Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween!

We're not big on celebrating, but of course we have enough candy just in case the entire city of Phoenix decides to come knocking at our door.

Yesterday I went up to Jessica Knits to sit in on a class taught by Emily. It went well – there were only 2 real students but they did a fantastic job. I was practicing throwing yarn and didn't do too badly, although I was having trouble with tension. And I had to force myself to keep the yarn out of my left hand. I can't wait until I get to teach a class there – it is so much fun to teach beginners in the middle of yarn heaven. After the class we helped them pick out yarn for a scarf project. I took Lynette around – she wanted something simple with blacks and greys. I found this fantastic Lorna's Laces worsted weight superwash wool that had black, grey and white. I think it will be perfect for her.

I used my sock yarn for practice – it is the softest thing I've ever felt in my life. As I was knitting along I kind of liked the result, so I threw in some drop stitch rows and came up with this:

Hmmm, maybe I'll keep going and make myself a nice little scarf instead of socks? The yarn is called Merion et Soie and is made by a company in New Zealand called Naturally. Love it.

Are we all tired of the sweater vest yet? Here it is again, but looking more and more like a sweater. I'm still fussing about how to get the cable to continue around the v-neck – I may have to practice it first to make sure I get it right. If anyone has advice please leave me a comment.

I was on the phone with my anonymous girlfriend yesterday discussing the state of affairs with her love life. She's 30 something, in a long term relationship with a guy who – while not a total loser is certainly not someone I would have picked for her – and lamenting the fact that everyone is married and bearing children. Why is she not marrying Mr. Wonderful? Well, lots of reasons, mainly in the financial/commitment/this is for life category. But she can't cut bait because, after all, is there anything better out there?

Somehow I have always been the relationship counselor for my friends, acquaintances, people I meet at the bus stop. (Okay, that's a lie, I don't ride the bus. But I do feel like I should write an advice column sometimes.) I hear this story over and over. "I've invested too much time in him, who else is there? Shouldn't I just settle for what I've got?"

And truth be told, it is very hard to find the right person once you are no longer in school. I used to make fun of my brother for getting married 9 days after graduating from college, but now I'm starting to think he had a good point. I opted for quite a different road, and boy did I have to kiss a lot of frogs before I ended up where I am today. (And get my heart severely broken a few times. My friends who had to peel me off the floor and mold me back together can attest to that fact.)

Do I have a point here? I guess it's just this. Finding your partner in life is a hell of a lot of work. It's worth it, but its still work. Settling for the wrong person will end up either in court, or with you drinking yourself silly alone in your bedroom late at night. Neither are good options.

Do the work. Find the right person. I promise you, in the end it will be worth every horrible date, every unreturned phone-call, and every broken heart. And for the sake of all that is good and holy in this world, don't settle for the wrong one.

On that note, today's list will be dedicated to my beloved husband.

Reasons Joe is Great

He can stand me.
After five years, I never get tired of listening to what he has to say.
He is one of the few people on this earth I can travel with for long periods of time.
He makes me laugh – the kind of laughing that hurts your sides.
He is an excellent cook, and makes me dinner every night.
He is just as lazy as I am.
His clothing is uncomplicated.
He appreciates good wine.
His favorite thing to do is go to the yarn store and then come home and rub my feet. (Okay, so that's a complete lie. We can't have everything can we?)
He is the kind of person I want my son to be.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

The Kid Can Knit

The fifth graders were incredible yesterday! I couldn't believe my eyes. The difference of the shorter needles and the bigger yarn was amazing. I think six more of them really got it down and are working on their squares. Now I feel bad for referring to them as worms.

We are going to run out of yarn soon, but my package arrived from Danielle with the extra yarn she had. Thanks Danielle!

Here is a picture of two of the boys, Reuben and Will. Reuben, on the left, reminds me of a boy I went to grade school with, Greg Leff.

There was a mother there to help me with teaching. It's funny to see how other people deal with kids. I guess I've always thought of them as little adults or something, because I talk to them just like they are normal. (Which can be bad, I really have to watch my language.) But this woman talked to them like they were morons. And she is one of those perfectionist knitters who couldn't handle mistakes – she kept ripping out the kids work and re-knitting it. Seriously. I could tell it was bothering her that they weren't knitting perfect little squares, but who cares, they're just learning. She is a sock knitter, had on a pair of Regia self striping socks on and another set on needles. I'm always skeptical of people who only knit the same thing over and over and over.

Today I'm heading up to Jessica Knits to sit in on a beginner's class. (Yes, I'm going there AGAIN. No, I won't be buying anything.) This is the same class I'm going to teach once Jack is born, so I thought it would be a good idea to see how it goes. Plus I really need more practice throwing yarn, and hopefully Jessica will figure out why my stitches get twisted when I try to purl.

I did get a few more cable twists done on the vest last night. Joe came home after two days of a jury selection project and collapsed. He spent the entire time sitting behind a one way mirror and watching the fake jurors deliberate on the case. He is not used to sitting still, or focusing on one project for an entire day, so he was pretty exhausted. He actually slept on the floor of the TV room for a couple of hours while I watched "All the President's Wives" and knit. It was very peaceful.

I may get a little more knitting time this weekend. Jen and Pam are going to meet me at Coffee Plantation at one to knit for a while. If anyone else wants to come you're more than welcome.

And for today's list:

Ten Reasons I'm Happy It's Winter

Oatmeal (Which is funny, I never liked it as a kid. I'm not talking instant, sugary oatmeal either. This is a pot of Irish Steel Cut Oatmeal that takes 30 minutes to cook. Yummy)
Sweat Pants
Opening the windows in the morning
Frost on the grass
Hot tea
Pumpkin pie
Knitting with wool again (maybe I'll finish my blanket!)
Fires in the fireplace
Down comforters

Friday, October 29, 2004

It's Cold Outside!

Finally, for the first time this season, I felt cold last night. We had to go to a cocktail party at the Heard Museum where we have just become members of their young professionals organization. (I just found out that I am a member, a small fact Joe forgot to mention. I steered clear of everyone with a name badge, certain I would get roped into some committe or the other.) When we were walking back to the car I got cold – my teeth were even chattering! I came home and put on sweatpants and was a happy little camper. Finally, at the end of October, it gets cold in Phoenix.

Julie and I spent the afternoon at Jessica's. She ended up buying yarn to do the charm bag from Stitch-n-Bitch and some chenille to do a scarf. For the bag she bought some fabulous Lorna's Laces wool that I think will make a great bag. I'm not sure which color she picked, maybe Lakeview? It was fabulous. I didn't realize that pattern called for such thick yarn – for some reason I was positive someone in our group made it out of Cotton Twist. Does anyone else remember that?

I have fallen in love with another yarn. Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky. The pictures on-line don't do it justice – this is the softest fat yarn I have ever felt. She has a sweater made out of it that I tried on (as she pointed out, it was a very stretchy sweater, so it fit over my belly), and it was amazing. I think I like the Indigo best

I'm heading back to the fifth graders today. Our yarn and needles have arrived, so I'm hoping to make some progress today. If I can just get a few of them knitting I will feel successful. (Heck, at this point, just one more knitting and I would be elated.) We have some extra yarn coming from Danielle in the RAOK group that should be here next week I'm hoping. With that yarn we will be able to finish at least one blanket. This project is trying my patience and skill as an instructor more than I ever imagined. It's like teaching a bunch of worms to sit up and do tricks.

Joe and Parley are both up in arms about my ghost postings. Neither one of them believes in ghosts, which I find fascinating. "How can you be so sure?" I ask them, but they both say the burden of proof is on me. Whatever. I'm wondering if it's because they are men and lack imagination?

I made no progress on my knitting yesterday – too much roaming around the yarn store I suppose. And this weekend is not looking good either. No required sports to watch (Notre Dame has the week off, World Series is over), no real sitting around time planned. Maybe I'll see if anyone wants to go knit for a while on Sunday – I know it's a holiday but Joe will be at work. If I could get a few hours in that would be great. Any of you SnB girls out there who are free let me know.

I'm off to finish laundry and prepare myself for the miniature hoodlums! I leave you with:

Ten Things I Want to Do After the Baby is Here

Drink a Sapphire and Tonic
Sleep on my stomach
Pick things up off the floor
Walk without waddling
Sit with my legs crossed
Have a man look at me with something other than abject horror
Shop at a normal clothing store
Hand the baby to Joe and leave the house
Wear my wedding ring
Ride my bike

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Curse is Lifted

Even if you aren't a sports fan, you have to appreciate the Red Sox win last night. I am mostly in awe of the fans – 86 years is a long time to go without a championship and still be interested in a team. People in Arizona couldn't care less about the Diamondbacks and they just won a few years ago.

I got a lot of knitting done during the game – three more cable twists on the sweater vest. I hope my hands continue to cooperate though, as they are swelling more each day it seems. This morning I couldn't even make a fist with my left hand. I think they get worse when I sleep. I will keep knitting however, because at this point it may be the only thing that keeps me sane until this crazy baby arrives.

Today we planned a trip to the Fiber Factory because Julie had a doctor's appointment in the afternoon, but she went yesterday instead so we get to go to Jessica Knits. (Jessica's is really far, you have to make an afternoon out of it.) I'm excited because she's never been there AND she gets to pick out an entire new project. So far she's made a baby blanket and a sock and a half (another reason we're getting together, she needs help with her second sock.) She's not sure what she wants to make next, but I know she'll find something wonderful. Felted bag? Fuzzy scarf? Cute sweater? The opportunities are endless.

