6

All Sorts of Random

Oops I did it again,
I played with some yarn,
got lost in the game,
oh baby baby.

So far summer has been cr-a-a-zy with a capital cray cray. Karate, playdates, birthday parties, park ventures, bike riding, berry picking, canning, home maintenance and all sorts of other nonsense.  Rare is the day we aren’t rushing off to something.  And swimming hasn’t even started yet (that will be every day!).  While busy is nice in its own way, I find myself wishing for a quiet afternoon with an iced mocha and my knitting.  No need to answer a question every two seconds, deal with the inevitable: “I’m bored!”, force feed the kid, mediate wrestling matches between boy and dog, or worry about keeping everyone on track for work and bedtimes. A real lazy summer afternoon. Or morning.  I’d take a morning in a heartbeat. How come only kids get summer vacation?

Despite all that, I’m making some slow progress on Stash Dash. The hat pictured left and center is Ombre by ChemKnits. I had fun knitting this one, and working through all my “manly” colored worsted weight scraps. This one clocked in at 135 yds for Stash Dash. The red hat in the final picture is the Ribbed Watchman’s Hat by Channah Koppel. I knit one of these for R. Darling and it is his absolute favorite go-to hat.  He probably needs another one in black, come to think of it. This hat came in at 140.6 yds.  Both hats were knit for Recovery Cafe via a request from the Pacific Northwest Ravelers Group on Ravelry, so I get to mail them off in a couple months to a happy new home.

Current Stash Dash total: 275.6 yds (approximately 252 meters).

Pretty miserable, I’ll admit. I do have a couple big(gish) things nearing completion that will hopefully put me back on track to reach my 5K goal.  But since I’m an unofficial entry anyway, I’m not sweating it too hard.  Just focusing on knitting from stash and finishing some UFO’s will be a reward in itself.

And now for the previously advertised “All Sorts of Random” portion of today’s blogcast…..

I am currently reading “In The Heart of the Sea” by Nathaniel Philbrick, and in searching for images to put in the sidebar for my “Current Reads” widget, I noticed that it is coming out as a movie this year. With Chris Hemsworth no less. This book was published in 2000 and how is it that not only did I choose to read it this month (it’s been in my book stash for a long time), but someone else apparently chose to make it into a movie for release right around the same time?  Curious.  I am never timely with these things. But for once I’ll be in the know. I’m about halfway through the book at the moment and I honestly do not know how they will make any sort of movie out of this. It’s astonishingly depressing so far.  But maybe they’re counting on Chris Hemsworth in period whaling attire to uplift everyone’s spirits.  I’ll have to examine the trailers thoroughly and report back to you.

Guess what? I am in the process of opening an Etsy shop. But that’s all I’m going to say at the moment :) Don’t go looking for it in the middle of the night when you have come to the end of the intrawebs and exhausted youtube’s supply of cute kitty videos or something. You won’t find it. But trust me. When it’s up, you’ll be the first to know.

And now some WordPress questions worthy of a noob. What’s the deal with people following you who don’t seem to have anything in common with you in the slightest? I mean, it’s kind of flattering to see my number of followers slowly increasing, but I’m kind of curious why they’d bother to follow me. I’m not entertaining. I’m not rich, or cool, or famous, or interesting. Do they just hope I’ll follow them too? Really, if you know the answer, I’d love to hear it. And lastly, when I respond to your comment on my blog, do you get to see it?  Back in the “old” days of my blog I responded to each comment via e-mail, assuming people would not care to come back to the blog to see if I responded to them. But now that WordPress allows you to follow comments, I want to make sure that if I do respond here you get to see it. Please let me know! I want to make sure you know if I’m responding :)

Now back to our regularly scheduled summer programming…..

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6

Blogjam

Merriam-Webster defines  logjam as “a jumble of logs jammed together in a watercourse” and, alternatively, as a “deadlock, impasse”, “blockage”, “jam” or “crowd”.  Maybe I’ve just got logging on the brain since I started reading “Last Night in Twisted River” by John Irving, but logjam seems like an appropriate word to assess the current tide of life out here in the great north woods. The torrent of ideas, events, projects, and thoughts I’ve been wanting to share has been building behind the world’s biggest bottleneck (time) for quite a while now, jostling and bumping around in the flow of my mind and threatening to flood its banks if relief doesn’t come soon.

Like a typical right-brainer, I figure I’d better start at the beginning….

