Saturday, June 30, 2007

Scenes of Summer

Daylilies in my backyard today.

The clematis climbing beside my backyard gate.

Last night's spectacular sunset, as seen from my back porch.

Make sure you take the time to watch the sun set this summer. Better yet, watch it with someone you care about. (Don't forget the mosquito repellant!)

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pull Up a Lily Pad

Join me in the frog pond. You won't croak. I didn't.

Yesterday I frogged not one, not two, but THREE WIP's. It wasn't nearly as painful as I thought it would be. I've become accustomed to the idea that my knitting doesn't have to be perfect, but I do have to be happy with the end result. If I'm giving it away, then I really do have to frog it and fix it.

First, the Baby Suprise Jacket. I was at the halfway point, and things just weren't working out. Beth and I shared some emails and she sent some tips to me. After looking everything over, I decided the best thing to do was to start over. *Ripit. Ripit.* My BSJ now looks like this:

I have plans to put myself on a strict knitting schedule to complete the jacket in a week to 10 days. It WILL be done before the July 15 baby shower for K2's sister.

Next, I frogged my Victorian Lace Sock. I was only just beginning the lace, on size 1 needles, the smallest I've ever used. Somewhere my stitch count was off. Back to the beginning I went! These socks will be gorgeous when complete. I need to concentrate to get going on them. Concentrate = no kids. (They leave Friday for 5 days with their dad.) *ripit* Notice it was just a little croak?

Thirdly, my secret Scotland silk and cashmere project got frogged back to the setup rows. Not a big deal. I was able to re-do all of the knitting last night. It looks even better with the corrections in it! Sorry, kids, no photos yet. Soon. Buddy B reads the blog. And he's not allowed to see it yet!

All is not gloomy, though. On Sunday, partner-in-crime Sarah Lou and I are going to Lansing to ThreadBear Fiber Arts! We'll meet up with Knitter Bunny Kelli and some other Michigan knitters there. I met Kelli and Sarah Lou both on April 1 in Ann Arbor when we gathered to hear The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee speak. Anyway, I'm sure some mischief and fiber madness will ensue.

Thuja sock #1 is almost done. Yay!

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Houston, We Have Bananas

This is Banana Cabana sock number 2 this past Saturday night, while the kids and I had a campfire in the backyard. It has a heel and is partway thru the gussett, nearing the foot.

*Insert trumpet fanfare*

Banana Cabana socks TODAY! A finished pair.

Yarn: Cider Moon, Glacier weight. Color: Banana Cabana. Needles: US Size 3. Pattern: Garter Rib from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks.

These won't count for Summer of Socks, but they do count for the Sensational Knitted Socks KAL. And I'm always happy to have another FO! It's been ages, it seems.

Tonight Sarah and I went knitting at Vintage Yarns, another LYS. I cast on for another sock; The Victorian Lace Sock. Once again, I'm using Cider Moon. This time it's Blizzard, in the Morning Sky colorway. The owner there loved my Cider Moon yarns and may be contacting Jacki and Gail. She likes having things other shops don't!

For those of you wondering, I mostly behaved myself.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Your Naughty Side is Showing

Need a giggle today? This is totally prompted by knitting nite antics that dear friend Sarah Lou captured on camera. Go ahead, click over to her blog. As you can see, I definitely have a naughty side. Sarah blogged proof of it! The little survey below seemed to reinforce it.

*sigh* Ivory soap I'm not.

You Are 44% Pure

You're usually the typical girl or guy next door...

But you also have a secret naughty side!

Take the quiz!!
Editing to add this quote:
Well-behaved women rarely make history.
~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Comment Catch Up

I was asked questions in the comments about a few things, so I thought I would use this time to catch up.

Melissa asked about the progress on my Banana Cabana socks. Last night was an insomnia night, and I worked on them for a while. Here's how they look as of today, Melissa! Get yourself some Cider Moon yarn, girl!

