Sunday, July 31, 2005

Crochet Cheat

Well, I'm not proud of it...but I caved and bought something I should have/could have/might have made by hand for myself. Here it is...

It's like the Cecilia de Bucourt (if you click the link, search for shawl) shawl that Jessica Simpson has made so famous--so just accept the fact that I have jumped on the celebrity worship bandwagon and get over it, okay? This one is my absolute favorite color--PINK!--and it was ridiculously cheap on clearance. So cheap I won't even cop to it. The real thang goes for $200!! Seriously, this was soooo cheap. Here it is up close so you can see the pattern better...

It is just so pretty, I had to have it. The fact that I cannot crochet to save my life and would have had a nervous breakdown trying to make it for myself added to the splurge. Not to mention the ri-god-darn-diculous price that just pushed me over the edge. Seriously...I couldn't have bought the yarn for that price! You have to love it...really, you do. This photo is pretty true to its awesome bright, Bazooka pink color. I'm gonna wear it with, like, every thing I own. (Come to think of it...I should have bought another for when I wear this one out. Or for Christmas gifts...oooh, maybe I should go back and get the other three? But then I won't be the only one of my girlfriends with the cool shawl. Nah, gonna hog it all to myself...I am a horrible, horrible friend.)

No knitting has happened since my mother was here. No writing either. And no writing will happen today either. It is gorgeous out and I am pale. Need to lay out and soak up some sun. Knitting this evening will be happening though I can promise you...

I do feel guilty for my store-bought shawl. I really do...

okay, only a little bit.

Deal with it!

[okay, okay, you dragged it out of me. $6.99 at Burlington Coat Factory--can you believe it?]

Friday, July 29, 2005

Almost finished...

The Feather and Fan scarf is just about done...just a little bit longer and I'll be happy. It is quite narrow and so I want it to be extra long so you can wrap it around your neck more than once and still have long dangly ends. It is really quite pretty. Dressy. I think if it were mine I would wear it all day, not just with my coat when I went outside in the cold. I haven't decided yet who to give it to. At first I thought maybe my MIL, but the color isn't really her color. Now I am thinking of making it a gift for the Bug's babysitter/Daytime Mommy. She is really wonderful, not just to the Bug Boy, but to our whole family. I think she would really like it alot. That and a nice gift certificate would be a great gift.

I think I will make a lot more of these though, they knit up surprisingly quickly and look like they took forever. Maybe one in a nice bright red for my MIL. She has dark hair and and olive complexion (Italian) so she definitely looks great in primary colors.

I still can't decide on what type of knitting project to make for my mother. She is coming for a visit this weekend, so I think I'll feel her out for what she would like.

My husband is doing well in Seattle. Hanging out with my brother and an old friend. They are going to a baseball game on Sunday afternoon. He'll enjoy that. The Mariners are playing the Cleveland Indians and since he is the biggest Cleveland Anything Fan (he was born there and his folks are still there) I know he will have the best time. I wish I had gone out there with him, last night the Mariners had a Knit-In Night...knitting and yarn display, spinning exhibitions and they encourage KIP. That would have been a great date night. His team, my knitting, a couple beers, stadium hotdogs...Ahhhh. It would have been terriffic.

He comes home a week from tomorrow. It is going by very slowly...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hmmm...What's in My Pretty Knitting Bag??

what's in

This is the lovely Moda Dea Dream scarf that I am knitting for my sister McKenzie for Christmas. It is just plain garter stitch because I am going to do some ribbon embroidery on the and vines and such. Yummy...

The yarn is very mohair-like...but it isn't anywhere near as soft. It is a bit scratchy, but knits up soft.

and...see the next post for even more goodies from The Bag...

