Thursday, May 31, 2007

I guess I wasn't running fast enough . . .

Because Jules tagged me and I'm it! OK, here are 8 random facts about myself that you may not know (depending upon, of course, from which context you know me)!

  1. I'm the oldest of five siblings, married to the oldest of five siblings. We each have 3 sisters and 1 brother.
  2. In 1974, I and my four sisters turned our birthdate age on our birthdays. I was 18 on January 18. Annette was 9 on July 9. Sissel was 7 on November 7. Kim was 3 on May 3.
  3. I didn't knit for 40 years after I taught myself to do it. Then I took it up and started designing stuff.
  4. I used to teach puppy kindergarten.
  5. I used to be a part time court reporter in a law firm.
  6. I once shared a table in a Japanese restaurant with the now deceased actor, Jim Varney. I once sat on an airplane next to actress Gina Hecht. I waited at a Chicago street corner once for a light change next to David Morse and his dog.
  7. I can't stand yard sales. They give me the creeps.
  8. My family are 3-generation funeral directors. My mother and grandmother are both licensed directors, as is my brother, and as were my father and grandfather.

So there!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Socks and School and Sneezy Noses

Thank you to everyone who has written to me to say how much you like my Bella Catena Italiana socks. I'm already working on a new sock design, a toe up pair which I've cast on already. I've charted it out, swatched to see how the design plays, and now I'm just getting into it to see if it emerges from the needles as I see it in my head. This is definitely a challenge.

I really admire those who can design socks in a way that seems so effortless, and which result in such beautiful work. And then write a pattern that is coherent, correct, and also covers a multitude of feet. My socks are off to all you talented designers! I'm SOOOOOO not worthy! Oh sure, I kind of know my way around a felted purse, but socks! That's a different knitting skill set altogether.

School is quickly winding down here in northeast Michigan. Duncan has tomorrow, then a field trip on Thursday, another day in class on Friday, then Monday will be another field trip, followed up by kindergarten graduation on Tuesday. Quiet knitting time may become quite an elusive thing around here after that.

The girls have had some allergy symptoms the last several days. The pollen count here has been really high this spring, and it seems like allergies have been at an all-time record worst. We're going through tissues at a rate which would certainly please the makers of Puffs Plus.

Abby is having her third birthday on Friday, and so I need to get geared up for a birthday cake and a couple of gifts for her. She's been going around telling me "It's not my bir-day yet. My bir-day Goon fust."

Which rapidly approaches.

Well, back to those toe ups!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Bella Catena Italiana

Just a quick note to let you know that the sock pattern is now ready for download. Here is the PDF pattern for Bella Catena Italiana.


Pretty, pretty socks . . .

Well, I've just finished my latest pair of socks using the Italian Chain Rib stitch. So pretty and feminine, and the lacy rib is so stretchy. I did a plain stockinette stitch heel flap so there would be nothing to distract from the beauty of the stitch pattern. Here's a photo of the completed socks. I'll work up the pattern and post a note about it here in a day or two letting you know where you can download it, if you like.

Now, it's on to work on the Candle Flame Shawl from my sock yarn remnants.

We're having a lazy Memorial Day holiday here. Art and Duncan just got back from a little tennis game, and the girls are just about ready for naptime. My next adventure involves working a bit more on the "clean out the office closet" project. I'd like to get that done today. Maybe.

Happy Memorial Day to all!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Squirrel Cuisine

If I'm going to get a blog entry done today at all, I need to do it now, don't I? It was a good day today, and a busy one.

I met some friends for lunch today. What a good time. I met two new ladies who came along, and so we were 6 all together. Lots of laughing, lots of other talking of things of more import. And sweet potato fries. What fun! I'm always amazed when you get a few women together and begin hearing about their dreams, experiences, and talents. It always strikes me that women together, combining their gifts, become a power with which to be reckoned.

Of course, it's not like you can just up and run out the door when you are an old woman with young children. It's a logistical exercise of military proportions just planning how to get bathed and then made up. I did manage to shower and wash my hair before the girls got up this morning. And then after their breakfast, I plunked them in my bathtub while I put on my face and clothes. Even so, it took from 7 this morning to 10:30 to get the three of us in shape to exit the house and drive the 45 minutes to (first) Grandma's for a drop off and then to the place where we met for lunch.

