31 January 2007

Who knew...

...that "Ring Around the Rosey" is a contact sport that falls somewhere between football and boxing for violence?

Zee ART, eet ees a process...

"Vat is dees? You dare dee-sturb zee petite artiste??? Zee nerve of zome pipples! No understandink of zee creative process and zee artistique temperment"

Though it clearly wasn't too serious of an infraction, because a nanosecond later this was the temperamental artist:

Clearly all has been forgiven! Note the purple on the face and the red on the hand. Painting of the artist is just as important as the painting of the paper. This masterpiece is by big brother Bug (who only had a little paint on his face):

It's the ocean and there are mama fishes and baby fishes. Don't hold me to this, but I believe that the fish are the different colors up at the top. I'm not an art expert though, so I may have misunderstood.

In other news, we have been having cold and snowy weather. What?? Cold and snowy?? In Wisconsin?? In January?? Yeah, we got pretty spoiled by our mild end to 2006. If you want an idea of just how low the humidity is:

It's doing that all by itself. Bean and her brother had a "rassle" on the living room floor and when they stood up, she looked like a little dandelion.

Mama's been fighting a little cabin fever and the winter blahs. I get the whole bear/hibernation thing. It sounds kind of nice to just snooze until spring. But on the bright side, I did get the paper I had been working on submitted last night. It will mostly likely be in The Journal of Green Building's winter edition.

27 January 2007

Parenting Awards

Any minute now, I expect the Parenting award equivalent of the Prize Patrol to pull up...

Yesterday was library day and Bug is becoming more social all the time. He found some "fends" to play trains and color with and was delighted. After they left, a mom with a toddler boy came in and Bug started chatting her up. At one point he told her that he has an owie foot, because Mommy left and he and Bean stayed with Daddy and Daddy hit him. Okay, a few details were left out. What I believe happened is that Wednesday evening when I was at the 'Bou working, Bug and Daddy were having a pillow fight or boxing with foam blocks or some such other highly physical rough play that little boys and daddies delight in and Bug fell or got sideways with the world and somehow bumped/bonked/twisted his foot. He is pretty pleased with his war wound and will tell anyone who will stand still long enough about it. However, I occasionally step in to clarify some of the details of the abbreviated version.

Then, as we were checking out and getting ready to leave, Bug announced to the librarians that we watched Snakes on a Plane. The two librarians gave each other a pronounced they-let-the-four-year-old-watch-what? look. So I explained that Daddy rented it and was very excited to see it, but that Bug, Bean, and I were too little to watch anything but the first few minutes.

Just to be icing on the cake, I got most of Bug's first clog done and discovered that I had done the colors backwards. His clogs are light blue with navy soles and cuffs, so I had bought one skein of navy and two of light blue. I got the proportions wrong...the clogs take about twice as much of the sole/cuff color as of the upper color. I did the same for Bean. The good news is that there appears to be enough navy left for the second sole of the first clog and the whole second clog and Bean's will be smaller and take less sole/cuff yarn. I won't even touch the second skein of upper color for either kid. I guess I know what color my new purse is gonna be... *sigh* I guess it was just one of those days.

25 January 2007

Groceries at last!

Since we were running dangerously low on groceries, the kids and I had planned to go shopping yesterday. However, at 8:30 am, the maintenance guys called to let us know they were coming to fix our dripping faucet. Since we have assorted wildlife that has been known to try and escape (e.g., the Kitten Chai), I thought it would be best if we were home when maintenance was working and get groceries afterwards. When we were still waiting at 11:30, I figured that even if they got there immediately, by the time we ate lunch and got to the store we would be getting dangerously close to nap-time. Like grocery shopping isn't stressful enough when they are well rested and alert! Since we didn't have anything that would remotely qualify as supper, I called Daddy to the rescue (He picked up barbeque meat, buns, and deli sides on the way home...yum!). Anyway, maintenance finally showed up at a few minutes before noon, went upstairs to look at the faucets for about two minutes, and then informed me as he went out the door that he would be back after lunch, about 12:30. It was actually closer to 1:00, but less than an hour later we had two faucets that no longer dripped! While I am delighted that we have fully functional faucets again, the day felt kind of wasted.