Vera is keeping track of some of the bloggers for Summer of Socks and asked where I was starting, since I posted a pic of patterns and yarn. I'm starting with Thuja, a pattern from Knitty. Here's a photo of my start, along with my Log Cabin in progress. Sock is knit with Artyarns Supermerino in an almost-solid teal color. Size 4 needles.

Beth was thoughtful enough to ask me about the BSJ in progress. I am 50 rows into the jacket so far. Not quite halfway?? Why am I having to think so much on what everyone says is so simple?? I will have to sit down and really concentrate.

Mayhem and I went to the zoo today after spending the morning swimming. Our zoo has THREE baby polar bears! Only four were born in all of North America last year. Seeing the kids pressed to the glass was nearly as much fun as watching the bear.

While at the zoo, I was amazed at my luck. I happened to capture, on camera, the very rare Mayhemfly! Check it out! A truly amazing specimen indeed.

I am truly enjoying summer! I also brainstormed with Becky about what to do with this:

That's the silk and cashmere yarn that Buddy B chose for me last summer in Scotland. (In Di Gilpin's shop, no less!) I think we have a plan. You have to wait for it, though. There are still a few details to double check and work out. I can tell you that it's NOT socks!

See, B? I told you I would knit with it when I found the right way to use it. ;-)

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer of Socks

It started at 5:00AM today! Summer of Socks! Yes, I am participating. As slowly as I knit socks, I hold no illusions that I will be winning any prizes, but I thought it would be fun to knit and play along.

Was I up at 5:00AM knitting socks? No. I was up at 6:30 doing laundry, though, and winding yarn. I have plenty of sock yarn ready for summer. Some new patterns, courtesy of The Loopy Ewe, are in the lineup. And there are even some new yarns to try out, thanks to the latest sneak up Sheri did there in the wee hours of this morning.

WIP's will be happening along with the socks, though. The BSJ has to be completed. The deadline of July 15 is coming soon. K2's little sister is expecting, and the baby shower is scheduled for that day. I'm hoping to complete some baby washcloths also, but won't cast on for them until the sweater is done. Blue Sky Alpaca cotton for those.

I am still working on the Log Cabin. It is growing and is wonderful. I still love it, and in the evenings, when the AC is chilly on my couch, it's a delight to work on! Mindless knitting. The Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece is not hard on one's hands like other cottons. I highly recommend this yarn! It's economical and washable.

The Banana Cabana socks are nearing completion. They won't count for the Summer of Socks, but they will be joining the FO ranks soon. They are so happy and cheerful! The ladies at Yarn Haven keep admiring the yarn from Cider Moon and I'm hoping they work out a deal with Jacki and Gail to carry it in the shop. Sometimes you can order it from The Loopy Ewe but it sells out quickly.

Today's agenda, along with knitting and laundry, was girl time. Mayhem and I picked up Aunt Chris and went for pedicures. (Mayhem got toe polish only.) And no, you can't see up my skirt. That's a skort! Enjoy peeking though. Hehehehee

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Welcome home! Have a nice trip!

Since I arrived home from my trip, Mayhem left for Girl Scout camp, and arrived back home today safely. I took her to lunch and she talked non-stop about how much fun she had. My worries were totally unfounded; she did fine, this child of mine who had never been away from home overnight without me. Once we were home, she hit the couch for a three hour nap. Methinks she and her little friends did not do much sleeping, but like her mama, did much giggling!

Absent Minded Professor left this morning with his two cousins to spend four days with Oma and Opa at their house two hours away. My parents are in their mid-seventies, and I know that the time will come soon that the boys won't be able to go stay with them; they won't want to, or Mom and Dad just won't be able to do it anymore. Still, I can't help but be a little worried for Oma and Opa with the boys ages almost-11, 8, and 5.

Until Sunday, it's just Mayhem and me. I hope to get her knitting. Wish me luck with that! She can crochet a bit, and weaves potholders on the little loom we all had growing up with the fabric loops. We have to plan some other diversions as well, because, if I don't, well... she didn't get the nickname "Mayhem" for no reason!

