Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I have absolutely no idea what this is

I mean, it's a clock. Set to EST. But other than that....................????????????

But, it seems to fit my mood right now - so I figured why not?

Friday, January 25, 2008


Those of you in colder spots have to understand, we get snow here once every - oh, 3 months? - during winter.

So to get even a tiny bit of snow is a true Media Event.

I saw these footprints this morning while coming in to work, and just had to take a picture.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Wonders of Modern Medicine

First off, many many thanks to everyone who wrote and wished the Munchkin a speedy recovery. Thanks to modern medicine (lord, but whoever figured out that cough syrup with codeine would make a child SLEEP through the night and not wake up coughing every 5 minutes truly deserves sainthood!) the Little One recovered almost immediately. In fact the syrup + steroid combo that the doctor prescribed so wired him up that we almost (*almost!*) wished that he was just the wee-est bit sicker than he was - at least enough to keep him sitting on the couch nice and quiet instead of running around, sliding into the doorways, climbing up the couches, and dancing around the living room like a maniac.

In decent weather this wouldn't have been that bad - bundle the little guy up and take him outside and just let him RUN - you know? But it was snowing, damp, and just miserably ucky out there - not weather that we were willing to expose him to with dicey lungs. So brave it all out indoors we did.

Luckily for me, a little diversion showed up first thing Monday morning.

I cracked up today when the pics downloaded to my computer and I saw the sippy cup hanging in the lower left corner. Seriously - I never even noticed it in the frame when I took the original shot!

Apparently every Rose is signed by the artist who made it. Owen Poad is the co-owner of Majacraft, along with his wife Glynis. How cool is that?

I flew through this bunch of roving from Gryphon.
Spun the whole 4 ounces in one day, which for me is quite fast!

Even though this picture probably just shows what a horrid newbie spinner I am
(all that excess twist!) I just couldn't help but put it in regardless,
as I love the colours and the squiggles so much.

Hanging - straight - to dry.

I came out with approximately 150 yards of singles - my goal was to make something along the lines of an obviously-handspun, thick/thin, lose-twist Manos or Malabrigo-type yarn that I will then knit into a My So Called Scarf for myself. I don't think I quite managed it - I need about twice the yardage I've currently got to knit a pattern-sized scarf, but still - I can cast on for a slightly more narrow scarf that will still be - I think - quite lovely. I can hardly wait to see how these colours knit up!

And if it seems to small, I can always check to see if Gryphon has got a second braid in this colourway available................. :)
The Woolery did a fantastic job of getting all of my ordered wheel items to me in an incredibly timely manner - and everything came in fantastic shape, with nary a bump or scratch occurring in shipping. The wheel was also a breeze to put together - with a bit of help from Peggers I was able to have it completely assembled in under an hour and was spinning mere minutes after that with nary a hitch.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Knitting as Stress Relief

At first I figured this was going to be a 4-day weekend that just dragged on. No spinning wheel (more on that later), no 'Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook' via ILL despite the fact that it shipped 3 days ago, no super-warm running pants (a snafu on their end apparently deleted my order back in December & now the pants are sold out as the customer service rep on the other end of the line told me - "So, sorry! No more available!") - and my husband away up the road for a boys weekend out.

However last night changed all of that - as we were up with the Munchkin for hours and hours and hours as he struggled to breathe, wheezed, and coughed and coughed and coughed and coughed (around 4 AM his body apparently had enough of that malarkey & rebelled against all the coughing by vomiting square into his pajama'd lap, much to his abject misery.) This morning we called the pediatrician and got in right away - a diagnosis of a sinus infection was the lesser problem - the bronchitis with maybe a tiny touch of pneumonia was the real nasty culprit. So he's on a huge slew of antibiotics now plus a steroid-laced syrup to help his lungs relax & expand so that he can do more than pant & can actually have a shot at coughing all of that infected matter up and OUT of his lungs - - not to mention the big bottle of cough syrup + codeine that we've got now on our shelf. He missed his nap today (the steroid syrup wires him up, unfortunately - but currently a necessary evil) and so he's out COLD at the moment - we dosed him with the codeine syrup as he sat curled up in my arms at the dinner table and figure that he'll sleep most - if not all - of the night due to that particularly potent 1-2 punch. And just like that my weekend plans totally changed. Now I've got loads to do & think about this weekend (plus extra laundry to do now that I've got soiled pj's, sheets, blankets, and couch cushions - yeah, it happened again just minutes after lunch this afternoon, too, just as he had been released from the table to go and sit on the couch - to wash up.) Plus a husband to keep me company while I fret and fuss around the house.

