Friday, April 28, 2006

When I Like Something

I must really like it. Especially when it comes to home furnishings. I've been on an Arts and Crafts kick for years now, but have just come to accept it. Now, every piece of furniture I see and love has hints of Arts and Crafts. I love Tudor style homes and ranch style layouts. I now live in a Tudor style house with a ranch floor plan. I'm also a bit slow, we've talked about that, and have just realized that I live in a Tudor style house with a ranch layout. It's sad really.

Even though I've been on this Arts and Craft/Mission kick, my furniture doesn't reflect this. My living room set is six years old. We bought it when we had a little Little Clover. The upolstrey is an olive green and khaki type corduroy looking fabric. It was great for a family with a little person. It doesn's show grape fruit stains, both fermented and unfermented. It is comfy and soft, perfect for bouncing, yet it still looked grown-up. It was perfect. We still have it.

Then a few months ago, I saw a chair that would be perfect for the bedroom. It is comfy and soft, perfect for reading by the bed. It has this great olive green corduroy fabric that won't show stains, and both Italian and I loved it. We brought it home. We unboxed it. We put it in the bedroom by the bed. We realized it was the exact same upolstrey as our living room furniture. The exact same. Our taste had not changed much in six years. We were officially boring at that point.

Then I decided to start decorating the drunken reading room. I informed Italian that I would be coming home with a rug. He didn't believe me until I came home with a 10x12 rug shoved into my compact car. He begrudgingly helped me move the furniture in the drunken reading room and roll out the rug. He actually liked it and admitted that it tied the room together (but not in a Big Lebowski kinda way). We were happy. Until I realized that the kitchen chair pads were a disaster.

Fortunately, I received an email that Pottery Barn was having a sale, and they had kitchen chair pads that I liked! It was a sign! I ordered them! They were cute and not too feminine and not to masculine. They came yesterday. I pulled them out of the box and liked them even more! They looked great in the kitchen and I was quite smug with my bargain find. Until, that is, Italian pointed out that I must really like the rug.

Yep, they are the EXACT same pattern as the rug.

In other random Friday news:
Check out what knitters do for fun. Not only are we crafty, but we are phat punk'd. Does anyone say "Phat" anymore?

Here is a happy pic to bring in a happy weekend: some kid art brought to you buy Little Clover.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bad Mojo

I don't know what I have done to upset the Canadian gods, but it must have been a doozy. I have bad Canadian mojo.

One of my favorite books, Anne of Green Gables, is written by a Canadian and is set in Canada.
One of my favorite bands is Canadian.
One of my favorite sports is Canadian (first modern indoor game was played in Montreal).
One of my favorite knitters is Canadian.
One would think that the Candian gods would accept me even though I am not a Canadian. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead, they mock and tease me.

You see, I have seen my favorite Canadian band, BNL, live three times in my life. I have been in the same city (or within a 3 hour drive) and missed them six times in my life. Yep, six. The last time was in Orlando during a family vacation. Italian wouldn't let me leave the family vacation for a very brief three hour period to see them, live, in concert. I still cry a little.

Now, my bad mojo is infiltrating my knitting life. The Yarn Harlot will be in Nashvegas tonight and I will not. (Pause while I hang my head and cry). I own her books and have dutifully resisted buying the new one so I could buy it when I went to the signing. That's not going to happen now, and it gets worse. I missed her when she was in my fair city last time because I didn't know she was here!!!!! Wait, it still gets worse. Nana Clover lives in Nashville and I could easily give her a call and beg, and beg, and beg her to go to Threaded Bliss and get a signed copy for me, except, she's not in Nashville tonight either!!!!!! My favorite Nashville knitter is not in Nashville! The irony!!!!! I have my fingers crossed that when I am in Vancouver this summer, she may be there, or at the very least, my visit to Vancouver will finally rid me of my bab Canadian mojo, kinda like bringing a goat to Wrigley Field.

Wish you were here

I wish I was there, too. Unfortunately, I'm stuck at home while Papa and Nana Clover are living it up at the beach. That's the view from their balcony. They watch the dolphins in the water every morning. Aren't you just jealous?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Sock it to me!

