Thursday, February 28, 2008

One more day

Till payday--and the end of February!!!!!

I'm looking forward to brighter days and better mental health.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's freaking cold and windy tonight.

That is all.

It had better be.

Future socks

I love these socks. I found them on Ravelry, waited till the pattern was published in English (they were originally in German, and I'm sure that my annoying, begging emails did nothing to hurry the process), and decided that I can actually probably knit them.

Bremen Muster
(link to Ravelry page--if you aren't registered there yet, let me know and somehow I'll figure out how to get it to you.)

I'd planned for them to be the next socks I knit; they're so colorful and perfect for just about any of my stash of sock yarn. Except Passion. They're not right for the Passion.

My quest continues. Thank you for the pattern suggestions and life-saving measures so far!

Amended to include link to pattern. I have to knit these soon!

Passion--and a CONTEST!!!

We all need a little passion in our lives, no? Especially when it's February and dreary and no hope of anything like warm weather here for 3 months, and then it's just a tease.

So this will be the basis for my next project. It will be socks, but I don't know what pattern yet. I might try Monkey all in knit, no purls, but it just can't be more knit3purl1 ribbing all down the freaking leg.

Any suggestions? I've never knit a cable and don't want to start now; I need something relatively mindless, since I am relatively mindless by this time.

Description from etsy:

"Passion. Have you lost that loving feeling? Have you got too much of that loving feeling? Need something more to get you through the day? Try adding a little Passion to your life….or your stash. Passion is 100% superwash, fingering weight, merino wool. Dancing from red, to black, to purple, to deep magenta, this colorway captures all those roller coaster feelings. Wrap this 95 grams (+/- 440 yards) of pure passion around your tootsies today. "

Whoever comes up with the best pattern/suggestion for this yarn will win 2 skeins of Claudia's Hand Painted Yarn, my choice. Also, the best suggestion for chasing away the Will Spring EVER Come? blues will get a prize, who knows what yet, but it'll be something.

UPDATE: I guess I should put a deadline on this. How about Saturday, March 1, any comment marked "Saturday, March 1" is fine; no need to worry about time zones.

Hey, that means that February will be over. Over! On to March!

And if you want extra chances to win, link to my blog from yours and tell me you did so. And if someone finds this from your blog, tell them to tell me where they found this, yadda yadda yadda the usual contest rules. And you can enter as many times as you like. I need help here, people!

Almost D O N E !

Identical Sock #7, for your viewing pleasure.

I've cast on for Identical Sock #8. I'm this close to finishing these chains around my neck and going on to something fun, probably socks with this yarn:

That worked well. Turns out I didn't take a photo of it. Let me see if I can find it.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Get me out of here, con't

Remember the nasty kid who was in here on Thursday spreading Germs of Doom? He's back. Leaving class again because he's too sick to be here, but for some reason this morning he decided it was the Right Thing to come on in and share more Germs of Doom with the rest of us.

Some of us would like to avoid catching anything more than we already have, thankyouverymuch, Nasty Kid.

The knittin' blues

Right now there's nothing that I want to knit. I hate it when that happens. I think it was caused by having to knit 4 pairs of socks from the same yarn. I have nothing against the yarn; it's soft and pretty and I enjoy knitting with it. But 4 pairs of socks in knit 3 purl 1 ribbing? I want to try something different, something for ME. Something of bright colors.

By the way, I'm so over those little doggie legwarmers. I tried the one I'd sorta finished on a little Yorkie, and it was too small. Damn. Just FIDO.

I'm not FUBAB!

At least, not today. I won a runner-up prize on . Don't know what I won, but I won. And that keeps today from being FUMTU.

Thank you, mspalmtree, for saving my day.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why do I find these so funny?

FIDO - Fuck It-Drive On (or Forget it-Drive On when censored)
FUBAR - Fucked Up Beyond All Repair/Recognition
FUBB - Fucked Up Beyond Belief
FUMTU - Fucked Up More Than Usual
JANFU - Joint Army-Navy Fuck Up
TARFU - Things Are Really Fucked Up
SNAFU - Situation Normal: All Fucked Up
FUBAB - Fucked Up Beyond ALL Belief
FUBIJAR - Fucked Up But I'm Just A Reservist

Am I just plain FUBAB?

Oh please please please

Puppy love

I found the perfect model for the legwarmers when they're done (as if). Claudia's dog, Bitsy. I think they'll fit perfectly.

And Bitsy is an attention whore who'll roll over for anyone who'll rub her tummy.

Get me out of here!

