Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Or I should say, Happy Fake Fall! It is so hard feeling like this is Halloween when our highs are in the 80's and it is only going down to 65 tonight. Maybe after we have been here a while I'll get used to it. Our tree out front dropped a leaf. That's it.

OK, this is how out of it I am…I thought Clapotis was pronounced Clap-otis, like Otis Redding. Since then I have listened to Amy R. Singer on Knit Cast. Man did I feel silly!

In my defense, I took Spanish in high school, not French. We were living near LA at the time and we were told during freshman orientation that if we ever hoped to get a summer job we’d have to know Spanish. And I , not wanting to cut my career at Jack in the Box short, signed right up.

Side note: before I was old enough to seek employment we moved back to Williamsburg, VA, so I got a GREAT first job of working in the Wythe candy store in Colonial Williamsburg. Been there? Yeah, best job I ever had.

So, I am the last person on the planet to make one, I know. Don’t think I didn’t try. Sally's Christmas YarnMy fabulous sister gave me # 2 balls of this mystery yarn last year for Christmas and I tried with it. Great yarn, but way too thick. The labels are in the bottom of the stash somewhere...really cute person on a scooter.

Fortunately I live in Daytona Beach now, so it is not like I have to worry about bumping into one around here…not exactly a big knitting scene.

So I am tackling it with Sock Landscape from Knit Picks .

Oh, and if anyone has any ideas, the yarn my sister gave me is still in the stash. It’s not enough for a sweater and though I am chilly by nature, I do not have much need for 50 scarves. It is Daytona after all.

Ideas? Maybe something for peaceful palms you say? My sister in law returns from Bagdad to Ft. Lewis in Washington in a few may be on to something.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Sneak Peek

Ok...first, sorry I have been slugginsh today in responding to folks. Out internet has been out most of the day. I'll catch up tomorrow, promise.

Second, Everyone's rules have been great! Haven't left one yet? No?! Click here.

Third, we are in a halloween rush here, so only a little bit of time to knit. Here's a little peek:

I am not sure this is working out. It is Knit Picks Sock Landscape. I love this yarn so much but I am not sure I have found it's pattern soul mate, you know?

We are trying to feel like fall here...but it's Florida. It is hard to imaging the girls trick-or-treating without thermal underwear on.

Friday, October 28, 2005

A question for everyone

So this is how my morning started:

Early, very early. In the distance, a noise.

Stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp…(banging on the bedroom door) “Mom!!! She’s touching your knitting!!”

By the time I sprinted to the living room, Girl #2 had already put herself in the time out chair and was starting to cry saying “I so sorry, I so sorry”.

Sheesh. If only they’d follow the other rules with such fervor.

I have recently realized that in our house the actual rules and the enforced rules are very different. They say a lot about how our house runs…

Official House rules:

1. Share
2. No running inside
3. Be a helper

The rules that are actually enforced:

1. Don’t lick the furniture
2. Never touch mom’s knitting
3. Don’t lick your sister
4. Don’t touch dad’s circular saw
5. Really, stop licking things

So all of this has me thinking about rules for knitting. Let us all pause for a moment to reflect on how we limit ourselves in knitting without realizing it.

One of my big rules is no Acrylic. Especially Homespun. It makes my hands ache to think of it. But if I had followed that rule too closely then we wouldn’t have this:

This is Girl #1 in her creation play at preschool. She is a plant. Miss Teri, her teacher, is a casting genius. Girl #1 rarely speaks out loud outside of the house, and the plants only have one small singing part. Perfect fit. The petals are Homespun, and glad to say my hands are still attached.

The thing is, acrylic is OK, especially for a big quick costume.

Which brings me to another personal knitting rule:

Almost any life problem can be solved with knitting.

Really. Need a coaster? Knit one. Sweaty glass? Knit a holder. Want to meet interesting people when you go out? Take your knitting with you.

So I am curious to hear what you all think. What are your knitting rules? What happens if you break them? Any major life problem knitting has solved?

(Oh, and so everyone knows Girl # 2 was quickly removed from timeout, got her hug, and the next I saw her she was trying to lick honey off the kitchen table.)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Tag, I'm it!

