Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Sort Of Bad Dye Job

Pull up a stool and sit a spell. I'm here to tell you a story of a scarf. Many years ago, I put Ene's Scarf on my mental to do list. That's what we did back then, make mental notes, because we didn't have these electronic knitting tools like Ravelwhosit or iThingies.

I knew that I couldn't just use any yarn for this project. It had to be Blackberry Ridge Silk Blend Laceweight, as was called for. Being frugal, I trolled the online auction sites looking for the yarn in the amount I needed, the color did not matter. Days became weeks, and weeks suddenly grew into years, but my dogged perseverance paid off. Finally, I obtained the coveted fiber in the needed amount in natural!

Jubilant, I cast on at last.
I knit and knit and knit, loving the pattern and the yarn the whole time.


Until, one day, I had to start with a second ball of yarn. After several rows, I noticed something...the color of the new ball of yarn had a slight grey tinge to it. I decided that is was just probably a little of the oil from the spinning machine left on the yarn after processing. I convinced myself that a proper wash after completion would sort that right out.

See the difference in color as it floats in the bath? One bath didn't wash the"oil" out of the yarn. In fact, after three trips in the bath, I was deflated by my slow witted realization that it was simply a different color. The only way to move on would be to dye the thing.

This being my first attempt at dying, I only had a vague idea how to do it.

I knew I needed dye, I only happened to have red and green. I also knew I needed vinegar, a pot, and water. So I soaked the scarf first, got some vinegar water simmering in the stove, added, dye, added the scarf, and let it continue simmering until the water was clear. Then I rinsed it a couple of times, and, well, it didn't turn out too bad. I think this could be the beginning of another hobby.



Sunday, December 02, 2012

Spreading Holiday Cheer


The Husband the police officer took this photo while on duty today. That is a live tree, with the lights turned on!


Friday, November 09, 2012

I've done something right!

For those of us that are mothers, you know what it is to constantly worry about whether you are doing the right thing as a parent.  It's normal to sweat the small stuff, like if you allow your child to have that extra piece of candy, are you setting them on the road to years of dental work and Type II diabetes?  Or if you allow your teenage daughter to wander the mall with the other packs of teenage girls, is she going to come home with an extra piercing that is not in her ear?  You know that when your toddler hits another toddler in his playgroup, because he feels that some injustice has been done to him (the other toddler took your child's toy train), you know deep in your heart that you are raising a serial killer.  Just me?

These fears begin to fade when you see your nose buried in the computer teenage son hold open a door for a lady that is not related to him.  Or when you are running errands with your beautiful teen daughter, and she suggests that rather than driving through that burger joint, you go somewhere to get a salad or a turkey sandwich.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

From Hell's heart, I stab at thee

It tasks me. That sock is actually finished. I refuse to take a picture of it's completed self, until it tells me where the other ball of wool that matches it is hiding. Some days I think the knitting is out to get me.

I started this sock back in the summer, because I had convinced myself after knitting most of the back of Gwendolyn, that it was going to be too small. So rather than block it while it was on the needles to see if I could severely block it into submission, I threw it aside.

Right about that time I received the Wandering Thyme installment of the Bare Naked Club by Anne Hansen. It is a gorgeous organic cotton that felt like kitten fur. The bugger required a cast on of 40 brazillion minuscule stitches. I could not get past row 3 on that dang thing without making a mistake. So it, too, was cast aside like last night's Homecoming queen. But you're not off the hook, yet, Wandering Thyme, one glorious day, I will own you.

It was at this time, I had just started working on "me", which tends to make my world no bigger than the one I was living in inside my brain. I had no room for complex thoughts that did not involve "me". Some days I still go there for a visit, but no overnight trips.

Since my daily activities could not involve complex thought, a simple sock would do the trick. So I grabbed what I thought were two matching balls of yarn from the stash and cast on. This was just the thing for a brain that needed to keep it simple. Soothing.