The rain finally showed up this morning around six and it's actually almost cold outside. 54 degrees! I might even wear a sweater out. Although it's supposed to get up to 70, so that may be pushing it just a little.

Here's what it looks like outside our front door right now:

and our poor little pumpkins getting wet:

I went to the doctor yesterday and so far no progress towards labor. He seems to think it will be at least 3 more weeks. Ugh. There is just no more room for this baby to grow – I think he needs to come out earlier.

I'm still liking my lists, so for today I give you:

Ten Great Movies to Watch While Knitting on a Rainy Day

The Godfather
An Affair to Remember
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
The Lord of the Rings
Love Actually
To Kill a Mockingbird
Doctor Zhivago
Roman Holiday

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

New Blog Name

Joe thinks the name of my blog is boring. He's probably right, I didn't put much thought into it. If you have any suggestions for other names let me know. I don't really have any nicknames for myself, other than Princess Apricot, which was my screen name when I met Joe. (Yes, we met online. Five years ago even, back before it was considered a normal way to meet people.)

We had our Stitch-n-Bitch committee meeting last night at Rula Bula in Tempe. There are a total of eight committee members, only six were there (The two missing members had work conflicts. Work? Instead of knitting committee? Priorities, ladies, priorities.) Look for our e-newsletter coming out in the next few weeks, and get ready for our exciting Winter Anniversary Party at the beginning of December. That's right! We're one year old this December. Hard to believe – thanks to Kim for all her hard work getting this great group of women together.

From left to right: Michelle, Pam, Alison, Jen, and Kim. (Happy Birthday Pam!)

I got email from Parley yesterday. All it said was "There's no such thing as ghosts." I wrote back. "Prove it." He had no response to that, because there isn't one. He can't prove there aren't ghosts. Period.

There is a rain storm due tonight and a full moon. Two alleged instigators of labor. Of course I'm still 3 weeks from my due date, but who cares? A girl can hope, can't she? I'm going to ask my doctor today if he thinks I'll have this baby on Sunday or not. He already thinks I'm crazy so what's the harm?

You'll all be happy to know that Wendy Knits is back on-line. She was apparently inundated with email and comments and buckled under the pressure. Now Jayne can breathe a sigh of relief and go back to her daily routine of reading too many blogs.

I finished the first pattern on the illusion scarf, and I hate to say I'm probably going to rip it out and start over. It's really long – I should have shortened the pattern a great deal. I'm going to take a picture and save it before I tear the entire thing up, but I can't post it until after the holidays. I also don't love the yarn – it's just not soft enough for a scarf. Luckily Julie and I are heading over to Fiber Factory tomorrow, so maybe I'll find something softer that will work better.

The vest is progressing well – I got another 6 rows done at the meeting last night. I switched cable needles and I think that really helped my twists. I was using a wooden needle that was fatter on the ends and it was stretching my stitches too much. I borrowed a metal needle from my mom, the kind that makes a U in the center, and it's making prettier cables. I still have to work out the neckline – I don't really know how to make a sloping cable to match the v-neck, but hopefully I'll figure it out before I get there!

Just about halfway done with the body.

Today my knitting goal is to finish Vincent's hat and work on my secret project. I can't wait to get all this Christmas stuff done! I'm still ruminating about the Kidsilk Haze. I'm going to have to come up with a pattern for it at some point – I just want a simple lacy scarf, but I can't find anything I like so far. Hmmm.

My 100 things about me is now a link on the sidebar. I kind of miss writing 10 new things each day, so here is a list of 10 reasons to believe in ghosts:

1. My Aunt Pat used to live with a ghost named the Blue Lady at the Moss Beach Distillery in Half Moon Bay, California.
2. My friend Stacey has been to the Myrtles Plantation Bed and Breakfast in Louisiana where the ghosts tuck you in while you're sleeping.
3. Lincoln's ghost was spotted by Maureen Regan when her father was president.
4. My PACE teacher in grade school taught an entire section of class on the Lincoln Ghost train.
5. President Lincoln himself held séances to contact his dead son.
6. Have you seen the movie The Others?
7. How about Sixth Sense?
8. Christina Crawford heard ghosts in her house as a child, and since Joan died, unexplained fires have started behind her bed.
9. When I worked at the Stanford Park hotel, Albert the Bellman told me about the 4th floor being haunted. He had seen a ghost there and other employees had verified his claim.
10. At the Molly Brown House in Denver, a Victorian ghost has been photographed at the dining room table.

So there you have it. I think I've proven my point now Parley.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

On-line communities

So I've been blogging for a little over a month now, and reading other people's blogs for a bit longer, and I consider myself a part of this on-line "community" of sorts, at least peripherally. I find it fascinating, just reading about people, their pets and families, and whatever else they decide to share. Of course it's all ostensibly about knitting in one way or another.

But as with any community, on-line or real life, there tend to be scandals, uproars, and general goings-on that cause unhappiness or tension. One such thing happened yesterday. Wendy, of the famed WendyKnits decided to stop her blog. Completely. Here is her post:


Okay kids, this is it.
I think I'm done with blogging. I may be back someday, but for now, good-by. It's been fun.

On bloglines she has 426 subscribers, and her posts usually get about 20 or so odd comments. She is behind the Klaralund and Kitty Bed craze. Her site has all kinds of free patterns, tips, and inspiration for new and experience knitters alike.

And now she's gone, without an explanation.

There were many comments on her blog of course, but one was just too funny. Someone named Jayne said:

I realize blogging is a personal choice. But when one accrues an audience that's as large as yours,it's very, very unfair to just drop them all cold.

I can't be so kind as to consciously omit my feelings about your decision. I find it selfish. If the work is too demanding, post less often. But don't just quit... look how many people have already protested, in only two hours!

Um, yeah. I think people take things a little too seriously at times. I mean, sure, I'll miss reading about Wendy and her amazing knitting, but my god, I don't think my life will end without her. Jayne, maybe you should step away from the computer for a bit and get a real life.

There's something weird going on in the world, because a very similar event (well, similar in my mind at least) happened in my neighborhood this week. Our next door neighbors who we see occasionally coming and going and are very friendly just put a For Sale sign in their yard and a moving truck arrived this morning. We just ran into them last week at the neighborhood yard sale and they didn't say a word to us.

People are strange.

I'm not feeling well this morning – had a sore throat when I woke and am a bit achy. I hope I don't get a cold, there is so little you can take when you're pregnant. I did take some zinc and vitamin C, and went back to be for a while. Maybe it will go away.

I'm just about through with the first pattern on my illusion scarf. 210 rows is a lot, and I'm wondering if I should have modified the pattern to be a little smaller. It does look really cool though so I've decided to keep it.

Julie is finished with her baby blanket and almost finished with her sock. We have to take her out yarn shopping to get another project. I envy her getting to start a new project from scratch – no yarn in her closet, no pattern peeking out of her bag saying "Pick me next!" She can just roam the yarn store to hear hearts content and find something new and wonderful to knit. I wonder what it will be.

And now, the moment we've all been waiting for. The final ten things about me:

91. I don't trust doctors
92. I love carbohydrates, especially the bad ones
93. I think people are stronger than they know
94. I am often hypocritical.
95. I have incredibly vivid dreams
96. I root for the underdog
97. I get angry at people who let others take advantage of them.
98. I believe in ghosts, though I've never seen one.
99. I have a tendency to give unwanted advice, and sometimes not very nicely.
100. I am proud to live in America, even know when the rest of the world is looking down its nose at us. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

I'm going to try and figure out how to post a link to the entire list on my sidebar. We'll see if I'm smart enough.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Another convert

Carla came over yesterday morning for her knitting lesson. As you may have noticed I was in a horrible mood and had she been less of a friend she may have just left me to stew in my own unhappiness. As it was, we went to breakfast and she cheered me up a bit. Isn't it great to have friends like that?

We came back and started her lesson. This is the first time I've taught the throwing/English method of knitting and it worked very well. I will say it is easier to teach than Continental. She picked it up quickly and had more than an inch done on her practice square by the time she left. Her first project is a baby blanket for her friend who is having a baby in March – that should give her plenty of time. I'm going to recommend she use Lion Brand Homespun because it's so soft and will knit up quickly. I can't figure out yardage yet, so if anyone has suggestions let me know.

Here she is learning:

My SnB group was meeting at Pita Jungle yesterday afternoon, and even though I was tired and still a little cranky I went down to Chandler. I wanted to get everyone's opinion on my illusion scarf and see if I should keep going. The consensus was yes, it is a worthwhile project. At least it goes quickly – and I don't get bored because every other row I have to count stitches and make sure I work in pattern. Needless to say I did not work on it during the gathering – I know better than to try and count and talk.

It was fun to see everyone – Illanna's sweater looks great, although I guess she found a big error in the pattern, which probably explains why she was running out of yarn. Nick came towards the end with his lovely fancy scarf yarn, and a few people came and went. It was a good group – not too large.

But afterwards the real excitement starts. I walked out of the restaurant with Illanna and unlocked my car (the unlocky thing is on my key). When I sat down to turn on the car, the key was not on the ring. It fell off. Somewhere between the door of Pita Jungle and my car. I searched everywhere, in both my bags, in the backseat, under the car (no easy feat for a very pregnant girl to crawl around on the asphalt), seriously, everywhere. I even went back into the restaurant to ask if someone had brought it in. No luck.

