Tuesday, December 01, 2009

News Flash

We interrupt the blog silence with this breaking news story!

Woman injures herself while flossing
The Clover family Thanksgiving vacation was cut prematurely short when Irish Clover suffered a horrific flossing accident. While in the process of flossing her back tooth after enjoying deliciously cooked ribs, the Super Floss she was using broke off in between her teeth. Irish Clover, being a bit slow on the uptake, took another piece of floss to remove the still lodged food item and the newly added lodged piece of floss. Much to her dismay, the second piece of floss snapped and wedged itself with the other.

"Ow!" was her primary response.

The family rallied to her aid, providing a wooden toothpick, which also broke. The toothpick was removed, but was also followed by an additional piece of floss which also broke and stuck. At this point, her family put her to bed. The next morning, they left the relaxing seclusion of the woods and headed back into the city for an emergency dental visit.

"I'm just glad it wasn't me!" were the words of comfort Italian gave Irish Clover when she bemoaned, "Who injures herself while flossing!"

After a few minutes in the dental office, Papa Clover was successful in removing the lodged pieces of floss. Irish Clover returned to the house with a smile, a mildly aching mouth, and a bruise above her lip.

We now return to our regular blogging broadcast schedule.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Beauty of knitters

Every knitter needs a knitting group. Whether the group revolves around an LYS, a guild, a virtual meeting space, or a local non fiber location, the knitting group really is essential. Mine is a compilation of people who knit and happen to live close by. I love this group, and more importantly, I love the people who are in the group. We've been fortunate and have a pretty solid core of people. Some of us have been knitting together for almost five years now. This week, this eclectic group of people became remarkable.

One of our knitters lost her daughter last Wednesday, in the wee hours of the morning. Our knitter was able to hold her daughter as she passed from this existence to the next, a true blessing at a time of loss. To celebrate the life her daughter had and to show our love for our knitter, our group knitted flowers. The flowers are as varied and different as the people in our group. Some knitted tulips, some knitted lilies. There were bright colored yarns and muted colors, sock weight and worsted weight. These flowers were as different and as varied as the life of our knitter and her beautiful daughter. Yet, when put together and viewed with the eye of someone who can see beyond the differences, one can see the beauty and it is lovely.

From 2009 Finished Objects

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Football season has arrived

From Family

I wouldn't call Little Clover and I super fans, but we sure do love watching the games, and unlike other Southerners, we restrict ourselves to pro ball only. It is a bit of a shocker, but it works for us. College ball is just a bit too political for my liking. Besides, the politics of little people football is enough for me. Little Clover had a game on Monday, where I was flabbergasted by the horrid behavior of some of the parents. On the drive home, I composed a scathingly nasty blog post chastizing the parents of fifth and sixth graders for their poor sportsmanship and embarassing behavior. I felt much better after the mental post was made. Words may do the most damage to a person, but only if they are let loose on the world.

In knitting news, I finished my rainbow socks a while ago, but never got around to posting the picture.

From 2009 Finished Objects

They are comfy and the Show-Off Stranded pattern was easy to knit. The sock is rather stretchy, yet hugs in all the places a good sock should. This was my first experience with Koigu and oh my, I understand the love people have for this brand. It is squishy. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of Socks That Rock. I wonder if they use the same base yarn.

The pink cotton sweater, Stella, is still coming along. This is a very quick knit and I'm sad I'm coming to the end. With some luck, the weather will stay warm enough for me to get one wear out it before the fall comes. We've had a mild summer in the Delta and the Farmer's Almanac warns of a cold winter ahead. That makes me think of hats and mittens.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

To my son

Today, my baby boy, turns 10.
From Family

He's left the relm of single digits and has joined the double digit masses.
From Family

He is thrilled and in the last 10 years, he has accomplished much.
From Family

He converted two rather hopeless and hapless 20-somethings into somewhat successful adults.
From Family

He has made homes out of mere houses.
From Family

He has managed to fill our days with laughter, joy, and love.
From Family

He's proven himself as a successful student, a leader among his peers, a gifted performer, and a stellar athlete.
From Pictures

He has wiped away the grieving tears of others.
From Family

He's shared his compassion by volunteering in his community.
From Family

He has perfected the hug, the snuggle, and the bedtime lullaby.
From Family

He has helped the two somewhat successful adults become better parents each day by gentling correcting the errors of our inexperienced ways.
From Family

He has trained his dog to crawl under and jump over obstacles.
From Family

He has begun laying out big dreams and large plans for the next 10 years and beyond.
From Family

I see him now as he starts crossing the bridge from childhood into adulthood and am amazed how someone who was once so small is becoming quite an incredible person.

