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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I Have a New Bag and a Second Grader

Poops has yet another brand new bag! I'm becoming the Imelda Marcos of handknit totes, I swear.

This one is made from more of my own handspun. The roving came from Sheep Shed Studios and they are mill ends from the Brown Sheep company. The yarn is a heavy worsted to bulky weight. I made the bag to tote around my music binder. It fits perfectly, as you can see. It is also big enough to carry just about anything else I feel the need to lug around. Like some knitting. Which also goes to choir practice with me.
The stitch I used is called a diagonal demi-brioche stitch.
This one is lined as well, and this time I lined the lining too. (That means there's a layer of medium weight interfacing between the cotton lining and the plastic canvas that gives structure to the bag. I didn't make any inside pockets on this one. The handles are pleather from Joanns and are identical to the ones on the Ruby bag, just black instead of tan. I stitched them to the canvas before lining them.
I'm pleased with it.

I've started knitting another Noro bag yesterday as well. The response to the purse I made for myself was encouraging, so I'm thinking I'll make couple for my etsy shop and see what happens.

Worse case scenario: I'll have bags to match every outfit, need, and mood.

In other Poops Family News, Bug started school yesterday. She's officially a second-grader. Her two best friends are in her class this year, as is one girl from her CCD class and a couple of kids she was with in kindergarten. The day went well. She had a great time and was all jazzed up when she got off the bus.

But poor thing, last night was a different story. She went to bed as usual, and DH comes down and says "Ugh, Bug needs you. She's crying about Cozy." Cozy is Bobo's blankie that she sleeps with and hauls around the house. It used to be one of about five different crib blankets I used on both girls, only Bo got attached to this one for some reason.

I go up and Bug's in bed all weepy and I ask her what's wrong. And she gave me a litany of worries, concerns, and all around Bad Things. Free-floating anxiety and stress all over the place.

I talked with her. I listened to her stresses. I tried to get her to go to a happy place, and things were stressful there, so we abandoned that tack too. We said our prayers. It helped a bit.

Finally, I dug out a blanket that one of our customers crocheted for her as a new baby gift. It's a light green afghan and she was never particularly attached to it, or any other thing for that matter. But I snuggled it in beside her in bed and told her if she wanted that to be her "cozy" for the night, that it was okay. And that she was just tired and stressed, and if she just needed a good cry before bed, that was okay too. I told her that I cry sometimes when I'm tired and stressed, and it helps.

I didn't hear a peep after that, so I guess she was okay. And this morning she bounded out of bed ready for Day Two, so all will be fine, I'm thinking.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mmmmmm, Malabrigo!

We've got a nice, sunny, clear day with a nice Canadian air mass sitting right on us, so conditions are right for some outdoor picture taking.

Here the Bug models my new Malabrigo scarf! Yes, I have an ubersoft scarf for winter now. I actually have at least three scarves I've made myself, but I love them so! This one is so soft I can't describe it, but if you've ever had the good fortune to fondle a skein of Malabrigo, you know what I'm talking about. You can see that Bobo is finding it soft as well.

Here's a closeup shot of the scarf. The stitch I used is called the "feather faggot" stitch from BW's treasury that is never far from me. It's your basic faggoting stitch with a garter stitch column in between the loops. It's open and airy, but warm and soft at the same time. I love it so. I can't wait for it to be cold enough to wear it! Soon, soon...

Since it was sunny, I thought you'd like to see what color that skein of homespun really is. It's neither purple, nor cranberry. I call it "crangrape". Between that and the ruby red homespun bag I expect to get a letter from Ocean Spray's lawyers any day now.

Here's a closeup of my latest bag. This one is for me. The body of the bag is done, now I have to wait for my Joanns coupon so I can pick a lining for it, and some handles.

Wait a minute: what do you mean "This one is for me?" Who is the Ruby bag for? Are you going to sell it? Is it in your etsy shop and I didn't see it?

It's a gift. It's in a box ready to go out this afternoon as a surprise gift RAK kind of thing. I'll not say more until it's been gifted, lest the surprise be ruined.

And I got addresses for five more RAK's so I'm going to get on those as soon as I can make a path to my craft closet.

Speaking of etsy, I sold three pair of mittens this morning. Which rocks. Which also means that I now have some money burning a hole in my Paypal account.

I should resist. I mean, I've got plenty of roving to keep me busy for awhile. And I just got some Noro Kureyon in the mail to make a couple of bags. (For all of you wondering if I was going to offer a shaped and lined Noro bag in the shop...stay tuned.)

At any rate, school starts tomorrow. And it couldn't happen a day sooner, if you ask me. I'm ready for the Bug to get back to the book learnin', that's for sure. And Bobo is going to start Potty School at the same time. I'm sick of changing diapers and while I know she's probably not quite ready and I'm setting both of us up for failure, I'm getting impatient. If only she'd show a modicum of interest in it. The best we've managed so far is for her to tell me "I'm poopy." Great. Now tell me before you're poopy and we're getting somewhere. Still, I suppose some progress is better than no progress at all.

She'll be shitting her pants in the first grade at this rate.

