Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Anyway...That is Knit Picks Woodland Winter Mittens "October". They are a gift for a friend who has promised large quantities of chocolate in exchange--how could I say no?
Regardless of future chocolate offers, I will be taking a pass on all Woodland Winter Mittens requests for a while, though. They are all very pretty, of course, and interesting to knit, as well. I've just been making these for a loooooong time. I want to do a thing or two in (mostly) solid colors for a while. I also inherited a large box of yarn from a friend of my mother's, and most of it is slated to become charity items--hats, blankets, and yes, more mittens. I have a stack of animal print charts that I have been itching to try (thank you Debbie Bliss!) and what could be more fun than tiger mittens?
You don't have to answer that.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
This is sooo much better than the Facebook pic I posted, so if you're a friend of FB, please feel free to disregard that wrinkled nastiness. Blech.
Behold, the smooth and....leafy.
OK...truth be told I was on a phone meeting when I snapped that other picture and if I had walked away from the phone, the other people on the call might have gotten the impression that I wasn't paying attention, and, well...we don't want them getting that impression, even though it may be accurate.
This is Woodland Winter Mitten, "October"(right hand), knit up in Palette. Pattern and yarn from our friends at Knit Picks....DOT COM!*
*Yeah, I always say "DOT COM!" like it's an Expedia commercial. Double points if you picked up on that obscure pop reference. Carry on.
Monday, October 17, 2011
And I am sick of mittens. Truly. And perhaps because I am so dreadfully sick of them, a friend has asked for the going rate on a pair. She is a lovely person, so, whatareyougonnado, right?
I told her to pay me in chocolate.
The next pair--her pair--will be the Woodland Winter Mittens "October" pattern, which is my personal favorite and the one I've been wanting to make this entire time, while everybody asked me for everything but October. All I wanted to do was get done with all the others so I could make a pair of October! And now I'm making October, but they're not for me.
So October will be coming some time in November.
Hey, I just finished January, don't rush me.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Finished these. Forgot to post them.
It might have been sort of on purpose that I forgot, because I was mad at the left hand mitten most of the way through it--my fault. My tension was a bit too much and you can see the pulls there, on the larger color patches near the thumb.
Oh, stranded color work, you picky, picky thing, you...
Teenage recipient didn't notice, so we are going to pretend it didn't happen.
And now for the very good news: This pattern is back! Knit Picks sold the Woodland Winter Mittens kits for a while, then stopped, to the disappointment of many. Well, I just got my Knit Picks catalog in the mail today and I'm happy to report that the Woodland Winter Mittens kits are on Page TWO. Plus they have added a new "Bright" color option, and they look great as well.
So go nuts! Try these--they are a huge hit with everyone, trust me. I have people lined up, asking me to make them a pair. I'll be busy for a while....
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
You know how this happens, right? When I look at blog stats and see someone had been archive diving, and I have to review the materials to make sure I'm not about to get sued/fired/etc., I occasionally find some writing that I genuinely enjoyed.
This was inspired by a historical book about Mexican immigrants living in the Midwest, and it showed a very civilized slice of life for which I instantly became nostalgic. I was not alive in the 40's or 50's, but suddenly I wished I had been, when things were supposedly simpler for a girl--as much as it sucked that we were expected to know our place back then, it sure seemed a lot nicer than having to go it alone today, and definitely seemed easier than having to go it alone, despite the fact that you have people in your life. I guess the most important lesson is to make sure that the people in your life are the right people. Not only should they be near you, but, they should also be with you, and you with them. If you need them, they are there, and if they need you, you are there. Those people are the real deal, and the only ones worth keeping. So here it is....
I know that you are used to deep, insight-filled posts about important things like, How can there possibly be toilet paper all over the bathroom floor in the office? What person with a job is that lazy that they can't hit either a garbage can or the toilet? (and it's not used toilet paper, just...random strips of TP all over the floor. What the hell is that all about?)
But today, we're going to talk about something entirely different.
