Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I think I can... I think I can...

This morning our district had scheduled professional development for staff members. Students were on a 2 hour delay that, for once, wasn't weather related, while we all sat together to be taught. I brought my knitting along to help me concentrate and pay attention. During that time, I knit nearly an entire baby sock, thus completing a pair for a friend who just delivered baby boy #2 last week, the day after my birthday.

That proves a couple of things. One, I CAN knit socks. (OK, I can knit wee little socks so far!) Two, I can complete a pair of socks. I will document these statements with photos, but for now you have to trust me. The socks are outside in the car, and right now I'm in jammies.

On to the big people socks. The socks for me. You know, the ones I want to make from the yummy Apple Pie sock yarn.

Why in the world is it taking me so long to knit with these toothpick-like size 2 needles? I am picking up speed, and I am making progress, but when I look at how far I've gotten, I can't imagine that I'm ever going to have a whole sock, much less two of them!

The process for socks, now that I have worked through it, really is not all that difficult. I have done more complicated knitting. Turning a heel only sounded complicated. Picking up stitches and knitting the gussett isn't tough. Shaping the toe is just decreases. Even kitchener stitch, which so many fear, isn't scary to me. What is giving me trouble is the small size of the needles. Until this point, the smallest needle I've used is size 5 or 6 (US).

Like The Little Engine That Could, I guess I will keep telling myself "I think I can, I think I can," and just keep moving forward, one teeny, tiny stitch at a time. At the risk of sounding crass, though, I'll be really honest. I think I've picked my teeth with things bigger than these size 2 knitting needles!

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Me and My Big Mouth...up on a soap box

The kids and I were out to dinner at a burger joint yesterday evening... Red Robin. They had spent the day playing with their dad and we all met up together to organize calendars for the week like we usually do.

Near the end of our meal, an older couple was seated in the booth behind us. The man was maybe 60-65, and was ranting and raving about some kids not holding the door for him somewhere, or blocking it. He went on and on about "kids these days having no respect" and proceeding to pepper his language with $hit, g-ddamn and mother f--ckers, in reference to "kids these days." All this was quite loud and the Absent-Minded Professor and Mayhem could hear it. Their eyes got huge. Excuse me? I'm raising two children, and neither of them can be described with those words!

Finally, I had enough. I moved Mayhem out of the booth (I was inside toward the wall because she's a lefty), went to his table, and apologized in advance to his dining partner. I assume it was his wife.

"Look," I said, "I work with kids too. I know they can be challenging. Right now I'm trying to have a nice dinner with my own children. Have you ever stopped to consider that maybe, just maybe, 'kids these days' have no respect because people like you and your FOUL MOUTH are the ones setting the example? My 10 year old and 7 year old just heard every obscene word that came out of your mouth. I hope you don't kiss your mother with that nasty thing."

And then we left. I didn't stick around for his reaction.

I agree that many kids don't treat adults with respect. However, when they are put down, degraded, belittled, and not taught how to treat others, how can they be expected to? When people like the man at the restaurant act that way in public, in a place that caters to families, they show impressionable young people a way of behavior that is contrary to what parents are trying to teach. Three minutes of foul, rude ranting can undo so much!

I told my children that it is OK for that man to feel the way he feels. It's NOT OK for him to talk that way in public with little ears around.

OK, I'm done now. Stepping off my soap box.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007


Saturday Evening
Big people sock attempt #1... Cast on 60 stitches, divide evenly among 4 needles. K2 P1 ribbing. OK so far. Only, why is this such a mess? Twisted stitches!!!!!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrr Start over.

Big people sock attempt #2... Cast on 60 stitches, divide evenly among 4 needles. K2 P1 ribbing. OK so far. Multiple interruptions from Absent-Minded Professor who does not take ADHD meds on weekends. Mess up K2 P1 pattern, which goes unnoticed until next round. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Pull knitting off needles. Start over.

Big people sock attempt #3... Cast on 60 stitches, divide evenly among 4 needles. K2 P1 ribbing. OK so far. Kids are both in bed. Knit peacefully for several rounds. Large Lab nose invades knitting and pulls stitches off one dpn causing a major unravel. GRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! Pull knitting off needles. Curse like a sailor. Go polish off the bottle of Riesling in the fridge instead of starting over.

