Saturday, April 30, 2005

April 30! Wool Ease deadline

We are fast coming up on the deadline for the great Wool Ease redistribution. I decided, with help from Cindy C., to make several different awards. I've emailed all the folks that Cindy & I had agreed on for prizes. I'm only hoping that I won't get any extremely compelling essays late tonight. I do want to tell all who sent in an entry that it was very hard to choose. Really, they all seemed deserving.

Tonight I dragged the Big Box out of the closet it was in. And I also got out a smaller box with sport wt. blends. I started bagging the individual prizes. There is a lot of yarn to distribute. Tomorrow I will post the names of the winners and their essays (if I have obtained permission to publish).

In knitting news, I started a basic top-down raglan for Owen months ago. I had some Plymouth Encore in a blue and black twist that he likes a lot. I was afraid I might run short and had proposed, several times, adding some black stripes and black ribbing. He steadfastly refused all these yarn-extending options. As work went along, I could see that I was in fact going to run out. Still, he would not budge on the black stripes and/or ribbing. I went back to the store where I had bought it many times, always hoping to find the color in stock. The space on the shelf was still labeled, but I never found the yarn. I tried looking at online sources that carried Encore. Never found this color. So, the sweater was about to languish permanently in UFO status. By chance, last week I went back to the yarn section of the local craft store where I had originally bought the yarn. I did not even think of looking for the blue & black, but was just taking a quick gander at the other offerings. And there it was. It looked like a bag had just been unloaded on the shelf. And I had a "25% off your whole regularly priced order" coupon in my pocket! So, I got the Encore, and now am about to finish Owen's sweater. It's a total guy sweater: absolutely plain. I remember the days when Owen would happily wear the wildest combinations of colors. That's over. Now he wants subdued colors, no wild stripes or geometric odd-ball using intarsia. Just solid. He might tolerate a cable or two. All you moms, put those boys in wild stuff when they're really young and you can get away with it. At about 7 or 8, they start to change and by 10, it's a lost cause. Tomorrow I hope to have a pic of Owen in the boring raglan. (Sounds like a children's book title: Owen and The Boring Raglan, by Elizabeth M.)

To all you lusting after the pattern for The Plum Shrug, make sure you sign up at The Garter Belt for notification of availability. We will open on June 1. I spent a chunk of time yesterday reviewing my math and trying to describe how to make loop buttonholes. I must find an online tutorial with nice illustrations. In this case, each picture is worth a couple hundred words. Heck, I'll just change it to i-cord or a crocheted chain. That's much easier.

Off to finish that boring sweater. Then I can start something interesting!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Staying put

Just for the record, after the frenzy of thinking about moving, and offering on a house twice, we've decided to stay put at least another year. Our older son can finish school where he is and we can use the time to try to spiff up this house and see how we feel about the whole idea next spring. Life is complicated enough without making it worse.

Lots of stealth knitting to do between now and late May. And typing and typing and typing. I hope to have a few projects that I can post, but foresee a time of scant photo ops.

I have an itch to start a complex color pattern. Yikes. Those are real long-term commitment projects. You know, the kind with 20 different colors and 7 stitches to the inch? It's been a while since I've had a real sink-one's-teeth-in kind of knitting project going, and I miss it.

The little guy is back in preschool for his last 6 weeks of the year. I like having a couple hours of time to spend in my own head!

Off to sleepy land.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

More quiz results

What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?

"Your Dominant Intelligence is Spatial Intelligence

You've got a good sense of space and how the world around you looks.
You can close your eyes and "see" images. You have innate artistic talent.
An eye for color and shapes, you're also a natural designer.
Since you think in pictures, visual aids and demonstartions help you learn best.

You would make a good navigator, sculptor, visual artist, inventor, architect, interior designer, or engineer."

Well, they got me figured out on this one.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Another view of the same thing...

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More photoshop sins committed here, too. But I will clarify that no photoshopping was done to the garment. It's all to my face.

The yarn, Di Ve Cotone Egitto came from WEBS in a garage sale grab bag. I used color #816, and it took me about 5 1/2 balls. This yarn is very splitty when you're working with it, but makes a lovely knitted fabric. It crochets very nicely, too.

a quick view

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Would it be too much to confess to my Photoshop sins? Some of you can probably tell by looking.

Reason prevailed...

