Thursday, May 29, 2008


The Lotus Blossom Tank has just zoomed along to the point where it is almost finished. I just have to knit the edging and weave in the ends and it will official be a finished object. For a tank top I didn't want to knit, I can't wait to work on it so I can finish it and wear it. This is an extremely wearable item and it has already received the praise of non-knitters; quite an accomplishment.

The appreciation of non knitters speaks volumes regarding this pattern. A knitter will look at it, understand the effort time and skill needed to make it and give a genuine nod of satisfaction at the finished item. The knitter is usually familiar with the pattern and has seen plenty of LBTs, maybe even a few in the wild. A non knitter, though, will probably have little to no awareness of the LBT pattern, and will often times think of the act of knitting as something odd and novel. So when a non knitter sees this particular sweater and gives me a "wow," I get a little giddy inside. The "wow" factor generally increases when I mention the yarn is bamboo. I'm hoping to get a few more wows when this sucker is finally done.

Not only am I enthusiastic about this sweater, but I am enthusiastic about Little Clover's baseball season. I love seeing the kids out there playing giving it their all. I love watching them improve throughout the course of the season, and I love seeing their excitement when they play well. Little Clover especially gets excited and will occasionally check the stands to make sure we saw his super awesome play or hit. I try not to disappoint and cheer loudly and exuberantly. I never knew being such a huge fan could be painful.

Somehow, I manage to injure myself at Little Clover's game, by clapping. Those of you who know me, are not surprised. Italian thinks I might of broken my hand because it is badly bruised. He asked if it hurt. I said only for a little while, but I knitted through it. I have a tank top to finish.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Today, I stole. I stole a little bit of time for just myself and had a date with Maggie, my spinning wheel. Maggie and I settled in the living room with this lavender roving and we made yarn. I feel slightly bad about stealing some time for myself instead of picking up Little Clover right away, but honestly, I wasn't ready to see him just yet.

Today, he became a fourth grader, and sure, he probably didn't grow a centimeter in the time between being dropped off for his last day of third grade and being picked up, but the fact remains, he's older now and, well, bigger. He's hitting the upper limits of elementary school. This school year, his friends will enter the double digit age range. Plus, I've already noticed the shift in his perspective. Now, when I participate in school events, I'm only present to him on the periphery. He's fully engaged in a world of boys and friends and sports, and I'm becoming more of a chauffeur and less a part of the activities. Trust me, I view these shifts as wonderful. Maybe I'm doing an ok job and he'll be a fantastically independent adult when the time is right, but I sure do miss his little hands in mine when I see him at school.

His hands have filled more of mine lately. My time to myself today was a way for me to pour all these thoughts and feelings into a yarn. One day, I'll pull out the yarn in whatever form it will have become and remember the day of transition, when my little person grew a little bit bigger. Then, maybe I'll have an easier time of looking at my big person and remember when he was little.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I'm not sure if bad vibes lingered around my Lotus Blossum Tank or if it was purely a mental hump I needed to get over, but I was not really enjoying the LBT. The lace repeat seemed complex and difficult and I didn't pull it out of my knitting bag with excitement. Instead, a sense of obligation hung around the yarn and pattern. Each time I worked on the piece, a little voice in my head nagged me about not "feeling" like I wanted to knit it. This voice practiced tough love and shouted that she didn't care whether I felt like knitting the LBT or not, but to suck it up and knit! I don't like this voice. I think she is rude and a meanie, but she is also right.

After the first lace repeat was complete, the second repeat was easier and more rational. The third repeat was a walk in the park, and the fourth repeat was reading my knitting. Then, I realized, I was done. The LBT would be straight knit stitches from then on. Whoo hoo! I shouted with joy. Then I heard the little voice again. This time though, she told me I did a good job. I think I'm going to love this knitted sweater.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Remeber the opera? Well, Wednesday night, Little Clover got to do it again. His school did such an amazing job with our local Opera company that they were invited back, along with two other schools, to perform highlights from "Mystery on the Docks" as part of the Opera Company's season preview performance. The season preview was also broadcasted live over our public radio station. Needless to say, this was a very big night for Little Clover, so we let him pick a special dinner treat.