Joe came and rescued me – we live about a half an hour away so I busied myself at Sprouts, the organic grocery store in the shopping center. He arrived, I walked him through what I did and where I went. He got in my car, dug in my knitting bag, and found the key. First of all, how the hell did the key get in my knitting bag? Second of all, of the three times I looked in there, why didn't I find it? This little adventure did not improve my mood or my level of tiredness. And eating an entire row of Fig Newmans didn't help either. When I got home I felt queasy and exhausted.

Parley came for dinner. Joe made chili and we sat around and talked about who we could possibly vote for in this election. Parley is another good kind of friend – we didn't even clean off the dining room table, we just sort of pushed stuff around so we could all fit. Oh, and he brought yellow tulips like we used to buy in New York – they haven't opened yet but they are going to be very pretty.

I forgot to mention I was using photobucket for my pictures now – it works great. You can upload your picture on that site and then copy the html code to your blog. I guess it works for ebay too, although I've never sold anything on ebay. Thanks Illanna for the tip.

I am taking a day off from my top ten, because I realized it's the final ten! I have to read through my list and make certain I have everything on there that I want. Don't fret though, the list will be back tomorrow.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Too Tired to Knit.....

Last night I tried to watch SNL and knit on the scarf, but I just couldn't keep my eyes open. Jude Law was hosting and he's just so pretty to look at, but even he couldn't keep me awake. I'm just about halfway through the pattern – I finished row 104 yesterday and the pattern goes up to row 210. I won't make my decision on the scarf until I have the entire pattern to look at, but it is still bothering me.

Yesterday was family day. We drove down to Chandler to see Gloria's new kitchen and Joe's Grandparents came over as well. So we hung out for a while and watched the end of a very disappointing Notre Dame game. Then in the evening we had dinner with my parents out on their patio in North Scottsdale – it was really lovely. But afterwards we had to go to a cocktail party for Joe's work. Do you know how unfun a cocktail party is when you're just about to give birth? I should have worn a t-shirt that said:

I'm due in three weeks
It's a boy
His name is Jack
Yes, I'm only having one

I got so tired of telling people about the baby I wanted to scream. And the stupid thin women exclaiming "Oh, you're so big!" Really people, someone is going to get slapped one of these days.

Today I woke up with a headache and a bad mood. I think poor Joe is glad he's going to work to get away from me.

Carla is coming over this morning and I'm finally going to teach her to knit. It will be good practice for my classes at Jessica's because I want to try to teach her to throw her yarn. It seems really time consuming, but I can see how it would be easier for a beginner to learn.

Illanna asked if I was going to teach Jack to knit and I'm certainly planning on it. I think Joe would be fine with it as long as I didn't make him do anything. Although it would be really funny to see Joe knit. You should visit Illanna's site, she has a recipe for adult hot chocolate that looks fantastic. Of course I can't have it now, but just wait until this crazy baby gets out of me.

To reflect my mood, the list of ten will be ten things I hate.

81. I hate to be hot. This makes living in Arizona pretty difficult in the summer.
82. I hate politics mixing where they don't belong.
83. I also hate realtors who try to use every social opportunity to sell houses, like weddings.
84. I hate when people mistreat animals. I can hardly watch Animal Cops sometimes because people are so horrible.
85. I hate junk mail. I feel like our house fills up with paper every week – I wish our mailbox had spam guard on it.
86. I hate to snow ski. It's so unnatural, and always too cold and expensive.
87. I hate parents who don't feed their kids breakfast, keep them up past midnight, and let them watch too much TV and then wonder why they don't succeed in school.
88. I hate crowded grocery stores, especially Trader Joe's because the aisles are too small at it seems like the people there stand and stare at the shelves a lot.
89. I hate to fold laundry.
90. I hate mushrooms. They are fungus. If you leave a wet towel on the floor long enough it will grow mushrooms. They are not for eating.

I hope everyone is in a better mood than me this morning. It is a lovely day here and hopefully I will be able to enjoy it a little.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

It Looks Like They're Knitting

Teaching 5th graders is HARD. Any of you out there who teach grade school, I give you a standing ovation. Out of the five I taught, two figured it out and one of those already knew how to knit. They don't sit still and wait their turn to ask for help like adults do. They sit and say "Ms. Brooke! Ms. Brooke! Something happened!" or "I don't get it!" or "This is too hard!" It didn't help that we haven't received our yarn yet (I ordered some bulky weight from Smileys), so we were using stuff they brought from home. Apparently Red Heart is the favored brand amongst the mothers of Mesa. And their needles were all too long. Hopefully next week, with better tools, we will be more successful.

Here are a few pictures of my students:

I learned a lot about teaching younger people. I will be much better prepared next week when we have some better yarn. This project is going to take a long time!

I left the school to have lunch with Parley. I can't fathom why he reads my knitting blog, but he does. It seems it would be very boring to someone who doesn't know knitting at all, but who I am to judge?

Then I headed to Jessica Knits. I seriously love her store. I just sat and knit with two other ladies for a while, one who was making a cabled blanket out of three yarns held together on size 17 needles. It was absolutely gorgeous and pretty expensive – I'm guessing she spent around $650 on yarn yesterday. The other woman was doing a felted bag, and she and I discussed the merits of bulky weight wool. She was using a Lambs Pride Red that was going to turn out great. It was fun to just hang out with people I didn't even know and talk about knitting.

Another girl arrived – Emily – who had applied to teach there as well. The three of us sat and talked about the specifics of the classes and what Jessica's vision for the future is for the store. To begin with she wants both of us to teach a 2 hour knitting introduction where the people just learn to cast on and knit. I'm waiting until after the baby is born to do my class because at this point I can go into labor at any minute. But Emily is going to start on Saturday and I'm going to sit in her class to see how it goes.

The only bad thing about the whole meeting was I have to learn to throw my yarn! I have always knitted continental, it just seems natural to me. Jessica wants everyone to learn the same way, so we will be teaching long tail cast on and yarn throwing. I'm sure I can figure it out, but my first attempt felt very awkward. It will help sitting in Emily's class while everyone learns this method.

I was up there for over four hours, and by the time I got home I was ready to collapse. I have tried not to be one of those pregnant women who lie on the couch and order their husbands to wait on them hand and foot, but last night was a bit exception. Joe went out to get me a burrito for dinner, then he did the grocery shopping, he bought me some Pralines and Cream at Baskin Robbins (yummy), and he rubbed my feet. Thank you Joe, I'm feeling much better today.

On the knitting agenda is to finish Vincent's hat and keep working on the scarf I don't like. Has anyone made an illusion scarf out there? The back is just yucky looking – did you sew fabric on it to cover it up or anything?

Here are ten more things about me, it's getting close to 100!

71. I drive a Mini Cooper. It's velvet red. You can see it in the background of this picture.

72. I don't really enjoy holidays, although I'm guessing they will be more fun with a kid around.
73. I think birthdays are more important than holidays.
74. My birthday is May 18th.
75. I don't wear very much jewelry. Right now I don't wear any because my stupid fingers look like Vienna sausages and my wedding rings don't fit.
76. I have long hair and I want to keep growing it. Sort of the earth mother look.
77. I don't trust people who are too nice.
78. I think Fear Factor is the dumbest show ever.
79. One of the best books ever written is The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I think her second book, Little Friend, was bit of a disappointment.
80. I really like fancy gift wrapping. I sometimes spend more money wrapping a gift then I did on the gift itself.

Friday, October 22, 2004

And the winner is.....

Jessica of the now famous Jessica Knits called me yesterday. We didn't get a chance to talk, but she left a message that she wants to schedule me to teach a class. Yay! I can't wait to talk to her and see what she has in mind. I'm only qualified to do beginning type classes or project-specific workshops, but I'm just so excited to jump in and start teaching. Having the baby soon puts a slight dent in my availability. But at least I can get started on samples and materials. I may head up there this afternoon to chat with her.

Yesterday we finally got some rain; I guess it came over from the big storms in Southern California. It made for some great napping. I got in bed to relax for the sole purpose of talking to Jack and convincing him it would be fun to come out on Halloween, because then his birthday would always be a costume party. Apparently I fell asleep for almost two hours. I love napping, especially when it's cold and rainy outside.

I did go to the doctor yesterday as well, for a full report you can visit Jack's blog (Yes, my unborn son has a blog. Yes, it's a bit much. Deal with it.) Nothing is happening though, no dilation, no effacement. Granted I'm only 36 weeks, but I'm ready to bring this little guy home!

Not a lot of knitting happened yesterday. I did about ten more rows on the illusion scarf and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I'll probably take it to SnB and see if anyone has good ideas. I also did a few more rows on the vest and another cable twist. I showed it to my mom the other night and she thinks my dad will like it. I'll take another picture in a bit, although it's not looking any different. I have to decide what to do with the cable once I reach the collar – it's a v-neck. I could continue the cable around both sides, maybe switch to a 2x2 twist instead of a 3x3?

Thanks Illanna for the comment yesterday. I'm glad someone is reading my blog everyday, I encourage you all to do so, lest you miss something important. And no, the vitamins are not shaped like Fred Flinstone. They are shaped like a heart. I was very relieved to find them actually – have you ever seen a pre-natal vitamin? They are about the size of a lime, and you're supposed to take them with food because they upset your stomach. Exactly what you need when you're first pregnant and sick.

