Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Now Owen is Sick

Mr. SABLE finally went back to work today and now Owen is running a fever. Poor kid. A week ago he fell off his sled and bruised the cartilage in the chest area, causing him some discomfort when breathing. Yesterday I took him in to be seen by the doctor for that. This afternoon, he suddenly started feeling chilled and running a fever, so I think he has the flu that we've been passing around. I hope that The Little Emperor will be spared. Next season, I don't think I'll mess around with skipping the flu shots!

We're expecting rain, sleet, snow, freezing stuff, and more rain for the next several days. I tell ya, I'm starting to really really long for spring about now.

I hope to have progress pics of the AMHC, aka Shetland Sweater, tomorrow. I haven't given a lot of time to knitting the last several days, but I'm almost up to the finishing stage.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


That's a word we don't often hear in Wisconsin. Often our winters are on the dry side. We just don't have the moisture machine it takes to fuel a real snowy winter in these parts. When we were preparing to move here in '96, I remember reading that the total annual snowfall was about 40 inches. When you figure that winter starts by early November and goes until at least late March, that's not really a lot of snow. Well, we got about 6 inches last night and we're supposed to get another 12 or so in the next 24 hours, so I guess this is serious weather. This is heavy, wet snow and blowing, too, so it'll be a good time to hunker down indoors.

I didn't go to knitting group this morning. It turns out that one brave knitter showed up. Sorry Linda! We weren't dug out yet and we've got germs germs germs and I had to take Owen and a friend to lunch and a movie for a belated birthday festivity. March will be better. I hope.

Mr SABLE has caught the fever and he's definitely having more of a time with it than I did. Meanwhile, although I feel better, I wouldn't say that I'm altogether well.

Other news; very sad
Yesterday we got a letter from the principal of my younger son's school. One of my son's kindergarten classmates died on Thursday and they wanted parents to be the ones to tell their own kids. I'm not sure how my approach stacked up and I'm not sure my little guy even really let the news in. The little boy who died lived just around the corner from us. He was quite profoundly disabled and needed a nurse on duty with him all the time. I had noticed the ambulance going by our circle, but didn't connect it with the awful possibilities. This boy gave me a lot of food for thought in the short time I knew him. He couldn't speak, couldn't utter a sound. He couldn't direct his gaze or move any part of his body. He seemed to enjoy being in the classroom with the other children and the children enjoyed doing things for him. They all expected that he would eventually learn to walk and talk as they had. My son was making plans for the time in the spring when C could come over in his wheelchair for a little visit. I need to think of something to do for the parents. I don't know anything about them, so have no ideas about foods to bring, etc. I can't imagine their pain right now.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A LittleKnitting Activity

Throughout the most bitter cold this winter, my favorite hat has been my Crosspatch Hat. The alpaca content of the yarn I used is like having a radiator on my head. The mosaic stitch gives it extra warmth, too. I know a few (mostly young, mostly living in warm climates) internet reviewers didn't like that hat, because it looks squarish and clunky. But when the high temp reaches -3 degrees F, and the windchill is more like -35 F, believe me, a cute little fashionable hat isn't going to cut it.

So, just about the time that the cold weather was moving out and we all had hopes that spring will come again, Mr. SABLE mentions that the wind blows through his Diamond Hat when he's out sledding with the boys. He was coveting my Crosspatch Hat. We started talking about what he would like in a hat. It can be really hard to get him to state what he wants, because he's always trying to seem agreeable. Finally, he was looking through the copy of Knitting With Balls I had checked out from the library and decided he liked the basic watchcap with fisherman's rib on the brim. Since Mr. SABLE is hypersensitive to itchies, I found the softest alpaca blend in my stash and made him this:

I used US size 9 needles and this yarn:

I cast on 64 stitches and worked fisherman ribbing about 4 inches. Switch to stockinette and worked until piece was about 9 inches long. Then did my funky little shaping on the top, which seems to be about as much ornamentation as a lot of guys can handle. He has proclaimed it good, but of course, now it looks like the time for personal head radiators may have passed for this year. But then again, maybe not. Snow's coming this weekend.

This Just In...

My friend Annette just sent me this. What a great quote! I have no idea who made the little graphic, and would love to give credit where credit is due.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Feeling Better, Thanks.

