Monday, June 30, 2008

Sacre Blue!!!

To answer your question, yes I did finish 2 pairs of socks in June.
Please see Exibit A

Are they not the cutiest baby socks ever?!?! So small!

And now may I direct your attention to Exhibit B.

I know you've seen them before but for comparison. Is it winter yet? Can I wear my new socks?

Unfortunately, they were not two pairs of socks for me as I had planned, nor were they from Favorite socks. But they are two completed socks none the less.



Which reminds me, have I told you about our Nessa Rose’s Son? Yes his name is Curlfect's Big Poppy Socks since my Mum has become a die hard Red Socks fan. SO funny! I grew up in a house where my father was frequently heard to say

“We’re going to watch the Red Socks play some football against the Lakers.”

Seriously, I knew nothing about sports until the boyfriend forced me to sit through a few games. After which I decided I could stand hockey and baseball. Go Maine! All the rest remind me of gerbils on wheels.

But I digress, the point, is that, seemingly out of the blue my Mum has gone crazy for the Red Socks and informs us that Jacoby wouldn’t be a bad name for a grandchild. So when Nessa had her baby it wasn’t a big surprise to hear a Socks reference. So Big Poppy isn’t cute very cute, but at 2 weeks old you weren’t either!

SO now what, well it’s time for the July Challenge. It’s ALIVE! (evil laugh!) No it’s not, that’s the Frankenstein talking. Thank you Craftlit.

Seriously, July shall honor one of the greatest sporting events of all time. A mammoth undertaking that can be condensed daily into a 30 minute recap which is interesting enough to even keep me entertained. July shall be the Tour De France!

There will be 3 stages in my tour...

Stage 1: I will knit a French Design (probably finish Lutea-Lace Tank or create a Clapotise)

Stage 2: I will knit with a French Yarn (I think I’ll be ordering some Bergere de France yarn)

Stage 3: I will knit a pattern designed by a French Citizen –for this I will knit a Jacqard pattern as Joseph Marie Charles Jacquard, a French silk weaver designed this type of stitch pattern and fittingly his birthday is July 7th! Sacre bleu! (OMG) the same day as The Boyfriend! It’s faite!

So there you have it. Mychawd’s Tour De France. Anyone want to join?
Come on....I know you are yerning to win the yellow jersey.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

From the Brain Slug Planet

From the Brain Slug Planet
There is a certain someone who is a big Futurama fan. So for his birthday I thought it might be nice to design him one of his own.

Materials:
· Set of US size 10½, 9, 5 needles
· Lion Suede in Olive 132
· Lion Brand Microspun in
-Ebony 153
-Lily White 100
· Polyester Fiber Fill
· Tapestry Needle

Finished Measurements:
5” diameter, 6” high (he’ll fit in your hand)

Guage:
Using size 9 needles, 12sts = 4”.


Body:
US Size 10 ½ needles
Lion Suede

Cast on 150 stitches
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: *P1, P2tog* across the row (100sts)
Row 3: K2tog across the row (50sts)

Now using a third needle split the stitches, placing every other stitch on one needle or the other, so that there are 25 sts on two needles. Split stitches as follows: first stitch onto needle one, second stitch onto needle two, third stitch onto needle one, and so on.

Next work on the base of the slug, leaving the other needle of 25 stitches to be worked on later as the body of the slug.
Row 4a: Purl around the 25 base stitches.
Row 5a: *Knit 3, K2tog* across (20 sts)
Row 6a: Purl
Row 7a: *Knit 2, K2tog* across (15sts)
Row 8a: *P1, P2tog* across (10sts)
Row 9a: K2tog across the row (5sts)
Bind off.

Return to the 25 body stitches that had been sitting on the alternate needle.
Using US Size 9 needles
Work stockinet stitch for 3½” from split, ending after a WS row
Row 4b: *Knit 3, K2tog* across (20 sts)
Rows 5b, 7b, 9b: Purl
Row 6b: *Knit 2, K2tog* across (15sts)
Row 8b: *K1, K2tog* across (10sts)
Row 10b: K2tog across the row (5sts)
Bind off.

