Tuesday, March 28, 2006


As I have mentioned I will be teaching again next year. I am not sure exactly what yet, but it will be some combo of high school math and computer science.

So I have set up a few challenges for myself.

First, I need a working wardrobe. I have a few of my staples, but really there is not much there after a year and a half out of the classroom. So I am trying to knit through my stash to a new wardrobe. I figure with a few good white blouses and some basic pants, I can add knitted vests and cardigans to round things out until I can really afford to go shop.

Second, I'd like to try to sell some of my patterns. So I am trying to figure out a cover letter, and have been ordering lots of balls of yarn to play with. I am really hoping to get this started.

Which brings me to frogging. I have all this snappy pumpkin colored wool, that I originally bought to make a vest.

Then I discovered Top down knitting, so I figured "A plain v-neck pumpkin sweater! I need that". Maybe someone else would need that.

I got about two inches past the armpits...BORING!! When I tried it on it fit great, looked fine, but I kept thinking "why bother!"

So now I am back to the vest idea, with maybe a rounded scoop neck. Some type of texture, like a chevron, or fancy seed stitch.

And shaping. Anything to give the illusion of a waist.

Obviously all of this is distracting me from blogging. The girls keep finding me sitting and muttering in my knitting chair covered on a pile of yarn. I actually have nothing on the needles right now, and no obvious next project.

It's fun just to play for a bit.

Friday, March 24, 2006

And I thought I had dust bunnies

OK, I know Phil Spector is on trail, and that isn't funny, but have you seen his hair?

I know, I giggle every time.

OK, back to knitting. I have made no progress on anything. Big-Sis is on Sprig Break from preschool this week, so there has been very little down time around here.

I AM working on a cover letter. I have a few ideas for patterns I am going to try to peddle to some of the knitting spots. Has anyone done this? I am intimidated by the thought, but I'd really like to see if I can do it.

Since I'll be teaching again next year, now is the time to try it.

And in more non-knitting news it is sounding like I'll get to go back to the school I taught in last year right before we left to move down here. I am really hoping this works out. It is a great school, and I loved the faculty. Plus, the county is opening a new elementary school on the same complex, so I can walk Big-Sis to school every morning. And they have a great preschool program for Little-Sis at the high school.

Either way I am going to have to start thinking. I no longer really have a work wardrobe, so I am trying to think of things to knit and sew to help the budget. If I get this school the colors are green and blue, and that looks so much better on me than orange.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Shhh, I'm cheating on my knitting

Ok, blogger is NOT cooperating. I have pictures of the shorts.

And of all the Kool Aid yarn, which is almost a sweater.

So I'll try again in a couple of hours.

And for the record, I am in love with knitting top down. SO much easier!!


OK! Finally it is working. Here are just a few of the girls new shorts. JoAnns was having a great sale on calico the other day, so we stocked up. The favorite pair are the flamingos on the right.

And at last, here's the Kool Aid project. I over-dyed 10 skeins of Knit Picks Palette in tan using blues, greens and purples. I started at the top with the green shades, then shaded to the purple as I went down. I am almost done with the body. Ifigure the arms will take a few days, then it'll be done!

Top down knitting is great, this has gone so fast. I had figured I'd be finishing this in time for Christmas next year.

Now the only problem is WHAT am I going to do with an all wool sweater in Daytona. It's 85 degrees today!

Friday, March 17, 2006

I should have photos of all the yarn we dyed. Or all the knitting. Frankly though I have been so busy sewing for the girls that I haven't been able to look for the camera. I am making them summer shorts, since it suddenly has hit 80 degrees here.

On Monday after dinner we went to the store, and bought 41 packs of blue Kool Aid. I got a lot of strange looks, and was really tempted to tell everyone that yes, indeed, this was all I was feeding my children for dinner.

So I spent the evening overdying all 10 balls of tan Palette yarn from Knit Picks that I bought last fall. I did shades of blue, blue-green, and blue-purple. Since then I have been frantically knitting away on a top down sweater on size 3 needles.