The quality and quantity of time available to me for daily activities has been in a strange state of flux since late September when preschool started.  That’s right.  Preschool.  Knittymunchkin is in PRESCHOOL.  WTF?!  How the hell did that happen?  I was anticipating a month or more of trying to guiltily edge myself out of the class while Knittymunchkin cried bloody murder and clung to my legs.  But it didn’t happen that way.  In fact, it was a little bit anticlimactic.  A hug, a kiss, and an absentminded “I love you” is about all I get.  But it’s good.  It really is.  I go to the nearby coffee shop for about an hour and a half and knit while he’s in school (on the days I’m not a parent helper) and I am actually getting an a$$load of knitting done.  Everyone is happy and I feel like I actually get a moment to breathe once in a while, probably for the first time since he was born.  We miss each other, but he is learning so much and I’m incredibly happy we found this preschool for him.  Hopefully we will both make some new friends that we’ll have for years to come.

First day of preschool!

Strangely, I have what feels like tons more time to knit, yet I have much less time to blog, photograph, or even be online in general.  Case in point: this post has taken me nearly 3 days to write.  Knittymunchkin is going through an incredibly dependent stage (despite doing so well with me leaving him at preschool) and any time I am out of his sight there’s a little mini freakout, after which he is attached to my legs like a limpet for the next half hour.  It’s nice to be needed so much and I try to remind myself he won’t want me around forever so I should enjoy it.  But some days it would be nice to have a little more breathing room.

I did get a little mini-vacation a couple weeks ago when I stayed with my Mom for about 4 days after her surgery.  I got her medication when she needed it, did her dishes and made small meals, and just generally kept her company.  She watched TV and dozed and I did a ton of knitting.  So many things to show you once I get them photographed!  I made myself finish two things for every one I started and it’s such a great feeling to get those ancient WIPs off of my cluttered knitting to-do list.

For my birthday in September I did allow myself one new project.  I made sure it was a small one so I wouldn’t get myself tied to another WIP/UFO that would sit there forever.  And with a pattern name like Ball Sack, I just couldn’t resist.  Yes, I’m a dork.  I’m not afraid to fly my freak flag (sometimes).

Loved this pattern!  It took about 10g of sock yarn (I made it slightly taller than the pattern called for) and is incredibly useful.  Here it’s snuggling my ball of Cephalopod Yarns‘ Skinny Bugga! in “Grey Scalloped Bar Butterfly” that I used to knit Leftie.  Which I still need to photograph.  Someday.

So now that a couple things have been cleared out of the blogjam I think I feel a little better; a little more clear-minded.  Time to get back to the limpet :)

4

I’m Gonna Knock You Out!

Mama said knock you out! 
 
This is my moth eradication anthem (maybe you remember 90’s L.L.?).  Unnnnh!  Take that you dirty mothy mofos!  We’ve been busy waging the moth wars in our bedroom.  Step one was to take every single item out of our closet, throw it on the bed or any other surface that was available (including the bath tub), and not allow it back into the closet until it had been washed, dry cleaned, frozen, thrown out, or sent to Goodwill.  I would have shared a photo, but it’s kind of creepy how much crap our closet vomited out onto our bed and frankly, I was afraid that if I did someone might call the people from Hoarders and turn me in.  I think I did at least 6 loads of laundry today and I have at least 8 more before it’s all done, not to mention the stuff that’s going to have to go to the dry cleaners and the freezer.  I called the pest people a couple days ago and they told me this was the first step we’d have to take before we called in the big guns.  Trouble is, we didn’t really find the source of the “infestation” as the bug guy kept calling it.  I know that’s just professional jargon, but I don’t like the idea that we might have an “infestation”.  Gross.  I noticed something especially alarming today as I was putting things into the clear plastic bins I got from The Container StoreThere were dead moths already in two of the containers that had been sandwiched together during shipping.  This makes me suspicious that our infestation may have come from the stupid stuff I just bought to get my life organized.  The time frame is pretty right on.  What the crap?  I guess that’s one way to get people to clean up their act.  Send ’em some pests so they have to get their shit together and actually clean once in a while.
 
In knitting chit chat, I am currently re-obsessed with Stefanie Japel’s “Fitted Knits”.  I remember buying this book and loving pretty much everything in it.  And then, in true Knittymuggins pre-process style, I never completed a single project from it.  I got a little dejected after my Textured Tunic fiasco and just moved on, though I still have yarn for at least three of the sweaters in my stash.  I think the next thing I’m going to cast on after Little Momo is finished (I’m 99% there) will be the Two-Tone Ribbed Shrug.  I need a little shoulder warmage with summer dresses and tanks.  I am also monomaniacally into the Crisp Rectangle Tunic Top, even though there is no way my squatty body can pull off a top like this.
 

