Monday, March 26, 2007

A Hookup Needed

I kept thinking about this idea all weekend, and mused to myself that I sounded like a druggie......

"I need the good stuff!"

"I need a hookup."

"Hey man, do you
have any of the primo stuff that I can score?"

(Gryphon's hand-dyed silk in 'Foxtrot')

...however in my case what I need is 450-500 yards of worsted-weight yarn in a subtly variegated shade suitable for a leaf-themed scarf.

You see, sitting at home 2 weekends ago I was feeding the Munchkin bites of mushroom & cheese omelette (he out-ate me by about 2 helpings!) and listening to Sunday Edition on NPR when I heard a news story about a local-ish woman whose son had been killed over in Iraq...........and how the first anniversary of his death was coming up on Mother's Day. Sitting there listening to her talk about her loss, and her struggle to not o
nly come to terms with such a impossible thing but to also how she tried to console her remaining two children as they tried to figure out how to live with such a loss absolutely crushed me. Sitting there with my little guy eagerly eating mushrooms and proudly showing me how he could fork up a mouthful with only a little bit of spillage (cutlery skills are high-up on his list of Things I'm Proud Of at the moment!) I sat and listened and just cried. Particularly on hearing how this mom found out the news of her son when some Marines walked up to her while she was gardening outside on a lovely spring day.............and thought how that all too easily could have been me. How maybe possibly if the Munch decides to go against most of what I believe in (being raised a Quaker and therefore quietly and vehemently anti-fighting) and what his father would undoubtedly council - how it could even actually be me someday.

So I tried to think of what to do. I just couldn't get that image out of my mind - that of a woman working in her garden, surrounded by the warm smell of dirt and seeing little fat seedlings pushing out of her garden, having these strange men walk up to her - and having her probably know immediately what it meant the second she saw them.

So - lacking anything else to do - I thought I'd knit her something. I figured that anyone who was working in her garden in May was probably a basic nature-ish person - and so something nature-ish based would be appreciated and possibly even worn. Which made me think of leaves and trees and shoots - - which made me think of the Backyard Leaves scarf by Annie Modsitt in Interweave's Scarf Style book. I looked through my stash, and didn't see anything that would fit - as this is an Important Knitting Project and none of my acrylic-ish beginning knitter yarn that I have steadfasted refused to throw out and so still remains in my stash even came close to being nice & important enough.

(Another hand-dyed silk of Gryphon's - this one her 'Flamenco' colourway)

So what I am doing is asking for any and all recommendations & potential yarn 'hookups' that I can get. I know what they recommend for the scarf, but I think that the Karabella Aurora 8 is only ho-hum when placed against what I **could** knit the scarf out of. See Gryphon's examples for what I mean.......altho' there are loads of folks out there (Jessie, Sundara, Handpainted Yarn, etc.) who could also serve as excellent examples of the kind of truly primo yarn that I'm talking about. (I'm just guessing that Gryphon won't sue me for pirating her images to use in this post without first asking for permission, hence why I went and shamelessly stole images from her Etsy shop!)


Friday, March 23, 2007

A set of retirement wings

One of the more wonderful & lovely members of my library is retiring in a year or so - - and I've been looking into and talking about making her a knitted shawl for the past - oh - 6 months or so. However nothing ever hit as being "perfect" and so no decisions were made. Until today.

Brooklyntweed posted about some hand-dyed yarn of his from the folks - - so I went over there to explore and clicked on the 100% wool laceweight stuff..........and oh oh oh look what I found:

Isn't it just BEAUTIFUL? 950 yards and $5.95. Can you believe it?

And what - you might ask - is it eventually going to be transformed into?

Icarus, of course!

To be 100% sure that I'd have enough to make a BIG shawl I purchased two skeins. Shipping included it came to $16. I laughed - seriously - the food purchase I made this week for my 4-committee group to consume during 10 telephone interviews came to $36.

Ohhhhhhhh but this should be fun to knit - and even better, with no deadline looming it'll be a fairly leisurely knit as well!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wee Tiny

My sock is done! I knitted it last night while watching about 1/2 of The Holiday (Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, & Jack Black). I'd only give this movie a B - and that's because Kate Winslet is in it - - otherwise I'd give it a C. Jude Law does okay - but it's a role that I just can't get my head around him in because in the movie he's actually a decent guy - and his escapades in the Real World suggest otherwise! Cameron Diaz is ditzy and far too cookie-cutter stereotypical - annoying, almost. Jack Black is Jack Black - not given enough screen time to actually become the character in the actual movie - and while I like Jack Black well enough, he can be annoying in large doses. Kate Winslet is lovely as always - I wish that she lived in town so that she and I could go for coffee and chat, and I could hang out at her house & try and figure out how she brushes/styles her hair so that it always looks so good without actually looking like she spent too much time on it (in my world, spending more than 5 minutes on your hair is Too Much Time) - and maybe even raid her know?

