Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I've moved

The blog has moved! If you are still interested in following our antics, you can find us here:

Irish Clover Knits, the adventure continues

Thursday, October 20, 2011

On the lawn there arose a sound

A few nights ago while Italian worked late, Little Clover and I settled in for a movie night. Getting into the Halloween spirit, we decided to watch a classic, Monster Squad. The setting inside was perfect. We turned the lights off and popped some popcorn. At one point, I got the creepy feeling one feels of eyes watching or someone being present who shouldn't be. I looked at Spot, happily grooming himself at our feet. He usually can sense when something is out of the ordinary. Then I looked at the door and noticed shadows on our porch, people shaped shadows, and an unlocked door. I tiptoed to the door, bolted the lock, and flipped on the porch light. The shadows scattered and I jumped back to catch my breathe. Peeking out of the window, I saw a maroon truck speed by and honk. Looking further, I noticed shadows in the trees. I opened the door and burst out laughing. We had been TP! Toliet paper streamed from our trees, covered our bushes, showered down from my car! I had interrupted the pranksters while they were in the middle of covering our porch.

From Irish Clover

Little Clover and I stepped out and admired the quality workmanship and had a big laugh. We walked back in and settled back into the movie. After a few minutes, I bolted up and yelled, "The sheep!" Running back outside, we found him.

From Irish Clover

He had been mummified!

We did find out who the skilled pranksters were, but we aren't suppose to know. A few girls from Little Clover's class were having a sleep over when they decided to roll our house. Trust me when I saw we feel honored! The best part of it, one of the moms was the driver for the girls. I love his classmates.

In Silence

There is much activity

So much activity, in fact, that the blog has been silent for almost two months. What's been going on, you ask (or don't ask because you are no longer reading)? Well, pull up a chair and pour a brew and I'll tell you.

I started a new job, sorta. I still work for the same company, in the same department, but I'm now on a new team and I've switched from being an "individual contributor," as we call it, to a manager. The switch took place while we were in Ireland and became official when we returned. Work greeted me with a new team, new responsibilities, and two weeks of backlog. I'm finally feeling somewhat back in control, but I still have plenty of days when I feel as if I have no idea what I'm doing and someone is going to walk into my office, ask if I had fun, and tell me it's time to go back to my old job now. I'm also still trying to figure out what being a manger means, so if any of you have any pointers, please, please, please send them my way. Fortunately for me, my team is extremely patient and kind and they are taking good care of me. They even gave me a card for Boss's Day!

In addition to starting a new job, Little Clover and I turned another year older. This is the last (gulp) pre-teen year for us. Already, Little Clover is meeting up with friends at the movies, with the expectation Italian and I will just drop him off. We're all working through this. I'll let you know how it goes. He is also asking for his own phone. I asked who he would call and text. He repsonded with his "You know, my friends." He's been practicing his texting skills with Mrs. Soprano's phone, texting away with his uncle and me, his mama.

For my birthday, my family spoiled me yet again by chipping in for this:

From Irish Clover

It is the Schacht Sidekick traveling wheel, and it is awesome. It's like my very own transformer and I don't have to share her. She does spin very well and her bobbins are interchangeable with the Matchless, making her a perfect companion. With some luck, she'll rack up a couple of frequent flyer miles sometime in the future.

Next to the wheel is our very own sheep. We've named him Shaun. Shaun has quite a few adventures. He wanders across our yard, grazing from spot to spot. When I walk out in the morning, I'm never sure where he's going to be. One day, he even broke free from the pasture and made it all the way to the driveway. Another day, we returned from a weekend trip and he was in the flowerbeds. The neighborhood dogs have finally become accustomed to him and no longer growl when they walk by. The neighborhood kids, still pop out to check his location. His biggest adventure occured one night when Little Clover and I were home alone.

Tune in tomorrow to hear about Shaun's biggest adventure.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rainbows in the UK

I've been staring at my calendar for most of today trying to figure out what in the world I was missing. A nagging feeling of forgetfulness loomed over me. Finally, after lunch, I realized the importance of today: the anniversary of my mom's death. I sat stunned for a bit, then relieved and happy. After 12 years, I don't dread this day, and I miss my mom less, but not because I don't think about her, but because I'm finally accustomed to interacting with her in a new way. She is still very much a part of my life and still very much a part of Little Clover's. We still talk about her and tell her story, and in little ways, we still include her. In fact, in this installment of our vacation recap, you'll see how she was a part of our Ireland vacation.

