Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The sun is shining, the leaves are crunchy and I've got a sudden urge to knit cables. And grow twisted gourds that look like they came from a fairy tale garden, but that'll have to wait til next year.

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I can start the cables now. Or as soon as the headache I've been fighting all weeks either goes away or becomes so much a part of me that I can ignore it and get on with my life.

This latest cable obsession started a few days ago when I stumbled across the 2006 Fall Cable Knitalong. There are about a zillion links to free online patterns -- and there are even more of them on the blog for last year's Fall Cable Kknitalong. I'd ask how I managed to miss it last year, but I was a little distracted.

I want to knit a Cleo Clutch for a christmas present. I want to knit a Cozy in Cables Toddler Sweater, but I'm not sure if it'll be for my toddler because the yarn I have is a girly color. And there's Fetching, and that cabled wrap thing from Alternits, and Trellis, and that other cabled baby sweater or two I've got the patterns and yarn for... Oh, and Calla or whatever that little cabled top is called. Can't keep forgetting that one, especially now that I've got the yarn!

But what I really want to knit is a Central Park Hoodie. It's in the Fall 2006 issue of Knitscene. I want so bad to get my hands on the magazine and see what sizes it comes in and what yarn it calls for. I've been resisting for four whole days, haven't even called to see if they still have a copy, but if this whole eating less and moving more thing doesn't start to show some results soon, I'm not sure how much longer I can last.

I guess this is exactly the motivation I need to keep me out of the Halloween candy. Knitscene will still be there five pounds from now.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tangles

This is the kind of tangle I had in mind when I named my blog --

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A pile of different colors and textures all jumbled together, waiting to become exciting new projects. It just sparks with possibility....for me, at least. I'm sure some of the fiber snobs out there would take one look at the Super Saver and Simply Soft and shudder. That's okay, 'cause I'm the one who gets to knit with it.

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There is nothing romantic about this mess. I bought an itty bitty skein of hand painted soy silk at Oregon Flock and Fiber last month. It was just a little splurge, a chance to play with some pretty stuff I haven't tried before. I thought I'd wind the skein into a ball yesterday while the babies were napping so it'd be all ready for me to cast on with tonight.

I don't know if it's something I did or the way the yarn came, but after about ten minutes, I was ready to email the knitlist and offer the yarn to anyone who wanted to try taming it. I should've done that, because now I've got so much time invested I can't give up.

At some point, I decided that it might be a good idea if Quinn got his hands on it and took the decision whether or not to keep fighting the tangle out of my hands. It's been sitting unsupervised in the living room all day and he hasn't touched it once. Obviously he's smarter about this than I am and can sense that there's something bad about this yarn.

I'm going to have to do something tonight, because if I leave it sitting there much longer, it'll be my fault when one of the kids ruins my swift. If I put it in a drawer, it'll just get snarled up worse, I'll never get back to it, and its presence will haunt me forever and keep me from ever buying and enjoying more soy silk.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

How badly do I want that?

That's the question I'm asking myself lately when it comes to food. Do I want that whatever it is badly enough to delay my next yarn purchase?

Don't misunderstand me -- I'm not skipping meals here. I'm talking about things like that last piece of sausage that my husband offered me because he wasn't going to eat it, or swinging in to the drive through on the way to karate because a cheeseburger really sounds good. Those I was able to resist.

Turns out I really did want one of those little pecan pies Bill brought home from Walmart, so that's what I had for breakfast yesterday. I never said all of my decisions had to be good ones. But they all add up, so hopefully I can make enough good ones to make a difference.

Today, I've been very good. I got up early and had my cornflakes with skim milk for breakfast, along with a little thing of yogurt. I started the toe of a new pair of socks. I danced around the living room with the kids for a while. I stir fried a whole bunch of veggies for lunch and had them with a couple of egg rolls.

And I've gone FOURTEEN FULL DAYS without buying yarn. Or fabric. Or magazines. Even though I was within sight of at least five Hobby Lobby's on the trip. I could've made an exception for Hobby Lobby, but I didn't.