But anyway - I digress.

I knitted the sock first on size 1 dpns, then after wrestling with them for about 10 minutes (keeping in mind the entire time that the whole knitting exercise was only supposed to take about 60 minutes!) I ripped them out & off and re-did the whole thing on two circs and was much much happier. I did a basic k1tbl,p1 ribbing for the top then did the leg plain then switched back to dpns and did a garter-stitch heel then turned the heel then used the dpns to pick up the stitches for the gussets (and here I probably would change the pattern for myself and next time pick up 7 instead of 6 stitches, as I had a hole at the top of the gusset which I can sometimes kinda' avoid by picking up an extra stitch just to be extra careful at that super-tricky spot) but then switched back to circs to finish off the foot and the toe.

I used some leftover hand-dyed Sundara sock yarn in Dusk. Hey, if you're going to do a swap, better do it w/ the good stuff, right?

Then this morning I came to work and wrote a nice little letter to my swap pal and addressed the envelope and sealed it and then spent an hour out at the reference desk where I actually had a chance to look at blogs again for the first time since last Friday............and when I got to Emily's blog I realized that -DUH!- I had totally forgotten to take pictures of it. So I went back to my desk, hauled out my letter opener, and staged a few photos, then tucked the sock back away yet again and sealed the huge slice in the envelope with some good old sticking tape!

Man O Man O Man but this week has been a brain-frying sort of a time.................

I shall mail the wee tiny package off to it's intended pal tomorrow - oh what fun what fun what fun - and what a lovely lovely lovely Emily to come up and then also be willing to coordinate all of this!

I'm going to go now and post my picture to her Flickr group - and then go home and start watching my mailbox!


Friday, March 09, 2007

I really should be working.......

.....but I'm not.

Today is the Munchkins' birthday - it is so so so hard to believe that my little colic-ridden bundle is 2 years old! Old enough to demand birthday cake at the merest hint of a icing-laden sugary slice! Old enough to sleep through the night - even if he chooses not to on an almost-nightly basis. Old enough to try to put his own socks & shoes on. (He doesn't succeed at it, though.) Old enough to pretend that the rolled-up bamboo place mat is a sandwich and the coaster is a pancake.

This was maybe, oh, at 4 days old.
Never, ever since has he again been this quiet.

So this afternoon I'm not working. I'm catching up on major, major blog reading after an insanely busy week & an insanely busy morning. I have pushed so much work around and finally off of my desk today plus done so much online grading & reading that now my eyes actually hurt. So what I'm going to do is post here, then leave work a bit early so that I can hit the health-food store and then go and get the little wee one - if you can call a 2-year old (who is both so tall & so verbal that he is routinely mistaken for a 4-year old child, even by those who have children themselves) 'wee' and take him home & play with him & read to him to his heart's content because it is - you know - his birthday. And if you can't have a fairly decent day on your birthday - particularly at this young an age! - when can you????

But first, I post.

I post of All Things Heather & her drive for donations to raise money to buy books for a South African school. As both a reading freak in my own right plus a militant mommy who makes the Munch read (not that I have to make this child read - he demands it on a nonstop basis!) plus a librarian plus someone who used to live in Botswana for a bit (the country above South Africa) - this donation was a no-brainer. And getting yarn as a result? A total bonus - but I would have done it w/out the yarn.........

Next I post of Emily.

Who sent me a lovely little wee-est treasure in the mail. I was overwhelmed last night when I got home from work (the Munch was still sleeping when I went to get him at his daycare provider's house - yesterday was Dance Day for the kids at daycare who are old enough, which correspondingly meant a very very late nap for the little guy and not nearly enough sleep!) with temper tantrums and making dinner and just being exhausted in general, so I didn't open Emily's padded envelope until today. I made myself wait and let the excitement build - plus I wanted to open it in an environment where it was nice and quiet and I could actually read Emily's letter and understand it instead of being interrupted every other word with requests for reading yet another Maisie story, more milk, dump truck location clarifications, or comments about the dog barking.

My sock. My lovely, soft sock that is knitted so
well - even at this small size - that it has no holes in the gusset!!!

It is lovely and beautiful and too cute for words - and this from someone who is most certainly not a fan of things generally considered twee. I have it currently very very carefully tucked in my front pocket - both because I like to reach in my pocket and feel that it is there, and also because I am showing it to - generally - every single person I see today. I ran to E's blog and read all of the posts of hers lately that I had missed and signed right up for her Wee Tiny Sock Swap. I am so excited, I can hardly wait. I'm hoping to get an International Swap Pal. Just because I love those funky stamps & foreign accents are just SO cool, are they not??????

