Saturday, December 31, 2005


The house is empty. Except for the miniature people. They are picnicking in the backyard, so I have a nice moment of peace.
Things are moving a bit slowly here. The disease from the last few weeks has settled into my sinuses, which means I need to go to the doctor.

Which of course means I have to FIND a doctor.

Did I tell you about the one the HMO assigned me? The one with sandals and dirty toes? Not to gross you out, but I was so distracted last visit I really am not sure if anything medical happened. How can you trust a person with dirty toes with your health? I know we live near the beach now, but really.
So I am taking today off, no mopping or cleaning, just rest, knitting and bad TV. And I mean bad. Did you know they have a show called Ballroom Bootcamp? Did I mention I hate ballroom shows? Well, I was knitting and dropped the remote, so ballroom it is. What we suffer for the sake of art.
I am working on a vest/cardigan for girl#2. It is my last bit of Cotton Ease. Here’s the swatch I did in November. It is coming along. I am almost done with the shoulders. I am trying to perfect knitting in one big piece, then separating into the front and back.

And here, finally, my new socks from my sock exchange pal:
Aren’t they grand? The colors are perfect, did you see how they went with my snappy chords? And they fit great. Here’s a close up of the stitch pattern:
So Pretty. I cannot begin to tell you what a treat these are. This has been a lousy two weeks, and these socks have cheered my up so much!!
And if you need something to make you smile, here's a blog with pictures of Tasmanian penguins in sweaters.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Knitting News

Hey! The last of the houseguests just left. (Yeah!!) The girls are (almost) over the flu. If I could only find my floor again. This place is quite the mess.

We had a great Christmas despite all the chaos. No yarn from Santa, but I got a nice teapot, and I consider that necassary equipment. Also a copy of "Sensational Knitted Socks". Good loot.

Not much knitting happening, I am way too busy cleaning. But I did find this bit of knitting news. Scroll down a bit, it is on the left, or you can listen to the whole show. I was a bit disapointed they spoke of knitters as being of "a certain age", but funny none the less.

And if you have never heard the show "Wait wait don't tell me" you should give it a try. Great stuff!

Gotta scoot, for some reason Girl #2 is glued to "BBC news" in the other room. They really will watch anything!

P.S. Nevermind, they missed their flight. One more night.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Meet me in St. Lois

(Sorry for the misspelled title...when I fix it external links to the pattern do not work)

Here it is, the St. Louis Scarf for the brother in law. It is worked lengthwise in garter stitch, so it is simple and very fast. Both sides look good. Here's how you can get one...

4 balls Andean Treasure form Knit Picks
2 balls Lagoon (MC)
2 balls Granite (SC)
size 4 circular needles

note: the scarf is in garter stitch except where noted, so all rows are knit.

Cast on 200 stitches in MC
Knit 5 rows in MC
Knit 2 rows in SC
Knit 4 rows in MC
Knit 2 rows in SC
Knit 8 rows
in MC
Knit 2 rows
in SC
Knit 4 rows in MC
Knit 2 rows in SC
Knit 1 row in MC, the cut the yarn, leaving a few inches of yarn
Slide the scarf to teh other end of the circular needles and pick up the SC, continue in garter stitch
Knit 16 rows in SC
Slide scarf to other end of circular needles and attach MC, Purl across
Knit 2 rows SC
Knit 4 rows in MC
Knit 2 rows in SC
Knit 8 rows
in MC
Knit 2 rows
in SC
Knit 4 rows in MC
Knit 2 rows in SC
Knit 5 rows in MC
Bind off loosely

Pardon the husband's shaggy hair, as the girls say "Daddy needs a day of beauty!"

The boy hates haircuts!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 don't see me

I am not here. I am really doing laundry and cooking dinner. No blogging here. See the lady over there making jello for sick children? That's me...

(Warning, non knitting content below. For knitting skip to the ** )

Whew, let me tell you. BUSY!!

A bit of back story. We currently live in my husband's grandmother's
Grandma's Weddinghouse. Husband's wacky Grandma used to help watch the kids of the husband's current stepmother. She lived accross the street. Funny way to meet, huh?

Anyway, my father in-law had a big stroke last spring, he can now walk again with a cane, but still can't use his right hand. He is slowly regaining some speach, but has to be prompted on most words. Up until this he was a very successful aeorospace engineer. Wings were his specialty. Did stuff with stealth bomber, various F-15, 17's. You know, a rocket scientist. So all of their friends down here are stopping by to see him, which is sweet, but I need to install a revolving door. Poor guy is pooped.

