Monday, March 31, 2008

Catching up

I knew this past week would be hectic and busy, but I didn't realize it would vanish like Socks That Rock at a fiber festival. Before I knew what was happening, the week was gone and I had failed to blog yet again. I'll do my best then to catch you up on the week's happenings at Clover Field.

We ended last week and began this week with an Easter celebration. Mrs. Soprano and Xavier Guy made the trek with us to Papa and Nana Clover's and after a restful evening, we headed out to a hockey game. The sock enjoyed the game.

Poor Little Clover was a bit conflicted. We were afterall in our state's home stadium, but the Preds were battling the Blackhawk's and his loyalty to all things Chicago was at stake. He bravely wore his Blackhawk's jersey to the game, but still got a Predator's facepainting.

After the game, we relaxed even more and enjoyed the time with both families. I miss not being able to see my extended family, but I do truly appreciate the time whenever I do get it, and holidays are a wonderful time to be together. A decent amount of the many aunts and uncles congregated at my grandmother's for Easter lunch. Little Clover enjoyed an egg hunt with his cousins and Papa Clover and Italian bonded while changing my tire. A curb had jumped out and viciously attacked my tire while I was driving, managing to slice a bit gash into the car footwear. You really need to watch out for curbs. They can be pretty vicious at times.

My trouble with footwear didn't end there. While making the long drive home, Italian drove and I knitted. Then, I knitted some more. After knitting even more:

I tried on the sock. The sweet lovely looking sock who I had treated to a hockey game betrayed me by being too small. I couldn't get it past my heel. I ripped the difiant sock back to the ribbing, which did fit, added one more repeat of the pattern, and began knitting again. After another week, I am now at the same place I was last Sunday. At least the colors are still pretty.

I could have been further along if I had more time to knit. This week was Spring Break for Little Clover and I took some time off to spend it with him. I promised him my full attention, meaning no chores and little knitting, but it was worth the piles of laundry and dirty dishes. We spent the majority of our time playing carpet hockey and then we squeezed in a trip to the zoo.

I'm stealing as many moments as I can before he grows up. It's happening much faster than I could have ever anticipated.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Great Unexpectations (and an FO)

Pattern: Basic Sock Recipe
Yarn: KnitPicks Sock Memories in Fly Fishing
Needles: Clover Bamboo US Size 2 DPNs
Notes: The sock yarn is softer than I remember and knits up quickly. I still will not purchase more KnitPicks sock yarn in the future, in liue of other brands I like better. Plus, I like thinner sock yarns and a size 2 needle is a bit large for me.

I try to be relatively rule free when it comes to knitting, since knitting is meant to be my creative outlet, but I am a bit of a control freak and find I exert rules even when rules aren't necessary. Because of this, I try to keep one project going with yarn I have purchased from a particular shop, then I can pop into the shops knit nights guilt free. The use of yarn from the shop is strictly a self imposed rule. The shop owner is wonderful and would never kick you out on knit night for knitting with something from a different store, I just try to promote her business because I selfishly love having her shop around. Therefore, when I finished the socks for Little Clover, I was very tempted to knit with some Duet Sock yarn in the color "Spring Glen," but tossed it aside because it wasn't from my favorite LYS.

I dove into my stash to find a spring inspired sock yarn and pulled out skein after skein after skein (boy, I have a lot of sock yarn) until my fingers finally stumbled upon this:

It looked springy enough with its light blues and purples. I thought I spotted a dot of pink here and there as well, so I took it to my swift and ball winder and began to become intrigued withe yarn. As a general rule, I don't like variegated or self striping yarns. I'm more of a semi solid to solid color kinda gal. I feel a single color gives me more variety and opportunity to play with texture and color techniques, so at first blush, I was only slightly excited with the yarn. Then as I wound the yarn, I noticed the color changes happened very quickly. I guessed the colors were repeating, but it was a mass of colors as the yarn flew off the swift. I became really excited about the possibilities in this ball when I saw it on my table. I couldn't wait to see what would happen when I casted on, and the yarn didn't disappoint me.