We tackled London with an intensity for our two and a half day stay. Because Little Clover is a future zookeeper, we visit zoos, and London was no exception. At the zoo, we visited the location for the zoo scene in the first Harry Potter film:
From Ireland Trip 2011

After spending most of the day at the zoo, we rushed back to London and walked through the Westminster Abbey cloister.
From Ireland Trip 2011

We also had the good fortune of attending a prayer service the next day and seeing the graves of some of our favorite authors in Poet's Corner. Praying in a chapel built in the early 1200s fills one with awe.

After visiting the Abbey, we stumbled upon a London food festival where Little Clover had a dinner of ox tongue with salsa verde and a chunk of foccasia from a Northern Italian farm. Yes, ox tongue. He loved it. Italian and I opted to peruse the vendors from mainland Europe and the UK for local beer, cured meats, and cheeses, then dine al fresco.

The next day, we left London and had a frantic episode on the train to Wales. For a brief instance, even though there were only two trains in the station - the one we deboard and the one we boarded- we believed we boarded the wrong train. The panic spread to the two ladies who boarded after us. Little Clover, the two ladies and I scrambled to pull our luggage as the doors shut and the train pulled out of the station. The train announcement came on in Welsh, then English, at which point, we realized we were on the correct train afterall! At that point, all we could do was laugh! Once in Wales, we fly fished on the River Dee in the traditional way. Although the fishing was tough, it was beautiful and we had a most brilliant time.
From Ireland Trip 2011

The next day found us on the way to Holyhead to catch a ferry. In Holyhead, my mom and Little Clover's recently lost guinea pig said hello in the form of a rainbow.
From Ireland Trip 2011

It has become quite natural for me now to reply "Hi, Mom!" when I see a rainbow. I had actually begun to notice the lack of rainbows when this one appeared while we walked back to our hotel from dinner. The best part, it hadn't rained. Instead, we stopped to cross the street, looked up, and saw it over the chimney of the house across the street, as if she just wanted to let us know she was with us, and she was. I love you, Mom.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Home again

Summer is officially over, and not just because we returned from vacation, but because of this:

From Family

The annual first day of school picture.

This year, when I completed registration, I realized there is only one grade ahead of him at school. Just one. At parent orientation, the teachers spoke of preparing for high school. High School!!!! Don't they realize he's way to young to go to high school? I had a hard enough time dropping him off at the welcome back dance; I'm not even remotely ready enough to discuss high school. At least he still gives me hugs, as long as none of his friends are around, especially any of the girls. Oh, I'm so in trouble.

Since returning home from vacation, we've been busy reestablishing our routines. School was relatively easy to pick up again, in spite of the change in grade and the addition of honors classes. Work also hasn't been to difficult. What has been hard is leaving Ireland behind. We miss the sites, we miss the pubs, we miss the music, and we even miss the food. Since I miss Ireland terribly and I haven't had a chance to catch everyone up on the vacation, the next few blog posts will include vacation recaps at the end. Grab a cuppa and come along.

Rocking in the UK
We learned a lot with our first international flight as a family. We learned to avoid Atlanta if one can because the length of delays almost make it worthwhile to just drive to Atlanta (and oh, I wish I was kidding). If you do have to fly to Atlanta and get delayed, change your connecting international flight while still in your destination airport. Bring an eyemask, a blanket, and noise cancelling headphones, and try to land at your destination around noon. Those headphones are handy when the flight crew starts feeding people dinner around midnight.

We also learned that the train stations are beautiful.
From Ireland Trip 2011

In fact, most of London is beautiful.

