Ask Poops, Please
Putting my two cents in.
- Name: Poops
- 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.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
Let the Knitstorm Commence!
Yep. Reynolds Utopia in "cotton candy" pink. 100% courelle acrylic.
We looked at every yarn we deemed appropriate to the project. We rejected cotton (though the Cotton Twist ran a very close second) because of it's tendency to pull downwards in that weight. And you don't want a bolero pulling at the hem. Not cool. We rejected most wools because of the "fuzzy" factor. Such a summery light dress would be overpowered by a wintery sweater. We liked washable wools, only none were the right color. Finally, we landed on the acrylic. Right color, right gauge, machine washable, bouncy, not too squeaky and very soft...well, acrylic it is!
We both swatched last night and we both have to go down two needle sizes to get gauge, but I got going on my bolero last night and it's coming along swimmingly. I don't know if I'm mastering my stockingette knit flat or if the yarn is really as forgiving as it seems, but my rowing out issues seem to be minimized on this project. Which is good since it's knit almost entirely flat.
So far, Bug's bolero looks good. I like it. I just hope it's not enormous on her. Debbie Bliss tends to design on the baggy side. Cross your fingers.
I did break my own Lenten fast about not working on Sunday by listing a bunch of stuff in my etsy store. Many new mittens are up and I'm hoping for some late winter sales. I made up for working yesterday by playing cards with Bug and Larry T.
Today, after having an amazing lunch at Canoe whilst shopping yesterday, I start my Atkins Induction phase. I've been dieting lowcarb for the past two weeks, and after indulging a bit this weekend, I'm going hardcore for the next two weeks. I wasn't doing well with the other plan. Too many carbs. So Atkins it is. It works well for me.
Bobo's birthday party was Saturday afternoon. It was an intimate gathering and we had a lovely time. Emma didn't nap either Friday or Saturday and kept me up half the night Saturday night. Of course it was because I had to sing on Sunday. You watch. I don't have to cantor for the next three weeks. I bet you dollars to donuts she sleeps like a rock all three weeks. She is the very devil, that one.
Oh, and I had some cake. It was delicious.
Friday, February 23, 2007
The Calm Before the Storm.
The legwarmers in a shade of red that can best be described as Christmas Red on Steroids are made from Encore DK, mostly acrylic with a touch of wool. I used the One Skein pattern as a guide for the lace edge, then I did a 4 x 1 rib for the leg part before switching to a 1 x 1 rib at the bottom edge. I also did some increases and a loose bind-off to make them super stretchy.
Bug's scarf is done in the same yarn as her hat and mittens and Bobo's hat and mittens. And I have nearly a full skein left, so I'll probably make her some fingerless mittens for spring because she loves them.
On the needles is a shawl, possibly for myself out of Artful Yarns Jazz in a nice brown colorway. I will likely work on that one today.
The storm that's a-comin' is a hat and legwarmer set that I'm making for a customer on etsy. The yarn has been ordered and is presumably on its way. I told her it'd take a month, so it's a priority.
Adding to the storm is the need to make some small sweaters for the girls to wear over their Easter dresses. Sister and I think "Molly" by Debbie Bliss will be perfect and we will choose and buy the yarn this weekend so we can get started. She'll do one and I'll do the other, and betwixt and between us we should be able to get them done by Easter morning.
So that's what's looming on the horizon. It's going to be a busy 5 weeks!
Lent started Wednesday and I cantored at Ash Wednesday mass. I was proud of myself for doing as well as I did on the psalm that I thought was so hard. Then I screwed up the Gospel Acclamation. Flat out forgot to come in on time. So I waited and they played the intro again and I got it on the second time through, so no big deal. But that's what I get for thinking well of myself after the psalm. For His glory, not mine. Gotta remember that...
I managed to fast and avoid meat all day, which is not easy when you're on a low-carb diet. Your meatless options dwindle dramatically when you avoid carbs. But I did it. I've decided to start the induction phase of Atkins on Monday. I did well on it before, and once Emma's birthday party (and cake) are out of the way this weekend, I can buckle down and cut out those carbs! That way, by the time Easter arrives I can have a bit of this n' that without throwing my body into shock.
I just remembered today was Friday. No meat again. Well, got to go rethink supper!
