Friday, September 26, 2008

i love you period

Since Wednesday was National Punctuation Day and I completely missed the opportunity to celebrate it, I felt like a failed English major and wanted to make amends by providing a bit of work without punctuation. Behold! A poem by e.e. cummings.

when god lets my body be
by e e cummings

when god lets my body be

From each brave eye shall sprout a tree
fruit dangles therefrom

the purpled world will dance upon
Between my lips which did sing

a rose shall beget the spring
that maidens whom passions wastes

will lay between their little breasts
My strong fingers beneath the snow

Into strenous birds shall go
my love walking in the grass

their wings will touch with their face
and all the while shall my heart be

With the bulge and nuzzle of the sea

(The Literature geek in me loves e.e. cummings)

I'm not exactly sure when my love for words and art and design took hold, but at some point in my life it did. I can think of few better examples of the combination of these three elements than Italian's subscriptions to Popular Woodworking and Woodworking. When these magazines are delivered, it's usually a bit of a mad dash to see who can get it first. He likes the pictures, I want it for the articles.

These two magazines share an editorial staff and a common style. The writing is eloquent, their designs are timeless, and their approach focuses on quality. These same characteristics used to be present in what was once my favorite knitting magazine, but which, sadly is becoming less and less enjoyable. Interweave Knits has undergone a layout change and although it still has many very nice patterns, I'm not sure I like the new direction. The new layout seems to focus more on fashion and themes without articles to support themes or techniques. There is already a knitting magazine on the market with a focus on fashion and if I wanted that, I would subscribe to the competitor. Instead, when I began knitting again, I chose Interweave Knits because it seemed to focused on the knitting, the techniques, the designs, the craft. It was a smart knitters' magazine which made knitters smarter in their craft. The patterns seemed to support a knitters journey as well through the craft with great articles on technique and history.

This direction and focus on the craft is waning, being replace by what seems to be a focus on clothing. If I wanted a fashion magazine, I'd subscribe to one. What I want is a knitting magazine that will advance me as a knitter and provide me with years of classic timeless well made designs and technical articles that will make me better at what I do.

Today's blog title is the song "I love you period" by Dan Baird

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Saturday in the Park

Every year, my town's historic commission holds a heritage day at one of the oldest brick houses in the town. The historic John Gray house, built in the very early 1800s, is opened to the public for guided tours and demonstrations and booths are set up. A lady sat and tatted, a gentleman cooked outside in a Dutch Oven, a storyteller was on site to entertain the children, and I demonstrated spinning. Quite a few people had never seen anyone spin before. I think I was just as shocked by their reaction to the spinning encounters as they were with having one. Several people of all ages were just amazed to see a spinning wheel. Some people had no idea what I was doing at all nor what I was making. When asked what I was doing and what I do with what I make, they were just as surprised to hear I knit. I think most people just assumed I would weave with the "thread" (as they called it) and were a bit befuddled when I said I knit.

From Irish Clover

One of the best reactions I received was from a little boy who was close to Little Clover's age. He was walking by all the demonstrators with a definite purpose in his stride and without sparing them a glance. He walked right by me, stopped, walked backwards to me, stopped, watched me for just a few seconds, and then exclaimed, "Oh, now that is just too cool!" Then, he kept on walking. I had to chuckle at his pronouncing spinning as "cool." Spending my Saturday afternoon spinning in a park was definitely a pretty cool way to pass the time.

Knitting progress was not lost this weekend with the focus on spinning. Although, I did tuck away the Widdershin Sock and the Green Gable sweater. Instead, a knitted iPod sock received my attention. It's to keep my new toy nice and warm.

From Irish Clover

Nano 4th Gen Sock
Irish Clover Design
Yarn: Left over sock yarn
Needles: 1.75 mm (US size 00)
Gauge: I didn't knit a swatch, it would have taken longer than the sock

Cast on 40 stitches (I used the long tail cast on) and distribute evenly across 4 needles. Join for knitting in the round.

The basic
*Knit 1, purl 1* repeat across all stitches until sock is 4.5 inches (11.5 cm) long. After completing the last round, distribute the stitches across 2 needles, with 20 stiches on each needle. Using Kitchner stitch, join all stitches together and weave in the ends.

The cable
*Knit 1, purl 1* repeat across all stitches until 4 rows of ribbing are complete.

Cable Rows
Round 1-4: Knit 2, purl 2, repeat
Round 5: *Knit 2 together, but do not slip off any stitches. Knit into the back leg of the second stitch on the left hand needle (part of the knit two together). Now slip off both stitches. Purl 2* repeat to end of round.