The yarn is not pooling and it isn't striping. I'm not getting vertical color shifts either. The yarn is shifting hues in a vertical manner, but there are flecks of color throughout the little bit I've knitted. It has almost a tie dyed look, but then again, not really. Honestly, it looks like a colorful semi solid. I actually watched the yarn as it slipped across my fingers forming the bumps and Vs. I was excited and couldn't wait to see what color came next and would it still line up in neat columns. (I think I may need to get out of the house more) This yarn is the perfect yarn for the beginning of Spring. Maybe having a rule or two isn't quite so bad.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

For Mom

Monday, I was Irish and Irish all the way. I celebrated in true Irish fashion by drinking Irish beers (yes more than one) with some close mates. The Irish value friendship and family and I have the luxury of both being very present in my life.

Today, I am Korean. I even had the person sitting next to me in a training class ask me what was my ethnic origin. I smiled and happily told him I am Korean. He smiled in turn and said "So am I." Coincidence? Maybe. Or it could have been my mom letting me know she's with me. You see, I am Korean today, not because of any Korean holiday or historical event. I am Korean because it is my mother's birthday, and today is becoming less an less a reminder of her absence in my life and more and more a celebration of her time with me and our shared ethnicity. How funny and great it is to be able to celebrate being Irish and being Korean within a few days of each other!

My mom and I were both born in Korean. She was much more of a Korean woman than I am. When we moved to the States, I quickly became Americanized and have just now started looking back at my personal history. At about the time I became interested in relearning Korean and learning more about the culture, my mom died suddenly and left a bit of a void. Honestly, I quickly abandoned my Korean background because it was just too hard and difficult to make the journey without her. Now, though, I'm feeling more comfortable about making this journey. I might find my mom on the way or I might only blaze a new pathway for my son. Who knows? What I do know is that she opened the door by being my mom. Now, it is my turn to step back on the path. I owe it to her and I owe it to myself. I can't think of a better way to honor. Today, I want to thank my mom for being who she was and for giving me a very special part of herself. I, like my mom before me, am Korean.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Not what you expect

I had a large change in plans last week. Thursday, I left work looking forward to my bi-weekly knit night with a group who has been meeting together for a couple of years now. I haven't seen this group of knitters since our little retreat in early February and was ready to do some catching up and knitting. While driving home, I received a call from Italian which put a bit of a kink into my plans. He was dealing with a major problem at work and wasn't sure when he would be home. This type of message usually means the issue is indeed major and he wouldn't be home until late in the evening. I resigned myself to the fact that knit night was just not in the card. Sure, I was a bit bummed at first, but then, I seized the moment, changed my outlook and spun, or plyed rather.

After several months, I now have three bobbins of singles which I am now plying. So far, I think I hate the yarn. I've given this bamboo days of my time. I've adjusted my behaviour to make this fiber happy and it rewards me by being defiant and something other than I had envisioned. It is slubby and inconsistent. It is lazy and slovenly and not what I wanted. I realized I needed to just let go and let the fiber be. Once I did that, I took another look at it and though maybe, just maybe, things will work out with us afterall. I'm still not sure if it will be the right yarn for the sweater I had in mind, but if it isn't, then I'm sure it will be right for something else.

I used the niddy noddy to wind my skeins (Aaron, that's where the two anchors come in) and washed and hung my skeins. I looked at it again and thought, maybe it would work out okay. I took another look at the pattern and the yardage required for the sweater. The sweater needs 1001 yards for my size. I may be Asian, but I am not spending that much time on bamboo.

Which leads to the next "unexpected" thing. I love St. Patrick's Day. Blame it on my Irish heritage. Yep, I am half Irish, married someone who is half Irish and have a half Irish child with two Irish name. My Asian appearance is generally one of the first things people notice about me, but it's not the only thing I am. My family is from Kilkenny and one side of my family hasn't been in the US for very long (relatively speaking). Today is a heritage day for me which is fantastic. What I love the most about today, though, is that in the States, everyone is little bit Irish and seeing the unity is a bit refresh. So on this day of Irish celebration, may your cup never run dry, may your purse be always heavy, and may your stash never empty. Erin go braugh!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Swatch me

Here is a swatch I love.

Here is a swatch I am learning to love.