When our protagonist last left us, she had just turned the heel of her sock, leaving her dangling before the last leg of the second sock. Will she finish the sock? Will she succumb to second sock syndrome? Will she ever find time to work on the marathon anniversary sweater?
Dum, dum, dummmmm!

Protagonist: Ha, ha, Socks! I've got you now! You thought you could string me along for another week, but no! I've proven you wrong once again!

Sock: (muffled wooly sounds)

Protagonist: What's that you say? How did I do it? Well, I had some help from The Javanator and my SnB! Now, into the shoe with you!

As our protagonist springs out to fight another day and another yarn, the socks learn to love their new home.

My feet are happy and my stash is heart-broken that another yarn has been taken away. That's okay. I offered the stash a new ball this weekend. Since lent is over, I can buy yarn again! This is the first year that I've given up something for lent. Usually, I make a commitment to do something that will positively impact the life of another person. I'll go back to that next year. It is much easier than giving up stash enhancement excursions. Plus, I think my family is happier when I buy yarn.

The new yarn is cotton and it looks like this:

Wait a minute! How did that happen? I could have sworn it was yarn!!!!! I must of knitted a baby hat and booties in my delirious joy of finishing the socks (Sweater? Anniversary? What anniversary sweater?). Luckily, FoxyCPA has a charity auction needing a baby hat and booties. These are being shipped to her.

Oh, and one final thing I did this weekend in between basketball games (we lost), birthday parties (Little Clover got new rollerblades for the party), and crawfish boils (love having friends from NOLA!):

My very first sewing project. Have a happy day.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Pun-y Post

In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of the faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough
-Ezra Pound

I am not a huge Ezra Pound fan, but I love this poem. I was introduced to In a Station of the Metro my sophomore year of high school and was taken by it. The words were stunning and the image was captivating. My teacher for the class spent a considerable amount of time on poetry and required us to select a poem to write about. I chose this one. When Pound first wrote the poem, it was over 31 lines long. Over a course of year, he edited it and shortened it. The lines that he finally left were buried in the middle of the original poem. Like the beautiful faces that inspired the poem, they finally emerged as the sentiment he was meant to voice. For National Poetry Month, I was intending on including In a Station of the Metro at some point. Today seemed to be the right day, especially with the frightfully awful weather this morning. Perfect knitting weather.

As for the knitting, I'm on the last leg of the socks. Literally. I've turned the heel and am very anxious on finishing them up. You can see what's left (and what sock is right). The pattern has been easy and hasn't walked all over me, like I thought they may. I was able to run through the knitting fairly quickly considering the marathon knitting I'm doing with the anniversary sweater. The socks are a keeper and not a set that I will boot any time soon. Nope, they are too cute and need to be shown off. Plus, they match, which is not necessarily and easy thing for a handknitter to do. This post may seem a bit corny. What can I say? The shoe fits. So do the socks.

These are my first toe-up socks and I must say, I love this format for socks. The toes are short row toes, which seem more normal than the pointy toed socks I've made in the past that require a kitchner stitch. The heel is also made using short rows. I think I like the short rows, but I wouldn't mind trying a toe-up pattern that has a heel flap. I think I miss the mysticism of the gusset. Plus, the heel flap is a blank canvas begging knitters to play with color or with stitch patterns. I'm still on the hunt for a generic toe-up with a heel flap pattern.

I never thought I'd have the chance to meet someone who split a baseball, but now I do. Not only did I get to meet someone who split a baseball, but he lives with me too! Little Clover broke the ball while we were at the park. He even autographed it for me with the date.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Gallant Chivalry

In honor of National Poetry Month, here is a little poem I wrote a couple of years ago.

Gallant Chivalry in Modern Times
Sir Gallahan did ride to shore
Upon his trusty horse
But stopped was he by lady’s maids
Who mistook him for a Norse.

The lady’s maids did need some help
For their carriage, it was stuck
The wheel was jammed, their horse was dead
When by lightning he was struck.

Sir Gallahan got off his steed
Knowing he was able
The lady’s maids in gratitude
Invited him to table.