I was looking at a book of historical photos about families coming to the Midwest and was struck by a particular photo of three sisters walking together, on their way to an afternoon of shopping or a movie or whatever. The picture was from the 1940's or 50's, and these were grown, married women, all dressed in nice skirts and shoes, nylons, hair done, etc. Then there was a picture, taken 50-odd years later, same three sisters, now in their 70's or 80's, in which they are all wearing T-Shirts and casual pants, comfortable shoes.
Got me to thinking...
When I was a younger person, right after high school (and, obviously this was in the 80's and not the 40's), I stuck to jeans, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and any variety of "There's not really a girl under here" wear that I could find. I wore baseball caps. A lot. If I wasn't at work, and, sometimes when I was at work, I threw my hair under a cap. Working nights in radio was a beautiful thing--oh, I was supposed to get there before 5PM, but I rarely did, because that would mean that I would have to dress in "office casual", and I was having no part of that. I even had a weekend shift "uniform" that consisted of jeans, T-shirt under a hoodie, and favored cap d'jour. I delighted in the opportunity to wear that stuff into the office while the sun was still shining. Shortly after I met my husband, who worked in the same office as me, he admitted to me that he hadn't been sure if I was a woman, just based on the clothes.
Yes, I was hiding out. Duh.
When I was younger, lot of...being female...also meant, to me, anyway, being a victim. Sometimes it meant that in a literal sense, as some things were wrought upon me that would have never happened if I was male, but largely, it was just the time, and the family dynamic--four brothers pretty much had a lock on the place, not that my mother let them do whatever they wanted, but I don't recall them ever doing the dishes...that was for my sister and me. To my mind, the boys got away with more, without falling out of the good graces of my mom. I remember my brother coming home from a friend's house one Christmas Eve, completely stoned out of his mind, and my mother laughing and saying that there probably weren't any munchies in any of his gifts. That same woman literally kicked me in the butt one time when I was 24 years old and was smoking a cigarette in her presence. Hmmm....so...if I smoke this stuff, it's better than if I smoke this other stuff? Huh...who knew? And my brother (same brother) also drank himself a lot of booze (still does) and got maybe an eye roll or two from mom for that, but I get picked up on a minor with a bunch of friends on graduation night? I got the silence thing for about a month. I realize that my mother was probably very concerned about the fact that (insert Elayne Boosler joke) I had a vagina with me and could potentially get into all kinds of trouble--of course, that didn't mean she would ever speak to me about that sort of thing. No, no...my dirty whore-ness was only strongly implied--never spoken aloud. Awesome.
Not that growing up was any uglier for me than it was for a lot of other people, but, something about all of those implications made me uncomfortable with girlness, like it was a bad thing, hence the tom-boy-ness. All of that not-so-girly stuff oozed into my radio career, as well, because I tended to take the same stance on things as the men and was just as aggressive when driving toward the punch line. Most of the men in the business would tell me "I hate female announcers--except for you. You don't sound like any girl I've ever heard." Good. That's what I wanted to hear. There was a reason why none of them liked women announcers: Women announcers sucked. A lot of them still do.
Anyway...as I said...it got me to thinking. There were the three sisters, in their dresses and hats and shiny shoes--what I would consider a uniform of vulnerability--doing some girly thing, like, getting their hair done. Yes, it was a different time, but I didn't get the impression that these women were as un-nerved about being female as I was. They seemed very strong, and, quite confident, walking along. They had each other, and, probably a husband or family member who would step in and makes things very, very clear, were there any questions about their honor.
I, on the other hand, grew up with a group of people that would more likely side with the questioner, believing me capable of just about anything. My response to that was...to become capable of just about anything.
Oh, I HAD honor, very much so, but I was also juuuuust off-kilter enough so that it wouldn't take much to convince anyone that I was up to no good.
If I only had a dollar for all of the strange, strange, untrue things that have been said about me...Funny, how, in my quest to not be a victim, I actually became one, many times over, because my own unconventional behavior laid the groundwork for a lot of character assassinations. Co-workers, step-children, etc, all had very receptive audiences when the topic was me and their made-up stories of my "bad" behavior. Might as well have tattooed the words "Easy Target" right across my forehead.