I was tagged by Candsmom at Bits of Knits

So here goes, twenty exciting things about me:

  1. This is the fifteenth building I have lived in. Eighteenth if you count dorms. Dad was in the Army.
  2. I hate to initiate change.
  3. I hate things to stay the same too long. I get bored.
  4. I went to William and Mary…always been a nerd.
  5. I had to drop out my sophomore year to take care of my mother while she was dying of uterine cancer.
  6. I returned and have a degree in mathematics.
  7. I taught computer science for almost ten years in a public high school. I actually like teenagers.
  8. I am 5 ft, 1 ¼ inches tall.
  9. I have broken up a lot of fistfights, but only boys. Any teacher knows you never touch a girl fight. Never.
  10. I know six programming languages.
  11. I was in labor for twenty four hours with girl #1, three with girl #2.
  12. We just moved to Florida. I stay home with the girls now.
  13. I am 32.
  14. My parents waited to have kids until the Vietnam war was winding down. This and the fact that my dad was promoted fast meant my brother sister and I were always ten years younger than any of the other kids in our neighborhoods. We are still very close.
  15. My husband and I went to high school together, but didn't start dating until three weeks after I graduated.
  16. I hate mint. Just the smell is enough to make me vomit. While teaching I was walking a kid to the nurse one day and he projectile vomited on me head to toe. I hate mint worse than that.
  17. I have only three regrets about anything in my entire life.
  18. I get uncomfortable being the center of attention and am running out of things to say. Can I really be summed up in only 18 things??
  19. Oh, yeah. I only microwave by prime numbers. Otherwise I have to start mentally finding the factors of the number.
  20. I do not have OCD, I swear. I try to laugh at everything.
  21. And one extra...I am a yarn snob. Natural fibers only, please.
Hmmm....who to pass this on to?

Here goes:
So...all of you innermost secrets, summed up in 20 lines.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


The preschool cardigan is DONE!! I took all these great photos, lit by the sunset and everything. Only issue is I forgot to put in the memory stick (duh).

I asked her to model it again..."MOM, I have nose goopy and I am trying to sleep. No pictures!"

Girl #2 hid under her blanket:

So here is the compromise shot:

These are the front and back views. It looks much cuter on her. We scrapped the buttons on the hood. I may try that again later on another project, but since it is 45 degrees here in Daytona (eek!) this needed to get done.

Sorry for the wonky uplit photography, Next time I'll try to get the outdoor shots.

Oh, and for the record,
except for the girls themselves, the blanket Girl #2 is hiding under is the most successful thing I have ever made. More about that's movie night!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Crazy Eights Pattern

The pattern has moved to:

Please let me know if anything is not clear...this is my first try at writing one of these up.

Also, if anyone actually knits one, please send me a picture, I'd love to see how they turn out.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sock it to me at Biketoberfest

I am not normally the type of person that would hang out at a big biker event. Not convinced? Here are three basic reasons why:

1) I do not drink beer
2) I have no tattoos
3) They do not serve hot tea or sell yarn

But, we just moved here and we are trying to soak in as much local culture as possible.

It was fun for about an hour. Seriously though, the bikes are amazing, and it is great people watching.

Like I promised, I got a picture of my Socktoberfest Sock at Biketoberfest.

Yes, I looked like a total moron, but I wasn’t wearing THIS top:

I’d rather look silly with a sock. The hands are fake. This was right before a guy asked me to touch his flamingo. They have gotten rid of the public nudity aspects, but it is still a bike event.

Speaking of socks, The Crazy Eight pattern should be up later today or tomorrow morning. I keep getting interrupted by children…The Husband is working today.

And lastly, here’s the yarn the girls and I dyed a few days ago:

It might be socks, or gloves. I have to free up my size 1 needles before deciding.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Letting go

Lets face it, I was a math teacher.

And before that an army brat…second generation. Both of my grandfathers were also career military.

My mother was the strict one. It is bad when you consider Dad the Airborne Ranger the “softie” parent. Mom was 100% German, and 100% rigid. There was a morally right and wrong way to do everything…like folding towels.