I did manage to squeeze in a trip to Wal-mart to stock up on some summer clothes for the girls before I needed to pick them up and head back north to get Duncan from Kindergarten.

It was a beautiful day today. After yesterday's heat, today was a breath of cool, fresh air. Sunny and in the 60s mostly.

I got a few more rounds done on my socks today, but nothing to write home about. My June TSV from BE arrived today. Cute, cute, cute bag. I can't wait to get a chance to try out the colors in the kit.

Tonight at dinner, Abby told me that big girls don't eat squirrels. Emma told me that she DOES, in fact, eat squirrels. And Emma also says that squirrels eat lady bugs. Duncan asked me what squirrels taste like. I told him, "Chicken."

I've got to keep a closer eye on those three!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Italian Chain Rib Sock Update

I thought I'd take just a minute to pop in and post a photo of my socks. The heels are turned and I'm headed down the foot through the gusset decreases. This photo illustrates how stretchy the stitch pattern is. These socks are being knit with #1 needles on 60 stitches from Opal solid sock yarn. I'm getting about 12 rpi and 10 spi for gauge in stockinette in the round.

More later!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Quiet time . . .

All the kids in bed, and finally asleep. Quiet. A glass of wine. Time to catch up on some DVR'd programs which have gone unwatched until this chance.


It was a pretty productive day. Lots of laundry is fresh and clean and put away. I got a chance to make some progress on my socks -- I'm ready to turn the heels. And I was able to begin culling through some things in our home office to donate to Duncan's school. Office supplies that seemed like a good thing at the time, but have gone unused. The school will be able to use them.

The home office is one that we've used for our business since we moved in here twelve years ago. Art fixed himself up a place in one of the basement rooms a few months back -- computer work benches and all the gizmos he needs for the business (it looks like the console of the USS Enterprise down there. I think it actually glows in the dark.) -- and moved some of his stuff down there. And said the home office would make a great knitting studio for me. And he'd be moved out of it by December. And it will make a great space for my knitting/book stuff if I can ever get the rest of his stuff evicted. Today was the first attempt at that.

In that room is a large cedar closet the former owners built and used for storing winter clothing and I think some furs. We had floor to ceiling shelves built into it when we decided to turn that former guest room into an office, and so once I can get them cleared of the things that are in there, it'll make great yarn storage. I'm excited at the prospect.

So, tomorrow is the day the housecleaner comes. After a year, I still have mixed feelings about it. Love, love, love the clean house at the end of the day. Guilt, guilt, guilt over not doing it myself. Note to self: get over it. And on Friday, a nice lunch planned with some friends while the girls visit Grandma for a bit. I'm looking forward to that.

I also got a chance today to do a little online yarn shopping, amid all the other stuff. I picked up some things from The Loopy Ewe. Some Claudia Handpainted, some Schaefer Anne, and some Louet. I've never knit with any of those three, or even seen them in person, so I'm eager to get my hands on them. And, I ordered a few patterns from Cookie A's site. What a pleasure to be able to order them, download them, and get that instant gratification. I really enjoy knitting Cookie's patterns. She's a gifted sock designer. I've done her Monkey socks, the Baudelaires, and the pattern she did for one of the Socks That Rock monthly club installments last year.

I can't even imagine being able to design socks like hers.

And on that thought . . . back to the peace and quiet at the end of the day. Cheers!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Heroes . . .

Did you catch the season finale of Heroes on NBC last night? What a phenomenal way to end the season. I thought it was a great blend of resolving the immediate issue of the explosion while leaving so many open possibilities for future season episodes. My thoughts about this turn to questions that are just tickling my brain with anticipation for next fall's new episode.

