Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I shouldn't have done that.

I made a mistake this morning. Nothing that impacts others greatly, just my own morning glacial speed. The gig is up the minute I'm relieved of responsibility, in this case getting The Kid to camp.

They left while I was in the bathroom.

When I came out to finish my cup of coffee, it was quiet in the kitchen. It was just me and my book.

A dangerous combination, especially while still in my pajamas.

And that's when I did it. I sat down and I drank that cup of coffee and I read two chapters. What an *sshat move, right?

Next thing I know, I'm slapping on clothing, instead of brushing my hair I'm sticking a pin in it (why not?) I haphazardly do some third grade tooth brushing, where I'm relying more on the mouthwash than the bristles and hopping out the door in the shoes that give me blisters. While sitting at my desk today, I realize, I'm not wearing a cardigan, I'm wearing my Ravelry hoodie. Comfy, but thank goodness, I had no meetings, ha!

I Am the Messenger is such an interesting read. I absolutely loved The Book Thief, so I was excited to read something else by the author. This has that same love of language and rhythm and pace to words. It has the same "What's going to happen next? I feel hopeful, but I'm dreading to see how this plays out" feelings as The Book Thief. In short, I'm wooed again. This book is more adult in nature with more than just violence, but swearing and sexual content. There is discussion of it being a Young Adult novel, but we're talking young adult = mature teen = ok with being an observer of the world kid -- not someone who cringes at the nightly news. It would need to be my own kid or know what another parent allows their teen to read before I would recommend it to a parent for their kid. (Amazon puts it though for Grade 9 - 12 apparently. But people parent differently and you have to respect that.)

Which makes me think, what books have I recommended that I shouldn't have.

When I was growing up I often read outside my age/grade level. I had some shocking realizations perusing my parents bookshelf. However there were very few books I was cautioned against. And it was just that, a caution not a restriction. (Probably because my mother knew that a restriction on reading would be worthless on a brat like me.) It's kind of funny considering I felt like they were pretty strict parents when I was younger. Bah, I suppose all kids feel that way.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Wednesday Whatknot

Firstly, Lollyknits got a gift pattern of  Encyclopaedie. It's actually the shawl I have been backing out working on. But! I think I got it. And Ms. Lolly is a wonderful knitter, as you can see if you visit her site, so I am sure she won't run into the same kind of distracted trouble I have.

No one else put what they wanted in the comments, but bah humbug! I think even with so few, we needed another gift. The random generator gave us 4 which is Kathy B. And I hope she PMs me on ravelry so I can send her a pattern of her choice.

I think it's something about knitters or crafters that gifting feels good. I love the gift of a comment, and reading everyone's blogs. It's some of the best sunshine I get on a regular basis. Thanks Internet!

In the same theme, this month I had a nice *r o u n d* birthday and I feel like we'll all have to celebrate some more. I will figure something out to share with you guys.

Meanwhile my husband took me out to dinner on Saturday without The Kid at Prospect. He's been so fancy lately. Anyhow, it was tasty and fun and we had a great people watching show. We were home in time for yoga pants on couch and a little knitting and a night cap ala T.V. Here are our dishes (we shared small plates and one entree):

Tuna Tartare with black rice cracker

Cucumber, heirloom tomato and feta salad.

Sweetbreads with stonefruit and mushrooms -- roasted and shaved raw.

Stuffed local sand dab with Dungeness crab

Pork Chop with Beans

I have been doing some mental math lately. I've been querying flights to Chicago. I'm thinking about going to Vogue Knitting in November. I'm thinking it would be fun to take a class or two, go to the market and eat walk around Chicago a bit. I might be able to pull it off if I can piggy back a kid sleepover or two. (The Manfriend works Saturdays).

I lied to you and myself, and the variegated yarn I had picked out for  Wendy's Summer Mystery Shawl KAL is too busy, so I will save it for Multnomah instead. It's looking like my KAL is becoming more of a KCU (Knit Catch Up) but that's okay. I get to benefit from all those KALers project notes :) I don't know what I'm going to use for the Mystery Shawl, but I intend to shop from within the stash.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Some Random

1. I love knitting and I love soccer, but for the love of a sporty knit, what the heck is she knitting? A 1970s hat, roller derby tube top -- I am intrigued? In the related link in the same post, a pretty Gunner supporter has me convinced I will need to knit a two-toned scarf this fall/winter.

