30 May 2008

You guess.

If I tell you that the new Socks That Rock club colorway was shades of purple, how long would you think it took me to have 20 WIPs? Not noticing Karin's comment that at least two of the items on my list (if I even remember the list correctly) contained multiple items?

No, seriously, guess.

If you guess right, I'll find a present for you. It'll probably be sock yarn. :)

25 May 2008

An honest accounting of WIPs

First off, what are the freaking odds.

Karin very kindly send me some Nashua Julia she had in a color she'd thought would look better on me than on her -- Deep Blue Sea. It's a gorgeous, deep teal, and I've got my heart set on knitting the military style cardi from Veronik Avery's Classic Style book out of it -- but I was a little worried that I'd need more yarn than I had. So, after a lot of debate, I figured screw dye lot, I'll get a few skeins at my LYS, and then if I need to, I can stripe the sleeves. I didn't even look for the dyelot, I figured I would have no luck.

I am trying to organize today, as a start to cleaning (and listening to the new 3 Doors Down album), and I combined the Julias. And realized the dyelots were an almost perfect match.

Because they're the same dyelot.

Who'd've figured??

So, what's on the needles:

1.) Town & Country, Cascade 220
2.) Nashua Blossom pattern for Lucy, Rowan Purelife
3.) Buckingham lace pattern out of Manos Silky Merino
4.) Waves in Square, CTH Sockittome in Cornflower
5.) Angel Pearls Scarf in nameless white laceweight
6.) Lily of the Valley Shawl out of purple Zephyr laceweight
7.) Ribbed socks in Austermann Step
8.) Ribbed socks in CTH Sock
9.) Ribbed socks in Koigu
10.) Sivia Harding sock club socks from TWO DECEMBERS ago (I need to find the other skein
11.) One of the Nancy Bush traveling socks in Blue Jean (LL)
12.) Worsted weight socks for Al, Blue Jeans (LL)
13.) Socks I'm designing out of Fiesta's new sock yarn
14.) Work socks out of Tofutsies
15.) Another Angel Pearls Scarf out of Cracksilk Haze
16.) A big blue mohair scarf in a rippley pattern
17.) Three different pairs of mittens from Folk Mittens
18.) Ladybug sweater
19.) Plain Pi shawl out of java CTH laceweight.

Oh my god. Forget stash busting; I need to WIP-bust. Jeez. I had no idea it had gotten so out of control!

If you have motivating suggestions, feel free to mention them!

This time, with pictures!

I'm taking Ayla's advice and resurrecting my photobucket account. It's just too unreasonable, the way blogger uploads photos. This also means I can post photos at home and blog from work. It's a good thing.

Recent projects include:


Washing socks. Very glam, I know.

Closeup on:

Work socks. I actually tried to make these match, can you believe it? I failed, clearly. Good thing it doesn't worry me. :)


Socks that Rock socks. In Green. clearly, I'm weakening in my old age, because these are my favorite socks except my Lenores.


Sweater for Lucy. In Rowan's Purelife. I love this yarn. It's cotton, and I love it. Let's not go into all the weird things that says about me.


The beginnings of Town & Country. I've now completed two repeats of the main body pattern, but my camera batteries died, so you get ribbing pictures.

Today, I was going to go downtown and watch a friend run a 26k marathon. Today, I woke up and...well, maybe after I do this. Maybe. It does look like a beautiful day out, but I just feel rather blah about the whole thing. Not because of Jim, but because my house is a disaster and I want to clean and...and...and...I don't know yet what I'm going to do. I'll definitely know by tomorrow. :)

Lucy Update!!

Someone has found her toes...


And started eating solid foods.


21 May 2008

Grumbly bear

I am a whiny, bratty little bitch today. Feel free to smack me.

I don't know what is bugging me so badly. I slept reasonably well, Lucy didn't do her crazed wolverine impression, just woke up because she was hungry, settled down when she ate, and then was still asleep with Daddy when I left for work. I got a lovely message from my stepmother that she had finished and folded my laundry, and I could pick it up whenever, and I totally expected to finish it tonight. I got to see the season finale of House last night. And I got to work in time to get a cup of coffee and a bagel before I had to log on the phones. Really, what could be bad about all this?

