Monday, March 31, 2008

A Wee Tiny Post

I mailed my Wee Tiny package this morning, and despite the fact that my swap person **could** read this & by my use of her first name figure out what she's getting befo-re her package actually arrives, the chances of this are extremely slim. Mostly because there are upwards of 275 folks in this swap, and I seriously doubt that any swapper is rabid enough to go through each & every person's blog in the hopes of finding a clue as to who pulled their name.

You know?

So, here, in a hugely daring risk, is my Wee Tiny Sock Swap package of 2008!



I had loads of fun making up this little package - last year I simply went the 'overstuffed envelope' route, but this year I had the time and the energy (and the cabin fever - that comes after being home for several days with a no-long-sick-enough-to-hang-on-the-couch-all-day, but too-sick-to-go-back-to-daycare 3 year old) to gussy it up a bit. So tissue paper, pretty little tags, and a funky little box from our local (chain) craft shop to dress it all up a bit.

Yeah, it's a flip-flop. The closest thing to a sock I could find!

In the flip-flop box itself I tucked in a little wooden 'treat' as well. I saw it on one of the end-cap displays and couldn't resist.


And the sock itself?
How kind of you to ask!
Voila:

Pattern: Toe-up construction found here
Stitch Pattern: Divided Boxes ( Knit & Purl Harmony Guide)

Materials: Sundara Sock Yarn
Colour: 'Green Tea' colourway
Needles: US0/2.0mm KnitPicks circulars

Dimensions: leg - 2" heel to toe - 1.5"

This project was fantastic on a number of levels. Not only did I discover that I really liked the Divided Boxes stitch pattern, but I also realized during the wrapping and the packaging of said wee sock that my craft organization area - as tiny as it is - could use some serious help. So I thought back to all of those Martha Stewart organization tips I always read but never use, and did some tidying. I don't have a 'before' shot, but here is a greatly, greatly improved 'after' view:

The fact that this little area of mine is so neat and tidy is highly ironic, because in the craft/knitting armoire that is indeed mine & all mine, this area is the one that.......

Closes. Heck - it locks, even! It closes tightly shut so that nobody can see the extremely tidy & organized space inside. Which is totally unlike the rest of the armoire, which is wide open so that anyone and everyone can see the jumble and chaos inside and on top of and around it......

On top. My dye things and my spinning/winding equipment.

Piled next to the armoire: my loaned drum carder, my mill-end (machine oiled) tweed, and lots of fleece that needs to be carded & some pre-carded fleece that needs to be spun. And a periwinkle blue shirt that needs to be patched & mended.

And the worst offender - inside the main body of the armoire. A hanging sweater-holder with far too much jumble piled in there. Sturdy shelves would be much better - with much less wasted space! - but unfortunately the armoire walls are extremely thin veneer sort of things, that a thumbtack would easily pierce through, so screwing in shelves and whatnot isn't any sort of an option.

However I do remind myself whenever I get upset by this mess and jumble that what I'm really looking at here is a ton of potential. Tons of future projects, just waiting to be knitted. Sweaters waiting to emerge. Socks waiting to be fitted for length. Scarves poised to be wrapped around someone's neck. Gloves ready to warm someone's fingers.

I'll have you know that this sort of logic only works on such knitting/spinning/crafting type jumbles. The other normal household jumbles (the dirty/clean laundry pile, the piled papers and books, the tangle of dirty dishes in the sink, the discarded toys in the middle of the living room floor) - that's just mess.

Thank goodness, then, tomorrow is Messy Tuesday!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm such a liar

Yesterday I left a post for Emily, commenting on her daughter Ellie's adorable booties. When I've done baby knitting, I've never ever been a booty knitter - sweaters, hats, bibs even - but never socks or booties. I always figured that those little suckers would slide or fall right off those little smooth baby feet - so why bother? Yet all it took was one picture of Ellie wearing her Saarjte booties and I was a goner. Of course, I swore up and down to Emily that I wouldn't cast on for a pair immediately. Because - you know - I'm currently quite full with WIPs, thankyouverymuch. Dad's socks (50%), my May Day Sock Swap socks (70%), Gryphon's tank top (40%), and swatching for my brother's Inga hat.

Ahem.



Yeah.......right. (Humming softly to herself: "Liar, liar, pants on fire......")