  1. Molly mentioned a person who she didn't know how to find. She said he wasn't like the bogeyman, but that he could see her. Who is this person?
  2. Could that person be Charles, who could see Peter when he went back to re-visit his first day on the job with him and saw his mother speaking with Charles?
  3. Charles spoke of the importance of love, and of course in the end we see it was Nathan and Peter's love for each other that brought about the solution to the explosion issue. Does Charles know something about Peter's background and history that we don't know yet and which explains more about the Peter/Sylar issue?
  4. Such as, my favorite pet theory, that Peter and Sylar are fraternal twins separated at birth, and epitomize good and evil in the world?
  5. Notice how Charles told Peter as he was wheeling him into the apartment, "Call me Charles"? and how Mr. Bennet told him toward the end of the show, "Call me Noah"?
  6. Is there a spiritual/biblical analogy to be drawn by the Noah reference, as in Noah Bennet is the modern day Noah who brings the heroes through worldwide destruction in order to cleanse the world of evil and start fresh?
  7. And what is up with Mama Petrelli? What an evil old crone she's turning out to be . . . or is she?
  8. Is Sylar really well and truly dead? What was with all the stuff flashing in his eyes as he expired?
  9. And what about the explosion in the sky? Peter can regenerate. Nathan can fly. Could Nathan have take Peter up far enough, then flown away to a safe distance before the explosion? I believe we'll be seeing them again. Do you?
  10. And last but not least . . . Hiro in 1600's Japan, the one army gathered to one side, the lone samurai on the other, the solar eclipse . . . are we about to learn that his father, Mr. Nakamura, is the ancient samurai Kensei?

What a lot to ponder, huh?

So, I didn't get a whole lot of knitting done yesterday. I did a bit more on the shawl, maybe another pattern repeat or two, and did a solitary round on my socks. Maybe today will be a better knitting day.

Duncan has only 9 more days of school, and then summer vacation begins. That brings a whole new dynamic back into the household. The girls are accustomed to having things go their way and according to their schedule, and they have gotten to like it that way. With Duncan home all day, I'm curious to see what that does to their little routine.

Speaking of the girls, Emma has discovered the ability to poop for M&Ms. What a breakthrough! Two of those tiny little M&M minis is sufficient motivation for her to "go big stinky" in the potty. Hallelujah, since two year old poop just isn't cute any more!

It's another pretty day here, with sunshine and clear skies and temperatures that will probably be in the 70s. That's a warm day in northern Michigan. Summer is that few days in mid-July when the temperature may reach into the 90s. Other than that, it's pretty much like this. Of course, we have been known to need the gas logs running on July 4th before. You just never know.

I noticed this morning that sonny-boy is out of clean socks, so I see a load of laundry in my future, probably several loads of laundry. Abby just zinged through here clutching some Bob the Builder goggles, with Emma hot on her tail screaming, "Mine! Mine!" Yet another opportunity in the never ending instruction that if you want something, "Ask her politely to give it to you."

Where is that Hero with the power to impart peace and calm when you need him?

Monday, May 21, 2007

And so it begins . . .

both my day and my blog. I'm an old woman with young children and the start of this day pretty well sums that up. It's Boniva day. Got to protect my aging bones. And then there's potty training the girls -- our two 2 year olds -- Abby and Emma. Well, Abby is going to be 3 in a couple of weeks. Emma won't turn 3 until November.

Boniva and potty training. The parentheses around the rest of my day today.

I'm not sure what the day, or this blog will bring. My life has been unpredictable in its entirety so far. I'm going to do some knitting. I'm going to eat breakfast as soon as my "wait an hour after Boniva" sentence is up. I'm going to pick up our son Duncan at kindergarten this afternoon. Oooh, the Schwan's guy comes today . . . time to stock up the freezer.

So for knitting, I have a couple of things going right now, and a few more things I really need to be doing for Crystal Palace Yarns. I cast on some socks for myself. I love knitting socks. I love wearing handknit socks. After the first pair I made for myself a bit less than two years ago, I started designing my own. This particular pair is based on the Italian Chain Stitch from one of Barbara Walker's books. The shawl is the Candle Flame Shawl that I'm knitting from my sock yarn remnants. I love my sock yarns so much I can't bear to part with even the remnants, and so I decided to knit a shawl for myself using up what I've got from the many pair I've done. I'll probably have enough to make more than one project from these pretty little odds and ends.

OK, time's up and off for breakfast.