My Virtual Sanity

Have you ever felt the need to share your thoughts with virtual strangers just so you can pretend that you have adult conversations during the day? Well, that's what I'm about to do. Be prepaired for my life as a stay at home, obsessive knitter, and my attempts to stay connected with the rest of the world.

My Photo
Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's a circle!

Look, it's a BIG circle! Imagine that.

The Pinwheel sweater is now ready for some sleeves. I tried it on Alex today and it is a little big. I wanted it a bit big, though, so that it will fit the birthday girl for a few years to come. Now for the pain in the butt part. Would you like to see a close up?

There you go. That pretty, ruffely, loopy, cute edging is pure crap. It literally took me 3 HOURS to put that on. 3 HOURS!! It is essentially the bind off. You work 6 rows of 3 stitch I-cord, knit those 3 stitches together with the next 3 stitches, creating a loop, and do it all again. Next time I'm grabbing me a crochet hook. I can make loops MUCH faster with that thank you very much. It is very cute, but I don't really think it's worth 3 hours. Just my 2 cents.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Warning! Real live monsters have been spotted!

Please check your home for similar Monsters!

Name: Brendan
Occupation: Carpet Monster
Activities: Chewing on anything and everything that reaches the floor, squirming across the floor to reach said objects, and leaving a wet drool trail where ever he goes.
Description: Small, Chubby and Wiggly

Name: Shaya
Occupation: Lap Monster
Activities: Secretly creeping into any unoccupied lap, begging for stories, and saying "I want you"
Description: Cute, Snuggly, and Demanding

Name: Alex
Occupation: Fidget Monster
Activities: Bouncing on furniture, running through the house at top speed, and anything not involving sitting still.
Description: Hyper, Playful and Sweet

Name: Hubby
Occupation: Cuddle Monster
Activities: Attempting to trap all other occupants in the house into snuggles, and Wrapping his arms around wify at any opportunity.
Description: Warm, Snuggly, and Puppy like
Warning: This monster may change into the "Daddy" Monster without notice. This change will cause him to chase after other monsters, roaring like a dinosaur, and causing them to squeal and run. This may significantly increase the noise level of the house. The only way to return the "Daddy" monster to Cuddle Monster is to put all other monsters to bed.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I feel so accomplished

I knit up 4 of these cute little dish cloths since yesterday afternoon!

I was feeling a bit down and kind of weepy yesterday because a very nice person had sent me an email that I had made a spelling error on my business. I had spelled it Sheered instead of Sheared. I felt horrible that I had plastered this all over the place and was sure that she was picking on me and telling me I was stupid and a horrible person. These are probably the totally messed up hormones after having 3 kids talking. I now know that she was probably only trying to help, and I thank her. I was, however, feeling remarkably crappy yesterday afternoon. So, I did what every good knitting girl does when she feels crappy. I abandoned the kids to the care of their father and went to the craft store. I grabbed 2 balls of dishcloth cotton. White and one that is cream with colored flecks. They are only $2 a piece and I figured I'd get 2 dish cloths out of them. Amazing to me, however, I have knit 4 cloths so far and still have enough cotton for 1, maybe 2 more! That's not bad for $4 :D

True to form, I abandoned all other knitting projects last night in order to look up the free pattern that resembles the oh, so popular Ball Band pattern from Mason Dixon Knitting. It is called the Textured Slip Stitch Dish Cloth. It calls for a strange pearl row in the middle of the garter stitch section, and I just decided to ignore that and just make 4 rows of garter stitch. I started out by casting on the required 47 stitches, but after I had knit a few rows I ripped it all out. Why are all dish cloth patterns so BIG? I don't have gigantic hands, and I like my dish cloth to fit comfortably in my normal woman sized hands. Cotton dish cloths especially soak up a lot of water and get a little heavy when they're wet. They do this with wash cloths too. Why is that?! Why do they make them so large that you have to fold them to hold them right?! I want it thin enough that I can feel through the darn thing. If I wanted a thick pot holder, I would make one. I want a nice, comfortable hand sized cloth that I can feel through to make sure that I'm getting all of the gunk off of my dishes, or the counter. I'm prejudiced, I know. Because of this, however, I re-cast on using only 27 stitches. This is the perfect sized cloth for me to wipe down counters and such. It is still a tad larger than I like for washing dishes, though. If I have to wad it up too much, it's hard to fit it and my hand inside a glass.

