Thursday, September 29, 2005

The art of growing up

On Sunday my kids and I had fun wandering through some stores. At one of the local craft stores we found some Plymouth Encore on clearance and picked some up for socks for M. I wanted to try my newly learned technique, 2 socs on 2 cirs out. I cast on Sunday night, worked on them throughout the day on Monday, and by Monday night cast-off:

1 day! Now granted they are done with thicker yarn, size 3 needles and with short cuffs, but still...1 day! I'm sold. My son tried them on and proclaimed that they were the best socks ever. They are a little big, so hopefully he can wear them for awhile (we are in growth spurt season now).
Now here is a little petpeeve of mine: obviously I love to knit. I don't think that my knitting should put me in the poor house, but I try to use it to enhance our lives. I can't say that it saves money, because that's just not true. By recycling yarn, looking for bargains, and generous friends, I have been very blessed to be able to knit with great yarns. Even if circumstances changed and I no longer had to watch my pennies so closely, my personality will probably continue to be careful with how I spend my money on my 'hobby'. (knitting seems like more than just my hobby, it keeps me sane, has brought great friends into my life, and allows me to use creativity to express my love for others). So here is what irkes me. The price of knitting seems to be going up. Sure Lion Brand is coming out with great yarns, but they are still not cheap. I try to take advantage of coupons in the craft store, but they don't carry alot of things that I need or want. The current example is circular needles, particularly the size 1 or smaller. To buy 2 pairs at the LYS would be at least $25, something that I just couldn't justify or afford right now. I bought the size 2 needles at a local craft store (20% off, making them $4 each). They are Susan Bates and amazingly are very nice. Once I realized that I really liked this technique, my Mom and I spent way too much time going to the various local craft store trying to find circular needles in size 1 and hopefully use a coupon. Eventually I returned to the original store and bought the size 1 at 20% off too. Now this could have solved my problem, but these Susan Bates were not at all like the size 2. The joint (between the needles and cord) is not smooth, so the yarn gets stuck. With no other place to try and look for other these needles, I called the company. They had no idea what I was talking about, but said they would send out new needles. Whether or not this will really happen, we will see. (It's been over a week since I called. Yes, I'm not patient here...I want working needles!! hehe). And the big question will be if these needles will be as nice as the size 2 I bought.
So what's the point of this long story? (ok, complaint) Where am I supposed to shop? When did knitting become a hobby that you needed to take out a loan for? Is there anyone else that feels this way?
Now I don't want to end my post like this, so I will share something new that has come into our house:

Deodorant for my boys. We had to smell alot before they both decided this was the best one. (Ironically found during our first visit to a dollar store...hehe). It seems we have made another step towards growing up. (sniffles)

Monday, September 26, 2005

New homes

I was very excited to hear that my sock pal Mary likes her new socks and that they fit! She left me a comment last week and now has pictures on her blog that show her wearing the socks. I'm so happy she likes them.
My brother also left a comment in the last post and put a picture up of the rug in their home:

The rug in the background was a wedding gift from my sister-in-law's sister.
So, I'm a very happy girl today. Two of my knits have found new homes where they are liked. (and in the comment my brother said he & Zhiqiu like the rug unblocked. hehe. Thanks guys).
Another thing that made me a happy girl is this beautiful pin:

My mom stopped by my house on her way home from visiting my brother. He and Z (or just Z?) had send this along for me to use with my shawls. Z remembered that I had nothing to close my shawl with the last time I was visiting them. How sweet is that?

Friday, September 23, 2005

A rug

Remember my brother's wedding? Remember the rug I was knitting them? (Wedding pics in the June archives. Rug pictures are in the July 21st entry).
One of my lovely personal flaws is that I seem to be behind in gift-knitting alot. Granted, it may be because I knit pretty much all the gifts for everyone in my family. Or it could be because I am always trying to knit 3,4,5, ok 8 things at once.
This rug though was fun to knit for several reasons. For one thing, I know that my brother and his wife like my knitting. (My brother wore holes in the first pair of socks I knit him. That has probably been the biggest compliment I've ever gotten about my knitting.)
Another reason the rug was fun, was because of the constant color change and the way the rug is set-up. Gotta love it:

