Friday, September 29, 2006

One Sleeve

One sleeve and a little collar are all that stand between me and a finished anniversary sweater. Just one sleeve. I've completed row 88 of the final sleeve. I have roughly 50 rows left, and I am itching to get it done. The weather is cooling and it's becoming sweater weather down here, the perfect time to wear this type of sweater. Plus, after Italian saw how quickly the Pea Pod sweater came together, he made the comment, "Boy, you sure can finish a sweater when you want to." Nevermind that the sweater is for a very little person, and he is not a very little person. Just one sleeve, and 50 rows. One sleeve.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wrong Way

We took a short trip to Ohio this weekend to observe a college student in his natural habitat. Xavier Boy proved to be a good host, offering pizza and beer to us upon our arrival. We then spent the next couple of days staying up late, watching a college hockey game, touring the campus, and seeing the city.

Xavier's hockey team played valiantly, but still ended up losing the game. Xavier Boy took 48 shots on goals and managed to block over 75% of the shots. He even won favorable comments from the referees and the heckler from the opposing team. A large number of students attended the game, treating us to cheers and songs. My favorite cheer came in the third period when it was very evident they would lose. The students began to yell ''that's all right, that's ok, you're gonna work for us one day." Ah ,the battle cry of acedemics. Little Clover kept the hope alive by stating, "Only 9 more goals and we will tie the game!" I hope always keeps that level of hope and optimism.

The campus was beautiful and of course, I forget my camera. Check out the Virtual Tour.

We were sad to say good-bye, but work and school were waiting at home. We loaded the car and began to drive. And drive. And drive. After two hours, we realized that we missed an exit some where. A call to Xavier Boy brought us the realization that we missed it over 50 miles ago.

My friends who are reading this are not laughing. I am notorious for getting lost and I'm proud to live up to my reputation once again. We ended up pulling into a visiting center where we meeting a very nice lady who showed us the way - via a map. Maps are a very good thing.

The missed exit only cost us 30 minutes (even though we were driving towards the opposite side of the state). The detour took us through Lexington which proved to be beautiful. We passed by horse farms and distilleries, and even a Shaker Village. I think a visit to Lexington is in our future.

I did get to work on the Pea Pod sweater which is currently being blocked. A picture is coming.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


It's a quiet evening at Clover Fields, well, as quiet as a house can be with two boys, one grown and one little. It's a night without any commitments, no late night work, no soccer practice, no book club, no errands, no scouting, not even homework. It's a night of rest and silly dancing. We've had the computer up at full blast listening to the latest Weird Al songs followed by a sweet rendition by the Muppet Weirdo, Gonzo. Little Clover loves to dance and he's been dancing with me since birth. We are resting tonight and the rest is long overdue. The cool night air breezes in and mingles with the music from the speakers and the laughter from our hearts. Soon, Little Clover will be in bed. Italian and I will sip our wine as we smile, rejuvenated by the rest.

A plate Little Clover made

Monday, September 18, 2006

I touched a tarantula...

At the zoo

Esmarelda is on the table.
The birthday party was wild and crazy and a lot of fun. Little Clover is an animal fanatic. Last year, the zoo came to our house. This year, we went to the zoo. I had no desire to clean my house for a kid party and was very happy to have the zoo host it. We had a zeeper drop in on the party with some animals to show off. The first critter that she brought out was Esmarelda, the tarantula. The keeper told us some interesting facts and then took Esmarelda on a walk, letting her walk across the open palm of anyone who was interested. If Esmarelda walked on you, you earned a sticker. Little Clover got a sticker, all his friends got a sticker, and then the adults eagerly raised their hands for a sticker. I even got one, too.

After Esmarelda, we met a blue tongued skink, a chincilla, a screech owl, an iguana, and a rat. We didn't have a snake this year which was fine with me. We took the kids around to see a couple of the animals in the zoo, and had an overall crazy time.

