Saturday, February 28, 2009

do you think planting seeds can will spring to arrive?

I'm hoping so.

The kids and I started a bunch of seeds yesterday, despite the forecast of snow tomorrow. We planted carrots, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, and oregano. (I must have been thinking of J's salsa.) Also some flowers - pink ones, at Jane's demand request. They really got into it.

So will they grow? I've got no idea. We've had limited success with tomatoes and peppers in years past, though we've never tried carrots or zucchini. Herbs usually turn out okay for us. Anyway, the results are almost beside the point. (Almost. I really like tomatoes.) I want the boys to have a long-term project over the summer, something that will require some attention and responsibility, like their schoolwork does during the year. Sure, they have regular chores, but they might actually enjoy a garden. And seeing the results, feeling that satisfaction of growing something tangible? You know what I'm talking about, knitters.

I wanted the little peat pots, but I couldn't find them. Not at the, um, one store I went to, anyway. So I bought paper cups. It felt sort of dirty, but I think I'll get over it. Can you recycle them after you've grown seedlings in them, do you think? Anyone?

Assuming they grow, the boys and I will clear a spot in the backyard and plant them come spring. Because it is coming. Really.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

diving in . . .

I've never been a jump-in-the-pool-all-at-once kind of person - I've got to do it gradually. It's not like I don't know how to swim; I like swimming. I just have to ease my way in slowly.

The internet community has been that way for me, too. I found blogs by a happy accident: browsing the website of one of those baby magazines you get a ton of when you're pregnant. I started knitting at about the same time, so it was natural enough to dip a toe into the water and start regularly reading a few favorite blogs. I never thought I'd have one myself, though.

And I didn't, not until about a year after I'd started reading them. I took that next step into the pool almost accidentally, too. I was at the library, looking at the "newly arrived" books shelf. (There's almost always something good there.) There was a "Blogger for Dummies"-type book and I grabbed it. I still thought I was just going to peruse it, but that didn't last long. That was when I started this blog.

I was happy enough to splash around ankle-deep, but, well, Ravelry came around. And you can't join Ravelry without joining flickr, of course. Groups on Ravelry were a new feature when I got my invite, and so I started joining and reading and posting in them, too.

After Ravelry came Etsy. I knew starting up a shop there, in anything approaching a serious way, would be a big commitment, a big step into the pool. And it is. There are quite literally thousands of sellers there, so it quickly became obvious that I needed to do something if I wanted anybody at all to see my shop. The collective wisdom of the Etsy forums (fora?), as well as the Etsy Ravelry group, told me that the way to go is to put myself out there on as many social networking-type sites as I can find. To which my first response was: HELLS NO. That' s way too much. But in the end, I got all the way in.

So here I am. I'm on Ravelry. I'm on flickr. I've got two shops, one on Etsy and one on the smaller 1000markets site. And now I'm on Twitter and Facebook, too. I know what a tweet, a photostream, and a phantom disagreer are. I have a blogiversary and I celebrated the last one by sending yarn to Texas. I use words like omg because, really, there is nothing else that better expresses the sentiment. (I have yet to use LOL or any of its variants, though, and I don't plan to.) I have most definitely dived all the way into the pool.

In fact, part of me wonders if I'm in over my head. That was first worry about the whole social networking thing - that I really wouldn't have the time. O Internets, how I underestimated you! Turns out SO MUCH of this stuff can be all linked up. Ravelry uses the photos from flickr. Everytime I post something on Twitter, it updates my Facebook status. I was even able to set it up so that if I post to the blog, a link shows up on Twitter (and therefore, on Facebook). (I could do that for the Etsy shop too, so that it shows up anytime I list something new or renew something. I'm trying to do that at least once a day, though, so it would get really spammy.)

And I really didn't anticipate how much fun it would be. I've been on Facebook all of three days and I've already found tons of people I haven't thought about in years. I'm far too shy to send a friend request to anybody I haven't at least talked to sort of recently, which I think is a whole new level of pathetic, but it's still super fun.