And the girls are sick. This is only the second time Girl # 1 has even had a fever. She's a horse, that kid. So it is a bad disease that can put her out for days and days.

Oh, and did I mention my sister in-law is here from Washington State also? She just finished a tour in Iraq.

So the sister in law has a birthday this week. (All three of the husband's sibling were born on the same day). Her husband is currently serving in Iraq and
her in-laws live in Tampa . So not only are we having the whole family over for Christmas dinner, but now we are hosting her birthday dinner too. Plus, father-in-law's cousins he hasn't seen in years want to come visit too. I think I will be feeding 20 people on Thursday. I was thinking turkey, but buffalo is probably a better bet.

So that is why I am NOT blogging right now. Nope, not me.

(** Knitting news continues here )

The good news is I have finished the scarf for the brother in law. He's the twin of the sister that's here now. Are you following this? Me either.

It is the best scarf ever. I am wearing it now...pardon me, the doorbell.

Yo, I'm back. Just the uncle in-law stopping by.

It is done in the Knit Picks Andean Treasure in Lagoon and Granite. I'll add pictures later. That is if the doorbell will hush for a while.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The JMC Vest is done

From Here:

To Here:

It is in the box and on its way to Williamsburg. I was surprised at myself. It was so hard to pack that thing up. It has been my companion now for a few months. It really didn’t take that long to knit, but while I was working on other things I took to using it as a lap blanket. It felt like I was mailing off my security blanket.

I wish the photos had come out better. I did fix a few things. One of my pet peeves with men’s patterns is the shoulders and neck…you know, the gaping thing. I know I am overly picky, but a huge floppy neck hole just seems to distract me from the rest of the snappy sweater.

To fix it I purled two together for a few repeats of the ribbing around the top of the armholes and the sides of the neck. That seemed to fix it.

I also learned a new bind of. Let me tell you I was in a bind off rut. I followed the tutorial at DIY Knitty Gritty. I now want to go back and re-cast off a few pairs of socks, this technique is great, so stretchy.

As to other holiday knitting I am halfway done with the last scarf. Then I need to do the toe on Girl #2’s stocking and I am DONE. I really want to finish these so I can move on. I hate feeling stuck. I have all these ideas I never get to try.

Here’s the poorly lit zebra scarf for the girls’ cousin in Williamsburg. It is basically from the Vogue scarf book. I added a tail. It’s a fun quick pattern, I think it would work well for a child learning to knit. Something interesting but without using fun fur.

Not much time to knit today. We have finally pinned down when the in laws arrive. Apparently today, but we do not yet know when. Both girls are sick with high fevers and I am still in my PJ’s, so I need to get moving!!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I am worried about us

Have you been reading the knitting blogs? Of course you have, or you wouldn’t be here, but I mean have you been READING them??

We all seem a bit frantic.

There is of course some gorgeous holiday knitting happening out there, but personally the race to finish is beginning to stress me a bit.

I am here today to share a story of a knitting grandmother and a time saving tip.

So there I was, knitting away on a sock at my last Mops (mothers of preschoolers) meeting. And one of the moms came over and started asking about what I was working on. She actually correctly identified it as a sock, which showed some basic understanding, if you know what I mean. She then starts talking about her grandmother the knitter. I love that knitting is such a good conversation starter.

Anyway, this gal’s grandmother was a champion knitter. Every family member got new duds for birthdays and Christmas. Gorgeous sweaters. The catch was she refused to finish, so every year they got a huge box of sweater parts they had to put together.

Is that not hilarious? Think of the time that would save you!! I just have this mental image of all the kids opening the box on Christmas morning…it makes me laugh.

Since the holidays are about family, do you have any funny family knitting stories?

Here’s another one I found online from Lynne Chaney at the White House web site. (and please don’t make this into a democrat/republican thing, it’s the holidays and I’d rather not go there)

Actually the white house site has a surprising number of knitting stories. Big pastime for the first ladies.


And a side note, I just came across this for those of us that need some holiday knitting encouragement. Franklin's blog is very snappy, and I had to share. His drawings make me smile, and who can beat that?

Friday, December 16, 2005

The in-laws are coming, the in-laws are coming

Ala Paul Revere. Now I just need some sort of lantern signal system that will tell me WHEN they are arriving and HOW LONG they are staying.

"We'll probably leave Saturday or Sunday or Monday. We might stop by my sister's house." This is all the information I have.