I'm off in a bit to teach the 5th graders. Joe compares me to a televangelist, trying to convert people to knitting. Now I'm going after them while they are young….. he he he. Apparently some of them already knit, which is really cool.

To mix it up a bit, Julie, my friend for 27 years, is a guest speaker on the blog today. She offers 10 things about me to add to my list of 100. My comments are in italics after:

61. Brooke does not throw up. Brooke cannot be around someone else who is throwing up. Things should get really interesting once Jack is born. This is entirely true. I have no idea how I am going to handle a puking child. I personally have only thrown up once since I was eight, and no, it was not alcohol related.

62. Brooke is slow to anger and quick to forgive (unless you really piss her off...then it could take up to a year). A year is the maximum I will be mad at someone. Unless you date my ex-husband and end up having his baby a month before the divorce is final. Then I don't think I can be friends with you anymore. Sorry.

63. Brooke's parents are two of the coolest you people you will ever meet. Very true. I still think they can do anything, including magic.

64. Brooke canoed the Panama Canal in sixth grade. It was eighth grade, actually. Further proof that my family is more adventurous than I am.

65. We had a clique in fourth grade called the Oxford Club and all of our energies were devoted to harrassing Becky Butler. We were successful and wound up in the Principal's office. Didn't we tell her that to be in the club she had to jump off the roof at Jenny Jansen's house?

66. Brooke once dated a guy whose job was to cut off lizards' heads in the name of research. They were salamanders, not lizards. Or maybe it was newts.

67. Not too long ago, Brooke tied a stuffed Grinch to the grill of my Blazer and I drove around for a week before I realized it was there. I plead the 5th.

68. Brooke should have been a teacher. Except for the fact that I don't really like kids. Another interesting point since I'm having one.

69. At the end of a Peacemakers concert, the drummer walked up to Brooke, picked her up, and kissed her. It was the bass guitarist. There was no warning, he just walked out and picked me up. Not surprisingly, he is no longer with the band.

70. In high school we got caught after having a party at Brooke's parents' house even though the place was spotless. We foolishly left a receipt for a case of Keystone in her Mom's car. My poor parents. Sorry mom, but you did leave town the weekend of my seventeenth birthday. What did you expect?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

New knitting rules

I woke up obnoxiously early this morning – I think it was 5:30. Maybe I'm excited about my doctor's appointment this afternoon or something. I have been very productive – cleaning up the kitchen, which looked like students from the culinary institute were living in our house, and doing laundry. Both Joe and I are messy, so our house gets out of hand every single week, especially the day before the maids come. This is why we are having a kid, we're hoping he likes to do dishes and carry out the garbage.

Yesterday I decided to try and graph an illusion scarf. Of course I can't just make one that someone else has made already, I had to create my own pattern. Let me tell you something – those graphs are hard. I made a math mistake (big surprise) on the graph and it was all out of whack. When I finally cast on I ended up ripping out four times. Four!

Here are some rules I need to follow when knitting:

The pattern is most likely correct. If you start to think you're all fancy and better than the pattern writer, you are wrong.
If you think you are capable of modifying a pattern and copying things down correctly, you are wrong. Double check your work. (I sound like my high school algebra teacher. I hate to think she was right.)
If it looks wrong it probably is. If the pattern says you're on the right side and it looks distinctly like a wrong side, you have messed up.
If you have to rip something out, don't get mad at the thing. It's your own fault.

So now I have about 20 rows of the scarf complete, the illusion is showing up correctly, and I'm not sure I like it. I think the colors are too harsh. I may have to rethink the entire project. Of course it's a gift, and of course it is going to someone who reads my blog, so I can't post it here. I will keep going for a bit and see how I feel.

Last night we met at Mama Javas for Stitch n Bitch. It was our biggest turnout there yet – I think there were about 30 people. They were giving me a hard time about being afraid of tuna, but I don't think they realize how big a tuna is. Bigger than some people I know, and entirely too big to be staring out at me from a wall.

I missed the Red Sox game for knitting. Not that I'm a big baseball fan or anything, but I am happy for them. With so much speculation about the curse being lifted I think the pressure may get to them again, but who knows? Maybe Babe will have pity on them.

You might have noticed above that I mentioned casting on again. Yep, that's right, four projects on needles. I'm not even counting the swatches I'm doing for the 5th graders for tomorrow. Vincent's hat should be quick to finish and so should the secret project, but the scarf and sweater vest are going to take a while. Yikes, it's five projects. I keep forgetting about my cabled blanket on needles in a drawer.

I took a look at Illana's Knitted Gifts book last night. I've decided to add it to my Amazon wish list for Christmas. I looked at the scarf pattern for the Rowan Kidsilk Haze and it was somewhat of a disappointment. It was just a row of yarn overs and knit two togethers followed by 10 rows of knitting. Not very interesting. I'd like to find something with a bit of a scalloped edge to it. I might just make something up using the stitch guide on Not that I need to be worrying about that right now anyway.

So I finally tried to take back that black Alpaca Boucle yarn I have. I went to Arizona Knitting and Needlepoint where I bought the yarn, but for some reason the receipt wasn't in the bag. The woman at the counter said "You have to have your itemized receipt for an exchange. Otherwise there isn't a way for us to know if you bought the yarn from us or from some other yarn shop." Okay, I see the logic if I was trying to get money out of them, but they clearly sell this yarn, I clearly bought it there, why would I try to return something to a store other than where I bought it? The owner was there, the woman said she would go get her to talk to me. About 30 seconds later she came back and said "I'm sorry, there is nothing we can do." Rebecca, the owner, didn't even bother to come up and talk to me herself.

So here's the moral of the story. I will look for the receipt and if I find it, go back to make the exchange. And that will be the last time I darken the door of that horrid little yellow house. If they were the last people selling yarn on this earth I would knit grass from my yard before I would give them another dime. I even took their link off my sidebar. I'll show them.

I know I'm inherently cranky right now due to this humungous child I'm carting around in my belly, but still. I just want a different color yarn. I can't help it if I don't want a black sweater.

And now, ten more things about me:

51. I believe all people are inherently good and do the right thing.
52. But, they often don't. I haven't figured out why.
53. I was married once before, very young, to the wrong man.
54. I love the sound of windchimes.
55. I also love rain, but not too much. (In Northern California it rained from November to April. That's too much.)
56. I once met Ben Affleck and was so completely star struck I couldn't say a word.
57. I was pro-choice until I got pregnant.
58. I think Chris Rock is funny.
59. I can't swallow most pills – just advil and coated Tylenol. I had to get chewable pre-natal vitamins.
60. Joe and I were blessed by the Pope in Rome on our honeymoon.

Don't forget there is a knit-in at Jesssica Knits tonight! I probably won't be able to make it but it should be lots of fun. Her store is a perfect place to hang out an knit.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Queen of Dropped Stitches

So I dropped the 4 stitches in Anne's poncho somehow. Fixed those. Then I was knitting on my dad's vest and dropped a stitch right in the cable pattern. Fixed that, although now the area looks loose and is annoying me. And then, to top it off, I cast on for Vincent's hat and was working the skull pattern when I dropped a stitch. Once the pattern was over things looked weird so I counted my stitches. Somehow in picking up the dropped stitch I created another one. Sheesh. I just decreased and moved on. He's five, I'm hoping he doesn't notice.

So I have three projects on needles now – zero to three in such a short time. When I'm done with these I will be almost completely done with Christmas, and it's only October! I'm so proud of myself I could dance. I keep wondering if my knitting days will be over once Jack arrives – will he take all my creative energy? I certainly hope not.

I can only show one of my projects – the other two are being kept away from Christmas peekers. Here is the vest for my dad

I had a funny conversation with my friend Parley yesterday. He said "So when did you get so in to knitting?" He reads my blog (hi Parley!) and apparently shares Joe's attitude that I am becoming obsessed. But I reminded him that I've been going to Stitch and Bitch since January, and we meet 2-3 times a month. He said that sounded a little familiar. Sometimes I get the feeling he's not always listening to me.

Becky mentioned in a comment that her sister owns an Alpaca. How cool is that? I keep trying to convince Joe we need one, or a sheep or even a goat but he's not convinced. I think it would be nice for Guido and Lucca to have a pet. I told him about Becky's sister's Alpaca and that I wanted to learn to spin its hair. Of course that would involve another piece of equipment (not a cheap one, I imagine), but it would be smaller than buying an entire Alpaca.

Before I get on to the next ten things about myself, here is a picture of the sunset from our street yesterday.

And here are the next ten things – I'm halfway to 100!

41. I love the Indigo Girls and have seen them live twice a very long time ago.
42. I also love Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. They used to be the Refreshments. They are brilliant.
43. I do not like London or Venice.
44. I want to learn to fly fish.
45. I watch Ellen DeGeneres every day.
46. I am obsessed with TiVo
47. I like to go to the zoo, although I can't understand why they got rid of the alligators. It was one of the scariest and most exciting exhibits when I was small.
48. I am afraid of whales and almost all sea life. I once had to leave a party at an aquarium because the tuna were watching me.
49. Oddly, I love the ocean, boats, and fishing.
50. When we travel I prefer to rent houses instead of stay in hotels.