To my child, who is now quite big, I'd like to say "thank you." Thank you for all that you are and for all the joy you bring. May this first of your decade birthdays be the first of many more happy ones to come. I can't wait to see what you do with your next 10 years.

I love you,

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Back up plan

I recently had the following conversation with Little Clover after yet another stressful day at work:

LC: Mom, why did you want to do this job when you grew up?
Me: I didn't.
LC (with complete shock on his face): Then, what did you want to be?
Me: A microbiologist, specializing in viruses.
LC: So why didn't you do that?
Me: Because I didn't want to go to school for another 12 years after college.
LC (after a slight pause): Didn't you have a back-up plan?
Me (amazed by his logic): No.
LC (amazed by his mother's lack of foresight): I've got a back-up plan.
Me (curious of what a nine year old's back up plan is): Really? What is it?
LC (matter of factly): Well, if I don't become a zookeeper, then I'm going to be a baseball player. If that doesn't work out, then I'll play in the NFL, and if that doesn't work, then I'll be a professional hockey player.
Me: Wow, that's a good plan.
LC: Yes, I think so.

There you go. All the stress in my life is because I didn't have a back up plan. So, when I picked out the next pair of socks to knit with the Regia Kaffe Fassett yarn Italian gifted me, I not only picked out a back-up pattern, but I also picked out a back-up yarn, and boy, am I glad I did!

I started off knitting the Regia in the column stitch which uses the knit below technique. After knitting three inches of sock, I realized it was too big. I frogged, reduced the number of stitches I casted on, and tried again. While knitting again, I kept eyeing the sock. The sucker just looked big. I tried it on, and it was huge. Then I actually looked at the sock. The knit one below (K1B) technique results in a very different gauge than stockinette. My normal gauge is 9 stitches to the inch with fingering weight yarn. When I measured this sock, I got 6 stitches to the inch. The K1B stitch makes the stitch much wider than the plain knit counterpart.
From WIPs

I frogged again, put the Regia aside, and pulled out some three year old Koigu. This time, I cast on for the Show off stranded pattern and haven't looked back - sorta. I did have to frog this one too after completing the leg. It was also too big. I reduced the number of stitches, again, and finally found the right fit.
From WIPs

Monday, August 24, 2009


Yesterday was the 10 anniversary of my mom's passing, and I did ok. I had one real breakdown, but it was relatively minor, and all in all, not that bad. Granted, I still miss her and it still hurts. The pain and longing has dulled a bit and I find I try to honor her memory in small ways now. Little Clover and I will talk about her and I'll tell him stories about her, like the time she decided to give me a hair cut. She took my long braid and just snipped the sucker off. I don't think I new what hit me. I tell him about how we went camping every weekend when we lived in Colorado and Mom would wear high heeled sandals. I smile when I see clovers and rainbows, and, I have seriously started relearning Korean.

For Christmas, I received Rosetta Stone's Korean Level 1 and it rocks. The software was sitting on my desk for the longest time, and for some reason, last week seemed like the right time to start it. Maybe it was the upcoming anniversary or the back to school bug, I'm not sure, but it has been the best learning tool I've tried. For starters, there is no Romanization. You are dropped straight into the Hangul alphabet and the Korean language. By the time I was 15 "slides" into the first lesson of the first of 4 units, I was already comprehending. I couldn't read nor speak to save my life, but I could understand. The instruction is intuitive and the lessons build upon each other. You are provided with immediate feedback, unlike books and cds, and you can move at your own pace. Repeating lessons is a snap as well. In the Korean language, pronouns are not heavily used. Instead, nouns or formal names are used and when people meet someone for the first time without introduction, they greet each other as "teacher." I like this. I think a language, the foundation for a culture, that bases interactions on the belief we can all learn from one another is a beautiful thing.