Eye:
US Size 5 needles
Lion Brand Micro Spun, Ebony & Lily White

Cast on 6 stitches using Ebony
Connect to knit in the round
Row 1: Knit
Row 2:*K1, M1* around the row (12sts)
Row 3: Knit
Switch to Lily White color
Row 4: *K2, M1* around the row (18sts)
Row 5: Knit
Row 6: *K3, M1* around the row (24sts)
Row 7: Knit
Row 8: *K4, M1* around the row (30sts)
Row 5: Knit
Row 6: *K5, M1* around the row (36sts)
Row 7: Knit
Bind Off

Antenna (make 2):
Size 9
Lion Suede
Cast on 5 stitches
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: P1, P2tog, P2
Row 3: K2tog, K2
Work I-Cord for 1½”
Bind Off.

Sew around the edge of the eye to the body leaving an inch open for stuffing. Stuff and finish sewing. Attach antennas to the top of the head.
Sew the to ends of the base together forming a circle. Next sew the top into a circle and sew the two body edges together leaving room to stuff. Stuff and finish sewing.

Upon completion begin wearing a hat.
Fun quick little knit. Let me know if you make one.

© 2008, mychawd



Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dear Abby,

Dear Abby,
I’ve been a bit quiet lately, a bit off kilter. It seems both The Boyfriend and I are going through mid-life, no quarter-life crises. Neither of us love our jobs or our career paths.
He however, does have a better grasp of the situation and a plan for the future. I am suspended in space…floating without sound…wondering what the next step should be.

As working takes up the majority of ones life it seems important to get it right and enjoy it. I take full responsibility for my current feeling of weightlessness, but I am finding it hard not to question a societal structure that forces 18 year olds with no life experience to make decisions that will direct the course of the remaining 60 years. I cannot blame my choice of a major. Be it sociology, or history, or business. Whatever the major we are still forced through the play-dough machine and into business world. A world where “cash is king” and people shop at the large box chains that are known commodities selling products at the lowest prices. Computerized, electronic, mass produced, and cheap. That’s what we all want.

In such a world how could I ever hope to succeed doing what I love, knitting and creating unique high quality items? Will this world ever value my skills? Probably not, shall I adapt and fit in? How will I resolve this feeling of alienation? Perhaps I should pull out The Communist Manifesto and remind myself how best to deal with alienation

Signed, Floating.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Carton Complete

While Carton socks were fun to knit, well after I picked out the zigzag stitch pattern and watched the pattern slither up the foot and leg. I did not enjoy the stripped yarn. Had I realized it would be stripped I would not have purchased it. That’s one thing that drives me batty, every type of sock yarn needs to have at least a knit footlet to demonstrate how the yarn will pool/pattern/stripe etc. It seems that only the crazy colored, childish looking yarns ever have samples and those are never the yarns I’m interested in.

So the Regia yarn isn’t the greatest. One of the podcasts I listen to recently trashed it. I didn’t mind working with it but this worries me that the socks will not withstand a lot of wear. Oh well, for now they are my second completed pair of socks. I did have to use size 6 needles to cast off the 1x1 rib so that the top was elastic enough to get on. I don’t remember this being an issue with the Governess socks but then again, I will cursing them 90% of the time.

Onto the next sock for June. It’s the Retro Rib Footlet. Do you know what a footlet is? It’s an ankle sock, something that’ll cover the foot and just above the ankle bones. The pattern is out of the Favorite Sock book. I’m trying a knit 1, slip 1 pattern for the sole of the foot. Perhaps this will be more cushiony and durable. The reason I’ve turned the pattern into a top up footlet is not that I’m trying to finish the quickly or that I dislike tall socks, its just that I have one skein of Dorchester Farms Handpainted Sock Yarn. It was too pretty to pass on at NH Sheep and Wool Festival. But I wasn’t completely enamored with socks at that point in time so I only bought one skein. Silly Girlfriend!

Made another loaf of Amish bread last night. Used a can of tropical fruit salad and vanilla pudding. Exactly as I remembered it from my childhood.