Recently Finished and WIPs

This is the infamous Feather and Fan scarf...this photo captures the color perfectly, and I was IS the color of this font! I absolutely love this color. I have no idea what to call it. Seafoam?
This the Irish Hiking Scarf. I was an unofficial member of the knitalong. I really love this yarn. It was incredibly cheap (TLC Lustre). You can't tell from the photo that it does, indeed have a pearly lustre. It knit up very thick and cushy. Whoever gets this for Christmas is a lucky, lucky person.
This is the Berroco Softy scarf. It is a basic, garter stitch. It is such a lovely yarn, true to its name it is very soft and silky. It is so nubbly that there was no point in using any other stitch because you wouldn't be able to see it anyways. This photo does not do the color justice. It is called Purple Passion and isn't as blue-ish as this photo makes it look. See color swatch here. I want to get some Softy in the colorway Kiss for a scarf for myself.

The Feather and Fan
scarf up closer...

Man! I Feel Like a Woman!

Well, today I did something I have never, ever done before. Not in 30-some-odd-years. Something that totally made me feel like an independent woman of the New Millenium.

I moved my own freakin' lawn!

My husband is out of town for two weeks and the grass was really long. We looked like the white trash house on the street. He has never let me mow the lawn because he is very traditional and says that work outside is his job...although he is progressive enough to do housework and change diapers...I can't quite reconcile the two, but Whatever. Anyway, I got the mower out, got it started and went to work. About an hour and a half, and about 56 gallons of sweat later, I was done and the lawn looks soooo much better.

I am woman, hear me mow...

The downside is that I haven't gotten any writing done yet and it is mid-afternoon and time to start thinking of the 5 piles of laundry I need to do, and dinner. That means writing must happen this evening. Which means not much knitting tonight.

The Feather and Fan scarf is turning out unbelievably gorgeous. I am making it terribly, impractically long, so it is taking me awhile. Plus, I am a god-awful slow knitter. I keep thinking that I will get faster, but it doesn't seem to happen. Good thing I am a process knitter and not a project knitter, or I'd be seriously frustrated.

My mother is coming to visit this weekend with my youngest sister Taylor, who just so happens to be the same age as my oldest son. Yes, it was weird, but we were pregnant at the same time. The kids are actually only 9 days apart. Big Boy #1 is older. We are going to hang out, and go visit some family members. It should be nice, I hope she won't mind if I knit in the evenings.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Yes...we call it...The Rooster...

Today I finally got some real writing done. On the computer even, which means less typing later, yippee! Thirteen pages, three hours. I consider that a full day's work. This makes my husband laugh...but he doesn't understand how wringing it is. How is sucks the life right out of you.

Kind of like chasing an 18 month old tyrant around.

It's official. The Bug is going through a stage. We have entered the "I Must Protest Mommy's Authority By Resistance At All Costs" stage. I remember this one from the two older boys, but this child seems to be just a tad more willful than his brothers. The first time it happens in the day is funny. He will do something naughty, while looking at my reaction over his shoulder. I will get a frowning look of complete disapproval on my face and sternly say, "No!". He will smile and continue doing it. Until I go over and physically pick him up and remove him from the temptation. Then, the minute I turn my back...guess where he is? So I rearrange my face again in the Evil Mommy visage and say no, louder this time and accompany it with a disapproving finger shaken in his direction. He will smile and continue doing it. I repeat the no and the finger shake. He then does something that I have never seen before, maybe this is typical Bug behavior in the wild? He arches his back and pushes his little belly out and grunts and screams with anger.

We call it the Rooster.

It was so funny the first, say, fifty times it happened. Now, it just drives me ballistic. Today, he was playing with the buttons on the television when we started the dance. When he did the Rooster, I picked him up and carried him to the couch. Well, I should say attempted to pick him up because he also utilizes that age-old toddler tactic that my mother and I call Spaghetti Arms. You know that one...where they virtually dislocate their shoulders so when you try to haul them up to their feet (which is just as impossible due to the sister tactic of Spaghetti Legs) you feel like you are about to pull the little arms off? He kept screaming and kicking and acting, well, like a baby. Finally, I snapped and I raised my voice and said, "Mommy is boss, NOT YOU!!" at which point he started sobbing and clung to me with that other tactic they use that make you feel like complete and utter shit that you have just yelled at your child for being a child and yet, they still love you completely and look to you for comfort. At which point I started crying too, with shame and the beauty of unconditional love.