Want to see my favorite photo from the Washington trip?

Back to knitting next time, I promise!

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Whirlwind Tour and Emotions

I just flew in from the coast and man, are my arms tired! *groan* (That's for you, B.)

OK, so I didn't fly. I spent way too much time in a charter bus. Way worse. Especially with an overly-flatulent adolescent named Monty. Don't ask!

I didn't knit nearly as much as I thought I would be able to, but managed to complete about 1/2 of one sock on the way to Gettysburg. Two friends that live near there met me (and my 85 kids!) for dinner after we finished the battlefield tour. (Thanks, Buddy B, for indulging me!) It was great to see them, and they were great sports about eating dinner with us.

Washington, DC was fabulous, however. It wiped out the negative aspects of the bus ride. *My kids* (for in many ways they are mine after a year of nurturing them along) were funny and for the most part very good. They received compliments about how well-behaved they were as a large group. We found the names of family members on the Vietnam Wall for some of them.
Here is a group of my kids at Mount Vernon, totally unaware that I am snapping their photo!

My two peeps who had the honor of performing the Wreath Laying Ceremony at The Tomb of the Unknown Solidiers performed beautifully and with so much poise that I couldn't help but cry as I watched and took photos. The young lady came into seventh grade so unsure of how her year would be, and look at her! (Sorry, you only get the back.) We had a gorgeous wreath, as you can see.

See all of those orange shirts? Our tracking system. It worked fabulously! On day two the shirts were safety (neon) green. I was standing at the top of the Lincoln Memorial looking down when I took this, and could see all of my Bus One kids (41 kids) that had already gone down from the memorial.

This morning, at the ungodly hour of 5:40, we pulled up in front of school to unload the two buses of very tired children, some of whom had never been out of the state of Ohio. "I'll see you all in August," I announced over the bus PA system. "Hey, I didn't flunk! None of us did or we wouldn't have gone on the trip!" one of the more awake boys called out. "You're right. You're all going to 8th grade. And after 17 years in seventh grade myself, it's been decided I am going there too," I told the busload. "YAY!!! Alright! Yes! Woohoo! Awesome! Dude!" I heard back.
Again with the tears. I'm blaming it on lack of sleep.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Packing. And Packing. And More Packing.

If you recall, I'm packing my office to move buildings. That job is mostly finished, and since today is teacher work day (students finished yesterday), I will wrap up today. I have one more day to work next week doing paperwork related to grades and test scores. My office is stacked with boxes and looks very sad indeed. My desk, usually stocked with Magic 8 Balls, and magic wands and stress balls and all sorts of other gizmos is now empty. The walls are bare. I'm trying to look forward and not be sad.

Along with packing my office, I am packing myself for the Washington, DC trip. It's tomorrow! What has taken a whole school year to prepare for is less than 24 hours away. eeeeek! I have a list. I have a list for keeping track of my list. I have copies of room lists and bus lists for the chaperones. I have extra bandaids for kids. Sunscreen for kids who don't believe that they'll need it. And I have my knitting. I've decided upon two pairs of a socks and the baby surprise jacket which is 1/3 complete.

So what is the "More Packing?" Mayhem leaves for girl scout camp the day after I return from Washington! While she and Absent Minded Professor will enjoy playing with their dad while I'm gone, I know I can't count on him to get her packed. I have to get that done, or organized before I leave. Then I have to hope and pray she won't unpack it to check out the stuff while I'm gone!

Instead of working diligently on all of this last night what did I do? I went to knitting nite at Yarn Haven of course! I needed a mental health break and what better way to chill than to hang out with the ladies and inhale yarn fumes? I had gifts to deliver to Becky. Johari and Sarah couldn't make it, but shop owners Bobbie and Dale wanted a report about Knitters Connection. I brought them some cards from vendors and showed some goodies. The heel is finished on Banana Cabana sock #2. A 40% off sale yielded a bag full of Tatamy Tweed in lovely colors for another afghan... either granny square or mitered sqares. "You oughter miter," Becky said.