Sorry, it's been a bit of frustrating kind of morning. I'm not sure why.

We had a great weekend, though. Saturday morning I had a workshop at church called Protecting God's Children. It's required of anyone in the parish that works directly with children, such as religious ed instructors, youth ministers, etc. So I did it, and it was informative. And I left a bit more informed and a bit more paranoid about who has contact with my kids. But I refuse to let it make me lest trusting, of either other people or my own instincts. I have good instincts. I can tell when something isn't stirring the KoolAid, or when I should grab my kids and run the other way. It's actually one of the most powerful and useful skills I possess in my arsenal. And when I get the feeling from Bug that she doesn't want to do something or seems a bit off in her behavior towards other people, I respect that and follow her lead. She might not know she has instincts yet, but she does. I think teaching kids to follow their gut reaction to people, places, and situations is the most important thing we can teach them.

And how to poop on the potty.

But I digress. The workshop was Saturday morning, and as soon as I got home, Mr. Poops told me that my friend Polly had called and invited us to her family's camp on Lake Winnisquam for some swimming. You didn't have to ask me twice. It was about 98 degrees and as humid as it could possibly get without actually raining by noontime. Before you could say "Bob's your uncle" we had the suits and cooler packed and we were off.

What a difference that made! It was at least 10 degrees cooler by the water, and there's nothing like a dip to bring that core body temp down. We wound up going out for a bit to grab some supper late in the afternoon, and then going back after we ate for another swim.

Here's where it gets fun. We got back and Polly had called my friend (and lifelong crush) Steve to see if he wanted to bring his family down for a swim too. Which he did. Well, we got in for our post dinner swim and you could watch the thunderclouds forming over the lake. We stayed in until we heard thunder, then we got out. Personally, I'd have stayed in until the wind picked up, but hey, her camp, her rules.

Of course Steve arrived as the thunderstorm moved in. We actually sat on the deck and watched the lightning strike on the other side of the lake. It was amazing to see. Then the wind came and the rain. Naturally, we decided it was a good time to go for ice cream.

We all loaded into the cars and went for an ice cream at this place, Jordan's, which is really just down the street from my house. We stood outside and ate our yummies and watched the storm move away.

At this point, it was already close to 8 and I had the feeling we should just go home and put the kids to bed, but dash it all, it was still hot and muggy. And Steve assured us that he had 4 air conditioners going at his house and it was probably 41 degrees in there. Say no more.

The kids played and watched DVD's and the grownups sat in the kitchen in front of the AC and had cool, refreshing beverages. Until after 11.

At one point Steve went in to check on the kids. Bug and his son Matt are the same age and in the same grade at the same school, albeit in different classes. And they have the best time playing together. Matt said to Steve, "I just love this so much." We all agreed that Matt was so right. We took pictures of them all playing together. We figure that thirty years from now when they're having their twenty year reunion, those pictures will be priceless. Maybe their kids will be playing together then too. Who knows? I hope so, 'cause that would be so great.

We slept in Sunday morning. I didn't have to cantor so we hit the 10:30 mass for a change. And I sat with the family. It was nice. Better yet, later in the afternoon Mr. Poops and Bobo took a nap upstairs in the big bed watching the Red Sox game and I nodded off on the couch while Bug played games on the computer. Isn't that what Sundays are made for, really?

And finally, last night we had Chinese food at Tanta and Baboos. We were going to have a cookout, but I decided it was entirely too sticky to grill. And I'd rather have Chinese any day. I'd eat it every day if I could. I can only imagine how swollen my fingers and toes would get from the sodium. I'd have arteries like copper tubing.

I stayed up way too late again watching God's Warriors on CNN. Have you seen this? Christiane Amanpour did a report on religious fundamentalists and extremists from the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim point of view. It wasn't at all what I expected. Usually religious extremism is (in my experience anyway) a bad thing. But she talked to people of all faiths and didn't paint them with the same "these people are all clearly insane" paintbrush that most documentary/news programs use. I think she really got to the heart of their faith and took pains to find out what they believe, why, and how they live that faith in their daily lives.

I actually thought that "God's Warriors" was a bad title. Because while some of the show did focus on holy war and those that are out there to either save the world or destroy it, much of it dealt with ordinary people of extraordinary faith who lived their convictions to the fullest. I found parts of it uplifting, and parts of it very sad.

I think moral extremism is great when it's turned inward and you use it to better yourself and your life, but when it's turned outward and you take what you believe and try to force it on others, that's when it turns ugly and sad.

But how do you explain that to someone who believes--and fervently--in "convert or die"?

It's hard. On the one hand we're told every Sunday at mass to "go forth and spread the Good News", but how do you do that and remain respectful of those beliefs so deeply held by others, especially if they're different from yours? For me it is the ultimate sin to think that I have all the answers and that I alone hold the keys to the kingdom of heaven. How could that be? Why on earth would God let me and me alone in on the absolute truth that I hold in my heart, while the rest of his creations walk around in their own blissful ignorance. What if I'm wrong, even though I can feel quite tangibly when I feel that God is pleased with me for getting something "right"?

