Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Comfy Chair

We don't have a dining room. Instead, we have a room that I am sure has been used for dining by other owners of this house. We have re-purposed the room as a "Drunken Reading Room." We keep our wine cabinet and wine glasses there, along with a big chair and a half in the corner. The chair is often referred to as "The Big Comfy Chair."

The other day, while I was cooking dinner, I noticed the house was very quiet. I wondered through the house looking for my guys and found my guys snuggled in the big comfy chair, each with a book, a sight to make any English major happy.

Sometimes, I wonder if I would like a formal dining room for nice Norman Rockwell style dinners, but then I see the pile of books on the table by the chair and the toss pillows strewn about the room. I smile to know the room is being used more than if it were a dining room, and I wonder if I have any patterns for a nice comfy blanket to match the big comfy chair.

Thank you to everyone who expressed her condolences. Your warm thoughts are much appreciated. I also send out hugs to those of you who have lost someone special to cancer. I hope you remember all the good times.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Finally Done

After whipping out one sock in under a week, I finally finished the second sock a month later. Granted, I've had other distractions, knitting and life, between the first and second sock, but I still like to finish socks in under a month.

Part of the long duration was due to reknitting the top of the first sock. The first sock looked long enough and even felt long enough before I started knitting the rib, but when I bound off the sock, it was a couple of inches short of "long enough." Of course, I knit the second sock to be the right height which meant the first sock was definitely too short. I didn't mind reknitting the top of the sock. The act was rather cathartic. It is one area of my crazy life where I have complete control and can fix anything. I need the sense of control right now.

Pattern notes
Pattern: Widdershins
Yarn: Tofutsies color 723 - Put Your Foot Down
Needles: US Size 0 DPN, metal (Knitpicks)
Thoughts: Very easy pattern and I adjusted it to larger number of casted on stiches at a smaller gauge. I think I have a better understanding of the pattern and can adjust it to any number of stitches. I love, love, love the heel flap and definitely prefer toe-up. I used Judy's magic cast-on, which i think is now my new favorite for toe-up socks.

With the socks out of the way and only one project in my knitting bag, I naturally casted on for another project. I'm trying my hand (hee, hee) at mitts. We have some camping trips coming up and I want my hands to stay warm. I found a pattern in an older copy of Interweave Knits. They are knitting up quickly on Brown Sheep wool and I love the sturdiness of the fabric. Instead of using the recommended US size 8 needles, I'm knitting them on US size 6, mainly because I had size 6 DPNs and not size 8. I think the change will work in my favor and keep my hands nice and toasty.

Little Clover is also requesting an knitted moose and since he scored 4 out of his team's 7 goals at yesterday's soccer match, I think he has earned a moose. He and his team played a fantatic game. I'm amazed to watch them play. No matter the conditions, these kids play with a zeal and a commitment lacking in many adult activities. I hope they keep their gusto as long as they can.

Now for the not so good news. We found out last week that Zoo Baby, Nana Clover's sister has breast cancer and there is a chance that their other sister may have some complications from her breast cancer. Please send prayers/warm thoughts/good karma/cyber hugs their way. They need it. The good news about Zoo Baby's cancer is it is Stage 0, the earliest one can find cancer, so the outlook is good.

The news is still scary and it makes me think of all the people who are affected by cancer. September is Children's Cancer Awareness Month and we are quickly approaching Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The opportunities to help out will be great the next few weeks. Tonight, Chili's restaurant will be having St. Jude night. All profits from today's sales at participating Chili's restaurants will be donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Go treat yourself to a dinner (and a margarita) and help out a wonderful hospital.

Also, October usually means at least one breast cancer awareness walk. In my city, we will have two. One walk will be sponsored by the Susan G. Komen foundation and the other will be sponsored by the American Cancer Society. I'll be walking with many others to raise cancer awareness. I'd love for you to walk, too.

Monday, September 17, 2007

For Elaine

Last week, we lost a shining star in Italian's family. His Auntie Lane lost her battle with lung cancer. She was a mother, a sister, an aunt, a friend, and young. At her young age though, she had positively touched the lives of many people, and her good-bye wish was to wish us all a life we would be proud to lead. Her enthusiasm for life was palpable and the void her death is leaving was immediately felt. She was generous with her love and the love she sent forth was generously given back to her and this family will miss her very much.

I know the statistics show that more deaths are caused by heart disease than anything else, but not for this family. Between Italian and I, we have lost an aunt, a cousin, and two great grandparents to various cancers. We have the joy of knowing three friends, two cousins, and a step aunt who are all cancer survivors. The cancers that have touched our family have been cancers of all types, attacking all parts of the body, at all ages. As the medical world makes stunning advancements in fighting diseases and ailments, the progress in cancer research has been painfully slow for this family and we want it to move faster.

When Auntie Lane was diagnosed, I knitted a cap and wrapped it with prayer and good thoughts and love. Despite promising I would write out the pattern and post it on the site, I just never found the time. The time was this weekend. In between the grieving and the traveling and the remembering, I knitted one more cap for Elaine. Although she will never wear it, I hope her legacy will continue through it and I hope she touches you. As a thank you on behalf of all those families whose lives have been touched by some cancer in some way, I want to offer you Elaine whenever you make a donation to any Cancer foundation/institute. Just send me an email at irishcloveratgmaildot com, and if you include your amount, I'll keep a running tally.

For those who have lost someone, I offer you a hug of sympathy. For those who are helping someone fight cancer, I wish you strength. For Elaine, I give her a thank you for letting me have a glimpse of just how special she was.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


This weekend, I had the luxury of attending a class on the history of Bohus Stickning with Susanna Hansson. If you ever have a chance to take a class with Susanna, take it! She was a fantastic teacher and has a wealth of knowledge to share. Plus, having the time with other knitters is also a treat.