I leave the house at 5:45 tomorrow morning. I'll be home sometime Sunday. I won't say I'll be good, but whatever I do, I'll do well! Hehehehe

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Knitters Connection Loot (Part 2)

Here's the haul from Knitters Connection.

Goody Bag given with admission.
Cider Moon Cloud (Hot Rod and Superman) and some more Banana Cabana.

Neighborhood Fiber Co. yarns. These are Brightwood colorway.
Stitch Markers on the left are little sheep and come on a kilt pin to wear.

Panda Cotton in denim blue. Beaded scarf kit and cashmere/alpaca sock yarn in Briar Rose.

My door prize! Tote bag and books.

A lovely pendant with socks and crystal. This is a treat and memento of the day. I bought one other necklace as well. It has a red and orange dichroic glass pendant on a black choker cord. So far I haven't managed to get a good photo.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Insane... and Perfect

Knitters Connection Part One
How do I even begin to describe a day that so full of yarny goodness that it was insane? I think I am still high on the yarn fumes!

The wonderful Sarah Lou picked me up (almost) promptly and we hit Starbucks and then the highway south for Columbus. She drove down, looking all of 20 yrs old with her pony tails, while I knitted. (We had decided ahead of time that she would drive down and I would drive home so we would both get knitting time.) We gabbed and sang and made decent time. After parking we found the exhibit hall for Knitters Connection without incident and paid our teeny $5 entry fee.

That's when we got our first surprise of the day. Along with the admission, each person received a goody bag containing a Brown Sheep water bottle, 2 full skeins of yarn (each varied), an August 07 issue of Knit n Style magazine, and a mini skein of yarn (mine was Claudia Handpainted)!! The contents of the goody bag alone was worth over $20. The lovely lady taking our $5 then handed each of us a raffle ticket for door prizes. Remember that for later.

Sarah and I could barely contain ourselves. We needed to get inside that big room full of yarn! Originally we planned to cruise the whole hall and then make purchases afterward. That plan lasted for... ummm... less than half of one side of the room!

So when did it really get insane? Ask Jacki and Gail! It did not take us long to find the Cider Moon booth and the lovely ladies who dye all the yummy yarns! As promised, my Banana Cabana had been tucked away for me, along with some yarns Sarah had requested. Travis was sporting some killer socks! He also took a great shot of us Toledo girls with the Cider Moon girls. In our defense though, Sarah and I both bought gifts for other people. Gifts don't count!

Sarah going insane in the Cider Moon booth.

Gayle, Sarah, Jacki and Me

Another delight of the day was meeting Karida of Neighborhood Fiber Co. Her yarns are amazing and they are all named after neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.! Sarah and I had a great time chatting with Karida and her booth helper, Karen. Then we found out Karen just recently moved to Toledo! Karen, please join us at Yarn Haven on Tuesday evening, OK?

Just after meeting Karida, Sarah and I decided we needed to make a run to the parking garage for a little more money. I hadn't brought all of mine in with me. We also needed some lunch, and decided upon sushi, salad and soup. It was perfect, and we knitted for a few minutes as well. While finishing lunch, I wondered out loud who won the door prizes. "I never win anything," I said to Sarah, and we headed back to the exhibit hall. "Look at this," Sarah said, "Whoever won this prize is one number off from my ticket." Sqeeeeeeeee! It was me! I won an orangey woven tote with bamboo handles. Inside was another hank of yarn (blue wool) and 2 books (one knit, one crochet) and a box of baby crochet patterns! You all know what knitting books cost. I received basically 3 of them, plus yarn and a tote.

You're probably also wondering what I bought. Yarn! (duh) Two necklaces. Stitch markers. A couple of gifts that I won't post about yet. A really awesome beaded scarf kit; Interlacements yarn, beads and pattern. I wouldn't have bought this normally, but the beads were already strung. I tried on the sample scarf, and fell in love. (Pictures of all of that will come soon!)