In knitting, I have started on Bug's clogs. My theory is that I am less likely to get burned out clogging if I do the two larger ones first. They aren't that much bigger, but... The clogs are such a quick, easy knit and with kids sizes they zoom even faster than Daddy's clogs did. But, I do need to keep a close eye on the instructions, so I have to stop whenever Bean needs some lap time.

24 January 2007

Such a pretty girl!

Miss Mollie is the proud owner of a brand spanking new sweater! She is even showing her Hawkeye pride!

Yarn: The gold is Cascade 220 and the black is some combination of Cascade 220 and Wool of the Andes. I was using leftovers that were unlabeled so I'm not sure
Needles: Denise Interchangeables size 7 (size 5 for ribbing) and DPNs in those two sizes for the sleeves.
Pattern: Esther Bozak's Original Custom-Fit Dog Sweater with alternate sleeve #2.
Verdict: I am quite pleased with how this turned out. I really liked the custom-fit pattern as Miss Mollie is rather oddly proportioned relative to standard dog clothes. If I were to do another, I think I would shorten the neck-to-underarm and put that length back after the sleeves. But I'm pretty sure that this resulted from my measuring, not the pattern or instructions.

23 January 2007

Daddy evenings

Since the beginning of the year, we have been trying to implement semi-regular "Daddy Evenings," where Daddy stays with the kidlings and Mama does whatever the heck she wants! I try to take some time two to three times a week to get some things done that aren't conducive to little (but, oh so cute) hangers-on. So far I have been using my get-away time to drink coffee at the 'Bou and work on writing a paper for submission from my dissertation and to go over to the fitness room in the main building of our apartment complex to lift weights, do aerobic exercise (stair climber or stationary bike) and watch either "House, M.D." or "CSI" on cable instead of fuzzy antenna signal. Who knows, once I get this first paper submitted, I might even go completely wild and crazy and do something like socializing or running errands. I do have one more (maybe two) papers that need to be written after this one, so the coffee shop may remain a good option.

Bug tends to go a little ape at the idea that Mommy is leaving him forever and doesn't love him and is abandoning him to the raw elements. Have I mentioned that Bug has a flair for the dramatic?? Although I am tempted to go into over-protective mommy mode, I know that this is more sound and fury than actual concern. In fact, last time I came home, he was engaged in a to-the-death pillow fight with Daddy and told me to go away, because he didn't want me home. And tonight, when he started in complaining, I suggested that Daddy might be amenable to another pillow fight and the grousing was cut off mid-word as he chirped "Bye, mommy" and went to arrange the sofa pillows into proper fighting form. What a goofball!

22 January 2007

Fluff in the Mail!

We are doing a fibery-goodness happy dance at our house. My KnitPicks order arrived! Actually, I found out this morning that delivery had been attempted on Saturday and the slip had slid out of the stack of mail and stayed in the mail box. So the kids and I trekked to the local post office to pick it up! So, without further ado, I present my new stuff!

KnitPicks Options needle tips in sizes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and cords, end caps, and tightening tool to make 24" and 60" circular needles. I figure with the long one, I should be set to do magic loop on pretty much any size!

Next up is four skeins of Shine Sport in Blush, Cherry, Aquamarine, and Turquoise that is earmarked to make two Sheldon turtles.

Eight skeins of Swish Superwash...half is Bubblegum and the other half is Ballerina. These will become a sweater and leggings for Miss Bean. With these colors, who else would they be for???

Three skeins of Gloss sock yarn (merino wool/silk blend...very yummy and soft) in black to become a pair of socks for me. I haven't decided yet, but I am thinking something with an interesting stitch pattern. Also, I got three skeins since I would like a pair that are a little longer than the socks I get with 50 grams per foot. My feet are long. I use way to much yarn in the foot, which doesn't leave a lot for the cuff!

