Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Day

This is a rather long post on Two Black Sheep. We have learned a lot in 2006 and we wanted to share. The first four are Lola's and the last four are Ava's. Enjoy and have a wonderful new year!

1. Just because you can knit it, doesn't mean you should knit it.
Urban Adventure is still waiting to be felted it. I just can't bring myself to throw it in the washer. I think it was knitting in the round for 19 inches on at least 300 stitches. Why put yourself through that?And even though I love my Pimlico shrug, a 2x2 ribbing on 300+ stitches for 6 inches is enough to make any knitter put the needles down. Same thing goes from my Miter Square afghan. As the Mason Dixon books says, "Who knits a queen size blanket?" This idiot. I do love curling up under it, but I also hate worrying about how much it is pilling. I always think back to it's glourious beauty right after I finished the border. Yes, it is loved and it shows it, but it took forever to finish and I want it to look gorgeous again!

2. Cabling without a needle is the greatest thing since row counters.
Demi couldn't have been completed without this accomplishment. I had to have reminders all over the charts and patterns, but I can't explain how this was a lifesaver. I have small hands, so juggling one more needle is a nightmare. I even swatched with the cable needle and without. I didn't notice a difference on the fabric and that's when I decided to chuck all the cable needles I own.

3. Seamless knitting is the greatest thing since cabling without a cable needle.
As I've said in a previous post, it is going to be difficult to seam again. And for some reason knitting these sweaters, made me feel like a real knitter. Maybe it's because I didn't have a true paper pattern. Maybe it makes me feel confident when something I've knit fits well. Or maybe it's because I love reading anything E. Zimmermann has written. I don't know what it is, but it these sweaters make me feel like a knitter.

Betty makes her pictorial debut on the blog in the Three Tiered Scarf from Knit 1.

4. Blogging isn't such a dirty habit.
Before I used to shut down my blog windows real fast if SK came into the room. I've described it to Ava a thousand times, I felt similar to a man getting caught looking at porn when his woman walks in the room. Ava finally talked me into starting the blog. I begged SK to not tell our friends on a camping trip we took right after Two Black Sheep was up. Begged. They all know that I knit like a crazed woman, so it isn't like I was hiding my hobby. And it isn't like I have normal friends, we have a ton of Star Wars, Comic book, Horror movie, Music nerds as some of our best friends! For some reason, I have yet to come out of the closet to friends or family. But blogging has been great. I love being able to see Ava's projects. It's easier than us leaving messages all week. And when we get comments from famous bloggers, I'm like a school girl .I love seeing different takes on projects. When I'm stuck, I do a quick Google search, and BLAM I'm on my way again! Ava's note to SK - when someone offers you a perfectly good pseudonym, don't say, "Dude, I want something cool, like Steak Knife" because you know damn well we would pick that one.

5. Felting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Maybe it is because I really don’t have the patience to go and check on something all the time (as witnessed by my parenting skills . . . if they ain’t crying, they are probably okay), but I just don’t get felting. I even emailed Lola on the last round of felting and told her that this latest attempt, Fiber Trends Felted Clogs, might be it for me (and by it, I mean never attempting it again). They turned out okay, but I may leave felting to the professionals, or the folks who can’t read a care label (which is how felting probably occurred if you asked me).

6. You don’t always have to knit for yourself.
Seriously, I don’t care what anybody else’s personal feelings are on the war. Mine are my own and I choose not to get too terribly political about it unless you happen to be my brother. My point? Knitting a helmet liner was one of the most fulfilling things I knit this year. The fact that I was able to help out Kimberly and have her cousin and his friends truly appreciate something was better than whatever else I would have done with my time. Even though they didn’t start out for her, I am glad that I gave Mom the wristwarmers. She will get more use out of them than I will . . . besides, I have the pair that Lola knit for me after I went a little crazy buying Gus pressies before he was born.

7. Choose your patterns wisely.
This was one of my biggest disappointments this year. I know how to knit; I know how to get gauge; I know how to maintain gauge . . . I need to learn when to give up and admit defeat. Too many times, I have picked the wrong pattern for the wrong reasons. Sizzle was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. Maybe it was the allure of the cruise with my girlfriends or maybe it was the fact that I was going to wear it on my anniversary or maybe – just maybe – it was the fact that my tits (yes, I like that word much better than any of the alternatives) would look awesome in it. What ever the case was, Sizzle was a fizzle for me. The yarn was lovely, the pattern was very, very simple, but the fit left something to be desired. I think that I am going my own route from now on since I am the one who has to live with the results. Lola, you may have sold me on EZ’s methods as the baby sweater was so damn easy and quick to boot.

8. Stash can be managed . . . I just don’t know how.
This isn’t a section to make resolutions, but here goes. Hi, my name is Ava and I am a yarn addict. Sale at A. C. Moore? Dude, I had to buy this because the mark down is so low. Near Nazareth? I should check at Kraemer’s and see what is one sale. Plus, one more skein of Galway couldn’t hurt anyone. Visiting London? Let’s go to Liberty and grab some Rowan. God only knows when I will be back . . . truth be told, He probably does know since I give in to the Flyer every year and go back. Montreal? Who cares if the yarn shop proprietor was a little creepy and pushy . . . give me that Noro silk! See what I mean? Hell, the Flyer even encouraged me to buy another stand for my yarn when he should have been encouraging me to knit what I already own. So, in 2007, I am not buying any new yarn until there has been a significant “knit down” of what I own. Exemptions – I can buy the yarn for the Flyer’s sweater and use Mom’s gift certificate for Lady Eleanor.

Peace and happy birthday to Cara!

Friday, December 29, 2006

The One I Love

I don't know if you do this with your knits, but I build up a love affair. Especially with my sweaters, I think that's what keeps me going. The first couple sweaters I made were during the early months of my pregnancy. The Skull sweater from Stitch Bitch I thought would be big enough even when I was showing. While making a Debbie Bliss slouchy cardigan, I kept thinking, "How cute is my bump going to look peaking through?!" I imagine all the lively things I'll do in my new sweater. And when people see me having tons of fun, they'll ask, "Wow. Where'd you get that great sweater?" I'll toss my hair and say, "Oh this? I made it." And then skip away. Well, it never goes like that. The Skull sweater was so heavy and thus hot, I wore it once (While pregnant, I would almost pass out if it was warmer than 64). Someone did ask me about the Debbie Bliss cardigan, but I was washing my hands and the bottom kept falling into the sink. I think it was a bit to big. If I haven't said it, we suffer from our mother's paranoia, "Buy it big, it will shrink!" It's hard to break that habit and I still don't understand the "To Fit Bust" column of a knit pattern. Does that mean if I have a 36' bust, I should make the Medium? Or do I add on for ease? Screw it. And then there was Raspy from Rowan's Denim collection. I made this while pregnant knowing that I'd have to wait until after the kid was pushed out for a good spin around the city. Remember, I had to knit 20% more because of the built in shrinkage. The front bunches because it's the same as the back and once again, it's just a smidge to big. I wanted the perfect lounge sweater! One that looks cute with pj bottoms or one that looks cute in Target. Enter EZ.
I started this a couple months ago with no target completion date. I got both sleeves done very fast thanks to a work trip, but the body languished. About a week ago, I noticed that I stitched the year into the hem and I thought, "How horrible to not have it done in 2006!" That's all it took. I was crazed to finish this and "Ta Da..." She's done, fabulous & all that I could've imagined! Maybe I'll be wearing this when Gus finally says, "Ma, they can hear you singing 3 cars over!" Or maybe during his first trip to the zoo (haven't quite made it there yet). Or during my trip to Barnes & Noble later today...

I can't tell you how much I adore Elizabeth Zimmermann! It fits! Less than a dozen ends to weave. No pattern to shove into my purse. And it just seemed to finish itself. Last night, I put it on for SK. And I think he was as shocked as I was. It was 3 tubes only a couple nights ago. In the spirit of my Knitting New Year's Resolution, I used all stash yarn. Paton's Classic (not sure when I'll run out of this stuff) on US 8s. The only modification was the hem. I don't like how she adds the inside color last and then stitches the hem to the sweater. I'm taking Brooklyntweed's route from now on. I'm starting Beaner's sweater as soon as I finish SK's felted clogs. It' s going to take a truly gorgeous sweater to break me from the Seamless crack pipe.

In yesterday's post, I made the announcement that I was going "gut" Gus' room. Not sure if that's going to happen. I just want to prance around the house in my new sweater. She doesn't need to rummage through toy boxes yet.