I just spent way too much time playing around with all those on-line quizzes. I almost posted my Amazing Name Generator answers, because a few of them were really funny, but thought better of it. A lot of personal info would be very simple to deduce from the answers and I decided to leave it out. But, my punk rock band would be The Happy Enough Ball Winder. My rock star name would be The Chocolate Centipede. Hee hee.

I'm off to make buttonhole loops on the Plum Shrug. BTW, how funny is this: the instructions for the little loops are on p. 206 in the Vogue Knitting Book and on p. 204 in the Readers Digest Knitter's Handbook. Do you think they planned it that way???

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Today's updates

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Here's my jacket, temporarily dubbed the Plum Shrug. It really is a hard color to describe, or to accurately photograph. This pic looks pretty true on my monitor, but often the camera turns it too grey and then I can't seem to restore the color without straying too far into the reds.

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These photos show my crocheted border along the bottom edge and along one sleeve.

This will be one of my patterns available at The Garter Belt in the near future!

In other news, we went to the Great Midwest Alpaca Festival today. Boy, they sure are cute animals! I bought some llama yarn in a natural black, and was dragged away before I had a chance to get into any more stash-enhancing trouble because the kids were in crisis. For once, it wasn't our kid in crisis, but rather, the neighbor girl who we were babysitting today. Just as well, I could have gone hog-wild (or is that alpaca-wild?) in there!

One suggestion for any merchants who might attend this event or others like it: plan some kits! There were a lot of reasonably priced hand and machine made items and there was lots of fleece,roving, and yarn. But, for a knitter who wants to make a hat with color work, the cash outlay for several different skeins of color, providing enough for many hats, is enough to make one think twice. Kitted up yarn with patterns for hats or small accessories would probably sell well and increase profit.

Main Pattern Page

Kate Cardigan

Kelebek Vest

Professor Vest

Stone Henley

Angularity Vest

Roughhousing Vest

Plum Shrug

Shelagh Cardigan

Hyde Park Pullover

Adirondack Pullover


Iron Mountain Hat

Sloane Pullover

Morgan Cardigan

Alishar Pullover

Swirl Hat and Scarf

Alishar Hat

James Cardigan

Beatrix Hat and Cardigan

Diamond Hat and Mittens set

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

piddling little updates about not much...

My finger is doing very well. Now that I have a bandaid instead of a big roll of gauze (or would that be guaze on a message board?) I can knit. And I can type using all the fingers on my left hand, which has improved my speed and error rate. I tell you, if a doctor ever gives you the choice between stitches or the superglue, take the glue!

I'm learning a bit more about this blogging stuff. I've managed to add a few buttons. I hope to expand my array of links to other knitters over time. Don't be offended if you aren't on here: I'm probably working up to it.

After our initial burst of enthusiasm for the moving idea, we're kind of backing off of it now. We are really ambivalent on the whole issue because it isn't a cut'n'dried win/win proposition. First of all, we really like most of our neighbors where we are. That counts for a lot. We are on the end of a cul de sac, which is nice for safety, traffic, and sense of community. Our lot is huge by city standards (this is a mixed blessing) and we've done a lot of work on it over the years. Still lots more to do. We are located very conveniently to everything we need: library, dentist, doctor, vet, hardware store, Chinese take-out, school, playgrounds, all within a 15 min walking distance. Yes, walking distance! The supermarkets are a five minute drive: three within that range.

Reasons to move: the house is a little too small for us (and all that yarn!), the dominant lawn-chemical ethos of the neighborhood is disturbing and makes it hard to do things for 9 mos out of the year. Yes, from March until November, every month, people are spreading and spraying those poisons not only on their own lawns, but on the sidewalks (in violation of the law) and streets, across property lines onto our yard (I said we like MOST of the neighbors) where our then-toddler not once, but twice, had handfuls of pesticide headed for his mouth! The second time was ant poison spread on a colony 5 feet into our yard! Trouble is, I don't think we can afford the neighborhoods in which Lawn Culture does not rule.

Reasons to delay moving: we have a lot to do to make this house market ready. It might take a year. Owen could finish elementary school where he is.

Alternative plan: build a porch, build an addition, and gut and remodel the kitchen. I would almost rather move than hire a general contractor for that! And get a building loan! and... and... and... And all that would cost more than the difference between cost of this house and one that more closely suits our wants.

Every day when I do the mental math, I get a different answer. Yesterday's answer was stay put. Today's is Hmm, move?

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Knitting on hold. Ouch!