I know, I said no more small needles, but I already had the Palette yarn, and it was too loose on anything bigger.

So tomorrow is supposed to be sunny again, so I'll snap some photos.

Oh, and a reminder of how weird this place is, the girls and I were driving through the parking lot of JoAnn's today, and I had to swerve to avoid hitting an old man in one of those "senior mobility" scooters...not too unusual around here.

Except for his green mohawk.

And he was totally nude.

I am really not sure what he could possibly need at JoAnn's...unless he was going to knit a jock strap.

And on that visual...Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 13, 2006

It’s a deal and Personal Knitting Histories

As I have mentioned, I work on a treat system.

The problem right now is I gave up sweets for Lent, and that doesn’t leave me much in the way of treats. My house is a wreck. I mean there are sections of floor in the kitchen that are dangerous…fly paper dangerous. I keep worrying I am going to find the little-sis stuck in there.

But frankly, I need an incentive to mop.

Then I saw this over at Mayflower’s blog.

Isn’t it pretty?

I know, I know, why am I not a Food Lion buying more Kool Aid?

Because first I mop, then I dye. I am so excited about this that I am even willing to risk Bike week traffic to get some. All that Cream Palette from KP I bought back in the fall…I haven’t used it yet because the color isn’t just right.

But a blue and purple open work sweater…I need that!

Here are the folks that have added their knitting histories, really great stuff

Punk Rawk Purl posted a great story…can you believe it is almost her one year knit-iversary? I love the idea of a personal yarn – museum, saving special bits of yarn. She even still has her first project…a great scarf.

Also Stacie at Mommy Mosh Pit has her story up also. I love that she learned from a rock start dude. I can’t help but wondering if there is a corollary “Girlfriend Sweater” curse. Also, is anyone else sensing the Cascade trend here?

To add your personal fiber-history, just e-mail me and I’ll add a link!

Sunday, March 12, 2006


I have decided to revive the weekend discussion question. After Friday’s post I have found myself curious about how most of us learned to knit. I know folks that learned from an aunt, or grandmother. I know others that took a class as an adult. Then there are the amazing people that learned from books and the internet.

So, this is an almost meme, I’m not tagging anyone in particular. Share your stories of learning to knit. How did you learn? Do you still have your first project? Have you ever taught anyone else to knit?

Just e-mail me when you have posted and I’ll add a link.

Friday, March 10, 2006

See, knitting really can fix anything

One of my favorite theories is that a hand knitted item can fix most bad situations.

For instance, pre school registration was this week.

Now, little-sis will not be going to this pre-school next year because we are moving. But, big-sis got it into her head that her little sister was going to “real” school for the day. By the time I was up they had been out of bed for at least an hour. They had donned matching outfits and big sister had packed lunches for both of them. And done their hair.

I didn’t have the heart to say no, so after un-fixing the hair we went off to be oriented.

It was a sham folks, a total sham.

Basically there are a set of parents that are also “child professionals”. We were never allowed to know what kind. They had volunteered to “evaluate” all the incoming kids for next year to try to get good class mixes. So I dropped the little one off on the playground and then realized the kids were being followed around by these clipboard people. They kept checking things off.

Since we are leaving I don’t have to worry about being “that” mom, so I asked “Why are there people with clipboards following our kids around?” I got a “we’ll explain in a minute”. They never really did. Instead we got a lecture about it being a sugar free school. All of the moms with kids already there had a good laugh over that one.

Anyway, when the kids were returned to us she saw me and burst into tears. Her ponytails had totally wilted. The clipboards had tried to make her put down her “ni-night”. That’s the blanket I made while pregnant with her that goes EVERYWHERE with us.

This is the part where I get really irritated. As we were leaving the clipboard lady stopped me to let me know that I didn’t need to worry about her carrying around a blankie. She was “able” to put it down and participate with the other children once I was gone. “So it is OK”.

Of course it is OK. She’s two! She is potty trained, can count to 57 and uses the words “concentrate” and “annoying” on a regular basis. She also draws tattoos on her legs, takes on bullies three times her size, and gets stuck in trees. She’s wacky, always has been.