In movie news, I’ve begun watching both Dejeerling Limited and A Tale of Two Cities. First, Mr. Nate will be sad to know that Dajeering Limited is not the witty romp that Life Aquatic was. The wry humor of it is interesting but the pace is too slow for me. I need to finish off the last hour. And the Tale of Two Cities version I have stars “Prince Humperdink” from The Princes Bride. I’m a third of the way into it. I know Catron will dye and the actor is doing a nice job playing both Darnee and Carton but I can’t seem to get beyond his evilness in Princes Bride. And also, Lucy isn’t pretty enough.

Now I shall return to my regularly scheduled Saturday morning activies…Knit Spirit Podcast and knitting with a Linus on my lap. Have a good day.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Yarn Shops

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about yarn shops lately. They are one of my favorite places to be. I just wish I could visit without the compulsion to buy. Does everyone feel that way? And why is this compulsion so different than the way I feel when I’m clothing shopping or looking at shoes, or decorations for the house? I guess it’s because the clothes bring limited value into my life. Sure I enjoy wearing them the first time I put them on, and usually the second. But then the newness wears off and they become just another item hanging in my closet. Same thing for the shoes and decorations that blend into the background and become part of the house.

When I buy yarn not only do I experience the transitory high of acquiring something new, but after the newness of the yarn wears off there is still the potential of working with the yarn. The excitement associated with the opportunity for self expression and creativity lingers around each ball of unused yarn in my stash. And this enthusiasm will last as long as the skein exists.

Furthermore the energy surrounding the skein is transferred into pleasure as I begin knitting the yarn. In some sense I am absorbing the energy of the yarn as I work with it. Until the culmination when the project is completed and a feeling of accomplishment fills me. Which is another satisfying emotion. And if the project was a success I will revisit that sense of achievement every time I behold it. In a very real way, the project will continue to revitalize and energize me, reminding me of all of the joy that was captured in that one skein of yarn and that there is potential held in each and every skein.

So unlike the department stores, the home décor and shoe shops, a yarn shop promises a gamut of emotions and energies. Knowing what is waiting for me inside each skein that fills each yarn shop, is it any wonder that I feel a compulsion to visit and buy?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Got Rice?


The Boyfriend Sayeth...

"If you've been reading the news, you probably know that we're in the midst of a global food crisis. You'd probably like to help, but come to think of it, hasn't your grocery bill gotten a lot larger lately? Don't worry – you can put food on the tables of disadvantaged people around the world, and all it takes is an internet connection and some free time. Oh yeah, you get to expand your vocabulary, too.

To check out this strange combination, surf over to FreeRice.com. The site presents you with a word and four possible definitions. Choose the right one and twenty grains of rice is donated to the UN World Food Program. You're also rewarded with a more obscure word for your next challenge. If you're wrong, no rice, but the difficulty gets ratcheted down. As you fill the virtual bowl on the screen, you presumably learn new and useful words, even if the game seems somewhat preoccupied with unusual animals and medieval weaponry.

Twenty grains may not sound like a lot, but if you play for even a little while, racking up a couple thousand grains is no big deal. Along with your fellow players, you'll help contribute to the millions of meals made possible by Free Rice and its sponsors. By the way, feel free to click through on a banner ad if you see something you like. After all, no clicks = no sales = no sponsors = no free rice.

So the next time you're sitting around watching some reality show and letting your brain slowly wither, spend some time on FreeRice.com. Pretty soon, you'll understand exactly what it means to provender alimentary sustenance to the indigent."

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Girly?




You Are 68% Girly



You're a pretty girly chick, and you're not ashamed to admit it (or wear pink).

But you're also practical. You can hang with the guys, as long as they're not too gross!




I Think it's kinda funny that the picture is a brunnet in the snow. It must be true!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Junebug

My Malabrigo Junebug mittens are complete. Love the top down construction. You can find the pattern at Yarngear. Thank you so much Meilynne for such a great pattern.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Retirement

Retirement plan designs, while part of my normal work day, are not the most riveting topic. But I may have found a way to increase my interest in the subject. While driving in to work this morning, I was listening to Stash & Burn and heard them refer to the stash as a sort of retirement plan. I should think of my 46+ miles of yarn as a sort of savings plan for the day when I’m on a limited income and can no longer buy yarn at will. I am planning for the day…when I retire and am able to do nothing but knit all day. I’d say I’m well on my way to a healthy and successful retirement.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Amish Friendship Bread

I received on recently and wanted to give everyone a heads up of what could be in their future. Let me know if you're interested.

