Friday, January 18, 2008

Tales of a Fourth Grade Something

Girlie came home from school last week with the news that the fourth grade classes in her school were going to be putting on a production of Lewis and Clark, and she wanted to try out for the part of Sacagawea. She told me that there were a lot of roles for boys in the play, but Sacagawea was the only girl part. Tryouts were to be held after school this week. I would have loved to watch the auditions, but it was a students-only affair so there would be less distractions. In this precarious balancing act between holding on tight and letting go that they don't tell you about in the instruction manual for being a mom, I told Girlie I would pick her up after.

On the day of the audition, I thought I would try to give her as much of an edge as I could and play up on her natural features. I braided her long dark hair like an Indian maiden. (Of course brother had to get in on the act when he saw the camera come out):
Then I sent her on her way with my love and all my good wishes. You know those times when you hope and pray for the best while trying to prepare yourself for the chance that it might not happen? That's where I was.

All day long I thought about Girlie until it was time to go pick her up. As I pulled into the parking lot of the school, what did I see but 20 other girls with long black hair pulled into braids. Guess I wasn't the only one who had that thought.

Girlie said that so many girls tried out for the part of Sacagawea, while one boy each tried out for the parts of Lewis and Clark, as well as the other male roles. I asked her how she felt she did, and she said "Fine". She had done her best, the auditions were over, and she was ready to go home and play.

The play is going to be held on the Thursday before spring break. There is a knitting guild meeting that night, but I won't be attending.

I'm going to go see a 4th grade production of Lewis and Clark.

Watching my daughter play Sacagawea.


Meet Miss 4th Grade Sacagawea, 2008:
I'm so proud of this girl I could burst.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Knit Wars

I've become a Knit Warrior.

My Chore Wars character

Read more about it here on the Lime N Violet site.

Won't you cheer me on in my quest? You can follow along with my progress on the sidebar. Or join me in the epic battle...

Monday, January 14, 2008


I can feel spring coming. Whether it's the little patches of sunlight that are trying to shine through or maybe it's just the hope in my heart, but I'm excited for the coming of spring. For the crocuses and daffodils, and most especially the tulips to poke their sleepy heads out from their comfy bed of earth. Much like how I found my children when I came to tuck Girlie in to bed last night:
Spring cleaning has hit with a vengeance here in my home, and Girlie's room got a complete makeover. Her fluffy bed looked so inviting that her brothers had to try it out for themselves. I love how you can only see the boys' little brown eyes peeking out. And notice, if you will, ZimDee's contribution to the decor of the bed by carefully placing his whale shark, ray, and hammerhead shark along the blanket at the foot of the bed. I think I have a future marine biologist on my hands.

Girlie is excited about her new haven, though she's unbelievably kind about sharing her space with her brothers when they want to play. Oh my how I love that girl.

I'm in the middle of a knit for hire project, so knitting talk will have to wait.

While the weather is still cold outside, I've been enjoying sitting down with a hot cup of spicy chai tea, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to drink. Don't worry, Peach Pleasure Jamba Juice and PG Tips black tea, you can never be replaced. But it's good to try new things now and then. Especially with the promise of spring fast approaching.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

River Rock Scarf

My blog had been particularly quiet these last few months due in part to the holidays and to the busy-ness of sample and test knitting. It's hard to write on my blog when I can't talk about what I'm knitting on, especially when I'm really excited about a project, or when I've had to frog something for the umpteenth time and just want a little love.

On the exciting front, a project that I'm really happy about has just been put up on the Knit Picks site. It's the River Rock Scarf from No Sheep For You by Amy Singer; pattern by the very talented Sivia Harding. Here is the model from the Knit Picks site:
And here is the scarf on me. This was a very hard project to pack up and send away. I'm just going to have to make one for myself. In fact, it's on my list of projects to knit to keep in 2008. My sister A. also had her eye on the scarf while I was knitting it, so I'd love to be able to make one for her as well. As much time as sample and test knitting will allow.
The original project was knit with fingering weight yarn, so the beads (1678 to be exact) were probably easier to load for that than they were on the sport weight yarn that I knit this scarf with, but the end result was worth a couple of broken Big Eye needles. Observe:
This project was knit with size 7 needles and 3-4 skeins of Knit Picks Shine Sport in the Green Apple colorway.
I finished this project back in October (hence the sunshine and dry deck) but I'm not allowed to blog about the projects until Knit Picks releases them.