I've already cast on for a second - larger - pair as well. It's the perfect project for any knitter who is a bit stuck - not only does it use up such a tiny amount of yarn that you can't tell that your ball of leftover sock yarn has actually changed in size whatsoever, but they're quick, they're adorable when you're done, and you feel so damn clever once you take the flat construction and seam them into something so cute and rounded and twee. For my first pair I used size 1 needles and leftover basic sock yarn - some handspun that I bought via Gryphon at the farmer's market last summer - spun by a friend of hers and ultimately turned into a pair of Monkey socks for my mom - topped with some of the SockPal pink bamboo/wool that Jessie custom dyed for me when I pulled Ava as my Sockpalooza 4 sock pal and with which I made her a pair of lusciously pink knee-highs.

It was really fun to work on these, too, as it gave me the perfect excuse to finally pull out my buttons.



And ducks, I have lots of buttons. I was gifted all of these - and honestly, not to brag or be at all snotty, but they're pretty much all vintage-ish - by a co-worker's wife who was an incredible sewer, but was both downsizing her crafting activities and switching full-time to weaving.

I have lots. And lots and lots and lots. Of course, I couldn't find four of the ones I first wanted for the booties, and so had to 'settle' for the pearl ones instead, but still. Not exactly a hardship, huh?

A ton of the buttons in the big cardboard shoebox are huge funky woven leather ones that would only be suitable for a jacket or a manly cardigan. But still, if I ever decide to make a good three dozen manly cardigans, I'll be totally set in terms of buttons.

My excuse for why it is more okay than not to work on the booties instead of my other official WIPs is that I'm home today and tomorrow with the Munchkin. He has fallen prey to a nasty virus that is hitting roughly half the town. He started running a fever in the middle of the night - restlessly rolling from side to side and moaning, while scalding hot to the touch all over his body - and today he's spent 90% of his time on the couch passively watching movies when he wasn't sleeping for a solid two hours. This is such an active child - for him to be this still, I truly know that he's sick. Not terribly - and not anything that so far needs a doctor's attention - the virus just needs to run its course - but for him to stay this still this long? Other than the first week of his life, this might be the most passive I've ever seen him. From what I've heard, the virus takes about 4 days to run it's full gamut - by Sunday he should be up a bit more, and by Monday all that should be left is a dry cough.

Now all I can do is hope that I don't catch it as well!

Once the second pair of booties are finished, the silk tank top is next. I swear. With Dad's sock and the May Day sock worked on between in spare moments and before bed. I want to get the front of the tank finished and get started on the lace panel insert by this weekend. Ook, that reminds me, I need to e-mail Gryphon about the designing contract that I'm supposed to sign. She trusted me with some very valuable silks - not to mention a skein of silk and cashmere! - I need to make sure that I do right by her - and the fibers as well...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Too Cute

I found this today at the campus bookstore when I went to get a cup of much-needed caffeine.

I think it will fit perfectly in my May Sock Swap pal's package!


video


They had a penguin one as well, but only a full-sized one - and I figured that any knitter would prefer the smaller version for their WIP bag.......

p.s. I'm afraid that the video is a bit dark, and my - eh - performing skills with a ruler in one hand while filming with the other are hardly Oscar-worthy. But everyone gets the general idea, I'm sure.

Package, Package

Who'll get the package?




...and now, off to the endodentist for a consultation on the chances of my needing a root canal or not...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wee Tiny

It's that time of year again!



Emily is once again running the Wee Tiny Sock Swap - and this time it's open to everyone who'd like to participate!

I had a good time doing the W.T.S.S. last year - it really is a fantastic way to "break into" the swap world. One teeny weeny sock - and just one! - and an envelope and a regular ol' stamp. Can't get much easier than that!

In fact, I still have my official W.T.S. posted on my bulletin board next to my desk...


I'm afraid that I don't have any knitting to show you. I *have* been doing lots of knitting - I finished my dad's boring grey engineer sock and am casting-on for the second one tonight. I'm churning away at full speed on the silk tank top I'm designing for Gryphon - last night I pinned out the front piece & lightly spritzed it to block it so that I could get a better sense of where & when I want to start one of the larger design elements, and I'm starting on a Inga hat for my brother out of some Malabrigo that I've got. However I'm not too certain which colour of the Malabrigo should be the design and which should be the background, so I'm swatching a small hat with only two pattern repeats - one colour dominant on one side of the hat, and the other colour dominant on the other side of the hat. I'll finish a full chart repeat then pin, lightly block, and then photograph and get lots and lots of feedback from everyone to help me decide!

But of course, I have no pictures of any of this, so sadly I am a Very Very Bad Blogger so far this week. Can we blame it on a Crazy Monday & a slightly less Insane Tuesday?

;)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Proceed At Your Own Risk

If anyone is interested in following the link for baked doughnuts that I posted yesterday? Well, at least now you've been warned.

I ate three this morning for breakfast. Shamelessly. Rapidly. Greedily. After first rolling them in butter then dredging them in cinnamon sugar.