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Second Legwarmer Syndrome
But I did promise these, and since I'll see her on Saturday, I'd like to get them done.
I'm going to go cast on now...
Monday, February 19, 2007
"Return to me with your whole heart."
First, the knitting part of our portion.
This weekend I finished the hat and mittens for Bug's friend Rachael. Her coat and snowpants are two-tone purple, and so are her hat and mittens now! I used my own pattern for the basic hat and mitten, and the design is from the Setsedal mittens from the Folk Mittens book. I used Cascade 220 and had quite forgotten how lovely and bouncy it is to knit with. Not that I don't still love my more bargain yarns or anything, but Cascade really is a joy to knit.
But all was not rosy this weekend. The Bug went sliding with her Brownie troop on Saturday and returned quite early. First, she got hit very hard by another girl on a sled. She got up and went right back up for another run, but then told Papa she didn't feel good. She came home and took a nap on the couch. Quite unlike her.
She didn't seem like herself at all, and that should have been a clue for me, but I let her go on a scheduled sleepover with a girl from her class. Luckily they don't live far away because her friend's mom called at 9 to tell me that Bug had just gotten sick and wanted to come home. So she packed her up and delivered her to me. She had quite a fever, so we dosed her and put her to bed. She spent most of Sunday on the couch eating saltines, ginger ale, and Tylenol. She was disappointed at missing her sledding day, her sleepover, catechism class and church. All in one weekend!
So this morning I felt her head and she was a bit warm still. I was ready to keep her home one more day for good measure but she assured me she felt great and wanted to go to school. So a couple more Tylenol for good measure and off she went. I thought she still seemed a bit lethargic, but otherwise okay. Here's hoping she doesn't need to come home.
In other news, Lent is right around the corner. As in it starts on Wednesday. Sister and I went to Nashua yesterday to hit Trader Joe's and we discussed what to give up. It's really hard this year since we're both on pretty strict diets and have already given up stuff that we would normally have reserved for Lent.
I'm leaning toward not so much giving something up as doing something extra this year. I think I may try to reclaim Sunday again like I did earlier in the year. It worked, for awhile. So with an eye towards examining my conscience and using Joel 2:12-13 as my guide, I'm going to spend Lent concentrating on these three questions:
1. Does God hold first place in my life, or have I allowed myself to become the servant of money, popularity, success, or anything else? (I actually think I do pretty good with this one, all in all. I would say that if anything I put my family above all else, but as my marriage and family are my chosen vocation, that can't be all bad. But it's a question to bear in mind, certainly.)
2. Have I given priority to God on Sundays and holy days by attending Mass and making a special effort to seek him? (Certainly I go to mass every week. And I think being in the choir and a cantor has allowed me to served Him more fully. But I am going to make my church life the most important thing on Sunday, and I'm going to try to avoid those things that turn my attention from Him. Plus I'm going to practice my psalms more diligently than ever so that my offering can be as good as it can be. Even the easy ones.)
3. Have I nourished my love and knowledge of God through regular prayer and Scripture reading? (My bad. I pray all the time, but in a casual devil-may-care kind of way. Me and God are pretty informal most of the time. I'm going to try to focus my attention more during prayer, and I promise to not do all the talking. And I'm going to pick my Bible up more often than just to look something up. It's not a reference book, after all.)
It's kind of a random Lenten sacrifice, and certainly harder to measure than say, giving up chocolate or something like that. It's easier to offer up your failures and shortcomings when they can be quantified. I mean, either you ate the candy or you didn't. My plan is going to be harder to assess as far as success or failure is concerned, but I think with this kind of sacrifice, even if I'm less than perfect, I'm still better for it.
And after all, only God is perfect.
Friday, February 16, 2007
My Needles are A'Flyin'!
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Anyway, yesterday was our first snow day of the year! And we have a two-hour delay this morning thanks to the wind blowing all the new snow around.
As you can see, snow is fun when you're six. Bug had a good day off, all in all. She did some sledding and helped Grandpa snowblow and shovel the yard. Bobo stayed in and helped me wash and block a bunch of stuff.
I direct your attention to my drying rack system. The photo is dark, but I have a couple of sets of stacking cookie cooling racks that I use to dry my mittens and hats. I usually stack them atop the pellet stove where it is warm but not hot, but in the interest of speeding things up, these are on a chair in front of the stove where the warm air circulates a bit more. It doesn't work for sweaters, but I don't make many of those anyway.