And what about all the rest of his children, also utterly convinced in their heart that they get the message, have seen the light--that they follow his laws, obey his commandments, and have been Saved? Can we all be wrong? And right at the same time?

Case in point: I had a lovely lady, a Jehovah's Witness who came to my door one day. She's just out spreading the Good News and witnessing to her faith, and who am I to be rude to her? But after her third or fourth visit, and after looking through her literature, I came to realize that truly while we both pray to the same God and follow the same Christ, her take on salvation and mine were just not compatible, and I had to tell her so. And she hasn't been back since.

Maybe it's just easier to preach to the choir, you know?

And maybe we all have been given different truths because they are all the way to heaven. In which case, getting there might be easier than we've been led to imagine. Wouldn't that be cool?

I mention all of this because, first off, if you've not seen this series, it's really good. Very insightful no matter what position of faith you come from, or lack thereof. And second because the first topic I'm covering with my 9th grade Confirmation I class is "Faith" and I was somewhat disappointed with the way the textbook presents it.

I checked with Fr. Albert and with Kathy, the head of religious instruction, and they told me that as long as I covered the material that they could care less how I presented it. They said that if I could find a way to make it interesting and engaging for 14 year olds that I could knit mittens with them if that's what got it done.

I'm intrigued! Mitten knitting as a path to enlightenment?

So now I'm thinking of different takes on faith in general and coming up with way better questions for discussion than those in the book. After all, one thing I hated about CCD when I was a student was that I thought the books were pedestrian and boring and that the discussions were less about sharing ideas than they were about being fed ideas and forced to swallow them whole. Kathy said I'm to be a Christian witness and a faith sharer.

That sounds more like it.

Now that I know that the book is a guideline and I'm under no obligation to teach a word of it as it's written if I don't want to, I'm very excited to start this. It's certainly been eye-opening for me. There's nothing like being called to share your faith to make you step up and figure out what it is you actually believe. And why. And how you live what you believe in your own life.

I guess I've gone on long enough. Thanks for humoring me with this. I bore the crap out of my family when I start talking about this stuff. At least if you're feigning interest, you're polite about it. I appreciate it.

And to think, this all started because I wanted to show you a scarf. Kind of turned into a bait and switch there, didn't it?


Friday, August 24, 2007

Don't Take Your Love to Town

Okay, I teased you with the sneaky peek picture a few days back. Just a closeup of the stitch pattern as it blocked out in the sun.

Well, there's no sun today, so she's not as pretty as she would otherwise be, but she's done!

Presenting the "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" Bag!

Ruby can take her love, or her knitting, her lunch, or her library books to town in this handy and roomy tote. Made from handspun and hand-dyed (with Kool-Aid!) wool and worked up in a fancy purl-twist stitch pattern from Barbara Walker's first Knitting Treasury, it features pleather handles and an all-cotton lining with an inside pocket.

Now, I saw how this one was coming out and even before I'd picked a lining for this one I cast on for one for myself. I'm using the brown homespun I made awhile ago that just does not want to become a scarf. It's heavy, and with the diagonal demi-brioche stitch I'm using, the resulting fabric is going to be quite sturdy.

In the meantime, whilst knitting up Ruby, I found a whole freezer bag full of the same roving I used for it that failed to get spun at the time. How did that happen? No worries. I'm going to spin it up tout de suite and make something else from it! See how I roll? I can, of course, begin working on a new yarn because I finished the cranberry roving that I was working on. Here's the thing: I had my doubts about this yarn. I broke the roving into two more or less equal hanks and started a-spinnin. I hated the first bobbin all the way from start to finish. It wanted to overspin in the worst way. It fought me; it broke from time to time. It hurt my hands. I wanted to quit. But I got through the first bobbin and started filling the second one and ....what happened? It spun nicely! Even, no overtwist, no breaking, just lovely soothing merino sliding through my fingers.

Musta been a fluke, 'cause check out this yarn.

If only the Interwebs could let you reach out and touch this yarn. SOOOOOOFT. Well, it is merino, after all. Sposed to be soft. I compensated for the overtwist in the singles by overplying them and it worked like a charm. It was almost completely balanced before I set the twist, and after a hot bath and a bit of thwacking on the side of the tub, it's Perfect, with a capital P.

And by perfect, I don't mean machine-perfect. The thing that attracts me about homespun is that it's not eveneveneven all the way through. I can see that as I improve with my spinning that I'll have to make a conscious effort to keep the thick and thin quality that I enjoy. It has character, and that's what I enjoy about it. However, the final yarn is balanced, it's a consistent worsted weight (12 wpi) all the way through, and I got about 200 yards all told (give or take), which should make me some nice mittens for winter. My old fair isle ones have nearly had the radish. They're comfy though, and I lined 'em last winter with more wool.

Speaking of winter, I finished my Malabrigo scarf. It's all for me! I took some photos, but again, it's so effing dark in here today that you can see neither the colors nor the stitch definition, so I'll try again when the sun is out.

Rumor has it it's going to be a triple-H couple of days--Hazy, Hot, and Humid for the uninitiated. Joy.

I've been completely spoiled by the 45F nights we've had all week. I was so hoping that fall was here. I guess Autumn in August was too much to ask for anyway.

