Saturday, May 31, 2008

Knitting for a Good Cause

In October of the year 2000, I lost my sister to cancer. She had cervical cancer. She hadn't gotten a pap smear in nine years, and the last one she had was abnormal. She was afraid to get another one. If she had gotten another one within a year, I have no doubt she would be alive right now. But she didn't and her cancer spread and she died. I miss her so much. She was 21 years older than me, but by the time I grew up, she was my best friend.

So, when Holly asked for ideas for a summer charity project and who we should do it for, I thought first of Holly's beloved green and orange, the afghan swap I' m currently participating in and of cervical cancer and how it's a preventable disease.

Most charities lump cervical cancer research in with other women's cancer, which is understandable because as I said, at least cervical cancer is preventable. Get your pap smear ladies, every year! Every six months if you have abnormal ones. And consider getting your daughters the vaccine. Read up on it. I know it's new, so research is important.

But anyway, Holly (she's an old pro at this charity knitting gig) suggested donating our little afghan to the Hope Lodge. Cancer sucks in general, any kind. So I've given my little spiel on cervical cancer, and we'll donate our blankie to the Hope Lodge in memory of Barbara J. Hopps, who by the way, would have totally loved the idea of a green and orange afghan!

If you want to knit-a-long we are making this thing out of worsted weight washable wool. In other words, a wool/acrylic blend or superwash wool.

As mentioned above the colors are orange and green. Any shade is fine. The more variety the better!

The squares need to be about 12 inches. Any pattern will work, once again variety is the spice of life!

And the deadline is Labor Day! I don't know where we will be sending them or how we are sewing the thing up but we have lots of time to think about that. I just wanted to get the word out there. If you have any questions, you can find us at Zombie Prom Date Knitters Group on Ravelry. Right now we are posting about it under "summer ideas". Or leave a comment here.

Thanks. Hug your people.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Toilet Man Always Rings Twice

The man is here to install a toilet and shower in my basement. I hate when people are here to to that kind of stuff. Are you supposed to talk to them? Are you supposed to leave them alone so they can do their work? Is that rude? Should I go offer him some Coke while his head is stuck down my toilet? I never know. So I've come up here, two floors away, to hide out and play on the computer. Strange noises are emanating from the basement, but I ignore them. I trust the man can do his job.

Anyway, I finished these socks a while ago and just now took some pictures.
They are my Raspberry Twists (Grasshopper Twists on Ravelry) and they are my first toe-up socks as well as my first socks-on-two-circs.(I experimented with a different cast-off on the one that looks all funky, because it said you needed some give - well, I don't need give in that particular area)
Love them, even if they are all holey in the heel. That's because they are my first short row heel socks too! Which, if I can somehow get rid of the holes, I think I like knitting better than the heel flap, but the heel flap does feel better on my foot. But look, I did better on the second one.
Anyway, do you ever wonder how people take those gorgeous pictures of their socks on their feet? Mine always look ridiculous. My feet always look ginormous and they really aren't. I'm a respectable size 7. Not wide or anything, not that you can tell that from the pictures.

Oh, these are made of my wonderful Dream In Color Smooshy yarn, that Kristin got me as a going away present. Isn't it divine? I love Smooshy. I have one more skein of it in the stash. I didn't get to the yarn store down state that has it. I need more. It's like a drug. It makes perfect socks.

Well, I suppose I need to go ask the toilet guy if he needs refreshments, so I'll sign off for now.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I got tagged by Amy. It looks like a fun one, but with my limited computer skills, I'm not sure how I'll do. Stick with me while I try to learn something new!

1. What is your current relationship status?
2. What is your current mood?
3. Who is your favorite singer/band?4. What is your favorite movie?5. Do you have any pets?6. Where do you live?7.Who do you look like?(not really, but she's knitting and that looks like me!)

8. Where do you work?9. What do you drive?10. What did you do Saturday
11. What did you do Sunday?
12. Favorite TV show?
(right now, I just started watching it!)

13. Describe me

(I googled "mom" in images and you would not BELIEVE the pictures that came up on the screen! So I went with knitter again!)