By last night, the fever had mostly passed, though a lower-grade fever returned today. The muscle aches moved on today and most of my energy returned. I don't know what it was. Flu lite? I'm glad it was only a short little ailment.

Today I managed to stay awake while the kids were at school, pay a few bills, a little laundry, and knit a bit.

Here's the raglan seam line of the Andrew Morrison Honorary Cardigan. I haven't done much on it for several days. And this will probably be a slow knitting week for me. My book group meets on Sunday afternoon and I have to finish reading The Sparrow before then. I'm not a fast reader, so I need to give enough time to the book at the expense of knitting.

Here's an image from my snowy backyard this afternoon.

It gets bigger if you click on it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Just the quickest of posts...

to tell you all that I slept terribly last night and awoke with a 101 degree fever. I slept as much of the day as I could. I think it's a sinus thing. My head is hurting and I'm going to read for a while before I doze off again.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Like I Needed More Yarn...

Last night I got an email from The Sow's Ear that they would be having a big winter clearance sale this weekend. Wasting no time, I went over there this morning to check things out. It was very quiet there, which is probably because most of the yarn addicts were still at work and wouldn't be in until later. I was pleased to see that the remaining Jamieson Spindrift was at 30% off, with further discounts given for cleaning out all of a color. I was happy to oblige! (For those of you who like blue, there were still a bunch of balls of a couple different blues left, plus a bunch of pale yellow.)

The Overview

The Jamieson Spindrift I picked up. These came to $2.98 each!

This yarn is intended to be used as a 4 strands at a time superbulky, but I'm just going to make 4 small balls out of each hank and use it as a worsted. 50% off in the Yarn Dump! (edited to add: the Mar La is actually slightly twisted, so separating the strands is a major pain in the derriere. Not recommended!)

Two lone balls of cotton/angora at 50% off. Maybe a little hat for fashion (but not much for warmth?).

It was damn cold out on the porch while I was setting up these pictures. I didn't want to fuss or arrange artfully or retake. Quick'n'dirty. Turns out, it's about 8 degrees out there, and there's a windchill factor, too. BRRRR.

Finally, you probably want to see the update picture of the Andrew Morrison Honorary Cardigan, aka Shetland Sweater. It's coming along pretty well. I did make a mistake in getting my sleeves aligned correctly so that the patterning would be completely symmetrical. I decided to live with it, though I'll be careful to write the instructions so that others might avoid that mistake.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Another Old Picture...

I found this picture of me while digging around recently. It was taken in the White Mts in NH about 1991. My brother and his outing club buddies used to have this thing they would do on every mountain they climbed. They would stand near the edge (but not too near) and jump and the adult leader would take the picture in mid-air, creating the illusion that they were about to fly off of the mountain.

So, in 1991, Mr. SABLE and I were camping with my brother and his wife and we climbed a short trail with a good view. My brother and I didn't quite have the same lift we'd had as teenagers, but we had fun trying.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Funny Valentine

On February 14, 1995, at 4:44 a.m. my funny valentine, Owen, was born.

Here I am, about 7 months pregnant...

Here's Owen in a cow-patterned bunting that Scott made for him.

He was still knitting when we went to the hospital. The nurses thought it was wonderful to see the father-to-be knitting for the baby. I had to finish the project later, because S. couldn't take all that i-cord. We barely used this because Owen ran hot and grew fast.

I'm not sure how old he was in this picture. We had a very short window between sitting up by himself and pulling to standing and walking. I'm thinking he was about 4 months here.

He was cruising at 5.5 months and walking independently at 8.5 months!

Here's our adorable, impish toddler Owen.

People talk about the terrible twos, but I found that phase kind of fun.

Happy Birthday Owen! You're turning into a remarkable young man!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Posting Made Easy!

I thought about taking another progress shot of the Andrew Morrison Memorial Honorary Cardigan, now that the second sleeve is approaching the right length to add to the rest of the sweater, but it's cold. And snowy. And grey.

And The Little Emperor stayed home from school today. Maybe I'm a soft touch. I don't know. At about 3 a.m. he called out that he didn't feel well. I went in, told him to go back sleep. Just as I was dozing off again, he called out again. This time, he said he thought he might throw up. I had him get up and stand near the toilet while I went down to get a bowl to keep in bed with him. Then, while I put him back in bed, I asked if he had been drinking the pool water while we were at the Y yesterday. This is one of those disgusting things he does that I can't seem to get through to him is a bad idea. He said he had. I said, "Well, no wonder your tummy's upset." I explained (again) that there's chemicals in the water, not to mention all the pee from half the other pool-users.