Tonight is Stitch-n-Bitch at Mama Javas! Hope to see some of you there. (Parley, you're welcome to come and learn if you want.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Just FYI – blocking and fringing do not count as knitting

I did not knit one single stitch yesterday. I blocked Anne's poncho, wove in the ends and added the fringe. The weirdest thing happened to the poncho – a huge hole appeared on one edge, as if I had dropped 4 stitches. The worst part was trying to pick them back up because the yarn is black. I figured it out the best I could and I have these stitches on a holder. I can't imagine what happened, but I'm glad I found it, otherwise the whole thing may have unraveled on her.

Taking the day off from knitting was harder than I thought it would be. I had to escape the house full of projects so I wouldn't be tempted. I tried to go to Arizona Knitting and Needlepoint and see if they will exchange the rest of the Alpaca Boucle I have for something in a more pleasing color, but they were closed! Now, I understand why Jessica Knits is closed, since it's only her right now, but these people have employees! And lots of customers! Why on earth are they closed on a Monday? I was annoyed.

Speaking of Jessica, she posted a message on our Stitch-n-Bitch board looking for instructors. I felt like jumping up and down yelling "pick me! pick me!" I would love to teach knitting, especially at her store. I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to do with myself once this baby is born. I don't want a full time job, but having no job and no money of my own has been very hard for me. I think this is a perfect solution. I told Joe and he commented that it might actually be more expensive for me to work there, surrounded by yarn, especially since I've been trying not to buy it for so long. He thinks the dam will break and I'll just go crazy or something. No, not me. I'm too sane and controlled for that. Ha!

My hands still hurt today, even though I didn't knit yesterday. I can do one of two things. 1. Rest for another day, hoping they get better. 2. Decide the pain is some weird pregnancy-induced problem, take a Tylenol and work on my dad's vest. Hmmm. Tough decision, but I think I'll go with the latter.

And in keeping up with the RAOK ring, here are ten more things about me. (Some people did all 100 at the same time. That's too hard):

31. I am a Republican (gasp! choke! cough!) and refuse to discuss politics while knitting, or blogging about knitting.
32. Someday I want to own an Alpaca and spin my own yarn from his fur (hair?)
33. I am addicted to reality tv. Especially the Bachelor.
34. I love to read.
35. My favorite author is Ernest Hemingway. I don't care that he depicted women in a bad light, that boy can write.
36. I turned 13 here:

after hiking 20 miles down the Grand Canyon.
37. I am not nearly as adventurous as my family.
38. I turned 30 here:

with room service and housekeepers galore
39. I watched all of Princess Diana's funeral, in the middle of the night, sitting on my couch by myself.
40. I also watched her entire wedding, also in the middle of the night, with all my friends from grade school.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Stone Fruit Season is Officially Over!

It's funny to read all these knitting blogs from people in cold places. Someone in Calgary had a picture of the snow that fell in her yard the other day, and others are discussing the setting of heaters and pulling out of wool clothes. Our summer just barely ended here, and for the first time I'm eating apples in my granola instead of peaches and apricots. I'm ready for some cold weather – they are claiming the lows will be in the 50s this week, so maybe I'll get to put on a sweater.

The wedding yesterday was wonderful. I love when people get married, especially when I like them so much. Here is a picture of the happy couple, Edward and Amanda:

Needless to say they were both surprised to see my huge belly. It was fun finally getting them back for not telling me they were dating for almost 8 months!

Shannon asked where in the Bay Area we lived. We were first in Palo Alto and then in Mountain View. We were about 30 minutes from San Francisco down the peninsula, and about 20 minutes from the coast. I really loved it there, but housing was so expensive. It's nice to be back where we can afford to live in a house that isn't about to fall down.

On the knitting front I am taking the day off today. My hands are swollen and hurt as if I have arthritis or something. I'm not doing anything else so it has to be from knitting. But the strange thing is, they don't hurt while I'm knitting, just when I make a fist or wiggle my fingers. I'm going to ask my doctor if that's normal. I know swelling is normal, but why would they hurt like this?

I did work on my dad's vest yesterday, and adding the cable was a great idea. It's looking good and it makes the work go so much faster. It's difficult to put down because I like it so much, but I really do need to rest my fingers. What the heck am I going to do all day? Maybe I should go to the library or a movie or something.

And now, ten more things about me:

21. I am overwhelmingly afraid I will leave my baby somewhere – in the car, at the store, in a shopping cart, etc
22. On a related note, I can often be absentminded.
23. I cry at weddings.
24. When I'm not pregnant, I do sprint distance triathlons. (Swim ½ mile, Bike 15 miles, Run 3 miles)
25. I play the piano, although I don't currently own one.
26. I don't like crowds.
27. I do yoga. My favorite studio is At One Yoga
28. My favorite movie ever is The Princess Bride.
29. I learned how to shoot a gun when I was five years old and I'm a pretty good shot.
30. I would like to own a house somewhere snowy, with a big fireplace and a comfy chair looking out a window.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Single Tail Cast-On

I attempted single tail cast on yesterday when re-starting my father's vest. I think this cast on method is only meant for thicker yarn, because the Notre Dame game was almost over and I still hadn't knit my first row. Getting the needle into those stitches is hard – I wonder if it would work better with pointier needles. Then, since I am so bad at math, I ended up putting the cable pattern under the left arm instead of right in the middle. Part of my problem is that I wanted the cable pattern to extend into the ribbing (ala Yarn Harlot) so it was already ruined by my first row of knitting. I pulled the whole thing out. By the time USC trounced all over the top of poor ASU, however, I was on my way.

Now I have one additional math problem – I think my cable is still six stitches off. I started reading the bind off directions for the armholes, and I'm going to alter them and start binding off six stitches before the marker. I hope this doesn't ruin the vest – is it a small enough mistake? We'll see.

My kidsilk haze is beckoning to me from its small brown bag. I will not start anything with it until all Christmas presents are finished, but I take it out and feel it every now and again. If anyone has a good lacy scarf pattern for this lovely stuff please let me know. There was a cute one in that Knitted Gifts book, but I hate to buy an entire book for just one pattern. Here is the yarn, I took it out this morning to inspire me a little:

Today we are going to a wedding at noon – who gets married on a Sunday at noon? If it wasn't Edward and Amanda, who I love dearly, I wouldn't go. Especially considering my current condition. The best part is they don't know I’m pregnant. They are living in Hawaii so we haven't seen them in quite some time and I never told them. I have a feeling they will be quite surprised when they see me. (You may think this is a mean thing to do to someone on their wedding day, but Edward is notorious for not telling me things and then surprising me later. So I'm merely retaliating just a little bit.)

I'm continuing my list of 100 things about me. Here is 11-20:

11. I have two spoiled dogs who are going to be in for a shock when the baby gets here.
12. My husband cooks dinner for me every night.
13. I love to knit in the round.
14. I used to be a gardener until I moved back to the desert.
15. My brother is 35 and lives in Denver with his wife and 3 kids. I am often sad that he won't move here so our kids can grow up together.
16. I am a Taurus.
17. I love Italy, and would go back to the Amalfi Coast in a second.
18. I love the Opera. My husband started taking me when we lived near San Francisco and it was amazing.
19. I eat a brownie every day. I read it was good for the baby. This habit will cease once he is born.
20. I love flowers – fresh cut, dried, growing on the plant, any kind of flowers. They are just so happy.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

My Wonderful Mother in Law

I have the best mother in law in the universe. She came to take me out to lunch yesterday because she had the day off (she was supposed to be doing report cards, but who cares about that?). I showed her the kids knitting book and the swatch I knit for the blanket.

We had a wonderful lunch at Barrio Café. I highly recommend this establishment, the food is divine. Go early like we did though, because otherwise you'll wait for a table. So we had our lunch and talked about knitting and the baby of course. She's going to learn to knit right along with the kids (another convert I hope?)

I can't really pinpoint a specific reason why she is so wonderful. Maybe it's because she agrees to reason with her son for me when he complains that the baptism I'm planning is too fancy. Or maybe it's because she brings me Vogue magazines because soon I will be able to buy real clothes again. She is completely supportive of everything Joe and I do, and she does small nice things and big nice things all the time. And when I spend time with her I love my husband just a little bit more. She is the role model for all mother-in-laws. I always tell Joe that 90% of his success can be attributed directly to his mother. I think he probably agrees. I just hope I can be as good of a mother to my son as she is to him.

Today we have two football games to watch, so I should get a lot of knitting done. I hope to finish my mom's double secret project and maybe work on my dad's sweater vest. I think I've decided on one small cable up the front – I think he will like it and the knitting won't be quite so dull.

Many online knitters, mostly in cold places, have been taking pictures of the sky and fall foliage where they live. Arizona's not much for fall foliage, but here is the view from my office. It's 66 degrees this morning and absolutely glorious. This is the time of year when we are all relieved that the miserable summer has ended and we can actually breathe again.

Another thing people are doing is making lists called 100 things about me. I have started mine, and here are the first 10, in no particular order:

I do not like being pregnant.
I am messy and disorganized
I live in a house that was built in 1935
I love beverages – I drink lots of water and tea. I always have a beverage in my hand
I simply adore wine. It is a travesty that you can't drink during pregnancy.
I lived in New York for six long months.
I lived in the San Francisco Bay area for 3 glorious years.
I'm back in Arizona, and happy about it except for the weather.
I wake up every day and realize how incredibly lucky I am
I love a good hot bubble bath. Or mineral bath. Or any kind of bath.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Back in the Office!