Last, but not least, two skeins of Telemark in Burlap and Bayberry. From these, I think I will probably make one (or more) of these.

19 January 2007


We have been doing much of the same old same old, plus Mama has been getting back into the swing of getting some work done (you know, that engineering stuff...I'm trying to get some papers out from the diss, so the paycheck is the same as it was this time last year), so I haven't been blogging as much. But today, I will provide some Bean vocubulary:

  • Pee Wye - Piggy (Back) Ride
  • Namma - Grandma
  • Kah-kack - Back Pack
  • Ni-en - Mitten
  • Guck - Stuck
  • Day dew - Thank you
  • Weeeeeeee - Please
  • Bih Gog - (Clifford, the) Big (Red) Dog
  • Geeky - Big brother's name
  • Bee-bee - Baby
  • Noh - Snow
  • Doppah Bah - Soccer ball
I'll try and add some more over the next couple of days, so check back!

Oh, and as a post script, my Knitpicks order that I placed last weekend with a Christmas gift certificate and some Christmas gift money is not only on its way, but in the correct state! I just have to wait until it gets to the right town and delivered. I can't wait!!!

16 January 2007

I did it my way...

This should probably be Bug's theme song. Little stinker! While he enjoys painting and coloring, he has always been all about scribbling. Once in a while, he will draw a circle if I ask, but usually just gets silly about it. So imagine my surprise yesterday when he showed me the picture of a kitty that he drew for daddy!

Not that I have any right to be surprised. This is how he does everything. Resists with every fiber of his being and then one day just does it and pretty much executes it perfectly. Maybe I just need to carry this picture around when I'm worrying that he's never going to use the big potty...

15 January 2007

Recycling Craftiness

As I work to get my creative space organized, I have been collecting containers for storing and organizing things. Some of my favorite storage containers have been recycled from the kitchen.

I just love these Folgers cans. They are plastic with a snap-on lid and have indentations for easy handling. While I am certainly capable of being as big of a coffee snob as the next guy, right now, Folgers pretty much maxes out my coffee budget. It's either Folgers regularly or maybe one cup of the good stuff a month.

I occasionally indulge my inner-coffee-snob wit some flavored Folgers. The French Vanilla is my favorite and the little cans are so dang cute. Because it only comes in the small size, I can amass a pretty impressive collection of cans pretty fast!

I also really like these plastic containers from Rice Selects. They co-exist in the pantry better than bags of rice and when they are empty, they are great clear plastic storage with screw-on lids.

Snow Bunny

On Saturday, we got the first snow since December 1st! The kids were very excited, not surprisingly. On Sunday, Bean came downstairs in her pajamas and bare feet, pulled her winter coat out of the closet and insisted, in Bean-speak, that we put her coat on and let her go outside. We tried to explain that she needed to be dressed and wearing shoes, but she was not at all convinced. In the interest of ending an impressive tantrum, we decided to let her try it her way, reasoning that her experience would convince her in a way that mere words couldn't. We put on her jacket and let her go:

She walked out into the yard and was willing to come back in when we called her back, but the minute the door was shut, she wanted to go back out again, bare-footers and all. We did get her dressed and shod and she had a great time out in the snow.

We got more snow overnight last night and, clearly, our little object lesson was a smashing success...this morning, she didn't want to get dressed, so she came downstairs stark-nakers, pulled her jacket out of the closet and insisted on going outside! Maybe she's part polar bear??

13 January 2007

Bug's Sweater

In spite of the various problems I encountered, I finished the Bug's sweater and coerced talked him into modeling it for me. Of course, we needed a silly face. I am still less than completely delighted with the collar. It does go over his head, but it looks so big. In the future, I would probably do a slit in front or maybe go with a V-neck. The hemmed collar also rolls a bit, which I suspect is a result of having the last inch or so leading up to the collar knit too tight. Since the yarn is a cotton/wool blend, I'm hoping a couple of trips through to washing machine will mellow the neckline out a little.