So? She has a blanket.

All afternoon she was pretty meek, and would not let ni-night out of her sight.

Big-sis to the rescue. She said we should make a small ni-night, so little-sis could have one in her pocket when big ni-night couldn’t go. Sounded like a grand plan, and I was going to dig through the stash to see if I still had any of that yarn. (Webs Valley Cotton, my favorite).

So yesterday I got up, and there was big-sis, furrowed brow, bent over her knitting. She wanted to finish it so little sis had a new little ni-night to take with her to school. Little sis was watching everything, and obviously feeling much better.

I didn’t have the heart to explain that ni-night was crochet out of cotton, not knitted out of pink wool. It doesn’t matter. She got two whole stitches by herself after 30 minutes of trying. That’s a first. I think those two stitches are more full of good intentions than anything I have ever knitted.

And that brings me to another knitting theory. I believe that what you are thinking and feeling while knitting goes into it just as much as the yarn does.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

You can hear a pin drop

So, is it a little extra quiet around your neighborhood?

Perhaps it is because all the motorcycles are down here for Bike Week.

Oh yes, we have motorcycles. The BIG Bike Week events are this weekend, so the girls and I are going grocery shopping tomorrow so I don’t have to leave the house all weekend. I am not kidding, it is that crowded.

The husband is out of town and has the digital camera, or I’d show you a picture. Insted here's a headline from our local paper:
Stunt rider hurt at cole slaw wrestling event

And a photo from Biketoberfest last October. This is one block of miles like this right now. INSANE.

I had planned on bringing you all exciting local drama. The local no-full nudity ordinance just got overturned, so all the strip clubs are very excited. We have LOTS of strip clubs…try explaining all those neon signs to a 5 year old just learning to read-OY!

So there has been all sorts of fun press about the folks here for Bike Week running around naked. But, so far nothing too interesting.

Except…there’s this woman. She walks up and down the main road near our house, KNITTING!

Always the same yellow bulky yarn. She sings while she walks. And the project she is doing is a big rectangle, it never gets any bigger, although I can SEE her knit. This worth Nancy Drew attention.

Fascinating, no?

Apart form the signing and knitting thing she appears to be a normal business person waiting for the bus.

Although really, normal people here are not dressed for business, unless casual Fridays now include leather corsets. And lots of tattoos. And normal people here don’t walk. They ride motorcycles. So really she does stand out. But she cheers me up.

(And please don't think I am anti-bike. It is all pretty amusing. Except for the moron down the road that keeps drag racing with his buddies down our street at 70 MPH. We are a pretty quiet residential area, and I am nervous to take the girls for a walk!

Otherwise, just extra folks in line at the store. Most of them very nice.)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Did you watch the show?

No, not the Oscars. No one shows up on the red carpet in a nice cardigan, so what’s to the point?

No, I mean Stitchcraft on oxygen on Sunday?

Well? It was about as I expected. Cool to see knitting on TV, but a bit underwhelming as far as usable info. It was fun to see professional knit designs. I am left with the feeling that the whole show was about talking me into knitting something ugly.

Unless you REALLY plan on knitting sleeves and the buttoning them to a t-shirt? What? Your knitting them right now? My bad.

Also, I am struggling with the purpose of Knit.1. I know it is not targeted at me, but at the “younger set”. Still, I was a high school teacher for ten years. I was even running a knitting club at my last school.

In my experience teenaged girls WILL knit scarves. I never heard them asking why no one could show them how to make a skirt out of jeans by knitting.

Does anyone watch the knitting show on DIY? How does it compare?

(Oh, and here's James Coviello's website...fascinating)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

It’s done!!