2. Summer T.V. - Game of Thrones is done (I thought the season was OK, I'm curious to see where the producers take it. Well, I guess I have 10 mos to find out!) so now what? Has anyone been watching the new season of The Killing? It's very dark, almost too dark for me. Maybe it's that whole teenage kid, missing, marginalized, murdered thing. Are you guys watching anything new? Anything I can get sucked into, with or without knitting?

3. Hah, I am reading! I'm zooming through The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. The lead main character Flavia is so bloody charming I want to reach through the book and give her a big squish. She'd be appalled! It's a mystery and it is absolutely FUN. It's just what I needed. I still can't get through Raising Cain. Parenting books, no matter how helpful or interesting somewhat fill me with dread. I know, I have issues ...

4. We call this a butt peach. When they ring it up at the market it's a "Saturn peach". I have also heard it referred to as a doughnut peach, but I think that's just false advertising. I wish there was fruit that was close enough to a doughnut to be named as such. This one is still a little under-ripe. But that's okay by me. Taste is similar to a white peach. I was talking to Lady H. and honestly we both  prefer the yellow (cling) peach, it may not be as pretty as these farmer market darlings, but there is so much more depth to the flavor. Anyhow, The Kid is a fan, and you know how us parental units like to encourage and indulge the fresh fruit eating. (yes, it is sitting on top of my Mystery KAL yarn)

5. I have a new idea to underwhelm myself in the great life goal of decluttering and maintaining cleanliness and organization. (I dread typing these words, the lazy beast sets herself up to fail once more!) I think I'm going to use what I'm calling "the magic box method". I'm going to take an office supply box. You know, the ones they give you when you play musical cubicles and I'm going to go to one surface space at a time and put stuff in it that doesn't need to be accessed daily. And then I will sort that box. Any item that doesn't go bye bye, must immediately have a home. I know we don't have a very big apartment, but still, we don't need all the stuff that sits out. In keeping with the magic box method, I will then move to small corners, like the two black hole corners in my son's room. Comic books and old lego instructions have been chucked, but what else lingers there?

Friday, June 14, 2013

My Ongoing Battles with Lace

Lace. I fake it. I always have. With the exception of a few basic patterns, I'm not really good at it. It often requires that skinny-ass yarn, that seems to laugh at my clumsy hands. It is full of those slippery stitches that have slips and passovers or yarn overs I forget to ... yarn over. Le Sigh,  I'm not always consistent with the way things slant and twist. Really, which way is it leaning? My "holes" never seem large and dainty and lacey enough -- even after blocking.  I don't really understand lace patterns until I'm almost done with the repeats. Even if you need, say, 30 repeats.

I am in fact. Lace intolerant, possibly lace impaired, the test results are not back yet.

The prognosis is not good. Did I mention, I still have not mastered chart reading? I do not understand those, "no stitch" pieces of graph paper.

This summer, as Ravelry waves it's top 20 at me. Flying it's fingering-weight yarn patterns in my face. Telling me,
"Hey! This is what all the cool kids are doing. This is how real knitters knit in the summer ..." 
I'm trying. I'm trying and failing a lot. And that's okay. If something is really miserable I will stop myself. Some patterns, are just too pretty though. I feel compelled to learn and to finish, no matter what the outcome.

If the summer is a total bust, and I end up wanting to never look at another yarnover and ssk (unless it's in worsted weight), I will destash a bunch of fingering weight and send it off into the world for a happier fate than being stuck with my uncooperative knitting hands.

Self inflicted pain: Shawl that I managed to back out to a point where I could fix. Where the sweetest kindest hand holding designer tried to explain why and where I was reading the pattern wrong. I was all set to make another fix attempt and then I opened my bag to find a string of stitches just murdered in the middle of the fabric. Was this the universe telling me to just ... try again? Bah. I made my husband sleep with the top light as well as the lamp on and began the crazy task of picking up stitches. (What? My aging eyes need all the help they can get!) He does not argue with this situation, as he is likely to get more sleep with lights on than, listen to my whining and moaning. Madelinetosh lace in ink is very hard to see in the dark!!

But I think I have it in a post recovery phase. Let's see if I can manage this next bit of contrast color without another righteous crap up.

This will be cast on next -- this weekend, fer reals!  I may not keep up with Wendy's KAL, but I will make my own progress, I swears it, I will! Early days with good days to follow. I bought this giant cake of yarn (well it wasn't in a cake at that point) when I just started knitting at Stitches West. I hope it all works out.