Love ya,

p.s. SK just called to tell me that in his Health Newsletter at work, it says to keep your thermostat set to 68 degrees. If you have it set any where from 60-65 degrees, you could have long term health problems. They are listed as hypothermia, sleepiness, confusion, and achey joints. And he says, "Well you do go to bed early and you are confused a lot." Early to him is anytime before 11:30 p.m. I'll chalk the "confusion" comment up to him being pissed that he's working today.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Blues

This is how we feel in the Lola Camp. The Pup has been in this position since we got home from the holiday rounds. SK & I went back to work today. I'm back for one day and then off until the New Year. I plan on gutting Gus' room and play-areas. I think he's grown out of rattles... We've got to make room for all the trucks he received as gifts. Last night, he lined up 5 of his cars all with the back ends facing us. Maybe a tad OCD-ish...

I'll post a picture of my progress on the Comfy Gray sweater. I'm feverishly trying to finish this before 2007. A marathon of Law & Order are going to help this difficult task. I've joined the sleeves to the body and am about to start the raglan decreases. Still, it's a huge blob of gray crap and I'm slugging along. I'm not working on anything other than this project. I'm afraid if I don't finish it before 2007 that it'll sit in the WIP basket for the next 3 months. I want to finish it so I can start Beaner's seamless yoke. So off to the couch...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Silent Night

- Fetching (done) and given to Mom . . . thanks to Jessica for a reminder about how cool and simple the pattern is

Fetching on Christmas Eve

- trip to Kraemers for some really awesome yarn (most on clearance, mind you . . . one bag of mill ends Little Lehigh Pebbles, a huge cone of mohair blend, some craft yarn for the girls)
- only one argument about how you exaggerate
- five beers and one-third of a box of wine down (Flyer is hitting gin and Squirt)
- Dad is off for French crullers from Dunkin' Donuts

Merry Christmas! Miss you, Lola!


PS - The Flyer doesn't want to start a family incident (that means argument to those of you not related by blood or marriage) 366 days in advance, but he wants to come home for Christmas next year. Tune in!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Little Drummer Boy

This is my "Merry Christmas" post. I'm not even going to attempt to rhyme. It would never come close to your glorious poem. We're leaving tomorrow after SK's office party. I'm keeping Gus home, so there's no blogging, knitting or even watching good ole Reg & Kelly. I have one more batch of spinach rolls to make and then I can sleep. I worked so hard yesterday, so I could relax all day today. I had to create a list to keep myself on track. Here's how it read:

Wrap gifts
Make cookies & spinach rolls

Shave legs
That's just how silly I've become and you know that I have yet to cross off the last one. Let me say, thank god for the Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix! I can't believe how good they tasted the next day.

I finished Gus' tomten last night (w/o the zipper). There is something about brown garter stitch that makes me so happy. It's so simple that it's beautiful. Seriously. I made some changes to the pattern. When I finished one sleeve, I realized that it was a very unattractive length. I hacked off about 16 ridges from the listed 40 ridges. I always freak out when I have to cut knitted fabric. I'm still picking pieces of brown wool out of the carpet. I also shortened the sleeves by 7 ridges. The border is my first attempt with an I-Cord, and I loved it! I found it almost magical. While watching Bones (cried like a baby during the Christmas episode), it just seemed to appear along the edge. I'll get a picture once the zipper is attached, I need my Mommy for that one.

Next to the tomten, is the pre-felted Noni Adventure bag. I'm not sure if the picture best represents its sheer size. I tried to put a book in there for reference, but it amazes me each time I grab it. I need a free day to felt it, so it'll wait for the new year. But what do the two projects have in common? I'm crazy and have a knitting death wish. Maybe. All of my recent projects (still have one in the WIP basket) require no skills. Straight knitting. No purls. No concentration. So a resolution is in need. My next projects will involve cables and fair isle. Promise! Seamless yoke for Beaner (fair isle at the top), We Call Them Pirates & Shedir.

Finally, a little picture of Gus for the holidays. He worked so hard one night, but never quite got there. He wiggled and wiggled, but was never able to turn around. His daycare teacher created a CD of their circle songs for a Christmas gift. It was perfect because we have a lack of children CDs. Last night, we danced to Wheels on the Bus and Five Little Ducks. Sounds better than the rap station he tuned the bedroom radio to a couple weeks ago. One night, I'm watching him dance. We're laughing and joining in, and then I listen to the lyrics. Not so cute.
I wish you an enormous amounts of holiday cheer! Have fun with Mom & Dad. I'll completely understand if I get a phone call and you're whispering. Just have lots of wine in the fridge.
Love you all,

Monday, December 18, 2006

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

With my sincere apologies to Clement Moore and family (and a stellar reason as to why I don't teach poetry) -

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house,
Pulling my hair out, scurrying like a mouse
The stockings are here, but the cat? Oh dear
So when is that St. Nicholas man coming here?

The girls were sprawled out with yarn on their lap
When I thought to myself, “I could use a long nap.”
But the Flyer with his Tumi and the dog with her bone
Would soon make a case to leave well enough alone.

Out in the kitchen there arose such a clatter
I jumped from the table to see what was the matter.
But on the way to the oven, I tripped over a case
And fell on the floor, sprawled flat on my face.

Not sure I like this

The Flyer, he sighed, saying, “I thought I put that away,”
And picked up the needles before I could say,
“Was that a set of rosewood DPNs on the kitchen floor?”
As I tried to convince him to show me once more.

The dog, bless her soul, came running in from the cold
And jumped on my back which wasn’t too bold.
She’s a lab, full of energy and kind of a beast
So I must have looke like a right proper feast.

Oh cashmere, oh silk, oh alpaca wool blend!
Oh stockings and hats and all socks I must mend!
Now merino, now soy, now silly bamboo,
Now Brown Sheep, now Elann, now lovely Knit Picks!

“But think of the slippers I could knit with those things!”
And flew through the house like a demon with wings.
Were they under the tree? Were they on a high shelf?
Betty said, “Mom, get a hold of yourself.”

Gilly and Betty

“The knitting will wait, you still have work to do here.
Your parents, yes them, will knock in less than a year.”
(Actually to be fair, they will knock in less than three days
But this rhyme scheme is getting a bit old, don’t you think?)

But the gauge swatch was calling my name on the wind,
“Ava, sweet Ava, just look once again.
I’m sure that the rosewoods are easy to find
If you want it enough, you’ll get out of your bind.”

My hands started shaking, the knitting DTs,
We’ve been through it before, without resorting to ease.
You all know the type: fun fur and quick knits to boot
Only later - “That looks likes shit,” your kids say with a hoot.

Veronica calmly sat down and tossed me a ball.
“Knit one, mom, purl two,” she began as a call.
My finger responded to her knitting commands
And I saw that a rib was forming under my hands.


I can do this, I thought, I can get through the day
And the yarn began to act in a magical way.
The tensions of the week that weighed heavy on my head
Took a pity on my soul and floated to bed.

So the scarf looked like crap and I frogged it right quick
I knew that in no time, I could leave it all up to St. Nick.
The hand knits will wait ‘til birthdays come right?
Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight.

* The swatches, which I dutifully knit this weekend, are from AllHemp6 for Eiffel (the first one) and Peru Luxury for an unknown sweater for which I need my head examined. Oh, Lola, there may not be enough schnapps for this one!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Purple Snowflakes

Ever compile a To Do list that just grows and grows and grows, and yet you still keep adding to it? I stopped today. If I added one more thing, one iota (a vocabulary word this week for my kids), the paper may have cried out in agony. That last little thing to do, probably something silly and insignificant, isn't really that pressing. Last week, Julia was gutsy enough to show photos of her house in action. Sometimes, I get that fake holiday spirit amidst the whirlwind of life and it is refreshing to see someone actually show the chaos.

Now that I am in the holiday spirit (only ten more days), here is a quick tour of what my holiday is like. The photos are there for those of you who think in pictures.

1) Our Christmas tree. Sure it is fake and a pre-lit strand of lights are burned out, but I treasure the ornaments on it more than anything. Betty's collection of Mary's Angels, Veronica's Mischievious Kittens, the Flyer's Star Trek and Batman , our university ornaments, and my what-ever-is-50%-off-at-Hallmark - love the disorder. Not so fond of the disorder in the dining room.

2) Yarn! Any excuse to splurge on yarn is my kind of holiday. I just got the All for Hemp 6 to make Eiffel and want to cast on so badly it kind of hurts.

3) Christmas cards. Granted I have been known to send out Valentine's cards instead, but I love reading the greetings and catching up with the letters.

4) Our frig. It has become a sort of catch-all for, well, everything. Postcard from Nick when he was in Cuba? My favorite photo of the Flyer with the girls circa 1992? Gus smiling in his carseat? Beaner and her brother? Really lame poetry? Just look on the frig.If you can't find it there, it can wait until Easter.

