Thursday, February 28, 2013

It don't mean knit ...

Or what rhymes with knit. ha! Get it? Yeah, thanks for the grampa moment.

Reading has often meant no knitting. The Game of Thrones period really affected my knitting productivity ...

I admit I finished rereading an old mystery on my shelf and picked up a new one. Initially I had a hard time getting into this one Burial at Sea. I'm not sure if it's because of the flashback / chronological order of the narration, or if I missed the main character's cozy aristocratic home and routine. Eventually I came to really appreciate the author's break from his usual set up. Not that I find him particularly formulaic but he's set me up for some expectations nonetheless. Also who doesn't love a murder mystery set up in confined spaces?
The day I finished A Burial at Sea, Hotel Bemelmans arrived in the mail. Such timing. It has kept me reading in those not enough time to cast on a project moments.

This book is really fun. Ludwig Bemelmans is the author of the wonderful Madeline children's series. This is an exaggerated memoir/or autobiographical essays of his life growing up in the Food & Service Industry. If you've ever been a coffee jockey or a hostess or a server or worked some kind of retail, I think you'll appreciate it. Especially if you have a love for the food industry.

I like it because each chapter is a vignette in itself. I can put it down and pick up the needles, and not be too obsessed with what happens next (like I was with A Burial at Sea where I read in bed, before going to work on Monday... oops.) 

I've really enjoyed this latest return to reading.  I think it's been gentle stuff to ease me back in. I have a stack of books that have the potential to be EMOtionally draining for a fluff reader like me. But the emo reading is really good too, when you miss a well turned phrase and non "try-hard" prose. So this is the first "stack" of new books for 2013.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On the knitting horizon: The latest list

Something has been finished! Another Christopher. I think this yarn Plymouth Encore Worsted was a bit heavy for this pattern. Madelinetosh would be better. Anyways ...
The solid side of things

The striped side of things

You know what that means, new stuff!

This begs the question of what is next.

Another set of diaper pants for a baby shower next weekend to be given with a gift card. I will probably gift the mother something else when she has the baby in April.

Tiny Tea Leaves cardigan in orange superwash for HM's baby. I don't know why, but my desire to knit this child lots of things is a little out of control. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to take any pictures of the things I did finish.

Here's the thing with this gift knitting. I am not excited by it. It feels like a "have to" on my list (even though I already have a gift for this person). At least the diaper pants. Since I've given HM something already, that orange cardi is more of a first birthday present on the horizon. The thing is, I can see the yarn staring at me from the plastic bin every morning. It says,
"Remember me? Your friend likes this color. Yeah, we could be great together, baby!"
Bah, Baby? Get it? !

I've been meaning to
Granlibakken - There is something so sweet to this pattern. Also, because the three times I attempted it, it was obvious that this "simple knit" as everyone was saying, kept coming out lopsided for me, means I have to learn something simple ... again in knitting.

Henslowe - The need to shawl knit is strong.

Windward - Blame the Yarnharlot. I think I need to make one of these, not a full-blown shawl, and hopefully will not make me too flustered.

Yarnster -  Luvinthemommyhood keeps bringing the good knit. And apparently I haven't left my hat hankering at the door. So sweet the new pattern is free.

Oh and that pattern reminds me, wasn't I saying I wanted to do the Downton Cowl again in Tart.

So where to start ... where to start?

Dang, just writing this list has helped me. At the moment I'm thinking: the wonder blanket AKA the monster (thought I forgot about it? I did! but Kathy B has inspired!), diaper pants, downton, yarnister, windward, and then tiny tea leaves.

I will not cast them ALL on. (I WILL NOT, it's my new 2013, mainly because I seem to fall out of love too fast and end up with too many things that hibernate or need to be frogged) I suspect I may not be a very good multi-tasking knitter.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Parental Thoughts

I have them every now and then. Baby Daddy would argue, I over think and often complicate things. He wouldn't be wrong.

I read this today in Lainey Gossip (Don't laugh, I love that celebrity drivel. In moderation of course, and Lainey's site feels ... kinder than most.)
Have you noticed how often “follow your dreams” is given as career advice, as opposed to “work really hard”?
The post started with Michael Jackson's eldest teenage son getting correspondence work for an Entertainment show, and then drifted into internships and work experience that prepares you for a positive career. (At least that's my take away.)

