Wednesday, April 26, 2006

M-I-C...See you real soon...

See you in a few days...I'm off to see the big mouse!!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Two More Days....Just Two More Days

I just have to keep myself off the disabled list for two more days.

We're leaving for Disney World in two days and it would be nice to be reasonably healthy for the trip. External forces are conspiring against me.

A week ago, I had a professional facial. (finally redeemed hubby's Christmas present) and I must have had a reaction to whatever chemical or fragrance is in those little damp pads that the aesthetician puts on your eyelids...cuz mine puffed up and near swelled shut, leaving me looking suspiciously like a naked mole rat.

The steroid-based whatever that my doctor gave me merely torments the inflammation, causing it to flare and recede at will.

Then a couple days ago, I was unloading the van after an excursion to Costco. I had over-filled a ridiculously large box and was carrying it in my outstretched arms through the garage. I turned to call to Gillian (yes, walking and looking in different directions...a capital offense when my children do it.) and tripped over Clare's bike.

It was one of those slow-motion falls where you get a few split seconds to try to right yourself. During one of those attempts, I stepped into the frame of Clare's bike, sealing my fate for the fall and causing the bike'e handlebars to twist up and spear me in the hooha. Nice. If there had been a two by four with a nail sticking out of it on my garage floor, I could have fallen face first on it to complete my hatrick. As it was, a badly bruised knee, and nasty road rash (ignore the hooha) were the only visible marks. Injured pride is more easily concealed.

I did deliver the finished Hobo Bag to Haley and gathered my courage enough to walk in with it, rather than leave it on the doorstep, ring the buzzer and run...

She was gracious as always...and accepted my offering the way a grandmother would the artistic efforts of a "well-intentioned" if misguided grandchild. She didn't even freak out over the beads!

Heck, she didn't even point out the obvious resemblance between this....

and this...(anatomical model of a stomach!)

BTW, look what I found at Haley's store...(knitomatic)

Isn't it so cute you could spit!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

With Apologies to Matt Groening...

Mistakes were made...

I finally finished the Hobo Bag by Stitch Diva It's billed as an "experienced knit", but really, there are only a few notable tricks in the construction...short rows and double sided knitting. Granted, they occur at the same time, but the pattern is very well written and the website contains DETAILED and numerous instructions for EVERYTHING more complex than a cast on. So how do I explain my challenges with the Hobo Bag...

Well, let's go way back to my teens. Like all the other first-year science majors in university I took calculus. Unlike most other students, I took it twice and not because my first attempt so enchanted my professor that he couldn't bear to see me leave.

Now, without appearing immodest, which would be difficult given the mediocrity of my overall under-graduate transcripts, I did attend my first year of university on an entrance scholarship and achieved quite respectable marks in other math-related courses (~98% in algebra and statistics), but that semester of calculus had it in for me.

Eventually, I completed the course with a bare pass and received my credit, but the initial defeat stayed with me. I scrupulously avoided calculus throughout the rest of my academic and professional career. For no particularly good reason, I became convinced that calculus will always triumph over me.

It's the same way with the Hobo Bag. After the initial learning curve (and resulting whoopses) with keeping front and back yarns in place and picking up the rungs on short rows, I discovered that my calculus nemesis had returned in a new incarnation.

For reasons best known to psychology majors, I couldn't pick up this project without having every crushing anhililation of my life revisit me in the form of fuschia and orange mock-suede.

But, just like with calculus, I was determined to complete the course with tenacity if not style. And so, with no further ado, the bag....warts and all

My therapist said that as part of my cleansing ritual, I should humiliate my victim. (Ok, I got a bit silly after seeing so many heavily beaded and embellished bags out in Yorkville a couple weeks ago...)

Sorry Haley...I'll pay you for materials.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I'm Late, I'm Late for a Very Important Date...

No time to say Hello, Goodbye, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late....

Or words to that effect.

Technically, I'm not late for anything yet, but the next three weeks are jammed packed with a trip to Disney World, Ellery's play and a week of "Dog Handler Training" for me! My world has shrunk down into a series of short term deadlines...appointments which must be kept, travel documents which must be located, kids sneakers which must be get the idea.

Frankly, Alton Brown ("my boyfriend" as the kids refer to him) could park his limo at my front door, wave a big@ss diamond under my nose and promise to take me away from everything if I'd run off with him...and I'd tell him that I'd get back to him after the 13th. :-(

Sadly, knitting has fallen victim to the time trap.