The software must be improving my pronounciation. This year, when we went to the Korean restaurant to celebrate my mom, I greeted the host in Korean, just as I do ever year, but this time, they started talking to me in Korean. I paniced! I threw up my hands and quickly blurted, "I just know how to say 'hello!'" The server smiled and changed to English, much to the amusement of Italian and Little Clover, and I think my mom was smiling too.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


For the last seven years, around the third week of August, I've been taking a "First Day of School" picture.
From Family

I wish I could say it gets easier, instead, seeing how much Little Clover has grown and matured over the years only brings home the fact that if I do my job as a parent correctly, he'll continue to mature and grow into a responsible successful adult and will leave the nest. I'm sadly aware that I only have seven more first day of school pictures left. We are at the halfway mark.
From Family

If I'm lucky, he'll let me take a "Dropping my kid off at college" picture, giving me one more photo for the stack. In any case, dropping him off at school after the photo is taken is not getting any easier. I'm thrilled at his accomplishments in school. I'm thrilled with the person he is becoming. I wonder though, is there any way to slow it down and make the next seven pictures last a tad bit longer?
From Family

In knitting news, I've finished the Leyburn Socks.
From 2009 Finished Objects

They are a bit tight when getting them on over my heel. Generally, my socks loosen up when washed, so they should be a perfect fit. I did change the pattern to a gusset and heel flap which I like better. I use Widdershins as the reference for the gusset and heel flap. The yarn is Trekking XXL, which I still love. Although the colorway doesn't have the long color repeats I associate with Trekking, it works well with the Leyburn pattern.

Besides Leyburn, I've been knitting away on Stella's Blouse.
From WIPs

I'm knitting with Class (in more ways than one) and love the yarn. It is a beautiful cotton viscose blend with a lovely drape and sheen. Did I mention the yardage? At over 200 yards per skein, I can knit all the way to the armhole before I run out of yarn.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

June Cleaver is overrated

Summer vacation is quickly coming to a close at Clover Fields and I've spent the last few weeks coming to terms with the fact that I am no June Cleaver. I think since returning from vacation, I've cooked a total of five meals, not counting taking a prepackaged meal out of the freezer and reheating it. Let's just say that the people at Mosa know us very, very well. The house is in a perpetual state of disarray with no end in site. There is no vacuuming while wearing a skirt and a sting of pearls. I have been a domestic failure.

I have been a successful chauffeur, shuttling my little teeny tiny baby boy to football practice. (Can you tell I'm having a difficult time with him growing up?) Honestly, I would rather see him race across a soccer field, but it is thrilling to watch him dart between defensive boys, avoiding tackles, while caring the ball down the field.
From Family

The two hours of nightly football practice does provide me with ample time to knit. I've finished my Aquaphile socks:
From 2009 Finished Objects

And am now chugging through the Leyburn sock
From WIPs

And Robin Melanson's Stella's Blouse.
From WIPs

Those will be the only string of purls for a while.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Out of the mouth of babes

If you ever get a chance to play Taboo with a nine year, take it. You'll get such gems as "I have a blank butt."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On the range

This weekend, I discovered the truisms of some of the songs I learned in grade school. Italian and I ventured out to Colorado to celebrate our 10 wedding anniversary and during the trip, we found home. The West remains uniquely American and the Rockies were the most beautiful background to a remarkable trip.

For starters, we checked into the Highland Haven Inn, where a cute little cowboy duckie greeted us.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

Bear Creek, one of the many trout streams around Denver, not only ran directly through the town of Evergreen, but also ran through Highland Haven, making the place even more serene.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

On our first night in Evergreen, CO, right outside of Denver on the western side, we gazed in amazement at the purple mountains. When the sun sets, the fading beams hit the pinkish granite of the Rockies and the mountains are washed in purple which fades from a light lavendar to a deep rich purple. It was awesome in the purest sense of the word.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

After sleeping that night with the cool mountain air filling the room from the open window, we woke up to head to Cheesman Canyon, our first fly fishing destination. To get to the river, one must hike half a mile into the Canyon. At the top of the hike, we stopped to take in the view.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

The South Platte winds its way through the canyon and is punctuated with large bolders in many places.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

Those boulders you see are as tall as a person, and provided perfect places for hiding fish. Italian, landed the biggest of the day.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

All of the trout we caught were wild trout, so they fought with a gusto and zeal hatchery trout just don't possess. Occasionally, they would take us on long walks along the river as we worked hard to land them. The majority of the streams in this area are also catch and release, which means that each of the fish are returned to grow bigger.

While at Cheesman, I did put my pole down a couple of times to capture a few sights.

