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Thursday, March 29, 2007

I DO Love to be Comfortable....

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Merino Wool.You are very easygoing and sweet. People like to keep you close because you are so softhearted. You love to be comfortable and warm from your head to your toes.
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Monday, March 26, 2007

Oh the Humanity!

We spent the evening at the Humanities Fair at my daughter's school tonite. The Humanities Fair occurs every other year, alternating with the Science Fair, and is a chance for individual students, as well as classes, to show their creativity and talents. They can do any sort of project that challenges them to do/learn/perform something that is new for them or will help them to grow in a certain area and also to show what they learned about themselves and about God in the process (it is a Christian school). All of their processes and discoveries are written up in a report and the final products are shown at the Fair. It was great to see all the students' projects and to see them stretch themselves and put their creativity on display. The elementary school did projects as a class-one class made and published their own book, one group studied and made models of the products of Colonial Virginian tradesmen, and my daughter's class made beautiful wind chimes. In the older grades, the students did individual projects and also a few live preformances, including one pretty amazing electric guitar performance by one of the middle school boys. There were kids who made their own furniture-impressive!-one who interviewed and wrote a book about his grandmother, and there was even a girl who sewed a Civil War era dress-complete with hoop skirt-all by herself and it was GORGEOUS! (My daughters thought she was a real live princess!) However, one of the 8th graders had one project that really caught my eye:(The picture is a wee bit blurry because I had to take it with my cell phone-I think I'm going to need to carry my camera everywhere now-just in case there is a blog photo op!!) It was a great display of different stitch patterns, types of yarn, differences in gauge when using different needle sizes, and finished projects. How fun! I give her an A+++!!! I'm pretty sure what she learned about God is that knitting with lovely yarn is a gift from Him, yes? (Well, that's what she should have learned, anyway:) ) All in all though, I really enjoyed the evening and seeing the work of the kids-more than I thought I would, actually. They are a great group and came up with some really cool, thought-provoking ideas as well as some really, uh, interesting, ones-such as the "gerbil vest" made of plastic rodent crawly tubes, worn as a vest, through which the little fuzzy critter can crawl. Also a highlight for my girls, naturally... I think I'll stick with knitted vests.

Speaking of which, here is a picture of a felted vest a friend made that came out of the washer cabbage patch sized and resulted in a SOS call to my house for a good old fashioned wool pull (like taffy, only less sticky and smells a lot worse-it never ceases to amaze me how bad wet animal fibers smell...). We stretched and STRETCHED and STRETCHED and then I sewed it to my chair to block it out into a normal human size and shape-here's hopin'....

Btw, that is waste cotton holding the place for the border, not a wonky white border and the colors in the yarn in person are really beautiful. That is my chair covered in a trash bag and stuffed with a pillow-like MacGyver only better 'cuz it's with knitting. I have decided that this is my Humanities Fair project and I have learned that I do not like to think things cannot be fixed, I will do whatever I can to fix them and that I will continually thank the Lord the days of the corset are OVER (and also that He gave wet animals a weird smell). It may not be pretty, but I think it will get the job done in the end-I'll keep you posted!

Friday, March 23, 2007

What's Behind Door Number 1, Bob?


Look what we got yesterday:

A new van!! Well, not new but new to us because really, who BUYS brand new cars??? (Add to TO DO list: plant tree on which money will grow) I LOVE it! It's so nice and clean and currently Goldfishcrumbandcrayon-free! Woot! AND it has the "Magic Doors", as my kids and their friends call them-magic because they open and close with the touch of a button -forgive us for being so excited-we traded in our 12 year old van so we're a bit Old School. Plus, I got some good knitting progress in on my Jitterbug sock while waiting forever at the dealership yesterday (which was a GREAT place to buy a car, seriously! Super friendly and not the usual slimy car buying experience) and last night the Husband and myself went out on a date-an all-around AWESOME day! Not to mention that our date was sponsored by one of our great friends (featured here wearing some lurvly Clemson mittens knitted by moi! Ok, so maybe not much of a need for wool mittens in South Carolina, but aren't they fun and orangey??) who is home on her Spring Break and called US and offered to play with the Things so the Husband and I could go out-hello?! How often does a babysitter call you and ask you to go out so she can play with your kids?! One of the many reasons we love her!! As previously noted, an all-around awesome day!

