Friday, February 29, 2008

Scrunchable Scarf

Scrunchable Scarf E

Pattern: Scrunchable Scarf

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted Bergamota

Needles: size 10 U.S.

One of my goals for 2008 is to knit a non-sock project for every month. I don't typically knit Christmas gifts but this year I thought I'd knit a few. I knit this Srunchable Scarf for my sister-in-law, Debbie. I cast on the night of the Super Bowl when I realized I needed a simple project to keep me busy. The Patriots lost but the Malabrigo kept me happy.

Scrunchable Scarf 1

I have another skein in this same color and plan to cast on the Amanda Hat tomorrow for a Malabrigo March KAL. I also plan to knit a Koolhaas in a different Malabrigo colorway. It's fun to knit with larger needles for a change and I'm loving the Malabrigo. One of my LYS got a new shipment in this week and I'm going to Knit Night tonight - I could come home with a new skein or two.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Seeing Red

Barber Pole

When I saw this yarn advertised on Ravelry, I knew I had to have it. Ellen says it knits up in stripes about 5 rows wide. The colors are perfect for knitting Good Juju socks during baseball season this year. The yarn is calling my name loudly but I'm ignoring it. I won't cast on until the season officially starts in just under a month. It helps to keep that in mind as we go through snowstorm after snowstorm. We had yet more snow yesterday and have now passed all time records. It's been a long, long winter.

loopy tote

When I saw these Loopy totes, I had to order one (well, I actually ordered two - one for me and one for my Red Sox Spring Training Swap partner). It's the perfect sized bag for toting around a sock sized project and just love the colors. I'm not a big fan of fancy bags but this little tote is just the thing for me.

For those of you wondering if my luck has changed yet in 2008, let me assure you that it hasn't. Both Mr. Baseball and I were struck down with a nasty stomach virus this past weekend. My saving grace was that Youngest Boy was staying at a friend's house for a couple of days. Sadly, he called to ask me to pick him up early because he wasn't feeling well. He's got the same bug. The desktop started smelling like something was burning so we brought it into the shop and got a new fan. No big deal really but I wasn't too happy with the $80 fee! Finally, on Monday night Adam came downstairs to tell me that my new laptop was acting funny. Sure enough - blue screen of death and lots of other bad stuff. I brought the laptop to the shop and was told that my video card had died. Thankfully, it's under warranty and they're ordering me a new laptop to replace the dead one. It should be here in a few days.

I have to just shake my head and laugh. It's starting to sound like a high pitched cackling sort of laugh but I'm laughing just the same.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Good news

tiny tim

Adam is walking again. We've put the crutches aside for now. He tried walking the other night when he got up to use the bathroom and didn't want to wake the whole family with the crutches. This time he didn't pass out from the pain. He's limping and wearing an air cast but he's walking. This is making us both feel much more hopeful. Of course, it's kind of like when your baby first starts walking. Now that he can walk he wants to do everything and we're having battles because he can't go outside to play in the snow or play flag football on the ice.

Washing machine fixer dude came yesterday and after hooking the computer up to my washer told me there was nothing wrong with it. Hmmm, I wonder why I kept getting error messages and why it took three hours for a load to run through? Anyway, he cleaned out a few things and poked around and now the washer runs great. The best part is that it was covered under the extended warranty we bought that I forgot all about.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lucy, Lucy, Lucy

I'm feeling like Lucy at the candy factory. Everything seems to be coming at me really fast and I'm not able to keep up. With life stuff, I just put my head down and keep on shoveling. Sooner or later I'll get to the bottom of the pile. With knitting stuff, however, I'm not sure what to do. When I returned to knitting 2 years ago after a many year hiatus I was thrilled with the new blogging community that I found. Blogs were a great way to find like minded folks and to stay connected. Through blogs I met many really nice people and found great knitting opportunities.

