What’s Left?

My children have stolen my Monday…I am mostly okay with this.  My to-do list is looking a little sad though.

I woke up today with my daughter asking me if she could watch TV (she always asks this…every. single. morning. …even though we only let her do this on weekends) and my son asking me to make chocolate Malt-o-Meal. That was (obviously) way too much to expect of me pre-coffee on a Monday morning…I was a little grumpy…I may have snapped at the husband a little too (also Malt-o-Meal related, but for different reasons, sorry about that, husband).  Anyway, the kiddos have the first two days of this week off of school, which I actually really love, but they woke up sooooo early.  As soon as the sun was up, so was my girl.  Mostly though, I enjoy their days off because it means snuggling, reading, playing, watching, and most importantly also, it means I don’t have to drive them to school.  This means that we can all stay in our pajamas and not have to hurry.  It’s nice.  It’s relaxing kind of.

This week though, they both have big projects due.  ‘People of the Plains’ and ‘a trip around the world’ kind of big.  My son’s class is studying Native Americans and they must build a landscape of the regional peoples they are studying equipped with accurate lodging and environment.  There is a whole list of materials that may not be used…you know, anything that might make it easier.  My daughter’s project is to choose a country other than the one she lives in and make a poster showing places to visit, food, clothes, and a map.  It’s a “family project.”  We’re doing the Netherlands or Nederland (in Dutch).  Some people call it Holland, but that’s really just one of the provinces.  My husband is half Dutch, so it seems fitting to study a little heritage.  Both projects have incurred some pretty extensive messes and thoughts of me knitting things of a project related nature. (The knitting ideas were dismissed after looking again at the messes.)

In the midst of this we’ve been watching Kid Snippets and Kid History on YouTube.  It has absolutely nothing to do with Native Americans or the Netherlands…it’s just really funny.  These are videos of a family of brothers who act out things using their kids’ voices…check it out (if you haven’t seen it already) it’s funny and addictive…and family friendly.

Let’s take a look at what’s left on my to-do list, shall we?

Monday’s To-Do List (in no particular order):

  1. Finish fringe on Green Scarf.  Wash and block.
  2. Sew buttons on Baby Surprise Jacket.
  3. Make Native Americans and a buffalo head out of clay and/or paper.
  4. Google traditional clothes of the Netherlands.  Print something.
  5. Make breakfast.
  6. Do dishes.
  7. Do loads…and loads…and loads….and loads of laundry.
  8. Start knitting boot socks for myself for the upcoming Fall…never too early to start.
  9. Start knitting slippers for my other niece, Jules.  Due in part to the mental image of Jules trying on Adi’s kitty slippers (I think I learned this from a phone conversation with my mom) and wishing she had some of her own.
  10. Organize my sewing area.  It is spilling out into the main living room area.  It’s also impeding the ability to use the balcony.
  11. Work more on Flower/Fairy Quilt.  Quilted a little this weekend during terrible, newest James Bond movie…prefer old James Bond movies…hand quilting takes forever.
  12. Find brilliant project to knit out of “little blue.”
  13. Have kids work on other homework and reading logs.
  14. Clean bathrooms.
  15. Hang little bookshelves from Ikea.
  16. Stop buying more books.
  17. Fold laundry.
  18. Make lunch.
  19. Write blog.
  20. Sew long, skinny pillow case so that my daughter can have body pillow out of two existing short, skinny pillows.
  21. Drink a million cups of coffee.
  22. Play outside.
  23. Take donation boxes to car.
  24. Clean car.
  25. Return library books.
  26. Make to-do list.
  27. Remember to show blog purple scarf.

I have a few things left to accomplish today, but I can knock off that last one now.  Remember Strathcona, the scarf I was knitting for my sister’s birthday?  Well, I haven’t shown you the finished pictures yet, so here ya go:

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Shown here in the park before Spring fully kicked in.

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And shown here being modeled by Tilly.  This was right before school, and I almost made them late…just to get a picture of the scarf in it’s preferred habitat: the neck of a human.

Well, it’s been fun for today, but I must get back to my list.  I think I forgot to add:

28: Color white faux fleece with fabric markers until it resembles buffalo fur.

My life is now complete.