I like the pattern, it has great scrubbing properties (although, for dishes, I think acrylic yarn is better at scrubbing). The cotton is very absorbent and works wonderful for wiping counters and the sink, etc. My biggest problem with the yarn is that the colors like to bleed. I had this problem with a dish cloth that someone made me for a wedding present. It was deep red, and it has made everything red through several uses. Also, cotton does not dry quickly at all. It is annoying to wash down the counters at night, hang the cloth over the sink to dry and still find it damp in the morning.

My little trip to the craft store yesterday did, in fact, have a purpose. I was getting some non-yarn supplies for the gift exchange the Knittingparents group is doing. I had an epiphany yesterday and knew EXACTLY what I wanted to make my secret pal. I have been pondering it all day today, and I think I have a plan that will work. I have my yarn all wound and ready to swatch. This leeds me to my second FO accomplishment. I looked at the fingering weight yarn I have picked out and realized that I would really like to use my Audis. I don't know exactly what size I'm going to need, but my favorite ones were tied up in that pair of socks that I have been working on for well over a month now. I only have the tiny little cuff left of the second sock, but there they sat. Nothing like the motivation of getting something off the needles that you need in order to get the project done. So, my mom's second pair of knitpicks socks are done! I don't have a picture for you, because they look EXACTLY like the other pair. I'm serious, it's amazing that both balls of yarn started in the same place in the pattern. Wierd. If you missed them the first time, you can see them here.

tomorrow I will try to resist the urge to swatch for the One Skein exchange since the Pinwheel sweater takes priority. It needs to be done by Saturday. I don't think I'll have a problem with that as long as I resist the urge to start more projects.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Pinwheels are like Oreos

........The middle is the best part.

I'm still working on the pinwheel sweater and have just joined the yarn for the 6th of 7 colors. It gets a little discouraging when you know that the rounds are only going to get longer and longer as you go. Those first few colors were wonderful, it felt like you're really getting somewhere.

I'm now into the garter stitch section, which is interesting in the round. You knit one round, then pearl one round. The awesome thing about being a combined knitter, is that I can pick it up and know instantly if I'm supposed to be pearling or knitting based on which way the stitch is facing on the needle. Gotta love that :D As I was taking a picture of it, I noticed that I started the purple on a pearl row and it created a funny line in the middle of the dark blue. I'm afraid that it's going to bother me too much and I'm going to frog the 3 purple rows I've done and knit another round of dark blue.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Random Act of Kindness

One nice thing about the complex that we live in, is that there are some great restaurants within walking distance of our door. Last night I didn't have anything planned for dinner and was feeling a little stressed and climbed in DH's lap to suggest that we take a walk to the Village Inn just around the corner for dinner. I've found that if I want him to pay attention to me instead of the video game he's playing, climbing in his lap does the trick. He's a snuggle boy and likes all the contact he can get.

Anyway, we walked the 1 and a half blocks over to village in and had a very nice dinner. Well, I think I was the only one who had dinner, everyone else had breakfast foods. They serve chocolate chip pancakes at Village Inn, which are Alex's favorite food in the world. DH and I have been going to this same restaurant since we were newly weds. We would both sit on the same side of the booth close together and read our novel out loud to each other while we waited for our food to come. As I quit my job to stay home with the kids, and we acquired a few more kids, our visits to vVllage Inn have been less frequent. Our seating arrangement has changed of necessity. It's not a good idea to put Alex and Shaya together on the same side of the table. We still bring our book and read to each other while waiting for the food, but more often than not, that time gets interrupted with trying to keep the kids entertained.