Two fiber friends, spending the day fondling yarn and enabling each other. Totally insane and yet... perfect. We had to finish the day by doing this. After all, it was World Wide Knit in Public Day!

Banana Cabana, step away from the beer!

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Friday, June 08, 2007

It's Official! Summer is Here!

Last night it was still 85 degrees at 9:30 PM. I went outside with the dogs, and if the temperature wasn't enough to convince one that summer has arrived, I have other proof. Lightning bugs!

The arrival of the lightning bugs always marks the start of summer for us here. Mayhem and Absent Minded Professor had just been tucked into bed and I normally would have excitedly gone and fetched them to get their bug jars and join me in the backyard. They had school this morning and so did I. Tonight will be fine for catching the fireflies, I'm sure. My cousins in Germany told me last summer that they do not have these wonderful creatures there, and they took great delight in catching them with me and my kids while they were visiting here. I think we big kids had more fun than the under-18 aged kids.

Tomorrow morning Sarah and I head to Columbus for Knitters Connection. Our first road trip! Look out world, here we come!

Banana Cabana sock #2 is growing. Amazing how fast one can knit when the pattern is memorized!! I decided last night, after Mayhem found my Panda Cotton Strawberry Limes yarn, to cast on for another pair of socks as well. Really, it was more like I was coerced. I'm using the Just Ribbing pattern and will make them smaller for Mayhem. They're pink and green. (If you click on the link and scroll down you can see what the color looks like knitted up.)

No pictures today. How boring is that? Shhhh I'm at work and I'm in the middle of packing boxes. Really. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

3-2-1- Cast Off!!

Last night I finished Banana Cabana sock #1. (It was a very productive night at Yarn Haven with my knitting bunch.) Really, though, this sock is the garter rib pattern sock from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. I have just renamed my sock after the wonderful colorway I'm using from Cider Moon. Before trying to get some sleep, I made sure I cast on and got started on the ribbing for sock #1's mate.

Mayhem and Absent Minded Professor both ooohed and aaaahed over the sock. I think on the bus ride to Washington I will be starting a pair for Mayhem. I have some Cider Moon GoGo in my stash for her. A plain ribbed pair should go quickly.

Here's Banana Cabana sock #1 for your viewing pleasure.

While we're on the subject of socks, please go welcome a couple of new sock knitters to cult, I mean club! Johari just completed her first sock and Mark is so close he can almost taste the success! The process has not come easy to Mark and he has blogged about it quite a bit. Maybe some cheerleaders will help.

A week from tonight I'll be making sure I have everything packed for the trip to Washington. I have to decide on a couple of small knitting projects to take on the bus. I know the Baby Surprise Jacket is going. The baby shower is in 5 weeks. I know I'm taking one pair of socks to work on for sure, maybe two. The question is, which socks? which yarn?

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Countdowns and Downpours

Five more days until Knitters Connection in Columbus!

Six more days of school left.

10 days until I board the buses to take 87 seventh graders to Gettysburg and Washington, D.C. with Buddy B and some wonderfully brave parent chaperones.

Two weeks left in my building where I have worked for the past 14 years with seventh graders. My supervisor has decided that it would be better if I looped with the current group of students along to 8th grade in another building. That means packing up my office and moving buildings. Unwillingly. I was notified by email with 12 days of school left.

Along with the downpours of showers that have come without warning the past three days, there have been downpours of unexpected tears. Some have been mine. Other tears have come from staff members that have worked with me and confided in me and grown to trust me over the years. When you stay willingly in a junior high for as many years as we have together, you become family. At random moments during the day, someone will stop by and say, "Is it true? Are you really going to the other building?" One look at the boxes stacking up in the corner confirms it.

In the past, when I was under stress, I used to do two things. I would shop, and I would eat. Since I learned to knit three yrs ago, the eating lessened and I've lost nearly 70 lbs. A health problem forced the issue for me, but I don't sit in front of the TV and snack anymore, and I'm much healthier. I still shop (but not with a credit card). I replaced eating with knitting. Most of what I knit, I give away, so I don't mind spending on yarn.

