Friday, August 31, 2007


Crafty Wednesday was Crewel. I haven't done much embroidery in a very very long time, I am not patient and so I have a short attention span if things are taking too long. Explains all the WIP's around here.

I had never done crewel and it is another fun one for me! My friend baked us mac and cheese (she makes the best) and a great salad and when we were done we got out the kits and started. She had picked up retro kits somewhere- these are great, the colors and style of mine is so 1972.

Simple seems to be what my very over-taxed brain is craving right now. I managed to get two repeats of the camisole's lace, time has been scarce and it's a pretty good stretch over 193 stitches. Considering it's a 4 row pattern, I am not bragging, I struggled to get that much done! Not my normal knitting style, I LIKE to count, have repeat patterns, to think about my knitting. But lately there have been so many distractions it's been difficult at best to knit.

I am also working on some mittens, getting close to finishing the second one. Christmas gift to put away. That's simple knitting, but time around here has been scarce. These are my portable knit. Simple little basketweave cuffs, something I will do again.

The first few weeks of school have been very busy for me. Lots of meetings, open houses, parent dinners and all that. It has been fun reconnecting with everyone, meeting some new faces and socializing. It should calm down a bit mid-September, and Mark will be home next week, giving me my girl's stitching weekend! A break I totally need. What a treat after the crazy last few weeks.

Unfortunately with my too busy life, the scale has not budged. I'm surprized it didn't actually go up, this week or so has been a doozy, and I am a big stress eater. I need to get moving, that's this week's goal, especially with the big weekend coming up. I'll have to show rerstraint to not blow it. (I want yarn though.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Step away from the needles"

The knitting police need to come arrest me.

And lock me in a padded room. Take away my needles and let me rest.

For reasons which I am having great, great trouble figuring out, the camisole has kicked my butt again. It seems that a 9-stitch repeat over 193 stitches (+ salvedge stitches) is just more than my brain can handle. I cast on, I counted three times, not including the counting stops while casting on. I knit each repeat as a unit, stopping in between. After 82 stitches, I thought to myself the needle looked a little on the small size, better go get my needle sizer thingy and check. Yep, the wrong size needles- this pattern uses three sizes to increase and decrease. Not a big deal, I was not even half way across the row. I have a feeling this little break was when I did something wrong. Because in spite of all my slow precise knitting, I was really distracted because I could have sworn I had the right size needle and where the heck did it go!?! I was continuing the row with the right needles, figuring it would work itself out and barely show in the end. And since this one's not going to be examined too closely when I'm wearing it, well, I don't care, and since I had finally gotten the right number of stitches cast on and it was going so well, I better not jinx it again.

This yarn does not want to be a camisole. Or it was trying to tell me I was using the wrong needle. Something beyond my control completely. Certainly not user error.

So, I have set it aside. It's in timeout on the couch and I will pick it up again and make another attempt to get the pattern working properly. I ended up a stitch short, counted again and had the right number of stitches, so somewhere there is a decrease to be made to make it work. This time I am going to round up all the stitch markers I can find and place a freaking marker every 9 stitches. Because I seem to be horribly challenged by this one.

In New Orleans news we are sitting on the anniversary of Katrina. Can it be two years? I've been in a time warp. Lots of pictures of our personal progress if you feel like browsing through the archives for the blog. Here's last year's post if you're interested. That lonely dangling ball of yarn really does me in. I mean, that thing sat there through all the demo. I should print out that picture and hang it by the window...

Also coming soon to a Border's near me is the Yarn Harlot. Should be an entertaining event. I'm confused if she'll be talking about her new book or what, but hey, a night out of the house with knitting in hand is always a good thing, she could be talking about motor oil and I'd go. I'll be taking full advantage of Marky Mark the next month in it's entirety. His plans changed due to circumstances beyond his control and he will be gone another week. So he's said he will be Mr. Mom as well as Completely Involved Daddy to make up for the extra time away.

Curious are you? Well, it's kind of gossipy, but, I'll share...

Mark had about as much drama last week as a strong silent type can handle before he blows. And blow he did. He's been dealing with the last of the repairs and had a Handy Man head up to the mountains to work. He brought along a helper, things went well for about 48 hours then man, did they disolve into sludge covered bits of Mark's sanity. Turns out Handy Man has a drug problem Mark was unaware of. His biggest reason to head to the mountains was to detox. It turns out that is not a good thing to do. Handy Man was calling me at all hours to yell about things I had had no communication about. So I mentioned this to Mark who had a talk with Handy Man, which, I understand to have been quite explosive, and Handy Man left in the wee hours of the night. Left his helper with Mark, who relayed the explanation of Handy Man's over the top mood swings. He also left his tools, which Mark's hanging onto for another day.

