Sunday, February 24, 2008

First Born Monkey

I just finished the first re-done no-purl Monkey. My pictures are not the greatest - tried some with flash, some without. None of the shots seem to show the true colors of the yarn. Enjoy, please, the toe with its wobbly kitchenering. Kitchna, baby!

This last picture is not one I would have been able to take by myself (unless I removed my left leg and I'm unable to do that at this time). The foot was originally upside-down in the photo and I flipped it. I think the sock pattern looks pretty cool, even without the purls.

Now I'm going to immediately cast on for the twin.

In a little while.


Maybe tomorrow.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Kool-Aid Yarn

I actually had a dream last night that I was winding my Kool-Aid yarn on a ball winder. It wasn't my ball winder - it was a wacky automatically-crocheted-my-yarn-into-a-big-blanket ball winder. And the big blanket was shiny. Residual flu dreams, I guess.

As soon as I woke up this morning, I ran (read: walked slowly) downstairs to wind my yarn. Ta da!

The grape color lightened up a lot when it dried and it's much more likeable. I grabbed US 6 needles and knit up a swatch. Here's the front:

Here's the back:

I don't know what I'll do with this yarn. I'll flip through OneSkein, One-Skein Wonders, and 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders to see what strikes me. Maybe mittens, mitts, or a scarf.

Now I'm itching to run to Stop&Shop to buy more Kool-Aid. I want to do a pink yarn and a blue/green yarn. Can't wait.

I made progress on my no-purl Monkey sock.

It's coming along nicely - much better than the one I frogged.

My boy is cleaning his room today. Shhhh. Did you hear that? Yup. The angels singing. I'm going to snuggle up on the couch with my knitting and with these:

Mailbox jackpot.

Friday, February 22, 2008

So Kool . . . -Aid

Part 2:

After letting the yarn cool (well . . . almost), I rinsed it. I was amazed that no dye - not a drop - came out in the rinsing process. Clear from the start.

After swishing in mild, soapy water, I rinsed again and squeezed out the excess water.

Now it's hanging to dry. This will be the painful part. I want to wind it into a ball to get any idea of what it's going to look like. I love the blue color, but I'm not crazy about the purple. At all. It's so dark and muddy looking.

Emmie, however, is a big fan.

Gee, your yarn smells terrific.

Hey! Kool-Aid!

Part 1:

It's a snowy pajama kind of day - a good day to try dyeing my Knit Picks Bare yarn with Kool-Aid I downloaded the instructions from and read them carefully. Well . . . kind of.

1. In quart jars with water, I mixed 2 packets of Ice Blue Raspberry Lemon in one, and 1 packet of Grape in the other. Ready to go.

2. I dunked one end of the yarn hank into the blue and the other into the purple. Here's where I realized that I hadn't followed the directions. I was supposed to wash the yarn in water with a mild soap and let it soak while I prepared the Kool-Aid. Crap. Forgot about that part. Too late to stop. Pressed forward.

Emmie supervised. Too bad she can't read.

3. I microwaved the yarn-filled jars for 2 minutes, as directed. Here's what the yarn looked like at that point.

4. I shifted the yarn to try to cover more of the un-dyed yarn into the blue dye and sent it back into the microwave for another 2 minutes. The idea is to keep this process going until the water is clear so the yarn has absorbed all of the color.

5. Here we are.

At this point, I stopped. Although there was still a little blue color left to the water, I liked the way the yarn looked. The purple yarn had absorbed all of the color and the water was clear.

Here's what the yarn looked like.

Now, we wait. I have to allow the water and yarn to cool, and then I'll rinse it until the water runs clear.

I'll show you later what it looks like. I can't wait for it to dry so I can wind it into a ball. So impatient. Can't stand it.

After supervising the yarn-dying process, Emmie went to watch the movie, "A Snowy Day."

She thinks it's almost as good as "A Windy Day," and "A Really Windy Day."

Then we both saw a lovely site. It's one of the best things about living here.

A young man with a snow blower shows up without even being asked. We love him.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Monkey Business Revisited

After looking at my lone no-purl Monkey perched on a beer bottle and resting on a shelf of my yarn wall, I decided that today was the day to start its long awaited twin. I cast on and began to knit magic loop style and I'm all excited about knitting this sock again.