Repeat rounds 1-5 until the sock is 4.5 inches (11.5 cm) long. After completing the last round, distribute the stitches across 2 needles, with 20 stiches on each needle. Using Kitchner stitch, join all stitches together and weave in the ends.
From Irish Clover

(Oh, and the iPod, it rocks. The slim design takes a bit of getting used to, but it is sleek and compact. The video resolution is quite remarkable and the shake to shuffle feature is truly pretty cool.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cowboys and Pirates

Let's face it. Show progress on miles of stockingnette just isn't exciting, especially when progress is slow. I've only been able to knit a few rounds a day on the sweater and not much more on the sock, so today, you will have cowboys and pirates.

Little Clover began horseback riding lessons this week. His joy poured out in the form of unending chatting and the desperate need for cowboys boots and a hat. I took him shopping. He settled on a pair of black boots with a little bit of gold on the toe. He donned them with a swagger and walked about the store, completely enamored with the look.
From Horse

When it was time for his actual lesson Wednesday, I heard he loved it. He learned the names of the equipment used and helped get the horse reading for riding. Then he learned the basics of riding. Finally, his lesson ended with washing the horse. He's the cutest cowboy I've ever seen.
From Horse

And how do pirates fit in? Well, because today is Talk like a pirate day! So pull out your eye patch, matey, poor a glass of grog, and dust of ye parrot. I bring to ye a few lines of pleasure from the smallest mate, Li'l Clover.

What do pirates do when they are together?
They arrrrrrgue.

What's a pirates favorite thing in the sky?

And one final bit o' fun from the Capt Xavier Guy of the Flagship Scion
A pirate walks into a bar. He has an eye patch, a pirate hat, a parrot on his shoulder and a steering wheel hanging from the zipper of his pants. He goes to the bartender and orders a pint of the finest ale. The bartender pours the pint, hands it to the pirate, stares at the steering wheel before finally saying, "I have to ask, what's with the wheel?" The pirate looks at the bartender and replies, "Argh, that. Well, that be driving me nuts."

Happy talk like a pirate day!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Homeward bound

This weekend, I went home for a much needed trip. I haven't seen my family in a long time and the drive across the state would be good for the soul. I love road trips. Of course, being on a trip means packing knitting. My creativity hasn't fully recharged yet from the brain numbing weeks at work, so nothing but miles of stockingnette are on my needles. I'm knitting a replacement sock for the one Widdershin I've lost. I have no idea where the missing sock could be, but I'm sure the washing machine ate it. I just hope the washer doesn't develop a taste for handknits. I've dubbed the project Widdershins III because it is a third sock. At least I don't have to worry about second (fourth?) sock syndrome.
From Irish Clover

A lovely mostly stockingnette Green Gable nestled into my knitting bag next to the Widdershin III. I'm knitting it in a luscious Malibrigo silk and wool blend which my LYS scored before the awful Malibrigo warehouse fire. This is my first experience with Maligrigo and it is yummy. I can't wait to wear this ultra tangible yarn.
From Irish Clover

All the stockingnette must have been what my knitting soul needed. By the end of the trip, as I drove home, my thoughts began to turn to lace. The simple knitting and the trip home was just what I needed.

Home. What a simple word, yet, still slightly complicated. As I prepared for the trip, the idea of going home struck me as extremely odd. Here I am a woman in my 30s with a family and a full time job who has lived in the same city for the last 14 years; and I was excited about going "home," to the place where I grew up. I have officially lived longer in my current city in the delta than the place where I went to grade school and high school, yet the city where I was small will always be home. What struck me even more was the realization that Little Clover will probably always call the delta home and this is one of many ways in which his differences as an individual is obvious. He will hold a fondness for our town I could never have. Our thoughts of home, in regards to a place, will be somewhat out of sync.

Fortunately, I think memories filling our homes will be more closely aligned. We had one of those nights last night that will dwell in my memory at least. Our evening as a family consisted of Italian and Little Clover playing for a while, then us sitting down to dinner together. We told stories of our weekend and exchanged jokes and banter as we shared our meal. Then, as the evening drew to a close, Italian and I shared an a few moments with a new Nina Simone cd, some wine, and some dancing. These simple ordinary events really are what define a home.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Knock knock

From Irish Clover

I love joke books for little people. Really I do. We just spent this evening reading listening to Little Clover read us jokes as Italian and I laughed and inhaled sushi in our mirth. As we listened to jokes told to us by a 9 year old, I couldn't help but think "these jokes are great for explaining grammar mistakes and philosophical fallacies" (because I am that big of a nerd). Yes, it was good times at dinner tonight.