So now I'm left awake (after waking with him around 4 AM - and having gone to bed with him around 1 AM in the first place - I fortified myself with a cup of strong coffee at 5 this evening when I seriously started to flag and now thanks to that jolt of energy I'm not sleeping anytime soon) with no little wee one to sit and cuddle with or talk to - so what's a knitter to do?

Thank god we knitters are resourceful folks, right? Resourceful folks, that is, who never quail at casting on for another project when we've already got 2 or 3 already on the needles. So other than check on my sleeping cherub every half hour or so, I'm going to finish ripping out the purple raglan that I knitted last year (was it really just last year?) made with some SWTC bamboo, and start swatching with it for a Green Gable. Kim and I stumbled across this pattern last night while browsing Ravelry - it's a godsend if you have yarn in your stash that you just do NOT know what to do with! - and as a sort of keep-myself-busy tactic this afternoon I went online and bought the pdf of the pattern while the Munch watched the public library DVD "John Deere Part 2" for the third time in a row. I'd blame his video choice on the illness, but I'd be a total liar - the kid LOVES the John Deere DVD series. LOVES. He has the narration memorized in most cases, which is actually quite frightening.

I have high hopes for the Green Gable - because it's seamless it eliminates a lot of the problems that I had with the raglan - bamboo (at least this bamboo yarn) just does not seam together well - it's too droopy and saggy. And as this is knit in a tighter gauge than the raglan was, I'm also hoping that the structure of it retains a bit more integrity than the raglan did, and doesn't migrate from my bellybutton to my knees over the course of a normal workday. Just to be on the safe side, though, I'm knitting this in my 'proper' size of a Medium when normally I tend to err on the side of baggy caution and knit things for myself in a Large.

And my spinning wheel? It currently sits a mere 2 hours drive away from me. 2 hours drive away, but with a delivery date of Monday.

2 hours but 3 days.

Ah well, there's always laundry to fold, right?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Collective Nouns

.................a sleuth of bears, a murder of crows, a flange of baboons, a smack of jellyfish, and.........

a colony, creche, huddle, parcel, &/or rookery of penguins!

(isn't English just too funky & funny?)

One finished Wonderful Wallaby sweater for the Munchkin. Complete with over-exposed shade of green wool from my camera being too close to the photography subject when the flash went off!

Taking pictures of this particular FO was neigh impossible. He just would *not* hold still that morning - no matter how I asked, threatened, or bribed. So alas, these horrid pictures are the best that I can do.

He seriously digs the 'roo pocket in the front. Not only can he fit both of his hands in there (and Look! Mommy! My hands touch!!!!) but he can also fit a small blue toy motorcycle in there along with the motorcycle's rider - a yellow plastic figure of Dr. Fate. Life Is Good.

The first sweater that I made the Munch was a intarsia rooster sweater knit with Debbie Bliss yarn that cost upwards of $70 and took me at least 8 months to knit. This one I knit with three skeins of a wool/acrylic blend that I scored on absolute clearance for $0.85 each and took me a grand total of 12 days to knit. Penguin included. Luckily I chose the right size when I knitted it - I knitted my 2 year and 10-month old son a size 6T sweater. And see how well it fits him with nary a too-baggy hood or too-long hem anywhere to be seen? Thank goodness I went the less expensive route this time - what a 6T-sized sweater - with hood - knit out of D.Bliss would cost these days isn't even worth contemplating!