As I knit, I kept comparing the slowly forming twin to its sibling and saw a difference I didn't like. Hmmm. I tried the first born sock on. As I suspected. It was loose. The K2P2 rib at the cuff looked to be already stretched out before I tried it on and feeling it around my ankle confirmed that it was too loose. I'd knit the first sock a while back on dpns and was less than masterful as I knit the ribbing. I remember fumbling with the dpns while getting the sock started - always have trouble getting things going on dpns. Once I have an inch done, I'm good, but that first inch is iffy. I'm much better with magic loop. So I did this:

I frogged the monkey. What fun! I turned that crank on my ball winder like a mad woman and watched that sock unknit itself. I threw my head back and cackled, and . . . No I didn't. I'm not that nuts. I giggled silently - inside my own head. No one watching me would have guessed how delighted I was watching that yarn go back into a ball. There was no pain in frogging. I figured that if I'm going to knit a new one after all this time, I might as well knit two. I'm up for it.

And in case you're wondering, Emmie is still being a good momma to her baby.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Perkin' Up

Happy to report that I'm feeling SO much better. I spent the entire day out of bed and spent a good chunk of it upright and knitting. I even drove to the grocery store and back with my boy as my navigator/driving monitor.

Thanks for all your well-wishes. You made me feel all warm and fuzzy (and sweaty and clammy).

I finished this:

A Baby Cuteness Cardigan for the baby boy twin. I did the front right side today and all of the finishing. So happy to knit. I lost four days of valuable knitting time. Four whole days - not just four partial after-school days. Whole days. I had such knitting plans for those days. Now I need to knit baby boy's sister's Cuteness. And all of the other things I want to knit. I'm sure my mother is reading this and worrying that I'm going to stay up all night knitting (knighting?), but I won't. I wish I could, but I won't. I'll go to bed and have more wacky dreams like the one where an ex-boyfriend was trying to drown me or the one from last night where I lived in a weird room that had sprung a leak in the ceiling during the heavy rainstorms and I had to climb a big hill of dirt to set out a bucket to catch the water and it kept filling up right away and pouring onto the carpet so I had to call my father to come help patch the ceiling and when he came to help we realized that what I thought was a big rock in the dirt of the hill was really the head of a camel that was buried in the dirt with only its face sticking out and it was still alive but near death so my aunt had to come to put it out of its misery with an injection of something in its face and she's not even a vet. Horrible. Makes me want to stay up all night and knit. Safer. Dreams are always nutty when I'm sick.

Remember this?

The apple jacket I bought on Etsy? I love it. It's so cute and it's practical, too.

Emmie loves it. She's made it her own. It's her baby.

She rubs her face on it, licks it, carries it around in her mouth, and occasionally tosses it up into the air. Now before you judge her competence as a mother to her baby, just remember that lots of moms and dads toss their older babies up into the air and the babies giggle with glee. Emmie is trying to make her baby happy when she tosses it. She just has to work on catching it. Hey, you're not born knowing how to be a great mother. You have to learn. Trial and error.
While Emmie's baby napped, she went up to her loft to take some time for herself.
On top of the kitchen cabinets on her Red Sox mat. Can't beat it.
I'll leave you with the cuteness I spotted outside of a kindergarten classroom on our very rainy Valentine's Day.

Can you stand it? So glad I had my camera with me.

Monday, February 18, 2008


No knitting at all to show you.
Can't do much 'cause I have the flu.
I can't read, I can't knit.
Lay in bed - that is it.
Can't wait to feel shiny and new.

I don't recall ever having the flu before. It's horrible. Fever, aches, chills, shivering, headache, congestion, sore throat, painful chest, no appetite, extreme exhaustion. Hit me like a truck. As I write this on Monday night, this is the first time since Friday early afternoon that I've spent any good stretch of time sitting upright.

I'm definitely on the mend and the worst is over. So tired of this. It's my VACATION! I should be having fun. I should be knitting. I should be cleaning.

I wanna wear my sandals. I wanna go out to lunch. I wanna be normal again!

(Do you remember that movie quote? Which movie? Who said it?)

My boy has been taking good care of me - bringing me drinks and medicine, cooking rice and pasta for me, reminding me to try to sleep, attempting to catch me when I fall down the stairs.

I did that. Luckily I was more than halfway down the stairs before I found myself no-longer in control of my body. No major injuries, but the glass I was carrying broke. I guess it was dumb to attempt a trip down a staircase on a day when my temperature had been 102.6.

I got up for a little while last night and walked around after taking a very safe trip down the stairs. (I was tempted to sit down on the stairs and go down step by step on my butt like a toddler. I watched Jon & Kate Plus 8 and that's what their sextuplets do. They're smarter than I am.)

When my boy asked me why I was up, I told him that I just felt like I needed to move around a little. My back hurt from being in bed for so long. My whole body was sore and achy.

His reply? "Ya, and your bedsores."

"My what?"

"Your bedsores. You said you were sore from being in bed. Bedsores."

Just when I think my boy is too old to say anymore cute things, he proves me wrong. Chuckle chuckle. Luckily, I can roll myself over frequently to avoid bedsores.