Denver was experiencing a swarm of ladybugs.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

The wildflowers were beautiful.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

From Fly Fishing Colorado

I also managed to catch a few trout.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

The second day, we decided to do something completely different, and our guide, Pat Dorsey, gave us the experience of fishing a meadow stream. Wow. Really, wow. The drive to Spinney was one of the most incredible drives. From Evergreen, we wend our way through the mountains, going higher and higher until we reached an elevation of 8600 ft. Towards the end of the mountain pass, we took a slight turn until the mountain on our left cleared to reveal an expansive prairie beneath us. Italian and I, who weren't saying much to beginning with as we took in the sights, both stopped breathing, gazed, and then exclaimed, "Wow!" There are no words to describe what we saw. We did immediately start singing "Home on the Range," though.

Fishing Spinney was quite different than fishing Cheesman. For starters, the scene is an expansive meadow of wildflowers and wild sage.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

Cutting through the meadow is another winding stream, punctuated every now and then by old farm buildings.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

The sky was cloudless when we first arrived, but as the day progressed, clouds began to build up and roll along the expansive blue above. Pat, our fishing guide, had an incredible knack for seeing the trout in the water and taught us how to fish in lots of different conditions. If you ever go fly fishing in the Denver area, call the Blue Quill Angler. Their guide service is top notch, stacked with friendly knowledgeable guides.

Finally, on the last day of fishing, we had the luxury of fishing the North Fork of the South Platte. Again, the view was picture perfect.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

The stream is nestled against the side of the mountain, with a bit of pairie on the other side.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

Pat again helped us land beautiful fish and his strike indicator really is the best one we've used.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

From Fly Fishing Colorado

At the end of the day, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to stop by the Coney Island hot dog stand, complete with boardwalk.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

The view we had while we ate our elk sausage dog only added to the wonderful flavor.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

Yep, we'll be going back soon.
From Fly Fishing Colorado

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Oh how I've missed it

For the last few weeks, nay, months, I've been sock less, and not just because it is a Delta summer. I've been knitting on many other things. I've knitted 6 sweaters (Noro Sweater, Little Green Shrug, Little Diamond Pullover, Luscious, and Undulating Cables). I like knitting sweaters. Heck, I love wearing sweaters and seeing others wear the sweaters I've made. But oh, I have missed knitting socks. They're fast and squishy and yummy and I'm bouncing with enthusiasm to have socks on my needles again.

From WIPs

I'm also loving the yarn. Having Trekking slide through my fingers brings back many happy memories of previous sock knitting experiences. The colorway doesn't look like most Trekking colorways with long swaths of color. Instead, it has much shorter color repeats. I opted for a slip stitch pattern, basically, the Aquaphobia pattern, but without the cables along the sides. When looking at the leg versus the foot, I'm amazed at the impact the slip stitch pattern has in breaking up the color. I love the socks even more, and when I slipped it on my foot. It fit like a glass slipper.

So know, I'm wonder if I really love knitting socks, why am I going to leave them again, at home, while I fly away to Colorado, to knit a scarf.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Red, White, Blue, Green

For the last few years, we've had a family tradition of meeting Papa and Nana Clover at a lake cabin for the Fourth of July holiday. This year was no different, so we made the trek out to Middle Tennessee. Papa and Nana Clover had forgotten some food and asked if we could stop by their house and pick it up. We, of course, agreed. Our own cooler was rather full and we didn't have room in the car for the larger cooler, which meant we needed to stop by a store and buy a smaller styrofoam cooler with some ice.

We rested up at Papa and Nana's, packed up the food, drove to the store, purchased the cooler and ice, and went to the car. "Ok, where's the food?" Italian asked.

"I thought you had it." I replied.

We had left it at the house. This food was not meant to go to the lake. We turned around anyway and picked up the twice forgotten grocery sack and made our merry way to the cabin laughing. Once there, we relaxed by swimming in the lake.

From Irish Clover

Italian caught a few bluegills and Little Clover caught his fair share of frogs. The annual 4th of July banquet was as lovely as ever. Seriously, our neighbors at the cabin have an amazing flair for entertaining. The food is always excellent, the wine is always flowing, and the company is always outstanding.

From Irish Clover

There was plenty of time for me to knit as well. I knitted on the boat, on the deck, and by a campfire under the stars. It was the relaxation I needed.

Before leaving for our holiday, I did manage to finish a little baby sweater for a friend.

From 2009 Finished Objects

The pattern is from Bouton d'Or, a French pattern book series for children. If you have a boy who has not grown into men's patterns, hunt down these books. They are filled with the best boy sweaters I've seen. The gauge is small, this sweater is knit with fingering weight yarn on US size 3 needles, but it knits up fast. The pattern was easy to memorize and I love the construction with the buttons at the neck. Little Clover found these, and I must say, they are cute.
From 2009 Finished Objects