Saturday, April 26, 2008

preparation

Things to do to get ready to see the Yarn Harlot! at Webs! tomorrow!
  • Gas up the car.

  • Clean fossilized raisins and other unidentifiable detritus out of the car.

  • Go to the bank for some cash (lest I do something terrible with the debit card).

  • Wind sock yarn.

Mmm. Shibui.

  • Make sure camera has plenty of batteries. And a memory card.

  • Block sweater.


Ah, the classic combination of lace and Camaro.

  • Try not to annoy the family with how excited I am.

Think I forgot anything?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

babies!

So, those booties I mentioned in my last post? Actually, I made two pairs.


Congratulations Jess and Amy!

Seriously, is there anything better than knitters having babies? Cute, snuggly babies in cute, snuggly knitwear - yum! When I told (okay, squealed) the news to my husband he said, somewhat darkly, "Don't get any ideas." Don't worry, hon. No ideas here. I shall live vicariously through other people's babies (oh yeah, and my own kids too) and I shall cuddle them at, say, 2pm instead 2am, if you get my meaning.

Hey, speaking of cute babies . . .


It's Brand-new Niece! She's four months old, and dude - she is the fattest baby I have ever seen. So cute. She's also very sweet; she sings and coos all the time. And did you see her shirt? Remember that one? Squee!
That last picture was taken at a little party we had this weekend for Baby Sister's birthday. I'm glad I lacked the motivation to have the party closer to her actual birthday, because this way we got to have it outside. The weather cooperated beautifully, and everybody had a lovely time. baby Sister gave rides and got rides





and the boys learned a new skateboard trick from my sister Nancy's Boyfriend.

video

Boyfriend did some tricks too - and I think the kids consider him to be the Official Coolest Person Ever. Jess' daughter referred to him as "The Teenager" (he's not), which I think is a compliment coming from an 8-year-old.

video

It was a good day - and next Sunday promises to be just as good. The Yarn Harlot! At Webs! With real-live bloggers! I can't wait. :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Is there a doctor in the house?

Because I have a raging case of startitis!


The seamless hybrid is just so boring right now. I'm working on the second sleeve - these sleeves are endless - and it's been driving me so crazy I've actually not been knitting very much. Which is silly.

So when Amy made her big announcement, I was very happy for her, of course, but I was also thinking, "Yay! Booties!" I dug out some unisex dk weight yarn and amused myself with some Saartje's bootees. It was wonderful.




Apparently working on something other than the never-ending sweater was the crack in the dam. After the booties, I just didn't want to go back to the mindless stockinette. So I used the same yarn (Wool in the Woods Cherub, if you were curious) and made a toe.


I'm not sure what the future of the toe will be. I made up a pattern to fit on the stitches and started on the foot of the sock, but I think I went a little crazy - there's slipped stitches and ribs and a couple little cables and it's way too much. Maybe in a solid color, but with this yarn you wouldn't see any of it. I think it was just an overreaction to, again, the mindless stockinette and I'm definitely going to frog it back to the toe and have a little think on it. (Yes, btw, Little Brother's socks are still on the needles, but they're the knitting that travels around with me so they're in the car more often than not. I'm way too lazy to go outside when there's perfectly good yarn right in the room).

Lastly, this warmer weather we've been having has been another reason not to pick up the seamless hybrid. There's no way I'm going to get to wear it. But, dammit, I want a handknit sweater to wear, so . . . I cast on this.
Well, sort of. The yarn I wanted to use (Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece) is the wrong gauge, and the sweater's pretty simple, so I figured that if I'm going to have to do a bunch of tinkering I might as well just try to figure the thing out. I checked out all the pictures on Ravelry, swatched, and cast on with the help of EZ's percentage system. I haven't gotten too far yet, but so far, so good.

Plus the turquoise is such a nice springy color.

Well, it looks like I've got my hands full for now. I should get back to my knitting!

Friday, April 11, 2008

shirking my responsibilities

Yesterday, the weather was lovely. Sunny, about 70 degrees - spring at last.


I had a pile of laundry in the basement, a kitchen and a bathroom that could use a cleaning, and about two hours before I had to leave for work. So I took Baby Sister to the park.

Here's the thing: spring in New England is fleeting. In the fall, you get as much as a month of mostly pleasant weather - not too hot, with all those beautiful leaves. But spring? You maybe get a week. Maybe. Usually it's 45 one day, 85 the next, and that's the end of it. Bring on the humidity. So I had to take advantage of yesterday's weather. Baby Sister approved.