But school starts on Tuesday, so we did some school shopping last night. Bug really doesn't need much in the way of clothes because she gets awesome handydowns from my Sister's nieces. But she got two new pairs of shoes, a brown cotton velvet trenchcoat, 10 pair of underpants, and a new lunch bag. She's keeping her old backpack because it's monogrammed from LL Bean and in perfectly good shape, so why get a new one, really? She still needs sneakers (I'll use her Kohl's gift card since the clothes are so ugly, I might as well try for some sneaks), and a homework folder, but other than that, she's good to start. Oh, and probably some tights to wear with skirts when it gets cooler. Target was WAY picked over. Not a pair of tights in the place, and no funky fresh pocket folders either. Unless you're into High School Musical, Spiderman III, or Transformers. Yeah, me either.

Sister spent a mint on two pair of Spongebob PJ's for Bobo, or Bode Ann Miller as we're calling her this week.

Bug is wearing her new brown shoes around the house.

She had two more fillings yesterday. I swear you'd think the kid brushed with sugar packets or canned frosting or something. I promise you with God as my witness that she brushes, flosses, and rinses with flouride twice a day. It's utterly unfair. She goes in on Sept. 17th to get her adult teeth sealed.

Did I tell you that the new dentist wants her to see an orthodontist about braces because her bottom teeth are coming in too crowded? She's SEVEN. Who puts braces on a seven-year old? I understand that moving the teeth now while they're still of a mind to move freely can be helpful, but I just feel that all kids her age have crowded, crooked teeth--for awhile anyway until their jaw grows into the new teeth. I mean, have you looked at a second grade class picture lately? Snaggly! I get the feeling that a lot of the pressure to put kids in braces younger and younger comes from the orthodontist's wish to keep them in the chair as long as possible, you know?

Mr. Poops and I feel that it's a bit drastic for a kid her age to have to deal with. We're going to wait until she's at least 12, or until more of her baby teeth fall out to see what's what. As it is, she's only lost two top ones and four bottoms. And once she has her adult teeth, we think she should wait until she's 30 and pay for it herself.

I'm kidding. Sort of. We're a one-income household. Our dental insurance as it is doesn't cover orthodontics. We can opt for that plan, but it's a lot more expensive than what we have, and we weren't planning on changing to it until both girls were much older. And then there's the crap that goes with it: tightening, gum irritation, lip irritation, retainers, elastics...too much for a kid who stil has mostly milk teeth. Better on a teenager who's already miserable. Or as my Aunt Camille says, better on someone over 21 who can use vodka to dull the pain.

Did I tell you that I still have a baby tooth? My upper right canine is a baby tooth. Never lost it. The adult tooth is still wayyyy up in my gum somewhere, not moving, not coming down, just sitting there under my sinuses. Yeah, they could fix it, but why bother?

It's a conversation starter.

Go ahead, discuss it amongst yourselves. I'll wait.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cream Cheese in a Can

Have you had it? Have you seen it? I hadn't heard of such a thing, but it seems that the good folks at Kraft that brought you soft cheese in all flavors in a can with a fluted nozzle so that you can make pretty designs on your crackers have branched out into cream cheese. You can squirt it right on your zucchini bread and make pretty designs with it.

Tastes good to me. And a lot easier to deal with than trying to spread cold cream cheese on fresh, soft zucchini bread. And you can make pretty swirls and designs and things.

Speaking of pretty designs and things, here's a sneaky peek at the bag I'm making. The stitch is called something like "purl-twist stitch" or something to that effect. It shows off the homespun nicely, I think. No more pics until it's done, though. Yesterday, I had a bunch of packages to mail. I sent off those Hats for Alex to Pam and I sent the blue baby sweater to my cousin in Maryland. And I finally got my SP package together and sent that off too.

And what did I get? My own SP package! Oh, I do love getting mail! Especially yarny mail!

I got four balls of WOTA, two in Black Cherry Heather and two in Amber Heather. They actually look really nice together and I may use them as such.
Oh, I am so spoiled! I've wanted this book since BEFORE it was published! And now it's mine, all mine, I tell ya! I tossed my knitting aside unceremoniously, plopped myself down in my comfy chair and read it straight through cover to cover. It's brilliant. Funny, super-informative, and chock full of patterns all for Big Girls. I love, love, LOVE it.

I only wish Bug was home for this part. She loves the memory game and she'll be tickled pink by this one. (She's with friends in Maine until tomorrow. I miss her.) I bet she'll want to play the second she sees it!

I'm still working on my Malabrigo scarf. It's slow going because I hate knitting scarves...while I love the final results. And I cast on for a sweater for Bug yesterday. I know I said I planned to use all that washable wool from Joanns for baby stuff, but I decided to do a sweater for Bug with colorwork and a lacy one for Bobo. It's been awhile since they've had something new from Mama.

Thank you SP!!!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Of Knitting, Spinning, and Shots of Jack Daniels

I really don't have any new projects finished to show you. Well, you can take a look at the baby hats all done and ready to ship off to Hats for Alex if you like...