I just sliced my left index finger this afternoon. Ouch. I was packing some boxes of stuff to store and pitch, and sliced myself with a utility knife while cutting the packing tape. It felt pretty deep while I was doing it. I got right over to Urgent Care expecting stitches, but got superglued instead. It should be substantially better in several days, but it sure is inconvenient right now.

Last night I finished knitting the little cotton jacket. I need to do the crochet on the left sleeve and sew up the sleeve seams. Then make some buttonhole loops and sew on some snazzy buttons. Almost ready for a public unveiling. A few years ago my grandmother gave me a box of fancy buttons from the early 20th c. I think there will be some good choices for this little jacket. And, I have enough yarn left over to make a matching bag. It's Di Ve Egyptian Cotton. I got a bag of 10 in a grab bag from WEBS. I used about 5 1/2 on my little jacket. A great economical little project.

I started my project for Fall Knitty submission. I won't say more, except it's Elann Highland Peruvian. Nice yarn.

Must get my design wheels turning: I need to have a few more projects in the pipeline at all times!

Friday, April 15, 2005

What philosophy am I?

You scored as Existentialism. Your life is guided by the concept of Existentialism: You choose the meaning and purpose of your life.

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”

“It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.”
--Jean-Paul Sartre

“It is man's natural sickness to believe that he possesses the Truth.”
--Blaise Pascal

More info at Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...
Existentialism 75%
Hedonism 70%
Justice (Fairness) 65%
Utilitarianism 50%
Kantianism 40%
Strong Egoism 30%
Nihilism 15%
Apathy 15%
Divine Command 5%
What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
created with

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I've decided to get someone to help me judge the WoolEase essays. There are 27 of them so far and they do run the gamut from silly to tragic, poetic to cute, altruistic to self-indulgent. It is hard to decide. Glccafar from knittyboard has volunteered to help me judge. She is not entering and promises to be impartial. Just when I think I've got all the essays I'm going to get, another one will trickle in. Stay tuned.

On the house/move front, we're not doing much. I looked through the online listings and didn't see anything worth making a big deal about. We still have mountains of stuff to store before we can think about listing our house. It's hard to make fast progress on that with kids underfoot. The good news is that a neighbor on our circle got an offer on her house for nearly as much as our appraiser said ours is worth. Her house is about 900 sq. feet on the main floor (small 3 bedroom ranch) and ours has 1460 on the above-grade living space (2 stories, called "colonial" but nothing really colonial about it, 4 bedrooms). Her kitchen is nicer than ours, but we're at the end of the cul-de-sac, with a large lot, 2 car garage, fireplace. So, I think we should be asking closer to my original idea when we do list.

I did get the taxes all worked out. Finished tonight. Tomorrow I'll rewrite everything neatly on the forms to mail and be off with it. I still feel like I'm doing something wrong when I take the Child Tax Credit. Like, shouldn't that be for people a whole lot worse off than we are? Yes, it's $2000 extra dollars in our pockets, but I feel like the more we earn, the less the government seems to want from us. Certainly, when we were living on $20 Grand a year, the government's share felt a LOT more painful than the share they take now. Even though it was a much smaller amount of money, it mattered to us a lot more.

The little cotton jacket is coming along. I finished the right sleeve and will soon get the left done. Pics soon. I'll dress up and maybe go somewhere fun for a shoot. Like the Botanical Gardens or Monona Terrace. I should have done pictures of my previous sweater while there was still ice on the lake. I had thought it would be cool to get pics from out on the ice with the building in the background. Oh well, something to keep in mind for next winter!

Still tinkering with the links on the blog. It's coming along. I'm starting to see what to do, even if I don't exactly know why. I added one for my non-profit group. Well, not mine, exactly, but I'm very involved in it (board of directors, treasurer, all-around volunteer) and it's an issue I'm highly concerned about. Go have a look in Other Links. Greater Madison Healthy Lawn Team. And if you are someone who puts chemicals on your lawn, maybe you'll start to think about why that isn't a good idea. Ask me questions: I'm happy to try to answer and I can consult with a bunch of doctors and scientists if I need to.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

For Weddings or A Funeral

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This is the work in progress I hope to finish soon. It will be a short little short sleeve jacket to wear over a dress that has a modesty problem in the armhole region. The dress came with a little prefab lacy jacket thing that I've never really liked, so this is to replace that. It's the only dress I own that fits me and I wear it only when I have to dress up, hence the title: For Weddings or a Funeral.

I hope to have a pattern available for this cute little jacket in sizes S-XXL, but you will have to know how to crochet to finish the edges!!! Check back for updates.