It was quite a morning. Now, he has been napping for 3 hours, sleeping it off. I took it out on the keyboard. When he gets up, I will kiss his chubby feet and snarfle his little neck bones and all will be forgiven by us both. Damn, parenting--it's a roller coaster!

Still working on the feather and fan scarf. I want to start a stole or a scarf for myself for the fall. I am always cold and throwing on a cardigan or a sweatshirt, but perhaps something a little more elegant would be nice. I'm considering buying the yarn from KnitPicks. I seem to hear good things about it, and you just cannot beat the price. I just have to decide on a pattern, and a colorway and I'll be off.

I figure I'll have it done...oh, about the time one of the Boys experiences his child doing the Rooster for the very first time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I've seen it before. I remember seeing the very first one--but every single time a Space Shuttle launches, I still get all misty-eyed. It has to be one of the most spine-tingling, majestic sights I have ever seen. Absolutely incredible!

I remember Challenger...and how upsetting it was. They had gathered us all in the auditorium at high school to watch because of Christa McAuliffe and her being the first teacher in space and all of that. They could not have known the disaster that would unfold. I remember watching it break apart, and not quite understanding in that moment what that meant. The principal was shocked. Too shocked to turn off the TV and so we all just sat, and cried. I remember that my mother came to school and picked my sister and I up early, then went to the elementary school and got my brother as well, wanting, needing to hold us close that afternoon. My grandparents were in Florida for the winter, standing on the beach of their RV park, taking pictures as they always did of shuttle launches. I wonder where those pictures are now that my grandpa has been gone for these last seven years and gram is starting to suffer from senility. Does she still have them somewhere? Will we find them among her things when it is time? I wonder if I asked her about them if she would remember where they are...that is, if she remembers who I am, or even scarier--who she is. (This loss of self-knowledge is a frightening new development)

[Sigh...shake off maudlin reminiscing...moving on to the joyous part of it all...]

Did you see the absolutely unbelievable pictures from the external tank of the shuttle as it settled into orbit? It looked back on the perfect marble of the earth and it was such an Ahh... moment. So singularly beautiful. The color of the earth was unbelievable! And the first thing I thought was, I wonder if they make yarn in that perfect shade of robin's egg blue? I have a feeling I will spend a lifetime looking. Some miracles of Mother Nature just cannot be replicated. I can't imagine being out there. Wonderful and scary and amazing and...there aren't words.

I got a wee bit of writing done yesterday afternoon. Just a wee bit. I've never called it Writer's Block, because to me that sounds final and unchangeable. So, I will just say that I am in a bit of a bog...the characters don't seem to know what they are doing, and I can't seem to make them do what I thought they would do, so we are in a stalemate. I've been working on the desktop computer. That might be my problem. Sometimes I have to write longhand to feel connected to the characters, and I haven't been doing that for a few weeks. I guess today I will try that. I have a feeling it will help. I woke up this morning with some sense of where the story is going next, so that is a relief. I'd like to get at least ten pages done depends on the Bug's nap schedule and all of his everchanging 18 month old moods!

My DH got to visit with my brother last evening in Seattle. That was nice to hear about. I miss my brother, he was in the Navy for 6 years, but now he is out. He stayed out West though, he loves the land and the weather. I've never been further west than Milwaukee, so I can only imagine and look at pictures. But, they ate steak and drank beer and played x-box--such boy stuff! I am surprised at how lonely I am with A gone. I mean, I was a single mom of two for almost two years before we got married, so I am used to being alone. I guess it is a good sign that I miss him and all of that--but it is also horrible because he is up for a new job with Lockheed Martin that would require him to go to Virgina for 22 weeks to a special school. If I can't get through 14 days, how will I do 154?

Can you say, KNITTING? I did more knitting last night, still working on the Feather and Fan scarf, it is really turning out lovely. I may not be able to give it away. I always say that, but I always do give it away...I promise.