We didn't do too much, just a bit of a walk around the pond at Slater Park. It's a pretty place.


The pond was lovely and sparkling and full of raucous geese. Plus this pair on a little island - they were very Trumpet of the Swans, I thought.


We had a great time. Totally worth neglecting the housework.

The warm weather made the kids at work a little silly, though. One little girl had us all laughing - I can't even remember what was so funny, but she has a very infectious laugh.

My boys have been silly, too. This morning they were playing one of those charming flinching-related boy-type games.
Little Brother held his thumb and forefinger very close together and asked, "Are you afraid of a monster this big?" Then he flicked his fingers at my face, of course I blinked, and he said, "Yeah, you are."
Of course, he tends to get a little carried away with things. It soon progressed from flicking his fingers to waving his hands and arms around wildly. When he said, "Are you afraid of a monster this big?" I said, "Yes, I am!" and squeezed my eyes shut.

Then he punched me in the stomach.

He didn't mean to; I was merely the victim of an errant windmilling arm. And he froze in horror when he saw me double over. Of course, that was just because I was laughing so hard.
It was definitely a good way to break the typical morning-rush tension and start the day off on a good note. Even if I had to get punched for it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

birthday girl!

Baby Sister is 2 today!
I honestly can't understand how that could have happened, as pictures like this:



were taken, oh, about 5 minutes ago.

At least some things haven't changed:



Say it with me: Awwwwwwwwww.

She doesn't quite understand the birthday concept yet. A typical exchange from this morning:
"Happy Birthday, Baby Sister!"
"Happy Birthday, Mommy!"

Awwwwwwwwww again.

All right, I'll quit with the cuteness already, before somebody gets a cavity.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

comfort food and comfort knitting

When my mom first taught me to knit, she started with a little stitch sampler, and the obligatory garter-stitch scarf. But soon after she taught me to make The Slippers. The garter-stitch slippers, with ribbed toes, that filled (and still do fill) my childhood home. My mom churns these things out like you wouldn't believe - she has a little shelf under the table by her bed that had easily 10 pairs on it. These are just the current crop; there's more on deck plus more set aside to be gifts or in case anybody happens to need a pair of slippers while anywhere in her vicinity. When she showed me how to make them, she left me the pattern -written out on the spot, from memory. I honestly think for a few years there, before my sister and I took up knitting, they were all she made.

You know the ones I'm talking about, right? They are, frankly, neither attractive nor particularly foot-shaped. They're knit flat, all in garter stitch except for the toes and a line of stitches on either side of the foot that makes it fold into the slipper shape. In spite of their flaws, I confess that I love them. I am a sucker for nostalgia, it seems. So I recently made each of the boys a new pair (none for Baby Sister - they're not called "slippers" for nothing). When my mom makes them, she uses worsted weight yarn, held double, on size 6 needles. Yes, you read that right. She does this because she's a very loose knitter, slippers need a thick fabric, and also she is a crazy person. Doubled worsted weight on size 6? I think I'd prefer to keep the use of my hands. So I decided to get a thick fabric a different way: I knit them larger than I wanted, on size 11 needles, and felted them down to size. Bonus: no garter-stitch loops to get caught on any little rough spot on the floor and create a giant hole. Yay!

Little Brother got orange and red, and Big Brother got blue and red - all miscellaneous feltable stash leftovers:


Yeah, pretty they are not. But they're quite warm. And, as I mentioned, a connection to my knitting heritage. Or something like that.
As for the comfort food:
Samosas - mmmm. I found this recipe in a recent issue of Real Simple (my very favorite non-fiber-related magazine) and I've become a little obsessed with it. Every couple of weeks or so, I've made a batch and frozen them to bring to work for lunch.
It's pretty easy:
  • Cook one medium onion, chopped fine, in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until it's soft and brown. Add salt, pepper, and 1 1/2 tsp of curry powder, and turn off the heat.
  • In a bowl, mix 2 cups of frozen peas with about three servings worth of mashed potatoes (leftovers, instant, made fresh, whatever). Add the onions and mix together.
  • Here's the best part: take refrigerated pie dough, unroll it, and cut into six wedges. Spoon a little bit of the filling into each wedge and seal it up.
The recipe in the magazine says it will make 12 samosas, but I usually get 15, or even 18 before I run out of filling (I don't really mind leftover pie dough, as I know I'm going to be making these again).


Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. They're good hot, cold, and with or without mango chutney. I shall be forever grateful to my cousin for introducing me to Indian food. Yum!