Ask Poops, Please

Putting my two cents in.

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Location: Belmont, New Hampshire, United States

Born and bred in a small New England town, I am convinced that I know something about everything, and that my opinion matters. If only to me. Well, you'll see what I mean. And I love to knit, so you'll see what kind of things I'm doing when I should be vacuuming the living room.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Art for Art's Sake vs Functional Art

I have made a discovery about myself. I don't much care making "art for art's sake." Case in point: someone knit a motorcycle. Or more appropriately, someone covered a perfectly good motorcycle with perfectly good yarn and called it "art", thus rendering both yarn and bike unusable.

And there was a Knittyboard discussion about altered books. In essence, one takes a book and uses the pages like a scrapbook. It's not a scrapbook per se, which contains photos and mementos, nor is it any longer a readable book. It has become an objet d'art.

Is it only the process that is important in art? Artists and crafters do what they do (what we do) as a form of self-expression. Art is a way of working through personal issues, expressing our personalities, among other things. And for some of us, we can't imagine our lives without some form of creative outlet.

But I've discovered that I prefer functional art. I like to look at paintings, but I have no interest in painting one. In the same way I like to do embroidery, but on functional things like garments or bags, or even shoes. Wall hangings or pictures leave me feeling empty when I'm done. Unless I'm giving them as a gift or making them for sale, which apparently in my mind gives them a purpose.

I like to sketch and draw, not just for the sake of drawing, but because I'm planning out something in another medium that I need to visualize first. I don't enjoy sitting down to draw a bowl of fruit or rough out a sketch of one of the kids, but I won't hesitate to draw a quick picture of a sweater as I see it in my head.

I like to knit and crochet, but I prefer to make items that will have some usefulness and be nice to look at as well. I like to see my sweaters walking around, or my mittens and socks keeping hands and feet warm in the snow. A pretty pineapple doily under a glass pitcher protecting an antique table from scratches is art to me.

I cannot fathom knitting a motorcycle.

Mosaic Mittens, Part Three in a Series

My third pair of mosaic mittens.

Have I mentioned that I'm hooked on this. Don't panic. I get hooked on all kinds of things that come and go. I'm taking a break from the needles to play with the graph paper and see what I can come up with in the way of my own designs.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

That's it, I'm hooked.

I can't stop knitting mosaic! Curse you, Zibbibo!

I'm obsessed! It's a sickness! Someone stop me before I knit again!

Seriously, I have a shawl and a sweater both on the needles that need attention. Perhaps I'll make myself finish the sweater front before I work on another pair of mosaic mittens. There's a good incentive!

More Mosaic

More Mittens!
I don't know if I'm correct in referring to this as "mosaic" knitting. But it involves a combination of knit and slipped stitches, which is what I've found as a definition of mosaic everywhere I've looked, so if you know differently, let me know. Anywho, I've finished these mittens using the stitch pattern from Il Cestino. Unlike my post about the ugly bag, these yarns really showed the stitch detail nicely. I like the "swirliness" of them. Later, as in "as soon as I finish this post" I'm going to try some swatches of other slipped combinations and see what I can come up with.
God or the Girl? Update
Well, the five part series ended on Sunday and I was right on three of my four predictions.

I was right about the first guy, Mike, not entering seminary because he has a girlfriend and a job offer. He actually decided in the third show, but that one wasn't too hard. I think he was less attracted by the devotion to God as he was to the trimmings and trappings of priestly service. I bet he'll be a deacon someday, though. He seems as taken with the trimmings and trappings of being a teacher, so he'll be perfectly happy.

I was also right about Dan, the one who had been in and out of the seminary for the past ten years. I had the feeling that he was just doing it to make his parents happy, and I was right. Luckily, he decided to scrap his priestly plans, having realized that he didn't have a calling. I also bet he marries his next girlfriend. I sense an overwhelming need to get laid from this one.

I was also right about the one that went on a missionary trip. I knew he had a real calling and I stand by my opinion that he will make an excellent priest. I felt that despite being young and naive, he was also the most earnest about his calling. And his shortcomings with addressing groups will get better with age and increased confidence. I think I cried more than his parents when he announced his decision.