Now came time for the second sock. I cast on, completed about 5 rounds, when I realized that the colors seemed off. I had grabbed the same manufacturer of yarn, in the same style, but a slightly different color. No problem, I'll dive back into the stash and grab the correct yarn. That was 3 weeks ago.

I still have not found the matching ball. I did find leftovers from the mittens I made a few winters back, and am now knitting a replacement for the one I lost. That's something to hang my hat on.

I'm thinking of nailing a gold doubloon to the door post as incentive for the crew, uh, family to find the elusive ball. That should turn out good, right?


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What a Slacker

I have a good excuse. I finally said "enough" to my depression.

For those of you that are rolling your eyes right now, thinking that you've bumbled across another self-absorbed blog, you may move along to that shopping you were going to do. I understand. I used to feel the same way. One simply did not talk about mental health issues.

It took me several years to figure out that I couldn't snap myself out of it. I finally broke down and asked for help. There's no shame in asking for help. One would think that I had been raised in a British household. Stiff upper lip, keep calm and carry on. Without going into detail, it took me 16 years as a mother to realize that we, as adults, continue the example our parents set for us. Brick, meet my head.

Fifteen years ago I was thrust into a role, that I neither wanted nor had the skill for. It wasn't that of being a mother, it was that role of being the glue that held the extended family together. What finally pushed me into the depression was the guilt I felt when my glue wasn't sticky enough and it all fell apart. That and my daughter pointing out that I didn't laugh any more. Knife, meet my heart.

So with the help of a therapist, some really good doctor prescribed drugs, and some knitting, I am slowly digging myself out of this collapsed tunnel back to the light. It's a process. Keep calm, and knit on.


Monday, July 16, 2012

What a summer!

Monkey Trucker! The summer is half over! I think I've used enough exclamation points! (dammit!). I better quit.

I realized the other day that I had not posted in a while. I started thinking that I really had nothing exciting or note worthy to write about. But doesn't that make for the best summer?

Summer is supposed to be about a whole lot of nothing. I was just sitting here thinking about what I have accomplished the past month and a half. At the Girl's urging, I read the Hunger Games series. It didn't take very long. It's an easy read, and I was sucked into the story.

I've managed to get the kids to help around the house more. I know it doesn't sound like much, but to me it's a big deal. Because those of us with children know how kids love to clean and do chores.

I've also taken the time to work on me. I don't feel comfortable admitting this to just anyone, so with out going into detail, let's say I'm working on some issues. I'm really glad I took this step, and I feel as though there is a way out. Its a very common condition for women of a certain age, and not one to be ashamed of, I'm just not ready to blurt it all out here to the 3 people (!) (bugger, another one) who read this.

There has been knitting, but not as much as I would like.

That is the Apples in Clover tam by Anne Hanson, made with the lovely Loft yarn by Jared Flood. It's a club offering, so I don't know if the pattern has been made available to non-club members yet. When I took this picture, I realized that I had switched the background color and the main color halfway through the design at the top. I'm trying to convince myself that no one will notice, the problem is that I notice.

So I'll sit here quietly so as not to disturb the 12 year old Thing 1 that fell asleep with his head in my lap on a sunny summer morning, and contemplate what I'll attempt to accomplish the rest of the summer, because isn't dreaming what summer is all about?


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars *

The hole in my back yard has turned into this.


That picture was taken before the pool dudes were completely done. The piles of dirt are now gone, but I have nice level mud in it's place. I feel like I am using the same amount of water to fill the dang thing, as I am trying to get grass to grow. So far all I have are little bitty leaves of grass right at the pool's edge.

I am also trying hard to resist this.

That, my friends, is a slice of banana heaven. I love the little town I live near. One day as I was driving along the main street through town, a pick up truck pulled up next to me with a trailer hitched to it. Inside the trailer was a sheep making it known she was not happy to be there! There is a field of cows across the street from my daughter's school, and we have a wonderful local yarn store. Besides all of that, there is this little diner that has been open since the 1930's that has fried chicken and pie that will bring tears of joy to your eyes.