So, most of my adult life has been trying to let go of being so rigid. And I struggle with it most in being a mom. I am not a neat freak, like my mother. (Did I mention she mopped daily?? Sometimes twice??) Still, I can be a bit too exacting, especially with Girl #1.

So today’s project? Dyeing sock yarn. I have all the kool aid and the giant squirter thing. We need to do it today while it is still sunny out. I have visions of perfect rainbow blends, but they girls need to do this one, so I am trying to let go of the process. They have picked green, pink, purple and blue.

Personally I love the way this works. It is so snappy that you know it is done when the water turns clear.Tuti Fruiti Yarn
(Our yarn, ready to sun bathe)
Gotta run, Queen Amadala and Princess Leia have just arrived, I am a girl Darth Vader and have to go hide. May the force be with you.

Do you think Darth Vader knits, or is (s)he more the plastic canvas type?

Oh, and a side note...I am halfway done with typing up the Crazy Eights Pattern. We had a sitter and went to see Biketoberfest, so I ran out of time tonight. Sitter! Can you believe it??

Anyway, pattern and interesting bike pictures to follow.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Crazy Eights Chart

Here's the chart for the cables...I'm working on the actual pattern. Hopefully tonight It'll be up. No tutoring this evening!

(Added 10.24.05: The pattern is done! You can download the Word version here. PDF: here)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Crazy Eights!

Yes, there were neighbors driving by. Yes, I was in a skirt. Yes, I fell over.

Please be aware of how willing I am to embarrass myself to bring you a shot of these socks. They were too green to show up against the foliage, so sky shot it was.

But it was all worth it.
Here’s a close up of why I am calling them Crazy Eights. I did a simple ribbing around back, and they are pretty snappy if I do say so myself. Very comfortable, and they give full cankle coverage.

I am going to try to get an action shot in the next few days. It is Biketoberfest here in Daytona. It is a lesser event than the renowned Socktoberfest, but since I am here I thought I’d try to do a bit of spot reporting and bring the two events together.

I'll try to write up the pattern in the next few days if anyone is interested. That is assuming Wilma stays away (fingers crossed).

In other knitting news I am almost done with the preschool cardigan. I have loved this project, but am so ready to be done. It is my first bit of in-the-round and I am a bit puzzled over how to block it. I had to frog a bi today on the hood…too pointy. Should be done by tomorrow.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Here is the beginning of my Soctoberfest socks. Obviously toe-up. I couldn't find a cable pattern I liked, so I came up with this. They are called "Crazy Eights" for now.

I am currently stalled...I am not sure how complex to make the cables around the back. I have this symmetry thing, notice the cables are mirror images of each other. I am trying to decide if I should just do the same thing around back, or something else. I'll decide when the kids go to bed. I am incapable of thinking with them in the room.

It is in Knit Picks Essential in Grass. Clearly we are in a green mood down here. Must be all this sun. I wanted to get these done before playing with the stripes on the Alpaca socks. Last week was all mom stuff. This week is dedicated to knitting, so it should all get done.

And just for the record fall is very weird in Florida. I keep finding myself turning up the AC in my car and squinting at the huge tree with red flowers on my way to pre-school in the morning just to pretend it is a real fall. My Virginia friends are REAL sorry for me, what with the lows near 70 thing.

Very strange.

Added Note:

As I was putting the girls to bed Girl #2 asked me to tell her what crochet was...her comment after I explained: "Crochet!?? One Needle?!?! What the heck are you talking about???"

Cracks me up that knitting is so much a part of her
2.5 year old life that the idea of ONE needle is completely odd.

The birthday party that took over my life last week:

Girl #1 is FIVE!

Notice girl #2 on the right trying to help blow out the candles.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

No time for Knittin'

I'm grouchy, tired,'s why.

This is all I have knit in four days.


Girl #1 turned 5 this week, so insted I have been cleaning, baking, making gift bags, blowing up baloons. You know, mom stuff.