And I finished a freeform hat for the Bug. Their mittens are all done, in a marathon of cramp-inducing knitting fury. This hat's got a rolled brim, earflaps with tassels, and a knit pompon on the top. (Making pompons drives me crazy, so I just knit a couple inches of i-cord and then increased for a couple rows, knit plain, then decreased a couple rows, stuffed with a bit of polyfill and closed it up. Pretty cute, I thought! And no chopped up bits of yarn crumbs to contend with.
I call the hat "freeform" because I didn't have a pattern or anything going into it. I started with 96 sts, knit ribbing for a few inches, then switched to a larger needle in stockinette. I made it a bit shorter than I'd have liked, but I added earflaps so all is well.
Currently on the needles is Bobo's matching hat. Hers will be devoid of pompon since she always wears her hood over her hat, but I'll do something to it for visual interest. Maybe I'll put a flower on the front of hers or something. Eh, stay tuned! And I will have enough yarn left over to make Bug a scarf too.
And before I forget, a big shout out to Friend Bob whose birthday is today! Happy Birthday, my friend! I'll call you later!
Monday, February 12, 2007
Yarn, or Underpants?
And I went yarn shopping on Saturday, so I've got some yarny pics for y'all!
First up, my order from handpaintedyarn.com finally arrived! Yay! On the far left we have a bulky weight called Perla Roja, which is a rust color with purplish grey that I hope will blend well with some of my grey homespun. In the center is two of the four skeins of Circo in a worsted weight that I bought for the girls' hats and mittens. On the right you can see Bobo's mittens all ready for blocking! I finished both pair of mittens this weekend and I started one of the hats. I got two pair of mittens from one skein, so I might have enough left over to make bug a scarf too. Yay! I'm just so glad it got here.
Picture two is a steal I found at the Patternworks! Three skeins of Suri Merino, which I didn't even think they carried. Two-fifty a skein! It's 55% suri alpaca and 45% merino wool and it's like buttah. And there's 110 yds per skein! I got dark pink, light blue, and stone. All so pretty, and I have no idea what I'm going to make just yet.
The last picture is two skeins of Encore DK in the reddest of reds for my MIL's legwarmers. She has a pair in just this color, but she lost one, so I'm making her new ones. I think I'm going to use the pattern in One Skein, but make them longer and probably work some elastic into the tops. The Encore is 75% acrylic and 25% wool, so they wash and wear quite well. And there's a random skein of lavender Cascade 220 to go with the dark purple I picked up a month ago in the clearance bin. I promised Bug's best friend a hat and mittens, and these will match her coat.
I should get all this hat and mittening done by Spring!
But winter isn't done with us just yet, it seems. There's a nor'easter heading our way on Wednesday that should give us a foot to eighteen inches of fresh snow. We've had all of four inches this year, but then they weren't predicting much this year anyway. But I'm already hoping for a snow day. Got my fingers crossed!
I think Emma is going to be my knitter. She likes to wave my needles back and forth and say "I'm sticking! I'm sticking!" Then she'll sit down with a couple of balls of yarn and weave the ends back and forth and claim that "I'm yarning!"
If she ever puts those two things together, I'm opening my own sweatshop.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Some Days You're the Windshield
Because it's -2F, my dad, who lives next door, has been letting me take his truck to drop Buggy off at school while he hangs out with Bobo. I wouldn't mind walking to the bus stop with just Bug, or standing in the cold with her, but Bo is just too little and I worry about frostbite. Besides, she gets to hang out with Grandpa and eat Oreos at 8:30 in the morning. Life's little pleasures.
Dad lives upstairs in a 2-family home with Sister and Baboo downstairs. They share an enormous driveway with the church rectory. So I get back from school and as I'm pulling in the drive I notice a car stuck on the side of the street behind the mailboxes and the telephone pole. I'm wondering to myself how a car even got there, when I saw the tire tracks on the side of the driveway. The "older gentleman" driving said that he slid on the ice and wound up there.