I've made some good progress in Clean and Purge 2007 but my enthusiasm is seriously waning-cleaning is for losers. I think I'll go knit for awhile, love on my babies (sigh, some of whom are big girls now...) and enjoy the weekend! Have a great Friday, y'all!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Clean Sweep

Maybe it is due to my wee bit of indulgence at the yarn sale, maybe it is Spring around the corner, but I have got the urge to purge-EVERYTHING. I am feeling stifled by my "stuff". How did we get so much stuff? Is it just the things of Life With Kids that accumulate or am I a terrible pack rat? Is it that the more people in one house the more stuff, or am I a terrible housekeeper? Am I messy, dirty, disorganized, irresponsible, unkempt, a menace to society, AN ENEMY TO SMALL CHILDREN AND KITTENS?! Ok, like I said, the "stuff" is getting to me. I daydream about the folks from that show "Clean Sweep" coming to my house-it is not that my house is as bad as most of the rooms I've seen on the show, it is just that I want someone else to re-decorate and re-do my house for me-and pay for it, too. Part of the problem is that we've lived here in this house for just under 2 years and for a good bit of that time, I was pretty sick. The first fall we lived here I was pregnant and when I am pregnant, I get extremely sick-a condition known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum. So, I was sick for part of the Fall, but then I miscarried and that had it's own complications...and then it was Winter and who really wants to Spring Clean in the Winter, right?? However, that February (a year ago) I was pregnant again, this time successfully, with Thing 3 and I thought I was sick in the Fall!! This time was completely awful-throwing up, hospitalization, IV fluids, blah blah blah for months and by the time I was functional again, school was out and the Summer was in full swing and the stuff accumulated some more. We did make a dent in cleaning this Summer but by the end I was hippo-sized and not much up to cleaning out a whole lot. Then this past Fall-Voila! Thing 3 arrived and needless to say, not so much in the cleaning out (or sleeping or showering or exercising or uttering intelligible sentences...) has occurred. All this to say, now that I feel a little bit back to normalish (not so sure I've ever really been classified as normal per se....), I WANT THE STUFF GONE!! So I've decided over the next 2 weeks to do one room a day-clean it up and clean it out. That way, it will be done and ready to go out for Spring Clean Up, a lovely perk of our great Town of Blacksburg. I calculated, by combining some things like linen closets and bathrooms, that we have 8 rooms to get cleaned up and out so I thought 2 weeks to be a realistic timetable with the Things' "Hey Mommy!"s every 10 seconds. It should be an interesting 2 weeks-who knows what I'll uncover (did they ever really find Jimmy Hoffa?...) I'm oddly excited about this endeavor and celebrated by going out to Target and buying brand new trash bags and disinfectant wipes-do I know how to live it up or WHAT?! I've gathered my new supplies and I'm armed with this book (which I already had-I did not go out and buy it just for this-wait, I'm not sure that's helping me seem more "normal"-it was a gift, ok? Ok, but I really do love weird cleaning and stain removal tips-I have issues, move on...) and I'm ready to beat back the clutter!! I do think that a big part of my Purge 2007 will be a re-organization of my Yarn Friends that are in baskets all over the house. If I find any that are in need of a new home, I'll put them on here for any folks who are interested!
I'll try to get out from under the piles long enough to post now and again-wish me luck and feel free to come by and adopt a homeless dustbunny or 2! (I wonder if I can spin those into some sort of exotic yarn...dustbunny sweater anyone?)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Stupid Yarn Sale