Which brings us to today. One of the reasons why I ended up leaving my husband was simply that he didn't have my back. To be fair, it's not something I ever asked of him for the first five years of us being together--I mean, send a man in to defend me? Not a chance in hell I would ever do that--I would put up my own dukes and take all the punches myself before I would ever ask anyone to fight my battles for me. Then, something changed. At some point, I noticed that, well, he didn't stand up for me, and at some point, it started to bother me. Other girls have guys who stand up for them and defend their honor. I have honor. Why can't I get some honor defending over here? Sure, it's possible that I had him fairly well trained not to, but what I was seeing was that he didn't even want to. The end came when I asked him to, and he wouldn't. I mean...he actually refused, even though helping me meant zero physical or economic danger to him.
Really? Refusing to defend a GIRL? A girl who is asking her man for help? Isn't NOT defending me, especially when I ask you to, the same things as agreeing with all the bad things being said?
That was when things fell completely and hopeless to pieces. I left.
For all intents and purposes, that was also when I grew up to become a girl.
Most women, the three sisters included, as they get older, they push a lot of girlish things to the side. They dress in comfortable shoes instead of high-heeled shiny ones. Or maybe they don't wear earrings anymore, or they don't pretty themselves up or wear a skirt to go shopping. I've gone a bit of the opposite direction. I look at my pre-break-up wardrobe and wonder what the hell I was even thinking. Huge, huge, huge clothes, chosen for my ability to disappear in them. 57 million sweatshirts (my gawd, I loved sweatshirts). An entire dresser-full of t-shirts, which are now an entire dresser of not terribly attractive pajama shirts. Yes, I might occasionally still leave the house in a baseball cap and hoodie--did it just this morning, as a matter of fact, to drive my kid to school--but it's pretty rare for me to want to hide anymore. My shoes are less comfortable and more shiny, and not only do my clothes fit, but most of them imply "female" without even hinting at the "easy" thing my mom was so afraid of.
Kind of a miracle.
It took me this long to be OK with my ability to walk around looking, well, like a girl, with my hair and make-up done most of the time, and curve hugging clothes on, and not think of it as inviting trouble. It is truly incredible what a parent, or anyone else, can do to your head if you let them, but much more incredible are the ways the universe shows you how much bullshit all that negativity is. All of those unexpected lessons about things to which you were barely conscious, but they ended up meaning so much. I'm truly thankful, every day.
Monday, August 15, 2011
That air conditioning was running for a long time. It's one thing going to an air-conditioned office five days a week for your 40 hours, and quite another not being able to breathe normally without it, in your own room.
I was as happy to throw open the windows as the boys were to return to the windowsills.
But they are much cuter.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Since it's Summer and arms are being bared, and since I've spent the last several weeks making my arms bare-able, why not?
Hey, at least I have better arms than that mannequin...
The pattern is "Layout Tank" from Berroco.com, and the yarn is Knit Picks Shine Puma cotton blend in various ka-pow colors.
Monday, June 27, 2011
When the time comes where I do have to ask for something from a person, I make sure that it's a small something and I make sure that I do all the leg work and that the person I'm asking just needs to do one small part of it that I can't personally do--for example, if I'm applying for a job and need someone other than me to put in a good word about me. As much as I would love to be able to do that myself, I really can't. And I do try to make it worth their while. Shooting for a win-win, always.
You should know that at this very moment I am thinking of ways to disguise my voice and be my own reference...I would do that for me, because I freaking LOVE me. I'm my guy. I'll do whatever I ask, no problem. This I say after my boss was supposedly going to put in a good word for me, once, and ended up convincing a hiring manager that I wasn't qualified for the job I was applying for.
Although, come to think of it, I don't think I have nearly enough insincerity in my voice to pass for my boss, but if it came right down to it, for me, I'd do it.