Especially at night:
From Ireland Trip 2011

From Ireland Trip 2011

We rode the London Eye at sunset at the recommendation of a co-worker. If you ever have the chance to ride the eye, try to time it at sunset. The view was amazing.
From Ireland Trip 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

London calling

Hello from the UK! There might be radio silence as I try to figuire out how to post photos while mobile. Don't panic (the answer is 42), the blog will resume and be back to normal soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Knit like the wind

What does one do when binding off over 500 stitches on a shawl and one realizes with growing gloom there is not enough yarn to make it to the end? I don't know what you do, but I keep binding off, run out of yarn with 12 stitches left, rip back the bind off by a couple of inchecs, run out yarn with 5 stitches left, rip back the bind off even further, make it to the end with two inches left to spare, and then I ask Italian to pour me a pint.

From 2011 Finished Objects

The pint was an excellent victory pint, and the victory wasn't just showing the yarn that if it worked with me, it could make it to the end of the shawl, but it was also a pint to celebrate the completion of the shawl before the Camp Loopy project 1 deadline. Never have my hands worked so quickly. I even had to dust of the wrist brace to wear inbetween bouts of knitting. In the end though, it was worth the pain.

From 2011 Finished Objects

The yarn is Tosh Sock in Ivy and Moss. The Moss weighed in heavy so I thought I could add two rows of stockinette at the end of the second chart. Those two rows would be my almost fatal flaw. Jennybuttons supplied the beautifully handcrafted brass buttons. The pattern, Catkin, is beautifully written. I'm placing the shawl in the suitcase to accompany me on my next great adventure.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Time Warp

Isn't summer the time of the year when time slows to a crawl and one relaxes in a hammock with a nice cool drink? Maybe it's the lack of hammock in our lives, but summer has sped up the rate of time, not slowed it. Even though my calendar clearly states the month is July, I can't completely comprehend it. We've had so few weekends at home or unschedule this summer and we've been blessed by visits from family and friends, I haven't really had the time or the energy to blog, but I've had the time to snap a few shots.

The Little Princess has been growing since her introduction to the world in early June.
From Family

Little Clover is completely enamoured with her and has claimed her as his. He's already started a list of "Things to teach the Princess." His list includes but is not excluded to:

  • How to throw a baseball

  • How to throw a football

  • How to catch a frog

  • How to fly fish

Princess or not, he doesn't want her to be "useless" when she gets bigger.

Italian and I had the chance for a grown-up night in the city with some friends. We attended a Farmer's Market dinner on the rooftop of the The Madison. Not only was the food prepared from local ingredients wonderfully delicious, but we had a spectacular view of the sunsetting on the Mississippi.
From Irish Clover

It's things like these that remind me of how great Memphis can be. The Madison hotel offers valet parking, which I think may be free for dinners at the restaurant. They take their valet service seriously. When we left the hotel, our friend turned in his valet slip. Even though the car was parked directly across the street from us, in plain view, a mere walk of 20 feet, the valet attended insisted we stay put and drove the car to our spot on the sidewalk. Now that is service.

Finally, we had an awesome Fourth at the cabin on the lake. We saw fireworks, spent time with friends and family, and I got some knitting time in. Now we are resting up before our next and last great adventure for the summer.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Two different camps

Summer camp is in full swing for both Clover and me. He's in his second week of Zoo Camp and even though the zoo is in the heart of the city, he's had plenty of wildlife encounters.

He's fed hippos and played with iguanas. A trantula walked across his hand. An eagle came to visit, as well as a host of other animals. Despite not really knowing anyone else at camp, he's plunged in everyday ready for a new adventure and missing his camp friends from the previous week.

My camp experience has been wildlife free, but I'm having a blast! Cabin 3 is a chatty and friendly bunch. Being the late night cabin, we chat almost all hours of the day. I've got a bunkmate from Washington state, and other campers post drinks and recipes. Virtual camping has also been full of pranksters sneaking into our cabin and announcing the prank they've just launched. We've had our shoes shuffled as well as a few other camping pranks. The campers post lovely pictures of their works in progress and even with everything else going on, I've knitted a decent amount on my campfire shawl.

From WIPs

Monday, June 20, 2011

Going to Camp

What does a busy mom on a yarn diet with an active family and a job outside of the home need? Why one more thing to do of course, especially if it involves buying yarn! I'm heading to camp, but not any camp, I'm "packing up" for Camp Loopy, a virtual knitting camp. I dashed off to Cabin 3 with all the other night owls. My bag is bursting with my yarn, and I've casted on for Catkin, a lovely little shawl I hope to take to on vacation later this summer. The other campers are a chatty bunch, swapping recipes, showing off their projects and yarns, and overall, keeping everyone intertained. One camper even started a little campfire and posted a picture of us to huddle around.