p.s. I called The Woolery yesterday to see when my wheel would ship out. I was - stupidly - hoping that if I called and asked about it again that I'd somehow (magically) get a different answer. But no - the very friendly woman who answered said that typically they ship out in just a few days, but they're currently so backlogged from Christmas that they're days and days behind - so hopefully maybe they'll make it in the mail to me by the end of the week, and if not then next Monday or Tuesday. Of course as I was greedily hoping to have the wheel arrive, like, today, hearing this for a second time was just as disappointing as the first. So I am knitting my sorrows away - a snicket sock, a green tea raglan (GTR take two! This time out of alpaca instead of droopy bamboo), and a pair of plain-knit socks. Not very thrilling, but at least it keeps my hands busy while I peer out of the window waiting for the UPS man to *not* stop at my house anytime soon....................

To keep the Munchkin and myself busy this weekend while Peggers is up the road for an All Boys Weekend, I thought we'd make a batch of these. Don't they look just too yummy? Perfect for that weeny little snack when you need to either eat a nibble yourself (or in my case, satisfy someone else's desire for a weeny little nibble) without ruining your dinner!

Monday, January 14, 2008


Extra drive band? Check.

Orifice hook? Check.

Jumbo plying flyer & bobbin? Check

Majacraft Rose? Check.

Shipping from NC by the end of the week - "hopefully" - she said over the phone with a noticeable twang in her voice. Shipping from NC to MD should only take 2-3 days, once it is in UPS hands.......

And so the countdown begins!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

One of my 2008 Knitting Goals

It actually has nothing to do with knitting, but more with blogging.

Just to blog more frequently. No biggie - I'm always thinking in 'blog post' terms anyway - now all I need to do is actually type it up here instead of just letting it moulder away in my head.

Wednesday Updates:

Despite this picture
of my Snicket Socks mocking me in their barest beginnings, I actually was able to finish casting-on for them a few days ago and thanks to the Munchkin's bizarre desire to be awake from 3:30-7 AM Tuesday morning (g-r-o-a-n!) I've finished almost 5" of the leg already! I love the pattern - it is beautiful and looks tough, but is really easy as hell. Seriously now - isn't that the way all knitting patterns should be? And the yarn from Sundara is just too stunningly beautiful and complex (colour-wise) for words. To say that I'm thrilled with these little suckers so far is putting it very very very mildly.

My Snickets mocked me because dinner that night totally flummoxed and threw me. Normally my time in the kitchen is fun and easy and relaxing - and in a Very Unfortunate Turn of Events (hah! get it? Snickets? Unfortunate Events? Ahhh - nevermind!) a straightforward recipe threw me for an absolute loop and I ended up with a struggle and a disappointing outcome.

My fridge looked like this after the debacle was all over
On the shelf above the eggs are two muffin tins full of meatloaf muffins. A very easy (and very tasty!) recipe from Rachel Ray that I snagged via the Food Network website. The recipe went awry because I put in about a quarter pound too much ground beef and not enough extra breadcrumbs or egg to compensate - so rather than eat meatloaf 'muffins' we ate meatloaf, ehrm.........paste. Once dinner was over and we were done scraping at our plates with our spoons (groans at the memory) I put both of the tins into the fridge in an effort to chill & firm these little puppies up. It worked - a bit - so that I could at least get them out of the tins and into some storage containers for better, proper, longer-term storage. But 'twas very frustrating - especially as how it was supposed to be such a straightforward dinner, leaving me loads of time to knit on the socks while everything baked away happily & quietly in the oven. Instead there was chaos, mania, billowing smoke from the oven vents, me beating my head aginst the wall, smoke alarms pealing all over the get the picture!

And last but not least, a postcard that the Munchkin got from my inlaws while they were on a cruise to New Zealand and Australia over Christmas.


I tried to get them to bring me back a Majacraft Rose, but they said no-go - apparently it was a bit too big to fit in the overhead compartment or under the airplane seat in front of them or some such malarky like that....... :)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Don't look Mom, or you'll see your (late) Christmas present below!

Look very very carefully at this picture, and then fast-forward 3 more hours of knitting. Do you know what that means?