Yarn: Knit Picks Main Line in Wedgewood
Needles: Denise Interchangeable, size 7 (size 5 for ribbing)
Pattern: Based on the basic kid's raglan sleeve crew neck in The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd. Modifications include using Kitchener stitch on armpits and closing remaining holes when weaving in ends of KS instead of binding off and seaming, using Japanese short rows to shape neck band instead of binding off and picking up stitches. I ended up modifying the shaping of the neck in order to fit it over his head. Also I used k2p2 ribbing for the bottom hem, wrist bands, and neck band.

I loved the Japanese short rows. I had been using wrap and turn short rows and wasn't thrilled with them, but I think the Japanese short rows are the answer! I had a lot better luck making them look smooth and unobtrusive.

12 January 2007

Spell check

Yipes! Spell check hasn't been working all the time recently, so I haven't been using it until today. I went back to check recent posts and, gosh, there were a bunch of boo-boos. Since reading Norma is making me paranoid, I fixed them...

Into the four-year-old psyche

Yes, as a matter of fact, I am going nuts with posts today. I have had a couple of these marinating in my brain for a few days and never really sat down to post.

This one will probably be as scary as the title suggests. ;o) I always love watching funny, little brains doing their things, but a couple of Bug examples have stuck out recently. The first is a funny, where-the-heck-did-that-come-from thing.

Bug has been carrying around the stuffed mammoth and elephant for the last couple of days. The mammoth is "Momma Elephant" and the elephant is "Baby Elephant." A few days back we had the following conversation:

Bug: What are those (pointing to white things on the mammoth)?
Me: Those are "tusks"
Bug: What do tusks do?
Me: Well, elephants can use their tusks to carry heavy things or maybe to defend themselves.
Bug: Oh... (thinking about it)

Bug: Well, Baby Elephant has tiny tusks. That's where he hangs his water bottle.
Me: Oh really??
Not a clue where it came from or what it means. I just go with the flow...

The second example is how Bug processed something scary. Kitty Daddy rented "Snakes on a Plane" last Friday (yeah, nothing but high culture in this house...). He started watching it when the kids and I were still in the living room. The pre-plane part wasn't too bad; a little gore, but off screen and the kids really weren't paying that much attention anyway. However, once all the plot elements were in place (i.e., snakes and planes) the movie got gross and scary pretty fast and the kids started noticing it more. It didn't take long to figure out that Bug was getting a little freaked, so we shut it off. I took the kids upstairs and we settled into bed and finally fell asleep. We have three stuffed snakes that had happened to be out with the "active toys" at the time.

The next day, he was playing with the snakes and stopped periodically to explain to Daddy and I that these weren't "scary snakes," they were "happy snakes." After a couple of days of that, he started making some of the snakes do more "scary" things and ask me to spray him with "snake spray." After I made a "fsssst" noise, the snake would leave him alone. Eventually, two or all three snake would be scary at the same time and we would take care of them with the "snake spray." Finally, after a couple of days of "scary snakes" he just lost interest in the snakes all together (incidentally, that is when he started in with the elephants). While we did do some talking about movies being pretend, etc., etc., it was really interesting seeing how he worked through the scary experience on his own.

A poem to share

The kids and I have been reading Shel Silverstein poems. I ran across "The Giving Tree" several weeks ago at the library. We have had a couple of kid's poetry collections (Flamingos on the Roof and The Yellow Elephant) and Bug loved both. In fact, we read The Yellow Elephant at least twice a day for most of the time it was checked out! So, I looked at our library branch for some of Shel's poetry collections. We found Falling Up and A Light in the Attic checked in and took both home. We have already read all the way through A Light in the Attic and are about halfway through Falling Up. We checked out Where the Sidewalk Ends today (which I had read several times as a kid). So we have poems to hold us for a while!

Anyway, in the process of reading so far, I found a poem that I really like. Not only is it pretty good advice, it also sums up my whole parenting philosophy pretty well and explains how I found "Attachment Parenting" when Bug was tiny. So, without further ado...