So - come find me! Anywhere and everywhere!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Done! Finally done!

Of the three sweaters that were on my needles, this is the one that I started most recently. The knowledge of those older sweaters, however, shall not dampen my sense of triumph over finally finishing! Sam's! Cobblestone!

I love this sweater. More importantly, Sam loves this sweater. It's pilling a little already, from him wearing it. Can pilling make me happy? Yes it can.
The details:
pattern: Cobblestone by Jared Flood (aka brooklyn tweed)
yarn: Di.Ve Zenith, 7 skeins
needles: US size 7 Knitpicks
mods: Quite a few. I used my gauge, Sam's measurements, and my mad math skillz to size it for him. I also (obviously) made it a "zip-up," as he requested. I omitted the short-rows, because Sam is a stick person and I was running out of yarn. Actually, I did run out of yarn. That's why there's the gray striping in the shoulders. When it became obvious that I wasn't going to make it, I looked for more yarn, but it was a Webs closeout so no dice. I had some of the same yarn in a light chartreuse so I overdyed it with black and used that. It didn't come out black, but I did two-row stripes with the dyed yarn and the last skein of the black and it came out pretty cool. Gotta love knitting's potential for flexibility and ingenuity.
The zipper was not nearly as scary as I thought it would be.

I have issues with sewing in a straight line on the machine, so I decided to hand-sew the zipper in, using backstitch. I also decided to use embroidery floss, for extra strength and because, well, I have a lot of it. The black floss matched the sweater really well; on the front of the sweater, you can't see the stitches at all.

It was actually impossible to see the stitches even as I was sewing in the zipper, so they meander a little. Ah well.
The last details Sam wanted were these holes for his thumbs:

I don't know that I really see the appeal, but he's been known to, um, add these holes to his other shirts. And I didn't want to have to harm him in some fit of knitterly rage (kidding! Just kidding!).

I'm so happy with how this turned out. And I have cast on Reese's sweater already - a top-down raglan in the same yarn in green. It will also be really boring knitting (damn these kids and their plain-sweater tastes), but hopefully it won't take me five months like Sam's did. Yikes.

Oh, and there are more pictures on Ravelry!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

weekend in photos

J, grilling in the snow.

Jane, wearing my junior prom dress. She looks sort of wistful, no?

This looks like a bad idea.

Jess's Happy Girl. OMG so cute. And pudgy!

Sam and Jess' other daughter, in an intense game of checkers. Funny how the older kids can find some calm in the chaos. When they are not causing it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

photo meme

Amy tagged me for this meme (just today! Marvel at my promptness!).

It's pretty simple: go to your sixth picture folder and find your sixth picture. Here's mine:

That's Sam, age six, decorating a surprise birthday cake for me. Reese would have been four, and presumably too destructive to be let near the cake. Come to think of it, he's still like that . . .

Anyway, this was back when I was teaching high school full-time, and Jess was the boys' babysitter. Isn't she thoughtful?

I'm also supposed to tag five people:

  1. JayJay
  2. MadMad
  3. Stacie
  4. Kimberly
  5. Tasha

Have at it!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

in case I forgot I lived in New England

Sunday and yesterday it was warm. Warm enough for the boys to go ride their scooters, warm enough to go for a walk in just a sweater as opposed to a heavy coat, warm enough to make one think that spring might actually arrive one day, whatever Punxatawney Phil has to say about it.

And today? I'm looking out at the snow falling and wondering if I ought to leave work a bit early. I blame Phil. Stupid groundhog.

I won't complain too much, though, knowing that spring won't be particularly long and it will be followed by the dreaded heat and humidity. Plus things like hot coffee, soup (J made some awesome turkey soup last night), my bathrobe, a warm child in my lap, and something woolly in my hands all make me very very happy. I think I can handle six more weeks of that.