5) The ornament. Flip it over and it says 1972. That was the only Christmas with Clark. If this ornament ever breaks, there will never be enough glue to put my heart back together.

6) The pink tree. I admit it, I adore pink so a tree in this shade of Barbie Tart Pink is just my thing. Betty and Veronica dubbed it the knitting tree - hence the Noro "ornament" and yarn garland. Next year, proper knitted ornaments.

7) Joy. There isn't enough of it, people. I am guilty of it. Look into getting more joy.

8) The pets. This is Gilly; she has recently discovered that Livvie can't reach her under the tree. Smart kitty!

9) Cookie day. For the past several years, the girls and I have baked Christmas cookies. They wanted to add a gingerbread house to the mix this year, so we bought a tacky premade one and it turned out fab. They made the house, I stamped my cards. It was a win-win situation.

Enjoy the weekend! I have a feeling the real chaos has yet to begin.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

This is a quick, seven sentence rant. Do you ever feel like some blogs are merely vehicles to pimp the author's book or upcoming book? I used to read one blog and truly enjoyed what the knitter had to say. Lately, it has been nothing but cryptic references to the upcoming book and pictures from it. You know what? I really don't care. If it takes me more than five minutes to figure out what you are trying to say and I must consult a thesaurus, a star chart, and the tea leaves, I tend to get really irritated. Here at Two Black Sheep, we (and I haven't asked Lola, but I am pretty sure she will be on board) promise never to create a book of patterns . . . probably because we really aren't that talented.

Ava, who swears she will get in the Christmas spirit by the end of the day

PS - I am 99% positive that the knitter in question doesn't read our blog even though we both have knit her patterns before and had problems with fit. If you read this and think it is you, trust me, it isn't.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

My Favorite Things

Why is that song linked to Christmas, or is it just me? Here it is, as promised, proof that I'm not all Scroogey this year. A few of my favorite reasons that it's Christmas time:

1. Hot Chocolate. I discovered this recipe from Poise Gets Cozy. You know that I'm a coffee gal, but for some reason December screams for some chocolate and marshmallows. This stuff if pretty rich, not like the watery stuff produced from the envelopes with foam "marhmallows". It'll do in a pinch, but I'm in love.
2. Staying indoors. I went through a phase where I loved astrology. My sign, Cancer, always said that, "You're a homebody." I never believed it! I wanted to be out. You could find me in the dirtiest neighborhood watering holes (Ava, you've been to my favorite). But deep down, I loved having an evening to myself. Wine, garlic spread and a book (before knitting) was heaven to me. Now I've given into the fact that I like staying home. That's not real fair, maybe now I've had to give into that side since we don't have instant access to a babysitter. But I like sitting on the couch & no one gives you shit about it in the winter.
3. Great time to discover new things. SK and his family are into submitting Christmas lists. I dread having to write up a list of things that I'd like for Christmas. I hate "asking" for things. What's worse is, I never feel like I need anything. I'm practical. But every year, I sit down and type something up. For the last 2 years, it always comes back to Gus. I veer away from my list and stumble onto things that we'd love for him. He NEEDS nothing. Please NO toys, Ava. I'm in complete love with "Snowy Day" & Ezra Jack Keats. I love the artwork and when the snow PLOPS on Peter's head, cracks me up. Also happens to be one of the books that Gus will sit through. Anyways, there's a Keats Neighborhood book that I'd like to get for Gus. But that's it. Until he understands Christmas, he's getting about 2 gifts from us. Did Keats do the "Stick a butter, gallon of milk & loaf of bread" Sesame Street skit? Note to self, find out!
4. Emmet Otter's Christmas Special. One of the only Christmas specials that our Dad will sit through and not say, "Oh piss on it. I'm going to bed." Doesn't that picture make you so happy. SK has never seen it. Never! I've got to find it & sit him down. But I'm afraid the it won't measure up. Remember our Private Eyes experience? "You loved this as a kid?" SK asked. I had to say "Yes" but I forgot why we liked it. I'm confident that the Riverbottom Nightmare Band will still rock.
5. Certain Christmas Songs. I love Mele Kalikimaka! Reminds me of Christmas more than anything else. Our grandparents played it maybe all year round. Just typing the word, makes me smell rum and evergreen. Two staples. I also love a Dolly Parton Christmas (I'm going through a Dolly phase again)! Click on it, doesn't it make you want to wrap gifts?

So there you go, just a couple of my favorite Holiday things. I could list a hundred more; drunken nights in the dorms repeating, "What sound does a piggy make?" from A Christmas Story, John Denver's Muppet Christmas, making Aunt C's Christmas cookies (which really aren't as good as I remember. Real yeasty), etc. Who can hate the Island of Misfits? Who? So I'll leave you with that, maybe you could fill out the holiday meme that's starting to float.

Take a look at that first picture. Look close. That Lizard Ridge square has really pissed me off! I've always liked that color of Noro (maybe 95), lime green, hot pink and dusty brown. Could you ask for more? I make the square and there's no pink! None. Just yellow and green. You can't really squeeze 2 squares out of one skein. Now I've got to mix it with something else. Looks ok, but the mixed blocks never look as good as the originals. If Noro wasn't so expensive, I'd use the scraps for something else. Still plugging away.

I love my Fiber Trend clogs! Knitpicks Wool of Andes felts really well. The pattern is kind of weird, because you knit 2 bottoms for extra cushion. Once you felt them, it makes sense. I'm thinking about making another set and add the hard bottoms from their site. Wear them all around the city. SK wants a pair, so I'll get cracking.

Yesterday, we had a request for a picture of our stockings. The pattern is from Handknit Holidays. I wanted a mismatched look this year. So I used a bunch of Paton's Merino leftover from the MasonDixon Afghan (warmest thing ever, get your's done Ava). I really liked the slip-stitch pattern and the bobble bind-off on Gus' and SK's. I got lazy on mine. I machine sewed rick-rack as the hanging loop. We haven't filled stockings yet. Once we stay home from the holidays, we'll test them.
Love, Lola

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Winter Wonderland

Our mother LOVES Christmas. She's the type that once Thanksgiving hits, we were only allowed to listen to Christmas music. Seriously, that will turn anyone into Scrooge. You can only hear "Little Drummer Boy" 11 times before you want to beat your head to a bloody pulp. Too graphic? Since moving out, I've started to experience the Christmas spirit a little more each year. Kind of... I love the idea of Christmas. Good will towards men. Cookies and handmade gifts. Ornaments full of childhood memories. But as you get closer to the date, my love for the holiday starts slipping away. I get mad at all the people in Target that aren't usually there (kind of like the Christmas People at Christmas mass, Where'd they come from?) . Do I make or buy gifts for the daycare? If so, who gets them? What are the nieces and nephews into this year? It just starts to pile up. This year, I'm going to try real hard to enjoy Christmas all the way to Dec. 26. Starting with last weekend.

Enjoying Christmas is a lot easier with Gus in the picture. He has discovered Christmas lights. We visited the ILs this weekend and MIL really wanted to go to Children's Wonderland. It's held at an indoor fair ground building. SK used to take field trips to this place as a kid. He warned me that it was real cheesy and some of the displays would probably have duct tape holding the arms together. However he was really excited to get a wax Santa (Put money in & two metal arm close. Wax is shot into a mold and then the Santa is dropped. 4th picture from the top). He kept telling me about the wax figures like they were as common as Sesame Street. Anyway back to Winter Wonderland. Not sure how to describe this place. Kind of like the "Small World" ride without the boat, song, or class. I can't explain how much Gus loved this place. He couldn't even smile. He just walked around with his mouth open and pointed to every light. "Ights! Ights, Momma. Ights!" Watching him discover each new scene would make the biggest Scrooge soften.

Knitting new, lady! I haven't been doing much. I finished the stockings' linings last night. Since the sewing machine is out, maybe I'll work on my Amy Butler purse. I made a hideous hat (Spidey makes his return). Oh, gauge is my devil. So screw it, I picked up a snappy beret at Target and called it done. I've made some progress on the Grandma Afghan. My crochet is slow going, but it's going. I'm trying really hard to not commit to any Christmas Knitting. But I really want to try Paton's SWS. I think that an entrelac scarf would look fab with this yarn. Not to mention the price! We're talking 50% the cost. I will not commit. I will not commit.
Off to clean up the fake tree needles! I thought that didn't happen with fake trees? Let me tell you, that fake tree may have saved our marriage. Every year, the real tree almost kills me. Making sure the trunk is straight. Needles are green and not too pointy. Trying to get it to stay in the stand. Watering and vacuuming, oh my! SK said, "I think we should go with a fake tree this year." Oh thank you Santa, thank you. I got my gift early this year!