They obviously have no clue how filthy my house is. The girls have colds. I have been busy trying to fit in all the cookie-making and knitting that Christmas necessitates, and so the housework is sorely lacking here.

Plus, I need to know what to cook. This is a tough one. They are picky eaters, but never tell you until halfway through the meal that they don’t like something.

But the worst part is, they are staying in the yarn, I mean guest, room. I have to figure out what knitting I want out of there for the week or month they’ll be staying. Deep sigh.

On an up note I am SO close to finishing the vest it hurts. It is so neat to see the whole thing come together. As soon as I finish it I’ll add a picture to the post.

I am thinking I might even work up a pattern. It really does look snappy, and maybe someone out there has a few hundred yards of wool that need to be a vest.

Can you tell how excited I am about how it has turned out??? My poor husband had to stare at it and oooh for a good while before I’d let him sleep last night. Such a good sport, and defiantly worth enduring the in-laws over.

Gratuitous shot of the girls and the husband

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Emily Post would be Ashamed

OK, several years into my teaching stint I realized my students had NO IDEA how to do thank you notes. I taught mostly computer science (translate: nerds) and we often went to competitions, or had speakers from industry and such. As much as they hated it I made them write thank you letters.

So after a few rounds of this I got one that said “Thanks for coming and I hope you liked the bagels, you ate most of them anyway.” This from a kid with an IQ near 200.

Obviously couldn’t send this one to the college professor that had driven over three hours to come and spend the day with us.

So I made them read up on thank you notes ala Emily Post, and we did a big project where they had to go out and interview someone that had a job in a nerdy field…you know, programming, IT, something technical. The results were very funny. Most of them interviewed their dads, and they were all very surprised to find out that even if it was a cool “web job” that writing was still involved.

The second round of notes were much better, some even rose to charming.

So after all these years of preaching that they had to write NICE notes, here I am and I haven’t even acknowledged my secret Knit the Classics buddy! Shame on me!!!

It arrived while we were Giving Thanks up in Williamsburg. What a great surprise to come home to!

The book is Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. This is great. My math major self hasn’t allowed much branching out literature-wise, and this is something I haven’t ever read. Yeah!! She also included a gift certificate to Starbucks. I have visions of a nice long evening sipping hot beverages (it a chilly 50 degrees here!) and reading. The best part of the plan is it requires leaving the house WITHOUT children.

Those of you with resident miniature people know this yearning. It is almost a great as the fantasy of going to the potty without “help”.

Thank you Alice!! I cannot wait to get started, and I am sorry for being such a lame-o for taking this long to mention the present. You rock!!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Knock, knock

Or make that honk, honk.

Our mailman, who does not like to get out of his truck, has taken to honking when he has a delivery. At least he is no longer trying to fell the mailbox by shoving in huge bags of yarn, but really! It is only 68 degrees here, and it is a light mist, not even real rain. His compatriots up north have it a whole lot worse today.

OK, vent over.

I am waiting for this to arrive from an ebay purchase. I know, it seems a totally wacky purchase. While we never lived there, I still spent a lot of time there as a child. My mom’s dad retired from the army at Ft. Benning and they stayed in the area. My parents were married at the chapel, and my father taught jump school there, from those very towers on the right. (They were leftovers from the world’s fair in New York and the Army bought them to train rangers…trivia you never knew you needed). My baby sister Sally was born there. Our Cocker Spaniel Buffy is in the pet cemetery there.

I generally collect fancier blue and white plates, I have a thing for corny Americana. But the tanks around the edges? I couldn’t resist.

So anyway, no plate today, but we did get a Christmas box from my snappy brother in law. Oddly enough, the one that is permanently banned from being on Ft. Benning because he got arrested during a peace protest there while he was in college.

Which reminds me, he needs a scarf. Which means, I need to knit one. Which means, I need to start one.

I am thinking of using some alpaca I have, and doing a lengthwise garter stitch thing, but I do have a question. How long should such a scarf be? I want it to sort of look like those plaid wool ones that dads wear.

At least mine did. He used to give us long lectures about crossing a scarf over your vital organs to keep them warm to prevent hypothermia. That’s what happens when you have an army ranger dad, you can always find north, you know about good and bad bugs, in case you are ever stuck in the wild without a snack, and you can prevent hypothermia.

I think all of this might have been the seed that grew into my knitting obsession…"must stay warm”. I am thinking I might now have a good name for the pattern for Dad’s vest…hmmm.

As a side note I can also start a fire anywhere, with almost anything. Even in the pouring rain. A special talent, I know. Can’t drive in reverse, but I can get you home with warm feet!