The temptation didn't hit hard until yesterday when I realized that the 2007 Knitting Pattern a Day Calendar is probably in at Borders by now. I didn't go to Borders. I didn't go to Costco to see if they had them there this year, even though I've got a pair of pants to return that would more than pay for it. That would be cheating, right? But playing the Who's Who game on Whodunit and hoping I win (the calendar just happens to be the prize ) is definitely abiding by stash yarn diet rules.

Oh -- in case you were wondering -- I was down two pounds, but it seems to be back. :-)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

RATTLESNAKES -- EXIT NOW!

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Decaying old gas stations and motels fascinate me. It's a great thing to be a grown-up with the ability to pull over and take a closer look -- or to be the adult in the passenger seat with the map and Route 66 Adventure Handbook. "You've got to exit here, because it says there's a grotto that was built in the 30s by the WPA and it's not even dark yet and the motel is only another twenty miles..."

My husband is not a big fan of man-made grottoes, especially ones that require traipsing through a cemetery to find them. This is the same guy who drove me way out into the middle of nowhere to look for Sacajawea's grave years ago, but now that we've got kids I guess we're supposed to worry about whether or not it's appropriate to gawk at people's graves. The grotto, by the way, was breathtaking. I didn't take any pictures of my own, but did manage to find an old black and white postcard online that doesn't capture the beauty of the place at all.

Bill will exit for rattlesnakes. While we were heading east, we passed a ruined place with billboards encouraging us to stretch out legs while we saw the snake pits, but on the way back we couldn't find it again. And I missed the exit number on the sign for the place advertising live rattlesnakes and fried rattlesnakes. Wonder if that's like the lobster tanks where you get to pick out your dinner....

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I love the old neon motel signs, especially the ones with sweeping arrows and tall spires that promise television and phones in every room like they're something special.

I've got a plan for all of that pretty neon we saw, if I can pull if off. And I'm still excited about the projects I was planning before the trip. After six thousand miles in ten days with four kids in the back of the mini-van, I'm dying to get everyone tucked into bed and curl up in the corner of the couch with my knitting.

Instead, I get to load the kids into the van and run errands all day. Yuck.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

This scares me...

In my constant quest to figure out a yarn diet that works, I've made a difficult, awful, frightening decision. I'm not going to space out my yarn and fabric purchases based on the calendar or how much knitting I've been getting done...

I'm not going to buy any more yarn until I lose some weight.

Over the past three years, I've been off my feet way too much. First it was a broken knee, which didn't get properly diagnosed for months. Then I was pregnant and on bedrest and recovering from surgery. Twice. I wound up putting on 20some pounds. Which probably isn't bad for two pregnancies, but I'm just not snapping back.

I'm not going to buy yarn again until the scale drops below 180. That's five pounds. I can do five pounds.

And if I can do five pounds ten times, that'll add up to the fifty pounds I want to be rid of.

Yikes!

Monday, October 09, 2006

I'm gearing up to start the yarn diet again...maybe....

Today after I took Leif to get an ultrasound, we went to Joann's to see if there were any magazines I needed to use my coupons on (there weren't, but we got two skeins of Fisherman Wool to dye and make into mitens) and to the Dollar Tree to see if they had neat little bins for my dpns (they didn't, but I got some wooden spoons and a niftly little plastic cutting board) and to Wal-Mart to pick up something for dinner and get some more cheap acrylic for the raglan sweaters.

The plan was to get enough yarn to knit raglans for everyone, except Heath who just got a sweater and Bill who wouldn't wear one anyway, but they didn't have enough Softee Chunky in the color I wanted for mine. Or any other color I could convince myself I wanted. I'm not sure if I should delay the yarn diet until tomorrow when I can check the other Wal-Mart or just put off my raglan and start the ones for the kids and work on the nice things I do have pretty yarn for. It's frustrating!

Oh, and I bought myself a Swiffer so I can knit a Ball Band Cover for it. Alex and I tried it out with the pads that came with it and came to a couple of conclusions -- it's pretty neat, and our kitchen floor was filthy!

It's clean now, though.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

It doesn't quite make sense...

I think Ben Franklin Crafts is the closest to my ideal LYS I've found within driving distance. They've got yarn store brands that I haven't been able to find in any of the LYSs around here -- Noro and Cascade 220 and Cascade Fixation and a bunch of others I can't remember off the top of my head. They've got a bunch of the craft store yarns that the craft stores have quit stocking. They've got swatches and samples and free patterns all over the place. If they were just a little closer to home, they'd be perfect.