The girls and I are taking a short trip out of town for a family reunion. We have two cats, and I didn't want to leave them entirely to fend for themselves for the duration of the trip, so I thought I would see if someone would check in on them, as in, maybe someone could come over, check their food and water levels, refill as needed, love up the kittehs, make sure the house hasn't blown over and/or been robbed, and then leave again. No big deal. I figured all of 15 minutes each visit, two visits, tops. Lest anyone should think, "yeah, but pet sitting is still a hassle," please know that I was also planning to pay for this 30 minutes of work, and pay what would amount to a pretty hefty hourly wage to the person who stepped up.
And...NOBODY stepped up.
I mean, people with other plans, I get that, and I wouldn't fault anyone who was on the way to the lake cabin or whatever, but...not taking what amounts to free money because you'd rather sit on your couch? Seriously?
I had one person who led me to believe that she would do it but when I texted her yesterday to ask when I could get her the keys, she gave me one of those, "Yeah, I meant to tell you..." lines and proceeded to tell me how it would be "too difficult" for her, even though she is an able bodied grown up with two functioning automobiles who has no other plans during that time, who's workplace is within 5 blocks of my house.
And to think I had asked her specifically because I know she's hurting for cash right now and I thought that would be an easy and dignified way for me to help HER.
I guess we know why she's hurting for cash right now, huh?
So that's my Monday Grumble...my "Why?" of the day. Why would you not say "yes" to a simple thing in which all the legwork has been done, and everybody benefits? Is it so hard? When I say that I guess we know why she's hurting for cash right now, it's because I believe that there is a direct connection between your willingness and your results. Are you willing to get up and do something? If so, great! Here's your reward. It really is just that simple, and it applies to literally everything in life.
I expect that somewhere in the middle of my trip, when it's too late for her to do anything about it, my financially challenged friend will text me to ask if I found someone to watch the boys while we're gone. I've been rehearsing my responses, which currently vary from Straight Up Guilt Trip all the way to the Big "Screw You". Some of the responses are wordy and some are just "whatever...". I guess when you are disappointed, you want the people who caused the disappointment to feel bad, too. That's normal.
Rest assured, no matter what I tell her, I'll leave out the part about how my other friends, who live way far away from me and don't need the money, agreed to stop by in exchange for me picking up a bar tab, which, remarkably, is a lot cheaper than what I was going to pay her. That's what you call a win-win-win-win. My cats get a babysitter, I get to leave without worry, I get to guilt the hell out of someone and we all end up at Happy Hour. Wooo!
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
I do love digging and plunking stuff in the little holes and then seeing what beautiful things happen.
I planted Orientals because the smell is intoxicating, but this Asiatic won the First Bloom prize this season.
I live in an old brownstone with neglected gardens that, until this year, I neglected, too. The quiet joy one gets in hanging with plants and making them do things, sometimes against their will, is very satisfying. I can't believe I put it off so long. Happy Summer, y'all.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
It's like back to beginning knitting school around here.
But I would like to take this opportunity to say, "Thank you, knitting. Thank you." Thank you for pulling my mind away from those things in my life that cause me pain and hurt that I cannot change, and allowing me to focus on creating a thing that is useful, and hopefully beautiful, from that energy. I could not have made it through this past year without you.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
I just had other plans for this yarn.
It is probably the softest, most luxurious yarn I have ever owned--100% Suri alpaca, shaved, cleaned and spun by hand by a lovely person right here in Minnesota--so I started off with visions of laci-ness, grabbed a pattern and got busy.
It was going so well until I realized that I was accidentally adding stitches up one side and the scarf was twice as wide at one end than it was at the other.
Fourth attempt in, and a dozen other projects completed, I decide to let the yarn speak for itself.
Yes, it's garter stitch.
Worse yet, it's a garter stitch scarf.
Don't get me wrong--it is an incredibly soft and luxurious garter stitch scarf. It's so soft and nice, in fact, that even a seasoned knitter couldn't possibly be put off by the beginner-ness of this garter stitch scarf.