The Voice

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
"I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong."
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What's right for you--just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.

-- From Falling Up: Poems and
by Shel Silverstein

The $1.91 Niddy-Noddy

My handspun has been sitting on the spindle. Since there was more than my first sample, I wanted to measure it as I winded it into a hank to wash and set the twist. I had seen one method using two nails in a two-by-four to wrap the yarn in a hank and was planning on putting one together, but I wasn't sure I wanted to buy a whole box of nails. We have plenty of nails, but they are deep in the storage shed. After briefly coveting a niddy-noddy, which is what spinners use to wind hanks, I discovered instructions for making a very cheap PVC niddy-noddy here. So, before our regular Friday trip to the library, the kids and I stopped by Home Depot and purchased 10' of 1/2" PVC ($1.43) and two 1/2" tees ($0.19/each) plus tax ($0.10). When we got home, I dug out the Dremel and turned them into:

Here is the niddy-noddy in action, holding 38 yards of my handspun:

The handspun is in the sink soaking right now.

10 January 2007

CO: A sweater for Mollie

Kitty Daddy feels that Mollie dog has been left out of the woolly goodness resulting from me knitting, so he suggested that she desperately needs a sweater. Since I had some Cascade 220 left over from Daddy's Hawkeye scarf and socks, she will be getting a sweater that coordinates with her Daddy, so the two of them can look so spiffy out for a walk on a cold winter's day. Since Mollie is a wee mini-dachsie, she has weird proportions and doesn't fit very well in ready made, so I will be using Esther Bozak's "The Original Custom-Fit Dog Sweater" to make one just for her! I have swatched and measured, so I'm ready to go.

Bug's sweater is almost done...after the third try on the neckline shaping, I'm hoping third time's the charm. The first time I did short row shaping and managed to space off the fact that just doing short rows leads to ugly gaping holes. Frog back to beginning of shaping. The second time I did some beautiful Japanese short rows and promptly discovered that there was now way Bug's head was going to fit. Not even with a giant shoe horn and considerable force. Frog back to beginning of shaping again. This time I did the shaping to make a bigger hole and (here's the kicker) tried slipping it over his head before starting on the neckband! I still have to finish the neck band, but it's getting close. The bad news is that after frogging back the second time, I let it sit for a couple of days and forgot to switch back to the larger needles I used for the entire body from the smaller needles I used for the ribbing. Frog a fourth time? Nah, we'll just call it a "design feature"

Oh ma-a-a-a-ann!

So, two days ago, I was so proud of myself for getting a broken Denise cord sent in to be replaced after ordering replacements for two that have been broken for a long time and disappeared. Guess what? Today, I was working on organizing my office/creative space and found one of the broken cords. I'll probably send it in anyway (extra cords can never hurt!!), but, sheesh, I think I'd rather wait until either my order or replacement cord (or both) get to me.

Getting "my" room organized is going to be a huge job, but it felt good to make some progress today. The biggest problems is that some stuff was in storage for a year when we were at our old apartment and now some of the stuff that will eventually wind up in this room is in our current storage bin. So getting everything settled will actually involve going through everything that is now in storage. Yeah, BIG job. Anyway, the Denise cord I found hasn't been sighted since we lived in Iowa a year and a half ago. Kind of scary.

I have several big jobs in progress, trying to get our lives organized again after two moves and everything not dissertation-related getting moved down on the priority list for almost nine months in between the two moves; all done while juggling two little ones. One of my New Year's resolutions is to try keep making steady progress on this stuff. It's so easy to get overwhelmed and disgusted by the accumulated mess and just throw up my hands and give up, but things never get better that way. So I'm trying to remind myself that if I can slip in even five minutes on one dreaded project, that is going to bring me five minutes closer to done, no matter how far away "done" is.