Today, I will work some more on it, or I may work more on my Moda Dea scarf for McKenzie...that is pretty mindless too, good stress knitting. Just yarn and flying sticks all over the place!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Big Boy #1 (aka The Original Boy) on left, Big Boy #2 (aka Cookie) on right, and the Bug Boy at six weeks. The big boys haven't changed much, and I love this picture. Bug's babysitter/daytime Mommy's son took it. It's gorgeous. Posted by Picasa

This is Le Bug...he is 18 months old. Posted by Picasa

Stress Knitting

Okay, time for confession...yesterday, I didn't do any writing at all. Not one solitary word. I sat on the couch all day, doing some serious stress knitting.

Let me explain. My husband just got to Seattle on Saturday for his two weeks of Navy Reserve time. He was supposed to be there yesterday morning for his first day at 7 am their time and complete some training that they had told him would take about 6 hours. He was not able to take his cell phone on base with him, because it is a picture phone and they don't allow them for security reasons. (He is working on nuclear submarines in the shipyard there). So he told me he would call me when he was done, which we figured would be about 1 pm his time (4 pm our time here in NY). He didn't call and he didn't call and he didn't call--and I didn't have a contact number for him out there, so I couldn't call either. Finally, he called me at almost 9:30 pm my time. Apparently they had 12 hours of training instead of the six they were supposed to. He was pissed, and so was I. I mean, I was worried. I'm not used to this Navy wife bit, so when he said he'd call, I was expecting him to call. Well, now I know...sometimes he just can't. He was very tired and cranky and annoyed and so our conversation was tense and stressed and not very enjoyable.

Needless to say since it was his first work day out there, I couldn't concentrate all day, wondering how it was going for him, when he'd call, I started knitting after errands, housework, and lunch. The good news is that I doubled the size of the Feather and Fan scarf...I'd say it is almost halfway done. It is turning out really pretty. I love the color and I tell you, it knits up pretty quick. Although I did have to do a fair bit of frogging yesterday because I couldn't concentrate and then I'd realize that I had missed a row in the pattern or something and have to go back and tear it all out to the end of the last repeat and then start again. I will post a picture of its progress as soon as Alan gets home with the digital camera. I did post a picture of the Irish Hiking Scarf that I bound off last weekend. Oh, and pictures of my boys...

The Bug discovered the supreme joy of messing with Mommy's knitting bag yesterday while I was out of the room for just one second...luckily, he just unraveled a ball of yarn, no needles were involved. But, still...Mommy, be more careful will you please?


Today there will be writing. There must be, or else I will start to believe the inner voice which whispers that I am kidding myself that I can write a book good enough to get published.

Man, I hate that voice.

But, then...knitting and maybe even a glass of wine to go with it. Ah, heaven.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Knitting Hangover Anyone?

Have you ever had a knitting hangover? I stayed up entirely too late last night and when the Bug woke up at 5:12 am, I was not in the mood to start my day. Luckily, he took a drink and went back to sleep and is still snoozing now, although I wish he would get up so that we can get to the grocery store before church lets out and it gets mobbed. I've discovered that Sunday morning early is the best time to's almost peaceful even, if you can believe that.

I was working on the Feather and Fan scarf last night. Those four little rows are so quick and easy, it gets addictive to see how many you can do, say while watching Shark Attack on the Discovery channel. Yes, dears, it is Shark Week once again, although it is all coming to an end today. Suffice it to say, that when DH and I go on our fantasy tropical vacation to St. Lucia next year, (you know, the one with the to-die-for turquoise waters?), I don't believe this Girl will be going in the to-die-for water to enjoy it. Which is ironic, because that water is what sparked the entire trip idea! Those sharks are crazy!! And they ain't too far off shore either...don't kid yourselves.

I have learned a lot this Shark Week. One, sharks are NOT afraid of their reflection, so carrying a huge ass mirror will NOT save you! Two, sharks like to hang out by sandbars. So don't go near sandbars. Three, if a shark bites you, you have to fight with it and it will probably let you go. The eyes and the gills are supposed to be the shark equivalent of the balls, so go for them! I TiVoed the episode where they test whether punching a shark in its head will get it to go away...I'll let you know how that turns out tomorrow. Apparently the best way to avoid a shark attack is to stay out of the freakin' water!!