But the one that threw me was the one that lived in the "Catholic frat house" Fort Zion. I mean, this kid was practically already wearing the Roman collar. What happened was he decided to wait two years until he graduated college before thinking about it anymore. Plus, he's hooked up with the girlfriend again. I have a feeling they'll get married, have far too many kids, and annoy their parish by being "holy rollers". (That one kind of bugged me...he slept on the floor, giving up his bed as some sort of sacrifice. He collects religious statues. He doesn't wear a t-shirt that doesn't have some sort of religious hoo-hah on it. He walks around campus saying the rosary and reading his bible. He taped a picture of Jesus over his mirror so that he wouldn't see himself, but rather what he'd like to be. I mean, really. He would annoy the crap out of me as a priest. Heck, he annoyed the crap out of me on TV.) Come to that, I believe a lot of the "showy" stuff he loves is discouraged (in a way) in the priestly formation. I can count on two fingers the number of priests I've met that sent out that "Look at how holy I am!" vibe.

Now, if you're listening, A&E, I'd love an update about these boys somewhere down the line.

And now, I must make a swatch.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Taking back Sunday.

Il Brutto Borsa

First of all, before I forget, I decided to make the lovely Zib's Il Cestino bag. This is what it became. I know what you're thinking. That looks nothing like Il Cestino. Nope, it doesn't. I did it her way and didn't like how it came out. Through not fault of the designer, I might add. I liked HER bag, but I didn't like how mine looked all knitted up. Turns out the yarns I used didn't have the stamina to be a bag that stands on its own. The fiber I used was some el cheapo yarn I found at Wally World when I first started knitting and before I learned the difference between good yarn and icky yarn. This is decidedly icky. Plus I think I'd have liked it better knit up in plain stockinette for a more stripy effect like on the handle. This yarn just didn't do the mosaic knitting pattern justice.

But on the bright side, I'm using the mosaic pattern in a pair of mittens that I'm liking very much! Stay tuned for that little update.

So, taking back my Sundays. I decided when Lent started that Sundays had really gotten away from being a day of rest and had turned into a day of errands and odd jobs. So I decided to take back Sunday during Lent. Yes, it's Easter now, and Sundays are still mine.

Call it lazy if you like, but my Sunday is now a day of rest, of prayer, and play. And not necessarily in that order. I don't feel guilty when I take a nap in the afternoon, or do nothing but knit a couple pair of mittens. On Monday I'll sigh and put crayons away for the umpteenth time, and pick up the Polly Pocket shoes out of the carpet.

Or maybe it'll wait until Tuesday. I'm in the middle of a project...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Why do you DO that?

An interesting thread topic on the Knittyboard today about non-knitters wondering why one knits.

The best answer I can think of is "Why not?"

Yes, it's usually cheaper to buy something knitted rather than make it, though not always. Depending on what you make and what you make it with, it can cost quite a bit more.

I suppose for some, playing with sticks is a waste of time.

People that say that don't "get" crafts in general. It would be like me asking a stamp collector what the big deal is: I can go to the post office and buy all kinds of stamps. Or asking a golfer why she wants to spend the day chasing a tiny white ball around.

It's not about making something look "just like something you can buy" or even "I can make that for a lot less money". For me it's less about what I'm making and more about that I'm making. It's about the craft and all that goes into it. It's about looking at something you put your time and energy into and saying "I made this."

I craft because I can. Because it's what I do. It's who I am.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

For the love of Fug.

I'm still "unravelling" the dilemma of what to do with the Poncho from Hell. I showed this picture to MK and she liked it, and said I could add yellow and green to it. So I was thinking of making her an Andean-inspired poncho in the vibrant colors favored in the Altiplano region.

"Here a unique knitting style uses a design system dating from pre-Columbina Incan
times. The complex, tightly patterned motifs in a basketful of bright
colors reveal how heavily the local weaving influences the knitting."

And if I have extra yarn perhaps some mittens and a chullo to wear with it.

So she thinks these are pretty and I like the idea of her having a "folk" poncho rather than just a fugly one.

And I get to go back for some more yarn shopping!

I'm making great strides on the cotton sweater for her as well. Finished the back and got the bottom pattern done on the front. The rest is just straight stockinette, then ribbed collars and armholes. Whee! Oh, and this is what it will look like finished...the one on the right. Except instead of blue I'm using that salmon pink Crystal Palace Premiere that is so hard on my hands but so soft all knitted up.

Perhaps whilst Emma naps, I shall knit. You think?