Don't say I didn't come clean and confess my sins on this one, ducks.


I'd have knitting progress to show you, but I was too busy sitting on my hands to keep myself from eating another warm pillow of yeasty, sugary, buttered dough to dare free myself up to try and touch a knitting needle today...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

48 Hours: Sunday

A little mosaic to cover what happened on Sunday.



First a 45-minute traffic jam while I drove up Gryphon's way (thank goodness I had some Harry Potter CD's and a sock-in-progress to work on!) then loads of fun spinning and laughing at Gryphon's. I got to watch some extremely talented spinners make it look way easier than it actually can be (at least, easier than newbies like me think it is!) and got an eyeful of some beautiful fiber in Gryphon's shop. [Ahem] In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that a skein of one-off sock yarn might have fallen into my basket.

Deep blues and dark browns go so well together, don't they?

While at Gryphon's we also got to see her coat. Her (this is my name for it) Massive Attack coat. That thing weighs roughly a million pounds. It's truly a feat of knitting.

The last row of pictures is the luscious, gorgeous, and absolutely amazing Icelandic silk that Gryphon has given me to knit up a new design with. She supplemented her silk with a hand-dyed skein of Kate's cashmere/silk. I came home and jumped right on the knitting. I can hardly wait to see how these two fibers knit up together!

I'm home with the Munchkin for the rest of the week. Today our fun activity is to make some home-made baked doughnuts. Tomorrow our fun choice is home-made bagels. Jessie reminded me of how good fresh bagels are, and I'm going to bust out the recipe that my brother and I used to make when we lived in Botswana - with our non-traditional peanut butter addition and all!

Monday, March 17, 2008

48 hours: Saturday

A ton of stuff was crammed in to the past 48 hours. I can mostly represent it with two separate posts to save the lines for those who still have dial up - as what I've got is mostly pictures and a few supplemental captions.

Saturday (aka: visit to the organic farm & a KnitPicks order arrives)

First, the farm.
Our good friend, Farmer Jay, runs an organic farm close to our house - and is the Head Honcho for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that we were founding members of. We're currently taken a wee hiatus from the CSA as the Munch is on a major vegetable strike, and we can't quite keep up with both him and the volume of veggies that the CSA delivers on a weekly basis, but we hope to return to the fold before too long. Jay recently had some repair work done on his shoulder, and has been stuck at home unable to do even a tenth of what he normally does, and so I thought that maybe he'd like to see the Munchkin as a little pick-me-up. Plus I figured that the Munch would love to run around the farm and muck about in the dirt on such a fine, fine spring day.

We got to pick spinach & baby carrots from Jay's passive greenhouse, we checked his shiitake logs for any mushrooms that we could steal, wandered around his weathered and stuffed-full barn, marveled over his 1960s era tractor, and poked around happily in his worm bin.

Oh yeah, and the Munch played 'King of the Compost Pile' several times over.











Knit Picks:
After we got home from the farm, exhausted, filthy (the Munchkin, not me - he even had dirt deep in the toes of his frog boots!) and bearing a bag of freshly-sheared baby spinach from the greenhouse, I found that my KnitPicks order had finally arrived. Don't get me wrong, it didn't take too terribly long from the time I placed the order to the time the box arrived - it was more that it took me over two months to place the order, because every time I went to order the needle organizer that I finally had decided that I wanted, they were always Temporarily Out Of Stock.

Super-pointy size 0 (2.00mm) circs.


6 skeins of Risata - in their 'Cocoa' colourway for socks. Socks for Peggers & a pair of Chuck's Cabled Socks for me. I think I'm going to mix Ash (grey) & Cocoa for the cabled socks pretty much exactly like Mel did...

Size 1 (2.25mm) circs in the KnitPicks composite wood needle variety.

Extra organization pockets for my new needle organizer.
(Which I forgot to take a picture of. It's a zippered black rectangle. Use your imagination.)


After all of this arrived I promptly fondled & sniffed the sock yarn then tucked it safely away. Then I got out a million little labels and got down to gleefully labeling every pocket and stowing away my needles in their new little proper homes.

We Type A's do love our organizational tools.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I should be doing a million other things

  • like laundry (washing the Munch's wet training pants - the potty training is *not* going very well - he's far too stubborn to be bribed to sit on the potty with mere jellybeans as his reward!)
  • like dishes
  • like straightening all the clutter in the living room
  • like washing my factory-closeout tweed in prep for the twisted yolk henley that I want to cast on for asap
  • like knitting (!) on all my UFOs
  • like putting away clean (gasp!) laundry
  • like dusting
  • - like a million other things that I could easily find to do if I only looked around

................but instead, all I can do is look at pictures like THIS.

