Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Mama, I need a bottle of water for the zoo. Because of the heat visor.

What's that, baby?

There is a heat visor, so I need to bring extra water for the zoo.

I walk away envision the sun wearing a hat.

It's 58 F at the vacation destination and Little Clover has been counting down the days. The first words out of his mouth this morning were the number of days left until our flight, our flight away from the southern summer heat. A cold rainy front is moving in keeping the temperatures below 60 F, which means the majority of the clothes we are packing are sweaters, corduroys, and jeans. I felt rediculous trying on corduroys while the temperature outside was 95 F, but it was also a bit exciting. I'm tired of the heat and am looking forward to being a little cold outside. I want to wrap my feet in knitted wool socks and pull a sweater tighter around me. The thought of a cold breeze against my chin brings a chill to my body. I wish I had finished Italian's sweater for the trip. Unfortunately, it will stay home waiting for us to return. It's just too important to be packed way with the risk of being lost in luggage limbo.

Instead, other wooly things will be coming with me. Misti Alpaca sport weight in white will come with us. It will be a polar bear for Little Clover and his souveneir from the trip. A ball of KnitPick's Yukon has also been packed. It will become a pair of socks for Italian. Finally, a skein of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece made it's way into the suitcase to be knitted into the Pea Pod for a new cousin. Italian joked with his mom that we don't need to bring any hats. He said that I could just whip one up if we needed it. Hmm, that may mean I'll have to find a yarn shop to buy some yarn. Darn.

Book Report

If you haven't read The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards, go get it. I downloaded the book and see myself listening to it again. Martha Plimpton did an excellent job with the narrative, changing her voice as she conveyed the development of the character's as they move through the story and the years. I'm not sure if I love the story as much as I do because I have a personal experience with Down's Syndrome, but I enjoyed every minute of it. The story was touching without being trite and the parallel between the two families was very well done. The conclusion of the story is not exactly abrupt, but the end is not a full resolution. Rather, the end of the book is a new phase of the story.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Have sock, must travel

I'm starting to slip into pre-traveling panic. We have a trip coming up, one we have diligently planned for over a year. We are now in the finally weeks before leaving and I'm panicing. There is shopping and packing to do, final arrangements needing some attention, and knitting needing sorting and packing. Overall, I don't feel ready. I feel a bit overwhelmed. Italian and I discussed clothes to pack and were a bit stumped. The heat here is stifling and in the hundreds. The vacation destination had a high of 64F yesterday and has a current temp of 49F. With a difference of over 40 degrees, I have no idea what in the world we need to bring.

The carry-on bags are ready for the most part. We need to charge some electronics and sort through some games and movies. I wish we had room to pack a change of clothes in case luggage gets lost, but with the things I've packed to keep Little Clover busy, the bags just don't have the room to carry any extra clothes. I've even been choosy on which knitting will come with us. Only the Jaywalkers will accompany me on the plane and train, so I'm knitting slowly on them. To get them ready for the trip, I took it on a short overnight trip. The sock enjoyed the scenery.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Leap of Faith

The heat in the South this summer has been stifling. Fortunately, we have access to a swimming pool and have taken advantage of it the entire summer. We swim every weekend, and Little Clover swims on Wednesdays with his summer camp. He's mastered swimming under the water and has improved swimming in the deep end. Each time we go swimming, he's gotten a bit braver and has tried something new. We watched him tentatively stretch his comfort, and this weekend, he took a huge leap...off the diving board.

He had been looking at the board tentatively all summer long. Each time we went swimming, he would ask about it, and we would ask if he wanted to try it. We suggested trying out jumping into the deep and he was too nervous to even do that. So, we didn't push it, and he kept asking and talking about it. Then, this weekend, I asked Little Clover if he would like to jump into the deep water while holding my hand. He thought this was a great idea. We kept jumping in, going deeper and deeper, laughing the entire time. I asked if he wanted to try the board and told him I'd hold his hand.