I am thinking one day, I will feel compelled to dedicate some free time, to all the lovely helpful hints and posts written about lace. I will use lifelines instead of talk about lifelines. I will go back to my books on stitch definitions and remember what leans left and right, without having to "see" it. Heck, maybe I'll even make flashcards. I will learn the proper way to read a chart and I will actually knit lace without being in a group of people or the t.v. on or so late at night ... with more success. Ah, such distant goals -- in the meantime I am a lazy beast in my lazy, beastly ways.

Anyhow, in honor of my lace battles and the kindness that was bestowed upon me I will gift one of Maria Steiner's patterns. Leave a comment telling me which pattern you would like and your Ravelry handle from now until hmm ... EOD Tuesday (6/18) and I will randomly select a winner.

*Update: Last night after the company left and I went to do a row or two of lace ... my knitpicks needles became unscrewed in the middle of a row, snagging and dropping stitches? I was at level 9 "sea of despair". I have tried to reconstruct the situation. Alas, I won't really know until this evening when I count my stitches and tightened my needles ... again. Wish me luck, friends. I may have to back this pooping puppy out again.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Summer Blanket

I referred to this as a pilot blanket last post. The reason for this is, is the yarn. It is Red Heart Fiesta acrylic, left over from some charity knitting I used to do. I like acrylic. but this particular yarn is tight, and unforgiving on the hands. I had tried this pattern before, and honestly I don't know why, I kept screwing it up, so I frogged it and decided I would not attempt it again with nice yarn, until I could do it without messing up. I don't know why this seemed to make sense at the time. In my head I was probably punishing the pattern (the pattern is FINE, it's me ... again), but really I am now just punishing my hands.

This makes no sense. I just was telling Kathy B. she needed to take care of her hands. So I ought to take my own advice or eat my own hypocrite pie. Here is the thing, I'm about 40% done with this thing. So now I have to finish. Have to, in that weird illogical Ellen way. "Have to" in the way I can see my little sister pull a "weirdo" face at me.

The pattern is the Baby Chalice Blanket. It currently doesn't look like the example on Ravelry. I think it's 1) the yarn 2) I should've used a larger needle, but I rarely swatch for a sweater, why in the holy hot pants would I for a blanket? 3) My tendency to fuss with stitches containing slip stitches.

That's okay, I think the mini blanket will be fine for a city stroll, and when someone kicks it off and it gets run over by the stroller on a city street, it will still be OK after a quick wash.  I am going to just have to get this done, now. Quickly. I have a huge list of things I want to do, with nicer yarn -- including this same blanket again, larger with better yarn.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday's Peanut Gallery

I'm the gallery, and I'm throwing peanuts. This post is a running commentary somewhere between last week and the weekend. It's a hot mess, I'm a hot mess. But it's all OK.

I wish I had knitting progress, but I'm working on fixing a piece of lace, waiting to cast on a new piece of lace  and I've got a pilot blanket at the side of the bed, waiting. My knitting world is a little messy right now. Hopefully things will get sorted this week or upcoming weekend, or at least one piece will.
Confirmed: I am carrying my yarn around more than I'm knitting it.

The other night there was no exercise or knitting because the boys took me out to an early birthday dinner at Central Kitchen. Such a pretty space. A Sister restaurant to Flour + Water which we all really loved. Central Kitchen was good, even though it didn't knock me off my socks. I would go back again after it has aged a little. I also understand the style more so I think I would know what to expect (which I liked).

Faves: The radishes with trotter, Ricotta and Herb dumplings, The Hen was really a lot of interesting flavors, super tender.
radishes & trotter

the hen - sorry for the blurriness
Cons: The Halibut. I dunno. Just didn't like it, strong citrus dust, and the texture was like it was overcooked, but I'm not expert.

Confirmed: I'm not really a grilled squid girl. Though I liked the octopus mixed with the chickpeas on the side of the halibut. That was lovely. Funny right?

The Kid ate too much during his post tennis camp activities with his Dad and Little Yo. Apparently after having tea and cookies at The Japanese Tea Garden, they persuaded him to get bubblegum ice cream at Joe's Ice Cream. (excuse the yelp link, but I think their site is down).

Apparently this ice cream pushed The Kid over the edge, especially unfamiliar with this flavor (I wonder if he had a Mesna moment and swallowed the gum?), and after a few trips to the restroom during dinner, it was gingerale, water, and bread for him. He tried a few things, but one could tell, he was taking one for the team.

I had asked him earlier if he wanted just to go home, but he said no. I think he was worried about disappointing me? Which is silly. Restaurant dining is like a family event. We are fortunate to do it with great regularity.