I've never joined a knitalong quite like this before. In fact, I've only been part of a swap once, and loved the experience. The best part of the swap, and what I think will be the best part of Camp Loopy, was the flexibility to knit on a project of my choosing while still being part of a larger collective experience. My cabinmates as well as my pattern mates with keep this camp exciting, and we don't have to worry about bug bites or poison ivy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Another year

As hard as it for me to believe, we've made it through another year. Little Clover not only survived his first year of middle school, but it was a smashing success. He managed his school work on his own without help from us and brought home great grades. He excelled in sports and chess camp and enjoyed his first dance of the year. His class even beat out the other class for the most blue ribbons on field day. After a hard year's worth of work, we've heralded in the end of the year and the beginning of the school year with a nice long break.
From Family

Summer began for us with the annual ending to Memphis in May - The Sunset Symphony. Being a knitter, I brought a wooly project to knit while the symphony played. The lacey Dayflower cowl is an excellent spring and summer knit. When the cold weather hits, the memory of a warm summer delta night will linger enough to fight off the chill.
From WIPs

This was our first ever sunset symphony and I can see it becoming an annual tradition. Watching the sun set over the river while listening to an excellent symphony performing and ending with fireworks over the river was an experience I'd like to have again.

Summer also brought a new little niece. The Little Princess captured our hearts when we met her last week.
From Family

She's the lovely little recipient of a knitted Elijah. I hope she loves it to pieces.
From 2011 Finished Objects

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Measure a Life

Recently, and article from the Harvard Business Review titledHow Will you Measure Your Life stumbled into my inbox. Not only did the article provide great probing questions, but it also made me wonder how I want to measure my life. In addition to the article, Little Clover once again suggested I look into working at the zoo, his dream job office. I told him if I took a job at the zoo, then we as a family wouldn't be able to do some of the things we do. He then asked if he shouldn't grow up to be a zookeepper, if he should choose another job to take care of his family. With all my heart, I told him no. To do something he loved and the money would follow.

Blame my introspection on the recent round of lay-offs at my company, but his comments made me wonder if I'm on the right course for my career. The article did help reaffirm my focus, Little Clover. My job is not earth shattering, nor am I jetting up the career ladder. I used to struggle with my seemingly lack of ambition, but the article helped me articulate how I measure my life.

I measure life in the number of times I laugh each day, striving to laugh more than most adults do in a day. I measure life in memorable moments with my family, in the number of our inside jokes, in the trips we take, the fish we catch, the meals we share together, and in my knitted FOs. None of these are directly related to my career other than my job provides me with the means to be able to give my child a variety of experiences. No, Little Clover may not need to travel away from home to build fond memories, but it helps me unplug enough to have those moments with him. It is my goal for him to see the world so that when he's ready to fly off into it, it won't be a big scary place, but rather a familiar place, one he's experienced. Hopefully, he'll have a ton of warm knits to wrap around him to keep his body and soul warm.

As we wait for my job to settle down and for the summer to bring new adventures, I knit away on the tangible momentos. Yet another pair of socks to keep my feet warm and to burn up the sock yarn stash.
From 2011 Finished Objects

Monkey Socks by Cookie A
They are knit with Schaffer Nicole sock yarn in the colorway Peter. The yarn and pattern matched perfectly.

To help the Japanese earthquake victims, I knit Sakaki in Dream in Color Starry colorway Crying Dove. I hope Japan bounces back the resilience they've shown in the past.
From 2011 Finished Objects

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Would you like fries with that

Italian and I just celebrated another wedding anniversary. Since we like to eat, we try to make the most of celebrations falling during the week with an extra little night out on the weekend. This year, we tried Iris and loved it. The New Orleans inspired menu looked delicious on paper and sounded even better when our server hit the highlights. Plus, Iris tries to source food locally where it can, so I ate food with bacon without any twinge of guilt. Halfway through my soft shell crab served with English peas and polenta, as I contemplated which dessert sounded best, I started to laugh. Sitting next to my was not only my partner of over a decade, but a boy I met when I was 17.