So Mark will be gone an extra week so we can just get that stupid total headache of a house finished, sold and out of our lives. So, I'll have lots of free time once he makes it back home. Until then I'll be sneaking in knitting moments when PeeWee's not looking.

Since I have no pictures of knitting or anything knitting related, I'll cheer things up here a bit with the new 'do. I was looking a bit tired and raggedy around the edges so when I went for my regular 'highlight so the gray blends in' appointment I gave my stylist a thrill and told her she could cut the goldy locks.



I've been told I look 10 years younger...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Third time's a charm... I hope

So twice now I have cast on for the camisole. 193 stitches. Twice I have ripped it back. It's the world's simplest lace pattern, I have no idea what I am doing wrong! I did the math, there are no pattern mistakes, no corrections, just me and my challenged brain. I should have finished it by now, but I can't even get it cast on. Oh well. Third time is sure to be the one. I am determined to get this thing done now.

Mark is still out of town working on the final bits and pieces of the flooded mess in the mountains. Sounds very close to the finish line. Which is good because our house here looks like a band of rabid monkeys moved in. Big Brother's band has a paid gig next weekend (!) and they switched a flaky band member for a more reliable one, whose parents I had never met before. Well, his poor mother had to walk through our house. Ahem, I was overly apologetic. We live in an interesting house, I will admit to a great flow and neat floor plan. Bright colors and some fab pieces of furniture (thanks mom!) one of those places people like to look around, and face it when you've never been somewhere before, you want to check it out. Unfortunately when the dining room table has a huge pile of junk on it and the family room looks like you have sextuplets with no rules, it's not a great time to bring in new people. Plus, we're the low rent house in a pretty nice neighborhood and I think people expect those kinds of houses to be slightly tidy. Pair the fact that I hate housework with the almost three year old demanding every minute of my day and you get the picture, not a clean house. I would rather play with the kids than clean up any day, but I was a tad bit embarrassed, ya know?

PeeWee is making any sort of knitting very hard. With Daddy gone she's been glued to my hip. Not that she wants my attention when I put away the needles, just when I am occupied... SO there's not much progress around here. We're just waiting for a break in the weather...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Yarn-a-licious Fun

Yesterday was Crafty Wednesday with one of my recently retired girlfriends. I like how she words that. She took a very demanding part-time job last summer which turned out to be a whole lot more than she bargained for and nowhere near part-time and decided this summer that she would be better off taking an early retirement for a while.

She came up with what I think is a brilliant idea for us to pick up some new creative skills every Wednesday afternoon. Yesterday we met at my house so it was my craft. I was totally thinking something messy involving plaster cast strips then the reality of the weather in my little alley off the kitchen at 2 in the afternoon hit me and I decided to head off to the craft store and find a more suitable airconditioning friendly project.

Since the idea of this was to try something new to us I went off through the aisles looking for needle felting supplies, which I found but not THE tool I was looking for. I figured I would keep looking and stopped when I saw the punch needle kits and supplies. Something I was a little intimidated by but still wanted to learn how to do.

Wow. I love it. Of course I want to make a rug or something equally over my head RIGHT NOW! We decided we could do embroidered pillowcases and throw pillows, rugs, whatever, we both decided this one was a winner. It was easy and we could do it right away, no down time learning how to do it, you just thread the punch and go to town. We got some giggle time out of our efforts, which AFTER reading the instructions improved greatly.

This is unfortunately another 'not around PeeWee' type project, sharp needle, threads that can be easily pulled out with one wrong move, all that. But it is a good bring the kids to the dentist, sit in the stands for sports events, induldge the husband in a movie he wants to rent kind of craft. If you can thread a needle and jab a pokey thing through fabric, you've got it made.

Since I last updated here (what 5 days!?!) I have started a few more snazzy knitting projects. I think I have to keep knitting out of control since I am not buying any new yarn for another 18 pounds down I have this irrational fear that my stash is going to dry up. Those gnomes in my studio who like to hide that last ball of yarn from me are also part of a clever conspiracy to make sure I run out of yarn. The faster I knit the less likely I am to run out. I do this when I think I may be short for a project too, I am sure I am not the only one, I keep going really fast thinking if I work faster the yarn will be less likely to run out. I don't know WHERE that comes from!