I did wind up going back to Joanns and buying more of this stuff. No, I didn't deplete the whole inventory, but I got 6 balls each of pink and blue and two each of green and yellow for accents. And I'm also really good with the quilted lattice stitch now. That fourth hat there, the one on the upper right in the pic, is just a striped beanie that used up all the ends of the yarn. Four hats from three 87-yard balls. Not bad.

I've been spinning as well. I'm getting used to the fact that I have chronic pain now in my right ankle and I've learned to live with it.

On the bobbin right now is some merino that I got at NH Sheep and Wool from "The Fiber Fetish." The roving is soft and lovely, but I'm finding it a challenge to spin. It wants to overspin in the worst way and I'm having a devil of a time keeping it a uniform thickness while making sure that it doesn't get wormy and kinky. I've read that a lot of energy in the singles makes for a nice bouncy yarn--if you ply it right. I sure hope I can ply it right, 'cause these babies are FULL of energy. Look at the colors, though. Man, how pretty is that? The color is called "cranberry" which is what it looks like in roving state, but there's a fair deal of blue and purple in it and the spun version is coming out more of a dark purple color. Not nearly as "cranberry" as I'd have thought, but pretty nonetheless. The top pic is a more accurate, albeit dark, representation of the actual color.

To wrap up the fiber news, I'm currently knitting my SP Malabrigo into a lovely scarf. I only have one skein of it, so I picked a nice open faggoting stitch from my BW treasury and cast on. It's going to be pretty and warm. But I'll show it to you when it's done.

Same with the bag I'm working on. I was gifted a whole box full of roving from AKknitter that she said she wasn't going to use. I needed something inexpensive to practice on, and she said that it would fit the bill. Well, this free roving became two skeins of wool the color of ruby red grapefruit. It's too scratchy for a garment, and I didn't want to felt it because I wanted to keep that lovely rustic homespun look. I'm actually really pleased at how it spun up.

Anyway, it's going to be a simple tote bag. I was originally thinking of doing a backpack, but changed my mind once it was on the needles. I went through BW again and picked a nice closed stitch this time, something sturdy. I decided what size I wanted it, made a swatch so that I'd know how many stitches to use, and just started in knitting. As it's progressed, I've decided that it's going to be stiffened and lined like my Noro purse, and I think I'm going to use long, leather straps on it.

I also realized that a stiffened and lined totebag in a tight, fabric-like stitch might be just the ticket for the brown homespun I have. I cast on for three different scarves and didn't like any of them, so it's still sitting in a ball waiting for the right project. I think a bag to carry my choir music might be just the thing for it. I'll let you know.

In non-knitting related content, I went out this weekend with my newly rediscovered high school friends. One of our classmates is a drummer and was playing at open mike night at a local watering hole/dive bar. And we rallied a bunch of us to go out and show our support.

People, I need someone to save me from myself.

Here's the thing: in real life, I'm someone's mom. And wife. I'm a fucking Church Lady, for Christsakes.

But my friends bring out the party girl in me.

I'm okay until they start bringing out the shots. As Sister points out, "No good has ever come from doing a shot." She is so right. It really started for me with a Jack Daniels shot (which tastes like a curious blend of paint thinner, bug spray, gasoline, and rat poison.) Why you ask? Well, here's what happened...

We arrived and took our place at the big table. Mr. Poops went to the bar and fetched me a drink. A vodka collins. Mmmm, fruity. But no match for minty toothpaste, so I was drinking it slowly due to the intense pucker factor. Not a peanut, pretzel, or popcorn in sight to get the toothpaste taste out of my mouth.

My friend Matthew arrived. And he and some of the guys down at the other end of the table ordered a round of shots. Matthew had one, Chuck had one, Jason, had one, and they sent one down our end to Steve. Steve didn't want to do it (Jack Daniels is yucky!), but of course I called him a pussy and goaded him into it. And he did the shot.

Suddenly, I see a full to the brim shot glass of liquid accellerant coming my way down the table. Chuck doesn't like JD and didn't drink his. Now, having called Steve a pussy, I had to do a shot too. And JD is yucky. But I did it and burned my nosehairs out. It also got rid of the toothpaste taste, so the rest of my vodka went down smoothly.

I sent Mr. Poops off to the bar for water.

Next thing I know, I'm finishing my water, still tingly from the Jack and the Stolis, and Matthew is sending down a B-52 shot. At least that's what I think it was. I didn't detect any Grand Marnier, so it might have been just Kahula and Baileys, whatever just those two together is called.

Whatever. I drank it. It was yummy, like a warm, liquid donut.

I would have had another water at this point, but they weren't just giving out glasses of water at the bar. Oh no, you want water, you have to pay TWO bucks for a bottle of it. Fuck that, I'll have booze instead.

In retrospect, I should have taken my glass into the bathroom and got myself some water right there from the tap, but after two shots and a vodka collins, I was not thinking straight. Or walking straight, for that matter.

So I ordered a tequila sunrise instead. Also yummy. And fruity! Full of vitamins!

I finished that, naturally. The bands were playing by this point and between singing along and shouting over the music, I was parched. Well, Steve had bought Matthew a beer, and he'd just started a fresh one, so he had two open beers. He gave me one.