Sure, "garter stitch scarf" is what you make before you know how to read a pattern, or purl for that matter, but....this is different.
Am I sure this the appropriate thing to do with 25 bucks worth of lovingly hand-crafted yarn?
No, I am not.
Luckily, it is going to be given away, so as long as the person is good at feigning excitement at the time she receives it, I will be able to use the usual mind tricks to convince myself that it is getting near constant use in her possession.
Truth is, I have to give it away. Let's face it, if it stayed here, I would just keep ripping it apart and starting over again until there was nothing left but bits of alpaca fuzz.
Friday, May 13, 2011
It is going to be a headband.
Oh, by the way, did I mention I'm growing my hair out? It should only be truly ugly for the duration of the summer, so I'm developing a series of hats and other head coverings to make it disappear during the awkward stage.
He was an absolute mad man from the very start, which worked out well when we changed his name to Napoleon.
Yeah, yeah...I should't generalize with the "jerk" commentary...he's not really like that all the time. Sometimes, like after he has spent literally five minutes compulsively scratching at the side of the litter box because he just can't seem to get that poo covered to his liking, I feel a little bad for him.
Then, when he steps out of the box and announces with a fearsome wail that he has, in fact, finished both pooping and scratching, you sort of want the celebrate right along with him--maybe like you would if you were to potty train a toddler.
On more than a dozen occasions, he has brazenly approached the yarn bowl, looking for a toy. He'll pick up a ball in his mouth and with a devilish glance at me, try to walk away. There are only 756,398,915 special playthings in the toybox, you know...a guy gets bored.
Because he is much more young and agile than his brother, none of their wrestling matches are fair. This fact does not, however, prevent him from starting them. That's the jerk part. The rest of the time, though, he's as sweet as any other adolescent boy you would ever meet.
In time, he'll be less distracted and want to hang out more (right now, he'll voluntarily sit with a with a person for just a little while before it's back to play time) but I doubt he'll ever lose his taste for yarn. I might worry if he did.
Monday, May 9, 2011
10% Camel! Come on! Of course I bought it.
Anyway...Shepherd's Harvest was fun. Lots of alpaca yarn, but sadly none of the beasts showed up in person for a photo op, so you get a picture of yarn instead.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Those lazy freeloaders!
They sit around, taking up space, and generally being jerks about it because they are not big enough to do any heavy lifting on a real project.
I decided to recruit them to be "extras", and am powering through a few pairs of slippers to clean out the inventory.
In all honesty, I don't actually know how to make slippers, though I can recite a sock recipe even before I've had my coffee, so what I'm calling "slippers" is actually a sock formula, only knit with acrylic worsted weight on an almost-too-small needle to make a stiffer, and crazy durable fabric.
The picture above is a toe-up Sockipper, 2nd of a pair, made in what has been my favorite color combo for the last few years, dark brown and torquoise.
I swear, this is the last dark brown and torquoise yarn in the house.
Of course, this sets me up to buy more dark brown and torquoise yarn...but I'm thinking of switching to orange as my new weird obsession. Who's with me?
Saturday, April 30, 2011
The other executive decision was made by my daughter, who insisted upon threading a cord through the yarnover row below the bodice so that she could adjust the width and tie it with a bow. So smart!
Monday, April 25, 2011
Shut up--it makes me feel better.
Take last night for example: Last night, I sat in front of my television (project in hand, so it wasn't entirely wasted time) and watched, swear-to-gawd, a Pop-Up Videos style replay of the televised broadcast of Charles and Diana's wedding from 1981.
Uh-huh. Sat and watched the whole damn thing.
Hey, The Sound of Music wasn't on in the evening like it was supposed to be, OK? Stupid ABC Family made Sound of Music the opener for Titanic! Gag....that's just so wrong. Titanic had the prime time slot on Easter, and The Sound of Music, which was SUPPOSED TO come on six-ish (because it is the right and holy thing to do) started at around 3 in the afternoon. I missed all but the very end.