I'm going to go roll over now.

Don't get the flu! Don't. Do whatever you can to avoid it. Slather yourself with Purell. Wrap yourself in Saran Wrap. Lock yourself in a very clean closet. Just don't get the flu.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Fully Dressed

The Bikini Girls followed my directions. I present to you the first Dress Girl. Don't you love the demure neckline and the red strappy shoes?

I've heard talk of a line of prom dresses for spring, so I'll keep you posted.

I treated myself to a new cell phone this weekend. I love it, but it looked . . . well . . . kind of naked. Almost like a bikini girl without the bikini.

I hated the thought of this pretty-in-pink naked phone thrashing around in the bottom of my bag with keys, coins, and other nonsense items scratching and clawing at it.

So I made it a sock. A cell phone sock. Don't you love the demure neckline and the sleek, body-hugging silhouette?

It was pure luck. I cast on 18 stitches in my tried-to-remember-how-to-do-it-like-a-toe-up-sock-figure-8 cast on (don't think it's right, but it worked) and just knit my little heart out magic loop style. Two strands of Knitpicks Cadena on US 10 (6 mm) circulars. Purled a round when it was tall enough, knit one more round and then bound off. Voila. Fit like a glove. No swatching. No frogging. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Amazing.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I Used To . . .

. . . wish for indoor recess. I would wish for rain, sleet, snow, hail, and/or temperatures below 32 degrees. All 19 of my kids contained in one room. For the kids: no running, no falling, no bumps, bruises, or blood. No pushing, no shoving, no attempted dodgeball playing. For me: no shivering in the cold and the wind, no referreeing, no breath-holding while silently chanting get up, get up, get up, when one of the kids took a spill. Indoor recess meant kids sitting on the floor building with Legos, gathered around the computers playing games, laying on the floor playing a board game or Connect Four, or sitting at a table drawing pictures. It meant that I could sit and correct papers, answer parent notes, write lesson plans, and tackle the endless paperwork.

During indoor recess, a few of my girls would play school, with one lucky girl getting the role of the teacher and the others being the students. They'd set up their classroom near my desk and most of the time, the worst thing I'd have to deal with was cringing as I listened to the teacher-girl say something exactly as I've said it. Boys and girls, I have go to go to a quick meeting. Mrs. B. will be here with you while I'm gone. I know she'll have good things to tell me when I get back. Love you - mean it. (I really say that?) Then there's the old favorite, Are you making a good choice? And the always popular, Thank you for remembering to raise your hand. It was painful to hear, but hey - at least someone was listening to me. Teacher-girl would write with a dry-erase marker on the whiteboard, and ask for a volunteer to answer a question or solve a math problem.

Well, a few days ago, the whiteboard-writing girls stopped playing school . . . and started drawing.

This is Bikini Girl #1.

I got quite a chuckle out of this drawing - a self-portrait of the artist in summertime. The girls were tired of being cold and were expressing their longing for the warm summer sunshine. I got it. I didn't have my camera with me, so I grabbed my cellphone and snapped a picture. The girls got a kick out of my enthusiasm and really got into this bikini girl thing. Shortly after I took the photo, the artist added an interesting oval-shaped object on the bare stomach of the bikini girl. "What's that?" I asked. "It's my tattoo," the artist answered. Yikes.

Here's Bikini Girl #2, wearing a lovely and more modest green two-piece swimsuit.

I love her blue hair and her adorable freckles. So sweet and innocent.

The next time we had an indoor recess, the Bikini Girls got right back to it. This time, though, they positioned the whiteboard so that I couldn't see it. I heard occasional fits of giggles, but let them continue to follow their artistic whims. The giggles got louder, and louder, and louder, so I got up to check out the artwork.

This is what I saw:

Oh my.

After I snapped a quick picture, I made them erase it - immediately and completely.

I told the artists that from now on they had to draw one-piece bathing suit girls. Or shorts and t-shirt girls. Or dress girls. No more bikini girls. Done done done.

Imagine the look on the principal's face if she'd walked in to see that? The look on a parent's face? The "Do It" mother's face? I shudder.

I want to go outside for recess now. There may be bumps, bruises, and blood. Bring it on. That I can handle.

Knitterly stuff . . . My new earrings! Love these. I bought them for $10 at a 50% off sale at Given to Gauche, a cute little store in the center of town. They made me think of balls of yarn. Balls. They were meant for me. Balls.

Here's my Knitpicks Chunky Cable Purse.

I used Knitpicks Cadena in the color Neptune. It took me 2 days to finish and it's my first successful finished project with cables. It needs to be blocked and lined, and then I need to choose handles. It's small and cute and I'm happy.

Now let's go outside and run around.