Well, I was most unsuccessful in controlling myself in the presence of cheap yarn. Ok, not CHEAP yarn, inexpensive but really really nice yarn. I spent way beyond what I had planned, but if in fact it had not been on sale, just think how much I would have spent, eh? It would have been close to triple what I actually spent so I think I'm all good. (I can talk myself into almost anything) I ended up with 8 balls of Louisa Harding silk/wool, 3 balls of Lousia Harding Kimono Angora, 2 balls of Cascade Fixation, 2 balls sock yarn called "Clown" (does that mean I have to wear the socks with giant red shoes??), 1 ball Jaegger Spun Zephyr Wool/silk, 1 skein of OnLine Egyptian cotton, 1 skein of Nature Cotton, 1 ball of Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy, 1 ball of label-less cream colored cotton, a tiny sample skein of cashmere, 1 ball of shockingly pink/rainbow yarn for the newest knitter on the block, Thing 1, and 1 ball of slightly scary puffy pinkandpurple yarn for my patient 4 year old helper, Thing 2. Boy, when you list it all out like that, it seems like a lot.....however, since I got there 5 minutes before the store even opened and it was all there, right in front of me, untouched and unpilfered through, a good bit of it made its way home with me. Oh well-c'est la vie! I have it all out on the table and pet it a bit when I walk by, just because I can. I've got lots of projects in mind for just about all of it so I don't feel so bad about it (did I mention I can talk myself into just about anything?) Now I just need to get my silly little baby, Thing 3, to understand that sleep is a GOOD thing so I can actually have the time to use my new yarn goodies. It's a good thing yarn doesn't go bad.

Well, off to watch the Hokies play in The Tournament. LET'S GO, HO-KIES!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

March Madness

It's that time of year again-The Tournament!! (Basketball, I mean, for all you non-sportwidows out there) I don't pay a huge amount of attention to the college basketball season-just enough to know how the Hokies are doing mostly-but I really enjoy all the excitement that surrounds the tournament every Spring and I like making picks on my own bracket. This year I was fortunate to do a bracket with a bunch of knitters through Nona's blog through Yahoo-what fun! I'm sure I picked everyone who is going to win and I will be the top winner-haha! But it really is fun for some reason-I have memories all the way back to 7th grade making brackets with all the boys and picking the teams-they were so serious about it!! (Of course, 7th grade boys are so serious about a lot of things that don't always merit it but I digress...) And, since I went here and not a REAL school (only semi-joking here), The Tournament is a way for me to vicariously have real athletic teams who play in real games-whoot! However, despite my excitement over The Tournament, I think we all really know which March Madness is causing me to foam at the mouth and maybe sleep a little restlessly this evening:

Oh that basketball stuff is fun and all but HELLO?! Can ya' beat a great yarn sale, especially when it is less than 2 miles from your home??!! Last time Mosaic had a sale this past summer, I spent all of my birthday money (the day I got it) and then some, justifying it as "Christmas Presents" (to me a little....) and I have used very little of what I bought YET. However, is that stopping me? NO WAY! (I do have lots of it earmarked for projects that are yet to be-you know how that is.) And I believe the Husband's remark was "You could not possibly need any other yarn for any thing else in the world"- silly, silly man. Does he not know the silliness of such a statement? "Need"-haha, that's cute of him. Now, if I can only think of a few more "presents" before I go, it will all seem like I am doing it for the good of others. In fact, I AM doing it for the good of others! Yeah! I just cannot possibly NOT go to the yarn sale when it is for the happiness of others and the giving of handmade gifts that could one day be treasured and prized heirlooms. How can I rob friends and family of receiving a little piece of fiber love? That would just be mean and I won't stand for it. It is clearly for the good of my fellow man (and woman-and kids-and maybe a little bit me-or a lot me) that I embark upon a journey to this noble sale, credit card quivering with excitement, and purchase what I can to bring joy to others. It is my destiny.

And if anyone tries to get the last of any yarn I decide I want, be prepared to be knocked down. You know, for the sake of the children and all.....

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Shell Shocked

I am FINALLY done with my toy knitting marathon this week and I gotta say, while I loved Sheldon in the beginning, we did not part ways on happy terms. It was definitely a relationship gone sour-he was just so cute and it felt so right, he charmed me with his humor and charming little black eyes....but, alas, by the end I wanted to stick my DPNs right into those beady little eyes of his and throw him in the road.