I still think "work really hard" is just a set of words. You actually have to do it, or get your kid to do it. And that is easier said than done, as well.

As The Kid turns 10, I realize there are so many things I could've handled or prepped him a little better on. I am not dwelling on it too much, because how is that positive for any of us? We move forward to be better as individuals and together. I want him to be grateful, knowing the value of people, as well as things. I want him to have a good work ethic.

I don't feel he is void of these things, but parenting is always a baseline. With love, I try to provide the base of attributes, skills to continue to improve and grow and survive; physically and emotionally in this world that isn't always gentle.

His father infinitely more patient and nurturing then I am, is my control and check place. Single parents, or parents that are often separated by travel / occupation or multiple jobs I am so in awe of. If I were on my own, not only would this be so much harder logistically, but emotionally I think both my son and I would be a hot(ter in my case) mess. (I can't even go into parents -- whether together or not have, who have different parenting agendas, I have it pretty easy)

Happy Birthday Kid. I love you so much more than you'll ever know. You make me bonkers. Seriously.

Birthday Morning. Present before school!! Mom enough with the photos in the morning, you'll make me late again.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Annual Pork Chop Dinner

Every year on the eve of my son's birthday, I have a pork chop dinner.

The night I went into labor, I had pork chops for dinner.

I'm nostalgic like that.

8 mos pregnant and I couldn't eat my second chop or any of my chocolate mousse cake. So I took it home. I ate a few bites of my chocolate mousse cake, began to fall asleep watching CSI, so I brushed up and went to bed.

Then I woke up around midnight and went to the bathroom.

That's when I realized I was bleeding. A trip to the hospital via taxi, no bag packed, no birth classes taken, basically still a kid ... 11 hours later I had a baby.

10 years later, I'm still allowed to keep him.

It goes by so fast. I have been particularly squishy with him, sneaking in all the extra kisses I can get. I tease him to get a laugh, I know this is probably not the best parenting practice, but so does he. He said, "Why are you teasing me??" today on the way to school.

I replied, "Why have kids if not for free labor and the ability to tease them for a good laugh? It's a family tradition. My mother teased me and embarrassed me, and see now I am doing it for you, in a much gentler version."

(it's true, my mother used to yell out to the yard, "Hey that's my daughter be nice to her, or I'll get you." or just say silly stuff for a laugh.)

Tonight I tried to detox some of the weekend"tea party" out of my system with some exercise. When I came home my lovely husband made me pork chops, roasted artichoke and potatoes. yay

Lady, can I just have my toast?

Weekend Recap/Recovery

Strawberry Nutella Mini Baguette Sammy
I veered slightly off course this weekend. 3 days of my Mom made crazy pants!

I didn't really knit much. Just a bit on a red hat. I decided to reread an old mystery.

I did a lot of grocery shopping. I went clothes shopping and hated everything I put on my body, including ... well my body. You know how it goes, it just wasn't a good day for clothes shopping. I'm sure I'll have a successful venture in the future. Meanwhile, I saved some yarn money ;)

I had a bowl of Vietnamese soup by myself and watched the people of San Francisco enjoy a warm February, Saturday.

The family ran our annual Chinatown 5k on Sunday. I walked part of it, my shins hurt. (My stepfather who runs regularly says this is usually a sign you need new shoes. I'm good at ordering sneakers!) The boys left me in the dust. The Kid got 3rd place in his age division! Not bad huh?

Family Photo, a rarity, but not smart enough to take the photo BEFORE we ran.
Then, I went kitchen crazy. I baked two kinds of cookies, made cinnamon pull-apart bread, 3 kinds of tea sandwiches, meyer lemon and blood orange lemonade, frosted tea cakes, baked zuchinni fries and mini corn dog muffins.

These are my tea cakes. Definitely a case of FUI (frosting under the influence) but they make me smile.
I had Little Snoopy and Lady A over with their kids. Our tea party turned into lots of wine. But fun times as usual ensued. I just have to bounce back now!

Friday, February 15, 2013

That took a lot longer than I thought: Seaming and Weaving

The thing is, I know it will always take longer than I think it will. However, I didn't think it would take THAT long.