Regardless, I think some Tintin comic books with gingerale, allowed me to feel safe. That and no whining.

Anyhow, the next day he was cheery and bright  with no ailments, ready for camp.

The bus and it's people were stinky on the way back to work.
Confirmed: I don't like stinky cramped bus rides.

Despite having multiple things in progress on the kneedles and already committed to casting on something else new. I like THIS.
Confirmed: I have a wandering pattern/knitting eye.

Saturday during the day, I met up with my sister in law and niece and well got our nails done. Well, not the Kid. He read patiently and played on the iTouch. We went to lunch and just had a simple, but connected time. Sometimes our husband who work together a lot, don't spend much down time together, but it's us who miss out. I'm so lucky that I'm attached to great, nice people. My niece is growing up, and I want her to not just do things, because we're family, but because there is a connection to her family. Anyhow, here are our toes...

princess the only girl in the family!

That evening, I went out to one function I drank a little too much, was feeling social and met up with with my pal and occasional partner in crime -- we went dancing ?!? I may have lost some dignity but acknowledged my latest mini midlife crisis and had a lot of fun. I also managed to keep my Manfriend abreast of my itinerary. I made it home L A T E, but safe and reminded myself to water and advil after my shower and before bed, so that I wasn't completely miserable for our 4 hour canoe trip the next day at the Russian River.
Confirmed: Still an idiot.
pose!. thx for coming out to play little snoops! i will always be your dancing dork!
Canoeing on Sunday was a blast. We met up with another family who were staying up there for the week and paddled down together. Thankfully I'm photoless of that. The fresh air was grand. It wasn't warm and sunny at all, but I got a new floppy hat anyways to avoid the sun and feel summery. It was wholesome family time, which I direly needed (obviously). We all came home in a great mood, dirty (how one day at the rive can generate so much laundry is really impressive), and exhausted. No knitting ... again! We ate Chinese food and watched basic cable together. The Kid must've said 4 times, how much fun that was.

Confirmed: I would've been miserable if it was hot. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Daydreams: Retirement Style

Dropping off The Kid at tennis camp, he confirmed the "old people" still meet in the morning and play tennis in their little groups.

I told him, I liked this. I told him, I'm going to work this into my plan.

I told him:
I'll rotate my morning activities between nice long walks, maybe along the Embarcadero, and playing tennis with some pals. Then, I'll go to one of those "laptop cafes" (that's what he calls the quiet as a library cafe's with artisan coffee, lined with mac book users camped out.) I'll shoot off a few emails. I'll send you one every morning with the usual mothering gripes, "When are you coming over? We miss you. Are you drinking enough water? Are you still getting migraines?"
He laughed, I know he can see it now.

"After that, I'll update my blog. I'll email you and your Dad that I updated my blog. Then I'll knit some and maybe catch a matinee. Then maybe I'll take a dance class or a Zumba class in the middle of the day."

He said, "Mom, you're going to be exhausted from all that exercise. Or maybe really buff."

I said, "Yeah, I'm going to be a buff old lady."

And we both start laughing and he mimes weight-lifting.

I finished with, "You think I'm kidding ..."

*Nota Bene: Cleaning and home improvement are no-where to be found in this retirement daydream. I believe this is what my retired husband might be doing, while I'm living the dream. Then again I fear that he might be one of those people that can't not work. That's okay, I'll send him a lot of emails from my world travels.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Small Things

On Saturday, Mrs. B and Mrs. Canada along with another hostess held a lovely tea party baby shower for a mutual friend. The tables were laden with lovely items. Smoked Salmon, Cheese platter, tea sandwiches, cookies of all sorts (a few kinds contributed by me!). Mrs. B. baked the dreamiest scones served with clotted cream and strawberry preserves (swoon city!) and there was Pimm's punch, lemonade, and bubbly.

It was beautiful day in the city to sit outside and laugh.

For the mother, we picked something practical from the registry. I know this baby came after most of the elder children's gear was long gone, and I love a moment to be decisively practical.

But! Babies mean a chance to test my small people knitting skills. The father is a professor, and this seemed a fitting pattern for a little boy.

To sew on the patches and the buttons, I think it took me about as long as it took me to knit the body of the sweater. The patches are made with felt and I used embroidery floss to stitch it. I am not sure how secure they will be, but it should be Okay.  I still think the alignment is kind of wonky. Always and forever room for improvement.

Anyhow, it's a done deal folks.