So now I have posted. So now I go. This weekend should be just lovely - warm warm warm (well, warm considering what we've been putting up with lately!) and time alone w/ the Peggers and time to garden and time to knit and maybe even some time to throw open the windows and doors and air out the house and let in the Fresh Spring Air!

(a girl can always hope, can't she?)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Anatomy of a Sunday

8-ish AM: Wake up and exchange pleasantries with Munchkin & Peggers. Agree that while today looks quite cold, it still seems like it will be - ultimately - a Very Nice Day.

9-ish : Roll ourselves downstairs.

9:30-ish: Pancake breakfast, courtesy of Daddy/Peggers!

10:30: With grocery list in hand make our way to grocery store for week's worth of shopping. On list are ingredients for lunch this afternoon with Kim!!!

11-ish: Standing in grocery store watching husband get very Very VERY frustrated due to overwhelming number of absolutely stupid shoppers all getting in our way. Look for refrigerated pizza crust but can only find frozen. Figure that I can make it all work in the end by lunchtime, regardless.

11:15: Realize that the frozen pizza crust takes 4-6 HOURS to thaw........................Kim is due over for lunch in 45 minutes. Begin to majorly panic.

12 noon: Crust is thawed thanks to some major quick work by Peggers - ragu is simmering on stove top & oven is pre-heated. Still, major major panic.

12:05 PM: Kim shows up & pizza goes in the oven - springform pan - double-crust stuffed with with ricotta/mozzarella/parmesan then topped with home-made ragu composed of chicken sausage, mushrooms, celery, carrots, garlic, onion, and tomato. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes then top with loads of cheese and bake for another 20 minutes.

1:10: We sit down to eat, and Munchkin has a few bites of his lunch then gets too tired & asks to be brought up to his crib for naptime. We continue to eat double-crust stuffed pizza after he retires.

2:05: Leave for the Barnes & Noble knitting group meeting.

2:30: Meet Gryphon and lovely baby Lia. As my friend Rachel had told me in an e-mail, Gryphon really & truly is far too lovely a human being to have recently had a baby - if not for Lia strapped to her front in a baby sling I wouldn't have believed it myself! (3 months after the Munchkin was born, I wasn't calm, collected, happily knitting in a group of women at roughly the speed of light, I was frantically pushing my screaming bundle of colic around in a stroller - hair unwashed - wearing the same clothes that I'd had on the day before - wondering if things would ever get better and terrified that things in fact were as good as they were going to actually get for a long long long time.....)

4:15: Inquire as to the time & realize that the hour and a half that I told Peggers I'd be gone has stretched to two hours and fifteen minutes. Invite Kim & Gryphon & Lia back to my house for tea/more chat.

5:00: Kim takes off to finish her homework.

5:15: I start making dinner - marinated steak & potato soup with spinach.

5:45: After talking her ear off, my manners finally catch up with my brain and I think to offer Gryphon something to drink. Nursing mothers = fluid depletion = MAJOR THIRST. To think that I could have forgotten this is something that I was quite embarrassed about!

6:15: Gryphon and Lia pack themselves up and leave, after lovely lovely lovely talk between the two of us that covered topics from knitting to mothers to babies to Americans to genetic biology to co-workers to silent films.

6:17: Munchkin & I wave goodbye to Gryphon & Lia as they drive home.

6:18: Walk into living room and stare at my husband in disbelief. "How on earth could I have not thought to invite Gryphon for dinner????? I stood there and cooked an entire meal in front of her and never even had the intelligence to ask her about it. I have the manners of a basket of dirty laundry these days!!!!!!!!!"

7:15: Take soup pot off stove & walk it to center of dining room table. Open bag of pre-washed spinach, dump in pot, and stir in. (Heat from simmering broth wilts spinach just enough so that spinach is cooked but not overly so!)

7:16: Set table, pour drinks & round up Munchkin & Peggers for dinner.

7:20: Finish settling Munchkin & get him eating his applesauce & crackers & blow on his soup to cool it.

7:21: Peggers spoons up his first bite of soup as I move to do the same.

7:21.5: "WHAT THE HELL IS THIS???????????????????????????"

7:22: Peggers looks up at me & promptly spits out his mouthful of soup.

My first thought: Oh lord, it was hiding in the bag of spinach.

My second thought: Thank GOD I didn't invite Gryphon to dinner!!!!

7:32: Eat roll & half a hot-dog as rest of meal - Peggers eats a bowl of Cheerios.

8:15: Put Munchkin to bed.

8:35: Drink two glasses of much-needed wine and eat half a container of chocolate ice cream as proper dinner while watching Stranger Than Fiction with Peggers .

10:15: Bed, after a very very very strange day.