For the love of God, don't parents teach their little monsters to cover their mouths when they cough? I mean, this kid is in high school, he has a nasty something or other, probably the freaking flu since that's what several hundred others have had lately, and he's sitting here waiting for Mama, coughing away, spewing out germs by the million.

I've had enough. How much longer till I can retire and receive my full benefits? Less than 5.5 years, actually; 4.5 if I buy back that first year when I thought I'd never work for a school again so I took out the whole $160 that I'd contributed to the Virginia Retirement System. Now it'll cost $1250 to buy it back, but I'm thinking it would be worth every penny.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy birthday, Baby Girl!

Okay, you're not a baby, but you're my only daughter, so that automatically makes you my baby girl.

Thirty-six years ago tonight you were born, during a huge snowstorm and after only 2.5 hours labor, my first child. This was back when the doctors still sedated the hell out of women (I know, you wish that your kids were born during that mindset) and I couldn't move from the waist down. Push? Huh? How? Using what muscles? I couldn't feel them.

The doctor had also forgotten just how nearsighted I am, and he held you up for me to see you. Then he remembered, so he touched you to my nose. I know that fact thrills you; maybe that's why bleach wipies play such a huge part in your life. Then you were wisked away to the nursery. It was a bit before I actually got to hold you. I'd been waiting so long for that moment.

But I'd heard your cry, and every time they brought the babies down the hall to their mommies, I could tell which one was you. (This was also before rooming in was even allowed, probably not even thought of in our small town.) You were my beautiful baby girl, and I loved you so much.

You're still my beautiful girl, and I still love you so much. Happy birthday, sweetie.


Yeah, I'm obsessed. Again. What is it with me? Why does this happen? And why does it happen in my sleep?

Friday night I kept dreaming about knitting those cute little doggie leg warmers. They're totally useless, but they're so damn cute. So all night I'm dreaming about them. When I finally dragged my @ss out of bed, I knew I had to knit them. Right then.

So I fiddled with them all day. All day, people. I tried different weight yarns with different size needles. I finally chose Claudia's Chocolate Cherry puffy fingering, size 2.5 US needles, and went to town.

After we came back from town (haha, Franklin, if you need to know), I kept working on the first of those little suckers. How can something with such a simple pattern be such a pain in the ass? It couldn't be because I'm knitting something totally useless and wasting my good yarn, could it? It couldn't be that damn obsession. It couldn't be the wine. I don't drink that early in the day.

Anyway, by bedtime, I had one tiny useless legwarmer, minus the useless ribbon that won't hold it up on any dog's leg, but it'll be adorable. I tried it on Zippy but he tried to hide, running without putting any weight on that foot, and no it wasn't too tight. It was too humiliating. This from a dog who regularly puts up with humiliation.

I managed to get the second useless one started last night, but I just couldn't finish it. That flu-shovel hit me again and I had to go to bed even earlier than usual on a Sunday night.

Pray for me. I don't want to go through my entire stash making useless leg warmers. Please send help. And wine. Red. I'm going to need it.

Prize for blankie squares for Elisa's dad

Claudia's, of course.

Spring Break colorway. Approximately 175 yards per 50-gram skein. It'll take one skein per sock.

Sorry about the crappy photos; it was a dark and stormy night dreary day, inside and out, so these will have to do. It really is a lovely yarn, and I have enough left to make some socks for ME!

Winners will be announced at maryse's website when she finally digs through the mounds of squares she's received.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Days Go By is having a contest for her 300th blog post. Go check it out, and tell her I sent you!

P.S. Scroll down; she has some pretty photos of a beach.

Homeschooling, anyone?

My daughter is thinking of homeschooling A, who is 8 and in the second grade. They live in Orlando. Where does she start? What support is there for homeschooling? How has it worked for you? Have your kids later gone to public schools? How about state-mandated testing? Like the SOLs (so appropriately abbreviated) in Virginia, and the FCATs in Florida (the first letter is also very appropriate, I think)?

Anyone have any experience? Cass does, and she's promised to write about it in her blog. I can't wait; Cass is the homeschooling goddess, in my humble opinion.

I anxiously await help! (Wait, isn't the Effexor supposed to take care of that anxiety? Bad time to be fiddling with the dose.)

Friday, February 08, 2008


You can bet

that the first project I make from Pampered Pooches will be those darling leg warmers!

And the winner is......