09 January 2007

Cloth Diapering

Okay, my sister-in-law's close friend is having a baby next month and she hooked the two of us up since I have all sorts of information and opinions about cloth diapering. I started using cloth about two years ago, when Bug was just over two and Bean was about six months. So I don't have actual experience CDing a newborn, so those opinions are where I would start if I were going to diaper a newborn based on my bigger baby experience. If any other CD mamas are reading this, please chime in with any other thoughts or recommendations in the comments. I will forward them on to SIL's friend.

I am linking to pictures at diaperco.com. I *think* that is where I ordered my first diapers from. Since then, I have bought them "off-line" at Happy Bambino. I'm not recommending or advocating any particular vendor. This is just the one that caught my eye when I googled two years ago. Punkin Buns has an awesome FAQ page with lots of links to great additional information and a page of links to articles.

Cloth Diapering 101 - some basics, by no means complete, based on my basic research two years ago and my experience so far.

  • At its most basic, there is a diaper and a cover. The most basic diaper is the Chinese Prefold (CPF) which is a "diaper service quality" (DSQ) diaper. Other types include contour diapers, which are shaped so you don't have to do origami to put them on, and fitted diapers, which have elastic for a snugger fit. The most basic cover is just some kind of variation on the rubber pants of old. There are also wool covers (or soakers), both commercially made and handmade for knitter or crochet types. There are lots of free and for sale patterns. I could do a huge long blog on the variations of soakers and my opinions, but not here...
  • Pocket diapers are kind of a hybrid. The diaper is both liner and cover and some sort of absorbent stuff is put in the pocket between.
  • All-in-ones (AIO) are just what they sound like, a liner, cover, and absorbent stuff all-in-one. They are as convenient as disposables, but much more expensive than prefolds and covers.
What we use:
  • CPFs with Bummi Super Whisper Wrap covers. I have a minor diaper pin phobia, so I use Snappis instead of pins. They cost a bit more, but calm my child-stabbing paranoia. Both diapers and covers have performed wonderfully. After two years, I am still using the original diapers and wraps I bought, though the velcro has gotten pretty bad on the oldest wraps and a few of the diapers are showing their age and getting holes in the outer layers. We have added some wraps to the collection. We also have been replacing Snappis as we go, since the rubber tends to break down over time.
  • Fuzzi Buns stuffed with CPFs. These are a total life saver for the wiggle-itis phases. When the littles have gone through these phases, it takes about six hands to put on a diaper, fasten it and put on a cover while keeping the baby from doing somersaults off the changing table. Fuzzi Buns just snap on. We haven't used inserts. I'm not opposed to them, they would make a trimmer fit, but we decided to go the cheap route and use the pre-folds we already had. Bulkier, but cheap!
  • We also have a few Kissaluvs fitted diapers that we use under the Bummi SWWs. I'm not crazy about these for older babies as they don't hold very much pee and they take FOREVER to dry, but I think they might be nice for brand new babies that get changed more frequently. I had trouble getting prefolds on Bean when we started...a combination of inexperience and minuscule butt. The fitteds would have been a lot easier, but also more expensive. Like everything, convenience vs. $$$.
  • We have some wool soakers that I have made. You'd think that a knitter who cloth diapers would have more, but I prefer the SWWs since I seem to be to stupid to keep the soakers out of the hot diaper wash. They are all felted now *sigh*. We also have a couple of acrylic soakers that I made. They aren't as nice as wool, but they are virtually indestructible!
  • We also have a handful of hemp prefolds that we use as doublers at night. They are a little less bulky than the CPFs, which is an asset since the night-time butts tend to be huge!