He bowed his head and kissed their hands
And gallantly accepted.
“But, first!” he cried, “I must unstuck
Your carriage as expected.”

The lady’s maids did clap and squeal
Since excitement they did need.
But Sir Gallahan did break his neck
So the ladies took his steed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sew I knit

What happens when a super klutzy girl lays on a loveseat drinking wine celebrating the fact that the taxes are finished? Evidently, this happens:

Yep, that is my wine glass IN my water cup. I double fist it when I drink. I usually have a glass of wine and a glass of water. Both were on the floor in arms reach. I was reclining on the loveseat with my back against one armrest and my feet over the other. I reached down, grabbed the wine, took a sip, and then put it back on the floor, so I thought. For my friends out there that know me very well. I had to take a picture because I knew they wouldn't believe it. And yes, that is red wine.

Sew, what is up with the title of today's post? I've decide to officially try out my sewing machine and have joined a sew-along for knitters. I have used my sewing machine to make squares. Well, they resembled squares, but probably didn't fit the true definition of a square. They were a bit, um, lopsided. I'm hoping the purse goes a bit better. The fabric I picked is actually a toss pillow from the Pottery Barn outlet.

I bought two, one for the front of the purse and one for the back. For the handle, I couldn't find anything I liked, sew, I decided to knit an I-cord out of ribbon. The I-cord took 10 yards and is about 16 inches long. Because the handle is short, I think I'll only end up using one of the toss pillows and will fold it in half. Sew far, I haven't actually sewn anything. Sewing takes more time than I was anticipating.

Saturday was spent ripping out the seams and knitting the I-cord. I really thought I'd be able to knock out this purse Saturday and have it done for Easter. Things didn't really work out that way. Sewing involves cutting fabric. Laying out all the pieces. Pinning it together. Then, finally sewing and finishing. There is no knocking out something quickly. There might be a purse to show in a post or two.

Oh, on a final note, this is what Italian got for his birthday:

A guitar

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Spring Fever

I have spring fever. I work in a cube with no windows, but my internal clock knows it is sunny and gorgeous and beautiful outside, perfect for taking Little Clover to the park to hike and play baseball, and then come home and run through the sprinkler. It is the perfect day for having a picnic in the backyard for dinner, and then knit outside with a silky cool cotton, or silk, or rayon fiber. None of those fibers are on my needles right now.

Instead, I'm in the middle of winter, knitting a zebra in wool, a pair of socks in wool, and an anniversary sweater in alpaca that I will give my honey in May. May???? What was I thinking? He won't be able to use the sweater until November. Oy! At least it is pretty. Yep, it is. The sweater is very pretty. I was extremely nervous when I picked out the pattern because I didn't want to mess up his first knitted item, and the pattern is a bit complex. I can even reveal what I'm making: The River Forrest Gansey from Handknit Holidays. I can now knit in the open because he found out what his gift would be. How did he find out? It involves wine.

We had a bottle of wine with dinner one night. As we lingered in the kitchen with Little Clover popping in and out to chat with us, we talked. We talked about our day, our work, his bowl turning, my knitting. Somewhere between glass two, unbeknownst to me I gave some mega-clues on his present. Then, two days later (I'm a bit slow), he mentions to his mom how 'of course he would love his anniversary present, because he loves sweaters, and he loves the color blue.' The conversation continues for 10 minutes, and has moved on to other topics, when it dawns on me. He knows!!!! (did I mention I'm a bit slow?) At least I can knit openly now, and hold the growing sweater up to him while he's awake instead of waiting until he falls asleep.

In other Random Friday news. Little Clover and Italian are spending the day home today for Easter break. Little Clover woke up when I left for work, and Italian was sleeping in from a late night working. He didn't get to sleep very long. He woke up to Little Clover walking into the bedroom saying, "I don't know. I'll ask him. Dad, are you taking the day off?" Italian opens his eyes and sees a blurry Little Clover with a blurry silver thing up by his ear. "Yes, I am," he sleepily replies. "Yep, my dad is staying home today," Little Clover procedes to tell the client on Italian's cellphone. Italian asked for the phone.