One of the first things I became involved in was a Chocolate Swap. I'd never done a swap before and I had a blast. It was so much fun to receive a package in the mail. At the end of the swap, I won a contest whose prize was a gift certificate to The Loopy Ewe. That one gift certificate opened up many doors for me as I discovered the world of online yarn buying.

zen garden 1

One thing lead to another and I soon had a stash of yarn like never before. I joined the sock club at The Loopy Ewe and got even more yarn. This year I added another sock club from Zen Yarn Garden. I'm thrilled I joined the club because it has exposed me to different yarns which I have loved. But ... now I have more yarn coming in than I do going out. I haven't touched either of the last Loopy sock clubs (maybe that tells me how I feel about them) and I'm still working on the sock from the January Zen Yarn Garden shipment.

zen garden 2

Yesterday I received the February Zen Yarn Garden yarn. It's beautiful. I want to knit it now. I know it will make beautiful socks. I'm committed to finishing Brigit before starting another pair and I've got the Srunchable scarf to keep me busy when Brigit is not appropriate. The thing is, I want to enjoy my knitting and not feel like I'm somehow falling behind. I'm trying very hard this year to maintain more balance. For me, this means keeping the house moderately clean, paying attention to the boys, exercising, reading, and knitting other items besides socks. I'm doing okay with my balancing act but still I feel like Lucy so clearly something is off.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

D is for Dumbass

True life events which happened in the last 24 hours. Seriously. I can't make this stuff up.

My washing machine is broken. My fancy only 3 year old washing machine is broken. I've been getting error signals for about a month so Mr. Baseball and I tried to fix it ourselves this weekend. We only made things worse.

I went to trusty Google and typed in Sears Home Repair to get the phone number for the lovely worker dude who will come out to my house to fix my washer. I dialed the number on the website (you know - one of those phone numbers that are actually words so you have to look for the letters on your phone which isn't easy if you're not wearing your glasses).

Me: Dial 1-800- FIXER DUDE (not real number)

Phone: Ring. (insert sultry voice) We have the nastiest girls ...

Me: Hang up. Look up phone number again. Dial again.

Phone: Ring. (same sultry voice) We have the sluttiest girls ...

Me: Hang up. Decide I'm not going to dial that number again. Look for a different number on website and dial that.

Phone: (Lovely voice recognition system starts me down the road toward getting my washer fixed) Briefly state what the problem is. For example, say dishwasher.

Me: Washing Machine.

Phone: Okay, I think I've got that. Did you say Exercise Bike?

Me: NO! I said freaking washing machine.

Phone: Okay, washing machine.

Sheesh. Seriously. Since when does washing machine sound like exercise bike and would anyone really call a repair dude to come out to their house to fix their exercise bike? After talking to some real live people - some even in this country - I have a service call scheduled for Thursday. I really, really need a washing machine.

Then, last night just as I was getting ready to head to bed around 11, the phone rang.

Me: Hello?

Phone: Hey, is Jeff there? (Mr. Baseball's real name)

Me: Umm, who is this?

Phone: Nick.

The conversation went on for a minute or so while I asked "Nick" his last name and then I heard giggling in the background so I hung up. This morning I *69 and a man answers the phone. I tell him that I received a call late last night from his number and he tells me that his son was using the phone. I asked him if his son's name was Nick. Duh! The kid actually used his real name while making prank phone calls. Dumbass! Father told me I was the second person to call and assured me he would take care of the situation.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Brigit #1 done

ice tree

We have had an unbelievable stretch of winter storms. This past week the snow kept piling up and the ice kept getting thicker. I don't mind hunkering down for a day or two but any longer than that and we start to go a bit stir crazy. Today was nice enough that I could drop Adam off at the school to watch the basketball games for a few hours. He needed to get out of the house more than anyone.

I spent the morning doing small chores. I've almost got Adam's bedroom finished and I'll be able to move onto Eric's. I'm kind of sad that they're no longer sharing a room but they're both happy to have their own. I baked some chocolate cupcakes for Jared because he wanted to frost and decorate them for Daddy for a belated Valentine's gift.