The up-shot is that if I was starting over with a newborn, I would probably get a few each of the smaller size pre-folds and teensy-weensy Kissaluvs and see what worked best before committing. If pressed, I could probably make a recommendation about specific sizes and number, but that can be by email. Then I would get a couple each of newborn and small SWWs and see which fits before investing in more. If I weren't so cheap, I would consider Fuzzi Buns (but I'm cheap enough that I would wait until baby wears a medium since they grow out of the tiny ones so fast) and some AIOs as both are very convenient (and Daddy-friendly if Daddy is less than enthused about CDing)

  • We use a Mother of Eden pail liner in a garbage can with a foot opener thingy. We have two liners...one in the pail, one in the wash or drying. I put a little lavender essential oil and tea tree essential oil on the little terry flap to keep smell down.
  • Wet diapers go straight into the pail. Covers can be air dried and reused if they don't smell like pee. Poopy diapers get rinsed in the toilet using a mini shower. Love the mini-shower!!
  • Since I have had two in diapers, I wash every other day and have a pretty full load. With one, I imagine every 3-4 days would be a reasonable sized load. It really depends on how many diapers you have and how big the washing machine is. With our old washer, I did a cold pre-wash cycle to rinse and soak, then a hot, fairly long wash cycle. With the washer we have now I just do a long hot wash cycle and occasionally run them through a second cycle if they are particularly fragrant. I use slightly less detergent (we use Sears) than I do for regular laundry, a 1/4 cup of baking soda, and a couple of squirts of Bac-out when we have it.
  • Diaper covers and pail liners hang dry. When the weather is nice, I put stained diaper on the cloths line in the sun. The rest of the diapers and Fuzzi Buns go in the dryer.
I have never tried a service, but I don't think washing diapers is too bad, so the extra effort of washing them wouldn't balance out the extra cost of a service for me. Also, you have to use their particular diapers and wraps (usually CPFs and Proraps) and probably not fitteds, pocket, or AIOs. So it would be less convenient diapering, but more convenient (as in no) washing.

08 January 2007

Yeah, I'm still here...

The post-travel/post-company blog lull is apparently fast becoming a tradition! See, I just can't cope when folks get me out of my nice, quiet, comfortable rut. That and the fact that it takes the kiddos several days to calm down again after excitement.

I have been working away on Bug's sweater. Once I set the possessed skein aside, progress was much better. However, I am kind of stuck on the neck right now. I got the neck finished and there is no way, no how that it will go over Bug's head. I have been fiddling with it, but I have a strong suspicion that the pattern is just scaled down from the adult version without regard for the difference in head/body proportion between adults and children. I have some ideas to try to fix the problem, but I'm letting it marinate for a little bit.

On Saturday, I got to spend my Christmas gift certificate from Kitty Daddy and the kidlings. I decided on plain ol' Cascade 220. This yarn is earmarked for felted slippers for the kids...two-tone blue for Bug and two-tone pink for Bean. I wound them using the umbrella swift and ball winder at the store. Both of those are on my some-day-when-I'm-stinkin'-filthy-rich list. For now, if I had the money, I'd rather spend it on yarn and, maybe, needles...

I still have a KnitPicks gift certificate to spend. I am adding stuff to my cart, taking stuff out, adding other stuff, and so on. Before I can finalize it, I need to sit down and make some decisions about projects I would like to start and do some math. But, dang, I'm having a lot of fun shopping in the mean-time!

Also, I finally got around to ordering some replacement cords for my Denise kit. I had broken two cords, and even though they are guaranteed and will be replaced if you send the broken parts in, what with multiple moves and baby chaos, I never quite got the broken cords and a packaging material in the same place at the same time, until finally, the broken cords just quit surfacing. So I bit the bullet and made an order. I also ordered an extra long cord that I had been thinking about for a while. Then, just days after getting the order in, what happens? I break another cord working on Bug's sweater! This time, I swear I'm going to get it sent in! These babies have been my needle work-horses for nearly two years. I am planning to start getting some KnitPicks options needles to supplement them, but by no means replace them!

ETA: Okay, it's 1:18 pm and I got off my butt and packaged up my broken cord. Now I just need to get the darn thing to the PO. Life would be so much easier if you could send stuff like this via email!

04 January 2007

Definitely yes

I'm not sure where Bug picked this one up, but it's pretty cute. Every time he answers in the affirmative lately, his reply is "Yes. Def'ly yes." Of course, this is said in his ever-so-earnest voice. He's a kid who definitely knows his mind, eh?

