Sunday, April 30, 2006

Congratulations to Trek

Wow! Three posts in one day! Can you stand it?

Congratulations to Trek for winning the movie line contest from 9 to 5. I love that movie. I could watch it over and over and over again and never get sick of it.

This next line could be a challenge. But you know I'm always here for you if you need a hint. Try your luck with this line:

"You always end with a jade's trick. I know you of old."

Good luck to everyone.

Answering a question

Tanya writes:

"I have really enjoyed your blog. I am (sniff) a lurker. I am having so much trouble with the Erika Knight Cashmere Baby Leggings pattern and i saw that you made a lovely set for Sprout. If you have a few moments (and remember the pattern) could you please explain how you connected the heel pouch to the rest of the foot area? I have frogged so much my yarn (and I) can't take many more attempts. I think my brain is slacking off at the foot point in the pattern."

First of all, welcome, Tanya! Thank you for your nice comments about my blog. I'm flattered that someone is actually asking knitting advice from me. From me!

I do remember the pattern. I have the book and the leggings right here in front of me, ready to help if I can. When you are talking about connecting the heel pouch to the rest of the foot, do you mean after you're done knitting and ready to seam, or during knitting? If it's during finishing/seaming, I can help you with that. The heel seam is on the side of the foot, not at the back, where it looks like it should be. So you are actually going to "turn the corner" with the heel before seaming it to the rest of the foot. The pattern finishing notes say "sew up the inside leg and finally the foot seams, noting the seam is on the side of the foot." Let me see if I can get a good picture to illustrate: See how the leg seam is coming down the side of the heel, not the back?

When viewed from the front with the seam flat, the foot does not lie flat like a sock, but rather sticks out like a shoe would:
Here is the view from the back with the seams flat:
See how the heel sticks out after being sewn "around the corner"?

If done incorrectly, the foot would lie flat like this:

How do I know? Because I did it that way first! It seemed logical, but most definitely didn't look right.

I hope this helps! Please let me know how it works for you. Email me pictures if you can at kkmj at comcast dot net.

I will end the post with Mr. Sproutie himself modelling the leggings in question.

Shop Hop Fun

Congratulations to mamma ( for winning the movie line contest for Pretty Woman. Good job! Hopefully Starburst candy doesn't melt in the sun.

The next movie line up for consideration is:

"That's great cologne you're wearing. What's that stuff called?"


Good luck to all.

Yesterday I went on the Spring Shop Hop that was put on by the Tigard Knitting Guild ( This event involved visiting five local yarn shops by meeting across the street from the first one, then taking a bus to the next four, then busing back to our original starting point. Can I just say that I had the most wonderful time? I wasn't sure what to expect--something like this could go really right or really wrong. Considering that there was a big bus involved, a crowd of 50 or so people, and rain, this could have been a disaster. But I was so pleasantly surprised by how well this event was organized and how genuinely friendly the volunteers(!) and participants were.

And to make the day even better, I got to meet Chrissy, aka KnittinMom ( ((Someday I will figure out this whole hyperlink business!!)) I've been reading her blog for the last couple weeks, and let me tell you, she is just as witty and delightful in person as her blog is fun to read.

I've gone to classes and such both by myself and with a friend. Going with a friend is always fun. But since my friends are not nearly as obsessed with yarn and knitting as I am (can we say not at all), I figured I was alone on this venture. But I also knew from past experience that going alone to classes, etc. by myself opened up the possibility of meeting new friends. And that's exactly what happened yesterday with Chrissy.

Our first shop was The Cozy Ewe in Oregon City. Considering the great discounts the stores were giving, I was surprisingly restrained in my shopping there and just bought the current issue of Knitters magazine. I asked Chrissy if the magazine was worth subscribing to, and she said one of her designs was going to be in the next issue. Sold! I'm filling out the subscription card today. If you will recall, I'm currently knitting one of Chrissy's patterns, Winter Branches, from KnitNet. ( I think she is a talented designer. Keep your eyes open for her designs--she's got quite a bright future ahead of her.