So when this bash is over this afternoon at 4 I am sitting down and knitting. For hours. I am not even cooking dinner tonight.

Oh, details about the gague swatch...Knit Picks Andean Treasure 100% Baby Alpaca in lagoon.

I am planning on using it for a pair of big fluffy socks for Soctoberfest, as soon as I get to knit again.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The husband moved my knitting

In my house exists an odd truce. I am a bit anal and like things alphabetized, arranged by size and such. I will also let things pile up if I do not have the time to put them away in an orderly way.

The husband, hates piles. They drive him batty, the way someone touching my #2 pencil gets to me. He will swoop through a room, jamming things into any little nook or cranny, just so there are no piles.

The girls are pretty used to all this. If anything is lost they both immediately say “Daddy moved it”. At the same time they nag me to hurry the whole time I am busy organizing. Like the day I decided it was more important to alphabetize the cans of vegetables than to do lunch. Bit hit that was.

Somehow we all coexist fairly peacefully.

Until today…

Granted, I had like three projects and all of their accompanying scrap yarn all over the living room. All seats taken. But still…I present, exhibit A:

Look at all those dropped stitches!

This poor hat. First the lost needle, now this.

Otherwise today was the day of errands. I have mentioned that we live in a crafting wasteland. It has taken me a week to find orange tissue paper. Girl #1 is 5 on Wed, so we have to take in treats. Like a fool I promised to make Jack-o-lantern treats like last year, but these need orange tissue paper to wrap.

So, no knitting yet today. I plan on making up for lost time tonight. Wish me luck.

This is a better shot of the grow with me hat, modeled by a grapefruit in a margarita glass.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Button bands are the work of Satan

Hear that sound? That is the sound of the pre school cardigan (with hood) whooshing towards completion.

The only problem? You guessed it…button bands.

In the past 24 hours I have tried 6 different types, several of them more than once, all of them looking rather wonky. Devil is in the details, ya’ know?

Frankly if I could I’d go back and do zippers, but we went to the store yesterday, and girl #1 got to pick out the buttons. They are a pearly white, but shine pink. She loves them. Mom must make the buttons work.

So, I have decided to do loops out of i-chord and be done with it. I am really kicking myself in the pants for not incorporating the button holes into the cables along the front as I went. Lesson learned. I am not much on bulky projects (if merino on size 8’s is bulky) and will probably not like the button holes I can knit at this scale.

Oh, and to prove my new allegiance with the dark side…I am now festooning my children in leftover bits of yarn.

I know it is cruel, but I can’t stop. I love this yarn too much.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Did I mention I was a high school teacher? Well, for the past ten years I taught mostly computer science and some math. I stay home now with the girls.

And I was one of THOSE math teachers. I knew it, I was funny about things. I liked my books to be lined up parallel by size. I used a chalk-chuck. I put up funny quotes from famous mathematicians. And if I had a dime for every time I said “hats off in the building”… well let’s just say I’d be knitting in Tahiti, not Florida.

Anyway, my biggest quirk was pencils. I had a thing about MY pencil. I prefer mechanical .05 lead. I try to use one for as long as I can without losing it. My students were not allowed to touch it. Ever.

I would actually go around looking for it, wasting precious planning period time, even though I had a zillion OTHER pencils I could use. It was the principal of the thing.

Besides, the joy of a good mechanical pencil that doesn’t squeak, or let the lead break too easily, is endless.

Well, I am the same about my knitting needles. I don’t own a ridiculous number considering how much I knit. I prefer sizes 2, 4 and 8. (Must be a weird binary thing, but I digress).

Yesterday I lost one of my size 4 DPNs. Painful, I know. I have had them for over a year now. I made them to make gloves for my sister for Christmas last year. And now one is missing.

The odd thing is I was using it, on the sofa. Girl #2 came in for a new sippy-cup of milk and by the time I got back it was gone. I have taken apart the sofa, and found some things a mother is better off not knowing about. But, no needle.

Also, since moving to this barren land (we’re within 5 miles of Daytona) there are no stores that sell Bamboo needles in size 4 DPN’s.