The past few days I've been knitting like crazy. The log cabin is growing enough that I ordered the 30" and 40" cords for my Denise Interchangeable needles in order to keep up with its growth. Banana Cabana sock #1 is nearly done and sock #2 will be cast on before heading to Knitters Connection on Saturday with Sarah.

Besides the cords for my needle set what is new?

Starting at the top left, there is Lorna's Laces in Flamingo (sock) and Daffodil (sport). Top Right you'll see new Cider Moon colors Rainbow Trout and Barnwood, both in the glacier weight. At the bottom are Claudia Handpaint yarns in Butter Pecan (my favorite ice cream) and Blue Fields (chosen because it seemed so peaceful).

The Claudia colors up close.

A closeup of Rainbow Trout and Barnwood.

If nothing else comes out of this stressful time and big move, a whole lotta knitting will! In the meantime, I'm trying to remember to count my blessings and search for the silver lining in all of this.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Lab Results

Hi. I'm Bruno. I'm doing the blogging today. You have no idea how long I've been waiting for my turn at the computer!

Here's what you need to know to know about me. I'm a good dog. I'm a really good dog. 120 lbs. of good dog! Seriously. My kids lay on me. They put bandages on me. They use me for a bean bag chair. They turn my ears inside out and play doctor on me. When I'm tired of my kids bugging me, I get up, dump them off, and go in another room. I didn't even care when Mayhem put red lipstick on me! Do you know how long it took to get it off my lovely fur? When my human mom has a migraine, I get up beside her on the bed and stay with her until it's gone. My human mom rescued me when I was 8 weeks old from an organization that finds homes for unwanted pets. My siblings and I had all been dumped. (She rescued Coco Loco from the dog pound. That's another story for another day.)

My point is this. I'm a good, good dog. That's all I'm trying to make clear. At my house, I'm not the dog that gets in trouble. Usually. So the incident the other day with the alpaca? That was a fluke.

Wait. You didn't hear about that? Good. I'll tell my side.

My human mom has a lot of yarn. More yarn than you know. I love to give it a good sniff when it comes into the house. It's mostly wooly, sheepy stuff, but to be honest, I'm just not all that interested. Once she has those pointy sticks in there, I really don't want to be bothered with it. Mom gives me plenty of rawhide chewies to play with, and a Kong full of peanut butter is much, much better than yarn.

But the other day she was knitting with a little ball of some dark yarn I hadn't sniffed before. It wasn't a big ball of yarn like she usually has. This was just a little itty bit of yarn. Sniiiiiffffffff. Yummm. What is that?? What's that smell?? I shoved my head under her arm to make Mom pay attention to me, and get closer to that yummy stuff. sniff, sniff, snuffle, snort, sneeze

About that time she took the pointy sticks out of the aromatic yarn and let Absent Minded Professor pet the yarn. Seeing my opportunity, I turned toward him and took another big sniiiiiiffff. I just couldn't help myself guys. My mouth just opened and the next thing I know that yarn swatch jumped into my mouth and I was drooling all over it and running around the room like I did when I was I was a puppy! I ran to the right, and the kids chased me. I dodged left behind the recliner. Wheeee! What fun, the chase was on!

The kids were squealing and chasing me. Mom was demanding, "Bruno, drop the alpaca!" I was behaving in a way totally unbecoming my six years of age. The scent and taste of alpaca filled my head and I just went nuts. Finally, Mom got the kids to stop making so much noise and then commanded me to sit. At that point I figured I better drop that yummy stuff or risk having to go to the crate; I haven't been there in years. You know, doggy jail. I handed over the yarn, a bit wet, but not chewed.

You know, looking back, I should have just done what Mayhem always does when she wants something... snuggled up to Mom, turned up the charm, batted the puppy dog eyes, and said, "Can we buy one, please, please, please?" I have a feeling there won't be anymore alpaca coming into this house.