I haven't bought yarn since I bought some of Claudia's back in September or so. I haven't needed to buy yarn. I have plenty. I didn't plan to buy any yarn (although thoughts of nice, soft superwash for babies was becoming an obsession). But last week, the woman for whom I'm knitting the I'm Done socks told me that our favorite (and only 3 years old) LYS is going out of business.

I may have written about this before. I have no brain cells left that aren't full of song lyrics from the 60s, along with who wrote what song and what the flip side of the record was. But that's another story. I may write it someday, if I can remember it.

Okay, looks like I didn't mention that my favorite LYS is going out of business. So, now you know.

There have been 3 yarn shops in this small city for the last three years. Two opened at the same time, which was unfortunate, because the larger one already had a following from the small shop the owner had a few miles down the road. I would have thought that they could all coexist peacefully and continue into infinity; they have different types of yarn, different types of knitters, different philosophies. (philosophy? Why, yes, I use philosophy products, and if anyone out there wants to buy a gift for someone special who could really really use a neck lift and a new decollete, here's a good place to start.)

Where was I? Oh, the LYS.

ANYway, since I've been such a bad customer for the last year (I had big hopes when she opened, but a yarn diet dashed those), I felt obligated to go in and buy what I could, especially since some of the prices are really good. Most things were 25% off, but some of the yarn was 50-75% off, and I found some bargains. Including some of that superwash I've been dreaming about.

I'd seen this before online and thought it was cute, so I bought it for A so she can have the darling knitting needles and I can have the darling book of doggie patterns:

Closeup of the needles:

I'd love to have them for myself, but I have to be reasonable; I don't like to use straight needles, and these are the right size for A. I'm not dumb enough to harbor hope that they'll last forever and she can pass them down to her daughter or granddaughter, they'll probably get lost when B2 takes them to play Tower of Terror or Doggie Rides the Monorail, but they're cute and they weren't expensive.

Next, some luscious Bam Boo that's soft and coral (a favorite color of mine) and I don't know what I'll do with it, but it was half off and I had to have it.

Lily Chin superwash in a dark sapphire:

Only 3 balls, unfortunately. I was envisioning a hat, sweater, and booties for a teacher's new baby boy.

Last, more superwash, a deeper, maybe grayer blue, in Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride bulky, the first of this brand I've had:

There. My conscience is appeased. And I have superwash to play with. Win-win, if you ask me.

A dog's life

There's hope

See thos tiny spots? They're geese. Flying north. And Bessie, the old mommy deer, has lost all of her winter fuzz (except that odd rectangular clump on her neck).

Dare I even hope???

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Remember the Kliban Cat? We have our own.

Or is that Bill the Cat?

Rippin' socks

I've bragged so much about these damn socks that it was inevitable that I hit a snag.

This is the second set of mother and daughter socks from Claudia's Blue Sky fingering, and I've loved the colors and the yarn and the general knitting. Until it hit.

The lady who commissioned the socks (and I'm not going to spellcheck that, either; that's just the mood I'm in) gave me a piece of paper with her foot outlined and "size 10 ladies" written on it. Now I'm a size 8, and my foot fit that little drawing perfectly, so I knew that I couldn't go by that. A simple "10.66 inches" was all I needed, which is what I got from a chart I found online. So I knit the first sock, measured, knit some more, measured some more, kept knitting until I thought it was safe to decrease for the toes.

So I decreased. And when I measured the sock against my foot, it was more of a size 9, maybe. Definitely not a size 10.

The lady tried it on and it was just a tad too short, so, being the accommodating creature that I am (Tom, don't you laugh at that), I told her I'd take the toe out (after all that careful grafting and making sure the seam would never ever come undone) and make it longer. But first, I knit the second sock, measured it repeatedly (usually it was shorter each time) (how on earth does that happen? It always happens.), was satisfied that it was long enough, and decreased for the toe. Got to the grafting part, and get this--it was shorter than the first sock. Shorter.

The air was blue that night. I ripped that damn toe out, picked up those damn stitches, and reknit that damn toe, this time longer. And longer. And longer. I swear, it had better fit this time, because I'm done with those socks, including the first one, which I ripped out last night (without cursing too much, which was pretty good considering that I'd spent two days working in the school's attendance office which is the school version of Hell and considering that I've been decreasing my dose of Effexor XR, hoping that I won't feel as stupid) (yeah, that's working real well, isn't it?) and started reknitting. It only needs to be .5" longer, although it could be 6"; at this point I'm not sure. And I don't care.