Oh, one more thing. The rose is from my rosebush. I haven't killed it yet. Let's see if it actually makes it through the summer.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Why I knit socks – Part 2

It was the fear speaking. I wanted to knit socks. They looked beautiful and unique. Italian even brought home a book one day on knitting socks, but the double pointed needles protruding out in all sorts of crazy directions really frightened me. I decided though, that I would not let fear stifle my new addiction and I attended a sock knitting class. I fell in love. The DPNs felt natural in my hands. The sock grew at a fast clip as the clicking needles went around and around. I understood the love knitters have for socks, and here is what I learned.

Socks are portable
One ball. That’s it. One center pull ball tucked under my arm is all I need to knit while I sing at choir practice, walk around at a casual party, or while on walk. I can knit and multi-task if I am working on a sock. Socks are perfect while travel in cramped spaces, say a compact car or a plane. I can almost always have knitting with me. A sock fits in my small purse and is ready for me in the event I’m stuck running errands or waiting at a restaurant. The sock is there to keep me company and to keep me patient.

Socks are meditative
Once a universal sock pattern is memorized, socks can be knitted without carrying around a pattern. The universal sock pattern I follow is kept on my PDA for easy reference, but I have found I don’t really need it. I can knit a sock while I think about other things and use the time to let my mind wander and see where I go.

Socks are a necessity
Really, they are. Granted, in this Southern Climate, socks are needed only 6 months out of the year. Buy knitting socks, I am giving my feet, and the feet of those I love, a useable example of my love for them. It’s the kind of love that is okay to walk all over. The socks will keep the feet of the wearer warm and toasty on cold winter days, the type of days where it might just dip into the 30s. Hopefully, when they are worn, the socks will remind the wearer that he is loved.

Socks are comfortable
A handknit sock is very comfortable. It fits like a glove (a handknit glove). Socks are made specifically for the wearer’s feet. Because of this, they conform to the curves and lengths of the wearer. They hug the wearer’s feet. You can’t buy that kind of hugging in a store. Well, not the stores that sell socks anyway.

Socks are unique
Once a pair of socks is complete, it cannot be reproduced. No one else will have socks just like those. They are special. They are individuals. They are their own. Knowing they are special is an extra incentive for knitting socks.

Socks are my favorite thing to knit. I always have a pair on the needles and a stash of yarn just for socks in my basket. So when I hear a nonknitter say, “you can buy those in the store,” I smile a half smile knowing what they are missing. When the comment comes from a knitter, I smile knowing she’ll be converted one day.

Above - Sock yarn from KnitPicks. The green colorway is Flyfishing and the blue colorway is Yukon which will be knit in for Alaska.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Why I knit socks - Part 1

I knit. I knit socks. And I love it. There is my confession.

Although more and more people are knitting, and more and more are doing it in public, nonknitters still occasionally stare. Gawk is probably more accurate. Sometimes the gawking is tinted with awe and amusement, as if a memory is being stirred and prodded by my pointy sticks clicking between long strands of wool. That's when comments such as, "Wow, is that hard?" or "My, how pretty." shower down. I'll smile back and give my knitting a little loving squeeze because it briefly brought joy to someone.

Other times, the gawking is more sinister, mocking, and haughty. That's when the "Oh, you knit" comments fly with the owner's own pointiness, poised to lunge at my sticks. Usually, the comment stops there if I'm knitting something innocuous, like a scarf or a sweater. Those seem to be nonthreatening types of garments, acceptable handknits, but, socks are different. Socks evoke confusion and sneers. Some nonknitters seem to be truly taken aback by someone who would make socks and see the knitter as, dare I say it, odd.

"You know, you can buy those at the store."

"Yes," I feel like replying, but just smile back instead, "and you can make your own coffee at home, you know." (SEC Disclosure: I own stock in a prolific coffeehouse - where there are as many locations as there are STARs in the sky - and strongly encourage everyone to go out, spend a BUCK, and have a barista prepare coffee for you. If you must make coffee at home, then buy this store's brand. You know which one I'm talking about).