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I Confess

Dearest Erika, my friend from afar (by “afar” I mean Texas),

I have a confession.  Remember last year when you still lived here and I was teaching you how to knit?  You made those cute little fingerless gloves for your darling little boy.  You used real wool and everything…it was all very triumphant.  Then do you remember how I lured you in introduced you to the wonderful world of LYS’s (local yarn shops)?  We went to the Recycled Lamb, and I know you were there with me when we bought that gorgeous Henry’s Attic alpaca stuff, but were you there when I bought that little blue skein of sock weight yarn?  Were you there when my face lit up at finding the most beautiful, tonally-variegated, bright blue wool I’ve ever laid eyes on?  …seriously, I can’t remember…the beauty of the yarn must’ve erased my memory.

I was so excited to knit the little blue yarn that I started a scarf for your darling boy…a little keyhole scarf…he’s very stylish.  It only took a few hours to knit.  It was heartbreakingly blue. I was so excited to give it to you that I even forgot to take pictures for my Ravelry projects page.  Anyway, I think he liked it. Do you remember some time after that asking if you could buy the rest of the little blue yarn from me?  I agreed to the deal.  You needed the rest of the yarn to make him matching fingerless gloves.  The idea was so lovely when I pictured it in my head that I couldn’t refuse you my beloved “little blue.” So I found the remaining yarn in my stash, petted it, sighed, then brought it to one of our meet ups at the park.  You paid me for the remainder…because it was costly and my yarn budget is sparse.  The yarn and I parted ways…  Then you and I parted ways as you headed for Texas.

Since then, over the phone, we have reminisced about the bygone days of yarn and yarn shopping, and I have missed both you and “little blue.”

Imagine my surprise then, that while I was searching through my overflowing three and a half rubbermaid totes   reasonably sized yarn stash I came across this:

Yarn: Pagewood Farms, St. Elias Colorway: Blue 80% Bluefaced Leicester Wool 20% Nylon
Yarn: Pagewood Farms, St. Elias
Colorway: Blue
80% Bluefaced Leicester Wool
20% Nylon

It’s more of “little blue” and while I would like to think that the little guy missed me so much that he trekked across a few states and finally made his way home…to me…weep…I think what probably happened was that I didn’t see this bit when I was searching.  So I owe you.  And while I could pretend that I’m going to send you this little bit of yarn that I have found, I think we both know that I will not.

How about I buy you lunch, ooh, or more yarn, the next time you come into town?  Can you ever forgive me?  I have brought shame upon myself and my family.  Yarn shame.

Love and misses,

Kim

(unashamed giggle…I wonder what this yarn should be…)

Nothing to Complain About

A few weeks ago a friend and I were discussing where we shop for groceries.  (Brace yourselves. This is about to get ridiculous…excessive first world problems kind of ridiculous.)

I try to do a week’s worth of grocery shopping all on one day.  I cannot convey to you how much I don’t like grocery shopping.  My face gets all scowlish just thinking about it.  I spend too much money, I buy too much food…then I do it again the next week…and again…and again…and again.  Well, I should clarify about the ‘spending too much’ part…I have a set budget (that I’ve made for myself).  And I always have this plan:  Costco for bulk items and eggs and milk.  Sprout Market, Whole Foods, or Natural Grocers for fruits and veg.  King Soopers for anything else.  I have a budget, but my goal is to spend under budget.  This never happens.  But I always berate myself a little for not being able to stay under budget.  I suspect that’s messed up.  But, nevertheless, it makes me feel like I failed.  So I’ve driven all over the place (super green, I know), spent all the grocery money, and then I get home and try to figure out why I buy so many items from Costco when we have nowhere to put the groceries.  Then I feel surly and complainey.

Then I look at all the food and remember:   I. Am. Grateful.  It’s pretty amazing to be able to pay for and acquire this much food.  So… I will stop loathing “grocery day” and remember that spending a few hours out of one day so that my family has food for a whole week (and more than that with the canned stuff) is unimaginable to some; it is lavish and impossible.  Perhaps, I will try harder to stay under budget so that my family’s excess can go to places and people who have less but are not less.  Maybe ‘grocery day’ can be my new favorite.    I’ll save my griping for washing dishes instead…

Something else to be grateful for:  Knitting.  It’s a hobby and it keeps me from losing my sanity it’s got practical applications, but it is not something that I need to do…it is something I like to do.  I’m really thankful that I get to do things I enjoy…like knitting this:

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The pretty yarn blob.  I love it’s blobbiness.