A word about sample and test knitting: I enjoy it, otherwise I wouldn't do it. Everything has its pros and cons, and this is no exception. The cool thing is that a lot of times I am assigned to patterns that I might have overlooked otherwise. I learn something new with each and every project, and I feel like it has really broadened my knitting skills.

I just hope that I can find a balance between sample knitting and personal knitting in 2008. It would be nice to be able to share more of my progress with you all as I go along.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Reflections on 2007

Girlie and ZimDee went back to school this morning after two weeks of vacation. Sproutie is wandering around the house like a lost soul, searching for his playmates. I have to admit that I am, too. It has been beyond wonderful having them home with me all day. Now it's back to regular routines. A good time for me to reflect on the year that has just gone by.

2007 started out in a blur, a sentiment expressed to me by most members of my family. Losing my brother David in November of 2006 was something that forever changed my life. Grief is a difficult road to walk, and no one else can do it for you. Thus 2007 began with my making my first tentative steps on my journey back to me.

January 1st started out with a bang of three knitting assignments. Knit Picks asked me to knit a pair of lace socks. My cousin James' wife Shari, whom I adore, asked me to knit a yellow sweater for their adorable daughter Jessica. And my dear friend Mamma and I embarked on some pirate knitting--that is, knitting a pair of socks with some yarn called "Black Purl" (get it?) while we watched the Pirates of the Caribbean series. I must mention that Mamma and I live in different states, so this was virtual knitting at its finest.

I will say here that you might see a theme emerging. Knitting was an essential part of my healing this year. The repetitive, meditative motions were healing to my soul, and produced beautiful finished projects for my efforts. When I couldn't deal with the emotions that bombarded me during that time, and when deciding what TV show I was going to put on mute to ignore or which pair of pajamas to wear became too overwhelming to deal with, knitting was a constant. It held no judgment of me. I wasn't letting it down in any way by not being able to participate fully; it was just there waiting for me like a long-lost friend whenever I could get to it. Each stitch I knit was a memory, a prayer, a shared perspective, a childhood lost and then regained, a stepping stone on my way back to the light. The sadness was always there, but it was starting to be covered with peace and acceptance and love.

The lace socks for Knit Picks were finished, to be replaced by yet another commissioned work of knitting for the company (for a total of six time-consuming projects this year). One pirate sock was completed; the mate abandoned when Mamma finished her complete pair two weeks before I finished my first sock. Not to worry--it's waiting patiently below deck for me to get back to it someday. (Keep to the code and all that). The yellow sweater for Jessica was complete, and received with much excitement. Shari told me that Jessica did not ever want to take it off. Shari also confessed to me that she asked me to knit something yellow because she had read that the color is soothing to people who are grieving. She had lost a brother herself some years ago, and thought to reach out to me to help me in my healing the only way she could think of: through my knitting. Wonderful angels like that came and went throughout the year, just when I needed them most.

Another part of my healing relating to knitting was joining the board of the Tigard Knitting Guild as co-newsletter editor. The monthly board meetings in addition to the regular guild meetings were very good for me. It was something positive that got me moving and out of the house when I wasn't sure I was ready to venture out. To be in the company of cheerful women with a purpose was very healthy for me, and I made some new friends that are "keepers". I will continue on with the board in 2008 as secretary.

In May I traveled to Washington DC with my mom and sisters for Police Week: a memorial tribute to my brother and other fallen officers. It was powerful yet extremely overwhelming. I WILL return to Washington DC and to the wall that bears David's name, but not during Police Week again. It will be with loving family who will trace the letters of his name with their hands and remember, always remember...

