Friday, July 29, 2005

Away we go...

The boys, my mother, and I are off to visit the newlyweds.

See you next week!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


My older sister has always been incredibly cool to me. She could get up in the morning and look way more put together than I ever did. I wanted to dress like her, to have my hair turn out great like hers always did, I wanted to become her best friend. We are now grown-up and raising our own kids. The younger/older sibling system has still remained. Does it ever leave?
Upon arriving at my brother's wedding, we realized we had picked similar outfits. No one believed we did not plan it. Is it proof that we are more alike than we thought?

(please excuse the fact that you have to look sideways. I'm guessing that while downloading all the wedding pictures, my head started spinning and this looked normal - therefore I didn't edit).
All this is leading somewhere. To my sister's birthday present in fact. I asked her what she would like and she told me a tablecloth for her incredibly loooong table. (Seriously think of the Batman movie with Kim Basinger/Michael Keaton. Remember the whole date across the table?). So I thought about her request and decided to make her socks. Makes sense, right? Ok the deal was that I had this yarn left over from knitting my niece a pair and bought an extra skein so that I could make my sister a matching pair. That was over a year ago.
Anyways, I got the yarn out and tried to figure out what pattern to use. I really like the Rib and Cables pattern from the Fall 2005 Interweave Knits and I came across the Whitby pattern from Knitting on the Road. I wanted to use 64 sts and neither pattern used that amount. So I decided to combine them in a way: *k2p1c4p1*. The cable was done every 6th row.
Here is 1 sock and a skein:

And since I did not post before I finished the other, here is the finished pair:

(Ignore the legs that need shaving and lotion). Like a true Lorna's Laces sock, I had fun watching the colors make their own design. And to make sure the sock stays up, I changed to ribbing towards the top:

See the little mini-cables in the ribbing? I did those every 4th row, but it should have been every 3rd row.
I had forgotten how much I love this yarn. It is very soft and yummy. I really like how the socks turned out too. I hope my sister loves them.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Boys, spiders and flowers

This weekend brought new flowers in my freshly painted flowerboxes:

How yummy are they?
This weekend also brought much entertainment from my 6-year-old. I came across him digging through our winter gear today. Upon questioning him (and checking to see if he perhaps was suffering from an illness), I was told he needed protection from the spider in his toybox. I put on my brave face, pretending I was not also scared of spiders, and followed him:

The toy was found and upon returning the other toys to the container, the now-dead spider was found. Trying to keep my act of not being scared up, I ran and got our cats. I mean, they want to find spiders, right? And Dad, I promise: I did not jump on a chair, scream, or even talk in a shaky voice. (until I went to the bathroom at least). The things a mother does for her boys! Her brave boys at that.
I also realized that I was using the same number of stitches for my socks that I was for my older sons socks. He is 8. Just to prove this to myself, I asked him to try on my sock:

(He kept his other sock on, just to let you know that he usually wears boy socks). My sock is on the left. It's actually a little long for me on the foot-part too.
It seems my boys are growing. I try to tell them to stop, let me enjoy these years a bit more. They are both becoming more independent and self-sufficient. I love to watch them learn all the little things that life has to hold, listen to them read to me, and know that at the end of the day they still request to be tugged in and get a 'Mommy-kiss'. And just like Mary did, I treasure all these things and ponder them in my heart. Each day as a mother remains one of the greatest gifts I was given.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Any thoughts?

I'm still working on finishing up my brother's wedding gifts. I wanted to knit them an afghan, more specifically a red afghan. Red is my sister-in-laws favorite color and I thought they could use it to cuddle with. (my brother cuddle? hehe). But I could not find any yarn in red that would work. So, I decided to knit a couple of little things in red. Kinda of a way for her to feel more at home in a previous bachelor-only home. I gave them a washcloths in red already, but forgot to take pictures. (used Reynolds Saucy - which is awesome for washcloths).
The next item I'm working on is the Mitered-Square Rug (pdf-file) from Interweave Knits:

Here is square #1 blocking. My issues so far: 1. Somehow the top corner just doesn't align well with the rest of the square. It sticks out. It is not as obvious in the picture and blocking helped a little. (but not to the point where I'm satisfied). 2. I wanted to pick colors that went with red and kinda fit what I think are still the colors in their house. Now I'm wondering if they look as great together as I thought?
I'd love any input or ideas on this. It is quick to knit (square took 1 hour), so once I get past these issues, it is possible to finish this before we leave to visit the newlyweds next week.