After I plucked up some courage, I arranged my dry pieces for Aidez and realized, they will fit together. The proportions should work. Then I just had to wait for the proper block of time. That was, last night while The Kid was asleep and we watched episode 9 of Game of Thrones. (Not that I'm a prude, but ... oh my)

Slowly, I seamed. I had to unseam, and seam again. I tried to use as many of the tails from joining balls as I could. I should've had something to hold the pieces together, like binder clips, because I think my tension and alignment shifted on the pieces and this caused me problems.

I wasn't even half way finished at the end of the episode. I dragged Aidez to bed with me after brushing my teeth. When The Manfriend put his book down and turned off the light he said, "Don't stay up all night finishing your sweater." I said, "Of course not."

But I stayed up till 1am, seaming, and unseaming. If something was wrong, I had to fix it. Everyone knows you won't wear a lumpy, long armpit sweater, even if you knit it yourself.

At 1am it still wasn't done.

This morning they left and I grabbed my cup of coffee, turned on the local news and had at that sweater again. I left for the office with the sweater still not finished in a market bag. The seaming at least was done. Next, I needed to secure my weave-ins.


I met a couple of knitters at lunch and began weaving in ends as we perused Ravelry on an iPad and talked patterns. I did not finish weaving in the ends.

I tried it on though. It fits. It's a little long, and has already garnered the love of a cherished bathrobe the way it hangs. I am already considering doing the same construction for a "quick" stockinette knit version to keep my sister from taking this one.

I don't want to jinx it, but I think I finally made something for me. Something I will wear. (T & B were kind enough to model for me)

Yay completion. Thanks for the kind words of encouragement of support. I think it would've languished on the ottoman for another month without them.

Fits T to a T, ha!

 B tries it on for me.

Sleeve Detail

Monday, February 11, 2013

Weekend Recap

Excellent weekend, but always things that "I meant to do ..."

I did manage some tea cookies. They are kind of a hot mess, but interesting. Toasted Almonds, Nutella and Coffee for the base. (Pioneer Woman adds peanut butter, but The Kid is allergic, so I just left it out.) Easily distracted by the shiny aisles of the local Walgreens, I went with raspberry M&Ms, which The Manfriend claims was a little over-powering.  I did cut them with regular M&Ms, still, he might be right (shh). However,  I'd be willing to try this again, with something maybe more cohesive. Toffee chips perhaps or just classic dark chocolate? TBD. Do not over bake these cookies. As the first batch taught me. They will not forgive you.

Snickerdoodles were made Sunday afternoon, but my co-workers got to those before I thought of taking a picture of them for you. Sorry pants. They were tastier than pretty anyways.

I also managed to keep my child entertained, socialized and engaged in something creative. We went to investigate the Mission in San Rafael, went for a hike with my Dad and nephew in Muir Woods on Sunday. On Saturday we met up with one of his pal's at Mission Science Workshop and he built a marble maze and made a chocolate treat and had just a really good time with his friend and other school mates that showed up.

Don't saw off your hands, you'll need those for things like knitting and typing and dishes!
Okay Sidebar. Look at The Kid's bangs. Long bangs are really his thing right now, and other kids. I am that mother that smacks her forehead and says, "Ugh, fine, find your style, but can you promise me you can see at the same time?" If he walks into the door jam, I get to take him to the barber. 

Alright, enough Mom chatter. Let's get to the stuff I didn't do. I will not write of practical items like, cleaning out the paperwork on my sinking bedroom desk or mailing thank you cards and emailing evites... ugh. 

I didn't seam together the cardigan! Yikes! Don't judge me too harshly friends. Knitting happened! I finished a pair of arm warmers. I almost finished a baby sweater thing for HM that was really fun to knit. I am torn right now, between continuing on the crazy baby knit train or getting back on the Soccer Mom project. Maybe I should just do a shawl? mwahahahaha. 

Next post, janky iPhone knitting photos! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Other people's nifty things: Notes for later

Little Snoopy managed to mix up some great peppermint patties here. I was one of the lucky recipients at school drop off to sample. The chocolate: peppermint ratio was perfect! I'd love to try them with the bittersweet LS hint, hint.

Project Stash convinces me to try lots of patterns. Today however it's a scone recipe. I have been mocked that a few batches of my scones could be used as paper weights. I have had some success with yogurt scone recipes, but it's been  an awful long time. Why the heck not? I'll substitute the blue berries with raspberries or blackberries seeing how The Kid is a particular beast when it comes to berries.