I also plan to get much knitting done this summer. That is the Poinsettia Cowl by Anne Hanson in Blackberry Ridge sport blend. Black yarn is very difficult to photograph. For a better picture, follow the link.

As Walt Whitman wrote, "Give me the splendid, silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling."

* Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman


Friday, May 11, 2012

Stop Getting Older

Tomorrow my middle kidlet, the Girl, will be 14. I always thought that it was goofy when, as a kid, my mom would implore me to stop growing and getting older. I get it now.

I don't care about the fact that I'm getting older and fatter. I do care that my kidlets are moving closer to not needing me for every little thing. Hungry, you say? Go make yourself a sammich! You're filthy, I say. Go take a shower, and hang up your towel! No longer having to make their every meal, pour their every drink, and hang over the edge of the tub during bath time has given me more free time.

I now have time to still clean up after the little girl who wanting to be like mommy took a dozen eggs, sat on the floor and proceeded to crack, or smash, each one in, or near, a bowl. She still likes to crack eggs, but these days she manages to get them in the bowl, combine it with other ingredients, and come up with something yummy. I still have to clean the kitchen when she is finished.

The Girl who used to give her mom sweet hugs, now punches her with a fist that feels like a hammer during a competitive round of "punch buggy". Whose idea was it to put the girl in karate so she could defend herself? Dad's. Guess what, dad, she's going to knock anyone out that tries to manhandle her. Don't believe me? Take a look at the bruise on my upper right arm!

When she was born, my mother in law was so excited to finally have a granddaughter, that she flew into the room minutes after the Girl was born with nary a glance in my or the Husband's direction, and went straight to the Girl. That was the moment that I realized that she was really going to be something special. She may never be well known for curing cancer or the common cold, but that's o.k. She will always be special to those that love her.

Although it is bittersweet seeing her growing up, I know that she is going to do wonderful, great, majestic things with her life. She has the strength, the intelligence, and compassion to blaze her own trail.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In My Fridge

I really need to work on the kidlet's spelling.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Vernal Equinox

What a gorgeous spring! I hope I'm not going to jinx it by writing it out loud. Although we are only approximately 13 hours into it, so far, so good. Here is the view from my lap. I really need to weather proof the deck furniture.

Speaking of gorgeous, I joined Anne Hanson's Bare Naked Knitspot Club. I'm not usually one to join knitting clubs or knit-alongs unless they really grab my attention. This one not only grabbed me, but it held on and possibly pinched a little.

After learning how to spin, I didn't purchase already processed fiber. I jumped in with both feet and bought fleeces. I have always loved the idea of seeing a fiber in its natural state. I feel that you can see its true beauty. I compare it to seeing a woman without her make up. You really get to see her, not the face she wants you to see.

Before you start to think I'm a crunchy granola earth mom, there is a time to slap a little color on your face and yarn, like when you are heading out to a wedding and you have the perfect red wrap to go with your little black dress. Just be careful not to tread down Christina Aguilera Street with the facial slap. Where was I? Oh, yeah.

The first offering of the club is a beautiful springy two ply merino from Mountain Meadow Wool. Anne did a stellar job with this one. I can't wait to finish this wrap because the second installment has arrived, and it's yak! Yak, y'all! We'll yak later.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My iPad is broken.

I can't see the screen.

Nevermind, I fixed it.

Sunday, February 05, 2012


That is what has been hollered most frequently at my house the past 2 weeks. It's usually followed by a "shuddup". We've taken in the PD's dog, since she has taken in Aunt Brenda's kitties. We should have taken the cats, they are quieter.

In between yelling at the dog, I've made decent progress on Gwendolyn. I'm using some Cascade 220 for the main color and some leftover Beaverslide Dry Goods for the contrast.