Brigit finished 1

In between it all, I finally finished the first Brigit sock. I stalled on the sock when Gigi passed away but I love the pattern and yarn so much that I pressed on. Now I'm knitting the socks in Gigi's memory. It's a wonderful pattern. I've made just a couple of modifications. I made the cuff a little longer, changed the heel to a slip stitch heel, and centered the pattern over the instep. I like the look of the centered pattern much better. I'll have to get a picture of the sock on my foot so you can see what I mean. I decided to give the socks to my dear friend Claudia. I made sure that she'd be willing to hand wash the socks before I promised them to her. Claudia is an amazing woman - I admire her in so many ways - and she truly deserves these special socks.

Before casting on for sock #2, however, I vowed to do something about this:

Monkey toes ouch

Way back in the first week of January, when we were on vacation, I wore these socks. One of the socks really annoyed me at the toe. When I finally took off the sock in frustration I found that I had never cut the yarn after finishing the kitchener. So, I just took out my handy dandy scissors and cut the yarn. Duh! I had never woven in that end and it came unraveled. I tossed it aside in disgust and it's sat on the desk for over a month. Today I pulled out some rows, and reknit the toe. Sadly, when I tried it on I found that with too many ends woven in at the toe it made it uncomfortable. I ripped it back out all the way to the beginning of the toe. This time I spit spliced the yarn together and reknit the toe. Well, I'm not quite done yet but I will be soon. When this sock is fixed I can cast on for the second Brigit.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Please don't rain on my parade

Loopy Sock Club Spring 2008

In a week that has seen no less than four different snow storms, this package from The Loopy Ewe was a true ray of sunshine. As you know by now, 2008 has started off kind of rough for my family. This past week was no different and included my van breaking down, a leak in the ceiling in our family room, and yet more difficult medical news for the Oldest Boy. It's not getting me down. In fact, it's starting to make me laugh. This has got to end sometime. Right?

Yarntini - Loopy Sock Club Spring

So, little things like the last 2007 Sock Club package came as a welcome relief. I checked the Loopy group on Ravelry and found that others had also received their packages. It's always fun to share your excitement with others who have received the same package. My joy was short lived, however, as other posters had to join in to say how sad they are (again) not to have made it into the 2008 sock club. The whining took the wind right out of my sails. I get that they're sad. I really do. But they don't have to continue to read about the sock club if it upsets them and they don't need to ruin the fun for those in the sock club. Does this happen in other sock clubs that have limited membership? I checked around Ravelry and didn't see this moaning in other sock clubs.

I'm grateful to have a warm, dry house in the midst of these storms and am also very grateful to have soft, cushy wool to keep me busy. Knitting during a snow storm is true joy.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

C is for Cookbooks

cookbooks 2

I'm not much of a collector. Really. I'm just not interested in collections of things. The two exceptions are yarn (of course) and cookbooks. I've always loved cookbooks. I remember getting the Better Homes & Garden Jr. Cookbook when I was a little girl. Those odd tri-colored photos of little girls serving the men and boys in their lives perfect little foods intrigued me. My mother always allowed me free reign in the kitchen and I was baking and cooking for the family by the time I was 7.

better homes and garden photo

When I got older and moved out on my own, I began to collect cookbooks. My girlfriend, Christi, and I had apartments in the same farm house. We used to sit around pouring through the Molly Katzen cookbooks coming up with recipes to try. Then we'd try to find the ingredients or decide if we had enough money to go to the store to buy them. I learned how to bake bread from one of those cookbooks.

cookbooks 1

About 12 years ago, when my husband and I were renting an apartment in a duplex, we had a flood in our apartment. The washing machine hose of our upstairs neighbor broke and during the day it flooded both her apartment and ours. We came home to water pouring through our ceiling and plaster walls. We lost many things in that flood but the most heartbreaking to me was that all my cookbooks were ruined.