In other news, our second offer on the house I've mentioned was countered with a higher offer than we really wanted to get into, especially with the possible threat of taking out a bridge loan hanging over the whole deal. Meanwhile, we had our current house appraised and that came in somewhat lower than I was expecting. Granted, the appraiser made a significant error and forgot that we have a dining room! Must phone him on Monday and get that straightened out. I once read that about a family that got their house all cleared out and fixed up to sell so that they could move to a bigger house. When they did all that, they decided they liked the house they were in and decided to stay. Hmmm. But we still need to move a few walls to make our kitchen work.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

A Preview of Coming Attractions

All the news that's fit to post...

Today we wait to hear about the second offer on the house. We took off the contingency to sell our house first and offered a lower price. I'm not expecting it to float, but if it does, great. They have 'til five CDT to let us know. And we have tons of work to do to get ready here. Yikes. I don't know where the days go, but it seems like so little gets done! I need to hire a mother's helper to amuse the offspring while substantial work gets done.

Not much knitting getting done here. I hope there will be a time when that will change.

I met up with another knittyboard member and made a trek to see a yarn shop I hadn't seen before. We went to Susan's Fiber Shop somewhere north of Sun Prairie. Wow. She really does have everything. I'm eager to go back without my child in tow. Word to the wise: no public bathroom, so do not drink 18 oz of coffee on the way without stopping at a restroom first! They did let me into the house to use the bathroom, but I could tell it was an inconvenience. Although it's the last thing I should be doing, I bought yarn. How could I NOT buy yarn?

In other news, my older son took the quiz What Kind of Yarn Are You? (see sidebar) and he's mohair! So, if you crossbreed Shetland and Acrylic, you get mohair. Go figure! DH, meanwhile, retook the test. He changed one answer and was upgraded to Shetland, too. So, now you know what a big difference one answer can make!

I just finished reading Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake. A lot to think about in that book. The book report will probably stream forth in a week or two. It always takes me a while to think about what a book means.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Wool Ease

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This represents about two thirds of the Wool Ease. The colors in this photo might be off a bit. The blue in the back is more subdued.

I married "Acrylic" !?!

I took the What Kind of Yarn Are You quiz and I'm Shetland Wool. The description was pretty apt, too. I needed Scott to help me figure out how to get the code in to link to the quiz and make the picture the right size and all that. So, he got curious and took the quiz, too. We had about 75% of the same answers. I thought he would be shetland wool, too. Maybe Merino. But no, he's acrylic! Gasp!

"You are Acrylic. While you are very versatile, your plasticky countenance can be offputting. You are very good with children but can become a pill if left alone with them too long. You are very flexible but don't give in to manipulation."

Oh well, he is good with children. And he does pill if left alone with them too long. What can I say?

No submissions yet for the Big Box of Wool Ease. I will do two things to pique interest. First, post a photo here. And second, put a notice on the Knitty Swap section.

Really, send me a paragraph or two and tell me why you deserve it. It isn't hard.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Spring Forward!

Happy time change. It seems like it really caught me by surprise this year. I wish that the government would just keep their hands off our clocks. Really. I was always a little indifferent to the issue until I had kids. Ask any parent and they'll tell you. The time change is a royal pain the butt when you have young'uns. And to think that valuable legislative time was once spent debating and instituting daylight savings time.

All those in favor of a single time system year round, say "AYE!"

In other news, our offer on the house we hoped to buy was not accepted. The sellers don't want to accept the contingency of us selling this house. So, we'll march forward with our efforts to get this house ready and hope that that house is still available (or something as good or better) when we're ready to make our next move. C'est la vie. Meanwhile, all those enormous boxes of yarn will soon get stored deep in the storage locker. I'll just keep enough here to get through a couple of months of projects.

I'll probably do some yarn purging, too. Already have mentally tagged the big box of Wool Ease as a give-away item. Maybe I'll have an essay question contest. In 200 words or less, tell me why you should get a really big box of Wool Ease Worsted. What will you do with it?

If you want to write that essay, email me: owensmom (at) tds (dot) net.

Contest closes on April 30 and WoolEase gets distributed shortly thereafter.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Can it be?

I just realized from the boxes of yarn in my album that Scott and I have a mixed marriage. Yes, see there in the pic of two big boxes on top of a storage closet... One says IBM and the other has that rainbow colored apple logo. Yes, a PC person and a Mac person can live and breed together. It's true.