Oh, the knitting wasn't bad-it was fun and I really did enjoy making all of his components. I even wowed my own self with doing some things I had avoided for years in my knitting-like a crocheted edge-and I had all his parts finished and laid out Friday nite ready to be assembled Saturday morning and presented to his new owner at 1:00. That is where the trouble began-he is removable from his shell you see, which is an adorable feature (a naked little turtle body, teehee! so cute!!) or so it seems. The problem with this is that the shell must be made as a "suit", if you will, into which his little nudie body goes. Making his snuggly little shell into a suit requires an attachment panel to be knit separately from the actual shell and then attached using a 4 stitch I-cord which gives it a really nice, finished look-but almost caused me to take the scissors to that little yarnphibian! You have to pick up stitches through both the shell "pillow" (the blue and green part) and through the separate attachment panel and work that picked-up stitch into an I-cord by slipping the last stitch of the cast on I-cord stitches and replacing it with the picked up stitch-make sense? Not so much to me either at first. After some brainstraining and a fair amount of caffeine, I thought I understood it and got to work. Oh man-it took me almost 2 HOURS!! The turtle was small and the yarn was slippery and terribly splitty and the DPNs were size 3 and my hands cramped and my mouth swore and my baby screamed as I attached his little shell together with a pretty little I-cord:
I finished it at 12:00 and whipped all four of his little legs and 2 yarn eyes (I was worried about the little plastic kind being a choking hazard since the recipient is only 1) on in fifteen minutes (no slow and steady would win this race! I still hadn't even gotten out of my jammies to be at the stinkin' party!) At last, we made it to the party, showered and smiling, and gave Sheldon to cute little 1 year old Baby Zeke who promptly shoved him into his mouth, tasted him, and then threw him on the floor and moved on to his next gift.

It will be awhile before I knit another Sheldon...or speak to that Baby Zeke.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Knitting is Child's Play

Well, I finished my Bunny Blanket Buddy in plenty of time and have it all ready for our friends' new little boy due tomorrow EXCEPT....the baby was already born last Friday. Crap. That's pretty much the way I roll these days but oh well-at least it's done and ready to be delivered to their home. I cannot decide if I want to add a little face to it or not-what do you think? Leave a comment with your opinion (on the bunny face, not anything else unless it is something nice...) By the way, I could NOT get this to photograph well so ignore the crummy picture quality-it really does look better in person, not so demon-like.

And here is the progress I made on Sheldon yesterday:

While it looks like a little green bikini top, it is in fact his hollow little body-I will stuff it and finish it tonite and hopefully get pretty far on the shell, too. I LOVE knitting this-it is just so cute!! I kept giggling to myself the whole time I was knitting it. (I entertain myself pretty well, even if I entertain no one else.) I cast on in the morning and had the body finished and ready to stuff by bedtime, which is pretty good for me, what with chasing Things 1, 2 and 3 around all day, homework, housework, laundry, grocery shopping and a cold trying to take over. I need to have it finished by Saturday which IS in fact the correct day for this gift at least. I think I can get it done by then, but it will probably be close, especially if I sit around typing on the computer all nite!

Finally, I leave you with the best and most important thing that happened yesterday:

Thing 1, my 7 year old, learned to knit!!! Would ya' look at that?! Move over, Elizabeth Zimmerman! She took right to it and just loved it-she was so proud of her cute, loopy, floppy stitches-as was I! It's amazing to see her delight at doing something Mommy does and I was so proud of her and so surprised, honestly, given her propensity for distraction and scatter-brainness (yes, that is a word because I just typed it and I am making it a word!). It really was the highlight of my day since I am barely fighting off a cold and spent yesterday under a blanket giggling to myself like a lunatic while knitting Sheldon, feeling achy, and sniffling. But anyway, she liked it so much, she climbed in my bed this morning before school, still in her sleepy eyes and jammies, and brought her knitting and sat next to me knitting a row, all the while quietly saying the rhyme I taught her to remember how to do the stitches, while I was sleeping.