Amish Friendship Bread

Please note the following:
DO NOT REFRIGERATE: (You need instant pudding on day 10)
If air gets inside the bag, let it out. It is normal for the batter to rise and ferment.
Day 1: Do nothing
Day 2: Mash the bag
Day 3: Mash the bag
Day 4: Mash the bag
Day 5: Mash the bag
Day 6: Add to the bag the following
1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk: then mash the bag
Day 7: Mash the bag
Day 8: Mash the bag
Day 9: Mash the bag
Day 10: Follow direction below
Pour the entire contents of the bag into a non-metal bowl.

Add 1½ cups sugar
1½ cups flour
1½ cups milk.

Measure out 4 separate batters of 1 cup each into 4 gallon Ziploc bags. Keep a starter for yourself and give the other 3 to friends along with a copy of the recipe.
(Note: if you keep a starter bag you will be baking every 10 days).
Should this recipe not be passed on to a friend on the first day, be sure to mark the bag when it was started.

Baking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
To the remaining batter in the bowl, add
3 eggs ½ tsp baking soda
1 cup oil 2 tsp baking powder
½ cup sugar 2 cups flour
½ tsp vanilla 1 box vanilla or chocolate instant pudding
½ tsp salt 1 cup raisins and or chopped nuts (optional)

Grease 2 large loaf pans. In a separate bowl mix an additional ½ cup sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon. Dust the greased pans with half of this mixture
Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans. Sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture over the top.
Bake for 1 hour. Cool until bread loosens evenly from the sides of the pan. Turn onto a plate.

I think I remember cherries in Mum's when I was a kid.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Socks of Summer

Alright I’ve decided I really want a monthly challenge and extending one month into another is lame. So since I’ve got 3 socks on the needles, and considering it was Mittens in May, it appears it should be socks in June.

I recently picked up Interweave’s Favorite Socks. It’s rare to find a knitting book that you want to knit every pattern from, and this isn’t one of those books. But, Natural Knits for Babies and Moms was the closets I’ve ever come to that. My MIL got this book for me since she loved it so much. I quickly knit 6 of the patterns in that book. I'd guess that's about a quarter of the total patterns.
Now the thought occurs, it would be fun to knit every pattern in a book. And why not this book…Favorite Socks? That’s just 25 socks. I'm already working on one of them.
I’m wondering, could I do 25 socks by the end of the year? Probably not, that’s about a sock a week and considering I’m not an exclusive sock knitter, and for heavens sake, I'm only just now working on my second and third pairs. I knit about a sock every two weeks, perhaps over an entire year long challenge of knitting everything in this book by next June would be fun. So for now, I will embark on Socks of Summer and attempt to knit 3 pairs this month. And consider doing a Year of Favorite Socks.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Video Blog

How about I talk to you instead of write to you?

video

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What a strange day I had

Today was an interesting day. It was stressful and meeting packed. By all accounts it should’ve been a “bad day”. Three interesting things happened. After saying that, it’s a bit unfair of me to put a disclaimer on this that the following will be both depressing and sentimental, but I feel like I must warn you. I don’t want to put a dejected spin on your day. All too often my own empathetic tendencies have caused me to pick up on another’s unhappiness while reading their words. I’m just saying. You’ve been warned.

