Friday, February 23, 2007

Screaming Babies of the Mason Dixon Kind

After a long day at work yesterday, I pulled into the driveway to find a package sitting next to my front door.

Now, earlier in the week I had asked Gretchen how I might obtain a copy of her son's cd, who's release was celebrated recently. Being the generous soul that she is, she offered to send me one, but cautioned me that it was "crazy" and complete with the liberal use of the F-bomb. Yeah baby, right up my Pantera lovin' alley! :) I guess we never completely lose our teenage angst.

So, here's this box on the porch, and I'm thinking, "Gee, that's a really big box for just a cd. That can't be from Gretchen. Who else might have sent me something?" The answer? No one.

J and I barely got through the front door before I was wrestling the entirely too big (and now too heavy) to just be a cd box open. Yes, I admit, I ripped it open bare-handed, and without even the aid of my keys. I was that excited.

Look what I found inside?

Yes!!! My very own copy of Mason Dixon knitting! If anyone remembers, Gretchen hosted the yarn raffle last year for Team Nova- a great cause that is very near and dear to my heart- and I won a giant box of Peaches & Cream yarn. Having never really dabbled in the cotton realm, she suggested that I check out the above book. After a very long wait for the only copy in the county to make it's way to the library for me, I was in heaven, falling in love with nearly every pattern in it. The day I had to return it, I nearly cried. So now I have my very own copy that I don't ever have to return. Yay!!!

And look at the precious little notecard that was included. Adorable, isn't it?

The cd took a spin in the player last night, and I was magically whooshed back to my high school days of red dyed hair, black t-shirts, lots of spiky metal, and a pair of 10-eye Doc Martens (which still reside in my closet, and look as great as the day I purchased them).

Jake, your band is awesome. Seriously! There wasn't a single song on there that I didn't instantly love. I know that this one will be in regular rotation in the car. And those of you out there that have a soft spot for "crazy" music of the (and forgive me, but I'm old and not sure what they call music genres anymore) metal/punk/ska sort, then I urge you to get your own copy of the Screaming Babies cd. Even if you don't like the music, the cover art is worth purchasing!

And lest you think J felt left out: BUBBLE WRAP!!!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Picture heavy

I finally finished one of the lace scarves I've been working on since November/December. Jonas seems to have a phobia about modeling anything knit, and so Squishy Man fills the role here. It still needs to have it's ends woven in, and a fair amount of blocking, but I haven't found a surface big enough in my house yet.

Here is a detailed look at the pattern. I'd really love to give credit to it's creator, but I honestly can't remember where I found it now. It's called Falling Water. If it's yours, please let me know and I'll provide the proper link.

And this one is just plain cute. Jonas tells me last night "Mama! I working in office!" I turn around and find him standing at the end table with my coffee mug and his laptop open. He'd type a little, then stop, pretend to gulp down some coffee, and then go back to work. He's got his Mama pegged. :)

After one too many frustrations with the frilly little hat pattern, I decided that the yarn just didn't WANT to be a hat at all, and so I frogged it, for the second time, and decided that what it really wanted to be was a pair of socks. Yeah, it's sport weight, so they'll be pretty thick, but my feet are always cold, so I think they'll be great for me. If you don't recognize the pattern, it's this one from Magknits. This is my first attempt at a toe-up sock, and even though I'm only just finishing the toe and starting the foot, I like the fact that I'm able to try it on as I go. I've got a fairly big foot, but I'm afraid that with this thicker yarn, I'm going to have to make some adjustments in order for it to fit well. And yes, this is where I admit that I didn't swatch at all. Bad knitter! But I was so frustrated with the hat thing that I just needed something to be excited about immediately.

And, as promised earlier in the week, a couple of pictures of our yarn dying project. Jonas chose the colors, and loved "cooking" the yarn. We did it on top of the stove just to keep the spills from turning the cabinets multicolored.

And here's the end product, out of the dye, rinsed and set, and ready to get hung up to dry. I'm not a big fan of this yarn at all. First of all, I'm not big on neon. Second, while it looks quite vibrant here all jumbled up, it actually dried to a dull and less exciting color. I did take the time to wind it into balls, and now it looks even uglier. But it was a fun little project with the boy, and I think I'll probably knit it and felt it into a little carrying bag for his beloved hotwheels. He likes to take them everywhere with him, and those little things slip through his fingers as if they were live fish.

You remember the calorimetry that I knit a few weeks ago, right? Yeah, the one in the yarn that I wasn't at all crazy about. Well, it seems to be the yarn that never ends, and so I also knit a pair of Fetching to go with it. Yes, it was a waste of a cabled pattern to use such a busy yarn, but it was a quick knit, anyway. I will probably make another pair of these in a solid color to make up for these hideous things. The only thing I'm not crazy about with these is the picot bind-off. I mean, it's cute when it's not trying to roll to the outside. Am I the only one that has that problem? I've never done it before and I'm thinking maybe I did something wrong? And what's that abomination on needles there on the right? Since it truly is the yarn that never ends, I decided to use up the rest of it by knitting a pair of worsted weight socks. So, if ever a blizzard should strike Florida, I'll have some toasty extremities. The pattern for these comes thanks to Amanda, who took the time not only host, but to create a blog of all the socks knit in the Mystery Sock KAL. I'd have never even thought to try this pattern, or to knit socks in worsted weight yarn!

Anyway, that's all the knitting news for now. I've got lots of stuff planned to start soon, but first I need to find a replacement pattern for the cute little hat that I've abandoned, and also something quick and cute for a friend's baby boy that will be arriving Tuesday, if not sooner. At this point, I'm thinking washcloths may be the way to go, unless anyone out there has a magic pattern that I can finish in just a couple of day's time.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Help me do the math...