Next we went to Wool N' Wares, a delightful little shop in West Linn. If not for the shop hop, I might never have known that this store was there. They set up the most beautiful table of scrumptious goodies. In fact, all of the shops that didn't have coffee shops inside them set up a table of goodies for us to enjoy. But Wool N' Wares had the best spread. For a small shop she had a nice selection of patterns, yarns, and needles. Check-out was insane so I didn't have time to purchase, but I will be back.

Our next stop was Abundant Yarn in Sellwood. It was huge! It was roomy and bright, with a great yarn selection and even a cafe. The only reason I didn't buy anything there was because check-out times at the stores were craaaazy, and I also figured I needed to pace myself. And I will definitely be returning to this store, don't you even worry about it.

Along with a bag of goodies, some of which are shown here:

the knitting guild put together a list of shops in the area that are extending their discounts, some through the summer. That should keep me in trouble for quite a while.

Pictured above is a skein of Jaeger ChamoniX (an angora/merino wool blend), several yarn washes, and a beaded bracelet kit. The sweater stone was yet another prize for filling out the evaluation forms for the trip.

The second picture shows a yellow needle holder that the Cozy Ewe gave to all hop participants, along with a baggy full of tea. And I love tea. Also shown is more yarn wash, some yummy smelling balm from bee naturals, and a cro-hook (which I'm just going to have to learn to use for something other than picking up dropped stitches). Also included in the bag was a long-tail cast-on knit card (which I don't know how to use but hopefully will also learn), a yarn "bra", and a kaleidascope, which it was explained would help us to see what colors of yarn would look good with other shades by looking through it. Fun!

The third picture was my door prize. Did I mention that EVERY SINGLE person on the shop hop got a door prize? They were held during the bus rides. My prize was a Dale of Norway sweater pattern and a skein of Heilo yarn (100% Pure Norwegian wool it says). Hooray for me.

Abundant Yarn was also our lunch stop. We asked an employee where would be a good place to eat, and Lili's came highly recommended. Chrissy and I had a wonderful noontime breakfast of bicuits and gravy. In her blog, she says I "regaled her with a fascinating tale". That was probably her very nice way of saying that I jabbered on through the whole meal. THAT was why we were late catching the bus to our next stop. hee hee.
After having such a good meal, I was ready to shop when we got to the Yarn Garden. This was the only shop on this trip that I had been to before. With Chrissy's help, I picked up this Koigu yarn to *gulp* start knitting my first pair of socks. And I'm sorry, but there was no way I could resist this luscious stuff:
It is Debbie Bliss Pure Silk. (are we sensing a purple pattern here?) I don't think I've ever felt anything so luxurious. What am I going to make with it? I don't know yet. I might just keep it around for a while so I can touch it at will. The needles are size 1 bamboo by Crystal Palace for the socks, recommended by Chrissy. She'll make a sock knitter out of me yet. The checkout process at this store was by far the slowest, and they had three registers! I was terrified of holding the bus up again, but they cheerfully waited while (now this is scary) the employees wrote down my credit card information and what was in my bag and sent me on my way, telling me they would mail me the receipt. Not scary because I'm afraid of identity theft or whatever (they told me the information would be immediately shredded upon processing) but because that's just a dangerous way to spend too much. I'm still not quite sure how much the total came to!

Our next stop was The Naked Sheep, where they had lots of fun tchotchkes as well as yarn. They had actual samples of finished objects (not just swatches) done up with just about every yarn they carried. Quite effective. There I bought this: The yarn is Cascade Fixation, and it is made of cotton and elastic, so it's streeeetchy. I will make a striped bumblebee hat for Sproutie with the yellow and black, and the pink is for a pair of socks for me, sometime in the future. The needles are for this future pair of socks. This is one store that I have non-buyer's remorse for not picking up some ribbon-ish yarn that looked great done up as a baby blanket for their sample. Ah'll be bock.

Our last shop was Close Knit, which just opened a few months ago. You'd never know it, because it was perfectly stocked with yarn, patterns, and needles and it's so cozy it looks like it's been there for years. There I got a lovely pattern for a scarf done in daisy stitch, and some size 3 - 16" addi's to make the bumblebee hat. The employees here were very very nice.

In all, it was a wonderful experience. I can't say enough about how well the event was organized, how friendly the people were, and how generous the shops were with their discounts and donations. And I definitely had a great time meeting Chrissy. I'm so glad I went.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Congratulations to Stephanie

Congratulations to Stephanie for winning the movie line contest from Spinal Tap. What a funny movie. Hooray for you, Stephny.