03 January 2007

Trying to find our groove again

Things have been quiet-ish. We are mostly trying to settle back in after the holidays and our trip to grandma's (a blog coming on that soon). The kids and I are all tired and cranky. No one is sleeping very well, we have had a shortage of naps, and the weather has been mostly gray and dreary. Today was sunny, so we took advantage and made a short trip to close park. Hopefully, we will all be sleeping better and settled back into our daily routines before long.

02 January 2007

Does anyone know how to perform a yarn exorcism??

I have a 50g skein that is clearly possessed by evil yarn demons. We drove to Central Iowa on Sunday and celebrated Christmas with Kitty Daddy's family on Monday before heading back home. It is about a five hour drive, so I had--count 'em folks--ten hours of knitting time! Plus, some knitting in the hotel room Sunday night, while trying to keep two bored kidlets from killing each other. In addition to some long-overdue finishing work and a bit on the sock-in-progress, I spent most of the time working on Bug's sweater. Before we left, I had done one skein on the body and about 2/3 of the first sleeve. While we were on the road, I finished the first sleeve, added a second skein to the body (only another 1/2 inch till the armpits!) and fought the demon yarn on the second sleeve:

Notice that there is only yarn and no second sleeve in the photo. This is how it went. I cast on and knit eight rows of rib for the cuff. The whole time I'm knitting, I keep thinking that this cuff is looking looser that the bottom band on the body or the other wrist. I move on to the first couple of rows of stockinette before pulling out the first sleeve to make sure I start increasing at the same place. The wrist is definitely looser and the light bulb FINALLY goes on. I have been using size 7 needles for the stockinette, but size 5 for the ribbing on the other pieces. I had been using the size 7 needles for the second wrist. A few choice word (dad calls it carpenter talk, but knitters have a similar vocabulary!) and I pull the needles out and frog.

Cast on again, re-knit the cuff with the right size needles. Get back to where I left off the first time. Pull out sleeve number one again to figure out where to increase. After checking and double checking, I am convinced that I knit four full rounds of stockinette and then began the increases at the last stitches of the fifth round. Get the the first pair of increases done. At that point, I happen to look at the cuff and find one stitch in the purled part of the ribbing that was knit. Decide that I would rather keep knitting and drop a column of stitches, fix the mistake, and use a crochet hook to pick the stitches. Even though it will mean more stitches to pick up on the fix, I would rather keep knitting than waste prime car knitting time.

Keep knitting. Get to second set of increases (increases are every six rows) and about halfway to the third set. Pull out first sleeve to double check that they are the same. Notice that first set of increases on second sleeve is farther from the cuff than on first sleeve. Ponder this for a few moments. Realize that I have "read" the first sleeve wrong...the first increase is at the end of the fourth round of stockinette, not the fifth. Curse creatively. Pick up a round of stitches just below the first increase, pull out the needles and frog back. Ironically, I am at about the same point I got to the first time around.

Get first increase in the right place, knit five rounds, second pair of increases, knit five rounds, third pair of increases, knit to last few stitches of first round and discover that I screwed up the increase and the two new stitches (that used to be one) magically dissolves into one really big stitch (like a double yo) when I try to knit into it. Yes, at this point, I could have tinked back, fixed the increase and kept going, while keeping in mind that I still need to drop stitches to fix the stinkin' cuff, but I realized that the yarn is clearly possessed and this sleeve is clearly NOT going to happen with this particular skein of yarn, yank the stinkin' needles out and FROG the whole darn thing.

The end result of this fiasco:

One possessed skein of yarn. I parked this bad boy on my desk when we got home and pulled out a new skein to restart the sleeve. Once I work up the nerve. If I had just grabbed another skein, I bet I could have finished the sleeve before we got home!

Do you think that seclusion on my desk while I use up all the other skeins will be punishment enough? Or do I need to perform some kind of exorcism rite before I can ever hope to knit with this particular skein?