We walked onto the board, I counted to three, and we jumped! The smile on his face while we were underwater was beautiful! He loved it and spent the rest of the weekend jumping off the board, swimming to the side, getting out, jumping off the board, and repearting the entire process over and over again. Watching under the water, as his little body beamed was awesome.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Everyone has a weakness that makes her knees crumble with joy as she endulges in it. My weakness is handbags. I can pass up shoes without batting an eye. I can go hours minutes without eating any chocolate. I can even walk into a yarn shop without buying anything - at least, I think I can. Unfortunately, my strength and resolve completely leaves me if I see a purse or bag. My stomach tightens and I fret about how I've lasted as long as I have without that particular bag. So, when the last issue of Knitty came out and it contained a review for the Namaste Messenger Bag, I had to get it. My knees buckled a little and my heart jumped with the cuteness of the turquoise corduroy.

I didn't need it. One look at my stash of bags and anyone would be convinced I did not need yet another bag to add to it. Really, I could live without it. It was big and I had a big knitting bag that was perfect. I was good and didn't visit the website. I kept my distance. Imagine just how shocked I was when I came home one day this week and there was the bag on my doorstep and a fresh charge on my credit card. The memory of the transaction is still a bit hazy. At least it will come in handy for an upcoming trip. It will look great slung across my body in all its unique blue-ness. Plus, it will be roomy enough to hold all the traveling accoutrements a young knitting mom should need.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Last night, I sat down in front of my computer to download a few pictures for the blog. The pictures were of the spit splice I am doing for Italian's sweater, but the camera stayed off and the computer screen remained dark and blank. I couldn't do it. The topic seemed trivial and insignificant. You see, I had just returned from driving across the state for a funeral. My uncle had passed away last week and the funeral and burial was yesterday. I was hoping to use the blog as an escape. It was a chance for me to focus on something else instead of a loss, but what I failed to realize is that this blog is my story and my family was going through the end of a story.

My family is Irish. We came to Ireland in the 1300s and lived there for centuries. One part of the family immigrated to the United States in the 20th Century. (I believe it was my grandfather's parents, but honestly, I'm not sure.) I mention this because stories are very important to the Irish. We have great poets and novelist. Our history is comprised largely of ancient stories and legends. Fairy tales and myths are part of every day lives and beliefs. Stories are found in the knitted sweaters and in bar songs. And every Irishman (and woman) prides on knowing stories and being a master of storytelling -- a seanachie for the family.

My uncle was a storyteller, but he told stories of a different kind. His storytelling consisted of letters to editors focusing on political and social issues. His life was a story as well, filled with pain and sorrow and joy and love. I learned a lot about him yesterday and about my family. I learned that my family is broken in many ways, but it is also solid as a rock when a storm approaches. I saw my family pull together, and I saw my family share stories of their past.

I found out things that I never knew before, like how Cokes at one time where only a quarter (after inflation, they were only a nickle at one time). I found out that my uncle and my dad shared a room and they had similar taste in music, that the kids would rarely ever get soda, that privacy was hard to come by in a large family, that little sisters adore older brothers, that my uncle knew the mayor, that he had received rewards, and that Taps is heartbreaking when heard in person. I found out that my dad's cousin couldn't turn a heel on a sock and she would mail the sock to my great aunt who would turn the heel and mail the sock back to her. I found out what my grandmother was like as an aunt, what my uncle was like as a cousin, and what my family is like as friends. I heard many, many stories yesterday. I look forward to hearing more.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Mommies vs. Daddies

I discovered this weekend why God made mommies. Little Clover's cousin came into town this weekend and Italian's mom took both of the boys to the mall. To keep them happy and entertained, they went to Build-A-Bear. Both got a bear and to further keep them busy in the mall, both got a small stroller for the bears. The rest of the weekend, Little Clover insisted on bringing his "baby" with the stroller whereever we went. I thought this was cute. I was impressed with his caregiver skills. I smiled at how he gently pushed the stroller around, talking to the bear. Then we came to a ramp and I watch Little Clover change from gentle caregiver to total boy as he pushed the stroller down the ramp, giggling with glee as it zoomed down the ramp. Italian was giggling, too. And that's why God made mommies.