Oh Em! She's just so beautiful, she actually makes me cry*!

*just that little tiny bit. out of sheer happiness.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Apparently I'm not too tired today.......


......to waste a good 20 minutes goofing off with Flickr toys.


(A sort of 2007 retrospective. Sort of.)

1. Snicket Socks, 2. May Day Sock yarn, 3. Majacraft Rose Spinning , 4. Serpentine Mitts for Oma, 5. My new Majacraft Rose, 6. A Piece of Vermont handspun, by moi, 7. Baby D's Baby Surprise Jacket, 8. Munch's Penguin sweater, 9. A few more repeats on Sockpalooza socks, 10. Nametag tape & stamp, 11. Patagonia cotton gauge swatch, 12. Shetland Triangle shawl, 13. Rooster sweater

Cellphones in the bathroom

We have crossed an all new line of personal communication. These college students, they sure are crazy for their cell phones, that's for sure. Last week in the gym I watched a student walk in a bathroom stall with her cell phone up to her ear. She must have *just* been checking her voicemail, because I never did hear her say anything over the phone. But this morning in a student union bathroom I heard not one but two students come in while talking on their cell phones and go right into a stall and start unzipping..............



Now, c'mon people - is that really necessary? Can't some things - you know - wait?

Some days I feel old, and some days I feel ancient. Today is most certainly one of the latter.

It might be the time change, or it might have been the multiple-child-filled weekend, but whatever it is, I am totally wiped out.

Utterly exhausted. Like, first-trimester-of-pregnancy tired. (I AM NOT PREGNANT. I'M JUST TIRED LIKE A PREGNANT WOMAN. IT'S A METAPHOR ONLY.)


I'm on my second cup of industrial-strength coffee so far today and it hasn't yet started to kick in - all I do is yawn and press the wrong buttons on the keyboard over & over & over again. I'd go and get more in the hopes of waking up a wee bit, but all of the caffeine is starting to make my stomach do ucky things, so I'll settle instead for a cup of herbal tea while I sit and chat with Kim before going home this afternoon. Then I'm making a nice, basic dinner (spaghetti w/ a beef & mushroom & cream sauce - thanks to a Real Simple magazine recipe from last winter that I'm just now getting around to making!) then bath for the Munchkin then story then bedtime for the both of us.


Seriously. Bedtime at 8:30? I can hardly wait.


I'd work on my dad's brioche sock, but that takes too much concentration at the moment. I tried last night to work on a hat and do a round of eyelets, but I couldn't keep the [k2tog, yo, k] repeat going correctly.


.................and that, my ducks, is just too sad and too tired for words.





Friday, March 07, 2008

Birthdays

While Sunday is the actual birthday for Mr. Munchkin (his 3rd - how on earth did I ever let him live to be that old???) we are celebrating it with other very very small and overly-excited children on Saturday. That would be tomorrow.

Which is why the following things have been made, arranged, and/or prepped around my house lately. Not to mention the over-the-top cleaning that I have been trying to accomplish as well.


Kim was over last night and she and I did some major party-prep sugaring:

Our first batch of caramel corn.

This particular type of caramel corn is made in a paper bag in the microwave. Angry Chicken first turned me on to the concept. This poor, butter and sugar-soaked bag had seen two batches of caramel corn work their way through it. Kim and I almost ate the bag itself, the stuff was so good.

Four batches - FOUR BATCHES! - of caramel corn, bagged and ready to go. The last batch I deviated from the original recipe a bit and added in 2 tsp. of vanilla to the caramel. I bagged that in clear cellophane bags - they're the "adult" batch, if you will.

Slab O' Rice Krispy.

Elmo getting stuffed.

(I'm sorry, there's probably too much that I could say about that last sentence & picture, but I'll leave it to you to supply your own details.)


After all of the sugaring was done, Kim and I did the tiniest bit of fiber-ing. We had hoped to mess with our February Fiber Club haul, but alas, Hello Yarn's February shipment is a bit delayed this month and so we'll have to wait until next time to give it a whirl.








Now if you will excuse me, I have to run and pick up some half-and-half and a coffee cake from the store for tomorrow's pre-party breakfast gathering, then go home and continue cleaning so that the house is nice and tidy when all of the little kids come over to trash it.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Indeed


Sometimes it's just an SSK kind of world, isn't it?

(Bumper sticker courtesy of Oma - the Munchkin's maternal grandmother, also known as My Mommy.)

I'm off now to get the Munch from daycare & then pick up the dog from the groomers. Last time they cut off a whopping 5 full pounds of fur from our 4-legged beast. We'll see how much they got off of him this time around.