14. Favorite candy

Now, I'm supposed to tag people, but Amy tagged all my people! So I'll tag Kristin, just so she has something fun to do when she gets back from her honeymoon!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Zombie Socks

One Zombie sock (ravelry pattern) finished! It is my first top-down-two-circs sock! I have also recently completed my grasshopper twist socks (also can be found on ravelry) but I call 'em my raspberry twist socks. They were my first toe up socks, ever, and I did those on two circs too! I'm not sure which I like better, dpn's or two-circs, but I like my addi circular needles better than my bamboo dpns - or metal dpns - so it looks like I'll be doing the circular thing for a while!

I love this pattern, I love the whole drop stitch thing! I like how it looks and I like the little thrill you get when you drop the stitch from the needle and pull! It feels so illegal!
Anyway, I'd show you all my Raspberry Twists but they are in my husband's truck. My socks end up in the strangest places. I hope everyone has a nice Memorial Day weekend. We are staying up north, but going to visit some friends who have a place up here so that will be nice. No stress about having to have my house clean or cooking, just enjoying some time with other grown-ups. The rest of the weekend I should probably work on the yard, but I wonder how hard it is to dig up weeds and knit at the same time? : )

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sock Yarn and Books

While I was downstate, guess what I did? I bought sock yarn! Yeah! It was my Mother's Day present. I could've bought more but I decided to split my budget between books and sock yarn. Look what else I got. . .Now, I know some of you may think he is a scumbag or whatever, what with the whole "I lied in both of my books" thing he has going on, but to me, those books were riveting, whether they were fiction or non-fiction. And People Magazine gave this one good reviews, it's written in the same style as his others and I wanted to read it! They don't sell it at the Wal-Mart up here (how sad is it that I'm forced to book shop at Wal-Mart?) so I grabbed it whilst at Target (in my head I pronounce it Tar-jay because I studied French for 8 years and all) along with the new book by Chris Bohjalian. LOVE him. Oh, I did find a good book at the Wal-Mart though, by Elissa Walls, an ex-FLDS member. I'm fascinated by those people. Have you read Escape by Carolyn Jessop? If not pick it up. An easy read, so interesting. But this is supposed to be about knitting.

I joined a group on Rav called "Summer of Socks". I love knitting socks, and I love getting ideas for socks from Ravelry, so I thought this would rock! Until I saw a post somewhere about someone having like enough sock yarn in her stash for 70 pairs!!!!! I have maybe enough for 10 in the stash, and that's counting the crap yarn that I keep pushing to the bottom of the bucket. Oh well, I just won't be competitive. It doesn't matter how many pairs I make right? But I did get some pretty sock yarn from Have You Any Wool in Berkley, MI
Alpaca Sox . . .

Plymouth Yarns Rockin' Sox (inexpensive, but still wool and bamboo and pretty colorway, I think)
and last and least expensive but also a pretty colorway
It's acrylic. I'm knitting some Zombie Socks from it right now. It's a little splitty but very soft and stretchy which is something I like in socks because my feet are now old and fat. Stretch is good. I should have some pictures of the Zombie Socks soon because tonight I must go to the gymnastics show as well as the softball game. Prime knitting time.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Wedding!

I haven't been to a wedding in so long, it was awesome to get to go to this one. Don't they look like they are just having a blast? Kristin's dress was gorgeous. Sparkly on the the top, with less and less sparkle as it went down, ending with just enough to glint in the lights of the Gem Theatre while she was saying her vows. Rocker!

And the cake was beautiful. Very classy and elegant, but still cute!

The ceremony was really cool. Not religious. They read the Apache Wedding Blessing, and a piece from Robert Fulghum. There vows were so nice, stuff about being best friends, and the officiant talked about the importance of kindness. Cool stuff. I hope they can remember it all after they've been married 18 years! I have to admit I don't remember much from our ceremony, except that it was tres tacky! But I didn't know any better and it was 1990, the end of the 80's and all. I'm sure you remember, big hair and pastel bridesmaid dresses. And the big butt bow was all the rage.