He asked me what I found funny, and I told him Iris was a far cry from either of our two first dates (we can't agree on which one was our actual first date). He smiled back. I asked if he remembered them, and like a great husband, he did. For a couple who enjoys food, our begining was quite humble. On the date where I invited him, we dined at McDonald's before the movie. On the date where he asked me, we dined at a local Waffle House style coffee shop. Thankfully, the company is just as wonderful now as it was in those early days. I'm blessed to have a partner like Italian, my love and mate.

From Disney 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Best kid ever

Work life has been stressful. My company has completed a round of lay-off and benefit changes that have been quite taxing on a professional and personal level. During these trying times, I'm more grateful for my boss, who is truly an excellent boss, and my family who is truly the best family ever. In honor of this past Mother's Day, I will proceed with gushingly sweet "mommy moments."

Mommy Moment - The best baseball player ever
Little Clover has been playing a form of baseball since he was three. He loves playing short stop, but he is also quite the little pitcher. We practice with him at home, acting as his catcher. He's always had a decent arm and a pretty decent fastball. Normally, I'll grab my baseball mitt and we'll throw a few in the front yard. This season, he got two pitches on me. The first one hit my glove with a loud thud followed by an instant throbbing. The ball fell out of my hand and I told Little Clover I was done, he throws too hard and I needed a catchers mitt. He coaxed me with his sweet little face, begging, "Just one more, Mama." I could I refuse? I put the glove back on and attempted to catch the second pitch. He has just started pitching too fast for me to catch without additional gear.

He's pitching just as fast, and accurately on the diamond as well. His league plays for a set time limit instead of playing 9 innings. During his last game, the opposing team got two runs on him early in the first inning. After those two runs, Little Clover focus and proceed to hold them to those two runs for the rest of the game. They played a total of four innings, a total of 12 outs. He struck out 8 batters, caught two pop flies, and fielded a ground ball and threw the runner out at first. His team rallied as well, driving in 8 runs for their team. Needless to say, when Little Clover heard his stats, he was pretty thrilled.

Mommy Moment 2 - The most thoughtful child ever
With the lay-offs at work and the benefit changes, I've been pretty stressed and unbearable at home. Yesterday, Little Clover thought I could use a little pick me up. He grabbed my purse and told me I couldn't open it until I got to work. I told him I needed my keys to drive him to school. He handed them to me. I smiled with curiosity, but followed his instructions. Once at work, I found the little surprise, a key chain he bought for himself at Raglan Road in Disney World. The key chain has a four leaf clover in the center of a claddagh. Instantly warmed and touched by his present, I put my keys on the ring. I also ended up having the best day at work in a really long time, getting back some of the hope I had lost during the last few days. His little present was just what I needed.

In other news
We survived the great flood of 2011! Yes, the Mississippi River went from half a mile wide to three miles wide, but the river banks of Arkansas are pretty flat and uninhabited. There was a lot of damage to the north of the Memphis, and there will probably be more damage to the south of Memphis as the flood waters move towards the Gulf. Overall, the City was ok. We did have a couple of high schools in the city with low lying flooded athletic fields, but it could have been much much worse.

From Irish Clover

The river did flow across Riverside Dr onto Beale, and it covered Mud Island which has a scale replica of the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf. The replica normal mimics the water levels of the actual river, but for the time being, it is underwater.
From Irish Clover

Just for fun, because we love our ducks down here, here's a picture of some ducks at our zoo, posing for the camera.
From Irish Clover

Y'all stay dry!

Friday, May 06, 2011


It began with Maryland Sheep and Wool last year, this new need of mine to run off on an annual fiber themed trip. There is something about being surrounded by wool in raw and processed forms with other fiber enthusiasts who do not look at you oddly when you jump up and down with blissfully pure excited at finding the "right" yarn that really speaks to me for some reason. Having gone to a wool festival, this year, I looked for something slightly different and tossed my name into the Spring Fling lottery, not expecting to get a spot.

When the shock of procuring a place at the covetted Spring Fling table wore off, I put in my vacation noticed and waited. Now, a mere five days from coming home, I miss the other Flingers and I miss the little yarn world we lived in for four days. As with all other types of vacations, I'm going to excitedly show you all the wonderful knitcation photos and completely ignore your boredom.