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Seen here in its morphing state of half blob/ half sweater.  Do you know what happens next?  It’s got two little seams at the top of the shoulders that I need to sew up, and then…

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Buttons.  I need to choose buttons.  Perhaps this blog should’ve been called “Please Help Me Choose Buttons…All the Time, Forever and Ever.”

Is it just me or does it seem a little strange to start talking about food and gratefulness and end up at ‘buttons’?  Maybe I’m having an odd day.  Happy Thursday!  Hope it’s an odd one!

Oh wait, I was gonna show you the Green Scarf…not done yet, of course:

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It’s blobby too, but in more of a “lacy” way.  That yarn ball hiding amongst the stitches is all I have left to knit.  I have a small ball that I’m saving for fringe, but that’s all that’s left.  Hip Hip.

Okay, now “Happy Thursday!”  Go. Be free.

Fresh Air

I need some.  I’ve been attempting a massive reorganization and cleaning overhaul over the last week or two. Attempting being the operative word there.  The reason? Well, our apartment is small…I think I might’ve mentioned that before.  It’s also dark.  Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but it gets very little natural light in the living, dining, and kitchen areas, and those are the areas where we “live” the most, so it feels dark.  Also, there’s just too much stuff and clutter, so that (for me) adds to the darkness. It needs the constant attention of making sure clothes, jackets, shoes, kids stuff, craft stuff, paperwork, and books don’t take over…someone’s been neglecting this work…probably the maid…oh wait, that’s me.  Thus the organizing and cleaning…and getting rid of stuff.  Today was “Sort Through school papers, excess paperwork, junk mail, etc. Day.”  Very freeing…I can feel a little of the darkness lightening.  The other thing that brightens darkness:

captured_by_snapseed_459_1This little sweater I’m knitting.  It’s got enough rainbow brightness to lift my spirit for sure.  I’m also really enjoying how it can go from looking like a rectangular yarn blob (above)…captured_by_snapseed_460_1to (with the help of a little knitting-origami action) a little sweater in the works.  Amazing.

My weekend was a bright spot as well.  Spending time with my little family for Easter, a phone chat with my Dad, knitting, and chicken and waffles.  Shiny.

Hope you all had “bright” weekends too. :)  Happy Monday!

 

For the Love of Books

I love reading, and so does my husband. Because of this, we own a lot of books.  We own, and have read aloud to our children, picture books and chapter books, poetry and fairy tales, the Bible, Aesop’s Fables, and Greek Myths.  Ben and I have even read books aloud to each other over the years…Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth Series, Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia.

Sometimes though, I forget how much I like reading.  I forget that we have so many books.  Sometimes I get caught up in the entrancement of electronics.  I overly enjoy television, computer games, smart phones, video games, apps, and movies.  And while I really really enjoy relaxing and watching something on Netflix with my family, it doesn’t do a whole lot for the feeding of the soul.  It doesn’t lend itself to the sparking of creativity or wonderment found in nature.

Why am I being so gushy about books and reading?  Well, last night my son, Dodge and I went to a Youth Writer’s Conference, and it was great.  He got to workshop with other kids about writing, I got to attend a parents’ workshop on how good writers come from being good readers, and we both got to sit in on a talk by Colorado children’s author, Kathleen Pelley.  She was inspiring (and it didn’t hurt that she’s originally from Scotland, so listening to her speak was fun. The word “library” sounds pretty different with a Scottish accent).  She talked about how writing comes from each person’s roots: family, home, creativity, nature…all that good stuff.  She’s even a knitter.  

What does all of this talk of reading and loving books have to do with knitting? Well, in a slightly disconnected and roundabout way, it solidified an idea I had the other day…besides the motivation to read more, of course.  My family has packed a lot of books into our little apartment and sometimes they get neglected.  Book neglect is against my rules (I just made up that one).  I was searching for new patterns published on Ravelry the other day, and I clicked on my “library” and discovered that I own at least 34 knitting (and crochet) books and 71 magazines.  I know I have even more than that because I haven’t updated my Ravelry Library lately.  There are some really great patterns that people publish online (many of them free).  But why am I always looking for patterns on the internet and not through the resources that are occupying precious space in my home?