I don't know.

I tried to upload pictures to Blogger, with the thought of saving a draft so I could add text when I got to work -- but blogger took fifteen minutes and was still working on trying to load the freaking things, increasing my belief that hosting my blog somewhere would be a good plan. Wordpress rocks, or so I hear.

The coffee upset my stomach so badly that I haven't eaten my bagel. I understand (now) that I should have reversed the order of these things, but the universe is not rewarding my understanding by making me less sick.

I'm too tired and brain dead to try and work on the Shedir socks, but I don't have any other knitting with me.

While I enjoy Ravelry for its organizational purposes, and I've joined a bazillion groups...I don't really find that I care about *reading* or responding to the groups. I'm bored with Forums. I did that in the 90s. I dunno, I'm just weird.

I'm revamping all my wedding plans to fit the revised budget I was given. I'm over the sour grapes portion of my psychology, and I'm even getting into the new and improved plans...but I'm a little bit sad and frustrated about some of the circumstances that led me to this place.

I want families to be simple.

And I hate telling moms that because they were responsible, and their kids were responsible, their kids have to not have insurance for a year before they can get help. And then, at the same time, I want to scream at them to stop covering for their damn kids and let their 21, 22, 23 year olds know that they absolutely need to get out there and get a job and get insurance through their job, because traveling Europe is cool, but it doesn't get you anywhere.

Don't ask. That's all I'm allowed to say about it.

See, I told you. Bitch today.

I'm going to go eat a cookie now.

20 May 2008

I know you're all dying to know...

...whether or not Lucy got any sleep last night. I mean, I know that if I were reading this blog, it would be what I was most interested in. Not news about knitting or anything like that. No. Why would you be interested in waving two sticks around until I get a sweater? (note: it takes a looooooooooooong time.)

So, since it's what you're all here for, I'm more than happy to tell you!

Last night, Lucy went to bed earlier than I meant her to -- I'm realizing that an earlier bedtime (pre-8pm) directly contributes to the growling-grumpies at 4am. But she had lousy naps yesterday, and was an inconsolable, crying, mess of a baby by the time I got her back from Mom yesterday (not Mom's fault, we don't blame her), so when I finally got her to fall asleep at 7:30, there was no freaking way I was waking her up unless she woke up on her own. And she didn't, so...yeah.

I do not have one of those sleep-12-hours-at-a-time babies. She's an awake baby, as Karin once described her. She went two months without a proper nap; she would nap about 15 minutes after nursing, and then was up and at it again. The most she's ever slept at one time is about eight hours.

I'm peaceful with all of this. There are forces in my life who insist that I *need* to get the baby on a schedule, that I *need* to make her sleep more, that I *need* to do this or that or the other thing. I've spent five months getting very, very adept at smiling and saying "Thanks for the advice, but her pediatrician says she's healthy," or "That's an interesting opinion, thanks for that. I think we're good with the way things are, though," or maybe "That's interesting -- are you interested in why we're doing things the way we are?" I figure Lucy is on a schedule -- hers. She sleeps as much as she needs to (this has been verified by her pediatrician) and what I *need* to do is take care of my daughter and meet her needs as best as I can until she's better able to communicate them to me. Those needs vary day-to-day, and I best meet them by remaining flexible and making sure that I am not forcing her needs to fit some predetermined schedule. Sure, there's the big three -- hungry/dirty/tired -- but after that, it's often a matter of trial and error.

The biggest thing I've learned about my daughter -- she's not a book. I can't read her. So I have to figure it out, nice and slow. Which means that no one has all the answers -- not the AP folks, not the Cry-It-Out folks, not the baby-wearers...it's like diets. You need to take bits and pieces from everything, call it tools in your toolbox -- don't use a hammer to beat in a screw, is what I'm saying.

I'm rambling.


The only reason I'm considering transitioning Lucy to her crib at all is because I'm wondering if she might sleep better there than she currently is in bed with us. If that's not the case, I'm not going hardline on the issue.