So I park the car and go up to Dad's who is just incredulous at the stupidity of it all. According to Dad the Eyewitness, the guy didn't slide at all. He was backing down the driveway and thought he was at the bottom, so he cut his wheels to back onto High Street. Only he wasn't there yet, and wound up backing onto the snow-covered lawn and wound up behind the mailboxes and telephone pole. Dad's opinion was that anyone stupid enough not to look behind them while backing up deserved to sit there in the snow until spring, but he put his coat on anyway and went out to try to help, despite himself. He's a good man at heart, that one. Of course, I couldn't figure out why the guy backed down the driveway in the first place. I mean, we're talking about a huge driveway and there wasn't a car in it while I was gone. He could have pulled in and made a big circle before driving out the right way, for God's sake. Suffice it to say he had plenty of room to back up in the driveway. Some people shouldn't drive. Ugh.
Long story short, the tow truck had to be called. Rusty's came and got them out, but not before knocking over the neighbor's mailbox. Dad's out there right now trying to fix it for her. 'Cause you know no one's digging a hole out there for quite awhile.
I checked my mail while I was out there and my yarn still isn't in yet, but at least I know it's on its way. Apparently my order and some others got left behind in Uruguay or something and they'll send it as soon as it gets here. I hope I get it before winter is over.
And I found out last night that one of our choir members has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, stage 1. She's only 20 and has a 1 year old. I hope she beats it.
And another friend from choir has been in the hospital for 7 weeks and I still haven't been up to see her. I feel so badly about it that two days ago I popped up to Joanns, grabbed a couple balls of soft acrylic and made her a shoulder shawl. I'm going to bring it up either today or tomorrow. I also record our practices on my digital voice recorder to practice during the week, so I may bring it along so she can hear some of our singing. Not the best quality, but it's the thought that counts.
Anyway, the shawl is Lion Brand Jiffy, 100% acrylic. I know, I'm a yarn snob and I generally shun the use of acrylics. But I wanted something easy to care for, and this can go right in the washer and dryer and it feels even better after washing. The color is a dark red, the color of good red wine and his has a halo--kind of a mohair-y feel to it. The pattern is Lion Brand as well and is free on their website, Easy Triangle Shawl. And it was easy. But if you make it, bear in mind that the Jiffy isn't as bulky as the Homespun it calls for and your shawl will not be as wide or long. Which is perfect because something as bulky as the original would be too much for what I needed. Also know that you will need a 36" circular needle to handle all the stitches, even though it just calls for size 13 needles on the pattern. Trust me, use the circs.
Oh, and the best part of the shawl? Two balls of Jiffy: $5.00! What a bargain!
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
So for starters, mine is not made from homespun, mostly because I didn't have any that was appropriate; but per the instructions I used some regular worsted weight yarn, in this case Elann Peruvian Highland wool. Nice stuff, and the price is right.
Secondly, I chose a different stitch pattern. See, Bug is still a little girl, and I found that the original pattern was too wide to serve as a headband for her. It was more like a hat, really. So I just chose a narrower pattern from one of my many books. This particular one was originally part of a lace ribbed hem from Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embellishments.
Third, I used pearls instead of seed beads. Originally I got out my white seed beads, but against the off-white wool they looked awkward. So I used some random pearls instead. Right church, wrong pew.
Finally, I did do the increases and decreases as written, as well as the buttonhole placement. I didn't go with seed stitch on the increases, though. I threw caution to the wind and just kept it in ribbing right up to the lace part. And as she points out, anyone getting that close to the back of your head better be sleeping with you. Or you need to redefine your concept of personal space. (I heart Bezzie!)
So I guess what I have in the end is a headband that isn't exactly a Texas Forgotten Frost Toque, but something reminiscent of it. It's an homage to the original. Were it to hang in a museum, it would say "inspired by" beside it. And not for nothing, but the frost here is anything but forgotten. It was -5F when we went to school this morning. No frostbite worries here, though. We have plenty of woolen handknits to get us through the coldest of cold days and, oh yeah, Dad lets us take his truck!
Bug loves it no matter how it came out and wore it to school today. So it's all good.
Lately, what with it being so cold and all, I've found myself envying people whose houses burn down. I know that's awful to say and a darn good way to call down some bad juju, but hear me out. See, my house is old and drafty and needs a lot of work. Work which takes a lot of money, which we of course don't have. And I see people who had old drafty houses that they were fixing up and something happens and it burns to the ground. And less than a year later, they've built a brand new one with all new stuff and most importantly, a new roof, insulation, siding, heating system, windows, floors, insulated pipes...you get the idea. Suffice it to say that an out of control fire would take care of my crazy clutter, my out of date wardrobe issues, and many home improvement issues.