Oh, and look who I met there!
Holly! I had spotted her earlier in the evening, but I was afraid to just go up and introduce myself! When Kristin was making the rounds, I saw her at Holly's table then saw her point at me and motion me over! So I went and met Holly. She rocks. I didn't get to meet the Ogre. She said he's not big on crowds and noise so he stayed home with the pigs. I hope Holly didn't think I was rude, but I'm kinda shy and I was star struck, I hope I get the chance to hang with her sometime! Don't you just love her shrug? At a low moment, I actually petted it. Truly, I promise I'm not a stalker! Oh, and she totally rocked the Converse. I made sure to get a glimpse at the footwear although the camera was not available for documentation.

Anyway, I had a fun night hanging with my library peeps. We were the only people wearing nylons at this wedding. I wasn't going to do it, I was going to go bare legged, but once I got a look at those puppies with the black shoes? I mean they are white. Like ghostly white, with a few blue veins running through them totally visible. And scratches from the puppies. I just couldn't do it. Plus, the whole control top thing, while uncomfortable, helped a little. : ) Here's a shot of my library friends :
The only bad part of the night was getting lost in Detroit after leaving the Gem Theatre. Thank God for Melanie, she's wearing the short sleeves. She navigated us out of Detroit from the back seat of the car. In her words "Sorry I'm three sheets to the wind or I would drive us out of here"! I was just glad for the directions. Did you know there are like no street lights in Detroit? Oh sure on the main streets, but you can't drive down the main streets because of all the construction! I swear, the detour was taking us down dark alleys, by abandoned houses and through gas station parking lots! I kid you not. I hope the people from the west side stayed at the hotel. I'm sure the trip home wouldn't be so traumatic in daylight!

Anyway, Kristin, if you read this whilst sunning yourself in the tropics, you threw a great party! I hope you guys enjoyed yourselves. Miss you!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Batteries are Dead!

I was going to take a picture of the coolest thing I've ever knit? Remember? And the camera batteries are dead! As a doornail! And the coolest thing I ever knit is going to Kristin for her wedding, which is Saturday and we are leaving today! I had to pack the coolest thing I've ever knit, with no DOCUMENTATION! Well, hopefully Kristin will enjoy it and maybe take a picture of it herself! This is the other part of the present I made (I'm sure she has better things to do today than look at my blog, so I don't think I'm ruining any surprises here)
A set of six knitted ball-band dishcloths! I looked at their registry to try and figure out their colors, and it looked pretty neutral, so I went neutral (and foresty, because I had to have a little kick in there)
I love Matt and Kristin, and I hope they totally enjoy themselves at their wedding and on their awesome honeymoon. And did I mention, Matt is Holly's cousin? I get to meet the famous Holly de Snot at the wedding! I'm totally brining a camera and my autograph book. I hope that's not too tacky.

And in case you don't know, Kristin is Kristinknits in the blogosphere. I'm not linking her in case she has one of those things where some kind of alarm goes off when she gets linked - I don't want her to look over here until after the festivities! But check her out, she documented her countdown to her nuptuals (oh my gosh, how do you spell that?), very cute.

I'll be back Monday with the whole story!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Woolite Carpet and Rug Cleaner sucks. It doesn't work. I even bought the fancy little stick with the brush on the end and what do I get? Nothing. Same old nasty white carpet that was like new 3 months ago, now covered with the stains and detritus caused by 2 tweens, a teen, an old dog and 2 puppies. Tell me, who puts white freaking carpet in a family room? A rookie, that's who.

The guy who built this house had one teeny tiny kid, an infant you might call it. You know, the kind who can't get around of their own free will, puke only on their parents shoulders and look all cute. The kind that suck you in and make you think 3 of them would be a good idea.

Well, I'm over that. Mine make mess. Huge, bring-the-mud-in-from-the-creek-in-the-backyard kind of mess. Puppies out in the rain kind of mess. Spilling some water (because my friends, even water will stain a white carpet) kind of mess. And now the white carpet looks like a dalmation.