Anyway again.

Back up at 4:30am this morning with the grumblies. Miss Lucy was REALLY resistant to everything this morning; I rocked her and bounced her and cuddled her, and she finally settled down around 5 am in her crib, and slept until 6am, when she got hungry, and came back to our bed for a nice relaxed breakfast. I could hear her moving around in her crib before she fell back asleep, and I heard a couple of toys being played with, but she seemed to feel okay. And she's learning to self-soothe, which is pretty cool; she had a hard time falling asleep when I first brought her to her crib, but I kept picking her up and rocking her until she relaxed, then lying (laying? I never know) her back down -- the third time I did this, instead of her little face crumpling up, she flipped herself onto her side, popped her thumb into her mouth (after weaving her little fingers through her blankie so that it was right there too, she's making her knitting mama very proud) and closed her eyes. Out like a light -- at least for a bit.

It seems goofy, I know, spending half an hour in the morning getting her to sleep in her own bed, so that she can sleep there for an hour, but it's working well for me; it means that when I fall back asleep, I sleep better, because she's not trying to attract my attention every few seconds, and I can actually fall asleep for even another half hour before the alarm goes off; it's a good division for right now.

I think we're a long way, though, from her really sleeping on her own all night in the crib. But that's not an important goal for me, so I'm okay with it. There are certainly a few -- ahem -- relationship based challenges, but hey. I'm a creative lady.

As witnessed by the Primavera socks! Completed, done, fini! I had to request assistance from the knittalk group to figure out how to kitchener without a tapestry needle, and I don't like the way the toe came out on that sock, but I don't dislike it enough to take it out and redo it. I'll try to get a picture and post it tomorrow.

Now I've cast on for the Shedir socks out of Tofutsies yarn; I'll show you a picture of those, too. Tomorrow. I hope.

Oh! And new cleaning strategy; I get home, get the baby settled in, and set the microwave timer for 30 minutes. And I clean until the timer goes off. Whatever comes to hand, whatever I feel like dealing with, but I do it every day. It's fantastic, because I'm pleasantly surprised by how much clutter can be cleared with a dedicated half hour of work, and I don't feel bogged down by the complete mess that my house is.

Go me!

Also update: remember the moths?

Yeah, freezing did zero good. Cooking them per Alison's suggestion was impossible -- it's Vermont, we don't believe in sun here. Ultimately, I've thrown out one bag of yarn (oh, my bleeding heart!) but the losses seem to be limited there. It was a skein of Socks That Rock in a colorway I hated and was not sad to see go (Monsoon -- grey and green. Ugh. Blergh. Yuck.) and four skeins of Louet Gems in the prettiest baby blue I'd ever seen -- but it was sacrificed to keep my Manos safe, and I honored it appropriately before pitching it out in the trash.

The rest of the yarn that was near those bags is still in isolation, but so far still seems unaffected. There is one other bag in DEEP isolation -- in a totally separate part of the room from EVERYTHING else because it is highly suspicious -- which contains a bunch of sock leftovers and the cone of mohair that Karin sent me a few months ago.

I figure if things remain as they are for a bit longer, I may consider reintegration. But I'm being hyper cautious. I think I'm going to go by the health food store and get a couple bars of strongly scented soap; my understanding is that lavender won't help once you have moths, but can help keep you from getting moths.

I'm tremendously talkative when I'm at work. I'll scamper off now. :)

19 May 2008

Weekend, I love you; or, cabling with cotton is not for the faint of heart.

Ah, the bliss of a weekend. You work in retail long enough and you forget the luxury of Saturday morning, stretching and relaxing into the sunlight that comes through your window, moving like a cat into the ease of pajama day.

Well, other people do. My apartment is half in the basement. But I stretch, and pretend that there is sunlight. It's something.

Friday, I told you I was going to start transitioning Lucy into her crib. Didn't happen. Blame Robb. No, really -- I was ready on this one, and when I mentioned it to him, he gave me the saddest eyes and said, "Well, okay. I guess. If you think it's best." Turns out Daddy wakes up and checks on his girl a lot during the night, and he thinks he'll still wake up if she's not there.

