I really Blitzen? Not Cupid? Not Rudolph? Maybe I better ditch my friends in low places!
I'm still knitting, of course. Purse number 3 is almost finished. Yay!
Today, Buddy B and I measured the Irish Hiking Scarf. It was 44 inches long... longer at the end of the day. We spent the past two days co-teaching. Well, actually I taught and he got paid to watch me. ;-) I was doing a classroom unit on teen depression, the regular teacher was out the past two days, and Buddy B was subbing. I believe B's words were, "Is America great, or what!"
What's this have to do with knitting, you ask? While the students watched the video portion of my lesson, I worked on the scarf. I also had many students ask about knitting. Right now I'm mulling over the idea of maybe offering a knitting club after school once a week, or before school during breakfast time. Even some of the male basketball players picked up my scarf and needles and tried to manipulate the stitches and figure it out!
Guess what else? Yesterday it snowed! Yay! Snow!* Snow!* Snow!*

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Yummy! And a book review

Yesterday, after days of rain, there was finally enough sunlight to get photos of the Sheep Shop Wool that would do the colors justice. Yum. Yum! Yummy!!! Feast your eyes! In the background you can see a small picture of the sweater-to-be as well. Mine will have dark green sleeves. Are you able to see the color variation in the darker green yarn? I'm just about going nuts wanting to get going on this! Must. Have. Control.

Must. Finish. Holiday. Knitting.

The Irish Hiking Scarf is growing and growing. As of this morning, I have used up one whole skein of Plymouth Encore Worsted. The scarf is 36" long. If I keep going the way I am, by the time I use up the second skein, this baby will be 6 feet long! I started it Nov. 24(??). Here it is, resting on the back of my couch.

Yesterday I also bought myself a treat. Hey, there's nothing like a little retail therapy to boost a girl's mood, right? (Well, I can think of other things, but they sure can't go here!) This is what I bought: Cables Untangled by Melissa Leapman. It was just published in October and is an amazing book. I already have a couple of Leapman's crochet books in my library and her directions are concise and easy to follow. Her designs and patterns are creative and realistic at the same time. The photography in the book is stunning, but simple enough to do justice to the projects. And the projects range from beginner to experienced. There's something for everyone in this book, including tips for designing your own projects, but it's great for those new to cables.

Maybe I should ask for a good sturdy bookcase for Christmas!