Tomorrow I will post some of my fondest Holiday memories. Just to show you how much progress I'm making on shedding my Scrooge exterior.

p.s. & edit to post: The lovely, Mrs. Frick, posted about multitasking the other day. Here's something you shouldn't multitask: felting and cooking. I was assembling a casserole while felting my FiberTrend clogs. I'd flip the veggies and run downstairs to check on the clogs. This went on for about 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes. When I took out the last batch of eggplant, I noticed little fuzzies on some of the spears. I thought that I'd picked off all the wool, but found a couple strays as I was mixing the concoction. Don't tell SK... At least I'm not pulling it out of the trash and serving it like our mother used to do if she forgot to save dinner for Dad. I feel a little better.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Get Behind Me, Santa

Ah, it's that time of the year. The time when you spend more time in Target than with your family, muttering about all the other people in Target and wondering why they (or you) don't do more shopping online. Honestly, the 8th circle of hell must be the back corner of every Target store where they so smartly choose to put the Christmas tree lights. What retail architect came up with that configuration? Probably one who does his or her shopping online!

There has been virtually no knitting in my household. This is the second time (in November, no less) that I have taken a trip abroad only to come back to a full week of work, the Flyer leaving the day after we get back on business, and having an Academy weekend (classes from Friday 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM and then all day Saturday).

Putting the tree up this weekend put me in a little less than the Christmas mood . . . more like Scrooge with a couple of vodka tonics in him. Betty and Veronica did most of the labor (unpack tree, fluff branches, plug in), but neither one wanted to bring in the Crinkle Klauses. Lola, when did I get all these? Was Mom secretly sneaking them into my suitcases like a roofie? And, I even suggested putting the extra twinkle lights around the kitchen window! I did, however, sign a statement verifying that I would remove them after the holidays. What has happened to me?

Montreal was so much fun. The weather was nice (no rain until the last day), the language was not an issue (most folks say, "Bonjour! Hi!"), and the food was good (loved the crepes). The knitting and yarn wasn't what I expected. Let's just say that when these Trekking socks are done, I may never pick up another ball of Trekking again. I think I may name them "Unknittable" because they are destined to linger in my knitting basket forever. Knitting on zeros was my first error; the second was picking a stitch pattern with a k3tog through the back loop. As far as yarn shopping is concerned, I wasn't very pleased. I thought it was going to be great as Zellers had a huge selection of Patton's yarn as well as a rather cheap and pleasing acrylic. We made a quick jaunt to a yarn shop in Montreal and I was initally pleased, but I got really annoyed when the owner kept interrupting my touching. I wanted to say, "Trust me, I will buy something and probably a lot, but leave me alone to make my selections." Every five seconds, the owner was showing me how this was done or how these two yarns knit up together. In the end, I walked away with some Galway I had never seen, two lovely-rub-it-on-me-in-private skeins of Noro silks, and something for Veronica. Nothing major and certainly not what I would have purchased left to my own devices.

I'll post some more tomorrow with pictures of the idiot socks. Right now, I have to grade some papers so I can get progress reports done.


PS - What are your thoughts on parents letting their young use those Wheelies in stores? Personally, I will slap you if I ever see Gus in a pair, but that's just me.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

If All the Raindrops

Dear Lauren,

Congrats! How's it feel to be the very first winner of a Two Black Sheep contest? So today, I dedicate our post to you.

Knitting has been a tad slow. From the picture, you can see a "No Sew Miter" perched on my suitcase. That's the only entertaining shot I could get. I've been traveling a lot for work, and I really shouldn't complain. There are weeks with my job that I'll sit with my buds, Dr. Phil & Maury and shake my head with disapproval (for the record, I don't really watch Maury. Don't ask me to apologize for Dr. Phil). Weeks just like that! Errands done in the afternoons. Dinners planned and made for the family. Off to the park with Gus for the early sun. And then there are weeks that I can't remember if this is the hotel that I'm on the 3rd floor or is it the 4th? I should use my new camera just to track my movements. Since I deal with different retailers, I can usually count on some downtime before Thanksgiving through Valentine's Day. Nope, not this year. And it sucks, because managers are really pissy this time of year. And I don't blame them, but I didn't ask to come into their store. Their bosses did!

Anyways, back to the Miter. I like doing them this way. Not quite as portable, but just kind of quirky. What I don't like about them, is the cotton. I've always disliked cotton. I'm using Tahki Cotton Classic and Elann Sonata. I prefer the cheap stuff since it isn't as slippery, but I know that the expensive stuff would feel a bit better on the baby's skin. It isn't a huge difference and you can't really tell since it's mixed in. Oh well, ain't my kid.

Speaking of my kid, here's a recent picture. Recently, we went to a friend's house and he discovered a play drill. Gus loved it! Put it up to every piece of furniture and knee in the place. Not sure where he picked up this behavior. We're not fixer-uppers. SK bought a set of plastic tools the next day. Gus loves his new goggles and even tries to get the Pup to wear them. That doesn't last long.

Congrats again. And thanks for reading. Send us your email address and we'll get your prize a movin'. Ava is going to pack up your present, and I've already yelled at her. She has this knack for sending gifts months (sometimes years) after the celebration. I think I just got my Sweet 16 gift. Ava, thanks for the pink boom box. Where's the cd go?

Love- Lola

p.s. Ava- Here's the crochet shot I promised. This is really the only crochet thing I like. Just reminds me of Grandma and her teaching me my very first hobby. So I've switched majors to Knitting, but I don't think she'd care. I've added a second color and am about to add the third. I'm using green, cream and brown. Reminded me of a new stroller print I saw in Babies R Us. Hell of a lot cheaper than having a baby just to buy the cute new stuff.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

So Sleepy (so tired can't even think of a song)

I believe we have a winner, but I'll conference with Ava. Which is also an excuse to catch up on holiday drama.

I'm exhausted, so I can't blog about anything. Nothing. I'm on the road again all week, so I'm filling the bag with more fiber and more sleep-aid (hotels screw me up). But here's a quick update...

  • Got a new digital camera
  • Made great progress on new Noni pattern & No-Sew Miter Baby Blanket
  • Only discussed why "No one's coming home for Christmas this year" a thousand times
  • Gus was on fire this week. I think he's learning stand-up at daycare.
  • And was fantastic during our 8 hour car trip
  • Re-learned Grandma's Wave crochet pattern
  • Packed 7 times during the last 3 days.

I'll call you from the road tomorrow. Or maybe the bar...

p.s. Any info on why Bloglines is still saying that we have a problem with our feed? I hate that it doesn't update!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Huddle Formation

Absolutely no knitting content here (other than to say that I finished my helmet liner - very easy and very worthwhile whatever your opinion of the war is. Motor over to A Knitted Frenzy for more info). Don't forget the contest ends on Thursday. Everyone pretty much has Lola's hometown; mine is harder, but you can figure it out . . . look at the yarns I really like!

It is my favorite/least favorite time of the year as it is parent/teacher conferences. I love it because it gives me a break from the kids and a chance to see if apples truly don't fall far from the tree and it's nice to catch up with parents I already know. But, I detest it because you often find out things you don't want to know (a student's father died unexpectedly over the summer; excuses are everywhere; nobody likes English). Anyway, enjoy your turkey/tryptophan spectacular. We'll be thinking about you in Montreal - oui, oui!


PS - I may be in love with Kraemmer's Summit Hill yarn. The stitch definition is beyond belief . . . they offer tours of the mill, by the way. Also, please talk me out of (or into as the case may be) the Enid Cardigan by Veronik Avery. Don't know if steeking is something I can handle right now.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hit me with your Best Shot

Ava thinks that we should have a little contest here at Two Black Sheep. See how many readers we have besides our family (the ones we've told, anyway). So come on and delurk just to make us feel warm and fuzzy! But I'll get to the contest at the end of the post. Hang on (part of a song that I've endured about 60 times just today. Don't ask me to count the times early in the week)!

Knitting news. I spent almost a week up north and had plenty of down time. I do believe that I was in a bookstore for at least an hour every day. Not sure what else to do with my time. It's getting cold, so my time knitting and listening to Sirius in the car is coming to an end. I did have a huge knitting score. I went to Knitting Garden in Westlake, OH for the second time. This visit was so pleasant. They complimented my Lady Eleanor more times than I care to remember. When I was looking at some expensive hat yarn, the owner steered me towards Plymouth's Encore. I have never heard someone praise an acrylic blend so highly. I like the stuff and have no snobbish feelings towards acrylic, but she almost made me want to French Kiss the stuff. The yarn didn't work out for what I wanted, but I'm going to use the same color for a Totem for Beaner. Someday. Then I ventured into the sales room. Rowan Calmer for 50% off! Not the greatest color choices, but still.