I also started on my knitting journal last night. (Thanks again, guys!) I printed out pictures of all the stuff I made that I have pictures of. Alas, I gave away a bunch of things without documenting. But, what I have, I printed and taped into the book. I noted the yarns I used and the patterns and any changes I made to it. Later today I'll go through my yarns and cut some samples of the actual yarns to put in as well. Someday when I'm dead my kids will either think this is so cool or they'll shake their head at my pathological need to keep everything.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Baby hats, birthday gifts, and butt ugly.

Baby Hats
I finished up three baby hats and a pair of booties. They're done in Wildflower DK, a cotton/acrylic blend. Again, not much give and kind of hard on the hands. And very "splitty" to boot. But it knits up delightfully soft and washes like a dream in the washer and dryer. I don't think I'll make anymore of the booties since I'm convinced that they're not stretchy enough to stay on a baby, so I'll use up the rest of the skeins doing colorwork on some more hats.

Birthday Gifts
I also got a lovely belated birthday gift in the mail from my brother- and sister-in-law and nephew down in Dallas. I've decided I like getting presents late--it extends the joy of the day out even longer! Anyway, it's a framed picture that says "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." (Now try to not hum "Turn Turn Turn" for the rest of the day. I dare you.) And the other is a journal, which is going to become my knitting journal, since I was thinking of starting one. So this is a sign, I'm thinking. It does make my day to get something lovely in the mail!
Butt Ugly
I refer you to the yarn choices MK made for her poncho. She wanted red and pink, which was going to be hard enough to pull off in a cute way, but could be done. But in a fit of stupidity, I had her along to the yarn shop and told her to find some yarn she liked. And this is what she came up with. Screaming florescent pink and fire engine red. It gives me a headache just looking at it, and I am entertaining options from anyone who has any clue how to make these two colors work together. She told me I could add green and yellow if I wanted. Yeah, that'll make it better.
For anyone out there who is considering letting their five and a half year old make yarn buying decisions...this could happen to you.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Photo Trauma. Ugh.

So I've been trying all day to upload these pictures to show my WIP's. But I've been "whipped" in the effort...bah hah hah hah! To the right is the bottom of the back of a summer sweater for MK, it's Classic Elite Premiere, 50% pima cotton, 50% tencel. The finished sweater is going to be sleeveless with a mock turtleneck. The cotton is super soft, but has no give when you knit with it, so it makes my hands realllllllly, reaaaaallllllllyyyyyy tired.

To the left is my "relief" project. It's called the "Thanksgiving Shawl" and it's a garter stitched triangle with a pretty lace trim to be added later. I'm making it with Artful Yarns Jazz which is 50% alpaca and 50% wool. It's soft and thick and should make for a very warm shawl. Only I think I'd like this better if it were anything other than garter stitch, which I'm not crazy about, and I think I'd like a lighter weight wool too. So I may knit another one and use a different pattern stitch (like moss or something) and splurge on something lighter and luxurious like alpaca. We shall see. It's a very relaxing project to work on. Not much thinking involved, and the combination of the wool on my Addi's takes the stress off my hands! It's hard to see in this pic, but Jazz is a varigated yarn with brown, olive, and terra cotta in it. Sometimes I think it's pretty, other times....not so much.

Oh, and you should see the yarns MK picked out for a poncho. Honestly, it'll make you gag. Fire engine red and flourescent pink. I'll save that discussion for next time.

Break on Through to the Other Side

The other side of Easter, that is. Christ is risen, the Bunny has come and gone, and all is right with the world. Here are the girls in their hand-knit Easter finery. As usual, Emma is her cheerful toddler self and was having none of it. Still, the jumpers are cute, no?

Now, in my opinion, we the St. Joseph's Choir, knocked ourselves out this weekend. The Easter Vigil ran FOUR HOURS and we sang and sang and sang! I was practically comatose on Sunday. Fr. Albert came by around 7 Easter night with some candy for the girls, and he looked ready to drop. He is amazing, and where he gets the energy to get through a weekend like Easter, I can't even fathom. He did mention that for next year's Vigil we should "kick back and order some pizzas." I think roving vendors like at a ballgame would be a good idea. ICE cold BEER! SPORTS Bars! He'd pack the pews, Itellyouwhat.

So we had dinner and an egg hunt next door at Sister's house, a big ole ham, macaroni and cheese, baked beans....oh, all so good! And candy. Mmmmmm......

Emma napped in the afternoon, and then we went to my in-laws for dessert and coffee. They had a birthday cake and cards for me and we were home by 7 or so. We got some toast and cereal in the girls and I stayed up and got sucked into the God and the Girl program.