Work continues slowly on the Hobo Bag and the Adirondack Sweater. Although, I did manage to get a good chunk of the sweater completed at The Wild this weekend. FWIW, The Wild was much better than I expected. Not a Finding Nemo or Shrek, but certainly relatively painless for an adult to watch and the computer animation is impressive. Hey, any movie with William Shatner as the villain/choregrapher wildebeast can't be all bad.

I'm down to the sleeves on the Adirondack Sweater now, so knitting it is getting to be a bit like having a retriever nap on your lap.

I'll need some more portable knitting for my upcoming travels, so I'm considering whipping up another Clapotis. , this time using a lighter weight merino wool to encourage the type of curl shown in the photo. (My previous Clapotis utilized a lovely silk that was beautiful, but really limp. I sort of like the curl that everyone tries to block out!) Anyway, I've been asked to contribute something to the Craft Room at the School Fundraiser, so if the result is halfway presentable...this will be it!

Ok, knitting/crafting question of the week....what is this, and what is it for?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Fun's fun, but let's get back to the knitting....

Well, it was tons of fun peeking at everyone's stash (FYS '06) and I must admit I was greatly comforted to see stashes that make mine look modest (or at least less ridiculous), but it's time to get back to regular knitting.

I've been working on the Hobo Bag and am a little better than halfway through it (no photos yet).

Here is DH's Adirondack Sweater in progress...

Unfortunately for me, he is rather tall, so I've got quite a bit more to knit. At least it is pretty mindless for the next while. It's a great knit for riding in cars, waiting on kids at swimming lessons and so forth.

Tomorrow is the last official day of Lunchtime Knitting Club. The nice weather and cross-country team are proving to be too much competition for Mondays at noon! None of our knitters made it up to the felting stage of the project, but I suspect that they will get there before the end of the school year. I've promised to come back in June, when the weather is warm and host an outdoor felting party!

Oh, for anyone who was wondering how all those skeins of yarn were arranged for the is a picture of Clare and her homemade yarn skein rope ladder. Not shown in this picture are the BBQ tongs...also indispensible to any yarn wrangler/photo stylist. (Don't worry, Clare had a spotter for all of her dangerous stunts.)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Voila...La Stash..ou peut-etre...La Cachette de Chelle?

Ok, a brief preamble.

First of all, if you are my husband and you want to avoid the mess and expense of an ugly divorce, hit the back button on the browser immediately and clear the cache. For that matter, if you are a non-knitter...refer to the above instructions directed towards my husband.

I've never had all my stash in one location before and I admit, it was a bit frightening.

(Larger Picture here)

I'm not sure how it got like this, I've been working hard all year to wear down my stash into a more manageable amount. (Say, no more than two or three times what I could reasonably expect to knit up in the course of my lifetime. Implicit in this calculation is the assumption that I, like both my grandmothers will live into my nineties.)

It's not as unorganized as it looks. Beginning from the top step is my collection of cottons, mostly mercerized...flowing down into cotton blends. Then there are a couple steps worth of merino wool, and a Noro and sock yarn step. That flows into the random wools and other feltables. Fluffies are next, Snowflake, fun furs and mohairs. Next is the summer stuff, excluding the aforementioned cottons, notice all the Easter Egg colours! At the foot of the stairs is a spill of chunky acrylic stuff...everything from Sirdar Denim Chunky and Kool Kidz to a heap of multi-hued Lion Boucle (stolen from Walmart at a buck a ball!)

Some good came from this humiliation. I was able to repackage everything into zippable plastic bags and store it according to fibre content.

Eighteen months ago, when I photographed my stash piece-meal (September 12, 2004 entry) I entered it all into a neat and tidy excel spreadsheet so that I wouldn't have to root through a half dozen Rubbermaid totes to figure out if I had 3 or 4 balls of the salmon mercerized cotton. Unfortunately, this allowed me to easily calculate the number of balls of yarn I had on hand. Four hundred and eighty six (486).

I've been working really had since then to wear this number down a bit.

I "donated" 75 small balls of feltable yarn to my lunchtime knitters.

I've been knitting from stash... a lot!

Well, all these efforts have paid off and I've brought the total number of skeins to...(drumroll) 507! (cough, not including single skeins, the unfeltable balls of yarn purchased for felting a couple years ago, odds and ends, probably another 35 balls ...cough)

Ok, maybe I could have exercised a bit more restraint with respect to the "acquisition" half of the

"current stash minus yarn used in projects plus LIMITED yarn purchases equals reduced stash"equation.

Oh well, at least Zibobbo will have good chuckle.