While running to Target to buy my boys plain white shirts for some funky tie-dyeing today, I stopped at a garage sale and found this:

It looks like it is handcarved, yet has no markings. The owner said it used to be her mothers (who had really loved it and had it for years). I love how it rocks and shows the simple joy of motherhood. Anybody seen one like this before?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Letting my socks out

This post is more or less for pinkstockings, in response to her comment. ;-) I will love any socks that you choose to knit for me. I have no problem with handwashing the socks either. And to either help, and hopefully not confuse you, I thought I'd pull out all my socks and show you:

Here they are with my favorite shoes. Each sock has a story. And just to bore you (and since my kids were not interested in hearing it), here the scoop from left to right:
1. The striped pink yarn was a gift in a past bottleswap. These were my first toe-up socks and since they are thicker than most of my other socks, they were super quick to knit. (you can read about them in my March archive). I still have not worn these, but various family members have used them for slippers and say they are very cozy.
2. The pink/turqouise ones. This yarn (Lorna's Laces) was my 1st e-bay purchase. My LYS was very low on their stock of LL and this opened my eyes to the world of e-bay. The pattern is Dublin Bay from Mossy Cottage Knits. I made these while traveling to visit my sister with my parents. And for some reason these socks bring back memories of great conversations with my Dad.
3. The red socks. This yarn (Opal) was given to me by my knitting buddy, who is seriously the best knitter I know. She bought the yarn in Germany (where I was born and raised until 3rd grade when we moved to Austria), making them extra special to me. I love how the Broadripple pattern enhances the stripes. The really neat thing is that I knit another pair of these (my Mom has those) for the Six-Sox group and won a copy of the pattern autographed by Rob.
4. The maroon/gray ones. I bought this yarn (Froehlich Wolle - Die tolle Wolle) at a little LYS close to me. I love this yarn and was sad to hear it was discontinued ages ago. I made my Dad a pair from this yarn (different color) too. These were one of the 1st pairs I made for myself. I started them during a time that school was very stressful and I needed to give myself a treat. I put a movie in for my boys and went and cuddled up in my bed and knit away. Now everytime I wear these socks I feel relaxed.
5. The light pink ones. This is also Lorna's Laces yarn, which I bought at my LYS. These were knit while studying for my African-American History final. My favorite part of these is the ribbing at the top. They are little cables. The rest of the sock is just plain stockinette, since I had to be able to read and knit.
6. The last socks are one of my favorite. They are Regia Disco. I bought the yarn from Bonnie's Spinning Wheel (a very friendly, great store) on our way to our vacation spot. I think the yarn is hilarious. I remember during my teen years there was a disco near the town we lived in in Austria. Being a pastor's daughter and a bit too young, I never actually saw the inside and the curosity has remained with me. I'm not a bar/club type of a girl, so I find the curosity I still have amusing. When I saw this yarn, in very conservative browns, I knew I had to have it. I can wear them and remember to enjoy the little parts of me that make me unique. (and according to my siblings wierd....hehe).
So there you are. The stories of my socks so far. This past week I also actually started 2 socks for me:

The black pair is the Opal yarn my Dad found last week. I used the Peak Experience pattern and added 8 stitches when I got to the leg. You can see the how the pattern/colors actually look diferent because of this. But, the 8 stitches made the leg way too big and I'm not sure if this is the best pattern for this yarn. So, these socks are on hold.
The other pair are ones I started at the beach on Saturday. I realized that working on my son's red wool socks in the hot sun was crazy. So, I quick grabbed this Sockotta yarn (purchased on e-bay ages ago) and started this pair. I saw this ribbing on someone's blog (can't remember who) and I really liked it. The colors are also really fun. One also begins to wonder if I have huge feet after looking at this picture. (I do, sorry pinkstockings).
I have yet to knit recycled socks. But, I did buy an old Woolrich sweater that had been well-loved. It will become socks for my brother for Christmas.
Wow, either I'm way too sentimental or have too much time on my hands, huh? To prevent you from pondering this question, here is a picture of my father with my youngest son:

This was taken on our way home from the beach this weekend. It is a tradition to stop for ice cream on the way home. As my son was eating his, he suddenly said: 'Look Mommy, I have a white beard over my mouth - just like Opa's!'.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


The last few days I started some socks for myself and have been planning my Sockapolooza socks. I've decided on the pattern for my pal:

I've also narrowed down the yarn I want to use. Of course the yarn is not available here in town, but I have a few road trips and a mini-vacation coming up that will include searching for this yarn. More on that later.
The fun part of planning these socks is that I know that somebody (Hi pinkstockings!!) is making socks for me. I'm so excited (you know that Tom Cruise - jump on couches - kind of excited).
My older son choose a more subdued way of showing his excitement about his new socks. Here he is standing by the couch:

(Fortissima Colori yarn; size 1 needle; 64 sts). These were first introduced way back in June. They went with me through all the wedding preparation and were finally finished on July 3rd. They have already been worn a few times, leaving this mommy wondering how her boy can wear wool socks in the summer.
That is, of course, part of the reason that these socks were created:

(Regia plus cotton yarn; size 1 needle; 64 sts). Here you can see the socks being put to good use. He loves them alot and upon showing Opa (my Dad) his socks, he offered Opa a pair knit by me. Yes, I've become a sock machine. This was further proved when, while shopping in Target this week, my younger son walked by the sock aisle and stated: "We don't need these socks Mom, we have you. You make the best socks, don't you Mom?". Did you catch that? At 6 he has learned how to charm his way into my heart and get hand-knit socks while he's at it.
So, I've got a pair started for my charmer. They are red and I will use the great Chutes and Ladders pattern from Six-Sox knitalong. I should get lots done today, since we are on our way to the beach/lake. Check out the view I had last week:

It's my charmer trying to build a sand castle.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Recycle me

I love old, recycled things. My house is filled with things my family has handed down to me. I love the memories that come with these things. I enjoy garage sales and thrift stores. I always feel like I'm on a treasure hunt. So this past year, after losing the 50 pounds I gained returning to college 3 years ago, I realized I didn't have much to wear. Spending lots of money on clothes for me seems crazy, especially when I have 2 boys who are growing out of everything they own faster than I can replace it. And after buying a few tops at garage sales, I discovered that apparently others like to show their bellies or I am taller than most.
So what does a desperate to look half decent, yet stay within my spend no money lifestyle (hehe) Mom do? I take advantage of the big dollar sale at the local thrift store and buy sweaters that will become my new summer tops.
Here is sweater #1:

This was a Yarnworks, 100% cotton white sweater. Very soft and the yarn became even softer after I washed it. I used size 5 needles and knit it in the round. I took the idea from a pattern in Creative Knitting magazine (May 2005) and changed it to fit my measurements and gauge. It took me about a week to knit.

Here is a shot of me wearing it. This was taken during our picnic lunch with my Dad today. Excuse the weird look on my face. I was trying to look 'natural'. (??) I've worn it a couple of times and it has stretched and needs to be washed. So the fit is not as good as it was, but you get the idea. I have 3 other tanks that are in the process of being knit and I'm officially addicted to this recycled yarn thing.
And thank you so much Carrie and Jessica for the tips on how to put more than 1 picture in a post!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Simple pleasures

I believe it's the little things that make life fun. The unexpected phone call from a friend to just say Hi; a chocolate gifted to you by your equally chocolate-loving son; the surprise change of a lock to make it easier for the boys to get into our courtyard (thanks Dad!). Today was one of those days that had lots of little surprises. A picnic lunch with my Mom, and she brought brownies for desert (yummy); discovering a box of old, once too small clothes that fit me now again; my Dad stopping by for supper and fixing my bedroom fan. Now upon fixing this fan, he needed to move my yarn shelf (converted from the old shoe shelf that used to be in my walk-in closet). Behind it he found this:

Knocked over I'm sure by Miss Thang (our cat) herself. As my Dad picked it up, he said: "One of your skeins fell back here." Not only did he pull out an Opal skein, but he called it that!! Seriously, remember those days when you were a little girl and you thought your Dad was the best, coolest man in the world? It was one of those moments. Of course the fact that I was so excited and couldn't even remember that I had this yarn - as I was near singing and crying out of pure joy, probably made him worry a bit about me.
Then as I was watering my plants, I discovered my 1st strawberry!

Let me warn you - I'm a knitter, not a gardener. My garden is a result of my father taking pity on me and planting beautiful flowers. I'm doing my best not to kill any of them.

This is my boys at the park today. They were thrilled to discover someone had left an empty box there. The simple pleasures of life.