(Terrible photo I know but it was just too hard to get a picture of the bookcases)

Over the years, I've built my collection up again. They now live in our new built in bookcases in the schoolroom. Many of them are shown on these shelves. The remaining books are in my bedroom, the family room or the living room. I enjoy reading cookbooks just for reading. I try not to bring too many new cookbooks into the house as I'm trying to curb consumerism over all but it's difficult when I find great cookbooks at yard sales or Building 19. Just a few weeks ago, I picked up a copy of that same Better Homes & Garden Jr. Cookbook I had as a girl at a discount store for only $6.00. I don't think we'll ever cook anything from it but it's a blast to read.

This morning, my 10 year old son woke up and decided he needed to have Cinnamon Muffins for breakfast. He convinced his Dad to help him and the two of them produced muffins for the family. They were quite good and Jared was very proud of himself. Starting a snowy day with a hot muffin is always good.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Catching up

The problem with not posting for almost a week is that I have too much to write about in one post. I'll have to spread it out over at least a couple of days which means, for those of you who read regularly, I'll post a bit more.


It's been a long week. Adam went to the doctor to get his bandages off early this week and, due to some really bad information from the doctor, suffered a big set back in his recovery. The doctor called a couple of days later to apologize but the damage was done. Adam's almost back to where he was before he saw the doctor but he's frustrated. It's no fun being cooped up in the house with your talented and very funny mother while your father and brothers go snowboarding or all your friends go to the school dance. Thankfully, the weather is clear enough today that he could go hang out at the school gym and watch a few basketball games. He really needed to get out of the house. Middle boy is trying to fill his big brother's shoes and learned how to operate the snow blower. For now, he still thinks it's big fun.

I do have some good C pictures for the ABC-Along but, as this is a knitting blog, I figured you'd rather see knitting today. First up, is a much better shot of the completed Madder Ribbed socks. This color has been so hard to photograph well but today I was able to use natural light on the windowsill to finally get a good picture. These aren't fancy socks and they don't make anyone ooh and ahh but they're the kind of socks that get worn over and over again because they're very warm and comfortable.

Madder Ribbed good

Progress on the Brigit socks had come to a standstill. First, there was the Scrunchable Scarf that I cast on for the Super Bowl. I became so enamored of the Malabrigo and the comforting was it knit up without any thinking at all that I put the sock aside. I decided to change Brigit just a little to center the pattern over the instep and I wasn't sure I had counted right and I was not in the mood to deal with a mistake that would involved lots of ripping so I continued to put it aside. Finally, I picked it back up yesterday when I had some quiet time and just started knitting. I may be off by a stitch but it may not be possible to not be off by a stitch. Now that I'm going again, I'm very happy.

Brigit heel

I love this pattern and this Zen Yarn Garden yarn. I have to decide very, very soon if these socks are for me or for my friend Claudia. I know Claudia would LOVE them - she plays in a Celtic band and would love the pattern - but I don't know if she'd properly care for them. I'll have to give her a call before I determine the final length. I wear a 10 and she wears a 7ish (I think). I hate to think of parting with them but I know how much she'd love them. It's a tough decision.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Scrunchable Scarf

I don't pretend to be an excellent housekeeper but I do my best and, generally, I'd give myself a B in housekeeping. I don't strive for an A because, truthfully, I don't care that much and I have other things I'd rather do. I do like a clean and tidy house, however, so I've come up with a few strategies that work for me.

1. Do the chore you dread the most first. There's nothing worse than knowing you have that big pile of dishes or laundry to do if you truly hate doing those chores. I always start my day with cleaning the counters and cleaning all the leftover dishes from the night before (from snacks) and breakfast dishes. Then I throw in a load of laundry and leave for my morning walk. If nothing else gets done that day, I can still feel a sense of accomplishment.

2. From my old waitressing days - I never leave a room empty handed. There's almost always something that needs to be put somewhere else. I'll take the dirty mug with me when I leave the living room or take a book to the bookshelves when I leave the family room. At the end of the day, this makes a big difference.