The next movie line up for consideration is:

he: "What makes you think I'm a lawyer?"
she: "You've got that sharp, useless look about you."

Good luck to all.

I haven't been able to find the time to do much knitting. A big reason for that is that we have been doing extensive spring cleaning around here, starting with *gasp* the garage! There is something so feng shui about having a place for everything, and knowing where everything is. I feel the need to simplify a lot of things in my life, and getting rid of unnecessary things I don't need and organizing the things I want to keep goes a long way toward easing my mind.

But my knitting time every day is very essential to my peace of mind, so I know that it's important to make time for that. And soon. I think that's a big reason why I've been feeling so out of sorts.

In the meantime, I've discovered some entertaining podcasts about knitting, to listen to while I clean. I've especially been enjoying "It's a purl, man". It's knitting from a guy's perspective, and he's very entertaining. He makes me laugh because he reminds me of my grown nephews sometimes, the way they think.

The weather here has been beautiful, and we've been loading the boys up in the red wagon and walking around the neighborhood. It's nice to be outside and not get so chilled. That's Girlie with her Dram-Drams and the boys.

This weekend I will be going on a yarn "shop hop" organized by my local knitting guild. This will be the first time I've gone, so I'm not sure what to expect. But I'm looking forward to a day to myself surrounded by other knitters. Doesn't that sound like fun?

In baby news, Sproutie has learned to whistle. I wouldn't believe it myself if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. He just started copying his dad one day. It's the cutest thing ever. This little baby boy could be his daddy's twin. They look and act so much alike. That's fine with me because I kinda like the Count. But the one thing I wish the baby wouldn't imitate is his dad's early bird tendencies. I am by nature a night owl, and come alive oh, about 10:00 at night. I've tried to squash that and train myself to go to bed earlier, but all I ever do is lay there for hours, no matter what time I've gotten up in the morning. So I might as well be productive and knit. And watch a little Buffy while I'm at it.

That would all be fine if Sproutie didn't wake twice every night to nurse, then spring wide awake at about 5:30 every morning, ready to start his day. That makes for one very tired mommy.

ZimDee has gotten into the habit of removing every piece of clothing he is wearing to go pee-dee in the toilet, then putting them all back on, usually backwards and inside out. As long as he is getting dressed again. For a while there he would "forget" to put his underwear and pants back on, then terrorize us all with his nakedness. So inside out and backwards Nemo underwear are much better than none at all in my book. Except if you've paid any attention to the construction of boy's briefs, the front "pocket" area is much shorter than the back area designed to fit around little tushies. So half the time he is walking around looking baggy in the front and speedo-tight, plumber's crack in the back. It's quite hilarious. I would take a picture to show you, but I don't want to get arrested for indecency.

My love to all.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

We Have a Winner...

Congratulations to Chrissy (aka knittinmom) for winning the movie line contest from Maverick. I thought no one was ever going to guess that one! Well done!

The next movie line up for consideration is:

"This one goes to eleven."

(hahaha--the line made me laugh just typing it.) Good luck to all.

I know I've been scarce for the past week or so. A lot has been happening around me and I'm just trying to catch my breath.

On a lighter note, the sun finally came out and we were able to bring out the little red wagon for the boys to ride in. Check out their new haircuts, fresh from the barber:That picture alone might just be enough to chase all my blues away.

My love to all.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Congratulations to Sandy

Congratulations to Sandy for winning the movie line contest from Raising Arizona in record time. I barely published the post to my blog before you had the answer. Well done! If any of you have not seen this movie, I highly recommend it for some serious laughs.

And in honor of Sandy's quick answer, I offer the next movie line up for consideration:

"Was that fast? I thought that was fast."

Good luck to all.

Well, not much has changed in the five minutes since my last post, so carry on.

Easter Fun

Congratulations to mamma for winning the movie line contest from Young Guns. I've got that BonJovi song running through my head now...

The next movie line up for consideration is...oh, there's so many, I may have to do more than one. This movie is one of my all-time favorites, and is rich in classic lines. Here are some:

"The government do take a bite, don't she?"