Bohus (pronounce "boo-hoos") is a stranding technique which also involves texturing by adding purl stitches to the right side of the work. Unlike Fair Isle, which has a two colors per row rule, Bohus can have multiple colors being used on one row. At the most, I knitted with three colors and found myself preforming knitting acrobatics as I tried to hold all three colors in my hand at once. It was quite a sight.

Bohus patterns were primarily designed for sweaters, but for the sake of the class, we made little wristlets. We received little kits for the class containing tiny yarns. I knitted my wristlets on US Size 0 at a gauge of roughly 9 stitches to the inch. These stitches are teeny tiny, but the overall effect is amazing! To show what a difference the stitche size makes, Susanna passed around two samples hat, one matching the traditional gauage for Bohus sweaters and knitted with fingering weight yarn, and one knitted with Shetland/aran weight yarn. The hats were both the same pattern, but almost looked like two different pieces. The color was the prominent feature of the traditional hat, while it was more of a secondary player in the aran weight hat.

At the end of the class, Susanna asked if we would all line up our wristlets so we could we could see the differences between each one. Seeing all the beautiful partially finished wristlets in one place was amazing. Equally amazing was seeing all the balls of yarn attached to the wristlets. Everyone was able to retrieve her wristlet from the pile without tangling a ball!

After the class, I rushed home and found some time later in the evening to finish one of the two wristlets.

Although I did have a ton of time to knit, we also had a very fun family game night. Little Clover recieved a Clue Mysteries game which contains over 40 kid friendly mysteries (meaning, no one dies and all the "crimes" have an accidental undertone). To help set the mood, we donned fake mustaches. Even Italian put on a fake mustache over his real goatee. (That picture was very very blurry. I think the two mustaches confused my camera and prevented it from focusing.) Italian did successfully capture a shot of Detective Little Clover in mid thought.

Oh, we also managed to watch the first (American) football game of the season.
Go Colts!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Since Little Clover and I share a birthday weekend, we try to do special little things on our birthday weekend. Luckily, this birthday weekend is almost always Labor Day weekend, which means an extra day of special somethings. This year, we jammed the entire weekend with fun activities.

We started celebrating Friday with a jaunt to a little fair. Little Clover tried out the hay bale maze:

Rode a few rides, including the Ferris Wheel:

He's blurry from the speed of the roller coaster, that or my camera had a sip of my beer while I wasn't looking.

Little Clover and I went through our first House of Mirrors and boy, the maze was much harder then I expected. I actually ran into two walls and the maze was designed for kids. We even visited two petting zoos, one of which had:

An alpaca! This is the softest animal I have ever felt in my life. Papa Clover asked if I petted it with my scissors. Unfortunately, no, my scissors were in the car. There's always next year, right?

We also took in the sights and scoped out all the food vendors. For some reason, most foods taste better on a stick and the fair did not disappoint us with its multitude of food-on-stick vendors. There was even one I had never seen before (and didn't try this time).

Maybe one day I'll be brave enough.

We spent Saturday at The Lion King. This is only the second show to bring me to tears upon the opening (the first being Les Miserable). The color is breathtaking and the entrance is beyond words. The puppeteers were fantastic and the costuming was superb. Little spent most of the show staring intently at the stage. He loved the cheetah and I must admit, he was my favorite puppeteer as well. The music was good, but not the best, but the visual eye candy made up for the lack of musical variety. The performers did a wonderful job as well. This is a show one should see at least once.

On the way home, Little Clover had the camera. He wanted to show his grandma the pictures from the fair. Then he took a few pictures himself. He took a lovely shot of his grandma:

And a picture of his socks.

Yep, his socks. Obviously, this is normal behavior since his mother is constantly taking pictures of socks.

We rounded the weekend by taking in a baseball game. This time, we had the pleasure of sitting on the bluff seats, which is a huge grassy hill behind left field. Despite the home team loss (we are in last place), a good time was had by all. I think the beer and BBQ nachos helped with that.

Finally, we celebrated Little Clover's birthday on Monday. He has been a part of our lives for several years now and they have been the happiest years of my life.

Now, I did have some time to knit. The sock enjoyed the Lion King and loved the concession line when it had a chance to people watch. The Sahara sweater also received some love this weekend, but it must of been jealous about not seeing the Lion King and greated me with a gigantic knot in the Tilli Tomas silk. I faced the knot with an ultra serene calm and spent 45 mintues soothing the yarn's hurt feelings and lovingly untangling and unknotting. I was starting to lose my patients towards the end, but I perservered. Italian's family watched and wondered why I didn't just cut the yarn and then unknot it, or better yet, throw away the knotted yarn. I told them I didn't mind working out the yarn and it was much better to keep it all intact. I finally wound the formally knotted yarn back onto the ball, looked at the patter and read "at end of row, break yarn." Yep, the yarn won that round.

Monday, September 03, 2007

To my little guy

Once upon a time, there was a little spirit boy. He was very happy and played with the other little spirit children. As the days passed though, he began to become restless. He wanted to be a real boy and to play in real fields. He looked down upon the real world and longed to be a part of it.

He asked if he could go and be with the children he saw through the clouds. The search began for the two people who would become his parents. The spirits searched through every land until finally, the right two people were found. The spirits showed the two people to the little spirit boy and he was glad, but also a bit nervous about leaving his home. He said good-bye to the other little spirit children and made his way to the real world, where on this day, he met his parents and became a family.

Hello, Little Clover. Happy birthday! As you grow another year older, I wish you a world of happiness, laughter to fill the tallest building, and love to warm you through the year. I am so very, very glad I have the privilege to call you mine. You brighten every day of my and your daddy's life.

I love you.