Not knowing what to expect and honestly wanting a relaxing day, I arrived at Spring Fling the night before the scheduled start. Lo and behold, knitters were already in the lobby of the hotel right by the front door! I quickly checked in, dumped off my bags, and ran back downstairs to be with my people. As an introvert, I've made huges strides. This is my first trip alone, ever. I wasn't going to know a single person there, but with knitters, that doesn't really matter. Within a few minutes, I was comfortably settled in a chair knitting with a new group of other likeminded individuals until the wee hours of the morning.

The next morning, as I anxiously waited for Fling to begin, I fulfilled my promise to Little Clover and swung by the zoo. I love having a child who requests I conduct a photo safari at the local zoo and bring back pictures.
From Spring Fling 2011

Upon completing my mission, I returned to the hotel, found the Loopy Lounge, and retrieved my Fling cupcakes, a chocolate peanut butter and a coconut butter cream.
From Spring Fling 2011

The rest of the day was spent knitting and knitting and talking and knitting some more. In our registration bag was a skein of Wollmeise, and instead of putting the color on the label, Claudia (the talent behind the yarn) encouraged us to make a friend and trade. Watching all the knitters walk around and openly eyeing yarn was quite a sight! I swapped my lovely deep mauve for a beautiful grassy green. At some point there was dinner, then more knitting, and sleep, and then knitting again. I took an advanced lace knitting class with Anne Hanson, and tackled my fear of beads with Laura Nelkin. If you ever get a chance to take a class with Laura, do it! She not only crammed a lot of information in her class, but she really explained and demoed in a way to alleviate any fears. Plus, you can make something like this:
From 2011 Finished Objects

Still trying to wrap my head around seeing people everywhere just knitting, I talked to Italian about how my Type A nature was boggled by the downtime. He told me to think of it as a spa weekend and with that perspective, I kicked by and enjoyed the pace. The two classes I took were the perfect amount. I got to revel in the copious abundance of yarn and the civil nature of the multiple trading events, like the sock yarn swap.
From Spring Fling 2011

Look at that yarn! Even dumped their scrap sock yarn on a table and trade in rounds of 5 skeins at a time. When everyone had taken what they wanted, there was still yarn left for the taking. Finally, my turn to visit The Loopy Ewe came and it was yarntopia!

Another Flinger had to put some yarn back:
From Spring Fling 2011

And there were Little Loopies everywhere:
From Spring Fling 2011

With the weekend drawing to an end, a few of us changed into pajamas and shared a bottle of wine while we knit.
From Spring Fling 2011

I'd take a spa weekend like this again any day.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Meanwhile, back at the Bat Cave

In the midst of work, the after school activity de jour, household choirs, and household maintenance, we've managed to cram some fun into our hectic life. The fun didn't leave anytime for blogging (at least that's my excuse), nor has it left much time for transferring pictures from the camera. What have we been up to? We made our first trip to the zoo this spring where we encountered a keeper in the wild! Little Clover, thrilled beyond belief at his close encounter, began asking her about her typical work day, the animals she kept, the existence of a junior keeper program at the zoo, and where she went to school. I've never seen a kid as excited at the prospect of cleaning an animal cage as he was when the keeper told him, yes, our zoo has a junior keeper program. This is a dream come true for my future zoo keeper.

We've also found a couple of warm water fishing ponds. Now, we can slip away for a couple of hours when the fishing bug bites instead of holding out for a weekend trip. Little Clover is a natural fisherman. He can coax bass out of water and his joy overflows in the form of laughter and squeals. His enthusiasm is the main catalyst for my love of fishing. This week, we changed roles as he taught me how to handle the small pond, and he is an excellent teacher. He also caught a tadpole and a frog, proving once again he is all boy.

To completely juxtapose the all boy nature experience, the Engineer had a baby shower. She is generously giving me a niece and a chance to knit something utterly girly! Watch for a little more information in a later post, after I download the pictures.