So, I was looking forward to it, and I found it interesting. So far after two episodes I think two are going to be priests and two aren't, and I'm not convinced any of them are mature enough to be priests, but then I could be wrong. Episodes 3 and 4 are on tonight, and I should have some more insight then.

And as for knitting, I'm working on a cotton blend sweater for Mary. It's salmon pink, but I find the cotton hard on my hands when I knit. So I'm also working on a wool shawl for myself, which I'm already not sure I'm going to like, so it may be either a gift, or go up for sale. I'll have to wait and see. It's still early, and the jury is still out. But it's half alpaca and half merino and lovely to work with when I need a break from the unyielding cotton. (Aargh!)

I guess the pics I just took will have to wait for another time to be posted since they don't seem to want to go right now. Frustrating!

Friday, April 14, 2006

TGIF. Sort of.

Well, it's Friday at last. Though in all fairness, when you're a SAHM, Friday and Monday are basically the same. My week never ends, though having DH around all weekend makes things easier anyway. (Read: more time to myself.)

But this weekend is Easter, and it's busy, busy, busy. I have decided I am not going to finish everything I want to do by Monday. But that's okay.

Holy Thursday mass went very well. We had a full chorus so we sounded good--at least from where I was standing--but it was so HOT in there! To quote John Wayne " enough to make a man forget his fear of hell." The choir was glistening, to say the least. Needless to say, I'm wearing short sleeves tonight. I've threatened a tube top. We shall see how warm it gets today. Oh, and it went and hour and 45 minutes.

Saturday Mary has her Daisy scouts meeting. They're going to the Build a Bear Workshop to make...well, bears. Larry's taking the girls, and I'm going to my cousin's bridal shower in the afternoon. Then the Easter Vigil mass is at 8 at night. I expect to be home sometime on Tuesday. (Okay, so I exaggerate. But I bet it'll be after midnight. You mark my words. We have 8 baptisms, count 'em, 8. And 12 confirmations, four in addition to the 8 catechumens.)

So, while I'm not singing, I'm knitting. I've been making cotton baby hat and bootie sets. They're coming out cute, I think. I'll take some pics when they're washed and blocked. Though they're a cotton/acrylic blend and should go in the washer and dryer with no problem. I may just do that. It'll either work, or it won't.

I've decided to try to sell some of my mittens and things at my friend and former boss' farm stand. I don't know if wool mittens will sell over the summer, but I've got nothing to lose, right? I've made care tags for them...cute, huh? I did try selling some stamped things and sewn items last summer and nothing sold. Still, I am undaunted!

Oh, and I made it home in time for "Freedom Summer" in the 10 Days series. It was awesome. I didn't like the Shay's Rebellion one quite as much. And A&E has a new series called "God or the Girl" premiering on Sunday night that I think I'll like. It follows four seminarians as they struggle with the decision to become priests. It looks interesting.

Ah, that's all I have time for today. I have to get ready to go to the bus stop. Whee!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ten Hours I'll Never Get Back

Okay, has anyone else been watching the History Channel documentary series "Ten Days That Unexpectedly Changed America"? I'm hooked on it. I thought the episode about the Pequot Indian tribe was so interesting that I actually put my knitting down and watched it. Perhaps that extra bit of interest was because we live three hours from the Mashantucket Reservation, home of Foxwoods Casino. My mother-in-law is on a personal crusade to make reparations via the slots.

I find history fascinating to begin with and usually stay up way too late watching interesting documentaries. It explains why I know a little about a lot of things. But when I think of all the other productive uses of ten hours...well, let's try not to think about it, okay?

My favorites are the Bible documentaries. Any Bible documentaries. Old or New Testament, I don't care. Based in faith or made-up bunk, I love it all. Last night there was one about the Ten Commandments . I'm probably going to miss part 2 of this one because I doubt we'll be out of mass by 8. If regular masses take an hour and a half, I'm betting on two for Holy Thursday. Just a guess though.

Which is just God's way of telling me that I should have Tivo.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Mitten Finale...Drumroll Please!

Well, this is the last pair for now. I'm going to start a sweater for Mary after I take a nap. I've earned one.

I was totally right about being worked like a dog at choir practice. But it was worth it: we made the director cry with Pie Jesu. In a good way, not because we sucked. She said that while we may not have hit every note perfectly, we had the feeling right and it was awesome. There won't be a dry seat in the house on Good Friday.