"Son, you got a panty on your head"

"And when there was no fowl, we ate sand"
"You ate sand?!?"

Somebody stop me, I could go on and on and quote the whole movie verbatim word for word. Good luck to all.

Hey, I'd also like to know where the sunshine is? Family and friends across the country are reporting warm temperatures in the 70's and up, and we've been stuck here in the drizzly 50's with a cold wind. A little sunshine would be nice.

In fact, the weather really affected Easter egg hunting around here. We took Girlie and ZimDee went to the local park on Saturday for their annual Easter egg hunt, and they both hunted for eggs in the rain and mud. Here is my sweet family: They were happier than they look in this picture, I promise. Just a little rained-on. And I think they're chewing on cookies.

Look here at ZimDee--he's squinting at the rain falling in his eyes:
And I love this picture of Zim: That was how he looked every time he saw the Easter bunny walk by.

Here at home on Sunday, the Count and I would have hidden our eggs in our much bigger and more contained back yard, but it would have turned into a bigger mud-fest than the day before. So we hid the eggs around our smaller front yard and driveway. And as soon as we hid the last egg, it started pouring rain. Here is a picture of the Count and his children looking at the rain fall on all the eggs outside:When the rain finally let up, a good time was had by all.

My love to everyone.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Father and His Son

Look at these sweet pictures of these boys:
They're working on putting together a bookshelf for the basement. The Count is very patient with his children, which warms my heart to no end. This project probably took him five times longer to do it with ZimDee than if he did it by himself, but he didn't care. They were doin' manly stuff together. Grrrr. Gosh I love those boys, both the little and big one.

And yes, that is American Idol on the TV behind them. The Count says he only watches it because I watch it, but if that were really the case, he wouldn't say "tonight's American Idol night" a lot and "when are YOU going to watch American Idol?" But I don't call him on it. And unlike a lot of my friends' husbands, he remains computer illiterate, so I don't have to worry about him reading about himself on my blog. Unless of course he asked ZimDee to pull up my blog for him, which my 3-year-old can most certainly do.

I haven't gotten to much knitting because of running around like a crazy person shuttling children to and fro. And I have to admit that any free time yesterday was spent with the dratted Kakuro book. Bad, bad. Because I have nothing to show for it. I don't have a nice blog post for all to read or several inches done on a knitting project. What I have is a ratty dog-eared book with a bunch of half-finished puzzles in it. This will just NOT do.

I did work on more of the attached I-cord for the Girlfriend's Swing Coat. Let me tell you, that is slow going. For those of you out there who have not done attached I-cord before, what you do is knit 3 stitches, slip one, knit one, pass the slipped stitch over, then transfer the four stitches you've made from the right needle back to the left. You do this over and over again continually to make a very nice finished border. And this border goes almost all the way around this coat. Let me show you what it looks like: Pretty, huh?
I'm getting close to finishing this for Girlie. After the attached I-cord, I will just have to of course weave in ends and block, then decide what kind of closure we want. One button? Several buttons? Girlie hasn't decided yet.

And I'm still knitting on the back for Winter Branches. I'm savoring this project because I like working on the pattern, and because I'm knitting it for my sister, and weaving love and precious memories into every stitch.

I've had a few guesses on the current movie line contest, but this one seems to be a bit challenging. The line is:

"I'll make you famous."

As a hint, I will tell you that Bon Jovi sang the theme song for this movie. Does that help?

Good luck to all.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A New Addiction

As if I needed a new addiction.But then along comes Kakuro. It might as well be called "Crack-uro" because as soon as I picked up the book, I was hooked. Notice the title of the book: Kakuro for Dummies. The dummy being me, of course, for falling for this temptation. If Sudoku wasn't enough, now I've got this monkey on my back. (And yes, Mom, that IS a pencil you see in the picture. Your stubborn daughter that only likes to do puzzles in ink has converted to lead for this guilty pleasure).

I guess these puzzles have been around for a long time in Japan, and even here in America they're known as cross-sums. But package them in a new shiny book and off I go finding something else to obsess about.

And now I have to the laundry? scrub the floors? ok ok OK I'm going to go play again...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Small Children

Congratulations to Tam for winning the movie line contest from King Kong. Well done! Get ready for your chocolate treat.