Outside the sale room, I tripped over Plymouth's Boku . Less scratchy than Noro's Kureyon, not as soft as Silk Garden. As you can tell from the picture, the color changes aren't as dramatic with Boku (Boku on Right. Noro on Left). But for 1/2 the price, it will be great for my Lizard Ridge.

Then before leaving, I found a great felted bag pattern. Noni's Adventure Bag wasn't even priced yet. I have been doing a search for a great knit purse pattern. I can only hope that this is the Black Dress of knit purses! It comes in 3 sizes, Evening, Urban and Long Weeknd. I started the Long Weekend last night in a color I like to call, "Baby Shit".

Next to the "Now Totem" yarn, is the nicest card from Kim at Knitted Frenzy thanking me for the helmet liner. It was really my pleasure and I strongly recommend the pattern and cause.

So non-knitting news. Stupid us, we went to dinner last night. This is not the weekend to venture out of your house in our city. But we went anyway. Usually, Gus is very good at restaurants. Sit near a ceiling fan or some lights, and he's thrilled. Little different last night, just kind of cranky. Got home and put him to bed, no problem. I heard Gus coughing for a while, so I went in to check on him. Nothing's worse than opening the door and being smacked with the smell of vomit. There he is laying in a pile of peach filled puke! I gave SK the job of giving him a quick bath. There's no way that he could've handled the rest without adding to the pile. Every time I have to clean up vomit, I remember our mother's trick and think of using it. "But how was I going to get the Pup into Gus' crib to lick up this pile?" I think SK may have had a problem with letting the Pup clean it up. But then SK would have a problem cleaning it up too. Oh, the choices when you're a parent.

6 more hours until the city stops and about 10 more before it starts to burn. Which brings us to the contest. Guess Lola and Ava's Cities. It may not be that hard to guess my city, we're all over the news. I even saw sexy Bill Weir (GMA's weekend guy) talking about us. Ava's city might be more of a challenge. The winner will be the person closest to our respective hometowns, give or take 50 miles. Prizes are yet to be determined, but we do love to shop for yarn. Come on and guess by Thursday!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Foggy Day in Londontown

For some unknown reason, it took me a lot longer to bounce back from this trip to London. Maybe it was the fact that I took Mom to the airport at 4:30 AM or that I worked a full day upon my return or that I couldn’t sleep the night I got back. Suffice it to say, blogging was the furthest thing from my mind. Here is the trip in a nutshell.

Nelson's Column towards the Eye

The flight over was uneventful (other than the woman bitching one row away, but I chalked that up to her unfortunate choice in footwear for a trans-Atlantic flight - seriously, leave the Fryes at home) and I knew that it was a shopping day for me. First up was Liberty. Lola, I am telling you, this is fabric and yarn nirvana. I absolutely go crazy for Liberty’s fabric. I bought half a meter of each to make something – anything – from Amy Butler’s book. On the yarn front, I bought a new Rowan kids’ book and enough yarn to make Beaner a sweater for her birthday. Hopefully the Other Sister will put it on her. That night we dined at Wagamama’s and I think I may have eaten the single finest meal of my life (can I tempt you and the Knife to take a trip with us this summer? Please?)

Yarn purchases in London
If you click on the picture, I described the different purchases on Flickr.

The next morning was our most ambitious as we were venturing out of the central London area into the different neighborhoods. The Flyer and I had two, yes two, yarn stores mapped out. Thank goodness I have Dad’s natural sense of directions because it was a little challenging. The first stop was in East Putney to a store called Stash Yarns. It is a relatively new shop owned by a lovely woman and her selection of yarn was wonderful (that's the shop in the photo below). I bought a KPPM skein, a grey skein of Trekking XXL for a pair of socks for the Flyer, and a lovely hand dyed silk blend. The splurge was a set of Blue Sky Alpaca DPNs and come Chibii needles. All in all, it was an awesome shop. The second shop, Loop in Islington, wasn’t as promising. I was really expecting more because it is talked about as the grand-daddy (or mommy) of yarn shops in London. I just wasn’t that impressed. The yarn was disorganized at best, the shop was very small, and nobody ever said hello. I almost had to force myself to buy something so it just didn’t happen.

Stash Yarns in East Putney

Other than that, the rest of the days were spent traipsing around London with the Flyer, doing the stupid shit we love (listening to the accents, taking short cuts, buying silly stuff). Little Britain Live was hilarious; honestly, where can you see a grown man actually do the penis tuck live on stage or Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer in red vinyl hot pants?

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of knitting done. I cast on a pair of socks out of my Trekking and knit a bit in the hotel room, but I wasn’t allowed to take the socks on board for the return flight. On the whole trip, I think I said “fuck” twice; on the last day (spent in the airport), I must have said it twenty times or more. “You can’t take the needles on the plane.” Fuck! “You have to stand in the queue for 45 minutes because we reissued new security measures.” Fuck! “We don’t sell that sandwich the Flyer loves so much in the airport.” Fuck!

Anyway, glad to be back and glad you made the helmet liner (I stopped at Kraemers on the way home from class to buy some Summit Hill yesterday for mine . . . plus some of their Vintage line, but that's another blog-story). I know how busy I will be with work before conferences so I couldn’t commit to making one for A Knitted Frenzy, but I will probably make one for the website listed for the pattern. Oh, can you convey to the Brother that political statements to the Other Sister’s email are not a good idea? Honestly . . . does the boy ever learn?


PS – I bought your Lush stuff (and I will be near several in Montreal in a few weeks). That being said, I forgot to give it Mom (but I did give her the Olive I bought for you).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Touch of my Hand

I can't take it! I just can't. Resse & Ryan. And now Brit & K-Fed? I'm mean, no one thought it'd work, but I had faith in a little thing we like to call, "LOVE". What's happening to this world? I've had it. I can't read, watch tv, or even knit. I'll just turn off the lights, hit the bottle and sing a very bluesy rendition of "I'm a Slave for You." Start the beat, please.

We have should have a contest! Guess where the hell Lola's going? If you watched the news last week, I'll be lucky to come home without a bullet hole or been gang raped. I've got to visit 2 big chart topping cities for a lovely work meeting. Which is also code for, "call my cell to update me on your vacation". If you didn't get my subtlety. Where in the world in Lola?

I'm off to sing that song.

I'm a sllll avvvve foooooor yooooooou....

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mad World

SK & I have been obsessing over this song! I could vaguely remember that you said something about liking the last song on the Donnie Darko soundtrack. How I remembered you saying that and it being the same song, is beyond my comprehension. I can't remember to put a hat on Gus in the mornings.

Every time Gears of War commercial airs, I'd go crazy trying to think why I knew it. I hate that and songs always do that to me. The first episode of Brothers & Sisters had a song playing at the very end. I searched the internet with only a couple keywords, Brothers & Sisters, Song, Home, Dinner Scene. As you can guess, I came up empty each time. Finally last night, I stumbled onto some site that listed the song as KT Tunstall's Under the Weather. Ahh, sweet relief.

I finished a helmet liner this weekend. A Knitted Frenzy put out a request for 5 to send to her cousin in Iraq. I had some Cascade 220 leftover from Demi, so I put it to good use. I haven't done a lot of charity knitting. I've always had lot of "Me" projects, but I've reached a burn-out on the big projects. Since I like to knit just to knit, I put some yarn and time to good use. While I was knitting the liner, I just kept hoping that the intended soldier will get home safely. I guess that's all you can really do. As I was finishing the face ribbing, Dad called and said that Brother's troop will be shipped over in 2008. Yes, it's a very long time and a lot can change, but the final stitches meant a little more. So I'll send it with strong thoughts and prayers of a safe return. I think I'm going to knit some Striped baby hats for the LYS. Better do it before the new Interweave hits stands, I've heard it's a big one!

Can't wait to hear all about your trip! Post lots of pictures and the pattern for Other Sis' kid.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Working 9 to 5

I wanted to post sooner, but Halloween clean-up has been getting in the way. Maybe Ava will get a chance to peek at the blog while she's on vacation. First, I've been working on new Christmas stockings. I made awful looking ones the first year I started knitting. I think they have a neon Fun Fur cuff. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but S.K. hated them. Enter some slip-stitch ones from Holiday Handknits. I still have to sew the linings, but they're done. This is the first project that I've done a slip-stitch pattern (not including Mason-Dixon washrag). I made SK's brown/green one first. Loved the look. I just finished mine and it turned out slighty different. It seems like the slip stitches are pulling & puckering more. I used Patons Merino for both stockings. Maybe a good blocking will whip mine into shape. Now I've got to figure out how to put a hook on that won't pull the fabric when filled (We never did Stockings as kids, so I hope to add that tradition).