He picked McDonald's. I hate McDonald's.

I tried to steer him away from McDonald's by offering up other possible restaurants he likes, but we never visit. Burger King tempted him the most, but he wasn't sure what toy they offered at the moment, where as he knew McDonald's carried the Speed Racer toys. Italian and I told him we could go to McDonald's to ge the toy and go somewhere else to get food. Little Clover loved this idea, because he just isn't that fond of the food either. I pull up to the drive through, and when asked what I would like, I responded, "I'd like a Happy Meal toy, please."

This confused the drive through attendee, who asked, "What kind of Happy Meal do you want?"

"No, no," I said. "I just want the Happy Meal toy."

"You want a Happy Meal"

"No, just the toy."

"Just the toy?"

"Yes, just the toy." Finally, I think he got it.

"What kind of toy do you want?" This was an odd question to me because I thought we were clear that I wanted the Happy Meal toy. Granted, I didn't go to McDonald's often, but now, I'm beginning to wonder if I am confused.

"I want a boy toy." I respond with a hint of a question in my voice. At this time, Italian looks at me, pauses, and says, "Oh, really? You want a boy toy? Nice."

By the way, all the little kids did a great job at the Opera.

In addition to the opera this week, Italian and I celebrated an anniversary (and I can't wait to show you the gift!) I feel very fortunate to have such a wonderful husband who is not only the love of my life, but my very best friend. He is someone I am blessed to share my life with.

The day after our anniversary, he was telling me about an article he read online that questioned whether it was better to marry your best friend or your prince. I asked, shouldn't the person you marry be both? I think this brought a smile to Italian. He is my best friend, but he is also my Prince Charming. He is my McDreamy and I love him. Happy Anniversary honey :) I love you more than four.

Ok, so I tried to find a "couple" picture of the two of us, but all the picture I have are family pictures, which I think fit us better. We've been a couple for a very long time, but being a family really suites us a bit better.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

To be a mom

There are many moments where the love of being a mom hits me. Of course, this strong feeling of enjoyment always occurs on Mother's Day and this year was no different. Mother's Day began with my annual breakfast in bed. Italian gets up early and spends the morning making Eggs Benedict from scratch, topped with fried oysters and served with Andouille sausage cheese grits and a cheese biscuit. He also makes a pancake for Little Clover who likes to have breakfast in bed with me, so my day starts off with extra snuggles from the little person who makes me a mom. Generally, Italian also spoils me with a mimosa, but not this year. This year, I had to drive to my Mother's Day present, the second in a set of knitting class with Lucy Neatby. Gas prices being what they are and in need of exercise, I biked to the yarn shop on Saturday for my first class.

Sunday, though, I let myself sleep in a little longer and drove.

The classes with Lucy Neatby were fantastic. She is lively and colorful and very knowledgeable. I think of myself as a fairly proficient and daring knitter, and stilled learned a lot by being in her class. The first class covered multi-directional knitting. I knit my first triangle and tried free form knitting. Free form knitting was extremely difficult for me because I am a product knitter. I've never knitted for the sake of knitting. I've always knitted with an end goal in mind, so being told, cast on a few stitches and just try things out was a mind scramble. It took about 15 minutes before I relaxed and let my hands go. Once I did, it was actually pretty fun and relaxing. Her tips for keeping track of stitches to pick up later is indispensable, and I love the modified bind-off.

Lucy's second class covered sock knitting. Again, I feel comfortable knitting socks, but learned new things in her class. I adore the channel island cast-on and will turn to it first before any other. Besides, her sock class dispelled the lingering bad feelings from my last socks and I casted on for a new pair later that night.
Casted on for the Retro Rib Sock from Interweave Knits using That Swell Yarn Shop Skinny Duet yarn.

Before I could start knitting after the class, I spent the evening throwing a baseball with my little guy. I love being the mom to such a great kid. He gave me one of the best Mother's Day ever.