Since I don't reply, the nonknitter walks off, shaking her head at my weirdness. Yes, I could buy socks at the store, and I do. I wear those socks often. They are utilitarian. They are not handknit socks, and I am speaking as a true connoisseur.

My love for socks began in grade school. I'm a product of a Catholic education which translate to 12 years of boring white socks. I'm not much of a boring white socks type of girl. Even my white socks now have a touch of pink trim or extra shock absorbing heel gussets. I craved bright colored socks with character, something that begged for attention. I began collecting socks that had toes, with bows, with bells, with stripes, with dots, with frogs. My sock drawer exploded with crazy socks in college.

Then I grew-up, got a job, and wore hose. The socks began to dwindle as they wore out, but I still loved looking at them in the stores. After awhile, I noticed that the white socks were making their way back into my drawer. Now, they brought their little black trouser sock friends with them. I was okay with this, but a little sad. It fit with my grown-up life. Something about it though, just didn't fit with me. That's when I started knitting again.

The urge hit suddenly. I began to see knitting books everywhere I went, calling to me. I'd flip through them until, one day, I found myself at a hobby store, in the yarn section. I bought some yarn and crocheted and knit. I made scarves, I made a sweater, I made a tank top. I saw patterns of socks and was taken aback. Sure they looked pretty, but they were socks. I could buy socks at the store...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Happy Birthday

This one if for my father-in-law, hello Dad. I want to wish you happy birthday and thank you for all the things that you have done for us. Thank you for helping out your kids as they stretch their way into adulthood, often making mistakes or miscalculation, such as forgetting to measure the door from the garage to the kitchen when buying a brand new fridge. Thank you also for not only accepting your children's friends, spouses, and significant others, but for also welcoming them into the family and making them feel at home. Thank you for the love you show your grandchildren and for the memories you are giving them. Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

On this day...

a remarkable person was born; someone who grew up to become a remarkable man. He brings laughter and love to those around him with his glowing smile and warm welcoming personality. He takes his job as a son, a friend, a brother, a husband, and a father seriously, striving to be the best in each of those roles and often succeeding. He makes me laugh with his sense of humor which is sly and witty. He freely gives of his time and of himself to those who ask, and he loves unconditionally. His hugs are warm and safe. He is intelligent (I'll let you have the one point today, but I still get the gold sticker) and easy to talk to. He shares ideas and thoughts and can carry a conversation with just about anyone. He plays music with soul and feeling and I love hearing him play. His talents are many and his faults are few. He is a true partner and companion, and I am fortunate to share in his life. Today is his day. So to a remarkable man, to my love, to my husband, to my partner, Happy Birthday. I love you.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

You mean he listens?

Little Clover happened to over hear his grandma relate a story about a child she had encountered. Evidently, the child was a bit on the naughty side and was behaving badly. Little Clover, who often injects himself into adult conversation, asked his grandma if the child got what he wanted when he was fussy. Grandma responded that she wasn't sure. Then, Little Clover proceeds with his parenting advice. He tells his grandma,

"If the child is being fussy, then he should not get what he wants. That will only make him more fussy. When I'm fussy, my parents don't give me what I want. That way, I won't be fussy anymore."

Wow! I was speechless when I heard this! Italian and I try to explain our parenting actions to Little Clover, but honestly, I never ever thought he would listen, much less understand, much less repeat it as advice! I'm verklempt! Talk amongst yourselves. Seriously, I was floored. Here was this little person honestly buying into the philosophies that we were teaching him. He believed and understood the why behind how we parent, and by understanding the why, he knew he was loved. I just hope that he stays this understanding in his teen years (Dad, I officially apologize for any and all anxiety I may have caused you and Mom. Let the good karma flow).

Monday, April 03, 2006

And a 1, and a 2, and a 3

Take me out to the ballgame,
Take me out to the crowd!
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks!
I don't care if I never go back!
For it's root, root, root for the Cubbies!
If they don't win it's a shame!
For it's one! Two! Three strikes you're out
At the old ballgame!

Cubs Win!!!! 16-7