Friday, December 09, 2005

No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty…

Wait! That’s me!!

In case I forgot to mention it, I tutor math in the evenings. Last night was my last one for three weeks!! Could I be happier? Only if I got to spend all that time knitting. Poor kids have exams next week, so I’ve been swamped.

Plus, husband’s business is taking off, so the books have needed tending. That’s my job.

Busy, busy, busy.

So I am taking some time off and spending this afternoon knitting away on Dad’s vest. It could be done by Sunday, but I will not jinx it by setting a deadline. Knitting does not like deadlines.

And for the random kid story of the day…I asked girl #2 what she wanted from Santa…

“Hmmmm…all kinds if things, a dollhouse that’s just mine. And a car. A real one to drive, and a purse with money. Wait, not a dollhouse, a real house with a dog and a cat, but no sister.”

She asked that her real house be close by so I could still come and kiss boo-boos. I asked her where she would go in a car, and she said to the bank for lollypops.

The idea of my 2.5 year old driving to the bank makes me laugh and cringe all at the same time. It also makes me much more careful with the car keys, she’s that kind of kid.

So on that note, what do YOU want for Christmas? What would the ultimate gift for a knitter be?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Stocking Pics

This is girl #2 posing with her (almost) new stocking. Sorry for the blur, she's 2.5, and has a hard time being still. At the library this morning the walked straight into a fish tank. Close call.

For a more representational pose, here is Girl #2. She almost never has a hard time being still. She's our thinker.

And notice the window. They are on our back porch, where it is freakishly warm. It was 80 degrees today. 80!! It is snowing and in the 30's in Willy right now.

It is odd here, but I could get used to going to the beach in December.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I have the kick ups

I don’t know if it is the thumb sucking, or the fact that at 2.5 Girl #2 can fake burp already, but she almost constantly has the hiccups.

And I suppose it is sweet, since she thinks I can fix anything, but it means she spends a lot of time in my lap waiting for the “kick-ups”, as she says, to go away.

So it is only mindless knitting around here. We have about half the stocking done. I am not currently crazy about the design, but once her name is stitched in, and the snowman is applied, it should improve.

Any excuse to not pick up the cable vest, right? I do like working on it, but you know how it is, you pick up a project you haven’t touched in a while and it takes 30 minutes to figure out where you are. By then some small child has gotten a head stuck, or found a spider, or let the cat outside.

As a side note the poor cat had to be rescued three times from the backyard yesterday. He’s huge, 25 pounds, no fat, and he is terrified of the sky. And yet he craves the outdoors. Life is about contradictions isn’t it?

Can you tell I taught math? Here's the mock up. I tried working in her name, but had to frog it. Duplicate stitch is the name of the game. I am working it in the round in this great Galloway yarn I got from Knitting Sisters in Willy. Red and white, to be lined in ginham. The snowman will be crochet separately and sewn on for a 3-D look.
If it's sunny I'll take photos tomorrow.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Whew, we made it.

The girls and I are HOME.

We took a train from Richmond to Florida. We left yesterday at 5 PM and arrived down here at 1:30 AM.

I love Amtrak, it is great for travel with kids, but if you actually need to ARRIVE anywhere on time, forget it.

The trip was grand, but I am a bit down in the dumps to be back. As an army brat I always considered myself pretty adjustable, but this move to Florida has really thrown me. I think somewhere in the back of my head I keep thinking of it as temporary, so why bother.

Rowan Felted from Knitting Sisters in Williamsburg

So what to do when in a funk? Knit, of course!

I finished the Grape Ape socks. Just need to weave in the ends, block lightly, and mail off on Monday.

I didn’t touch Dad’s vest once while we were gone, so I need to start zipping away on that. I am also planning on starting a stocking for Girl #2, who is borrowing one from the husband. We’ll see. I have visions of all this fancy Nordic design, lined in red and white gingham. How many days until Christmas?

I had hoped to make it back up to Willy around Christmas also. My brother and his new fiancĂ© will be there. Alas, my in-laws are coming here, and we still don’t know for how long…ten days? Two weeks? We’ll find out when they leave.

Unfortunately the season also brings all sorts of knitting distractions. Cookies to make (like 7 or 8 dozen…eeek!). I have been trying to convince the husband for years that since he is a writer he should do the holiday cards. After all I, the ex-math teacher, do the checkbook. No dice there.

And don’t even get me started on Santa stuff. How am I going to hide all that??

Off to drink tea and plan a stocking.