My next project is a true WIP, no rush invovled. I have a thing for dark gray T-shirts. Not the crappy light gray ones, but the real dark heathered gray ones. The ones that the fabric drapes like silk, and like someone has loved it for decades. You know the ones. I have 2 that I would probably rummage a burning house for. One was a gift from Other Sister. Over-sized (in the 90s, weren't all T-shirts?) Army shirt. Shows she has some balls since she was in the Airforce when she bought it for me, but she knew that I really wanted one. The second was a gift from the Flyer. It's an old Batman shirt that he had outgrown. I don't remember why he gave it to me, maybe it was a Please-Don't-Get so Drunk-with-my-Wife-and -Pick -on-Your-Mother-all-Night holiday bribe. I don't care why I got it, but when it finally falls apart I may bury it. This brings me to my sweater.

One of my first sweater projects was Raspy from Rowan Denim. It's a raglan with dropped stitches. SK called it my Matrix sweater. I had envisioned myself wearing it all the time, dress it up with clean jeans and head to the store. It wouldn't have mattered if I ran into anyone with that sweater on. Well, didn't turn so great. The front & back were knit the exact same, so the front pleats. Since Gus' EZ sweater turned out so well, I started one of my own. My Gray Comfy Sweater, drop stitches and all. I bought enough of the green color for an entire sweater (wanted to make Raspy, but I wasn't smart enough yet to work around a pattern. Raspy is for a yarn that shrinks 20%), but I felt like the gray was safer. So the green will hide on the inside, maybe I knit 2 rows so it'll peek out. I'll decide at the end.

Hope you're having a fantastic time in jolly ole England. Don't forget my Lush stuff! Please...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Monster Mash

Happy Halloween, a tad early! SK wanted me to post some pictures of his 2006 creations. As you can tell, he doesn't mess around. Thank god, it's only once a year. If I have to have another conversation about "Monster Mud", I may get in that coffin.

I'll post knitting content tomorrow, just so you'll have something to think about on your long flight. Oh how bored you will be... But let me tell what I've learned.

It gets easier with age to just nod your head. At the party we were talking about babies, shock. SIL brought their 10 week ole peanut. She's a great baby! Everything Gus wasn't. She only cries if she wet or hungry and nothing in between. You see, Gus had colic. I think it's because of my years and years of saying, "I don't want a kid." Spending 2 weeks with Ava on bedrest will do that to an 8th grader. After one of my last OBGYN visits, the midwife informed me that I could go any day. I must have looked shocked, because she asked "Well what did you think was going to happen in 9 months?" But labor didn't kill me and he nursed right away, two things that concerned me the most. The day before my mother left, Gus turned into a totally different baby. He screamed all day. Wouldn't calm down unless I was nursing him or holding/moving him. I just kept telling myself, "This is what newborns do." It wasn't until I went home to visit my mom and also visiting sister for some help/break. After only a couple of hours, they also noticed that his behavior wasn't "normal". Other Sister often says that she would not have had the patience I did with Gus. I felt good for the first time. It wasn't anything I did or couldn't handle. I had colic as a baby, so maybe it was some cosmic payback.

Anyways back to the SIL. She says, "I think babies are a reflection of how their parents handle them. If you're calm, the baby is calm. Same with frantic or frazzled mothers. Maybe you were a frantic mother and that's why Gus was the way he was." I think about her statement now and I want to scream. She can't leave the baby for more than 2 hours without crying! But I shook my head, no and said, "Colic." Maybe her next child will have colic. But as the Other Sister would say, "I would never wish a Gus Newborn on my worst enemy." And the SIL isn't an enemy, just family.

I promise, knitting stuff tomorrow!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm

The Frequent Flyer is a huge fan of this show and has been for years. In fact, he has even successfully hooked the girls and me on it. This is quite an accomplishment since a friend of mine also attempted to explain it to me in my youth and was unsuccessful. Last weekend, the episode was a little creepy and Veronica promptly proclaimed she would have nightmares. We (her father and I) took it in stride because she is prone to scares so it wasn’t a real concern. Needless to say, I said goodnight to the girls and went to bed without really thinking about the whole situation.

What to do with this yarn?

At 4:30 AM, the phone rang. It was one of those situations where you are so deep in sleep that you don’t realize something is occurring in real time. Thirty seconds later, the phone rings again. The Frequent Flyer mumbles about the phone (it was 4:30.30 AM after all) and I reach for it only to get a dial tone. Fearing for the worst, like a death in the family, I call our voicemail and hear that there are no new messages so I chalk it up to a wrong number, but the phone rings again. This time I grab it only to hear this:

Caller: Mommy, I’m scared. Help me!
Me (in full blown panic mode because I recognize the voice): Veronica? Is that you?
Veronica: Mommy, I’m scared. Can you get me?
Me (knowing damn well I tucked her in, so she must have been kidnapped and I didn’t wake up): Where the hell are you?
Veronica: I’m in my room and I can’t open the door because I am frightened.
Me (perplexed to say the least): How are you calling me?
Veronica: I took my cell phone to bed in case I needed to call you. Come get me.
Me (slightly pissed now): Can’t you just come over to my room (which is two feet away, just in case you were wondering)?
Veronica: No, I’m too scared from Dr. Who.
Me (really pissed now as the Flyer is snoring through this and it was his show that did it): Fine, hang up, I’ll be right there.

As Veronica puts it later - much later as I slept with her in a twin bed - one of her biggest fears is opening her door to find someone behind it. Really? My biggest fear is getting a phone call from one of my children at 4:30 AM sounding as if they have been kidnapped into white slavery (thanks for that one, Mom). Thankfully, last night’s Dr. Who was not that scary and actually quite fun.

Rafe Purse from Target

The purse? Couldn't resist it . . . espcially since it will come in handy this coming week for Guy Fawkes Day. All you Anglophiles out there, the Flyer and I are heading to the Motherland in a few days so if there is anything that you would like me to pick up, I am only too happy to oblige. Lola has asked for a Kim Hargreaves kit, but I love shopping especially for other folks. I am so keen on getting to Liberty as its selection of Rowan yarn is second to none and its fabric line would look lovely on several of Amy Butler’s patterns. Again the offer is there if anyone would like to take me up on it. Drop me a line with your list and we’ll chat (virtually that is).


PS – Can’t wait to wear the hat in London-town with the Alter Knits wrap. Oh, and if anyone has any suggestions what to do with the yarn in the first picture, please let me know. I have about 11 balls and I am wondering why I bought it in the first place.

Can't resist a good hat

Thursday, October 26, 2006

100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

This is me, hanging my head. Why? Look closer... Closer... Time's up.
It's Halloween. I think that every year my love for the holiday will come back, but that's not happening this year. Don't get me wrong, I do like the holiday. I do. But the Lola household runs it into the graveyard! It's this damned Halloween party we've been throwing. I swore that Halloween 2005 was the last. But like an ghoulish idiot, I gave in. So the table is full of uncarved pumpkins once again (I have never liked this part of the holiday). Yes, SK has been pretty good this year. He's only created 2 mummified skeletons and he's taking tomorrow off to prepare the graveyard. But it's suppose to rain and snow all day Saturday, so I'm going to have all the Pirates, Witches, and Side-Show Freaks in the house.

No 2. reason my head hangs low, I finished the Pimlico Shrug. "Shouldn't you be celebrating?" Ava says. Yes, but after ribbing for 6 inches, it's the only position my head can get into. That's 6 inches of ribbing on 480 stitches! I think that one of my Denise cables is ruined from all the pushing and pulling. But it is a great shrug/wrap/sweater, whatever the hell it is! Not real flattering, but I didn't knit it to be so. The short time I wore it for the picture, I was thrilled with it. Just like the book said, it jazzed up my dirty jeans and nasty t-shirt (I don't have an appointment until very late this afternoon. Why clean up before?)
Here's the morbid specs:
Needle size: US 8
Yarn: Knitpicks Merino Style Moss
Pattern: Pimlico Shrug from Knit 2 Together

Usually when a project is finished, I like to think about the things that I've learned. No question, this project has taught me to hate ribbing! Hate hate hate the stuff. If someone dresses up like 2x2 Ribbing at our party, I'll either pass out or kill them. The chances of someone picking that costume is highly unlikely, so put away the handcuffs.

My WIP pile is shrinking. I have a lot of projects that don't have deadlines. I have one sleeve of my EZ Comfy Gray Sweater done, but there's no time line on that one. I need to start the Baby Miter Square Blanket, but I can't seem to look at miters yet. The Lizard Ridge Blanket is fun to occasionally work on, but I don't care if it becomes a graduation gift for Gus. I need something real quick and dirty. Maybe I'll spit out a hat. I'm also thinking of doing some charity knitting. Ava, want to look for something together? If anyone has good ideas, leave us a comment.