Sunday Morning
Big people sock attempt #4... Awaken at 6:00 AM before anyone. Put the Labs outside, let them in to eat, put them back out and leave them there. Cast on 60 stitches, divide evenly among 4 needles. K2 P1 ribbing. OK so far. Knit peacefully for several rounds. Put sock in progress away before any further disaster can befall it!! Breathe sigh of relief... for now.

Someday I'm going to laugh about this, right? Right???

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Jumping in with both feet

Socks, I mean!

I finished the baby test sock. I even did a successful kitchener/grafting of the toe. Now, with the yummy Apple Pie sock yarn I have, I am going to start a pair of socks for myself. You wouldn't believe the number of sock patterns I have looked at over the past few weeks. Maybe you would. Certainly those of you that know me and my thinking problem would have some idea.

Here's what I decided upon, anyway. Just Ribbing. It's posted on the Apple Laine website, home of the Apple Pie yarn. The pattern has the rows all written out for each section of the sock, and some areas are even color coded to help one keep track of one's place in the pattern. I just have to decide now if I'm going to use the Red Delicious or the Wild Thing!

Tonight we have a winter storm warning again. This time ice is being predicted for tonight and tomorrow morning. I suppose my day will spent hauling in more firewood and running out to get the proper sized dpn's for starting the socks. It wouldn't be a bad idea to check the flashlights, either, and make sure my cell phone has a full charge. We may lose power and phone service. Storms always affect how I sleep, so I might as well have something to keep me busy tonight.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Yes, I Am A Pirate... 200 Years too Late

"The cannons don't thunder, there's nothing to plunder..."

Words from a Jimmy Buffett song that fit me and my life this week. If you know the song, and the year I was born, you know why it might fit me. And to help me celebrate the anniversary of my birth, my younger sister gifted me with this:

But now, I have big, Big, BIG knitting news for you all! Look at what I did last night!!!

Yes, that is my FIRST sock! I still have to knit a couple of rows toward the toe and then kitchener/graft the toe, but I did it!! Isn't it cute? It's only about 4 inches long total. I used size 7 DPN's and some leftover worsted yarn from a baby afghan I made for a friend. Maybe I'll make a second one and include the pair with the afghan... they can be big booties, right? I used this pattern Super Quick Baby Socks.

So what finally brought on the socks that I've been so long wanting to do, but not jumping into? I needed something to occupy my brain. From time to time my life gets complicated. Painfully complicated. Seriously. And I have a thinking problem. Rather than think and overthink the situation, I push myself to do something else. The last time I needed to occupy my brain in a big way, I learned how to knit cables. I made a pair of cabled wrist warmers over the weekend, and that not being enough to keep me sufficiently occupied, I jumped into trying sock last night.

The good news is that I have a nice pair of wrist warmers - see a photo of one below - and I feel pretty confident about following a simple sock pattern now. And I made it through my birthday without anyone doing anything obnoxious or embarrassing to me. Whew!

One last note... Mystery solved. My friend Donna says she took Bruno shopping for that wonderful card I wrote about in my last post. Thanks, Donna! Coco says she wants to go along next time.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Little Mystery... and some knitting

Have you ever received an anonymous card in the mail? Today I did. Strange. It's for my birthday. Only, in a way, it's not anonymous. It's from the dog. Seriously. On the front is a big yellow Lab, and the card says, "This birthday card is from me. The dog." The text goes babbling on about how I (the card reader) am probably wondering how he (the dog) got out to go buy a card. Inside it says, "Let's just say I know people." Below that, "Happy birthday from...that's right...the dog."

I am not participating in any secret pal things right now, so rule out secret pals as possible senders. The card was postmarked here in my own city. It has no return address, simply a pawprint sticker. Likewise, a sticker for the signature inside. Of the three most viable options, two have already denied responsibility, including the person I thought most likely; my friend Sharon. She does have six dogs, and helped me rescue my chocolate Lab from the pound. Rest assured, I will get to the bottom of this. Otherwise, this gentleman gets all the credit!

On to knitting, now. After all, I promised knitting photos and content in my last entry.

First up, the green raglan sweater. I am determined to finish this sweater. I don't hate it. For the life of me, I can't figure out why it's taking me so long! It's not difficult. Now that I've wound the yarn and seen the different colors I even have a bit of a challenge with changing balls every few rows so that I don't end up with a huge color shift halfway through like I did with the back. And speaking of the back, look at those lovely raglan decreases where my sleeves will be joined!