For most people this sounds bad, but I'm so excited I can hardly stand it! I have an office on the back of our property – it used to be a garage but the former owner converted it into a studio guest house. I have a desk and a sofa, wireless internet, music and a work table. I love it out here, but it's absolutely unbearable in the summer months – the tiny air conditioner cannot keep up with 112 degree heat. Now that fall has partially arrived to sunny Arizona I can come out here and "work". (Right now that involves finishing the laundry and reading blogs, but at least I'm not stuck in the house all day.)

My mother is on vacation to Portland visiting her cousins. I am posting a picture of the top secret project for her, and I'll take it down before she gets home on Sunday. I wasn't sure about it at first, and I've ripped it out twice already, but I think this time it's a keeper. My knitting friends approved it on Wednesday night and said I only didn't like it because I was holding it too close to me. (Okay, I just took it out - sorry if you missed it.)

I've been reading and reading and reading these RAOK blogs – there are 150 people total in the group and that is a lot of reading. I am constantly amazed by the talent and perseverance of these women. And I am learning a ton – thrumming, steaking, all kinds of things I'd never heard of before.

A few things have jumped out at me as odd though. So many people are making that Klaralund sweater. Kirsten in our SnB group is also making it, and it is cute. Here's a picture if you don't know what I'm talking about:

It seems like every other blog I read has a Klaralund update. How does someone get so popular?

The other thing – and I am not meaning to offend anyone – but what's up with all the cat beds? And people making them out of really expensive yarn? I must be missing something. I like cats and all, and I will consider knitting my dog a sweater, but I feel like everyone is making a cat bed.

I'm having lunch today with my mother-in-law Gloria to go over our plan for the 5th graders knitting. We have to get started pretty soon since the baby is coming. I bought the Kids Knits book and the woman was on Knitty Gritty yesterday as well. She demonstrated the single tail cast-on and it does seem like that will be easier to teach. I can't wait to have pictures of the kids to put up on my blog.

My friend Julie is due 10 days before me – she went to the doctor yesterday and she's starting to have contractions and she's a very little bit dilated! It still could be a while, but I was alarmed! We're supposed to have another month to get ready for these little people.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

You are getting verrrrryyyyyy sllleeeeeppppyyyy......

Yesterday I took two naps and I slept in late. If I wasn't so pregnant I would think I had been bitten by a a TseTse Fly. Because of Lucca's injury I decided to stay home all day and start knitting on my double secret project. It's coming along much better than I expected and it's a quick knit, so I may have it done this week.

I still haven't decided what to do with dad's vest. To cable or not to cable? I should cast on and at least work the ribbing rows for now.

I watched 3 episodes of Knitty Gritty on TiVo. I love that show – I can't believe some people don't get the DIY Network. They made furry cuffed mittens that were different than mine – no thumb gusset. It seemed easier than what I did, except for the fact that she used five double pointed needles instead of four. I'm not sure why – it wasn't that big of a mitten to begin with. I think four would work just fine. I was happy to hear the designer say she had once made two left mittens – I didn't feel so bad.

I've also been trying to catch up on all the RAOK blogs since I finally figured out bloglines If you read a lot of blogs, this service is fantastic. It tells me who posted to their blogs since I last checked, so I don't have to go through everyone and read the same posts over and over. (Some people don't update their blogs every day. Imagine that. They must have a real life.)

And speaking of RAOK, I'm going to be a recipient of a bunch of yarn to help with my 5th graders. Dani from the RAOK is sending me this yarn – there are even some squares already crocheted we can use in our blankets. Thank you Dani!

On another note, a woman at Jessica Knits got me thinking yesterday (After I got over her telling me I was really big and looked like I was having twins. Kim's a witness this time, and I just can't fathom what would make someone say that to me.) Anyhow, she said she knit for her grandkids and they were completely ungrateful. So were their parents for that matter. I should have asked her why she still knit for them if she felt that way. But I didn't. I was still fuming at that moment. (Seriously, anyone reading this out there, please tell your pregnant friends they look great. They already feel big enough, they don't need someone to remind them of the fact.)

For me, I knit gifts for people because I enjoy knitting, and I like the idea that I'm giving something with a little bit of thought and work. Sometimes the holidays can seem like we're all just passing around the same $20 bill, and with knitting I feel like my gifts are just a little bit special. Will the person completely appreciate the hours put into the item? Probably not, unless they are a fellow knitter. But if you give a gift expecting something in return, it's really not a gift is it?

So anyone who receives a knitted gift from me, know that I enjoyed making it, and I enjoyed making it for you. If you don't like it or don't ever wear it, all the same to me.

And lastly, we had a casual knit-in at Lux Coffeebar last night. There were 8 of us there, escaping the hoopla of having the presidential debate in town. Smaller groups like that are fun – you really get to spend more time talking to the same people. Julie brought her sock and I taught her the Kitchner Stitch to close up the toe. I am so proud of her sock! The yarn is fantastic – same as I bought for my socks but in a different color. She cast on for the second one and was doing a great job when we left.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

This is Lucca, my now injured dog. Posted by Hello

I Want to be My Dog

Yesterday afternoon my lovely Miniature Pinscher, Lucca, somehow got a huge splinter in her leg from the fence. (The vet called it a stick, which is a little on the dramatic side I think.) She was screaming like a banshee – I swear I have never heard an animal make such a noise. I was able to pull one splinter out, but the other was completely under the skin and she was bleeding.

The vet brought out the estimate for knocking her out and getting the splinter. I looked at my husband and said "Do you know how much yarn I could buy for that amount of money?" He rolled his eyes and signed the paper. We even paid an extra $8 for the better anesthesia so we could bring her home last night. She doesn't do well sleeping away from home. Nor does she do well with Elizabethan Collars, so I get to watch her all day and make sure she doesn't fuss with the staples.

And why do they use staples anyway? Hasn't medical science come up with anything better to close up the skin of a dog?

On the knitting front, yesterday was a last minute trip to Jessica Knits with Kim. What a wonderful place, full of inspiration and just so much wonderful yarn. On the drive up I decided to pull out my dad's vest completely and start over. I wasn't happy with the ribbing on the bottom, and now I'm wondering if I should put a small cable up the front. The pattern is very plain, he picked it because he liked where the shoulders ended. I think if I put a little embellishment in it the sweater would be that much more interesting and it wouldn't be just 15 inches of knitting knitting knitting.

I did buy one ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze. It's like having a single bite of chocolate cake when you're on a diet. I am going to knit it up into some type of lacy scarf and see how I like working with it before I set out for an entire sweater.

Now I have to get something back on needles for tonight. A few of us are checking out a new place called Lux Coffeebar for possible Stitch n Bitch meetings. It will definitely work during the day, but I'm afraid at night it might be too dark. We'll see. But as of right now I have nothing to work on, just a lot of yarn sitting and staring at me.

Carla didn't make it over yesterday, she was flying in from a business trip and was too tired. She seems really excited to learn and I can't wait to have a new convert. Julie, my first protégé, just completed her first sock. I feel so proud. With her I learned that you should never have a beginner tackle a baby blanket – it just takes to damn long to finish. I think she's been working on that stupid thing for 3 months.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sweater Vest for dad. 2" done, 12 more to go Posted by Hello

On to the next Christmas Project

I picked up my next project yesterday. It's a sweater vest for my dad made out of this lovely wool and silk yarn that is tweedy and knits up very soft. It's slow going, however, because the body is plain knitting in the round and the needles are only size six. Originally I had cast on to do at the knit out. Ha! So much for that – knit out was more like talk-out for me. Of all the Christmas presents I'm making this one makes me the most nervous. It has to fit him for one. I'm not certain I'm qualified to make something fit a real live person. I hope it comes out okay.

Speaking of knit out, someone just found an article about the New York Knit-Out. 35,000 people showed up! We would have been in a mess of trouble with that many people. I think that is the official city though, and the Craft Yarn Council puts it on, so they probably spend all year planning for it. I think next year we'll have more activities, but I doubt we'll ever be that big. (I don't think we would want to – what a load of work that would be!)

I found some great needles and yarn for my 5th graders knitting project. Smiley's yarn has some Bernat Soft Chunky on sale for $1.99 a ball. Granted it's not yarn I would normally buy, but it will be perfect for the kids to learn. I'm also getting 10 inch size 10 needles from there for around $3 each. So the entire project is going to cost less than $100. I'm really pleased – I think the PTO will just pay for it and we won't have to worry about trying to get donations. (It's just impossible to get companies to donate stuff these days. Almost not worth the effort in most cases.)

My friend Carla is coming over today to learn how to knit. I just love teaching new people and seeing them get hooked. I bought her some worsted weight yarn and size 8 needles, although I may switch her to tens instead – they are just so much easier to see the stitches.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Dumb Mittens

So Mary's 2nd mitten was almost complete – I just had to stitch up the thumb – when I realized a huge mistake. I made 2 right mittens. They were identical. 2 perfect mittens for someone with 2 right hands.

Maybe someday I will learn my lesson. Don't try complicated knitting during a knitting committee meeting. Don't talk when you are reading a pattern that requires ANY amount of thinking. Knit something easy, something that only requires back and forth knitting. Why can't I learn this lesson?

So I ripped out the mitten to just below the thumb. Joe was sitting next to me on the couch and said "Did something bad just happen?" Yes, your wife is an idiot. She forgot that the thumb has to go the other way on the second mitten.