Between ProjectStash and My Sister's Knitter I feel like I really ought to try knitting socks.  Speaking of socks, the intro to these socks (LOTR sucker that I am) was so charming I may be nudged, not to mention the design is really pretty. You'd have to knit them in some kind of green colorway. It may be too fancy to start with, but something to aspire to. I could always start with something basic and self-striping!

Cassy at is always churning out fantastic knitted items. I admit to losing some time on her blog for her love of the cardigan (and the baby knits she's doing lately,  have been so cute as well!)  This is the one. However the seaming intimidates me, despite her encouraging and confident tone. Maybe I'll have to see how Aidez turns out.

I admit to not being healthy enough to actually enjoy fruit pies the way I enjoy a cream pie. It is true that as a child I wanted to go to Boston, because that must be where the best Boston Creme Pie is right? (I don't know, I still have not made it to Boston) Is it bad that I desire this pie so much, even with the raw egg? Is it?

I like the day dreaming. However some of these Ellen, are notes for later, as in not never.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Don't you EVEN look at another cardigan

I'd like to report that I'm proving myself the half-ass knitter again.

I had a hellacious head cold that has really wiped me out. At times, I wanted a gold star for simply being able to keep my ginormous head upright and on my shoulders.

I managed to finish the sleeves for Aidez.

It's not pretty, but these are my two fronts and one sleeve crowded onto an ottoman to dry

We will see, if the proportions actually match up, and if my wily methods of decrease retain the loveliness of the designer's design.

Next a whole lot of encouraging whispers for the seaming.

Wish me luck people, wish me completion.

In the meantime, I will keep my eyes from wandering to other lovely cardigan patterns, that would probably just languish around in knitting baskets in my house ... Stranger Cardigan, Moonshine, Common Ground. I could go on.

Meanwhile, here is an attempt at a stitch detail shot of the two fronts side by side ... before running out to work.

P.S. This morning I was asked, "Are those dry yet?" Ahh, motivation comes in many forms.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Downton Update

Sorry I'm no photographer.
I still haven't blocked it yet, so I avoided the "whole piece" shot.

The Manfriend will often retire to the bedroom when I watch Downton Abbey. Or I will sequester myself in the bedroom, so I don't have to hear the boys mock my show, "How's DownTOWN Abbey? Who's being horrible today? Is it that Bran guy?"

They say I watch it like sports, where I smack the furniture (or the nearest person) in brute frustration. I talk at the t.v. or yell at it and coach all the characters on what they should be doing. To say I might suffer withdrawal when the season ends ... is mild.

I finished the Downton Cowl in Nikko blue (discontinued Vintage Tosh). It's made me happy. It needs to be blocked, but it's a sense of accomplishment, and the pattern was both easy and fun enough to keep me knitting when I wasn't watching Edwardian tv.

I decided I will need to do this project again, but in a color that has some different grades and shades to it.

I picked up Tart in Vintage Tosh. Oooo. But! This is in a holding pattern, as I go forth on other knitting adventures...

ps: I love how Project Stash calls Sunday, "Downton Abbey Day"

Monday, February 4, 2013


I really have to learn to "slow my roll" as the kids (used to?) say.

I opened my inbox and tried to de-clutter and get to the important stuff and respond. I was derailed. I got a Plucky Knitter notification. Sweater Kit pre-order sale. Oh man. I clicked the link thinking I would just ... look.

Fat chance. Next thing I know, I was pre-ordering the Contessa colorway, the size with the extra skein, because what if my bust size is larger than I thought?

And now the post impulse guilt:
  • I don't feel like my knitting skills are really worthy of this kit.
  • I have been trying to keep my distance from sweaters. My last 3 have not really turned out as well as I would've liked. 
  • Aidez is still blocking on my ottoman.
  • I screwed up my last kit from Plucky Knitter. The sad face, pulled too hard Color Affection.
  • I have so much in stash right now. I can't knit fast enough.
  • I recently bought yarn at my local for a Mom project. (I have been knitting with completion on this. But there is still a lot of yarn left.)
And this is the justification: Still, a shiny new project is on the horizon. A bright raspberry colored cardigan at that. March is the estimated date of arrival. Which gives me a month to diligently work through dent my stash.