Oh, and notice the date stamp on the pic: it's my birfday! Yay! Another year older! Beats the alternative, dontcha think?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Mittens, Palms, and High Notes

Okay, it's morning and I'm going to try to show you the other two pair of mittens I've been working on.

These first ones were made with the Lopi (yeah, the Lopi again!) and some Filatura in a burgundy with colored accents. Very rustic.

Turns out the pic of the ones I'm working on at the moment are too fuzzy and I can't get the pic to upload. Weird. Perhaps they don't want to be seen until they're done. Perhaps I'm too "busy" to troubleshoot. Eh, whatever.

So yesterday was Palm Sunday. Some backstory here, I sing in the church choir. I just started right before Lent, so I'm new to this group, but I did sing with the college choir for four years when I was at Salve. And I've been sitting in mass for years singing away, not getting involved all that much in church activities, and the choir just kept calling to me. (Figuratively, that is.) So I joined up and I'm having a great time, have met some really nice people, and I get out of the house one night a week. Which is super-important as a SAHM.

Anyway, after mass, my sister said how good we sounded on "Were You There" and "Jesus, Remember Me". Nice harmonies if I do say so myself, but it's so nice to hear from someone else. And Sister would tell me if we were hitting some clunkers. And Miss Mary Kate, a personal favorite of Father's, got to use the "holy bells" during the processional. (Those are the altar bells that used to be rung during the transubstantiation when I was a kid, but are only hauled out on really special occasions now, like Easter.) He made sure she got the really loud ones! He's the best.

So now we're in Holy Week and I'm going to be in church most evenings. We have our last rehearsal tonight before the "big weekend". I should be wiped by Sunday. But we are singing some really pretty things on Holy Thursday and Good Friday that I'm looking forward to. Our choir director worked us like dogs last week, and don't expect she's going to let up much this week. It has it's benefits; the biggest one being that we sound good. (I went to my BIL's church once and couldn't even find a melody to sing along with the hymns. I swear the organist was wearing mittens.)

I still have to get the kids Easter baskets made, clean the house, and make some candies for the choir folks at next week's rehearsal. My sister and I knit the girls matching jumpers to wear on Easter, and they're all done, so at least that's not looming over my head. Thank God for small favors!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Mitten Mania

In an exercise in stashbusting, I've been working on making kid-sized mittens. Why kid-sized? Well, for starters, it's fast. I can whip out a pair in a couple of hours, if'n I don't get too fancy. Second, they're great for using up bits and pieces of yarn: they take smallish amounts and the color combinations can be freaky because kids don't care. Third, my kids are always unable to find a pair of mittens on any given day, so the more mittens, the merrier.
These to the left are actually a very vibrant pink, but washed out some in the photo. They've got a distinct "50's Diner" feel to them. So I called this pattern "Bobby's Girl", it being the name of a local diner.
The ones on the right are a light ash grey with
light brown and purple seed stitch accenting. I
bought the two balls of Light Lopi to help use up
the grey Nature Spun. So now I still have plenty of the Nature Spun, and two partial skeins of Lopi. I see a matching hat in the future.

Now, I've got a couple more pairs to show off, but for some reason my pictures are taking
to load tonight. And as it's already after midnight here, I'll show more tomorrow.

But for now, I'm pooped.

Yarn Binge!

I spent all afternoon yesterday yarn shopping! Yay! I got three back issues of Interweave Knits for a buck each, some Classic Elite pima cotton for a kids sweater, a skein of Inca Alpaca to match a skein I already have so I have enough to actually make something out of it. And I got four or five new patterns, all at my LYS which is closing at the end of the month.

Then it was off to Patternworks where I scored some bargains in the "orphans" bin. Got two balls of Light Lopi in purple and ochre, two of Nature's Pride Worsted in a dark red and heathered grey, and I bought some white, natural and beige worsteds just to use as neutrals with color work and such. And three small skeins of a sport weight (or DK, I forget which) cotton to make some baby things--washcloths and such.

By the time we got home, I was wiped! But I still sat down and made some mittens.

Later tonight, when the world and my children sleep I shall post some FO's for your perusal. But for now, I have a heretofore thumbless mitten calling my name.

Friday, April 07, 2006

My first foray into the blogosphere. Now that I have a forum, I find myself wondering if I'll have anything to say.

I'm sure I'll think of something, only first I have to figure out how this thing works.

Oh, and from time to time I'll show you what I'm working on. I'm a knitter, crafter, wife, stay-at-home mom, and polymath.

So lemme get started here...

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