3. I reward myself all the time. I tell myself that after the floors are swept I will have a cup of tea or after the laundry is folded I will knit for half an hour.

Malabrigo Blue 2

Today I have a LOT of chores that really need to be done and I've made good progress. I took some time to photograph the Malabrio I bought yesterday and realized it's almost impossible to capture these colors. I started a new project last night during the Super Bowl (I SO don't want to talk about that). I cast on for the Scrunchable Scarf using the Malabrigo in Bergamato. This stuff is so scrumptious that I don't want to put it down. I don't know who the scarf is for yet but I'll put it away for Christmas.

Malabrigo Olive 1

Well, I could sit here all day but there are sheets that need to be put on the beds and socks to sort and fold. I think I've used up this reward allotment. I'll feel better at the end of the day if I have a long list of chores that I've finished.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Madness

Can you guess what I did today? I participated in a long standing LYS tradition and attended Super Bowl sales. To be fair, I actually did some Super Bowl shopping yesterday, too. Today I checked out a different LYS. I've been to Yarns for Ewe before but they didn't have what I was looking for. They're sock yarn selection is small and uninteresting. Today, however, I was not looking for sock yarn. I decided this year to broaden my horizons. I still plan to knit plenty of socks but I also want to add some hats, scarves and mittens into the mix.

Bunch of Malabrigo

Can you believe I've never knit with Malabrigo before? I bought this lovely bunch to make some hats and scarves for Christmas presents. I can't imagine anyone not loving the softness that is Malabrigo. I can hardly wait to cast on a project. I just have to decide what to do first and check out my needle inventory.

Freedom Spirit Green

I found a new to me yarn called Freedom Spirit. This yarn would make a very affordable larger project as it costs only $4.50 per ball. I bought two balls to make a pair of mittens. It's quite pretty and very soft. It's always fun to find a new yarn.

In addition, to the Malabrigo and Freedom Spirit, I bought a skein of Dream in Color Classy and some Classic Elite Princess (for fingerless mitts). All in all, I had some wonderful stash enhancements but didn't go overboard. I think I'm all set for quite awhile (not including sock club kits). I feel yarn full.

Madder Ribbed 2

I finished my Madder Ribbed Socks yesterday morning. I do love Mountain Colors Bearfoot and find it the perfect yarn to use for the simpple ribbed Nancy Bush patterns. It hardly seems worth sharing this photo as you can hardly see the socks but it's proof that they are indeed finished. I'm going to attempt to get a better picture later this week if the sun comes out so you may be seeing this socks again.

Now it's time for me to prepare for the actual Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is one of the national holidays in our family. It tends to fall within a few days of Mr. Baseball's birthday and so we like to have a Super Bowl/birthday party filled with lots of good junk food like pizza, buffalo chicken wings, nachos,and ice cream cake. I need to go make some 7 layer dip now so Mr. Baseball has something to eat when he gets home from skiing.

Go Pats!!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Thnking happy thoughts


It's been a tough week. I imagine any week that starts with a visit to the hospital at 6:30 in the morning is bound to be somewhat difficult. Thankfully, Adam is recovering quite well from his surgery and adjusting to life on crutches. It's keeping him somewhat housebound but he's managing.

Fingerprint animals

Sadly, we got the news in the middle of the week that a friend had died. He's not really a friend I suppose but I don't know the word to use for someone who you've known on a casual basis for many years. I don't know the circumstances of his death except that it was a "tragic accident". He was only 50 years old and left behind a young daughter and many people who loved him.


The next day I learned that Gigi Silva, Momma Monkey, of Socktopia fame had also died. I know that she had lupus and was ill but had no idea she could die. I didn't know her well but we had a short internet correspondence. She left behind young children. I am currently knitting Brigit which is one of Gigi's sock designs. Since receiving the news I've stalled on the sock. I adore the pattern and will continue with healing thoughts for Gigi's children. May she rest in peace.

I had no new photos for this post so decided to search through my flickr archive to share photos that make me happy. A photo-less post would have been too depressing.