So we decided on a hybrid plan. Lucy went to bed in our bed, as she has been, at about 8:30. We went to bed probably around midnight. Little girl was sound asleep, even slept through her midnight diaper change (I know it's probably silly, but it's stopped the 6am diaper blowout, so I'm fine with it. There's nothing like waking up with poop in your bed to start your day off right). Around 4am, she woke me up with her grumbly-growling. It's the weirdest thing; I'm convinced she's still asleep, but she growls and whines and groans and makes a ton of noise and jerks her body all around; she won't eat, she won't settle. Sometimes if I pull her onto my chest she calms down and falls back into a more solid sleep, but sometimes it wakes her up and she screams. I'm going to mention it to her doctor at her 6month well baby (which will be about three weeks from now, so no big deal).

So, at 4am when she woke me up, I offered her da boob; she didn't notice, just kept flailing. So I cuddled her for a minute, and then moved her into her crib. As soon as I picked her up, she relaxed, and she didn't even wake up when I put her in her crib. I stayed there for a minute, to make sure she wasn't going to wake up howling, but she stayed settled. I went back to bed, and all three of us slept for another three hours. She woke up, hungry and smiling, and I woke up happy and rested. Good deal, all around.

Sunday morning, she didn't wake up grumbly until almost 5:30. Did the same thing over again.

This morning, we were grumbly free. Hooray.

Kaleidoscope had their big sale this weekend, and I got some serious swag. Since I was too busy enjoying my daughter to take pictures of my loot, I will provide you with some links. :)

Cascade 220 in a lovely dark charcoal grey. This was originally going to be for the Fylingdale sweater out of the new A Fine Fleece book, but after swatching (I know, can you believe it? I swatched! TWICE!! IN ONE WEEKEND!!!), it was painfully clear that this yarn was NOT going to make that sweater. 5 stitches to an inch and 4 stitches to an inch...just not the same.

So, I did what any sensible knitter would do, when faced with a pile of yarn that is just not going to work for what they thought it was going to work for. I searched all through the book for a pattern that would work with the gauge and amount of yarn I had. And lo and behold, the Town And Country sweater has exactly that gauge, exactly the right amount of yarn -- guess why, because that sweater was knit out of Cascade 220. Sigh.

I've knit two inches of cabled rib, and I can already see why this yarn is on so many peoples' list of favorite workhorse yarns. It's sturdy and durable and I love it already.

I also got enough Rowan Purelife cotton for a sweater for Lucy. It's this soft, hazy grey color (it was a grey weekend, apparently) that I'm using to knit a little cardi out of the new Nashua Blossom booklet. It was one of those things -- I saw a sample knit up in the shop, and I marched myself straight back to the counter and informed Kalen that I needed to make that sweater, and now. It's pattern number 4; it's so cute! I knit the back and a sleeve over the weekend. Cabling in cotton...ow. I decided that I could cast on for the Town & Country cardi at the same time, because I needed something to give my hands a break. I forget how hard it is to knit in cotton!

But I'm weirded out. I'm going to have to rethink the entire concept of gauge in my life. I've always been a loose knitter -- drop down one to two needle sizes before I even swatch. For the Town & Country, my gauge was letter-perfect with the pattern needles, both row AND stitch. Then, for the cotton -- I actually went UP two sizes. I know! I nearly died of shock.

I also got some Baby ULL in a purple color for a winter sweater, but I can't track down the Dale link for the sweater so that you can understand how funny it is that I want to knit this sweater in purple (and that I'm considering doing one band in white or -- you guessed it -- grey, but we'll see about that), so perhaps more, along with the sale-swag, tonight. Or tomorrow. When I'm taking pictures.

Hooray. :)

Oh, and onto the foot of the work sock. Go me!

16 May 2008

In case the title of the blog hadn't clued you in...

...I really love lilacs. They remind me of spring time, of my grandmother's house once the snow was gone, of playing in her yard, which was smaller and less substantial in every way than my parents' yard, but made better by novelty. They remind me of my cousins and the glory days of childhood. They remind me of the bitter sweetness of my grandmother's elderly years, her gentle decline into Alzheimer's, and those last few moments before we moved her out of the house she'd lived in for many, many years.