A closer shot, you say? I can do that.

Just for kicks, I'll even show you the progress I've made on the front!

One last thing. I have been wanting to make myself some simple wrist warmers or fingerless gloves. I have this delicious merino wool from Classic Elite that I dug out of my stash. It's called Waterlily. I bought a deep blue, called Inlet. Friends, I cannot tell you enough how soft this wool truly feels. It's not scratchy at all like some think immediately when they think of wool. Having fallen in love with making cables, I decided to make Irish Hiking Wrist Warmers using this buttery soft merino wool. Here's the start of the first one...

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

NOW it looks like winter!

Wanna see some snow photos? C'mon, sure you do! I promise that I will show some knitting photos after this. Seriously.

The view looking down my street, Feb. 14, 2007. Notice the street has not been plowed.

Looking at the house, after shoveling the driveway. Can you find the kids in this picture?

Three days off school has us all going a little crazy. My district was still off today, but the kids' dad had to work. I drove them over to his school during his lunch time and let them "have lunch" with Dad, which really meant "run around the school gym like maniacs and burn off energy."

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Blizzard, anyone?

Not the sweet kind you get at Dairy Queen, although that does sound kind of good right now.

Here in NW Ohio, we have a Blizzard Warning until tomorrow sometime. Blowing and drifting snow. A foot of snow predicted. Less than half mile visiblity. There was no school today, and, as of 7:00PM, we are off for tomorrow as well.

What did I do? First, I took a photo of my completed headband which matches my Irish Hiking Scarf.

I knitted. The back of my green raglan sweater is complete! I immediately cast on for the front. Well, not quite. I did have to wind more yarn first. See these three yarn cakes? All three of these are considered the same color.

And a snowy day is not complete without a couple of snowdrift photos. This is my backyard neighbors' house. See the bikes? There's a pink one to the right of the green trampoline. Photo one was taken around 3:30 this afternoon.

Photo two around 5:45PM.

As of 7:00PM, the bikes are gone. Swallowed up by the snowdrift. Keep your small animals indoors! Kids too, come to think of it.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Will it or won't it?

"Get ready for the big one," the forecasters are saying. Yeah, whatever.

"Eight to twelve inches of snow are expected before all is said and done." I'll believe it when I see it. Seriously. We have only gotten about 8" of snow total all winter so far.

So, will it or won't it?

Just in case, I brought in more firewood for the woodstove. Mayhem, Absent-Minded Professor, and I stopped at the library for books. I prepared a crock pot of chili that is ready to turn on tomorrow. There's more than enough yarn for knitting. My car has a full tank of gas. There's plenty of milk, bread and eggs in the house, coffee, hot chocolate, and cereal. Enough dog food? Yep.

The ear warmer/headband to match my Irish Hiking Scarf was completed last night, so IF I have to go shovel snow, I will be warm.

Bring it on, weather man!


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Why a boy needs a dog...or two

Boy and Dog
Dogs are companions. Dogs listen when you're lonely. Dogs keep your secrets.

According to Absent-Minded Professor, Coco even helps him play gameboy.

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Friday, February 09, 2007


Today I finished Irish Hiking Scarf #2. The longer I worked on it, the more I fell in love with the colors. Somewhere along the way I decided it was for me. This is knit with Patons Soy Wool Stripes in Natural Rose. Size 9 needles. The color and feel of this yarn is great, but it does split easily.

At school, while working with students, I wove in the ends. When I picked up the Absent-Minded Professor from his school, I had the chance to wear it outside. Toasty warm, and the colors are cheery. In Barnes and Noble I received several compliments. One woman even asked where I bought it!

Without further ado:


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Feast your eyes

Isn't it yummy? Top left is Apple Pie sock yarn, color "Red Delicious." Top right is Noro Kureyon, color #52. Bottom center is Apple Pie sock yarn, color "Wild Thing."
I snapped the photo out on the woodpile this afternoon while I still had some light. The snow helps keep the colors true. Getting good photos of yarn colors is really challenging for me!