The little pink dress isn't the only thing on my needles. I've made great strides cold sheeping, reducing my stash count this year by 3000 yards. I'm striving to knit two skeins of sock yarn a month and have managed to hit that target since I accepted my Yarn Investment Portofolio was growing too quickly. The latest sock project is yet another pair of socks, knitted in Wollmeise, a very hard to get yarn.
From WIPs

The color is beautiful and the yarn is nice. To be honest though, I don't get the Wollmeise craze. This yarn has gone for more than triple its face value on eBay. I'm happy with the skeins I have, but there are definitely other yarns I love more. They do make great socks and show off the stitch definition of the pattern nicely. For the sake of time, the picture is from my camera phone, which suffices in a pinch, but I must really transfer the pictures from my big camera.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Happy birthday to you

From Disney 2011

Today, one of the loves of my life is celebrating his birthday. I've known him for almost half his life and like a fine wine, he's gotten better and better with age. He's grown handsomer and lovelier with each moment. He's an amazing husband, a loving father, and my bestest friend ever. Happy birthday, love. May this new year be filled with tight lines, fun trips, loving memories, new friends, and old friends.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Like my father before me, I love photography. Unlike my father before me, I don't have rolls and rolls of film and albums upon albums strewn about the house. Instead, I have an external harddrive and a paid Picasa account, both of which came in extremely handy last night when I began downloading my more than 300 photos of my camera. Even though I expected more than 300 pictures, I was not prepared from how grossly I underestimated my snap happy state while on vacation.

My camera even tells me how many pictures it has room to hold, and ticks down the numbers as you shoot away. I tought my camera was lying to me. It would blink "748" and the number wouldn't register. The next time I look down, it would blink "542," and I'd think, "huh, how odd." When it was blinking "337" I thought it must be highly inaccurate, but no, I just didn't believe it. I didn't know what motive the camera had, but I was pretty sure it was lying.

Nope, I took a lot of pictures, 611 to be exact plus 4 movies. I won't bore you with all 611. Instead, here are a few highlights.

If you aren't wearing mouse ears, then you might as well wear the sorcerer's hat.
From Disney 2011

Children of all ages, love to be at Disney with their mamas.
From Disney 2011

From Disney 2011

From Disney 2011

If you see a giant statue, you must pick it's nose.
From Disney 2011

If you stay in a pirate themed room, you might as well dress like a pirate.
From Disney 2011

The chocolate mousse in Canada, really is a moose.
From Disney 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A break from the break

There is something about Spring Break which can be exhausting. I think it is us. For some reason, we see Spring Break and Fall Break as opportunities to go out into the world and cram those days with as much activity as possible. These are the vacation breaks where we willingly wake up early and hit the day running only to stop late in the evening with a hard sudden crash. I think there must be something wrong with us.

I'll update you on the break which wasn't after I upload the over 300 pcitures from my camera. In the meantime, here is something which provides the solice and relaxation often missing from my vacations.

From WIPs

It's a sock (shocker, I know) captured in a moment of rest by a camera phone. No, it isn't a masterfully arranged photo, but it also isn't a raw file requiring downloading, tweaking, and converting. It is instead an accurate reflection of the time available and it is a little piece of peace.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

My reason for feminism

Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, and I wasn't going to take note of it nor celebrate it. Then, I read the Yarn Harlot's post. Not only was she eloquent, but she's right. Feminism is and should be the practice of equality of the sexes, both sexes.

In college, I was the one with the "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" bumper sticker. Not because I thought men were unnecessary, but because I thought the image of a fish riding a bicycle was funny. I didn't believe a woman should need a man. She should be self-reliant and only be with a man because she wants him. As a mother, I tell my son he should never get married because he needs to, but only because he wants to be with someone more than anyone else, because that person brings light and wonder to his world, and he, in turn, is the light of his/her world.

As a feminist, I want my son to face a female competitor as an equal, and not as a girl he has to let win otherwise her self-esteem might be damaged. I shared his frustration when his boys' basketball team was told this weekend that they had to lose the scrimage against the girls' team, not because I felt like he was cheated, but because I felt the girls were cheated out of a fair game. In our house, there's no affirmative action for gender or age. We only let you win if you suck.