Sproutie turned two years old in June, and he has become my "busy" child. It never occurred to Girlie and ZimDee that so many toys could be broken and scattered. We call Sprout "the De-Struc-Tor". If there is a mess to be made or something to be broken, this child is behind it. But one look in those big brown eyes and that clown smile and my heart just melts.

ZimDee turned five in July, and much to my dismay, started full-time kindergarten this year. Emotionally I wasn't prepared for it and had my doubts that he was ready, but he has flourished in school. His teacher is wonderful, and I'm grateful that she has laid a positive foundation for his future education.

Girlie turned ten in October. She started 4th grade in the fall, and also has a phenomenal teacher. Girlie has become quite a young lady, and soon will tower over her dad and me. She already wears a bigger shoe size than I do. She's always been a peace-loving child with a wonderful imagination. I'm thoroughly enjoying the privilege of being a part of these sweet children's lives.

A big constant in my life has been the love of my family. The Count's patience during this year helped me in my healing process, and his willingness to work on deep-seated issues have made our marriage even stronger. The love of my children is my daily medicine.

When I sat down with myself and looked at my life in front of the Christmas tree this year, I found that I am exactly where I want to be.

It has been a year of sadness and loss, healing and love. When all is said and done, it is the love that remains.

I'm looking forward to sharing 2008 with you, my friends.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Catch Up

There has been a lot of secret sample test knitting going on around here, but I did manage to get a few small projects done in between.

The first is the Square Textures Dish Cloth by Linda Luder. The pattern can be found in the Leisure Arts booklet, Nifty Knit Dishcloths. I have to admit that I like white dish cloths the best, because you can bleach them when they inevitably get dirty.I knit it for my reverse Dish Rag Tag partner, Wendy. We had such a fun group for Dish Rag Tag that we decided to keep the fun going by sending some goodies, along with a knit dish cloth, to the person who sent the original package to us in the tag (this time unhurried). Not to toot my own horn (ok--toot, toot) but I was voted Miss Congeniality of Dish Rag Tag 2007. All I know is that I had a great time as captain of Team XDR (eXpress Dish Rag--get it?), and my team worked very hard to earn a respectable 2nd place finish. If there is going to be a Dish Rag Tag 2008, I will be the first to sign up for it, and I would recommend it to anyone. It's great fun, and Emily organized it very well.

As for Christmas knitting, ZimDee (he of the big brown eyes and toothless grin) asked me to knit a hat for his kindergarten teacher, and it had to be purple. How could I resist the charms of my 5-year-old child, the one most appreciative of my knitting? I could not. Behold, the purple hat:
Modeled by the very handsome Sprout under the Christmas tree, as he was the only child available at home for me to try the hat on at the time:
Isn't he precious? Though at times I wish he would stay as still as he is in this picture.

Pattern: Blue Sky Alpacas Royal Baby Set
Yarn: South Company Rio De La Plata, 100% Merino wool, in the Sparkling Grape colorway
Needles: size 9 circulars; 16"
Notes: This pattern was written for baby size, but in using thicker yarn and larger needles, it easily fit an adult (even though it's being modeled by a baby in the picture--tee hee).

ZimDee reports that his teacher loved the hat. Please add a star to my mommy crown.

And speaking of ZimDee, he was in need of some thick house socks. Mommy to the rescue again:
His little legs and feet look so adorable modeling his new socks. Please note that the stripes match up perfectly. I had to waste 3 feet of yarn, and break into another ball of yarn when an unmatched pair would have easily used one, but doesn't this picture make it all worth it?
I thought so.

Pattern: simple basic stockinette socks, using the magic loop
Yarn: Adriafil Knitcol, color 049
Needles: size 6/ 32" circulars

It was nice to finally knit something that was actually going to stay in my house for once. I must do more of that in 2008.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Child After My Own Heart

Note tough guy at the mall, drinkin' a lil' sumpin' sumpin':A Jamba Juice custom made for his size. Dude is not afraid to wear hand knits in public (that would be the hat made by yours truly; the sweater--maybe next year).

This guy's got good taste. Watch out there, ladies. This one's a heartbreaker.