Not only do I feel lucky to have two great guys to share my life with, but I also feel fortunate for the moms in my life. My own mom loved me with all her heart. I know this because of the love she gave me growing up. I could feel her love everyday I had with her. I miss her, but her love still lingers around me. I also have a great mother-in-law who has opened her family to me and brought me in as a part of it. One day, I hope to live by her example and be at least half as great of a mother-in-law as she has been to me. My stepmom is yet another mom who I feel blessed to know. She brings great joy to my dad, has been a wonderful grandma to my little guy, and is a joyful addition to my life. I hope she knows how much she is loved by our family. Finally, my grandma is a amazing woman. She is strong and a true matriarch who has guided her family through good times and not so great times. I look up to her as a model of what it means to be independent and sure of oneself while raising a child and being a loving wife. These are just a few of the phenomenal women I know. I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Put a sock in it

Today, I present socks:
I think these socks took the longest to knit, but I blame the long knitting time to having to knit the first sock twice. Now that they are complete, we are in full sandal season down South. They will be tucked into a drawer, ready for the first cold snap sometime in November. I still love them.

Pattern: Uptown Boot Sock from Interweave Knits Favorite Socks book

Yarn: Araucania Ranco Multi

Needles: US Size 1, mm

Gauge: 9 stitches to the inch

Size: Made for a US size 7.5 woman's shoes

Notes: I only casts on 56 stitches instead of the recommended 64 stitches. I did increase back to 64 stitches after knitting the cuff for the cabled socks. I also decreased to 12 stitches at the toe instead of the 4 recommended in the pattern.

After casting off the socks, I contemplated what to knit next. I could start another pair of socks, but I have this little sock knitting class this weekend with Lucy Neatby (hee, hee, I am brimming with excitement). For my non-knitting readers, imagine taking a class with an industry pioneer and expert from your field of interest. My weekend is going to be really incredible.

I decided I didn't want to knit socks since I might be inspired by the class and want to cast on something related to what I learned, so I'm knitting a little baby hat for a co-worker instead.

I still want to practice my fair isle. My stitches just pull in more than I like. If I ever want to tackle a stranded sweater, I want my technique to be impeccable. The pattern is from Knitting Little Luxuries by Louisa Harding, knit with cotton from Rowan and Patons. Instead of doubling the strands as the pattern suggests, I kept single strands and only casts on 72 stitches. The hat was a huge hit at the shower. The mom and dad to be both loved it.

p.s. My orchid finally bloomed again after 2 years!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Oh, oh, oh, it's magic

There is something amazingly magically in first flowers and sock heels. Between extracurricular family activities, crazy work schedules, personal commitments, and a disasterly messy house, I haven't had much time to knit, refocus, or clean my house. In addition, reknitting the first Uptown Boot Sock and picking up the cursed Lotus Blossom tank mad my spirit sink and sadden. The knitting was becoming "obligation" knitting and to me, that is one of the worst kinds.

Then, this week, I got two extra "pick-me-ups." All of my flowers in the front yard have been blooming steadily and look lovely. They have even garnered compliments from neighbors. Yet the rosebushes in the back remained bare. I sneaked a peek this week to see if any buds decided to come out and was surprised to see a rose. This lovely little rose quickly bloomed into its full glory a couple of days later and brought some friends. It made me smile.

In addition to the flower, I decided to work on the second Uptown Boot Sock. Some little voice suggested I measure it before I knitted and it is a good thing I did. The sock was ready for the heel. I love sock heels, really I do. It's like taking the last turn on the track when running a 400 yard dash. The heel means you are entering the finally stretch.

I'll soon have a new pair of socks and just in time for a sock class with Lucy Neatby. Now how is that for a fresh start?

The knitting mojo didn't stop with my socks either. The week ended today with a little gift at work. The mailroom dropped of a coffee mug from the company knitting charity group as a thank you for being part of the group this year. Isn't it cute????

Then, I got a call from our community affairs coordinator about expanding the charity group down to my local office. I'll have even more excuses for knitting now!