All this followed a morning on the soccer field where Little Clover played a rousing game. He scored the first goal of the game, in the fourth quarter. It was technically, the winning goal. His team went on though to score two more goals. When the game was over, the parents made a tunnel and the kids from both teams came rushing through. I also had the chance to overhear a very nice moment between two of the kids.

One of Little Clover's team told a kid from the opposing team "Good game." The kid from the opposing team looked at the teammate and said "Thanks, but we lost." Little Clover's teammate asked, "Well, did you have fun?" to which the kid replied with a grin, "Yea, yea, I did." The teammate smiled back and said, "Well, that's what it's all about." I love little kid soccer.

In knitting news
The anniversary sweater is on hold, at least for a couple of weeks. My cousin's baby shower invite came in the mail and I'm on a tight deadline for the Pea Pod sweater now. Hopefully, a little sweater won't take nearly as much time as the big man sweater that has been dominating my life.

The Pea Pod on Italian's sleeve.

Friday, September 15, 2006

What was I doing?

Have you ever seen The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).? It's a fabulous play that performs all of Willy's works in two acts. Of course, the plays are slightly condensed. The entire second act is devoted to Hamlet. First, the actors perform a condensed version of Hamlet, then they do it again, leaving out a little bit more, then again, leaving out more, until they reduce it to the point that a ghost walks out, Hamlet walks out, his mom and uncle walk out and everyone drops down dead. Afterwards, they do Hamlet backwards. That's kinda how my life feels right now, as if I'm doing the same things over and over and faster and faster. The start of school has that dizzying affect.

We have quite a lot in our lives right now at Clover Fields. Little Clover's soccer season is fully underway. He's had two games and has scored a total of three goals (not that I'm keeping track or anything). I love little kid soccer. They are just too cute on the field. The goalies and the fullbacks are especially fun to watch. They seem to have the deepest conversations on the field while they wait for the ball to come their way.

The last of the birthday parties will be wrapping up this weekend as well. Little Clover's class party is Saturday at the zoo. Italian and I will be surrounded by 15 little boys, a snake, a lizard, and maybe a tarantula. We did gain some insight on age from Little Clover recently. Italian asked him if he was going to be moving out soon now that he is one year older. Little Clover looked at him and without hesitation replied, "Jesus lived at home until he was 30." That may be taking the whole "What would Jesus do" movement a bit too far.

As for knitting, dare I say it? I finally finished one of the sleeves for Italian sweater. I hope a sweater never, ever, ever takes me this long. Ever. I'm actually loosing some confidence in my sweater knitting ability. Hopefully the Pea Pod for my cousin's baby won't take nearly as long. A newborn is much smaller than a grown man and requires less yarn, right? I was hoping to knit at least one of the Sexy Knitters project this go round, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. Both Sizzle and the Simple Bodice look beautiful and I have the yarn for both, just not the time. I will try my best to make time for Socktoberfest 2006. Too much knitting and not enough time seems to be the motto right now. At least I don't have to worry about Christmas knittng this year. It's Italian's turn to make gifts.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Into Thin Air

I was first introduced to Jon Krakauer with Under the Banner of Heaven and found that I enjoyed his journalistic style of novel writing. Into Thin Air, about the Spring 1996 Everest climb, has been on list of "must read" for a couple of years now and the timing finally seemed right to read it.

The Everest climb in May of 1996 is the same climb that the IMAX team took to film Everest. Those who have seen the IMAX film may remember that the team had to push back their assault on the summit due a storm which took the lives of several people who were also on the mountain with other climbing groups. The IMAX team came to the aid of these teams with supplies and much needed help. One of the teams affected by the storm was the expedition Krakauer had joined.

He begins the book with a chilly account of the summit and introduction to the people who will not survive the climb. The rest of the book is a retelling of the events which lead up to the summit and the days following the climb. As a reader, you become familiar with the people you already know won't make it, and becoming attached to them is emotionally difficult.