Monday, February 05, 2007


This morning it was -5 Farenheit. With the wind chill it was about -25 F. School was cancelled. It was just too doggone cold to have kids walking to school, and kids who ride buses could not wait outside for them. That's IF the buses would start. Guess what? School for tomorrow was already cancelled by 5:30 PM today. Same forecast as today. We reached a whopping high of 7 degrees F, but wind chills had us way below zero all day. Even the outdoor ice rink was closed here today. Go figure.

What did I do with my bonus day off? I met my girlfriends for coffee and knitting at the coffee shop owned by our LYS! My car (a crossover between a van and SUV) is only a year old. It had no trouble starting in this weather. The kids spent the day with their dad, who also had the day off. He works for a different district, but that district also closed. My knitting focus has been my Irish Hiking Scarf, and it is nearing completion. Yes, I've decided it is for me.

Calorimetry has been frogged. Somehow, on the second half, I got distracted. That's not hard to do around here. Two crazy kids live here. Two very large dogs pleading to be let in and out follow me around. There's an open door policy for friends; some take it more literally than others and show up at odd hours. Anyway, long story short, I messed up. Along with the goof-up along the way, it was just too big. (Note to B: I did NOT fry that many brain cells in the 80's!) I've noticed in my blog-surfing that others have had to reduce the original cast-on stitches for this project from 120 to 100 or even 80, so I know it's not just me. The up-side is that I have gotten a great deal of practice doing short rows. One more new knitting skill learned. Oh! I haven't given up on Calorimetry. I plan to start it again with fewer stitches.

I have noticed, however, that people look at me much differently when I say, "I have three knitting projects going on right now," as opposed to "I have four knitting projects going on right now."

Why is that?

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Laurie said that Allison said...

Anyone who has been paying attention around here knows I'm a junior high school counselor. Dealing with girl stuff and rumors becomes an enormous part of each day as the school year progresses and the lovely adolescents decide that their social antics are more important than their academic pursuits. Just this morning, which purely by coincidence, I'm sure, happens to also be a full moon, I was greeted by Ashley in tears. Sobbing. Nearly hyperventilating. School hadn't even started yet. The cause of this drama? Chelsea wanted to beat her up. Ashley doesn't even know Chelsea. But it had to be true! Ashley's best friend Brittany told her.

My coffee wasn't even done brewing yet. I actually prayed for patience.

So who are Laurie and Allison?

Laurie, aka Crazy Aunt Purl, told faithful readers earlier this week all about her friend Allison and baby Evan. Laurie said she went to visit Allison for her birthday and found out that Evan has a brain tumor - he's three months old - and needs brain surgery.

Allison has an eBay store full of all sorts of yarny goodness, which is her source of income. I experienced the fastest shipping experience of my entire life when I shopped at Super Crafty. Seriously. Shopped Wednesday. Yarn (Noro Kureyon) and pattern for a Booga Bag arrived today. My package even included a surprise button to wear that says, "Ask Me About My Stash."

After dealing with Ashley crying about what Brittany said that Chelsea said, receiving the package that was the result of listening to what Laurie said about what Allison said about Evan was exactly what I needed.

If that made sense to you, then you probably spend too much time around junior high girls!

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Happy February!

I have a special fondness for February. Lots of good things happen this month. President's Day (and a corresponding day off school!). My parents' wedding anniversary (52 years this year). Groundhog Day. February is the shortest month of the year. It's also usually good for a couple of snow days. (Notice I left out February 14? Blech. Phooey!)

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about support groups and I happened upon this site: Knitter's Anonymous. There is some very amusing merchandise there. When I showed it to my friend, however, I was told that I am "beyond help." My response was that I hadn't asked for help! I rather like myself just the way I am, thank-you-very-much. It was all in fun, of course.

Here's a knitting update. I still have four WIP's. Calorimetry is half finished. The Irish Hiking Scarf #2 is half finished, more than half if I don't make it 6" long like the first one. (I am seriously considering keeping it for myself because I am loving the stripes!) I am nearly finished with slipper one of Mayhem's pair. Sadly, however, my green sweater is stalled again. Poor, poor, green sweater. Must. Work. On. Sweater.

This weekend I don't expect to venture out much. We are expecting temps to dip down to ZERO each night starting Saturday, with highs in the single digits. It will be a good weekend to catch up on housework and knit.

Guess which one I prefer?

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