As as feminist, I want my son to grow up and do what makes him happy, and I want the world to accept him as he is. I don't want him to be the major breadwinner just because he is the man. I don't want him to shoulder the financial burdens of his household alone. I want him to pick whatever career he wants regardless of whether or not it is a traditionally "feminine" or "masculine" job. I want him to find a partner in life who complements him, the yin to his yang, one who is his equal and a true partner.

As a feminist, I celebrate the strengths and the weaknesses of both sexes and the expansion of opportunities based on who you are and not on your gender.

So, here's my reason for feminism, my son. May his world continue to be expanded as it harnesses what each person has to offer.
From Colorado 2010

(And yes, that is a pink scarf he's wearing. As Little Clover correctly stated, "Real men wear pink." Pink is after all, just a color.)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

To be young

There hasn't been as much knitting going on at Clover Field as I would like. I blame the Twilight series. With some luck, the last book will move to my "read" bookshelf tonight and knitting can resume with it's normal voracity. The lack of knitting greatly impacts my Cold Sheeping goal of knitting through 8000 yards this year, which means I'm going to have to either knit faster or convince my family that my time helping out with household chores is really unnecessary and better spent on the sofa with yarn and needles in hand. Since the likelihood of being let of the hook with choirs is low, I better start speed training. Another option is to get on a project with requiring a lot of conference calls. Then, I can use my knitting to tame my need for multitasking while on a call.

Granted, Twilight wasn't the only thing competing for knitting time. The warming weather and chirping birds signals the return of fishing season. We stole way for the weekend and hit the river. Although fishing was a bit slow for me, Smallish Clover manage to have a very good weekend. Not only did he luck out with quantity, but he also hooked and landed a very good quality fish.

From 2011 Fly Fishing February

The children's only stream is a curse and a blessing. Although Italian and I are overjoyed with Smallish Clover's success on the river, we are slightly jealous we can't have the experience ourselves. Clover targeted this beast and we watched as the fly floated towards the whale. Then, with held breath, we watched as the fish opened to take the fly, and Clover set the hook perfectly. As always, we released the fish, exhilarated to see it swim away.

From 2011 Fly Fishing February

It was worth giving up the knitting time to have this moment.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Timing is everything

Some people have a knack for timing. They purchase the right stock before it skyrockets. They show up in time to get the best deals or the best seats. They finish their knitwear in time to wear it during the same season. I do not seem to have the gift of timing which is why my Bohus sweater leapt off my needles as the mercury outside climbed to 68 degrees (F). After a year of on and off knitting, the sweater is finally ready to wear, yet the weather outside just isn't cooperating. I haven't the heart to shove it into the deep recesses of the sweater closet, so it's been gracing the ironing board.
From 2011 Finished Objects

I love this sweater. It was a challenge to knit, taxing my braincells. The pattern is called Wild Apple. Originally released in 1958, Wild Apple is considered one of the most popular of the Bohus sweaters. Theses sweaters could be seen draping the lovely forms of Grace Kelly and Ingrid Bergman, and helped Sweden during a time of economic hardship. Now, I have one of my own and enough yarn left in the kit to knit a matching hat.
From 2011 Finished Objects

Now the sweater is an official finished object, I can begin knitting down my stash. I've decided to go "cold sheep," meaning I won't buy any more yarn for the rest of the year, with one possible exception. I might allow myself to come home with yarn from a special knitterly trip I'm taking later in the year. Outside of that one exception, I'm striving to knit from my stash, all 29 miles of it. Putting my best foot forward, I think these are a step in the right direction:
From WIPs

Yes, it's a sock, a man sock. Compared to the other socks I've knitted, this one seems very large. I know it's not. I married a man with reasonably sized feet, thankfully, but it still seems to be taking longer than usual.

There's also a secret bit of knitting going on for a new little person I'll be meeting later this year. Since I can't show you the knitting, I'll instead show you a former little person practicing his Abraham Lincoln impersonation.
From Irish Clover

He helped his table tie ours at a charity trivia night. Although we didn't win, we managed to hold our own and place in the top 10 tying for fifth with a few other teams. The trivia night topped off our busy week which included a guinea pig meet and greet, as well as a book signing with Baltimore Raven'sMichael Oher. In addition to being very tall, he was also very nice and generous with his time. I hope he is a positive role model for many years to come.
From Irish Clover