Into Thin Air is not an easy book to read because of the emotional toll it takes. The ending left me empty with sadness. I would read it again, and I will definitely read Krakauer again. Just don't pick this up expecting a light read. Krakauer does a very good job of placing you in the camps with the climbers and does not hide his errors that affected the tragic outcome of the climb.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The age of knitting

I met my International Scarf Exchange pal this week and I really like her. I won't tell you too much about her because I don't want to spoil the surprise, but I was amazed with how easy it will be to talk to her. She's different than me, yet from her email, it seems that we may have quite a bit in common. Plus, I really like her outlook on things.

This is my first exchange of any type and I must admit, the idea is pretty exciting. For starters, I get to meet someone I would never have met otherwise. I also get to make a gift for someone who is new. The feeling is a bit like the idea of "pay it forward," or a "random act of kindness." I don't know what the appeal is with doing something nice for an almost stranger, but it is a different type of warmth than doing something nice for someone you love and know.

The International Scarf Exchange and a recent article in Publisher's Weekly have me thinking about knitting in general. Knitting is definitely slowing down. There are fewer new knitters entering the scene, but unlike the Publisher's Weekly article, I don't see knitting slowing to a crawl or even falling back. I think the boom is over and the introduction of new knitters will be a slower trickle as knitters take over the world one person at a time. Just look at the over 900 knitting blogs online, the knitting podcasts, and the swarm of knitters that come out to see the Yarn Harlot and you can see that the knitters who are still knitting are planning on sticking around for awhile, and we are growing.

What I find interesting is that we are an eclectic bunch of people. It's pretty evident from looking at the International Scarf Exchange or any other knit-along. But I think that's what makes us grand. Most of us don't knit because we have to. We do it because we want to and we pass on the things we make. If you receive a knitted item, it usually makes you feel loved and special. Don't be fooled though, we are just trying to bring you into our wooly ways, one warm scarf at a time. Resistance is futile.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Peace be with us

On this day five years ago, a lot of choices were made. Some people choose to go to work, some people didn't. Some people got on a plane to travel, some didn't. Some people decided that their hatred of others was strong enough that it justified the destruction of civilian lives. They rationalized that because these people lived in the country they hated and they consumed goods made in the country they hated and lived according to the cultural standards of the country they hated, then these civilian lives were disposible and deserved to die. These civilians were men, women, children, white, black, asian, middle eastern, catholic, aethiest, jewish, and muslim -- and they deserved to die.

The callousness of the hijackers is incomprehensible to me. I do not understand how anyone can justify the actions that lead to Sept. 11, both those actions taken by the hijackers and those taken by US government officials. I do not understand the anger that the hijackers felt and the unquestioning devotion they had. What I do understand is that if the world does not adopt a culture of tolerance, then attacks will continue. I do not mean tolerance that blindly accepts all actions by others, nor do I mean for people to use the idea of tolerance to force the acceptance of their behavior. What I mean is the world should do its best to learn about each other, to communicate, to find common ground and to accept the differences of each others.

I pray that today, as one nation mourns, that the other nations are there to offer a hand of sympathy. No matter what the rest of the world thinks about this nation or the actions of this nations, what happened today five years ago was a tragedy. It was senseless and it was cruel. There are better ways to deal with hatred and misunderstandings and I hope we find them and use them.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Wanted: Plumber

What takes 2 hours, 4 trips to the local hardware store, 2 grown men, one woman, a little guy, a baby, and 5 months of planning? Water from a fridge door.

We finally have ice and water in our fridge!!!!! Yay!!!! According to our refrigerator water filter timer, we have had the fridge for over five months before actually taking the effort to hook up the water dispenser. Can you tell it wasn't a huge priority on the list? Despite being in the technical field, Italian and I aren't really what you would call "early adopters." A friend came over to help us out, and we are very grateful. He'll have full access rights to the water and ice this Saturday during a little get together, with the ability to cut in line. Thank you, again.