I'm getting my geek on with this project. Several months ago, the Husband and I treated ourselves to an iPear (you know what I'm talking about). I downloaded a great app called Knit Companion. It's not free, but I think it's worth it. It allows you to download a pdf of a pattern and cut and paste, highlight, enlarge charts, and make notes.

Yes, there is a little mistake on the sweater, but it's not enough for me to go back and fix it. As far as the cables, like the T-shirt says, that sh*t will block right out.

I'm off to go knit a muzzle for Mr. McYappypants!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

What is Normal?

The past 3 weeks have been far from normal. My father-in-law, henceforth known as The Beard, had knee replacement surgery about 3 weeks ago. Three days after he was home from the hospital, my mother-in-law (The Gaggs) was rushed to the hospital with a perforated bowel. Thus necissitating the upheaval of our and my sister-in-law's (PD) lives during what was to be a normal holiday season.

This required many drives to the in-law's house to take care of The Beard since he was not completely mobile, visits to the hospital, setting up Skype on everyone's computer, picking up groceries for the invalid, and making up schedules as to who was to stay with The Beard since his primary care giver was now in the hospital. Eventually, it worked out for The Beard and The Gaggs to be transferred to the same rehab center so they could see each other, and family members only had one place to go to visit both.

In the middle of this, The Beard's lovely sister Brenda was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on her spine and was operated on to remove the tumor. Because of the tumor's location, she could possibly be looking at permanent paralysis from the waist down.

This is what has had me ruminating on the meaning of "normal". I was looking forward to the holiday break, because it would afford me with much time to knit, an activity many are aware that I am fond of. I even thought I could get some time in with the alpaca fleece. Between running to the hospitals, rehab centers, laundry, trying to make Christmas as joyful and normal as possible to the kids, it didn't happen.

Now, I keep telling myself when things get back to normal, I'll have time to knit. But what is "normal"? Lovely Aunt Brenda who has never married, nor had children, is relying on nieces and nephews to help her navigate her new normal. I realized how dramatically her life has changed the other day as I watched her learn how to put her shoes and socks on using aids since she really doesn't have the ability to bend at the waist and use her hands to do this. I also realized how much longer it will now take her to prepare herself in the morning to go about her day.

In spite of this, her life has not really changed much. She will still be able to perform her same job. One that only required her to sit at a desk and use a computer and telephone. She still has the support of a family that loves her and wants to help. It took every bit of my self control not to walk over and put her socks on her, because I couldn't stand to see her struggle with such a simple task. I knew if I did, she would whack me with her grabby stick she uses to reach things. She's very determined, and that has not changed. She's a scrappy broad, always has been.

I am now in the process of wading through the muck that disguises itself as social services, to see what help is out there for Brenda. This is my normal for the next several weeks or months. Everyone's normal is different, and sometimes it changes. Your normal is what you make it.

Martina Navratilova said it best, "I shouldn't say I'm looking forward to leading a normal life, because I don't know what normal is. This has been normal for me."

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

And that is what I thought of 2011. Especially the last bit.

Thank Cheezit's it's over. This year can only get better, right? I've never been a fan of Christmas. There's too much pressure. I never used to understand why, when I worked as a travel agent, people would come in and book vacations over the holidays. They would say things like, "I want to get away from the family". I so get it, now.

I hate people creating drama when there doesn't need to be any. We were smacked in the head right before Christmas with some emergency family health issues. The father-in-law had knee replacement surgery. No big deal, we knew it was scheduled. Three whole days after he is home from the hospital, the mother-on-law has emergency surgery for a perforated bowel. The day after Christmas, the aunt-in-law has emergency surgery for a cancerous tumor on the spine. That was not the drama.

The drama was the chaos created by everyone having an opinion about the care of the invalids. If I learned anything about this holiday season, it's to plan early on where to go. Hotels book up quickly. Oh, and I'll conviently forget to bring my cell phone charger.