Anyway... Joan McGowan-Michael is pretty darn clever. One of the things I started is a panty from one of her patterns. I changed it a tiny bit to be sure it covers my derriere a bit better and I am using a cotton yarn instead of the silk it calls for. I'm planning on casting on for the camisole as soon as I get a few wrapped up projects actually finished. I'm going to have a weaving in of the ends party sometime this weekend.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Search and Rescue

I started a sweater for PeeWee, I grabbed two balls of yarn I had bought a while back (sticking to my diet!) and quickly knit up half a sweater. I went into my studio...

And panicked. I could not for the life of me find the other two balls of yarn. I looked all over the place, was really annoyed with myself for this- really why would I split up the balls of yarn in the first place? I went through every bag and box and container. Nothing. I was ready to call it quits, set it aside and hope the yarn tumbled out from somewhere in the great beyond, returned to me by the yarn gnomes who stole it in the first place, little demons!

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a giant Ziploc I had not noticed, hiding under some other debris. (follow the yellow arrow)

A bag of random balls of yarn. ::sigh:: I was hopeful! And indeed, I was rewarded for my massive effort. I found the two other balls of yarn. Phew! This is a quick knit, a top-down raglan bulky fiber, Patons Rumor, which is a nice blend. I love the Moonstone Heather colors. They are PeeWee-tastic! She is all over this sweater. If the temperature would just drop below 95 I might be able to try it on her. Until then I am going to have to be satisfied that it fits. I mean she's grown, but not THAT much!

**For those of you following my yarn diet, I am down two pounds! I really want to be able to shop outside my stash for my Christmas knitting, so I'm sticking to it!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Weekend plans... weather permitting, that is

I finished another preemie hat. And I set it down on my little messy corner of the kitchen until I got out the scissors and needle to finish the ends and looky here what I sat it down upon...

An invitation to an annual girl's only, no children weekend of drinkin' and stitchin'. Coming up in September. Most of the stitchers are needlepointers pulling a last weekend before it's too late to have projects finished for the holidays, but I'll be there with my needles in hand. My Hurricane Sock Party sock in fact, I've been waiting for this weekend to pull it out and finish it up.

The first weekend my friend planned I was pregnant with PeeWee, I happily went and was the designated driver to and from all the meal pickups since it was a lush-filled weekend. We were in Pass Christian, MS, a weekend place for a lot of New Orleans folks. We were in a newly built house for the weekend, watching Hurricane Ivan inch through the Gulf of Mexico, thinking surely it will miss us, they always turn the last minute. We were like Weather Channel junkies. We all went home, packed up for another evacuation and got in our cars to go inland a bit. A long weekend for the kids basically.

The second weekend, PeeWee was just a tiny tike, about 9 months old so I just zipped over to the Pass for the day, being a nursing momma and all. Once again there was trouble a brewing in the Gulf, looking much more like big trouble than some others before it. Little lady named Katrina you may have head of. We all went home, packed up for another evacuation and got wiped off the map. Pass Christian was the direct hit.

I think a lot of people think it hit New Orleans, but baby, we were on the GOOD side of that hurricane. It veered off to the Pass and we got the less rainy side. Had it been a direct hit, New Orleans would be slightly less rebuilt than it is now. I will not get into all that now though... because after the storm Pass Christian was pretty much destroyed. It's rebuilding though, and we're heading over there for another weekend. Fitting since this weekend a hurricane is supposed to make it's way into the Gulf.

Last year, for reasons I don't think need mentioning, there was no girl's weekend for our group. Instead we took our turns hosting stitching nights in town, my turn no one seemed to mind we were halfway through the renovations here, with plywood counters and no bathroom door. We're all family. I had a toaster oven to cook my roast in! I got good at it too.

Of course, we've got some time before the weekend's here, but keep your fingers crossed we still have a house to go to by then. We're all watching the Weather Channel while mentally making the lists of what's going to fit in the car this time around. I myself have a little evacuation tub filled with important papers, negatives, and disks of pictures. (And don't forget the bottle of Xanax) What's your plan?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Diet Motivation

I've lost a whopping 8 pounds this year. That's a whole pound a month for those of you who are math challenged. My goal is still 44 pounds away. I am very pleased that I have not gained 8 pounds, don't get me wrong! Because certainly when we were evacuated I chunked up a bit, about 15 pounds in fact.