Please don't talk to me about DVR's and Tivo--I'm not talking about convenience, here--talking about right and wrong!
There I was, alone, pouting, Julia Andrews-less, when what should I happen to see but this show which was essentially running Charles and Diana's wedding video, the same one we all got up at 4AM to watch back in 1981, with no announcer voice, just little thought bubbles, like, "Diana's dress took 80 bazillion yards of silk to construct" or, "Doesn't Andrew look bored out of his mind?" or whatever.
And I watched it.
I watched it and kept watching it.
About 40 minutes into it, I did a Twitter check, just to make sure that, A) I wasn't the only person watching it, and B) That the people watching it who were on Twitter talking about watching it didn't appear to be total loons and/or otherwise ghastly.
They all checked out OK.
I then backed up and did a baseline check of people who are on Twitter who had watched The Sound of Music (miraculously, as they clearly have the television schedule tattooed on their cerebral cortex and knew when it was going to be on, unlike me...).
Those people all seemed relatively normal as well.
I think I'm OK.
I mean, I'm as OK as I'm going to be, as someone who watched the Charles and Diana wedding video and squinted to see pop-up factoids about the bridesmaids. There's really only so much "OK" that they can attribute to you after something like that.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
I knit one of these slippers about a year ago.
OK, actually it was two years ago. Shut up.
Then about a year ago, I knit the first half of the second.
What was extra lame was that I was able to finish the second half of the second slipper in one afternoon last week, which serves as a reminder that there really was no excuse not to just finish the damn project in the first place, two years ago.
What's most cool about these slippers is that I just steam-cleaned the harwood floor in the hall, so it's slipper. Sometimes I get to see the teen who wears the slippers sliding past my office door on the slippery floor.
Sometimes she does it on purpose.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I'm making this mass quantity of yarn into a throw blanket for the car/beach/tent. Just a little something for the summer, unlike most of our knitting projects. I didn't go with the GIGANTO needles this time, just a small (compared to Speed Stix size 50, anyway) size 35 needle and straight garter stitch--I'll let you know if I like it in one week.
Also, in case you thought I may have given up on the lace, not to worry--the main body of the top is complete, and I am knitting the straps for it. I should be done shortly and will post pictures of my child wearing the top, with her back turned to the camera to avoid any boob lust. Don't worry, it's the same shirt on both sides...
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Anyway, back to the outside. Smoking gave me something to do, outside.
Cheers to leaving "just surviving" behind, if only for a little while, and getting back to thriving. Viva Spring!
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
But wait! There's more!
OK, not much more...just some.
Consider, if you will, just how much of this work was actually done on a broken circ! Yeah...so much for knitting being a stress reliever--I take it out on the needles. I snapped a cord this morning and it's being held together by some carefully woven Scotch tape and my utter terror of screwing this thing up. I will be switching to a shorter needle soon. Until then, stubbornness keeps me from buying a new one in this length.
I promise no more pictures of the same dumb lace panel from here on out--next pic, hopefully, she'll be wearing it.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
You didn't know there was such a thing as knitted buffoonery, did you?
Here's me, measuring my daughter's chest size so I can decide what size to make this top:
Me: How big are Punky's boobs?
Punky's Sister: They're freaking HUGE!
Me: I know, right? Oh-mah-gawd...
And so, I cast on approximately 800 million stitches and got started on The Shirt Of Huge Boobness.
A couple of inches into it, I start thinking "what exactly constitutes 'freaking HUGE', anyway? I mean I know her bra size, but when the nearest pattern size is actually 3 inches larger than that, even allowing for the probability that she'll wear a bra and a tank top under this...it might not be the boobs that are huge, but the shirt.
Luckily, there are plenty of places in this pattern to make huge-ness disappear. Like everything else in life, we're winging it.
OK....so....when I post the completed picture with my kid wearing the top, can you do me a favor and act like we've never had this conversation about her boobs? Thanks--you're a peach.