The humor at dinner was much needed after the last couple of weeks. It is good to finally be out of the woods of sickness and work, and I plan on making the most of it with the family, jokes and all. I started making amends to Italian and Little Clover this weekend. Because Little Clover's birthday was not celebrated in a manor that is proper for children, I promised him we'd celebrate all of September. We kicked things off with a hibachi dinner Friday. Since our trip to Japan in Epcot, Little Clover has decided hibachi restaurants are the best. Then Saturday, we went to our annual town festival. This one of the highlights of Little Clover's year. He even has a bit of a routine whenever we go. We have to stop and try out the rubber band guns. Then, he stays in the petting zoo for 40 minutes while Italian and I sip a cool beer.
From Irish Clover

Then, it is off to the inflatable rides and games. I tried out the rock wall.
From Irish Clover

The weather remained sunny and beautiful and it wasn't too hot to be out for a festival. Italian and I even rode our bikes to the festival the next day. Although we missed the annual "Running of the Weenies" weiner dog race, we still managed to have a good time eating festival food and scoping out the vendors.

After the rest and relaxation, the knitting even came out to spend some time with me. I didn't realize just how close I was to finishing the Shaped Tee. It only needed some seaming before it ceased to be knitting and became a sweater.

From Irish Clover

Pattern: Shaped Tee from Knitting Lingerie Style; also know as Krista on White Lies Design
Notes: This was the oddest pattern I've ever knitted, but not because of construction or even the pattern instructions. Overall, the pattern itself is very easy to follow and quite pretty. The oddity of it lays in the sizing. I originally began by casting on the number of stitches required for the 38 in finished sweater. After knitting well past the armholes of the back, I held up the sweater to my frame and realized my instinct was correct, there was no way this sucker was going to fit around my back. I laid it back down and measured across the knitted to piece to discover it was 14 inches across way too small for a 38 inch size.

The back was frogged and promptly reknitted two sizes up. After finishing the back, I decided I didn't like the armhole instructions for the size I was knitting, so I knitted the armholes for the medium size. Then, ripped back the back to the armholes to reknit it to match the front. Then I ripped the sleeves for the two smallest sizes. So I guess I knitted a small-medium-extra large top. At least it looks nice.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Hello? Is there anybody out there

Dear readers who are left after my long hiatus,

I am very sorry for the long silence. Life has gotten the best of me the last few weeks. Work has consumed much of my life which is odd because when I first became gainfully employed as a college graduate, I vowed never to work long hours and to keep time at home strictly my own. Oh, how things have changed, especially when you enjoy (for the most part) your job, work for a company who does good (for the most), you feel as if you are making a difference in the lives of people (generally for the good), and you have probably the best boss ever (I sincerely mean this). So what are long days? Nine to ten hours in the office, plus an additional two to four at home on weekdays and working a few hours on weekends and holidays. Other than a brief three hour time period while traveling, I have not knitted Since August 20. There is an upside to all this working, my family really misses me (and the job I do at home, you should see how much laundry has piled up).

To add insult to injury, a bout of bronchitis hit me and stayed relatively mild, until Little Clover's birthday when my body had enough and forced me to rest and stop working. This meant though that I missed my baby's birthday since laying woefully on a sofa with a high degree fever hardly constitutes "being involved." The bronchitis was bad enough for me to let my mother-in-law clean my house, to which I am very grateful!

Now, this is the part where the blog begins to sound like a country western song, oddly appropriate seeing as I am from Tennessee. Spot, our wonderful family yellow lab was discovered to be infected with heartworm and had to stay in the doggie hospital for a couple of nights while getting treatment. We were all very worried about our poor Spot and a few tears were shed. I was especially worried about the state he would be in when we picked him. Let me tell you that if I ever have to undergo treatment involve toxic chemicals being forced into my body, I hope I leave the treatment with as much joy and energy as Spot did. He's home and doing great.

In case you may be wondering if anything good happened while the blog was silent, there was sunshine in Clover Fields the past couple of weeks. For starters, we took some time out to celebrate my birthday with beer, bbq, and baseball.
From Irish Clover

I got some tickets for our local baseball team from work and some friends and family gathered for a small little celebration. It was grand.

Then, there was Little Clover's birthday. He's getting old now. This is his last year in single digits and I must admit I'm heartbreaken about it. He's a different kid this year. He is confident and decisive and collective. He has a grasp on life and has seized it with zest and joy. He's laugh is richer with the experience of his last eight years. He is blossoming into his own person and has begun challenging me with logic and arguments. I love it! He brings me to task when he disagree and he is armed with facts. You can sometimes find us both on Google researching our positions on very important matters of contention such as the ages of the Jonas Brothers. He loves his school and teacher and there is no hint of the math anxiety that was once present. In fact, he claims he is a math whiz, and he is right. He is become him and it is an amazing thing to watch. I told him that since I was miserably missing from his birthday this week, we would make September and entire celebration to him, so watch for the fun. Thanks to all those who have stuck with me. I appreciate you more than you can know. Oh, and I promise, there will be knitting.