18 December 2007

She Did a Bad Bad Thing

She went to The Fold is what she did. She went there to get something for the Cast Away Knitting Guild Christmas party gift exchange. She went knowing that it would be dangerous. The Fold is, after all, where she parted company with a good amount of credit card during Stitches Midwest in August.

After getting in the car she loaded up Husbands new toy with the address in Marengo. She followed as instructed and ended up at what appeared to be a charming farmhouse out in the country. She went to the door and was met by a lovely woman and her large, friendly German Shepherd. "What a quaint little place." she thought as she stepped over the threshold. Little did she know that she was playing the part of the Fly to the proprietresses Spider. As her eyes adjusted to the light she was nearly overwhelmed; fleece, roving, spinning wheels, spindles, everywhere. She grew lightheaded from the fumes and she wasn't even a spinner.

After adjusting to the shock of all of the wooly goodness, she stepped through another doorway into the opium den yarn shop proper. A fog descended over her eyes and she entered a fugue state. When she came back to her senses she was walking out the door with two skeins of Socks that Rock, one skein of Crystal Palace Splash, Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters, a set of US3 DPNs, and a skein of fingering weight Buffalo Gold. Dazed and confused, she got back in the car and let the new toy tell her how to get home.

After arriving back at the house she did the only thing she could think of: she knit Daughter's teacher a scarf, wrapped the Buffalo wool and put it under the tree addressed to herself from Husband, and took a nap to sleep off the last lingering effects of the wool fumes.

17 December 2007

Tis the Season

Tis the season to be jolly, even when the spirit of grinchiness is trying its best to get to you. I am maintaining my good mood even in the face of:

1. The basement refrigerator/freezer is now only able to perform the duties of a cupboard. There is no freezing or refrigerating happening in there. There wasn't a lot in there, but what was there was the mostly expensive cuts of meat that I got while they were on sale.

2. Son has decided that a mohawk is not enough of a statement. He is now the proud owner of a bright green mohawk.

3. Several weeks ago I purchased tickets for a choir concert for Daughter and I. Yesterday 3 hours before the concert Husband took Daughter sledding with the neighbors. Daughter came back so windburned that she didn't want to go out to the event that I had already paid money for.

4. This will be the first Christmas that I have not spent with my parents and brother. We will be flying to Colorado to have Christmas with In-Laws.

5. While I was out running errands Dog jumped up on the dining room table, knocked down the box of Christmas cookies that Mom sent me and ate them.

6. Cat has decided that the litter box is only one of many possible places that he can relieve himself in the basement.

On the plus side, I have finished Bartholomew's Tantalizing socks and moved on to a new jacket. It's made of Moda Dea Ticker Tape, which is sort of like a ribbon yarn, but it's a ribbon of nylon. It works up quickly. which is a nice change from the socks on tiny needles. I've already finished the back and have started a front. If all goes well it should end up shaped like a jean jacket.

11 December 2007

It's Fraining

Greetings from sunny warm lovely Chicago. It's been fraining all day today. It's just warm enough for rain to form instead of snow, but at soon as the raindrop hits something it freezes. It makes for some lovely scenery. All of the tree branches are covered in an icy sheath, there are little icicles hanging off of my patio furniture. It really is lovely to look at from the comfort of my living room couch while I sip a big mug of steaming hot tea. Sadly, sitting on the couch sipping a mug of tea is not on the agenda for today. Sitting on the couch will not get the Christmas cards picked up from Walgreens. Sipping tea will not help the chuck roast that is at the grocery store move itself into my cast iron dutch oven, and viewing the scenery will not get Daughter to her after school activities on time. All of these things require that I go out and drive around in the frain. Not surprisingly, the ice that has completely coated all of our vegetation has also totally coated our slanted driveway. Just getting to the mailbox is a feat best attempted with ice skates today.

On the positive side, I did actually sit down and work on Bart 2 last night. The heel has been turned and the foot has been commenced. As I've mentioned, this sock is from Cat Bordhi's book New Pathways for Sock Knitters. The designs in this book are very cool, and I love the socks that I'm creating.I have just one teensy tiny issue with the way the book is laid out. I'm making Bartholomew's Tantalizing Socks, on pages 27-29. I've carefully followed all of the instructions on pages 27 & 28, right up to the part about the heel. I'm told that I should make a reinforced heel, directions for which can be found on page 124. I dutifully truck on over to page 124 (Master Reinforced Heel) and begin following along with Step 3 as instructed. My heel turns, and I move on to Step 4, which according to the book is "Same as for plain heel (page123)." I page back to 123 and start rearranging stitches as per the diagram. I then move on to Step 5: Work back of heel. I am cruising right along creating what is actually the bottom of the heel, feeling pretty good about myself because this is easy and doesn't require a lot in the "Paying Attention" department. After about 20 minutes I look at my first sock to make sure things look right. Stop that, I can hear you laughing you know.