I stayed up and finished it though – I just couldn't bear to not get it done.

Two mittens complete Posted by Hello
Now my projects to-do list is as follows:

Dad's vest
Mom's secret gift
Baby Vincent's Hat (I used the yarn for Anne's poncho, so I have to get more)
Cabled blanket
Pockets for Grover, the felted bag
Maybe stockings for us for Christmas. Maybe.

And that's it! I do have some wool my mom bought me on sale at Bonnie's a while back, and it will most likely be another felted creation. I also have some Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere that I have never figured out what to do with since it's off white. Oh, and one skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn. AND the wool that was supposed to be for Madeline's hat. Hmmm.

So just maybe I will get to start a project for me soon. I want to have something in mind to work on after the baby is here – I am getting various opinions about whether or not I'll be able to nurses and knit at the same time, but I'm hoping it will work. Otherwise that seems like a lot of sitting around.

Thanks to Kae for the suggestions to allow anonymous comments – I didn't even realize that was a setting! Now everyone can feel free to comment at will without having a blogger account.

And Illana, I didn't use the Ann Norling pattern (I love Ann Norling though, I made an elf hat of hers for the baby that is adorable.) I took a picture of the pattern so you can see it – I got it at Fiber Factory for $3. I'm bringing it to SnB on the 20th to show Alison, so you can take a look as well. It's decidedly unfancy, which is exactly what I wanted.

mitten pattern from 1985 Posted by Hello
We had a great SnB Committee meeting yesterday. We went to Duck and Decanter for lunch, which I love, and sat outside. It's still a little warm to sit outside but they had the misters on, so it was pretty comfortable. Our group has grown so much, it's really exciting to see how many knitters are in the area and want to get together. We're planning for an e-newsletter and a holiday party right now, and more workshops after the first of the year.

I have to go to JoAnn's today to price needles and yarn for my 5th grade knitting project. I'd like to get at least one blanket done with them and I think we can with 28 people plus me and Gloria. She doesn't know how to knit yet, but I'll get her started. I'm only teaching them the knit stitch at first, so it should be pretty easy. Michelle suggested size 10 needles and bulky yarn, so the squares will go quickly.

My feet still hurt from Saturday's excursions. I suppose there is a delicate balance between walking every day and walking so much I harm my poor little feet. Maybe I will get a pedicure this afternoon.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Wearable Art?

I'm still trying to figure out blogger and how to get things where I want them to be. I'm thinking I have to make several posts on the same day in order to get the pictures interspersed with the text, so that's what I'm trying now.

What a day we had yesterday. Baptism class (a complete waste of a good Saturday morning if you ask me), a trip to the fair, and the Wearable Art Auction. I did have time for a nap fortunately; otherwise I don't think I would have made it.

I'll start with the Art Auction. Kim and I wanted to check it out and see just what they meant by wearable art, and I still don't have a clear definition. The items that went for the most money were dresses and clothes that had been painted or made with interesting items. One was a velvet painting of a matador cut up and sewn into the bodice of the dress. There was also a ceramic necklace that slightly resembled something from the King Tut exhibit – I don't know what the people bidding on it were planning to do, but it certainly didn't look wearable to me.

We're going to talk about it more in our committee meeting today, because the people who put it on wanted us to donate items. I'm not sure what we would donate, but I guess we could come up with something. Here we are at the auction with Kim's husband Jonny. We found a couch and planted ourselves there for the night. (Jonny is a Rugby player and the social chairman for the Camelback Rugby Club. Apparently it's very big here, I had no idea. So if any of you are interested in Rugby you should check it out.)

Jonny, Kim and I at the art auction Posted by Hello
Even though I said I wasn’t going to knit yesterday, I forgot the Notre Dame game was on. So Joe and I watched it and I knit a little. Mittens are the fastest thing in the world – I should have just knit them for everyone. Here is my one completed mitten for Mary and the start of the second. (Illana asked what the yarn was. The white fur is Pattons Allure and the blue is just some worsted weight wool I picked up at Fiber Factory. The pattern is one i found for basic mittens - I didn't want to use the SnB pattern because I didn't know how to make it smaller. This pattern has kids sizes, which made it easier.)

One mitten done, one to go Posted by Hello
The fair was fun, but it's still too hot here. I think the high was 99 degrees, and of course we were there in the hottest part of the day. It seems smaller to me somehow, I guess because most of my memories of the fair are from when I was a kid. We ate corndogs and saw the animals, but we didn’t ride any rides. I would have liked to see their faces if I tried to get on one like the spin coaster.

This is the biggest cow they had. I'm not quite as big as him. Posted by Hello

Goat Exhibit Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 09, 2004

It's Poncho Mania

I finished knitting Anne's poncho last night, now all I have to do is add some fringe. I wish I could put up a picture, it turned out perfect. I'm really happy with the yarn and the pattern. I'll probably make myself one after the Christmas presents are complete – maybe in a burgundy or even something variegated. The pattern, as I mentioned before, comes from the Yarn Harlot blog. The pattern is a link on the side, called "A Very Harlot Poncho". I highly recommend this blog as part of your daily reading.

Yesterday afternoon I went to Kim's house to eat lunch and knit. Julie came and turned her first heel on the socks from sock workshop. She also learned how to decrease and pick up stitches (which we all agreed is no fun at all). It was nice to just sit around and knit all day again, I get a lot done and it's more social than just sitting in my house looking at my dogs.

I'm so pleased with Julie's progress! Probably we should have given her a quicker first project because her baby blanket is taking forever as baby blankets are wont to do. I think when she finishes this sock she will be happy to have something completed. It's so fun to teach someone to knit. I'm teaching Carla this week – I bought her some wool ease and some size 8 needles and we'll be good to go.

As you can see from the picture below I started on Mary's mittens. I'm not certain how I feel about the fur, but I'm going to keep going and see how it looks in the end. I've never made a mitten before and I understand the thumb can be a problem. Once I get it figured out though they should go quickly.

Unfortunately my left hand is all cramped up again – when I woke up in the night (thank you, young Jack), I tried not to notice the pain and swelling and the claw-like resemblance. Today is pretty busy so I won't have much time to knit anyway. Hopefully the hand will heal in time for Saturday Night Live and I can work on the mitten again.

Tonight is the Wearable Art Auction hosted by Artlink in downtown Phoenix. We don’t really know what to expect. I don't think we have anyone auctioning off stuff this year, but hopefully we can check it out and get ideas for next year. Kim and Johnny are going, but I'm not sure about anyone else from the group.

Also today I will be attending the Arizona State Fair to eat a corn dog and look at some cows. AND we have baptism class this morning (what the heck is baptism class anyway? I can't imagine what they are going to teach us.) What a busy day for me, I hope I have time for a nap.

Beginnings of Mary's Mitten Posted by Hello

Friday, October 08, 2004

Yarn Weight demystified

Okay, I admit I'm slow. I have always hated trying to figure out yarn weight when I have a pattern but want to use different yarn. This goes right along with my aversion to swatching. (Plus, it is annoying that yarns don't always say what weight they are, they just tell you the number of stitches per 4 inches) Suddenly yesterday I found something that converted stitches per 4 inches to weights. The Elann site has this way of searching by weight. (Thanks Illana for sending me there)

So for the rest of you that have this same problem, here is what I learned. The following are the types of yarn weight and the number of stitches per 4 inches, which is what is usually found on the yarn label and in patterns:

8-11 Polar
12-14 Bulky
15-16 Chunky
17-18 Aran
19-20 Worsted
21-23 DK (that stands for double knit? Am I right? I'm assuming it's not Donna Karan)
24-26 Sport
27-29 Fingering (same as sock? I'm still researching that)
33-40 Lace

This may seem rudimentary to some of you life-long knitters. But the farther I delve into this world of yarn the happier I am when I learn new things. Maybe one day I'll be able to read an entire pattern and have it make sense!

The next exciting bit of news has to do with my Mother-in-Law Gloria. She is a fifth grade teacher and I volunteer in her classroom every now and then. She called last night and asked me if I would teach her class how to knit! How fun will that be? I'm going to have them make blankets for the Thomas J. Pappas school in downtown Phoenix. This school is for homeless children and one item on their wish list is blankets. If every kid in the class makes a square we will have a few blankets to donate. I'm really looking forward to this activity. If it goes well I may have them make holiday gifts for their families (maybe felted potholders or something similar?)

I'm having lunch with fellow knitters Kim and Julie today. I will probably finish Anne's poncho by tonight, and move on to the mittens for Mary. Vincent's hat is last – those should both be done in the next week. Dad's vest, Mom's secret gift, and then I'm done with Christmas! Maybe I will get to make stockings after all? I would really like to have them for Jack's first Christmas.

The RAOK group has been fun – trying to read 150 blogs is a lot but there are some incredibly talented women in the group. I've already received a $5 tea gift certificate, 2 audio books and several e-cards. I have to decide what to send and who to send it to now!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

New Blog Name: Cranky Knitter

I got myself all in a funk yesterday afternoon because I had to go to a Jr. League Meeting last night. I just transferred into the league here, and as with any organization they do things differently than I'm used to. My biggest complaints are that they meet in a church (I think it's unnecessarily exclusionary), they don't serve wine (even though I can't drink it now, I find it unnatural to have a volunteer meeting without wine, call me crazy), and lastly, none of my friends are there.