I'm not saying I was fairly gooned at this point, but I couldn't tell you what kind of beer it actually was.

I had a great time, but I was rough around the edges on Saturday. I still got up and made three batches of zucchini bread. I got four full loaves and five mini-loaves out of one zucchini. And here's the'll cure what ails you.

I got an email from Steve yesterday asking if I was recovered and was I ready to do it again.

People, save me from myself.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's Dress Your Daughter Like a Whore Day!

Or that's what it looks like if you use the girls' 7-14 section at Kohl's as a barometer. Great balls of butter on toast, the last time I saw fashion that trashy was before they cleaned up 42nd Street. Oof. Looks like we'll be be school shopping at Oshkosh this year.
I managed to get some more pictures to load. Wanna see?

First is a baby sweater. It is a simple raglan top-down cardigan with a seed stitched border on the collar, cuffs, and hem. It's made from Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere and it is lovely to feel. And machine washable, apparently. It's a gift for a new boy baby. Very masculine, no?

I made a second one of those quilted lattice hats and nope, it wasn't a fluke. It's a good pattern. I shall write it up. I'm making a third one right now with purple and yellow this time. And I'm seriously going to go up to Joanns and clean them out of this stuff. I LOVE it! Best baby yarn ever, I think.

And finally, how 'bout some homespun? This was handpainted roving from I can't begin to describe the softness. It's poofy. Like a cloud. Like a baby's butt. Like...something really poofy. It's a gift for my SP, and if it was something--anything--but a sockweight yarn, I'd keep it for myself. But it's too light for my use, and I picked the purple just for her, so off it goes.

That's all. I'm glad I got that off my chest.

I Swear, This Was Going to be a Photo-Heavy Post

But, as sometimes happens, Blogger is not cooperating. Got two pics to load and apparently tilted the system or summat. Whatever. Perhaps I'll come back in a few hours and post twice in one day. Now won't that be a treat for you! Whee!

It has been so nice to have my life back! No reunion, no craft fairs...just me! Well, not that I knit for myself all that often. But at least I can knit at a leisurely pace and I've been able to finish up that purple handdyed merino for my SP.

Alas, the only pictures that would load are for a charity baby hat. Well, I tried. But the hat is cute, anyway.

The yarn I used was from Joanns, from their Bellezza Collection. It's called Tesoro, and it's currently clearanced at 2.37 a ball (though it's 2.99 online). It's 100% wool, very soft and squishy and knits up like a dream. I read the reviews of it online awhile back and it got horrible reviews. (Go read them here: I love that the first three pages or so are full of complaints that their whole felting project was ruined, and then other knitters start chiming in to admonish them for not swatching first. It's lovely and so spleeny. It's a catfight with ratings. Awesome.) The main sticking point for most people was that it wouldn't felt, yet it was labled as wool with instructions to handwash. It's no excuse for not swatching, really.

But let me tell you, people, a yarn that won't felt in the washer and is this next-to-skin soft--can you say BABY KNITS?

It's perfect. I may go up there later and buy every ball they have left in stock. The pattern is a two-color version of quilted lattice. I broke out the old Barbara Walker treasury and picked a cute stitch. I actually used this stitch with the Chinese baby sweater I made, but it was only worked in one color. And Barb's patterns are all written to be worked flat, so it takes a bit of thinking to figure out how to work it in the round. Because I'm all about working in the round, dontcha know.

The first picture shows the colors the best and I liked how the shadows in the second picture highlight the amazing loft of this yarn. I think originally this yarn was like 5 or 6 bucks a ball, which I consider a lot for 87 yards of wool, but at 2. 37 it's a steal. But you have to like pastels, 'cause that's all it comes in. I really do wish that they'd keep this yarn, label it as machine washable, and carry it in about a hundred or so colors. Oh, and at 2.37 a ball, because I'm not paying 5 or 6 bucks for 87 yards. I have my standards.

I'm inordinately proud of the fact that I figured out how to work the decreases at the top in the pattern. It's not my strong suit, but I managed to pull it off. I should have written down what I did, though. I'm about to start the decreases on a second hat (the same but in green and yellow) and I think if I can pull it off twice in a row, I'll write out the pattern. Maybe I'll submit it to Knitty. It's definitely one of those projects that looks frightfully advanced but is really very simple.

As a preview of my next post, you will see a baby sweater for a friend and classmate of mine who just had a little boy. And you'll see the skein of yarn I made that is so soft that I want to keep it.

Okay, I'll be back when Blogger is cooperating, mmmmmkay?