Well, not anymore.  I’m challenging myself to knit at least every other project I undertake from a pattern or resources I can physically find in my home.  I want my books to be used.  I’m allowing myself the use of help from the internet if I get stuck, but the pattern has to come from one of my many books or magazines.

Knitting the Baby Surprise Jacket came from this idea.  I’ve been wanting to knit the little jacket for years now but didn’t own the pattern until last year when I bought a copy of The Opinionated Knitter.  The book had been sitting on my shelf (after I read through it) for at least six months, and I hadn’t made anything from it…but I am now.

captured_by_snapseed_416_1Challenge begun.  It’s a fun knit so far (even after the cast on mishaps).  I’m also getting way too much happiness from seeing how the colors will blend together and what kind of stripes the yarn will make.  It’s a pretty bright combination, but it’s one of the things I’m knitting for my friend, Larissa, whose baby girl is due around June, and she loves bright.  Hopefully, she’ll love this (Larissa, if you’re reading this: Surprise! this Baby Surprise Jacket is for you).

Anyway, I hope you all have a glorious Good Friday…it’s sunny and warm here today, and the Happiest of Easters on Sunday.

(I typed this with a Scottish accent…could you tell?)

 

Two Birds

Whew…I have been knitting a lot!  I should have a good portion of the Baby Surprise Jacket underway…yep, I should.  I started it on Tuesday afternoon and have been working on it in my free time.

It seems, though, as if something went awry in my head on Tuesday afternoon, and I lost my ability to count to 160. That’s the amount of stitches that must be cast on in order to make this little jacket.  Did I do that?…nope.  I cast on who knows how many stitches in my first attempt, knit until I reached row 11, then realized I didn’t have the right amount.  It’s important to have the correct amount of stitches on the 11th row; it’s an increasing row (more stitches are added) and if you don’t have the correct amount of stitches to start with then it doesn’t work out.

I googled.  Found a chart.

So, I started again.  Ripped everything right out and started over.  I knit all the way to Row 11 again only to realize I was 12 stitches short.  12 stitches!  That’s a lot of stitches.  That’s the equivalent of 2 inches (about 5cm).  That would mean that I was attempting to make a baby jacket with 2 whole inches missing.  I googled anything I could find about the pattern again.  You know, just to make sure that the late, great Elizabeth Zimmermann and the thousands and thousands of other people who have knit this since the pattern was published in the Fall of ’68 hadn’t messed up.

*Cough…nope, it was all me.  So I found a new chart, one that tells what the stitch count is at the end of each row.  Then I drank a cup of cocoa, scowled at my knitting, and went to bed.

I spent the night dreaming in the same colors as the tropical fish-colored yarn and tossing and turning from the tiny amount of caffeine and/or sugar from the hot chocolate.  Today I remained sleepy yet determined.  I ripped out my project once more, started over, and thankfully, seem to be succeeding.  I am on row 12 now.  After 3 attempts.  Only 102 more rows to go.

I have watched E.Z's Knitting Workshop DVD's and am mesmerized by her.  If you've never been to the East coast (which I haven't) then the best way I can describe her is to say that she reminds me a little of Mrs. Doubtfire (from the movie of the same name).
I have watched E.Z’s Knitting Workshop DVD’s and am mesmerized by her. If you’ve never been to the East coast (which I haven’t) then the best way I can describe her is to say that she reminds me a little of Mrs. Doubtfire (from the movie of the same name).

This morning I  left the wee bundle of obnoxious jacket took the green scarf to a doctor’s appointment so it wouldn’t start whining about being unfinished and mumbling about baby surprise jackets. And just to appease it a little more:captured_by_snapseed_415_1It’s helping me keep track of decrease stitches.  Does that count as working on the green scarf?  Same yarn.