The lilacs are blooming in Vermont. I had been riding the bus to work for the past three weeks, and one of the reasons I was loving my bus rides was that I could open the windows near me and breathe in the sweet fragrance of the lilacs all through Chittenden county. They're almost too sweet, aren't they? They dance the line just near cloying -- but for me, they never cross.

Unfortunately, my bus rides have been canceled, at least for awhile; Mom's taking care of Lucy for us, so that I can work, and she's too tired at night to bring Lucy back home; it's completely idiotic to ride the bus all the way from Burlington to Essex, just to turn around and drive back to Burlington. I was getting home at 7, after leaving the house at 6am.

So I'm back to having a huge, depressing carbon footprint. :( I'm currently driving a 99 Taurus that my father is kindly paying insurance/any bills on for a year. I'm researching cars for next year, something that won't cost me $200 a month in gas (it's an estimate, don't quote me). I love that there are fuel efficient sub-compact sedans that are actually safe. I'm torn between the Chevy Aveo and the Toyota Yaris. Next time I bring our Focus in for an oil change, I'll quiz my mechanic, see what he thinks.

Meanwhile, my sock knitting has also been cut into severely. This, just after I'd signed up for that Summer of Socks thingy. Oh well. I'll survive, I'm sure.

Other than that, I'm just having a whiny Friday. I'm tired, Lucy didn't sleep more than a couple hours at a time after I went to bed, and I'm thinking of starting to transition her to her crib, to see if maybe she's one of those babies who sleeps better on her own. That means I have to clean the laundry out of her crib. Sigh. It was so much easier the other way, but even if it means that I nurse her before I go to bed and get up a little earlier in the morning to nurse her again -- I think I'm encouraging her to wake more frequently in the night by being there to soothe her back to sleep.

I do have the common sense to try out this little plan of mine over the weekend, rather than on a weeknight, when I really need the sleep.

Other whines include: I hate pumping, I hate people who don't listen, I hate bills, I hate money, and I hate clutter. However, I have to/am willing to live with all of these things, given that I have very little choice on some of them.

My LYS is having a huge sale this weekend. I suspect that will cheer me up immensely. :) I'm going to get yarn for at least one sweater for me, at least one sweater for Lucy...after that, we'll see what happens.

Much love to all of you.

14 May 2008

Now that I have a new-and-improved shift-key

I am willing to post from work, since my attempts at shifting no longer look LikE THiS.

It stressed me out. I'm OCD like that.

Thank you so much, all of you, for being so nice about my humble little sock; I have to take some time to write up the pattern -- maybe Lucy will take a trip with Grandma for a couple of hours on Sunday, I'm not sure -- but I plan on offering it sometime soon. I hope. I'll probably post it for free, because...I don't know, because I don't feel like I can charge for something the very first time I do it. You can disagree with me if you want, but you probably won't change my mind.

I have another sock that I'm working on, but it's an at-home sock, and I've been playing with it a lot, so I haven't been showing it to you here. There's a kinda cool story behind it though.

See, my friend Jacquelyn lives down south now, and my friend Ashley out west, but we all went to college together, back in the old days, when life was good and the wheat was high -- but I digress. Ashley, when she got out west, got fascinated with spinning, and has gotten quite good, first with a drop spindle, and then with a couple of wheels that she's picked up in the meantime. If you need proof of this, check out http://www.artemisiaink.com/ . She's sent me bits and bobbles now and then, but I haven't had just the right project yet, so the yarn lingers about, eating bon-bons and generally behaving like the artwork that it is.

Meantime, my friend Jacquelyn has a friend who has moved away, and her friend loved socks. No, really, loved socks. Like we love yarn, this woman loved her some socks.

So Jacquelyn thought, between my friend Kristine and my friend Ashley, I can make my friend some socks.