The next movie line up for consideration is:

"I'll make you famous."

Good luck to all.

Sproutie has become quite mobile these days. He isn't actually crawling yet, he moves more like the kind of thing you see on military obstacle courses where they have to maneuver on their tummies under the low wires. And boy is he fast! He is a very very busy boy. I know that this one is going to give me a run for my money. Just look at that twinkle in his eyes: Notice he is buckled in to the papasan chair. If he wasn't, he'd be all over the place. I never had to buckle Girlie or ZimDee down. They would just sit there and play and the thought of escape never even crossed their minds. But not my Sproutie. He's a busy one. As he gets older, I have the feeling that there will never be a dull moment here in this house.

Zim has been talking, talking, talking, saying funny new things every day. His new thing is to come up to me and put his hand on my face and say, "Mom, you be all right." He keeps up a running commentary when he plays his preschool games on the computer. I'm not sure whether he's looking for a response or not. It's like: "oh yook mom, dat cool, oh wuvitoo mom, zimmy wuvs mommy so much, hi mom, you ok, zimmy wuv mommy" and I'm like "oh, yes, zim, that is cool, I love you too, oh yes, mommy loves zimmy" and that's our day. All day.

Girlie has started indoor soccer and it looks like she's going to have a pretty good season. It's fun to watch her play, or rather try to, as the Count and I shuffle wiggly boys back and forth between us. I remember the days when I used to be able to knit at her soccer games. Not anymore. Maybe someday in the future I will again. I will bring my knitting to the games and look at the parents of small children being used as human jungle gyms by their toddlers and giggle inside remembering the days when that was me. As in today.

You know I love (almost) every minute of it too.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

A Winner

Congratulations to mamma for winning the movie line contest from Freaky Friday. Once again you will be treated to a some chocolate goodness. And who knows, maybe I'll include a return address this time...

The next movie line up for consideration is:

"It was beauty killed the beast".

Snaps to anyone who made it that far in the movie to hear this line. Be the first to answer correctly and chocolate is your prize.

In knitting news, I've decided to join a few knitting swaps. Who doesn't like getting a package of goodies in the mail? And I also like putting little packages together, so hopefully this should be fun. I have heard some horror stories about secret pals not following through, but the organizers of the swaps seem to be aware of this happening and have back-up plans. I also heard that joining these swaps can be addicting, and people find themselves way over-committed. So I think I'll stay safe and keep it at the following three, which looked really appealing to me:

The Knitting Vacation Swap. Sign-ups are now closed for this one, but the idea is to send a package of goodies that someone could use on vacation or to pamper themselves, and at least one item should be hand-knit. Sign-ups for the other two swaps are still open, if anyone is interested. They are:

Secret Pal 8, and you can find registry information at: Deadline to sign up: April 30th.

And: One Skein Secret Pals Exchange. Info:
Deadline to sign up: May 1.

Might I see any of you there?

I love the coming of Spring, which brings new beginnings. Even though the sun isn't out today, I'm happy to show you the first signs of spring in my yard.And lookie what I found in my tulip patch: He doesn't look very happy, does he? But some warm hugs and lullabies should fix that. He must have fallen out of a birdie's nest nearby. I have no choice but to take him in and feed him and love him and call him my own. Don't you agree?

My love to all.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Knitting in Progress

You may have thought that I did no knitting at all during my heavenly visit with my sister. That's just not so. After all, what would heaven be without a little knitting? So I present to you these photographs. The first one is my lovely sister with my loverly daughter, modelling the Knitting Olympics Rowan Aura hat that I made for her:Next is a work in progress that I'm very excited about. The pattern is from KnitNet: Winter Branches by Chrissy Gardiner, otherwise known as knittinmom. She has written a beautiful pattern that my fingers love working on. I've said before that the seed stitch is my very favorite knitting stitch, and this pattern is full of them. The pattern is intuitive enough that you get the hang of it very quickly, but it is never boring to work on. I'm going to make one for myself eventually, but this particular sweater is for my beautiful sister A. I took her to my favorite knitting store and told her to pick out any yarn and color she wanted (within gauge, of course), and she chose Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran in this wonderful hazy rose color. I know that the pattern called for the more reasonably priced Cascade 220 wool, but what's a little cashmere among sisters? Here is the progress so far:and here is a closer view of the stitch detail: This project has been a joy to work on.