A finished pair of fingerless mitts (my last Gift Knit of '07!) with only the ends to weave in before gifting means that finally (finally!!!!) I can start in with this:

Sundara sock yarn in 'Green Tea' - destined to become a pair of Snicket Socks for yours truly. Cast on, like, today. In mere minutes from the time I hit 'post' on this bad boy.......


Saturday, January 05, 2008


I know, I know, I know - it's still winter! Yet to me there is something SO promising about a New Year that I automatically start thinking 'spring' come January 1st even though there are weeks - nay, months! - of cold and dreary weather left in front of us.

It also could be that I'm currently pulling 3-5 gardening/seed catalogs out of my mailbox every day that has the whole growing/birthing concept weighing in the front of my mind.

Kim gave me a Nigella Lawson salt pig for Christmas.
It is one of the coolest things ever. Ever.

It also could be that there is a plethora of babies currently underway - has anyone else noticed that? A friend of ours delivered her second daughter just before Thanksgiving (silly me, I though her due date was in February, so I hadn't even yet plotted or planned any knitted item!), Anna from My Fashionable Life had a beautiful little boy right a few weeks before Christmas, Lola from Two Black Sheep is due to go in for a c-section to deliver her second son in just a week or so (hang in there, L!!!!!), Emily from Yarn Miracle is expecting her Mini Miracle in 8 or so weeks, and Cara from January One is due in.........March-ish, if my math is correct based on the belly pics she put up on her birthday.

Christmas loot for the Munch consisted mostly of Thomas the Train bits & pieces.
He adores them, but I have to say, they really do hurt if you step on any of those little f'ers in your bare feet!

(But, I must say here in very bold letters - there are no new babies expected here at Chez P'Sticks. Nosirree nohow! So Oma, keep knitting sweaters for Miss E and the others - no new baby knits needed this side of the Chesapeake anytime soon - not at least until I can wrangle the Munchkin into a shirt and/or pants in the morning without it sounding like I'm doing something as violent as peeling the very skin off his body - full, screaming hysterics for upwards of 20 minutes every time we try to extract this kid from his pj's - and he is potty trained. I might be head-over-heels in love with my little one, but LORDY he is a handful and I have not the strength or patience for two handfuls, much less two handfuls in diapers!)

Knitting loot! The best kind!

So between the seed catalogs and the babies springing up everywhere, it feels like spring to me. All that birth & rebirth & burgeoning life and suchlike - it just makes me happy. Plus, in all brutal honesty, I hated 2007. It was a horrid, painful, depressing year that started off with the news that an immediate family member had an extremely aggressive form of cancer and went downhill from there, if you can believe that. I'm hopeful and excited to turn away from that car wreck of the past 365 days and instead fill my noggin with hopeful, filled-with-promise, new-life-ish thoughts instead.

We had a quick family visit for a few days after Christmas, which is
always fun for the little guy. This is Munch with my dad.

Which brings me to my more pressing question:

Other than the most amazingly beautiful baby blanket that Ava knit for her soon-to-be-nephew (because not only do I refuse to knit baby blankets as they take way too long and get far too monotonous but also I'm not as insane as A - and nor do I want to be. Because after knitting a blanket of that magnitude & cable-lisciousness, I'd be totally and completely bonkers.) what is the best knitted item you can give a new mom or a soon-to-be new mom?

I personally didn't use knitted hats much when the Munchkin first came out, and I didn't do knitted booties ever. But that was just me. He is a March baby, so I did use a few knitted lightweight sweaters - especially the kind that were particularly easy to fit over his wobbly huge head (and huge cab-door-like ears!) - but mostly I didn't bust out the knitted items until he hit his first proper cold snap. So that means that this current crop of babies could receive items in the 6-9 month range of sizes (perfect! 6-9 months of procrastinating knitting!) - which I not only personally prefer but I also find more practical and useful in the long run.

So I'm asking everyone out there - what is the best thing that you could give or receive? I keep leaning towards the peapod sacque that Parikha knitted, but that's just me........... Plus that's more of a new-baby item, which violates my above preference and rules (but rules are made to be broken, right?) - but again, that's just me.

What does everyone else think?

Happy 2008 Everyone!