As we were getting ready to leave yesterday, I noticed that the waitress hadn't brought a new check that included the very good piece of strawberry cheesecake that we had all shared. Now, many of you would say "wow, free pie!" I like to consider ourselves honest and nice people, so DH took the check to the cashier and told her that the waitress had forgot to add the pie. She said "Oh, that's ok, I can't tell you who, but someone has already paid for your dinner"

I don't even know who, but some nice person out there paid for our dinner. It totally made my day. What a nice person, and what a nice thing to do. After that, my wonderful sweet DH looked a little uncomfortable, and I asked him why. Well, we normally pay with a credit card (or debit card, who carries real money now a days?!) and he didn't know if the waitresses tip was included by our very nice benefactor. He didn't have any cash and didn't want our waitress to get stiffed. Isn't he a wonderful man?!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


spinning around
Look at my pinwheel
And see what I found..."
My acrylic aversion does not apply to Caron's Simply soft. I really love this stuff. It is shiny, soft, and has a little give to it so that it doesn't hurt my hands while I knit. I pulled out my stash of it the other day and started a new project. The Pinwheel Sweater. I'm just starting the 5th color of 7. I have already made the holes for the sleeves, which I'll do when I'm done with the pinwheel part. I'm not quite sure why the pattern wanted me to join like 4 different balls of yarn on the round when you do this. I just kept the same yarn all the way around and kept going. I knit up to the point where the sleeve should be, slipped the stitches onto waste yarn. Made a little crochet chain and just used the same yarn to knit into the chain and kept going. We'll see if I've messed myself up when I go to do the sleeves, but I see no reason why I can't join a new ball of yarn at that point and pick up the stitches and knit just like every other seamless sleeve I've ever done.

I have modified the children's version slightly. The pattern says it should fit a baby 6-9 months up to age 3-4. I want this to fit a 5 yr old and then continue to fit for a while in the future. The small pattern calls for color repeats of 10 rows. The adult version says 30 rows. I picked a number right in the middle. My color sections are 14 rows each. Let's hope this all works out right!

From the Spinning Wheel:
My first plied skeins
My very first Alpaca!
The small bag is the rest of the prime blanket from Bianca. The large white bag is a 1/4 lb of her seconds (neck fibers). The Brown bag is 1/4 lb of fawn colored seconds. Unfortunately I don't know the name of the Alpaca it came from. I spun up part of Bianca's prime blanket last night, and all of the prime blanket roving I had from Godiva. It is the deep chocolate brown yarn on the bobbin. I don't have a lot of it, and I'm thinking of plying it with some silk from my recycled yarn stash. Or maybe I'll just get some more :D
This all came from Blue Note Alpacas.

Look! An FO!

Alex's Ear Flap hat!
Pattern: Based on this one. I modified it, though, because my gauge was different and I didn't like the pointy top the decreases described created. I decreased every 8 stitches around and around and around until I had 20 stitches, then I did a round of K2tog and pulled the end through all remaining stitches and pulled it tight.
Yarn: Beautiful Handspun that I won in the last Knittingparent's Stash Raffle
Needles: Size 8 bamboo dpn

Of course every FO requires a photo shoot

On other news, Brendan has learned to combat crawl (squirming forward by pushing on with his toes and pulling with his arms.) He is also trying out new sitting positions. I try to put him in a real sitting position, and he just falls over. He likes this one, though. He has one hand free, and is still semi reclining. It's his own personal invention...lolAlso, notice those 2 brand new teeth!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Happy Birthday Alex

My baby boy is now 5 yrs old. Where has the time gone? I have a very large family and I feel privilaged that so many people could come to celebrate with us. Unfortunately, true to tradition, it POURED rain. We have had heavy rain for the last 3 or 4 years for Alex's birthday, and he's only 5!

Happy Birthday buddy! We love you!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Does this make me a yarn snob?

I'm in love with wool yarn. It's official. I can no longer deny it. I have been knitting and/or crocheting since I was about 10 and up until this year, I had never used any form of natural yarn.