Hey Monkey!


 
Knittymunchkin continues to charm me every single day.  Friday morning we were playing in his room letting R.Darling sleep in, and we were laying on the floor next to each other just giggling and giggling and I thought, “This is it.  This is what motherhood is all about!”  His newest most awesome trick is to jam his finger as far up his nose as possible, sometimes with excessive snorting, and wait for a reaction.  Of course I try to be stern and tell him to stop, but then he only snorts harder and starts to giggle.  I am powerless against him!  I do believe he has inherited the ham gene from his Mama ;)

6

Danger! Danger!

Alarm bells go off in my head on row 18 and that Electric Six song “Danger! High Voltage” cranks up in the background.  I am trying to make my yarn bend to my will, but it’s not working.  No matter how I try, Blueberry Wine just does not want to become Emily Shmemily.

No! Don't make me into Emily Shmemily!

It’s funny how that works.  You would expect that any yarn in the given gauge would work for any particular pattern.  Why wouldn’t it?  But sometimes it’s just a disaster in incubation, waiting to burst free and stomp with big ol’ combat boots on your hopes and dreams.  The color isn’t right, the pattern doesn’t work, the needles size is just all wrong.  I can sense it, I really can.  I cast on with all the best intentions.  I knit a few rounds, and suddenly I find myself stretching out my half inch of knitting progress with a critical eye and second guessing all my decisions.  Do I keep knitting and push that creeping suspicion down, or do I frog before I have too much invested and search again for that perfect marriage of pattern, color and fiber?  Me, I keep searching for that harmony.  All good fiber deserves the perfect match.

I gave myself permission to start a flood of new projects now that my Cherry Fizz, Jaywalkers & BSJ are all finished.  But I feel jinxed.  Emily Shmemily was a bust and so was the scarf I started with some Frog Tree Alpaca sport I have in my stash.  That one, I’m still trying to decide if I like or not, so it’s waiting to be worked on or alternatively frogged.  Then I started Little Momo for Knittymunchkin and had to restart it about 6 times due to gauge issues, and a few small errors I seem to have found in the pattern.  With Momo, I managed to have found the perfect yarn, but technical issues (rather than design ones) were the things holding me up.  So I feel kinda all over with my knits right now.  I’m longing for that sense of calm and purpose I find when I am in the natural rhythm of a project and I can just pick it up and work here and there, knowing that the mixture of yarn and pattern are comfortably settled.  When I know right where I stand with my knit and we understand each other.  It’s at that moment that I feel the peace knitting brings me, the peace I crave so much.  But I think I finally found it with my newest pattern choice for Blueberry Wine: Multnomah.

Life has been super crazy here.  Knittymunchkin is walking (WALKING!!) and I am busier than ever.  But I did manage to meet my friend Troy on February 12th for a book signing at our LYS.  We got to meet the super sweet, fabulously talented Rebecca Danger and have her sign our books.  I love her patterns and she just published The Big Book Of Knitted Monsters in January.  Of course, I had to buy a copy.  What’s even super cooler is, she’s local!   I don’t know why, but knowing someone that talented lives in my community makes me kinda happy :)  I can’t wait to make a bunch of these for Knittymunchkin when he’s big enough not to chew their arms off!

The lovely & talented Ms. Danger

R. Darling is being a true sweetheart and skipping his run this weekend to give me a chance to take a wee bit of a break.  So, I believe I am now off to have a cup of tea and a little bit of work on Multnomah!  Hope your weekend is fantasterrific !

5

Teeth

Uh Oh.  I think Knittymunchkin just started teething.  Boy, are we in for it.  My little happy camper is absolutely miserable.  Won’t sleep during the day, wakes up every couple hours at night, chews on everything, and will not quit crying unless I am constantly rocking him or walking him around the house.  Poor baby.  We’re headed to the pediatrician this afternoon just to rule out anything else, though we were just there on Monday for his 4 month check up and everything looked fine.  Yeah, I’m doing the new mom freak out.
 
Speaking of teeth…..
 

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner


 
All you Twilight fans probably already know that “The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner” was released a few days ago.  I really don’t remember this chick from Eclipse, but I do enjoy Stephanie Meyer’s writing, so I’m going to give it a read.  And did you know that you can read it online for free until July 7, 2010?  Just go here and enjoy!  I’m normally a book purist in the sense that I would rather read a good 0ld-fashioned book than listen to an audio book or read it online, but lately I am all about the free stuff so I’m going to give it a go.  If you do decide to buy the hardcover, the added benefit is that one dollar of every book sold goes to the Red Cross.  Pretty cool!
 