This little swatch saved me from making a very big oops. This is a swatch of KnitPicks Andean Silk, an alpaca silk blend. The yarn is generally classified as a worsted weight yarn and the label recommends knitting it with US size 6-8 needle. I knew I had a sweater's worth of yarn, and thanks to the wonders of Ravelry, I was quickly able to see what other people are making with it. I noticed a Lush and Lacy sweater which was something I had been keen on making. I got home, looked at the yarn, looked at the gauge of the sweater and thought "No, way." I was right. The sweater calls for 16 stitches to 4 inches on US size 9 needles. I was getting 18 stitches on the Andean Silk with US size 9 and I didn't like the knitted fabric. The yarn needed to be knit at a tighter gauge. I rummaged my stash, taking all of 2 minutes to decide on the Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Aran I had just received from Webs at a huge discount. As you can see from the second swatch, not only is the swatch bigger than the Andean Silk, but it knits up to a perfect 16 stitches over 4 inches on US size 9.

Monday, March 10, 2008


The talk of snow turned into snow, and not just the typical southern dusting of an inch or less; we had a real, full, ankle to shin deep snow and it was beautiful. The excitement began Friday, when Little Clover's school closed 2 hours early. I left work to pick him up and Italian joined us shortly afterwards. Once at home, we waited and waited and waited for the snow to fall. Honestly, I thought all the warnings would not amount to anything, but I was glad to be home a bit early on a Friday.

Then, it happened. Little white balls of sleet began falling and covering the ground. The sleet began to soften into small flakes of snow and sleet, and then it changed once more to just snow. After another hour, the ground had a nice little layer of white and enough snow lay on the ground to have

A snowball fight! By this time, we were all suited up and outside, enjoying our annual snow day. We caught snowflakes on our tongue, we caught snowflakes in our gloves. I had snowflakes on my nose and eyelashes, and my socks.

Finally, after having snow in our hair, down our backs, and in our gloves, we clammered back inside and built a fire. The snow continued to fall through most of the night, and I had the joy of sitting in our dark drunken reading room, watching the snow fall on the quite street. It was bliss.

When we awoke the next day, the snow had grown on the ground.
The azaleas I had just planted five days ago were covered in a heavy blanket of white.

We built the obligatory snowman, the mark of a house with children, and continued our snowball fight from the day before. Who knows when the next annual snow day will happen. All I know is that we will enjoy it just as much if not more than this one.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The weather outside

After leaving the snow in Minneapolis, I wore short sleeve tees and capris this weekend in the nearly 70F weather. I planted azaleas and trimmed my rose bushes. I continued knitting up the wool socks for Little Clover and a wool Dale of Norway hat for California Girl's new daughter and found my mind wondering to projects made of silk and linen; light airy knitted tanks and skirts. Of course, Mother Nature quickly put me back in my rightful place by smacking me down with sleet, freezing rain, and talk of snow. I guess I'll stick to the wool.

The wool at least includes several skeins of Baby Ull in bright cheerful colors, such as Spring Green and Sunny Yellow. In addition, this jaunty little hat sports miniature ladybugs who peek out on the brim. I like this little hat. It makes me smile and reminds me spring will be here soon enough, not matter how moody Mother Nature gets this time of year. The original pattern calls for bright yellow pom pom on top, but I decided to decrease my stitches and top the hat with a yellow I-cord bow. I hope the new baby wears it with grace and style.

And in case you think the wool socks might dampen my spring fever, think again. These little socks are in the Knit Picks Memories colorway called Fly Fishing, which just happens to be one of my favorite springtime activities. They are for my little guy who impresses me more and more. I know every mother things her child is the best at everything and is wonderful. I'm no different than these other mothers. I of course think Little Clover is amazing, I just happen to be right.

This weekend, I watched him bully kids a head and a half taller and 40 pounds heavier on the basketball court. He held his own against kids who towered over him, setting up picks to clear the path for his teammates to score. His spunk and confidence is a joy to watch, in addition to his good sportsmanship. I don't know how I lucked out having such an incredible kid, but I will shower him with gifts of woolen goodness, especially socks (he has little skinny feet).