 

 

Weekends, Green Scarves, and The Sister List

Over the weekend my son had a sleepover with one of his friends.  This little friend of his (sweet boy) talks nonstop and every other word that comes out of his mouth is at a decibel level that makes my brain die in short bursts.  When he speaks, the only response I can come up with is to blink slowly with my mouth hanging open.  He was bummed when he had to go home and asked if he could stay “forever.”  I told him this wasn’t possible as then all of my sanity would leak out of my ears.  He gave me a knowing look and laughed.

Hope you all had nice weekends.  It snowed all day here on Sunday, so I got in some good cozy knitting time.  Yesterday, I spent my “blogging” time perusing Ravelry for new projects.  I couldn’t help myself; I forget that when I knit big, green things (like my spring scarf…it’s big enough to be considered a wrap…I’ll still wear it like a scarf though), I get the urge to move on pretty quickly.  That’s because the first sweater (this pattern here in size XL) I ever knitted was for my 6’3″ husband.  (correction: he’s 6′ 4″…he informed me of this…accuracy is important).  I used green Wool-Ease.  It was endlessly green knitting for (what felt like) months.  I was a ‘one project at a time’ kinda gal, and it almost broke me.  I call it The Green Monster.  It’s been 9 years since I made it, so I thought I was safe from it’s clutches, but it lives on in closely-related-green knits.

I’ll keep slogging away on the green scarf (it really is a nice scarf), but I’m considering breaking up the monotony with this:

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Left: Schaffhauser Wolle Mon Amour *discontinued, but oh so super soft (colorway 25 pink) Right: Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball (colorway 1564 Tropical Fish)

I might put them together for a Baby Surprise Jacket.

In other news, today is my sister’s birthday. :)  Happy Birthday, Kristen!  

In her honor, I will give you a list of things about my sister.

  1. Most of my family and I call her ‘Noodle’.  This originated from calling her ‘Krispy Noodle.’  Neither of these nicknames make a lot of sense.  It seems a family tradition though…my Grandma Peggy’s sisters were called Pansy, Punkin’, Crackers, and Snookie.   Carry forth the tradition, Dear Sister.
  2. She has the prettiest eyes in the universe.  They are a crystal clear light blue/gray.  They are the exact kind of eyes I would choose for the elves in Lord of the Rings…if I got to choose such things. They were also really big and beautiful when she was a little girl.  Her two daughters have inherited this feature…I’ve always been a little jealous of that.
  3. She is the oldest, I am the middle, our brother is the youngest.  She and I are only 18 months apart, and we were the same size for a lot of our childhood.  Sometimes people thought we were twins…it didn’t help that we had the same initials either.
  4. She’s brilliant at her job.  I’m not completely sure what she does, but I know it’s done in an office.  I know she’s brilliant at it because she works hard…always has…and her coworkers and her bosses almost always love her.   She also loves office supplies…I think that helps.
  5. She’s allergic to stuff.  Pets, the outdoors, cumin…  Yeah, cumin.  It’s a spice used commonly in both Mexican food and Indian food.  It also means that when the ingredient list on the back of labels ends with “spices,” she can’t eat it…just to be safe.  It is a deep tragedy that she should not be able to taste certain foods…but it led to some pretty creative cooking on my Mom’s part when we were kids.  Have you ever tasted Indian food, Noodle?
  6. Her birthday lands on Tax Day.  This is the deadline day in the continental U.S. for filing taxes with the IRS.  Somehow, this seems to fit with my sister.  She had a thing for playing Monopoly™ when we were kids…and following rules.  She was always the banker.  She loved the game so much she would play by herself if nobody else wanted to.
  7. She loves the color purple…the color, not the film…maybe she loves that too, don’t know.

Speaking of purple, I have finished, for my sister, the Strathcona scarf.  It is 85 inches from tip to tip.  I finished knitting it on Sunday, and it spent yesterday taking a bath and drying.  captured_by_snapseed_406_1I’ll show you the whole finished scarf after she gets it in the mail…that way it’s at least a little bit of a surprise.  Happy Birthday, Sister!

P.S. Did any of you see the Lunar Eclipse last night?  I stayed up to see it, but it had the same effect on behavior as a full moon and made some of my neighbors act like crazy people. I didn’t want to venture out alone.  This morning there was an inexplicable amount of clear broken glass on the sidewalk.  Now I’m curious.