Introducing the twins! They haven't received their hats yet, and from the picture, they look very small, either that or the knits in this picture are made from super bulky yarn.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Last night, a plane landed on our roof.

Thankfully, it was a very light plane made out of styrofoam. I've never seen a kid have as much fun with styrofoam as Little Clover did last night. He put on an airshow for us with his plane. He would start in the neighbor's yard and run across their yard, our yard, across the driveway, and then launch his plane down the hill, usually ending the run with a thud as the plane crashed into the ground and trees. He was able to make the plane do a few loop-d-loops (which is how it landed on the roof). Of course, Italian and I would have to do an "inspection check" every now and then. The inspection check involved the "inspectors" taking the plane on a "test flight." Little Clover is convinced that I am the worst pilot ever.

Once the flight show ended, we all bustled back in as the lightning bugs began to twinkle outside. I traded in my pilot's garb for this:

That's right, a finished Honeymoon Cami! Now, on to get my safari clothes as Little Clover picks yet another knitted stuffed animal to add to our zoo.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


We traveled this weekend to a family lakeside cabin in Tennessee to celebrate Papa Clover's birthday and Independence Day. As most knitters know, packing for a trip is a very important task. One must bring enough knitting for all possible occasions, but not too much knitting or else the nonknitters might be frightened. I packed the anniversary sweater for knitting at the cabin late at night when everything is quiet and only the sound of the birds, frogs, water, and snoring would keep me company. I packed the sherbet orange ribbon tank top that has been languishing in my stash since last year's trip to the beach. It was still in it's waterproof bag and would be perfect for knitting while out on the lake. Finally, I packed the Honeymoon Cami which as been fluttering between WIP (work in progress) and UFO (unfinished object) status for the last year. The cami was to keep my hands working during the idle moments, when we all sat outside talking and drinking coffee in the early morning sun. The cami brought back the past years worth of memories and how much life had changed.

I'm not sure if the approaching milestone birthday has made me more reflective recently or if other factors have caused me to look back. Either way, I've found myself thinking about what my life is and how my life has changed. The cami is just one aspect of how I am different now than I was just one short year ago.

When I began the cami, I was a "new" knitter. My great aunt taught me how to knit when I was young and active and she wanted me to learn how to sit still. I tossed it aside shortly after learning in favor of climbing trees with my boy cousins and playing Star Wars. I didn't think about knitting again until college when we put on a production of "The Lottery." The director thought it would be very nice if Jolynn could knit on stage. I volunteered to teach her and when I held the needles and yarn in my hands, a distant part of my being stirred, being awakened for the first time in ages. Surprisingly, my hands just began to knit, as if they had been waiting all this time for something to do. Jolynn was still knitting years later when I ran into her at a fair.

I knitted and crocheted off and on for a few years after college, always putting it aside in favor of other hobbies. Finally, in October of 2004, I decided to knit my best friend a baby sweater for my soon to be born God daughter. This time, it stuck. The sweater was awful, filled with new knitter mistakes. Every stitch on the sweater was twisted and it looked way too big to be for a newborn. The size didn't stop me. I just kept on knitting. I followed up with scarves for gifts and a huge tank top (it really is more of a mini dress). Finally, I bought some handpainted rayon yarn with amazing drape in a blue and green colorway. I casted on, and knitted, and put it away, and knitted, and put it away.

It came with us to the cabin. I sat with it in the sun and thought about it. When I began the pattern, it looked a bit complicated to me. I loved the colors, but wasn't thrilled with the illogical hodgepodge swirls. Now, though, I noticed the swirls are really stripes with a defined color repeat. The jumbling of colors made sense to me once I saw the whole cami and not just an inch here or an inch there. I liked it. The pattern was much easier than I remembered. With a bit of experience, the knitting had gotten easier. What had taken me over a year to do now seemed very easy and plausible. I could finish this in just a few hours. I could manage it. Amazing what a change in perspective and a year's worth of experience can do.

Little Clover had a few more experiences too