While sitting with my boss and the director, on the fourth hour of contract reviews, my stomach was growling, my attention to detail was waning and my motivation to behave was gone. I wanted to be anywhere but in that room with those two women, discussing grace periods, service fees and invoices. Suddenly, I remembered a smell, something like musty cardboard. The smell of the box of Christmas ornaments from December 1987 or 1988. I hear Anne Murry and childrens Christmas carols as we/they, Mum and AP unwrap each delicate orpiment from the tissue paper it had been carefully packed away in the year before. I feel serenely happy as I lay on the couch dangling my feet staring up at some treasured handmade ornament. I can’t quiet recall which ornament it was but I can feel those emotions as those it were all happening right now. Sounds of Mum & AP laughing and singing echoed through my mind and I know that that was one of the happiest moments of my life. Not a care in the world with two of my favorite people. I smile and drift back to the contract possessing more patience and feeling content.
This was so strange. Usually only a half hour of quietly knitting can bring this sort of calm to me. Perhaps it’s those theta brainwaves. It felt somewhat meditative and very surreal.

Later, after rushing through the afternoon flying from issue to issue, I am suddenly filled with the overwhelming urge to hear the Johnny Cash song hurt. A week ago I heard the Nine Inch Nails version and recalled that Johnny Cash had also done the song. I hadn’t thought about it again until today, until 4:39 to be precise. I felt as though I had to find it and listen. Oddly I didn’t just find the audio track on the net, I found the video on Utub. I plug in my headphone and listen to the lyrics of this incredibly sad song about hurting one’s self to experience any feelings. I was humming along, as I typed a work email. No, I need to watch the video, there’s a reason I found the video. So I click over to that screen and there is a very mature Johnny Cash, with gnarled hands and white hair. The video flashes to photos and clips of him in his younger days, then him now singing in profile. Shots of the Cash museum intermixed with a decaying feast and his deep moving voice. I feel sad. Then he turns towards the camera and I notice his crooked nose and that he seems to be singing out of the side of his mouth. I notice that he looks remarkable like my Pepere. I begin to cry. What am I doing, sitting at my desk crying? Why am I remembering the grandfather I barely knew but who loved me with his whole heart? He finishes the song, closes the piano and it fades to black.

Finally, the day ended and I drive to knitting group. I spend 4 hours in what seems like 15 minutes. I feel like a teenager who has fallen in love for the first time. I have feelings for this group of women that I’ve never felt before. While I can be heard to jokingly say “hey, I love you guys!” In many ways it’s true and it shocks me. I’ve had friends before, life long friends whom I treasure. I’ve been part of cliques and teams and felt like my work friends were more like a family than coworkers. But I’ve never felt as relaxed with a group of people before. With them, I am myself. I am a knitter, a sympathetic ear, an organizer, a flake, an opinionated food critic, and a friend. I am all these things with my family and with The Boyfriend but they do not have the same resonance as they do with my fellow knitters. Perhaps it’s the comfort of knitting combined with laughter. Perhaps it’s knowing I am with people who share my all consuming passion for this “craft” and speak my language. Perhaps it is because I’ve never had sisters, or known so many people with so much in common. Perhaps it’s those theta brainwaves again. Whatever the cause it astounds me that I’ve found these souls and that I feel so connected to them in so short a period of time. The realist in me cautions myself to savor our time together, savor our happiness, as all things are transient and the group will not last forever.

And so I end with the same feeling of awe that prompted me to commit these thoughts to paper. What a strange day I had. What odd thoughts. Is there a greater meaning to this? I do not know but I needed to get this down.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Afflicted

Sir-Crazy: refers to anyone that becomes restless from being stuck in one place too long.

Restless legs: characterized by an irresistible urge to move one's body to stop uncomfortable or odd sensations.

Chain-Cast-on-er: the act of repeatedly beginning new projects in quick succession without nearing completion on any previous projects.


Whatever sort of “fever” it is, I can’t seem to stick with just one project.
In less than a weeks time.


I’ve cast-on 3 bags. One is finished.


I've cast-on and frogged and cast-on again for a pair of socks.
Then last night I cast-on another sock. Now there are 3, none are finished.


I've cast-on a pair of top down mittens. None are finished.

I’ve got two pairs of the Norwegian Devon Mittens. Neither is finished.




It may seem like I’m complaining but really I’m as happy as MacOban first thing in the morning when you roll out of bed, place your feet on the floor and head downstairs to fill his food dish. If I were resisting this urge to start new things I’d feel stifled and irritated working on larger projects that were of less interest.

SO rest assured that I am blissful in my affliction.