By the way, a big public thank you to Tam for rescuing my infamous poo-dee clogs from the hall of shame and transforming them into actual wearable items. If not for me, then for little ZimDee. They are the cutest little miniature things I've ever seen. And here is my boy now, modelling his newly acquired knitted items:His smile says it all. Thank you, my friend. You are the best!

And now that we're rolling again, it's time for another movie line contest. Chocolate, as always, awaits the winner. Here goes:

"I'm OLD! I'm like the Crypt Keeper!"

Ok, ok, I know it's probably too easy, but hey.

Good luck to all.

Friday, April 07, 2006

For my blog friends

Today I'm wandering around lost in sadness from my sister's leaving. I let her into my most personal spaces, the places I built for myself to help me cope with living a life without her on a daily basis. I did this knowing how empty those same places would be in her absence. But to have her here was just too precious to me, and when I'm done crying in every space she occupied in my house, I will feel the steadiness of her presence. She is my guiding light, my confidante, my most trusted advisor, and silliest friend. My big sister has lit the path before me, making sure that I missed the pitfalls that she faced, or walked me through them without judgment if I fell into them anyway. And I accept it all gratefully, fully knowing that there was no one there to do it for her. I am the person that I am, and especially the mother that I am, because she guided me, fed me, scolded me, and especially loved me. And oh how my children adore their precious Auntie. How could anyone not?

And now I want to say a heartfelt thank you to my blog friends who sent me kind thoughts during and after the visit, especially mamma and Tam. You let me know you would miss me and that you would be waiting for me. That was exactly what I needed to hear. Because whether you know it or not, that is one thing I knew would help me through these first few lonely days when I would be catching my breath again. I've said this before, that we've only "known" each other for a few short months, yet your friendship is very valuable to me. We've never met in person, yet I feel genuine love and concern for you and from you.

Thank you, my friends. I love you.

On Sisterhood -- For A.

Sugar and spice and all things nice.
Perhaps. To an outsider.
...Siblings are more realistic. To them a
sister is naggings and needlings, whispers
and whisperings. Bribery. Thumpings.
Borrowings. Breakings.
Kisses and cuddlings. Lendings. Surprises.
Defendings and comfortings.
Welcomings home.

Her presence makes the room warm and alive for me.
I want to be where she is. It is not a very conscious
feeling - just a vague discontent with the
places where she is not. There is more life where she is.
I get up and follow her when she moves from one
room to another as one might unconsciously follow a
moving patch of sunlight in a room.

We have quarrelled, I know -
when someone kept knocking down the tower of bricks.
When someone went on singing while
the other tried to sleep.
When someone picked out all the chocolate biscuits.
We squabbled, I know -
over whose turn it was to scrape the cake mix bowl,
and who had taken the other's bike.
But it gave life an extra interest, didn't it?
And when there was an excitement, and adventure,
a surprise - we shared it.
And when there was a sadness, we shared that too.
Life alone would have been tidier and less fraught -
but without astonishments,
without plots and plans,
without sympathetic hugs.
Life without a sister would have been
far more lonely - and far, far more dull.

You borrowed my stockings - and
spoilt them.
I borrowed your shoes - and
snapped the heel.
From earliest childhood we staged a
war over possessions.
"Mine. That's mine! Mom! She's
got my dress on!"
Dolls and gym shirts.
Tennis shoes.
Lipstick. Knickers. Books. Cassettes.
Even boy friends.
And yet ---
Now that I have everything neat
and nice on shelves and hangers,
I sometimes long for you to come
around and rifle through my things
and say
"Oh look at this!
Can I just borrow it till Sunday?"

Your room still smells like your perfume.

My heart is full of love and sadness. Thank you, thank you for coming to my world and sharing my days. It already feels so empty without you. This pain I'm feeling now was so worth every minute I got to spend with you. I will be fine, you will be fine. We will not always live so far apart from each other. We will find ways to live our separate lives again, and find happiness and contentment while we aren't in each other's presence. But today I miss you. I miss you so much. -K.

this is an audio post - click to play