I recognize this last one is no fault of the chapter here, it is merely a function of the fact I moved away and my league friends stayed in California. And I miss them. They are great, interesting, talented women and I have to go to meetings and functions without them. Of course the remedy is to make new friends with these great, interesting, talented women. But I am stubborn, and I don't make new friends easily.

So I drove to the meeting, all the while complaining in my head, and of course by the end I was glad I went. I was reminded why I joined the league, I had fun, I learned some things. So hopefully I will not be so cranky next time, and I'll just go to the meeting and be cheerful. Okay, that's doubtful, but at least I can try.

I worked on Anne's poncho yesterday, but only a little bit. I woke up in the middle of the night with my left hand cramping up like a claw. When I told my mom about it I got an earful about how I need to be careful because my grandmother knit sweater vests for everyone one Christmas and ended up hurting her shoulder so badly she could never knit again. (Never knit again? My goodness, what would happen to me?)

I didn't sleep well last night, and I found myself thinking about Rowan Kidsilk Haze. Probably because I was flipping through the Rowan Magazine #35 which has a few projects with this lovely yarn. It's $13 a ball though, and the one sweater I love takes 10 balls. The other sweater takes 20, so we're talking either $130 or $260 a project. Jeez Louise.

I wonder if I should start with something smaller and make sure I like working with the yarn. It is extremely thin, and the sweaters are knit up on size 5 needles. Would I get bored? There is a scarf in the magazine that I could try, and it takes only 3 balls.

I'm sure there is a substitute yarn I could try as well that is less pricey. Maybe next time I head up to Jessica Knits I'll ask her opinion. She has a great service – you can register for yarn at her store. Imagine getting boxes of yarn for Christmas this year! How exciting. I am determined to make something for myself after the holidays, although I imagine my knitting time will be cut down having an infant around.

(I wonder what it says about me that I'm lying awake at night thinking about yarn?)

I'm off to the doctor this morning – I have six weeks left until my due date. I wish he would modify it and make it sooner, but he seems pretty confident with the 18th of November. Jack and I had a talk yesterday about him coming into the world, it would make Thanksgiving more enjoyable if he could just be about a week early. He's hearing none of it, I guess he's happy where he is. Who wouldn't be?

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


I took down the pictures of Anne's poncho and Greg's hat. I just started a blog for the baby and it links to my knitting blog for some reason, so my entire family can see what they were getting! So no more pictures until after Christmas. I left Madeline's up, I don't think she'll read my blog.....
I snuck over to Jessica Knits yesterday, and yes, it's worth all the hype. (It is far though. I was meeting a friend for lunch in North Scottsdale and since I was already all the way up there I couldn't help myself.) I met Jessica, she's fabulous and her store is a wonderland of yarn. She does have kidsilk haze, but not in very many colors. I imagine she can order it though.

I ran into Illana, who was about to pick out yarn for two new projects that looked fun. One is a felted bag with a flower pattern – it looks so interesting I can't wait to see it knit up. I've often wondered about intarsia and felting and I'm glad she can test it out and let me know how it goes.

Kae from RAOK asked how much of the gorilla yarn I have left, and since I'm going to rip out what I've already made I have a ton! A total of 840 yards. I guess I could attempt a poncho in a different way – I don't think the 2 rectangle thing really works with this particular yarn. I'll have to mull it over. Maybe I'll go back to AZ Knit and Needlepoint and see if they have any ideas.

I tried to watch the VP debate last night, I really did. It's still TiVo'd in case I feel like it today. About 20 minutes into it, however, I realized they were just reiterating the presidential debate, even down to the same damn sentences. It was like watching a high school debate team where everyone had the same topic. So I admit it, I switched over to Love Actually, a movie I have saved on TiVo indefinitely. That movie makes me cry every time! I highly recommend it, especially to anyone in a relationship. It will make you love the person you're with just a little bit more.

I've officially declared it fall in Arizona. I know it's still getting up to 95 during the day, but it's just lovely in the morning and the evening. It's 72 degrees right now, I have the doors open in my office and the breeze is blowing around. I'm grateful for the weather change, as my belly gets bigger every day and I become more and more like a small beached whale.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I love big needles. Anne's poncho is on size 15s and it's moving along quick as a snake. I should be done before the end of the week. Then I just have Vincent and Mary and my brother's family will be done. I can just barely see the light at the end of the tunnel for my Christmas projects. I would love to have time to knit us all stockings, but I can't get ahead of myself. I have to remember I still have my dad's vest and stuff for my mom (shhhhh, she's listening.)

Now I have to decide what to do with all that Alpaca Boucle I bought originally for Anne. It is beautiful yarn and I can't return it because I've already knit up 5 balls of it. If anyone has suggestions please let me know – I'm not good at creating projects for yarn. Especially when the yarn so closely resembles a gorilla.

Stitch-n-Bitch was fun last night even though I wasn't feeling great. We had 4 new knitters to teach, 2 of which had been crocheting and 2 had never picked up needles before. It's such a tough environment to learn – it's really loud and there are people moving all around and checking out what everyone is making. But our new knitters seemed to do fine with a lot of help from Becky, Jen, and Corene. I'm wondering if we should have a separate workshop just for new people – they could learn to cast on, knit, purl and bind off all in one sitting without the distractions of the entire group. Hmmm.

I ran into Roger Wood last night at the bookstore. He is a very old friend of mine, we were part of the Sister City program in Tempe and traveled to Yugoslavia together the summer before our senior year of high school. Hard to believe that was 15 years ago. (Can I really be 32? I don't feel 32.) If you know any high school students in the Tempe school district I highly recommend you check out this program.

Good luck to Becky today – she has an interview at a fancy Aveda Salon in Scottsdale. Hopefully she will get the job but she will still have time to knit!

Our new knitters at Stitch and Bitch last night Posted by Hello

Monday, October 04, 2004

I finally saw last week's Apprentice last night. I TiVo'd it Saturday night because its initial airing interfered with The Bachelor on Wednesday. Don't the Network executive know they can't mess with the reality tv schedule? If it wasn't for the replay on Saturday I would have completely missed this episode.

Anyhow, I was struck by how awful the women look as business people – both this season and last. It's embarrassing to be a business woman and watch these girls fight with one another, talk over the top of each other, and basically look like high school kids trying to form a cheer squad instead of intelligent women trying to vie for a position in multi-million dollar company. I mean honestly, ladies, why does everything have to be so flipping personal?

It made me think of these knitting stores in the area that are alienating our group one by one. Isn't the point of a retail shop to help people spend money in your store? Especially when you're talking about yarn. Yes, there are internet sites to buy yarn from and sometimes I do, but I would much rather see and feel the yarn before I purchase it. And yes, our group does offer free instruction to beginners and have workshops to learn new things. That does not take away business from the yarn shop, it promotes more yarn purchasing. They should see us as a great opportunity, not as a threat to their business. I just don't get it. (Jessica is apparently the great exception to this rule, and I am grateful to her and her new store.)

More importantly, Madeline's poncho is done! The picture is below. I tried it on to make sure it would fit over her head and it seems to be fine. Joe says it looks like lingerie and that Madeline should like it since she is such a Britney Spears fan. I explained to him that she wouldn't be wearing it alone, there would be a shirt underneath, but I think his imagination was already off on another tangent involving teen pop idols.

I started on the Yarn Harlot poncho for Anne and it seems to be working well. The pattern called for size 13 needles, but I'm using 15s just to get more openness. And I'm using Paton Wool instead of Mission Falls. With bigger needles my gauge is still 12 stitches/4 inches and hers was 10/4. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Maybe it's because of the yarn.

I found this new site called Smileys that has cheap yarn – there is a $30 minimum purchase and a flat shipping charge of $9, so I have to work it out and see if it's worth it. But they sell the Patons wool for $3.99, and I think it's $6.99 at JoAnns. It looks like their selection is similar to the JoAnns/Michaels market, which I really only buy to make gifts or things where they yarn doesn't matter so much.

I finally found the site that convinced me I needed a blog. It's the Fiber RAOK (Random Acts of Kindness) and I was accepted into the group yesterday. I'm still trying to figure out how it works, but I'm pretty excited. At first I thought it was one of those yarn-forward type of deals, where you sent your leftover yarn to someone in the group and you received mystery yarn in the mail. But apparently these women send one another all kinds of stuff. I've already received a Hallmark e-card and a discount to a tea shop. Fun.

We have knitting tonight at Changing Hands – 37 people have RSVP'd that they are coming. We are not going to fit in that little room for much longer. We're doing our first official beginners workshop and I'm hoping it goes well. I know it's frustrating for new people to try and learn at one of our meetings – there are so many people and so much going on. Plus casting on and the first knit row are the hardest parts of knitting and you have to learn them first, which I know discourages some people.

I had brunch yesterday with a fellow knitter Jen. (Kohnie's on Camelback, oh so yummy. I had the Huevos Rancheros and a berry scone. Mmmmmm) She is also always free on Sundays, and we're hoping Jessica Knits decides to open on Sundays for good – we may just trek up there and sit around and knit while our significant others do various activities. I think hers studies, mine is usually at work. We did not take our knitting, which was probably good in the end since the place closes at noon. They threatened to make us mop the floors so we hightailed it out of there.

Off to clean the kitchen and knit on Anne's poncho. I just may get all these presents completed before the little guy is born – a little over 6 weeks until my due date!