Monday, July 11, 2005

A mother's love

My 8 year old, oops, I'm sorry - he's 8 1/2 now, knows what he likes and what he does not like. I adored dressing him in what I wanted until he turned 1. Then he started slowly voicing his opinion and refusing to wear certain things. Hey, I figure that's good. I'm 30 and still can't figure out if I like wearing certain things. The summer he was 2, he started insisting on wearing socks all the time. We did the whole socks with sandal thing until some kid in kindergarten told him that was weird. Then he decided he liked leather flipflops, but only when he was swimming or dying of heat. Thus began my yearly search for the perfect leather flipflops. An idea started forming to figure out how to knit him socks he could wear with his flipflops and before I had to think too hard about it, Spun confirmed it could be done with their summer sock collection. My son really liked the idea. And on Saturday I put everything else aside I was working on, dug out some cotton sock yarn, and started his socks. This morning I finished the 1st one:

The ends still need to be sewn in, but it fits. The sock is 64 sts around, knit on size 1 needles. I used the short row heel, and measured his toes to determine the stitches needed for each section. I didn't follow the Spun pattern afterall, since I am out of ink in my printer and didn't want to go look it up when I got to the toes. But I think I did ok. I started with the big toe and took 12 sts from each of the front and back needles, adding a couple of stitches in the middle. For the rest of the toes I took the leftover stitches and picked up stitches in the middle where the 2 meet. I decreased on the edge as I went to help the sock curve in with the toes. I should go read the Spun pattern now to see how they did it.
My son loves the sock so much, he wanted the 2nd one right away. 'Or should I give you an hour, Mom?'. Also notice the leather sandal that I hunted everywhere to get it in his size, even including my sister and friends in the search. (they live in other towns).We finally found it on a spur of the moment stop to get pop on the way to the wedding. (everybody stops to get their pop at Target, right?).
My son and I discussed the length the leg should be. He prefers the leg long, I'm like 'it's summer dude'. We compromised with a 3 1/2 inch leg that covers his ankles. (I did show him the socks that Wendy made her husband to show him guys will wear ankle socks. But it's just not for him).
I've made him 2 others pairs of regular socks that I've finished in the past 2 weeks. I'll post pictures of those very soon. This particular pair will get lots of wear and tear in the next couple of weeks. And I think this pair lets him know that his opinions and feelings matter. When he grows up and is off playing one of the many sports he rocks at, I hope he keeps coming back to his mother looking for more socks. And I'll keep pouring all my love into making them perfect for him. Cause that's what mommies like to do, right?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Fun stuff

Finally I have working batteries in my camera, so I can show you knitting, yarn, and other fun stuff:

The yarn (Knitpicks Sock Landscape) and the 'M' notepad (how cool is that?) is from Carrie's bootie contest. There was candy (huge smarties!), but they are gone. I was/am so excited to receive the yarn, since I have been really wanting to try the new Knitpicks yarn. Thank you again Carrie. I've been carrying the yarn with me everywhere and showing it to everybody. I can't wait to knit with it!
The flowers in the picture are from the wedding. The sheep notebook is from one of my knitting buddies. It is great for keeping track of all my little knitting notes. The little swatch is my new Cable-8 attempt. I think this is the winner and hope to be able to cast on officially soon.
And the red thing underneath is my recycled red tank. It was a turtleneck sweater, so I assumed it was wool. I was going to make socks out of it, when I realized it was 100% cotton. So I'm sorta following the Seed Stitch Shell pattern from the Spring/Summer 2005 Vogue Knitting. I've knit up the armholes and am now trying to decide if I want the neck shaping to be the same as this pattern. I've got more stitches than the pattern (smaller needles/gauge), so I have to do some changes anyways.
It's little gifts and memories like these, and the people who send them or who are a part of our lives that remind us the good in this world far outweighs the evil.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


What are the right words to say after today? My heart goes out to all those affected by today's events in London. It's days like today that I feel so helpess. And it's days like today that I hug my children tight and never want to let go.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


I'm finally back from a long weekend spent with family. There was lots of talking, knitting (me), sunburns, outdoor games, coffee, nieces and nephew, chocolate, and a son in a parade:

The cute boy in red is mine. Yup. He was in the parade with his cousin and got to hand out flyers. In fact he is handing a flyer to his brother and cousin in this picture.
Today I will take pictures of my finished knits and get my things organized again. Then I will finally start talking more about knitting again. And believe me I've got lots to blab about. Like all my thoughts about what my ideas are for my Sockapal-2-za pal's socks (so exciting!); my cable-8 (it's probably bad that I bought pants that will match it, before I have officially gotten beyond my notes, drawings, and swatches); my finished recycled tank; those finished 4th of July socks (Lorna's Laces Liberty); and more. But first I must attack that huge pile of laundry, water my plants, take naps, and find the grocery store again.