(warning: rug is not blocked, cause that would have required leaving enough time for it to dry and I seemingly am incapable of that too. My mom is bringing them the rug and will block it there though)
The ends were a pain though. I think it took as long to sew them in as it did to knit. The next time I knit this rug, I'll make each square just 1 color. Although when I said this to my Dad, he thought it would take away the artistic feel of the rug. (how sweet is my Dad?)
The details: pattern is free from Interweave Knits (pdf file). I used Sugar & Cream yarn. I didn't follow the pattern exactly, choosing colors that fit my brother and his way and tried to avoid a few of the extra ends their pattern called for. I also have 1 less row.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

See you at the pole

This morning my kids and I went to our local High School to support those who met at the pole today:

It was a beautiful morning and alot showed up. I'm thankful for the example they showed my kids (and me).
1 Timothy 4:12 'Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.'

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The best toes?

I have discovered a new way of doing my sock toes and I love it. I had seen others do it this way, but being that I'm stubborn and don't like change, it took test knitting to get me to try it.
First I started with a provisional cast-on, but thanks to a tip I followed this video. This makes it so much easier and is quite quick too:

Then I did a short-row toe, my first toe done this way:

(for some reason the left side looks like steps. It's not really that way). I really like how the toe comes out this way. I think in the future I may do the toe shorter.
It is always exciting to learn a new way of doing something, especially when you like doing it the new way better. While trying to share my excitement with someone, I did seem to bore my cat to sleep though:

At least he is snoozing by a knitting book. The question around here now is: are those socks that are started, but not yet finished safe from being frogged? Or will I now want to re-knit them this way?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Friday Harbor socks for my pal

Guess who finished their sock pal's socks last Tuesday:

Here it is! (modeled by Q). No worries, I finished both:

Here they are blocking. I don't own sock blockers (yet), so I did it the old-fashioned way. And surprisingly that worked great:

I admit this is the first time I've blocked socks. But I want them to be as perfect as can be for my sock pal. The only problem is that I forgot how looong wool takes to dry. I blocked them on Wednesday and they are still a little damp today. So I will mail them Monday. (sorry sock pal!).
The yarn is Brown Sheep NatureSpun. A very soft yarn that I think I will use again for socks.
The pattern is Friday Harbor from 'Knitting on the Road' by Nancy Bush. I knit it toe-up, reversing the chart. I didn't knit as long, because I was unsure how long my sock pal likes her socks. I found that the best cast-off was the Sewn-cast-off (from Elizabeth Zimmerman - 'Knitting without Tears'). This cast-off showed the pattern best.
I think I will use this pattern again. It was easy and fun. (and my first lacy sock!).
I'll end my post with something that I taught myself this week:

Socks with 2 circular needles. I love it! This is a 'practice' sock, knit with yummy Mountain Colors yarn. It is now just about done, yet put on hold for a minute. And why did I finally cave and learn? Because I just finished reading 'A Good Yarn'? No, I am getting the privilege of test-knitting a sock pattern. (not the one in the picture). But more on all that later....

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Treasure finds

This past weekend my boys and I joined my parents at a carnival of sorts at my Dad's work. We ate a delicious lunch and my boys had fun with the kids activities:

M is in the green shirt in the back. They also had a garage sale of sorts there. Much to my excitement I found old knitting books (with patterns for 'tween' kids). When I brought them to the register, the kind lady told me I could just have them.

Upon showing my son the sweaters for the boys, he declared they were all girls, cause 'look at their long hair'. I had to explain the 70s to him then. (good times, good times....hehe).
A little later that day, my mother and I stumbled across another treasure find:

145 zippers for $2. I will never need to buy zippers for sweaters I knit again. The cool thing is that most of the colors are boy colors (actually all but 2), and since my boys prefer sweaters that zip up, this was an awesome deal.
My sock pal's socks are done. I'm going to block them today and mail them on Friday. I hope she likes them! I'll post pictures soon of the socks blocking. And the excitement is building to see my socks. (Hi pinkstockings!).
I will leave you with some knitting pics though. Here is my youngest wearing the sweater I knit him 3 years ago. On the front pocket is a cat and in the foreground is his best bud Jack, the cat.

I do believe that this will be the last year this sweaters fits. But being loved for 3 years isn't bad for a kids sweater, huh?

Friday, September 09, 2005

All grown-up?