Monday, August 13, 2007

And Now I Can Breathe Again

I spent all week knittin' and visitin'. In that order, and that doesn't include washin', blockin', finishin' and taggin', so I've been busy! Not neglectful--busy! Here's some shots of my table from the craft fair at the church on Old Home Day. I didn't make gobs of money, but I never do on OHD. In the picture above you can see my chair and ever-present knitting bag. There's a laundry rack that has hats of all shapes and sizes pinned to it. To the left of the rack are the remnants of my rubberstamping days. I've sold most of my cards and all but a few of my notepads. There are still a few mini-scrapbooks left too. Folks like the magnets a lot though. And I'd sure like to sell the rest of the quilted hangings and pillows someday. I'm tired of packing them up. I might clearance them at the Christmas fair to make room for new stock.
New stock like sweaters! My sister knit the little blue baby one with the silver clasp. I think it's just adorable. It's made from Debbie Bliss cotton cashmere, and I love how it looks so much that I'm making one for my cousin/classmate who just had a baby boy. It's splitty, though, I'll warn you now. She got a bunch of it on ebay at ridiculously low prices and gave me three balls of a darker blue for my sweater. Sisters are the best, especially mine.

I have a friend/lady from church who wants the green sweater custom madei n a size 6 for a Christmas present. I can do that.

Up there you'll see my collection of felted change purses and another sweater. There are two apples (with ladybug buttons on the leaf!) and a flower (with a button center!) and three striped ones left. Everyone likes them, but no one buys them. C'mon...they're cheap at twice the price!
Finally, Dad's mitten trees in action. The one on the left has all my mittens on it, and the one on the right has mini bags, socks, and whatever else will hang up and out of the way. I sold the handpainted merino legwarmers that I made for a custom order on etsy. Remember those? The one's that didn't look right so she returned them? Well, they're gone, and I officially recouped the money I put into the yarn. So there.

I sold one felted bag, but they got a ton of notice. Again, not super expensive, so why not buy one? I don't get it. People in Belmont are cheap, that's why. And it's why stuff flew off the table in Canterbury. Big hit in Belmont? Dishcloths. 'Nuff said.

But now I can stop thinking about craft fairs for awhile. I have a line on one for October, and the church fair in November, and that should be plenty. Oh, and my table was right next to my neighbor just up the street on the corner. She does heirloom sewing (gorgeous stuff!) and she said she has stuff on consignment at a cafe/coffeeshop/gift shop in Gilford. We're going to go up one afternoon for tea and she'll introduce me to the owner and I can show her my stuff. She thinks the quilted bags would sell really well there. Although the owner takes 25%, which I consider a lot. Really, for that kind of a cut I could join the League of NH Craftsmen and get some serious exposure.

My spinning has suffered these past weeks, but I'm going to go off to do some right now. I have some lovely purple merino that I'm doing for my SP and I want to make sure it's done for her last package. I need One More Thing for her August box and I can send it off.

This week has been a social one too. First, we got invited to my friend Matthew's house for a cookout. He had a bunch of us over that used to hang together in a group in HS to see our buddy Corey before he heads back to Colorado. And while there, my Supercrush Steve invited us to their house for a cookout on Saturday night. Which we went to and had a great time. And then last night we had a cookout (it's all about not heating up the kitchen, people) here with Sister and Baboo and my Dad. We had steak tips on the grill and NH corn that you couldn't beat with a stick.

And what does today hold? With luck, not a damn thing. I've earned a day off! I'll finish blogging, check my emails again, maybe take a spin 'round the knittyboard, and then I don't know. I could clean something. I will work on that blue sweater a bit today. It's nice to not have to do anything.

*contented sigh*

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I Told You I've Been Knitting

I told you this week was all about the knitting, so you'll have to bear with me if my posts this week tend to be on the terse side. But I'll lead you off with a bunch of FO's!

From oldest to newest:

First up is the zip-back baby sweater. This was the first sweater I made in knitting class. It's Encore Worsted in sunshine yellow, although it looks green in the inadequate light and no flash. The pattern was a tenth-generation photocopy that the instructor gave me at the shop. This is planned for a charity donation. Oh, and the socks match.The next oldest FO is another baby tunic sweater, also destined as a charity donation. It's made with Caron Simply Soft Baby, and I knit it with one strand of pink and one of blue held together. This is the Knitting Pure and Simple Baby Tunic pattern.

The third FO is a small felted purse. For an idea of the size, the box that I'm blocking it on is about the size of a videocassette, just a bit bigger. I think I'm going to line and stiffen this one and put on some small black plastic handles. I'm not sure yet. It's my own pattern and it's made from odds and ends of wool.
And finally, just finished last night, is the sweater I made to try out TLC Cotton Plus. Love it! Easy on the hands to work with and came out of the washing machine like a champ. I'd have tried it in the dryer too but I wanted to block the lace front properly. It's a simple top-down raglan sweater in a size...I'm guessing 2T-4T or so. Somewhere in there. It's got a seed stitch collar and a ruffle at the bottom and on the cuffs, which you can't see. That lace pattern on the front is from the baby sweater at Jimmy Beans Wool that has the detachable front. I thought it was quite pretty. I waffled between several different lace inserts, but this one won.
Today I've cast on for yet another baby sweater to replace the one I sold last weekend. It's a pink wool hooded cardigan with baby cables down the front. Well, right now it's just a hood, and not a whole hood at that, so I'll have to get back to it.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Rock On, Class of '87

I had the Best Weekend Ever, and I don't care who knows it.