But there's a silver lining; I've heard that Claudia's fingering skeins aren't long enough for a bigger sock, and I've worried that I'd have to switch to a new skein at the toes of these size 10s. I hate having to weave in ends on socks; there just doesn't seem to be a comfortable place to put the ends. But I had over a yard of yarn left! More than 36"! And I didn't make the legs short, either. I made them the length I like, which is pretty long according to most sock patterns. I don't want my dry winter legs peeking out between my socks and my slacks.

So that's good news for the second sock. Now I just have to finish the first, which was, you might remember, too short and had to be ripped apart so I can make it longer, which means I'll have to have two more ends to weave in somewhere in the toe area. *sigh*

One pair of toddler socks and I'm done with this order. I'm so done.




But they're so pretty. I can't stay mad at them for long.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Textured rib stitch

Okay, I'm so pleased with myself for actually trying a new stitch that I have to show it off in better (I hope) photos. I'm also tickled that it turned out so well, especially for this project. I've got to use it again. I don't think that I can give the pattern here (even though it's only a 4-row repeat, since it's published in a book, I guess it's a no-no to reprint it), but you can find it on page 64 of The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd, no doubt available at your friendly local and online bookstores).

Closeups of the stitch:

I think I've found the pattern for my next scarf. It wasn't that hard to do while watching tv, I only cursed a little while knitting, and I love the look.

I tried something new and it worked, for once!

Blanket squares

It's so cool the way that friends can be made just by reading what they write. I love to read blogs, knitting blogs, mommy blogs, doggie blogs, just about any kind of blog, and I've met some wonderful people that way. I'll probably never meet most of them in person, but just the same, they're friends.

It's happened many times before, blog friends banding together to help friends who are in need, whether it's financial need, a virtual hug, a get-well gift, whatever is needed at the time. This time it's blanket squares. Maryse started the blog blanket for Elisa's dad, and it's amazing the response to her request. Elisa's dad might get a king-sized blanket, or maybe two blankets. It's heartwarming and just plain old warming for her dad!

So here are my three contributions; I'd make more, but but I need to get them in the mail this week. I just wish I had more superwash yarn in any color but pink (probably 10 skeins of pink), which is great for little girls (big ones, too) but notsomuch for an older man. And Claudia doesn't dye superwash yarn, so all those delightful yarns are out. (The blanket/s will be washed in a hospital's laundry, so plain old wool is just not an option.) (Unblocked so far, of course; I hate blocking anything, which could explain why so many FOs are still in plastic sweater boxes, unwearable.)

From the left: some peachy superwash left over from (forgive me, Elisa) a doggie sweater for my elderly Pookie several years ago; probably mostly acrylic left over from my very first pair of handknit socks; and my favorite, a gorgeous sapphire blue that I'd bought for a baby hat that was never knit. I used a textured rib pattern that I found in Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, a book that has an incredible assortment of patterns that can be translated into any size needles but has totally intimidated me (too many charts, and charts = math to me, and I just don't do math).

So, off to psyching myself up to blocking some squares. In spite of having to (ugh) block, I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to pass along a little knitterly love. Pay it forward, you know.

Nana's stash

I come by this honestly. The stash thing, I mean. My mom's mother, Nana, was a born crafter. She bought and saved patterns from newspspers back when the paper had a new crochet pattern offered every day, and she had a stack yeay high of books of crochet patterns. And, of course, she kept a nice stash of yarns and crochet threads.

When Nana died, Mom offered me The Stash, which I scarfed up, of course. Like Nana, I might not use all of the things in it, but I just might. You just never know.

So last weekend I was looking for something to knit a blanket square for Elisa's dad, and I found this:

Two skeins of this soft, fuzzy Dazzle--and look at that price! After some thought, though, I decided that it needs to be made into doll blankets for my two granddaughters; Nana would be delighted that they'd have something of hers. (A has Nana's maiden name for her middle name, which I think is really sweet.)

On to the next post, in which I show the three squares I knit for Elisa's dad's blanket.

Friday, February 01, 2008

rita's day off

Woohoo for an ice storm! Day off from school--on a Friday, yet. We have four days built into the calendar; so much for getting out almost a week early in June, but what the hey, it's a three-day weekend. In the dead of winter.

Even though it seems to be about 20 degrees, the rain has washed the ice off the trees (at least, the trees in sight, which admittedly isn't far). I did manage to take a few photos before it all disappeared, after sleeping late, doing a little (very little) laundry, and sitting here for two hours playing with changes to my blog. Like adding the links to blogs that I like to read. This is just a small portion of my list, but after sitting here that long, I'm finished for today.

Yes. That is a West Virginia outhouse in our yard.