If it were up to me, I would rip the whole bloody mess out and put in some hard wood. But my husband says we must wait until we officially own the house (he still harbors dreams of a vast estate in the country, which isn't going to happen, I'm a city girl. Country is for vacations) So I've got to live with my nasty carpet. It makes me sad. Anyone have any ideas? Now that I've poisoned my children and dogs with the vile Woolite Carpet Crap? Help! Look, you can even see how bad it is in the pictures!
Calgon take me away!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sexism in the Younger Set

Yesterday, my husband worked a little late and Sophie had a band concert, so I ventured outside to grill some chicken breasts for dinner. The little boy next door (he's about five and his name is Tyler, but we call him Tyrone and he giggles like mad! I just love it!) walks up to me and says

"Are you grillin' that all by yourself?"

"Why yes, I am! I'm making dinner, chicken, yum"

He looked perplexed. He thought about it for a minute and says

"I didn't know girls could grill"

I thought I would pee my pants! I said,

"Yep, girls can grill. Maybe we all can't grill as good as dad's but we can do it in a pinch"

I didn't want to break the little guys heart, obviously at his house only the dad touches the grill, so I decided to let him be innocent to the ways of women for a while longer, even though it looked like I was furthering the cause of sexism.

Then he says - totally deadpan -

"I guess you'll burn it" :)

I'm telling you, it made my day! I know it's wrong in so many ways, and had it been a child over the age of five saying it, I might have gone off on him. But this one was so cute! I'll just have to teach him that girls can do anything with my actions.

I'm currently knitting my second sock from the toe up, using a short row heel. I'm kind of rocking it. The first one is a little messy, this one is looking much better.And I'm starting Muir. Or restarting. Whatever. I kept coming up a stitch short and I made the mistake of trying to knit last night while watching "House". You really can't knit lace and watch tv. At least me. It never works. But I have plenty of laundry to do and the Muir should keep me busy whilst I sit by the blasted washing machine. Have I mentioned how I hate laundry?
I believe laundry is the bane of a stay-at-home-mom's existence. It never ends. You think you've done it all, everyone has clean underwear, there are towels for showers (even though your teenager thinks that after he wipes his clean body off with a towel that the towel has somehow become dirty and must be washed again instead of hung up and used a couple more times!)shoot, everyone even has socks that match, and lo and behold, in the laundry room the next morning, another pile of laundry.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Seriously, Could That Face Belong to a Stalker?

Yesterday I had my first experience with cyber-bullying. It wasn't horrible, no one was saying my daughter was a whore, or threatening to kick her @$$, but it still pissed me off.

I've never been the kind of mom who kept her kids away from the internet. I figure to their generation, the internet is a part of life, and they better learn how to manage it so they don't get hurt. Just like sex and drugs - honesty is the best policy. I do keep the computer in a central place in the house, and I'm not above reading someone's myspace page if they leave it up on the computer! But in general, I'm pretty liberal about the whole thing.

So my daughter was IM'in with some of her downstate homies, when she tells me to come look. And there, on this girl who was supposed to be one of her best friend's YouTube page - the girl is calling my Sophie a stalker! Apparently, because Sophie still wants to be friends with the people from the town that she grew up in, this girl thinks she is a stalker! (Methinks the girl is seriously jealous that her friends still wanna hang with my daughter!) Let's just say, my "mama bear" came roaring out! (This happened once before when I saw a kid try to punch my then fourteen year old son - I screamed at the kid in front of an entire baseball field full of people - my son almost died of humiliation, but I couldn't help it!)