*Pause for shocked silence*

Well, I had used Lionbrand woolese, but I have to tell you guys, I didn't really like the stuff. It shed and was rough and everything that I thought wool was. Most people probably buy their acrylic based on general ignorance of the loveliness, non scratchiness, and general wonderfulness of good wool. Now, I suppose I should preface my love of wool with the statement that I love GOOD wool. There are different grades of wool, just like there are different grades of acrylic. There are good ones, and there are bad ones. I still like Caron's Simply soft acrylic, but it will never be as cherished as wool. Probably specifically merino wool.

I have been recycling sweaters for over 2 months now, and have held just about every fiber there is. I can tell almost just by touching a garment what it is made of. Most of us know what acrylic sweaters feel like, but I have been tricked by some very nice soft fuzzy acrylics out there. They are nice to the touch and soft against the skin. They lack the same bouncy elasticity of good wool, though. Wool has a give to it that no other fiber I've run across has when knitting with it. It stretches as you knit and then bounces back into nice fat beautiful stitches. It is truly a joy to behold. It is also oh so light. I can generally tell a sweater is made of wool by it's weight alone! It has so many nice pockets of air that fluff up and keep you warm.

Cotton is also very distinctive usually in yarn. It is stiff and firm to the touch. It can create beautiful garments, but it has absolutely no give to it when you knit. I find that when I create stitches, I like to have my yarn under tension and working with cotton makes my hands tired very quickly. It also bothers me that the darn thing doesn't stay the same dimensions. My Picovoli T looks beautiful when I put it on in the morning, but by the evening it has stretched and is no longer as nice and tight fitting as I would like. No, I don't plan on wearing a wool T-shirt in the summer, but I do find this frustrating.

Angora and Mohair you can tell just by looking at it what they are. I've found that Angora by it's self is very slippery and usually in sweaters is a very delicate yarn. It doesn't seem to want to stay together under stress. Now I've had some loosely spun lace weight wool yarns too, but every Angora sweater I've seen has this same problem. It's probably good that the Angora's combined with wool and nylon to temper this usually.

Silk is usually very distinctive as well, although there are several different types of silk yarn. Some silk is firm and dry in your hand and has a very high shine. Others are softer and have a more matte finish. All silk, no matter how fine is incredibly strong I've found. It also has quite a bit of memory considering it is firm in your hand much like cotton. It remembers it's kinks and wants to bounce back into that shape until it has been relaxed in the water.

Last is Cashmere. Yes, cashmere is dreamily soft and beautiful, but I'm not quite sure if I'm really sold on it for knitting purposes. I have a skein of wonderful tan cashmere that I kept for myself that is like butter toffee. Cashmere doesn't seem to have the same "boing" that Merino wool does, though. I suppose the proper term is "memory". When I wind a batch of merino wool on my yarn swift, no matter how thick the yarn is, it is like a giant rubber band. As soon as I take it off, the hank shrinks to about 1/4 the size as the yarn bounces back to it's tightly kinked state. This relaxes when I wash it, of course, but no other fiber acts this same way. Well, silk does to some extent, which is interesting to think about it. Cashmere doesn't stretch like wool. It also doesn't bounce back like wool does. It is very soft, but I'll have to knit something with my hank and tell you how I like the feel of it.

So, what brought all this on? The mystery project.Oooo, the mystery of the waded up 2 color thing!

I am knitting it in Patton's Classic Merino wool, and I LOVE this yarn. It is so bouncy and soft and wooly. I bought it at Michaels and it is the only real 100% wool yarn I have ever seen there. With my limited experience with real wool yarn made by actual yarn makers, I would definitely recommend this yarn. It is very nice :D

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Red Tie

Alex owns a red silk tie that he absolutely loves. Unfortunately, the red silk tie is not known to match everything. In fact, it matches 1 Sunday outfit. It is a pair of charcoal grey slacks, a long sleeved white shirt, and a black argile V-neck sweater. The red tie looks absolutely fabulous with it. Alex also owns a very nice Sunday outfit that DH's mom bought him. It has a green, white, and tan striped shirt, and a pair of light tan slacks. Alex has pretty much refused to wear this outfit since we acquired the red tie in May because it does not match. He is not satisfied with wearing the green shirt with the smaller tan tie that goes very nicely with it. It's not the red tie. It's not as cool. It's not acceptable.