So, I decided to knit a cute little frilly brimmed hat for the little girl with leukemia. I found a "simple" pattern for one, and cast on yesterday. But here's where I'm stuck:

Cast on 270 stitches. (I know it seems like a lot, but the brim is quite frilly)

K 2 rounds.

*K 1, cast off 1* repeat for 1 round. 85 stitches remaining.

Ok, so I start with 270, I K1, cast off 1 for the entire round.... how in the world does that leave me with 85 stitches?! I know that I'm terrible with math, but it's just not possible. I thought maybe it meant to do a total of 2 rounds of K1, cast off 1, but then I have too few stitches.

Anyone with a little more knitting experience or just plain intelligence want to help me out? Otherwise I'm just going to wing it and see what happens (which usually ends up a disaster!)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Calling all knitters

I don't know these folks personally. I just happened to stumble across this blog today and thought "If it were my kid, every little comfort would mean the world to me." And so, I encourage all of you to take part in knitting this little girl a hat, or really whatever you think she might like.

Go ahead, I mean it'd take you all of a couple of hours, right?

Valentine goodness

For Valentine's Day, Jonas decided to do "arts and craps" (yes, that's really what he calls it!) for those he loves.

Look at the level of concentration. :)

After finishing with the paint, and a quick bath to return him to his natural skin color, he set to work with the scissors. His hands aren't quite big enough to hold them properly, so he uses the hedge-trimming technique.

Here's the card he made for Dada. Mom cut out the penguin parts and helped him decide which order they went in, but he manned the glue stick solo. By the way, can I pause for a moment and marvel over the beauty of the glue stick? I mean, imagine the messes OUR parents had to endure during our childhoods. Thank you glue stick maker!!

And here's my little master of puppets. These were his Valentine's treat. He spied them in the store a few days ago and loved them instantly. They meow and bark three different songs, and he thinks that's just the coolest.

Knitting content later, although there isn't much to report. J and I did take some time earlier in the week to try our hand at KoolAde dying.

Hope you all had a sweet and sappy sort of day yesterday.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007


Yesterday Jonas found something that I was certain that I had thrown away nearly a year ago: His Bobo.

At first he looked at it quizzically, pondering whether or not it was appropriate for him. He understand that bobos are for babies now, and that he's a big boy and doesn't need one. So he sat, holding it in his hand like some sort of precious gem unearthed from the back of the dresser drawer. Finally, he decided that surely one little test suck wouldn't hurt, and so into the mouth it went.

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I can only imagine that for him it must have been like an alcoholic's first sip after years of sobriety.

I watched for a few minutes, thinking that he'd grow bored and move along. Not so.

Not wanting to relive that particular chapter of child-rearing, I quickly removed the offending object, reminding him that he didn't need it anymore.

And so the fit ensued.

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This lasted well over half an hour- total unbridled fury and outrage at the unfairness of it all.

Poor kid. Hope he's not scarred for life.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Oh Blogger! Why do you torment me?

I've blissfully been ignoring the requests to switch to the new blogger for quite some time, but today was the end of the line. It would not let me log in unless I acquiesced to it's evil game. And so, here I am, giving in to the technological beast and upgrading.

Not sure what all the excitement is about. I mean, I'm not all that impressed with the new stuff, but whatever. I guess eventually we all have to give in and accept change, right?

Not a whole lot has been happening around casa Martinez, and so I haven't had much to blog about.

I finally got Emily's sweater mailed yesterday, and so she stands a chance of getting a wear or two out of it before she outgrows it-- assuming she hasn't already. And that is the hard part of knitting for babes, isn't it?

Following the recent buzz, I too decided to knit calorimetry.
True to what everyone else seems to be reporting, if knit to pattern it is huge! I even went down a needle size to see if that helped. Nope, still huge. But, since I used some leftover wool to make my first, I'll simply felt it a bit and it should be just fine.

And because I'm not one to give up that easily, I decided to make a second, again on the smaller needle, and casting on 20 fewer stitches. The end product was much more of a success. I used up some yarn given to me as a christmas gift. It's probably not a color I would have ever bought myself, but it's not horrible. I'm thinking of using the rest to make a pair of matching handwarmers. Sitting at the computer I always get cold, and between the two, I might stand a chance of avoiding an actual freeze.

Here's a picture of the smaller finished product, modeled by yours truly.
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Today, because we felt like being lazy, we took a nice drive north, scouting out an actual yarn shop. I had heard rumors that one existed in town, and had even found an address for it, but had never actually confirmed it's presence. And so, with a little hunting, we did indeed find it. Alas, it's closed on Sundays. But now that I know exactly where it is, I'm sure I'll find opportunity to visit again.

We ate a quick lunch at Panera, where Jonas delighted in dunking his sandwich in my soup. Hey, whatever it takes to get him to eat!

Afterwards, we drove some more, visiting a neighborhood that I've been in love with ever since first discovering it about 5 years ago. It's one of the rare instances where the builders took nature into consideration and left the trees alone. The streets are canopied by massive oaks, and there was just something so exhilirating about being able to drive through them, kicking up little leaf tornadoes in our wake. We found two houses for sale in there, and were surprised at how inexpensive they were. They're not huge by any stretch of the imagination, but they're adorable, have nice landscaping, and there's even a small community park, complete with playground for the J-man. Man! I would give just about anything to move in there tomorrow! And so, my hopes of possibly moving from our crackerjack house have been renewed again.

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