Today, after the grocery store, and a million phone calls from my DH who is missing us from Seattle, I have to do some work on the draft of my novel that is currently in progress. It is my first completed novel, and I hope to have it done by the start of the school year. Once I am teaching, it is just impossible to get much writing done at all. So, today, I have to do some of that. Yesterday I blew it off while I watched my husband's plane fly all the way across the country on radar. Very cool. And of course, more knitting and Shark Week. Although I also want to watch the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on HBO in Demand. God, I love not having to share the TV!! But, honey, if you are reading this...I miss you and love you too.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Separation Anxiety, aka A Knitting Flurry

My husband, a proud member of the United States Naval Reserve (after 12 years of active duty service on the nuclear submarine force) is in Seattle for the next two weeks. At least my brother, also ex-Navy, is there so he has some tie to home, but in the meantime I have an 18 month old little Bug boy who is completely mystified as to where his Daddy went. I know it will go by fast, but it doesn't seem like it at the moment, you know? I am the Second Wife, so I am not used to the separations. [First Wife had to endure those...perhaps that is why she is First Wife, aka Inferior Wife, for those of you who can relate!].

Anyways...A is gone and I have just about five weeks left until school begins again, so bring on the Christmas gift knitting. Last year, it was all garter stitch scarves all the time, because I was new at this sticks and yarn business. This year...well, scarves are still on the top of my list because they are fast and I don't have a lot of time to devote to each of my loved ones unfortunately. So far, I have finished a gorgeous Irish Hiking Scarf in a pretty sage green and a garter stitch scarf in Berroco Softy in the Purple Passion colorway (garter stitch is really the only stitch for that yarn, you can't see anything else well). Today I started a Feather and Fan pattern scarf in TLC Cara Mia yarn that is the color of this text. I tell you, that yarn is CHEAP, but I love it. It feels great (nylon, rayon and angora blend) and it has terrific stitch definition. It is a little bit splitty, so if that bugs you, don't try it. I made the wee Bug a sweater out of it last winter. Can you say--machine washable?

I also started a plain garter stitch scarf out of Moda Dea Dream yarn in Lavender. I think it will be for my sister McKenzie, and I will do some ribbon embroidery of flowers and vines on the ends when it is finished. Very girly! I was at A C Moore to buy needles and saw some new Bernat yarn called Satin. It was also inexpensive (can you see the poor-teacher-not-getting-paid-this-summer-break theme here??) but it has a lovely sheen to it. I bought the colorway Banana and it wants to be made into a basketweave scarf. There are some balls of Lana Grossa ribbon yarn in a metallicy green and purple blend in my bag too, that have resided there since my splurge at Saratoga Needle Arts on New Year's Eve. Perhaps a dressy elongated stitch scarf for my lovely MIL? I think so! And the balls of red and purple twisty Damasco yarn by Katia that was in the clearance bin? That one is a puzzler...I think it would look good stranded with another yarn, but I cannot decide whether to strand it with red or purple. Don't you just love red and purple together? Almost as yummy as pink and green, really...

Oh, and I have to finish the white Bernat Softee baby sweater for my friend Erin who is due in November. The pattern is from Baby Knits for Beginners by Debbie Bliss. The jacket with seed stitch bands. If it turns out well, I may make another for another friend. Then there is the cabled hat I want to make, and the jester hat for A, and a scarf for Boy #1, and maybe mittens for Boy #2 and the Bug. And I want to try socks...

Well, while the hubby is away, the needles will be flying! Oh, and I don't have to share the remote or the TiVo!

Well...this is technology for you! I am not sure how this whole blog thing goes. I am not the most gadgety person in the world, and this will be quite a little challenge, but I think I will figure it out as I go. It can't be any harder to learn than knitting was...can it??