So Ashley got commissioned to spin up some yarn, and I got commissioned to knit up some socks. I'm inventing that pattern as well, but it isn't so clear and lovely yet, so I'm not giving up pictures just yet. But soon.

I promise. Soon.

As soon as I think that I can handle my job and designing a knitting pattern at the same time. The other one was easy, I can read what I did clearly enough just by looking at the sock. This one will be trickier.

And I have to figure out how to describe the process I went through, figuring out how long to make the foot. It involves math (ugh). I may require wine. We'll see how it goes.

Hugs to all of you.

10 May 2008

A Picture or Three

So, I finally blocked Kay's Diamonds; I LOVE how this shawl came out. It's soft and cuddle and big enough that both corners can go over my shoulders. It would need a pin to stay put, but it's as big as I wanted it to be. I loooooove it.

But most exciting this week is this sock.

See it, see how cute it is? With the traveling cable and the prettiness? Want to know what the pattern is?

I can't tell you, because I haven't written it up yet.

Do you know how cool that is to say? "Oh, yes, here's this new sock I've been working on. Oh, what pattern? No pattern, I'm MAKING IT UP OUT OF MY VERY OWN BRAIN!"

I feel tremendously smart, because I THOUGHT THAT UP.

I'm sure it looks exactly like some sock that someone else made a zillion years ago, and they probably did a better job with it, but I'm thrilled because I still thought up this one.

So, ha. :)

Lucy got her first taste of rice cereal yesterday. Hey, Mikey, I think she likes it!

09 May 2008

Still no pictures.

There are pictures in my camera that I mean to show you.

There are thoughts in my head that I mean to share.

Some of them even involve knitting!

Don't give up on me just yet.

04 May 2008

It was a good week.

And I should take pictures and show you everything that got accomplished, but I'm just...a little bit "eh" today. A little bit tired, a little bit slow-on-the-brain, you know how it goes.

Watching people who are actually answering the phones (as opposed to myself, who is still in training), I feel as though this job will, on some days, give me the opportunity to see most of the internet (again! as if there wasn't enough of that while I was working at the hospital...of course, I wasn't on Ravelry then, so...), while on other days, I'll be crazy-busy. But knitting is on the approved list of downtime activities, so that's a good thing -- and people seem to actually be supportive of children and families, which is another.

Example...on Thursday, we took our morning 15-minute break, and I took my breast pump into the office they'd given me to pump in, and I looked inside...and suddenly remembered taking out the shield parts and putting them in the cleaner, and thinking to myself "Now, don't forget those tomorrow." Oops.

I figured I'd walk down to the natural-kids store and buy new ones on my lunch break, but I was looking at a long (and uncomfortable!) two hours until then, and I was concerned about getting enough milk, if I had to do that...long story short, the trainer told me to just go and take care of it and get back. "It's important," she said, "We'll wait for you." She had the other trainees work on exercises so that I could make sure my daughter had enough to eat the next day. That just would not happen in retail. I was so pleased, I can't even tell you.

I've accomplished a lot of knitting this week. I finally seamed in the sleeves of the Bicolor Cardigan, and tried it on to realize that I started it when my chest measured a mild 36"; things have changed since then! I'll be wearing this cardigan open...there's no freaking way I'm frogging it and reknitting, even though there's an insane amount of leftover yarn.

I finished the Kay's Diamond shawl I was testknitting for Wendy, I just need to block it and photograph it, and then decide if it's for me, or a Christmas present.

I finished the socks I showed you on Monday, as well as finally finishing the most recent Rocking Sock Club socks (those green ones from awhile ago).

I frogged two other socks that I just wasn't ever going to finish; the Francie socks I'd been working on out of the CTH Sockittome, and some Nancy Bush socks out of some exquisite Lisa Souza Sock!Merino.

And I cleaned the bedroom. A little.

But I've been too tired to take pictures. My evenings have been about reconnecting with Lucy and Robb and home. This week coming is going to be a mess, Robb's jerk-of-a-boss is having him close every night he works, so I'll hardly see him. I'm not pleased. But we'll manage, and if necessary, I'll arrange to have his boss kneecapped. :)

Much love. Pictures later. :)