He was allowed to come over and help if he brought his newish baby with him, so Little Clover and I had a very little guy to entertain. Little Clover loved it! He did a fabulous job with the baby. He played with him, read him a story, and didn't even complain when I couldn't do our full bedtime routine because I was holding the baby. He'll be a fantastic baby-sitter in a few years. Now, I'm thirsty. Anyone have a bottle of water?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The downfalls of stash

I love my stash of yarn and try my best to be good to it. I occasionally feed the stash, keeping it healthy. I visit the stash on a weekly basis just to say "hello" and let the yarn know I haven't forgotten them. I also use the yarn in the stash to turn it into useful and sometimes beautiful objects. Most of the time, the stash loves me back and produces wonderful yarns in a variety of colors and fibres. It has just the yarn I am needing and the yarns are grouped together and they make me happy. This week though, the stash played a rather cruel trick on me.

For my birthday, I received a lovely skein of Schaefer Anne in a colorway of pinks and purples. It looked beautiful. The yarn was very soft and I have a feeling it will look lovely as Eunny's Point of the Wave Shawl. I had heard Knitty D and Wendy rave about Anne. I had seen other bloggers wax poetically about Anne and I was thrilled to have a chance to try it.

With Anne, I was given the book Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. We all glanced through the book and the patterns looked beautiful. Italian again commented how he didn't have any socks and the rest of the group quickly commented that he should have socks. Nevermind that his first knitted item from me will be a sweater with a very nice cable motif, the guy needs some knitted love in the form of socks.

I handed him the book and told him to pick any pattern he wanted, then I went stash diving. The stash was very excited to see me and quickly produced the skein I had in mind. It was a lovely merino wool blend sock weight yarn that I purchased last year. It was a more masculine colorway and would be perfect for a pair of men's socks. I glowed with pride as I took it to my swift and grabbed my scissors to cut the tag. Imagine my shock when I saw this:

It seems I had what I wanted all along. I just didn't know it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

This is the sweater that never ends

I realized this weekend that I will miss the anniversary sweater when it is finished. It's been a part of my knitting life for over 6 months now. The wool has journeyed with me through three seasons, several road trips and vacations, birthdays, anniversaries, and a few other life experiences. I must have subconsciously know I didn't want the sweater to end. That's the only explanation I can come up with as to why I had to rip out the sleeve yet again. I forgot to increase the width of the sleeve as I was knitting. The sleeve was well past Italian's elbow when I placed it up against his arm for a quick sizing check. He asked if it was supposed to go all the way around his arm. I nonchalantly said yes while thinking, "Well, that's an odd question. It's a sleeve, of course it's supposed to go around the arm." Then, I stopped. I looked at the sleeve, I looked at the schematic drawing which was much more triangular than my sleeve. I looked at the pattern, and then I began to let the swear words flow freely from my mouth as I ripped back the entire sleeve. Italian quietly walked out of the room. Smart man. He did promise me later that he would wear the sweater everyday and he thinks it is beautiful and touched that it is for him. Did I mention that he was a smart man?

In Little Clover news:
His birthday was an oddly mature birthday. There was no little kid exclamation of excitement, but more of a ripping of wrapping, looking at the present, quietly saying "cool" or "awesome," then a weekend of playing with new toys. We could tell he liked everything he got and he was very appreciative, but it was just different. It's bittersweet watching your kids grow-up and get older. There was definitely more big kid in him this year than in previous birthdays.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Little Clover Day

Little Clover Day

Today is the day that we finally got to meet Little Clover face to face. He was born late in the evening on a beautiful Friday. He didn't cry much, instead, he watched us and he watched the doctors, and he has kept on watching, absorbing the world around him. He gives us amazing insight into his life with the little comments he makes here and there, and you can tell that he loves the world he is in. He brings us complete joy with his laugh, his smile, his hugs, and his snuggles. He is a kind and gentle friend who notices your feelings and does his best to make people happy. I may be a bit biased, but he has been and is the best child a parent could ever hope for. Happy Birthday, my Little Guy. May you have all the happiness you have given others returned to you one hundred fold.