Turns out that I was supposed to go back to page 124 when I got to Step 5. I now have one sock with a reinforced heel and one sock with a reinforced heel flap and a plain stockinette heel bottom. In case you ever need to know, unknitting 20 minutes worth of knitting takes about 60 minutes and 2 seriously dropped stitches. It also takes another 20 minutes to knit back to where you were when you found out you're an idiot, again. I'm sure I'm the only one who would make such a bonehead play, but should you ever be making a reinforced heel from Cat's book, be aware of your Steps and pages.

10 December 2007

It Smells So Good

If I am a bit distracted, this <- is why. It is very difficult to concentrate on the work at hand when there is a lovely bunch of Toasty Toes sitting next to you, calling your name. How is a person supposed to be able to keep their mind on the business at hand when they have only to inhale deeply and they are overwhelmed with the lovely sheepy aroma of merino wool? And even if one could manage to get anything accomplished with the wool next to the keyboard, there are beads, too. Beads. Lovely silvery beads, sitting there mocking me while I attempt to do my work. I know that I'm supposed to avoid the things that lead me into temptation, but the mailman delivered it right to my door. How am I supposed to fight that kind of power?

To Bart's second Tantalizing Sock: I apologize. I know that I have treated you badly, through no fault of your own. You can't be blamed for the intrusion of Sock Gang wool into our formerly happy home. I know that I first abandoned you before you even had a chance on the needles. I just got so excited to see my first installment of Sock Gang wool that I couldn't contain myself. I am weak, and I know it. You can hardly be blamed for losing some of your tantalizingness. You know that I love your color, and that the pattern is very cool. I even remember that your brother is the best fitting sock that I have ever made for myself. I hope you can forgive me for my previous infidelity. I know that it must seem ominous that you sit on the arm of the couch in the same place you've been for days while I get out the swift and ball winder. I promise that after I have wound the Toasty Toes into balls I will immediately put them away in the craft room and leave them there until you and I are done. I'm sure I have the willpower to resist the siren call of superwash merino when it's in another room. Right?

04 December 2007

Help Defined

This past week was very eventful, and not in any kind of way that I like. The fun began last Wednesday. I was ill. I'll leave the gory details out and mention only that between 4:00 am Wednesday and noonish on Thursday I did not leave my bedroom/bathroom area. I didn't even have the gumption to knit. I managed only one row on the second Bart sock before exhausting myself. On Saturday I was finally feeling like a human being again, so I started the process of decorating for Christmas.

I feel compelled to point out that I am a Christmas nut. I am the opposite of the grinch. I love the entire time between Thanksgiving and Epiphany (January 6.) I have more decorations than can actually fit in my home and buy or make more every year. I have about 75 Christmas books, some of which I can't read to my daughter because they make me cry every single year. We have a 9 foot artificial tree, more ceramic Santas and reindeer than you can shake a stick at, and enough lights to outfit an airport in an emergency situation.

Because I had been feeling poorly for the last few days, and because there was so much work to do I assumed that my family would be happy to help with the decorating effort. Based on the results that I saw it seems that we will need to amend the definition of "help."
Merriam Webster definition: 1: to give assistance or support to 2: to make more pleasant or bearable 3: to be of use to 4: to change for the better

Husband definition: To work on the computer for 8 hours. To not bring in the step ladder. To not bring down the boxes from the attic. To ask, while the living room is completely full of boxes, "Don't you want to bring up the tree first?"

Son definition: To play one of 50 combat shooting games on the XBox 360 while watching Mother make 6 trips upstairs carrying books. To groan exasperatedly when asked to put up the lights on the outside shrubs, then continue playing one of 50 combat shooting games on the XBox 360.
Daughter definition: To help get the boxes down from the attic. To stack them in the narrow hallway. *To haul the interesting ones into the living room, remove one or two decorations, unwrap them, put them on the floor. Repeat from *25 times. To hang ornaments on the tree from the underside, creating a Special Place.

After 3 days of this kind of valuable assistance I have 90% of the decorating done. While I am sure that given the chance I would be a loyal S.P.E.W. member, I sure do wish I had a house elf handy.