Now that my shrug is done, I can clean, cook and decorate for this weekend. Oh spooky joy.

Monday, October 23, 2006

She Sells Sanctuary

Jumping on the bandwagon, Lola. I love reading everyone's repsonses so I thought I would post my own . . . that and I am trying to avoid creating a worksheet or two. Fine, you bullied me into it. I also don't feel like working or looking for a Toddler costume. I'll post my responses in Purple. Hang with me, I'm not as witty as you.

1. FIRST NAME? Ava, for all intents and purposes Lola, ditto.

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Picked it because if the Flyer and I had decided to have any more children, I would have lobbied hard for this name. I never would have won, though, since it is the German name of Veronica’s arch-nemesis. My actual middle name is named after my mother’s favorite student when she taught at a state mental institution (which is where my parents met, by the way). I figured I could never get Steak Knife to name a daughter Lola. Not that I subscribe to the "She's his Daughter too, so he should get 50% of the naming rights" way of thinking. Until he can carry her for 5 months, he can't get 50% of the naming rights.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Probably a little after the school shooting in Lancaster County because it hit a little close to home, both geographically and occupationally. I’m good for a release cry about once every third month and every January 28th. This isn't fair, I cry all the time. I'm pretty sure that I cried at least 5 times yesterday. Gus is new to the toddler room & 2 kids hugged him, "hello." I'm sure that a few commercials got me. Studio 60 got me when they were interviewing the Old Guy that was black-listed. See, I have problems. I inherited my mother's ability to cry if a cute puppy passes her, so I'm always crying.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Actually quite a bit (print and script). I like Lola’s better, though. First, Ava's crazy! Her handwriting is beautiful, always has been. Mine's scratchy. I can't spell, so there's always strike-outs. And since I leave words out, you've got little scribbles all over the place.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? I love hard salami and Italian roast beef.Ditto, but I'd be REAL skeptical.

7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? If you count this blog, yep. If not, I start a lot of journals but rarely if ever finish them. No. Ever since Ava and the Other sister found mine in the 2nd grade, told everyone who I "liked", I vowed never to repeat that business.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes, but I always wanted to have them removed for the perks. No one would listen though. Still do.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Oh, yes! Something about jumping and knowing (well, kind of knowing) that I would be okay makes it sound good. Nope. I'm a sit on the couch kind of girl.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Lucky Charms probably because my mother always said it was too sugary . . . Betty and Veronica can’t touch them. I love cereal. While I was pregnant with Gus, I survived on it. Anything cheap and generic will do. Once again, my mother's influences are still with me. Why pay for a name? When we were little, she'd buy the K-Mart "Keds" & paint a blue rectangle on the heel. Guess jeans? Rip the patch off & sew them on cheap jeans. Remember Skids? Our mother would recreate the patch and sew them on some slouchy pants she made. Illegal? I know that now.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No way. Even though I where precious few tied shoes, I always flip them off at the heel. Nope. That's why I live in my Vans and will be buying a pair of Converse's without laces.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I had twins, I have the scars, you do the math. Right now, I'd say, "No." But I usually surprise myself. I hate blood. Can't watch CSI. S.K. had to get a bunch of stitches about 5 years ago. He didn't even want the hospital to call me. I had no problems. Labor & Delivery. Once they said that I could still get an epidural, no problem. Ask me again when I've got to take Gus in for stitches.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Crunch (and Baskin-Robbins Caramel Chocolate Crunch, but they haven’t had it around in a while). Here's my Dad's influence, Mint Chocolate Chip!

14. SHOE SIZE? 9.5 depending upon the brand. 8 or 8.5.

5. RED OR PINK? Pink with a dollop of red on the top Ditto.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? Being shy around new people and having others perceive it as bitchiness. That and people who know me argue that I can’t possibly be an introvert (that’s because you know me, folks, that you think I am an extrovert). I probably gossip more than I should. I also hold a grudge and have a hard time apologizing first.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? The Scooby Gang. I'm out on this question.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Since I stole this from Julia’s blog (and itÂ’s on Cara’s as well), I’ll just troll the other websites and see who posts theirs

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Somehow, there should be heavy breathing with this question. Blue jeans, a white t-shirt, green cordouroy jacket, and wool clogs . . . the only heavy breathing there should be is from the Flyer. Dirty jeans, dirty shirt, and a dirty sweatshirt. As you can tell, I should be doing laundry.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Part of a 3-foot sub (ham and cheese). See question 10.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? The sound of the iMac droning and my typing (plus the dog licking her stress spot). Howard Stern online. Please don't ask me to explain this one, but for some odd reason I love the show. I know all the reasons why I shouldn't, but I don't care. It's a vice.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Burnt Sienna. (insert clever adjective) green.

23. FAVORITE SMELL? Bar none, lavendar. Almonds come a close second. Lilac, all the way.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? My mother (ironic, isn’t it). Staple's manager to confirm tomorrow's appointment.

25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? Eyes and nose (I love the Flyer’s nose . . . it got him everywhere). Height. The boys had to be taller than me. Not an inch shorter. Once there was a boy that had a nice accent. I tried to slouch, but that got old. If that makes me vain, I don't care.

26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? In the blog world, yes! In real life, I wouldn’t know her without the camera in front of her face.

27. FAVORITE DRINK? Blue Moon or Yuengling. Corona & coffee! Not together of course.

28. FAVORITE SPORT? Watching football or Aran knitting. Big DITTO. But make it college football. Go Bucks. Do you have a countdown for the OSU vs. Michigan game yet?

29. EYE COLOR? Hazel with a twinge of green around the rims (I’m a bit sensitive about that). Ditto.

30. HAT SIZE? The second tightest peg. Usually, the last peg. Everytime the DR. says Gus' head is in the 95% club, I apologize.

31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? I can, but I prefer my glasses. Yep & I never take them out. So someday, I'm screwed.

32. FAVORITE FOOD? Anything chocolate based, but I love my chili and the Greek Yogurt Pot at Pret a Manger. Quarter Pounder and Chiptole Steak Bowl. I've got to get off of this computer and eat something.

33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy endings that aren’t forced. Happy endings. S.K. loves scary movies and always "forces" me to watch them. When I give in, he'll say " and no knitting." And that's where I draw the line.

35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Winter all the way. I hate SUMMER. Hate it! So much that we planned Gus' birth around that season. I'm so bitchy when the temperature goes above 70.

36. HUGS OR KISSES? Hugs are lovely, but there is nothing like a 10 minutes kissing session with your hubby (make that my hubby). Hugs. But I love how Gus kisses us good-night. I think he's confused about "kisses" & "blowing kisses". He'll hold his hand out until it touches you mouth. Then he grabs my nose, don't ask me to explain that one.

37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Chocolate anything. Brownies.

38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Well, Lola, darling, it is your turn to post yours . . . but wait a while why don’t you. Shit. I didn't read this one until I got to it. Screw it. Just be happy I did it.


40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Walter Dean Myers' autobiography (before I put it out for the kids), Imagined London (less than two weeks to go), and always Persuasion. Come on. I did buy, "Running with Scissors."

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE Pad? Don’t use one. Ditto.

42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Law and Order: SVU and Britain’s Biggest Spenders (the one guy looked like a Little Britain character waiting to happen). Heroes. Love this show & can't believe that Ava's family isn't watching it!

43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? Veronica’s laugh . . . I wish I could bottle that. Insert Gus' name.

44. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES? Beatles all the way. Ditto.

45. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? Paris and Scotland. Crap. Toronto, I think.

46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? I’m using it right now (nice outfit). I think I'm a pretty good Euchre player. Oh and pretty good at embellishing a story.

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Stolen from Julia at Fricknits

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Nothing to show today, I'll save that for a Toddler-free day. But I have made progress on the shrug (Next PU 320 sts. Ugh.) and I finished one sleeve on my Comfy Gray Sweater (pictures and post about this new project). But just wanted to catch-up.

Work meeting was a work meeting. No one yelled at me for knitting, but I really think most were asleep. IU game was as boring as watching the Project Runway finale and you know who won. Stupid USA Today and Room Service! Today we're going to a pumpkin farm with the other family in the land. Gus is going to wear his Seamless Yoke and I'm taking a camera. Now if I just will pull it out and use it...