I pushed Sophie out of the computer chair and immediately typed the following IM to her "friend" :

"Do you know what you just did? It's called cyber bullying. When someone posts something to a public forum that says mean, untrue things about someone else, it's called cyberbullying. And in many states it is illegal. I can not control what you say in your IMs but if I ever see something negative about my daughter in a public forum written by you again, I will let your parents know"

Now, I'm not sure cyber bullying is illegal, but hell, the girl is only 12, just trying to put a little fear in the message you know? However, a part of me immediately starts to panic "Oh my gosh, did I just cyber-bully her" But my husband and nephew assured me that what I said was ok, if not well researched. :)

Then, the girl types back that her dad read what she had written, that it was not mean and that she did nothing wrong. Ok, I lose. If a parent doesn't think calling a 12 year old girl trying to keep in contact with her friends, a stalker is mean, then what am I going to do? My poor daughter is trying to learn that lesson that every 12 year old girl has to learn - let those bitchy people go. They are not worth your time. If your friends are really your true friends they will still be with you regardless of what the little snot says. I feel so bad for her!

But on a positive note - I WON! I won knitandfallbackinit's 100th post contest! I never win anything, really. I'm so excited! Two skeins of Rowan Tapestry are coming my way! I've already researched it on Ravelry - I'm thinking the mini-clapotis might be flying off my needles sometime soon. I love the knitting community on the web. I wish there were more places like it, I hope my daughter will find an e-community like it someday. We are proof that the internet can be a friendly, fun place. We rock!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I Made It Fit!

I made the tab fit! Just in time to document the finish of the Swallowtail Shawl! She is being blocked as we speak. Here is her history . . . . Her humble beginning . . .
Above, with all her knitting finished!
Taking a little bath (while mommy bit her nails and hoped all the color didn't leach out!)

All wrapped up and drying off . . .
A detail shot. I love the pointy things at the ends! I had so much fun knitting this. I totally don't wear shawls but I love knitting them so I'm going to have to find someone who enjoys wearing them to gift them to! This one is small, though and you could wear it like a dressy scarf (except I don't have anywhere dressy to go) so I think I'll keep it, given that it's my first one and all! Gotta finish my grasshopper twist socks (except mine are raspberry twist!) before I start another shawl . . . maybe. :)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Camera issues

The stupid tab that holds the battery in on my camera fell off! And apparently you need that tab because the stupid machine won't turn on! I'm so mad. I only have ten rows left on the Swallowtail Shawl and I wanted to take progress pictures!

Interestingly, I ended up having a set of five nupps on one side and four on the other, but having a perfect stitch count. Hmmmm. . . Never look a gift horse in the mouth, although we'll see what happens when I block it. Hopefully, I won't notice. If I do, I shall just gift it to someone who doesn't knit, and they will never know. I still think I'm doing pretty good for my first triangular shawl attempt.

I also need to take pictures of my secret project all spread out! And it's so pretty outside I think I could do an outside knitting photo shoot today. I will continue to try and jam the tab back in. Wish me luck. I'll let you know what happens.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Learning New Stuff

This is Judy's Magic Cast On! If you have ever wanted to learn how to knit a sock toe up, you simply must click on that link. Even if you don't want to knit toe-up socks, click on it anyway. It's very entertaining. It has everything, clocks, hungry jungle birds, cast-on techniques, you name it. And I did it! My friend Terry showed us how to do it one day and I was like, that's just nuts, yarn going everywhich way, right handedness, (I'm a leftie)and I thought I'll never get it. But I googled it when I got home, watched the little video a couple of times and voila! Now to knit a sock, with my awesome Smooshy yarn from Kristin!

Also here's a look at my current progress on the Swallowtail shawl.
The yarn is so bright, it doesn't photograph well. Either that, or my photography skills just suck. They do. I'm a total newbie. I've got to take a class or something.

Anyway, it's not too hard. The pattern turned out to be not so bad. The symbols on the wrong side only call for one stitch different than a regular purl, and that is the fabulous "purl 5 together"!?! What??? It is almost impossible. If someone out there knows a trick for this, please let me know. It takes me forever to finish a wrong side row! There is swearing involved, stabbing oneself with tiny (but not tiny enough) needle point, and dropping of stitches (gasp!) And I have to admit sometimes I've fudged the darn nubs. That's what they are called. So maybe all my nubs don't have all five stitches in them. It's kind of like me growing up with very little clevage. I survived, I think my nubs will too. It's character building.

Well, I'm going to go knit on a sock for a while and watch the view. I just love it when they all gang up on Elisabeth Hasselback.