Now, off to feed the baby and pack up and see if we can find a way to make him feel better!
 
Update: Knittymunchkin is apparently not teething. He just has……gas? The doctor isn’t sure, but I’m totally embarrassed.

7

Perspective

babykimono101207

Remember this?

 

Sunday, in our workout room, while timing R. Darling’s upper body sets, I happened to glance over at our bookshelf and something caught my eye. Yes, we have books in our workout room. Yes, I know that’s weird (both the workout room and the fact that there are books in it). But truthfully it’s one of the only rooms in the house that has space for a couple bookshelves. If it were solely up to me, there would be books on every surface and bookshelves on every available wall. But it’s not and that’s probably a good thing since I’ve got enough dust as it is to start my own turnip farm under the couch (who eats turnips anyway?). I don’t need a pumpkin patch too.

But this book. Vogue Knitting: American Collection. I bought it on clearance at Barnes & Noble a few years ago when I first started knitting. Liked a few of the patterns but shelved it and didn’t look back. Staring at its bright blue spine daily for the last couple weeks I felt compelled to look inside it once again, wondering what drew me to it in the first place. Was there something fantastic in it that I should be knitting right this moment? Idly I flipped through the pages. Much to my amazement, the very sweater that I have been eyeing hungrily on Ravelry swam up from the pages at me. Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Best Baby Sweater, a.k.a. The February Baby Sweater. How could I have missed this the first time around? Had it really been there, waiting, this whole time?  Some lingering Fairy Godmother action must have woken me up from my apathetic slumber because I suddenly snapped awake to the thought that the Judy’s Grandmother’s Baby Sweater (from Greetings From Knit Cafe) had gone sour on my needles.  Oh, so that’s why I left it in an unfinished wrinkled pile, only about 5 months late…….  The bitter taste of regret still lingers on my lips when I think about the wasted effort.

But this new baby sweater!  A glorious discovery!  Baby Kimono will get frogged and refashioned into something much more lovely.

 

And all it took was a new perspective.

8

Electricity Is Cool

Or:
You Don’t Know What You Got, ‘Til it’s gone…..

Two days without power and it’s hard not to wax poetic about the subject:

O heat-
how you deliver,
my gooseflesh from shiver,

O light-
how you vanquish,
the demons of night…….

A storm of fantastic proportions whipped through our county Sunday and Monday with sustained winds of over 50 mph and gusts upwards of 80 mph (you can read more about it here). We rarely lose power at our house for more than a couple hours at a time, but we’ve been without since around 8:30 AM yesterday. Luckily, our only household casualty was a couple of fence panels which will be a royal pain in the ass to fix, but overall isn’t really so bad considering our neighbors have lost big panels from each of their roofs.

So yesterday was spent curled up on the couch reading with the poopies to keep me company. Not so bad until the sun winks out at 4PM. Then you realize just how cold and dark a November night can be and those creepy stories you read all day conspire to create monsters out of the flickering shadows.

But I have our recent power outage to thank for some highly under appreciated experiences I had yesterday…….

  • Showering by candlelight. Nothing takes the edge off of your jiggly bits like good old fashioned candlelight. Definitely try this one at home kids.
  • No TV, computer or electrical whatnot. Just good old-fashioned brainpower to entertain you. I read 2.5 books in the space of probably 18 hours. Nothing beats a brain binge!
  • Guilt free relaxation. I am pretty much never without anxiety over something I did or did not do. But without appliances, you can’t exactly feel guilty for not doing housework. Or exercising.
  • Curling up with your pets. Our Jack Russell, Nelson, rarely sits still long enough for you to trick him into cuddling. But yesterday he was as content as could be to lay by my side and steal some of my warmth. Kinda makes up for the trouble he causes the rest of the 99.9% of the time.
  • Cooking a grilled cheese sandwich while wearing a head lamp. Accident waiting to happen? Maybe. Fun? Definitely!
  • Not looking in the mirror for an entire day. No criticism, no makeup, no judgment. Everyone needs a day like this.
  • Going to bed early with your husband curled up under a down comforter. ‘Nuff said ;)

As I’m blogging this from work, I’m wondering if I’ll have power when I get home. Maybe, maybe not. But I do know one thing. I’ve missed all of you and hope that you’ve all been well. Though I’m MIA now, I’ll catch up with all of you soon I hope. Until then, give the showering by candlelight a try. You may never go back.