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After finishing Heath's sweater, I had 2 1/2 skeins of the camouflage yarn left over and absolutely no desire to knit another sweater in that same exact color. So while Bill and Heath worked on the chicken coop, I drove down with Alex and the babies to exchange it for this stuff. I got so sucked in by the gorgeous colors, great yardage, and sale price that I didn't spend much time examining the texture. Oh well, how bad can it be? I'm hoping it knits up okay, because I've got plans for it.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

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Bernat Camouflage yarn and knittting in the round did not work well together in this sweater. Those stripy zig zags are just as awful in real life. I think it would've looked better if I'd alternated two skeins of yarn, but didn't think of that until the body was almost done. I'll try it next time.

For now, Heath has a new sweater that he likes. And it fits. It's not a wild success, but it's good enough to hold him until I make something better.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I finally finished my cardigan!

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It's not photogenic, possibly because it doesn't look good in real life. I love the color. I got gauge and managed to pull off the nifty interlocking twist that the front pieces do. But the bust is too snug, the body is too short, the sleeves are way too loose... A lot of poor knitting choices added up, but since I made most of them while I was heavily medicated to stop pre-term labor (two different round of pre-term labor, by the way!) I'm not going to feel bad about them now.

I will, in the future, look at the schematics and if the sleeves seem huge I'll do something to narrow them down. I'll make sure the body is the length I want and that I'm using a size that will give me a comfy amount of ease. I'll do it in less than two years so I might be the same size when I finish as I was when I started. Or at least a smaller size than I was when I started.

My first "mommy size" sweater is done. And I could wear it if I wanted to.

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Mousie's done, too. It was a learning experience, which is what it was meant to be. I was getting better at intarsia by the time I finished, but I think I'll wait a while before tracking down yarn for that chicken sweater.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

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This is a baby who does not need heart surgery. This afternoon, we went in for more tests and found out that the hole has closed on its own. I must've asked the doctor at least three times if she was absolutely sure, but it's definitely gone, it definitely can't come back, and he won't need any more follow up with the cardiologist. I'm a very happy mommy.

I found some neat things while I was reading blogs this morning...

There's Crossed in Transit, with some of the most tempting cabled sweaters I've ever seen. If the book was in English, or if I could figure out how to order from yesasia.com, I'd probably be ordering a copy tonight. But it's not, and I can't, so I've been able to maintain my self control. For the moment, at least. There's pretty lace in the book, too...

That led me to Dory's Knitted Spiral Counterpane Blanket Oooooooh! Can you believe that gorgeous masterpiece used to be a sweater hanging on the rack at GoodWill?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

So what should a mommy do when the thing she was getting ready to make for baby falls into her lap, already made and just as cute as Mommy could have made it herself?

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Leify-Doodle's getting more serious about solid foods and I've been thinking about doing up some ball band bibs. I even went up to the sewing room for yarn, but two months of dashing up and doing a quick rummage to find what I need or dashing up and shoving in whatever it is I want out of the house has taken its toll. Somewhere up there are 30some bags of dishcloth cotton, all neatly organized in one bag or box or something that I can't remember.

This morning, I found these cute bibs at happythings and got all inspired to use some of the little scraps of baby prints I've been hoarding in my stash. Two seconds later, I read an email from a local homeschooler who was giving away garage sale leftovers so she wouldn't have to haul it to GoodWill. She mentioned toddler clothes and toys. And craft stuff. What she didn't mention was that she sewed a lot of clothes for her little guys, and did a fantastic job of it. Or that there was yarn.

I brought home a huge load of baby clothes and toys and books for the kids and fabric and buttons and lace and others treasures. And the bibs. I would've made those bibs if I had that gorgeous fabric and knew how to do the really nice snaps. Actually, I might've used the gorgeous berry and veggie fabric in a quilt, but I like to think that I'd have made the bibs.

There's been lots to blog about lately, but I got hit hard by a bug the kids must've brought home from karate. Nothing serious, just a stuffy miserable thing that left me unable to enjoy the yarn I brought home from Oregon Flock and Fiber (after four years of cancelled plans, we finally made it there!) or the new mini-van. Which can find yarn stores on its own.
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