So here are a couple blogs I'm addicted to:
Little Birds

Posie Gets Cozy

And sometimes, Hello My Name is Heather
They make me want to make a lifestyle change (see I did ok with the Song Title post)! I bet they never go to big box stores. Am I the only one that's imtimdated by Farmers' Markets? Drink tea over coffee. And it isn't the type of tea that comes in a box with a sleeping bear on the front! Drink wine over beer, but only occasionally. Don't even think about it being in a box (or a cold garage). Plastic bags, you've got to be crazy! They have more cool unbleached totes than you or I could imagine. I bet there's no tv in the house. Maybe one 12 inch, in case of an emergency. If they were me, they would have already taken Gus camping. Not wait until he listens more (when does that happen? 3, 4...). As you can tell, they make the coolest clothes for their little ones. All of these statements may sound like they're coming off with a smart ass tone, but I swear I'm not (it's a first). I'm jealous. Only veggies I have in the house are either frozen or very mushy carrots from weeks ago. So that's it. No more soaps in the afternoon. No more fast food. No more rolling my eyes when Gus brings me his robot book for the 20th time in a row. I'll knit with books on tape. We'll use up my scrap fabric and make a blanket. We'll only shop at 2nd hand stores.

Right after I watch the finale of Top Model.
Right after McDonald's ends its Monopoly game.
Right after I have to feed and liquefy our friends for Halloween...
Right after...

p.s. Did you see that Sesame Street is releasing a DVD with its top skits from the first 5 years? Sesame Street Old School this Tuesday!

one more p.s. Gus has eaten dinner the last 2 nights. Chiptole and chili. Thank me stars.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mr. Brightside

Every weekend is the same in our house. I vow that I will do nothing but knit on one day out of every weekend: damn the housework, the grading, the care of family members. I am going to knit!

This weekend, I came close. The Flyer and I made the most of Saturday, returning items in the Valley, getting a Pumpkin Spice Latte (note to self: don’t buy one again), and grocery shopping at Wegmans. I am ashamed to admit that I even broke cardinal rule number 1: no buying anything related to Christmas before Halloween. Lola, I had to do it . . . I just had to. I bought the loveliest hot pink pre-lit little tree ever! In addition to the tree (it truly is the cupcakiest tree ever), I picked up John Legend’s Christmas album (gots to represent the hometown).

Doctor's Bag Front and Lining

Oh, what about the knitting, you say? I actually spent most of Sunday knitting. I finished the front of the Doctor’s Bag from Knit 2 Together only to find out that I made a tiny little error. Apparently, I put it down before I came to the end of the repeat and the last three inches are a bit off. I notice and you may notice it upon close inspection, but I could not bear to rip out three inches of a herringbone slipstitch pattern. I am picky but not that picky. Don’t you just love the lining? I told you that I settled on a pack of hand towels from the Martha Stewart Living line at K-Mart, but I just adore the pattern now.

Scarf from Wrap and Scarf set in Alter Knits

The Doctor’s Bag was beginning to bore me. I couldn’t see beginning another new project, but I remembered that I wanted to wear the scarf with the wrap from Alter Knits. I am so happy that this pattern is easy to memorize, otherwise I would be out of luck. Even though it is an easy pattern, I have to constantly remind myself that I need 78 inches . . . this may become my cheerleading project.

Speaking of the cheerleading project, the miter square blanket is coming along nicely. At this rate, I only need about 60 more games before it is finished. I like that it is so damn easy to complete; I just don’t like the fact that the yarn gets twisted in my bag. Any suggestions?

Thank you for the birthday post! Turning 37 was actually very liberating because I am now past the age Mom was when she had the Bro. I’ll take the ear infection over the mewling infant . . . but I really want the ear infection to go away.

PS - I vote that we institute a little DeGrassi: The Next Generation at Two Black Sheep. Every title should be the title of a song . . . today's was chosen at random but fairly spot-on.

PPS - Back to the junior high thing. I am thinking about telling Mom about the blog. Any suggestions about it?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

If I could only Sing

Just wanted to wish lil' Ava a Happy Birthday!


*I'll post all the horrific details from the party. Maybe I'll take a picture or two.

Monday, October 09, 2006

All Done.

That's one our favorite pharses to use with Gus. And now, apply it to the Seamless Yoke!

Last night, I stayed up later than usual to finish the hem. I think it was the first time I'd ever written, "Mom" referring to myself. I can't explain how incredibly old that made me feel. As soon as I get him in the door, it's going over his head. I may need to rip out the bind off and do the EZ bind off. But I'm hoping that I can just rip out the life line. I'll post his model shot later this evening. I'm sure he'll look fierce, Ms. Banks! If he'll sit for a picture! Lately, the camera is his devil.
Here's the goods:
Yarn: 1.5 balls of Kraemer Tatamy Tweed in Navy (I adore this yarn. It alone is making me want to started the Baby Miter blanket so soon after the Monster Miter blanket)
Needle: US 5
Pattern: Seamless Yoke from Knitting Without Tears measured off of an Old Navy 2T sweater.
That's it, really! If I didn't have so much Paton's Merino in the stash, I'd buy more of the Tweed and start my sweater with it. Did I say how much I love this sweater? I know that an adult sweater will take more time, but it was the best TV knitting to date.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing

Have you ever noticed that at this time of year, there are about a zillion “Television’s #1 New Show” on the air. How is that possible? I may be an English teacher, but I know a little sumpin’-sumpin’ about math. There can be only one (go ahead, figure out that movie reference . . . that is how our house works). Personally, there hasn’t been anything that has really kept my interest. You were right about Smith . . . there wasn’t enough in the second episode to make me want to watch the third. I will, of course, watch the third just to see if there is a little action between Jonny Lee Miller (Mr. Jolie #1) and Simon Baker, but I doubt that is going to happen.


That being said, Dr. Who and Degrassi: The Next Generation both kicked off their season premiers on Friday night. It was an all out fight to see who would get to watch their show in real time and who would have to settle for DVR. In the end, the Flyer won (he does pay the bills, after all) and Betty and Veronica watched Emma and Sean’s reunion on DVR (damn those bad boy types . . . even in Canada they are alluring). I was at class on Friday night – yup, Friday night – learning about data analysis and representation. Honestly, I brought my sock just so I had a spare DPN to pound into my thigh in case it got too dull and mind numbing. But, you know what, it was actually the most thought provoking and exciting thing educationally that I have learned since I signed my contract. Fascinating, interesting stuff!

It has been a rough week here so there hasn’t been much blogging or knitting being done. Monday was fine (we even got the title for the Flyer’s car in the mail), until I realized that the Flyer’s birthday was the next day and I hadn’t gotten him a present. On Tuesday, the actual day of his birth, the girls and I ran to Target to get some presents (they bought the complete run of The Tick and I “bought” a flat screen TV – really three plastic cards of different models for him to research). Happy day . . . and then Wednesday loomed and boomed. I had open house at 7:30 but also an emergency cheerleading practice as the ladies needed some practice as they were cheering at the homecoming game on Friday. I decided to stay at school and get stuff done because it didn’t make much sense to go home. The Flyer emailed mid-morning to say something happened to his car and he was having it towed. A few hours later, he texted to say it would be $2500 to get it fixed. Happy birthday . . . I don’t think you can watch a transmission, but you can drive your car with it. Thursday the Flyer takes my car to work so he drops me off. I got the distinct privilege of being the first teacher in the building, a mere 10 hours after I left from open house the night before. After the football game, I was ready to drop. Friday rolled around with the class after work (that means 6:30 AM to 9 PM of education) only to be followed by Saturday’s class of 9 AM to 4 PM. We did go see School for Scoundrels last night, so there was a nice little cap to an otherwise very busy week and . . .

Miami vs. Syracuse

I finished the other toe up sock! The pictures were taken about three minutes ago after I cast off the second one and I am wearing them right now. I have now learned that I need to decrease the foot length by about half an inch. Most of the knitting was done while my cheerleaders were stretching or during the game. Some of the parents cast dismissive looks while I was knitting until I began making comments on the game. Then they figured out that I was both knitting and watching the game. What a concept! I think that I will knit miter squares now during the games (did I mention that I hate you, you with your finished afghan) instead of a new pair of socks. So, cross off the toe up sock. Here are the specifics.

Toe Up Sock (Mathematical Socks from Knitty)
Yarn: Country Hill Yarn in Tadpole
Needles: size 5 bamboo DPNs
Time: about three weeks (or six practices and three games)

Toe-UP (Mathematical) Socks

Happy late birthday, Flyer! Keep those gangsta rap dreams alive and I’ll work on the booty poppin’! Peace out, DJ Jazzy Trevor!

PS – the football picture is from the Miami-Syracuse game. We lost as we kind of suck this year. I got so irritated at one point that I rummaged through my purse for something to read. All I could find was my yarn guide pamphlet. The Flyer comments, “Please don’t knit here.” First, I didn’t bring anything to knit as I was grading the whole way to Syracuse, at the hotel, and the whole ride home. Second, the game was so bad that I might have thrown a DPN at that kicker just to take him out of the game.