(warning, lot’s of pictures)

I finished it up on Friday evening, and so far this weekend this cardigan has:
  • Bathed two children
  • Gone canoeing
  • Weeded a garden
  • Planted seeds
  • Done 10 loads of laundry
  • Folded 5 loads of laundry (lets’ get real, I got less important things to do)
  • Gone out to eat
  • Cooked spaghetti sauce
  • Knitted
  • Been in a clubhouse
  • Napped
  • Mediated at least four fights between the girls
  • Watched a knitting show

And now, blogged!
And let me tell you, it’s perfect!

I designed this almost two years ago to be the perfect teaching sweater. I tend to be chilly, and I wanted something that would go with lots of things but not look too “teachery”. You know, no Santas, or apples.

Through that time it spent at least 9 months in a box as we moved to Florida, and it has been the pattern most likely to be cast aside as I needed to finish things for other people.
The only thing I wish I had done was include a little shaping at the sides, but that’s minor.

So the specs:

Materials: 1 cone and a few yards of Webs “Valley Cotton” in Golden Ochre (7129). I picked it to match the stitching on jeans.

I love this yarn. It is fairly thin, I worked on #2 needles, so the final cardigan is warm, but not too heavy. The collar is worked on #4 needles to give it a bit more oomph.

Pattern: My own.

I did a cable ribbing at all the bottom edges and designed the texture in the middle. On the back I adapted a version of the tree of life. The rest I just sort of doodled until it worked. Nothing terribly original.

I am so proud though. As I did the sides I actually managed to get the design to carry around from the front to the back without looking like there is a seam.

If anyone is interested I can dig out the chart I used for the designs. The basic construction is pretty simple otherwise.

(pardon the lump on the shoulder...it's the grass, not the sweater)

Saturday, March 04, 2006


OK, so about a month ago someone linked my St. Louis Scarf on one of those free pattern web sites. Very nice, but a bit funny since I really am not too crazy about how it turned out. I was getting almost 200 hits a day because of it, and here’s the sad part.

I was blogging last night while the husband sat here and played guitar, and generally pestered me to get off the computer so he could check e-mail. I flip past the scarf post and he asks “Why did you call it the St. Lois Scarf? I thought it was for Justin?”

I misspelled St. Louis. With all the extra traffic, at least 900 people saw how bad my spelling is.

This is bringing back a flood of memories about being in Mrs. Cribs first grade class at Ft. Campbell Kentucky, and having her tease me in front of the class for misspelling “verry”. The woman hated me.

So, apologies to everyone for my spelling…I should let you se a post BEFORE I do the spell check. Ouch! I can do integral calc in my head, but math is a closed logical system. Frankly spelling makes no sense to me, never has and never will. I realized somewhere in college that learning spelling is memorizing the exceptions to the rules, and frankly my poor brain cannot do it. Can’t.

But I can knit, and I have finished a few things. The “Never Again” cardigan is done…as soon as the husband is home I’ll post some photos. Turned out pretty good, but I do not think I will ever try another cardigan on size 2’s.

Whew! Finishing it was almost as bad as a spelling bee!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Cancel your weekend!

I mean really…cancel everything.

So I was flipping channels last night, something I get to do like once a week when I spotted this:

Now this fascinates me! On one hand it is great to see a knitting special on TV.

But then there’s that sweater kit they are giving away. With all this snappy stuff we all are doing out here, easily accessible for free with a Google search, they decided to sell knitting with a FUN FUR sweater. Just what every beginner needs.

And let me tell you, my post-childbirth abdomen is not nearly fuzzy enough. I NEED to add three to six inches in fuz. So Sunday at three PM Eastern Time I plan on checking this out. I might even make popcorn. Frankly this sounds like one of those train wrecks you can’t help but stare at.


OK, So I am an idiot. Or a girl that is REALLY out of it. I know that I have been a bit distracted, with the corporate taxes and visits form my sister and the parental units. But still, I should know these things.

Turns out it is a new series? Did I get that right? Lily Chin is hosting?? I am so confused.

That does it. I need to start watching TV again. First I miss the finale of Project Runway, and now this. Sheesh!

Here's more info...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Need to Knit!


Is interfering with this:

You know what I mean?

And when you toss in these:

It might just be a lost cause.