What a great way to wake up-I love the smell of yarn in the morning!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Are YOU On the List?

So I love the show Heroes, even though it stresses me out to no end. I hated it at first because I did not have a clue what was going on and I hate watching things that I do not get-it makes me feel all confused and angry (and then I have to remind myself that this is television and therefore NOT REAL, but still...). But now, NOW, I am so into this story and I spent all day waiting to see what was going to happen in the next chapter-oh I so need a life! If you are not familiar with the show, there are a number of individuals on a List who all have special powers (ability to be invisible, ability to hear thoughts, ability to heal oneself, ability to have nuclear power, ability to fly, ability to teleport oneself, etc)-they are the Heroes-and there is some underground, unknown organization finding and tracking the Heroes and trying to study them for....something. Ugh! What?! What is it?! Why won't they tell me?! Then there is the "other side" who I think are the "bad guys" and they are hunting down the Heroes on the List, too. Oh the stress of it! Who are the good ones and who are the bad ones? WHO'S ZOOMIN' WHO?! ?

I think I would like to be a knitting Hero. My special powers would allow me to knit at warp speed while caring for the 3 Things, thereby finishing the 2 baby gifts by tomorrow that I am trying to churn out by the end of this week (although I may actually be channeling my powers now as I finished one thing today-the Bunny Blanket Buddy, NOT in the icky green yarn pictured but in a handpainted, cotton chenille from Colinette). I think I'd also add the ability to knit lace, cables, intarsia, fair isle-you name it-without saying a single swear word, dropping a stitch or frogging. Hello?! Can you even imagine? It would be nothing short of miraculous! Plus, I would have nothing but fascinating, clever, hilarious blog entries with nary an out of focus picture to be found AND be able to write my own patterns. That about sums it up. Yeah, I think being a knitting Hero would work out nicely. In the meantime, I will be hurriedly be trying to put together Sheldon (most likely while swearing and dropping sitches) before a 1 year old's birthday party on Saturday and putting the final touches of fluffing and buffing on the Bunny for a brand new baby who is to make his appearance on Thursday of this week-I'm so excited, I love new little babies!! OK, gotta go watch the rest of Heroes and find out what the heck is going on...maybe.

Knit on, Heroes-in-training!!

p.s.-They just said that Heroes will not be back on till April 23rd-are they TRYING to kill me??

Thursday, March 1, 2007


It is very rainy here and just grey and gloomy. And lonely-only about 40 hours till hubby returns...but who's counting?? Me, that's who!! It has been a nutty last few days here at Chez Things-lots of laughing, fighting, wrestling, complaining, and pooping on the floor-OK, that was the dog who has NEVER done that before (except once during an illness but that doesn't count). He's very attached to my husband and I believe he's not too happy about him being gone, either. It was not what I wanted to wake up to today, especially after yesterday. Look what I found DEAD in my pond yesterday:

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWW! Now, I do not have problems with nice little frogs when they are alive, but when I am reaching into wet nappy leaves to clean them out and I accidentally grab a humongous DEAD one, totally gross. I washed my hands about 5 times with scalding water-of course I did pull the frog out with a stick to show my daughter's little friends who are boys. They found it fascinating, but still disgusting. So anyway, we are managing OK without Daddy around but we're not loving it. Too many gross things for Mom to take care of makes one grouchy Mommy! Needless to say, not much knitting to report-just small bits here and there, nothing as interesting as a dead frog. (which doesn't say much for my knitting,eh??)Maybe I'll knit him a little sweater....or see if he'll get up and sing "Hello my Baby!" like on the old cartoons. So, in a shameless quest for fun comments, tell me YOU think I should do with the dead frog. I'm looking for creativity here, not "throw it in the woods". I look forward to your ideas!

P.S.-If you get a chance, go to this website and check out the cool bag she sewed, posted on February 25th-I just may resurrect my sewing machine for one last hurrah!