This weekend was my 20 year reunion of our graduating class. And it was, in a word, AWESOME. As in "inspiring awe". You may recall that I've been working at it quite diligently for months now, and I'm here to tell you that the hard work really paid off, in spades.

The party started Friday night. It was supposed to be a casual gathering at the bar of whoever felt like popping in for a drink. We took the place over. There were so many of us in there that it got too hot and we all took our drinks out onto the front porch. I can't imagine what the people checking in must have thought.

That night was the first time in a long time I'd seen a lot of my classmates. And it would be amazing at little time it took for us to reconnect and loosen up with each other. Well, it would be amazing to anyone who didn't know us twenty years ago.

Someone made the observation that night that you could have gone from one end of the porch to the other and joined any of the pockets of conversation out there without a problem. We were never clique-y, and are even less now, if that's even possible. The groups of people chatting kept changing, as if an invisible hand kept hitting the shuffle button on the cosmic iPod. Mr. Poops and I left at 11:30. The bartender wanted to close at 12, but they convinced him to keep the bar open and the party didn't break up until 1:30. They ran out of beer. 'Nuff said.

The next day was "family day" at the pool. We got there at about quarter of 11, and were only the third family there. We had lunch off the grill and took over all the tables and chairs on one side of the pool area. Our kids swam together, we swam was a really great time. Now, most of you don't know these people, but I'll introduce you.

This is our class president and his not-wife. They've been together for 18 years and have never married. They're the Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn of our class. I call him "Uncle Scotty" because his oldest brother married my aunt. He's not my uncle, his brother was, but I always called him that anyway. He lives on the same street as me, three doors up, and I hardly ever see him. He's stil one of my best friends anyway.
Speaking of best friends, that guy in the middle that looks like Fez from that 70's show is my friend Steve. I've had a crush on him since we were five and in kindergarten together. He sent me an email last night thanking me for all the work I did on the reunion committee and made me cry a little. He's the sweetest man ever. I still love him quite a lot.

Seated in front of him are two Marks. Well a Marc and a Mark. Though we call Marc "Geeta". I'm not sure why, but it's been his nickname since high school. The other Mark With a K married his high school sweetheart. They are the only two people from our class who married another person from our class, and they're still together now. How sweet is that ?

Off to the right of pic towards the back you can see Keet talking to my friend Polly's husband. Keet came out from AZ for the reunion. He was the life of the party and has one of those laughs that just makes you laugh too whether you want to or not. It's crazy, and so is he.

My camera sucks for inside shots anyway, and it appears that someone put their fingers on my lens, so this is murky, but bear with me. You can see me here with my head down working diligently on the class awards, ably assisted by the lovely Polly and John the CPA. Note the number of bottles before us on the table. I'm not sure if this is right before or right after I did a shot of Jack Daniels. I won the "Mary Tyler Moore Award for being voted Most Likely to Turn a World On With a Smile".

The Multimedia Extravaganza was a hit. I wish I could have seen people's expressions when they were watching it, but they were behind me. I got hugged a million times when it was all over, so I guess it was popular.

We had a DJ, but no one danced. But it didn't matter. We were too busy talking and drinking to dance.

I was gooned. Cocktailed. All fucked up. And it was great, because I wasn't alone. You could tell who was in our class and who were the spouses. The alumni were drunk, and the spouses were sober and looked like they wanted to leave. Mr. Poops was a champ. He kept fetching me drinks, though apparently lots of people bought them for me. I only wish I could remember who, exactly.

We left after they threw us out at 12 and we went home, though those people who didn't have to worry about sitters went up to the bar and closed them down there too. The ones that had rooms probably partied there too.

It was one of those parties you just didn't want to end. I laughed so much between Friday and Saturday that I was actually sore. I wound up staying up until two drinking water so that the bed wouldn't spin. I got up at 4:30 to pee and nearly fell down the stairs and/or pissed myself. I was still quite wasted.

Sunday we went to the Bakers for a birthday party. Polly was there with her hubby and kids and we were all looking a bit rough around the edges. Luckily Rachie wanted to hear every detail because we had such a good time we just wanted to talk about it.

The nice thing about my class, like I said before, is that there were no hard and fast groups of friends. You might have some friends that you played sports with, other friends from clubs or from work, and still others you ate lunch with every day. I realize now how rare and wonderful that was. And we really haven't changed a bit.

The other nice thing that I discovered is that it wasn't a weekend full of Glory Days Syndrome, where you have nothing in common now so all you do is talk about high school. There were quite a few of us that talked more about what's going on now, or what's been happening in our lives in the years since school. Which is great, because there are some good, strong connections being forged. It helps that a lot of us still live locally and have kids that go to school together--the next generation. Much in the same way a lot of our parents went to school together. You know, my kids will be the fourth generation of my family to go through our school system?

I know this is probably boring, so I'll wrap it up now. I wish I had some knitting content for you today, but it was a busy weekend. I'm working on a cotton sweater now that is uber-cute, and I hope to have it done today to show off tomorrow. This week is all about the knitting since Old Home Day is Saturday and I have booth at the church craft fair. And since the Canterbury Fair wiped out half my inventory, I've got some work to do this week!

Needles, don't fail me now!

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