I am SO close to finishing my “grow with me” hat I am doing for an old reporter friend of my husband that is due to have the baby in seconds. I was planning on putting the pattern up here…it is the easiest pattern in the world and works for any size human.

So tomorrow it is off to find dowels and once more make some. Once I find dowels and craft a needle form scratch I’ll get the pattern up.

Wish me luck, the number of bikes here are picking up, I am assuming because we are almost to Biketoberfest.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I need this.

Well, maybe not NEED, but want in a big way.

Generally speaking I am so happy to just look at knitting books. The girls and I head to Barnes and Noble reading time, and while they clap along to Truck Tuesday, or whatever the theme is I can flip through the latest books. Then go home without having spent a dime

Well, today they had a whole pile of these. It really is great. Some of the books recently have been either too basic, or too wacky. This is a good in between. Difficult enough to be fun. It has two great tree skirt patterns, both of which are really tempting. Lots of good gift ideas. Stuff with some real substance, like thigh-high stockings with great detail along the back seam. Unlike a lot of knitting books it shows several pictures of the projects so you have a good idea of what they should look like.

Really, I am not doing it justice…go have a look!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

New Lux to the Rescue

I am closing on the neckline for the preschool cardigan. She fell asleep before she got to try it on, so her sister filled in. Forgive the belly showing, they're both painfully long and skinny, like their dad.

But, there is a problem, as I get closer to the neck, I haven't been able to quite figure out how to bring it all together.

Then, in the mail, salvation:

I picked this up off EBay a few weeks ago and it arrived today. Let me tell you, design central. It is the 1952 edition, and has a whopping 75 designs. Originally sold for 50¢ I scooped it up for $3.99. I’ll share a few choice items over the next few days.

It has a great raglan collar for a children’s cardigan. Problem solved!

A tease from the New Lux designs:

Monday, October 03, 2005

Me, hoard YARN? You must be kidding.

OK, OK, I just ordered more yarn for the pre-school cardigan (it needs a hood). SO, since Knit Picks offers free shipping on orders more than $30, I had to go ahead and get enough to avoid those nasty shipping charges. I have totally cut out trips to the craft store since we moved. All we have is a Michael’s, and it is far away.

So really the spending all evens out. I actually spend less, since I don not buy things for non-knitting crafts. The ones that look good, like rubber stamps, but will never ACTUALLY get used. Unless you can figure out a way to use them on sweaters.

The thing is, I usually do not have this much on hand. I am getting a bit dizzy with all this yarn, all these unfinished projects on hand.

I had to undo the cardigan all the way to the pits. I had dropped one stitch on each arm when I joined them at midnight last night. I usually do not stay up that late, and really should not attempt difficult bits of knitting. Still, it is like getting to the last chapter of a good mystery novel. You know, the part where Miss Marple puts down her knitting and peers over her glasses to explain how the entire thing happened. I was at THAT point with the cardigan.

Either way, all mistakes mended. I redid it all while the girls played ball in the front yard. I had planned on posting a picture of my outside knitting spot and of the sweater, but the battery ran out right as we got outside. I’ll get them up tomorrow.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Nothing up my Sleeve

I think I have figured out how to do the sleeves without doing a lot of painful finishing. I have knit the sleeves up until where the armpit joins. Now I will include them in the body of the sweater and knit and reduce raglan style until I get to the neck. This is vague, I know, but in my head it makes perfect sense. I am going to need more yarn for the hood, so I’m ordering tonight.

Other breaking news…I got a nap. I know my childless friends would roll their eyes here and think “NAP? Oh, real exciting”, but it is. Between sick kids, visiting Parental Units, and then sick me, I have been exhausted. I was just gearing up to do my usual Saturday morning pick up while listening to Car Talk, went into the bedroom to put something away and woke up THREE hours later! I swear, I haven’t been asleep after 8 AM in over a year, so this is a big deal.

Now that I am refreshed I plan to knit. I really shouldn’t waste being this relaxed on laundry. And as I keep explaining, laundry is not really that important, it regenerates quickly. On the other hand my knitting has manners, once I knit something it stays put.