Mark and I had a lot of chat time on our ten hour drive the other day and we're both going to get ourselves healthy again. We must, we're both a bit run down. And chubby. And just getting older. We figure if we take it easy and smart we'll both be able to drop a bit by the holidays. He thinks I can lose 2 pounds a month, a relatively easy thing considering how committed I have been so far this year. His goal for me is 20 pounds. Before you get mad and think, "he has a goal for her!?!!!?!" I have a goal for him too, it's 30 pounds. And since he thinks 20 is all I need to lose when I know it's double that, well, you gotta love him.

Since I am lazy with a capital "L", I had to come up with an alternate motivator. Two of them, in fact.

First, no more yarn OR pattern purchases until I have dropped the 20. Holy smokes, no yarn OR patterns? Outta my way, I need to find my exercise shoes! The only new thing coming into this house will be my Make One Sockaholics Anonymous! Paid for earlier this year, so it doesn't count as new.

Second, a couple of White Lies Designs patterns I bought before we left for vacation. Naughty ones. Things that are just not going to look that hot snugged over this almost three year old baby belly.

I'm looking forward to this challenge. I haven't been motivated enough just by looking in the mirror. The idea of no yarn is enough to make one m&m really satisfy me. For the week. Because I have this little addiction to fiber. I weigh in on Saturday mornings, so I hope I'll have some progress to share here. Any ideas for how you've lost it or are losing it or some other motivation will be gladly accepted too. Remember, this one's for the yarn.

And what have I been turning yarn into? All sorts of goodies!

PeeWee's newest favorite toy, a snazzy little sheep. A sheep which looks like a hedgehog. It needs ears, too. But we love it. A bit of tweaking and the pattern should be perfect.

And another pair of socks. Christmas socks in fact. It's so hot here it may be Christmas before I want to wear them. They are some yarn from last year's Rockin Sock Club, which I chose not to rejoin this year for different reasons. I think I have used the yarn well though. Kind of subtle in a way I like. Because I'm so subtle, you know.

Here's the progress on my father's Christmas gift, his orange vest.

I keep waffling on the pattern, but I really think he'll wear it as it is. He's all about color and really appreciates handmade things. If nothing else, he'll wear it when I am around. I like it so that works for me!

Monday, August 13, 2007


Blogger let me post pictures again, so here are the goodies from my Sockapalooza pal:

There is just no way to take a sexy picture of your feet:

But I DO love these socks!!

And inside that cute little froggy? Fabulous sock yarn and markers!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

Alright, my vacation was not a vacation. It was a slightly annoying trip.

We spent the first few days cleaning house. And I mean cleaning house! We washed the windows, which we can be sure had never been washed in 17 years. Gross, I know, but when siblings own a house together, lay out a wad of money to maintain it each year and get their one month alone there, they do not waste vacation time washing windows. Simply put. My brother rode up with us, and his wife stayed on a few days, so we had help, but these were 12+ hour long days scouring the house. And we have a cleaning service. Because obviously we are not the real cleaning sort.

We spent the next day pushed out of the house, but we did get to go on a garden tour of one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. A private garden of a man who has a lovely place up there. My brother's wife had bought tickets and realised the dates were wrong so she passed them on to us. I am so thankful. And the historic house tour went really well. It's a tiny town and they had over a hundred people come through!

So now we've been out of town for 4 days. So we were wiped out, and rested. We had another day to run around then Tuesday we had houseguests arrive. Except they didn't arrive until Wednesday. Big dinner, lots of cooking and people around.

Thursday my sister and her family arrived, same eating fest, visiting my parents next door, busy family day Friday with all the kids and then pack and drive 10 hours Saturday.

Today I am recovering before some high school stuff begins for Big Brother this afternoon. A meet and greet and orientation since he's going to a new school. Whew. I need a vacation.

While I was gone, my sockapalooza pal sent me the best goodies! Great socks, in Wick yarn, which is really yummy and a beautiful blue, a cute little froggy stuffed with more sock yarn and stitch markers and taffy and a great handmade card! Thanks Amy, you were a great buddy!

***Blogger is not happy with me posting any pictures, so I'll do that tomorrow. ***

Monday, August 06, 2007

Mountain knitting

There's nothing but time for me to knit up here, that and chase PeeWee. She's getting brave these days and she's willing to run off at a moment's notice, which up here might get us on the national headlines.

I finished the Mary Jacket

and Mark's socks

And that's all for now, I'm sitting in a parking lot where I can get on the internet and I think I've been here long enough so people are beginning to wonder... this IS a small town...