Those with children may understand what happened, though, when I took this picture.

Mommy, in all her disorganized insanity, did not hang up his white shirt and grey slacks in the closet. In fact, the white shirt was missing in action this morning. DH later found it in the dirty clothes. I told Alex that I was sorry, but he should wear the green shirt and tan slacks which were, in fact, hanging pristinely in his closet all ready for church. Church is bright and early at 8:30 am here, not much room for negotiations. He whined and complained, then he found the grey pants that I had folded and put in his room, but had not hung up. "Where's the white shirt?!" He exclaimed. Obviously if the pants are clean the white shirt must be too. Little does a 4 yr old know that whites and darks should be washed separately, and they did not get washed in the same load. I turned my attention to the other 2 monkeys and their clothes. When I turned around, here was Alex. Apparently all ready for church. DH managed to find a pink shirt in the closet that is a size too big but matched much better than the green one. I guess that your outfit must really be worked around your desired accessory.

No knitting news to report. I am almost done with the second pair of socks for my mom, but they look exactly like the first pair. I have not worked on the mystery stole in over 2 weeks now, and I still can't tell you about my mystery project. I think I have figured out how to put an almost invisible button hole in double knit fabric though :D

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Ever feel like a baking cookie?

N.H. Woman Bakes Cookies on Dashboard

By Associated Press

BEDFORD, N.H. - Blistering heat was just what Sandi Fontaine needed to bake cookies for her co-workers _ on the dash of her Toyota Rav4.

With temperatures soaring Wednesday, Fontaine placed two trays of cookie dough on the dashboard, shut the doors and retreated inside to her air conditioned office.

"My husband wanted me to run some errands this morning," said Fontaine, who works at Baldwin and Clarke Corporate Finance. "I said, 'I can't. I'm baking cookies.'"

Fontaine first tested her dashboard oven three years ago. She said anyone can do it; the only requirement is for the outside temperature to be at least 95 degrees, so it will rise to about 200 degrees in the car. Temperatures in the area reached the mid to upper 90s on Wednesday.

"Mrs. Fields has nothing on Sandi," co-worker Brian Champigny said of the cookie company.

Though Thursday was supposed to be cooler, Fontaine said she'll still enjoy the benefits of her culinary effort.

"When you open the door to that car," she said, "it's like, oh my God. It's a wonderful smell."


Information from: New Hampshire Union Leader

Ya.... no wonder I feel like I'm baking alive every time I get into the car after it has been sitting in the sun. I wonder how long it needs to sit in there before it's actually baked...

Friday, August 04, 2006

I'm exhausted

I'm exhausted, and I'm not quite sure why. I've been going to bed by like 9 or 9:30 every night, and Brendan has generously been letting me sleep most of the night. I just feel tired. My arms are tired, my brain is tired, and even my hands are too tired to pick up my needles and work on my secret project that I hope to submit to Knitty. It is truly sad to be too tired to knit. I still need to wash the dishes, and Brendan appears to be wide awake on the floor as he's examining a doll brush and a plastic sand shovel. I don't think he's going to accommodate his poor tired mama and go to sleep so that I can.

DH has just promised me some chapter love, though, so I suppose I can survive until the baby goes to sleep. DH and I read fantasy novels out loud to each other. When one of us reads the other a chapter, this is chapter love. There is just something about hearing the words out loud that brings a story to life. It is so intimate to snuggle up to your sweat heart and listing to his voice as he brings the voices on the page to life and to see his reactions to a particularly funny passage. I had read on the Librivox website that one of the comments that people made about their recordings is that they were not theatrical, they really felt like books. You could feel the love and appreciation of the reader for the text and for the book it's self. This is what it's like to read with DH. Even Alex, who is only 4 and doesn't really listen to the book, and who, in fact, trys to interrupt Mom and Dad reading knows that our book is the "Sparhawk book". It is amazing what seeps in when you're not looking.

Brendan has abandoned his binky, and apparently the plastic shovel is no longer interesting. Time to drag my poor tired body into the kitchen, do some dishes, and get some chapter love.