So this morning, I cleaned out the ashes from the pellet stove. When it's cold like this I don't have the luxury of waiting until the unit is cold before cleaning it, and usually there are some hot embers still in the ash pan. I put them in a metal container, of course, and put them out on the porch.
I got back from school this morning and coming up the stairs smelled something burny. Not smoldering ashes burny either. I picked up the metal ash bucket and the hot bottom had singed the wood porch! I put the ash bucket in the snow and put some snow on the scorched part to stop any lingering burns. Lesson learned. See, I almost got my wish!
(I'm not stupid or anything. I thought the bucket I was using had a lip on the bottom so the hot part of the bucket never touched the porch. I was wrong. That's the other ash bucket that's out in the shed. Now I know. I'm going to put a couple of bricks on the porch to set the ash bucket on from now on.)
Finally, you have got to see this. You will pee.
Pineapple! Pineapple! Pineapple!
Monday, February 05, 2007
I Felt the Need to Felt
Sunday, February 04, 2007
I just love them so! Bug went first and we found out that her hair is getting quite thick. Still not a lick of curl to it, alas. But it does that cute flippy thing at the bottom that I love. And since she's so cute, I'm going to make her Bezzie's "Texas Forgotten Frost Toque". I have to go pick a color in a few minutes. See, I knit things other than mittens. Sometimes.
Emma did not care for the haircutting experience at all. It was her first, after all. But Carla said she's seen worse...foaming at the mouth, hyperventilating and all that. So despite the fact that I had to stand behind her and hold her head still while Carla cut her bangs, it was pretty good. And how cute is that wee pageboy? She seems to have lost all her curls in the haircutting process though. *insert sad face here* I guess her curly curls were just baby curls after all. It happens sometimes. But I saved some locks for their baby books.
In knitting news, I finished these mittens for the etsy shop, and I'm going to finish a pair today, God willing and the creek don't rise. I really like the pair that I'm working on. Wicked cute! These are made from that Elann Highland Wool that I got the other day. (Still no yarn or word from handpaintedyarn.com. I emailed them and everything...) These are celery, rose pink, and bisque. I like how the little pink and white flecks look like candies. Mmmm!
I have to go knit now! Hooray for Sunday!
Friday, February 02, 2007
"It's not THAT the wind is blowin'..."
Larry's grandparents live in Lady Lake, Florida which got nailed by a tornado last night. My FIL spoke with them this morning and they are fine. Which is a great relief, thank you God! It's hard having elderly relatives that far away, especially when they live where the weather can be dicey. And it's disconcerting to hear that their whole county and surrounding counties have been named as disaster areas. Not good.
I got some knitting to show you! Wanna see? Of course, you do!
A pair of mittens for a toddler. I used up some green, fuzzy wool from JoAnn's own line of yarns. Single ply, felt a lot like very sturdy roving to knit with. Fuzzy and soft, though! The pink is some leftover Knitpicks Swish. Keep that "leftover" part in mind. It's a theme today.
Red wool mittens with one cable down the backs. Made from Knitpicks WOTA in red, leftover from all those Red Hat Lady slippers. I still have plenty for more red mittens, too.
Brown wool mittens from Lion Brand Wool, or it could be Paton's Merino. Only it doesn't feel soft enough to be merino, so I'm voting for Lion. The cuffs have stripes of maroon, gold, and dark green. More leftover, naturally. I did buy the brown just to have, so that doesn't count as leftovers.
Here's some fingerless mittens made from Brown Sheep Nature's Spun in dark blue and the light blue is Paton's Classic Merino in light blue. I have to say that those weren't leftovers either. I like blue yarn and have lots of it.
The last pair of fingerless mittens are brown with red trim. The brown in Patons again, and the trim is more of that red WOTA from the slippers. I love brown and red together. Remember in the Little House on the Prairie books when Reverend Alden's church back east sent a bunch of presents for the settlers, and Laura got a brown wool coat with red trim, and a fur hat and muff that matched? Yeah, that's what these mitts remind me of.