Strange things are happening around here. Grown-up things. And they are being done by me! One example: this year, partly due to my own desire to hold onto my youngest just a wee bit longer, I have agreed to stand outside with my boys while they wait for the bus. I go out there, in my PJs, messy hair and my cup of coffee, and say hi to the neighbors, wave to the busload of kids that drive by and smile at the commuters as well. (we live on a busy-for-our-neighborhood street). Now this would have horrified me not that long ago, but now it barely fazes me.
So, I do believe my theory that you don't officially become an adult until you turn 30 is proving itself true. Another example is that your memory, umm, seems to fade quickly. You start forgetting things. Like maybe checking to see if the picture of the sweater you are about to take apart, actually turned out:

Oops. Then maybe you forget for, let's say a month, to have someone take a picture of you wearing the tank you made from the sweater. I think in realitythat I, deep down, wanted to pose this tank on the wonderful pink chair I inherited from grandmother. Yup, I did.

But, I did remember to get a close-up of the stitches. I just may have forgotten to make sure it was in focus:

And then seriously, who wants to get up and re-take pictures? I'm a grown-up now. I've got lots of other grow-up stuff to do. Like finish my sockapalooza socks. Take a shower. Do laundry.
maybe I'll just play a little bit today and finish my sockapalooza socks while watching a movie. I am afterall only 30 and a few months.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


For the 1st time in months, I drank my morning coffee without interruption. I showered without hearing 'Mom!'. And I will be going to the grocery store alone.
Yup, it is the 1st day of school here. The boys enjoyed a last lazy day yesterday, while I finished getting all the school stuff done:

That is pencil case #2. (I'm getting the bug to embroider more, especially after seeing the beautiful things that Amanda does).
And while my youngest was ready to end his 2nd grade career before even starting it, some fast talking got them both ready and out the door:

Let's see, which one is a morning person? M was making a face, because he was 'freezing'. Q was all happy because it was warm enough to go without a sweater. Silly boys. Then they waited patiently for the bus with the other kids (who are hidden in this picture):

And before anybody had to time to get anxious, the bus took them away:

And just like that the 1st day of school has started.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Counting down

Today my boys and I spent way too much time putting all their school supplies together. Organizing it the way they wanted it, labeling everything, and trying to figure out where to find bags that are 2 quart size. (found the 2 gallon size ones). My oldest son didn't want me to label anything with his name, while my younger son insisted we label everything. When it came to the very cool pencil cases their Opa got them, I finally managed to impress my oldest son. I followed his instructions and embroidered his first initial twice:

It's a Q and a backwards Q. (think mirror...hehe). My younger son is still busy trying to decide exactly how he wants me to embroider his name. There are so many ways, how can you choose just one?
In knitting news: It's basically all about socks still. I am starting to plan Christmas gifts though. And I hope to knit some Christmas stockings for the boys too.
I did finish a pair earlier in the week. (remember the yarn ick?). Here they are drying:

And a 'better' shot of them on top of the washing machine:

Not the best pictures, sorry. By the way, has everyone seen the new Magknits? I think I want to knit all their patterns. And I'm very excited that Magknits will start publishing new patterns every month. (how does Kerrie do it with 2 kids, a job, and now Hipknits too?). Anne also is offering a beautiful new sock pattern. I hope to knit a pair of these soon too.
So, the countdown for the 1st day of school is on. Only 3 sleeps away. The big question of course is whether or not my boys will remain as excited when they have to get up very early on that 1st day?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Last days of summer

The last few days before school starts and we are trying to have as much fun as possible. There is much reading, watching movies, puzzles, games, and knitting. (Ok, I am the only one knitting). Last night I was feeling the effects of a bad sinus cold. Oma and Opa saved me by bringing medicine. My boys decided to take matters into their own hands and had a slumber party:

Everyone found their comfy spots,

snuggled in,

and brought friends. There was a lot of giggling, some "shhh, Mommy is trying to sleep", and other fun. Then came the realization that lights needed to be turned off and the fact that big brother only has a little night light. This ended the slumber party and everyone eventually fell asleep in their own beds.
As I lay in bed myself last night, the fact that so many do not have the luxury of their own beds right now hit me hard. My heart and prayers goes out to all those affected by the hurricane this past week. No words can even describe the images we see.