No sooner had I drifted off again, then Owen burst in to the room, telling us that he had bad dream, which he commenced to describe at length. This was around 4 a.m.

As it turned out, the LE did not throw up, but still said he didn't feel well when I got him up for school, so he stayed home. All this is a long way of saying that I didn't get any great chances to set up and take pictures.

But, I did get an opportunity to go on a little scanning binge. Which brings us to the title: Posting Made Easy!

Look: these models have Loopus!

This cover photo just cracked me up. It's a shame someone has attempted to erase their faces.

This booklet does contain one pattern I really like, though. The colorwork yoke on the boy on the left should definitely get used again in a modern, adult-sized rendition.

Tomorrow, LE is going to school. He's seemed like a mostly well child most of the day.

edited to correct reference to Andrew Morrison, whom we will suppose is alive and well.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Shetland Progress Pic

Here's a progress picture of the Shetland/Faroese Andrew Morrison Honorary Cardigan. One sleeve is done, the other is about 3 inches along. After I finish the second sleeve and join it to the body, I'll work a raglan yoke area, running a pattern motif up the seam lines, much as I'm doing on the underside of the sleeves. I'll be cutting a steek open in the center front (it is a cardigan, after all) and probably installing a zipper, as seen in my original concept sketch.

The light out on the porch was kind of strange: very harsh, low winter sunlight. I was noticing that it felt a little nippy and checked my widget when I got up here to get pics off the camera: officially, it is 1 degree F in Madison right now. Still, we're getting so acclimated to the extremely cold temps that I would have guessed more like 12 than 1. The last couple of afternoons, it's been warm enough that my eyeballs and nostrils don't freeze up walking the block from where I park into the Little Emperor's school in the afternoon. This is something to be grateful for.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Owen's Day Off

Middle school got today off, so Owen and I got to have fun without The Little Emperor in tow. We went on our never-ending quest for a Wii, striking out at 5 stores, which was completely predictable. Had a nice lunch and then off to Olbrich Gardens to see the glass art in the conservatory.

As we entered the hot steamy conservatory, I realized that I was going to have a fog problem with my camera, and I did. Eventually, the camera warmed up enough for me to get some pictures, but I had to keep wiping the lens and the viewfinder.

Here's Owen standing under a yellow light.

He'll be 12 on Valentine's Day and he's turning into such a nice, reasonable young man, except where his little brother is concerned.

A pitcher plant, looking oh so inviting...

Some of the glass fish...

Two of the resident birds

And of course, some of the tropical plants...

All in all, a nice mother-son outing.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Heat Wave!

Hey, we're going to be in double digits above zero this week! Maybe it's time to break out the barbecue and eat on the porch.

I've had a slow week, knitting-wise. My kids, like kids all over the upper midwest, had no school on Monday. It was a very long day for us, holed up in the house with nothing to do but bicker. Mr SABLE went to work. Owen's best buddy couldn't come over. The Little Emperor couldn't go outside to play, and by evening he was bursting. Yesterday, the Madison schools had an in-service day for the teachers, so it was a short day. School ended before lunch. To make matters worse, I had agreed to switch my volunteer stint from Monday a.m. to Tuesday this week only. So I had about a half hour of peace yesterday. To complete the disruption of my knitterly activities, there will be no middle school on Friday.

Last night, I sat on the couch and worked on the Andrew Morrison sleeve.

It's nearly ready to hold while I knit the second one: about 40 more rounds.

While I was taking pictures of the sleeve in progress, Hailey came over to offer a few pointers and try to get me to play string with her. The silver elastic you see on the floor there is her all-time favorite cat toy. She fetches it if we throw it and she carries it to wherever we are to try to get a game going.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Answers to Questions

Cindy, as much as I would love to meet you, we are usually clearing out of the coffeeshop around noon or a little after. Maybe there's another time and place that would work out?

Laura, my son learned website construction mostly from his own stubborn determination and with help from my husband. When he was a little baby, like 4 months old, he used to get all worked up when I had to do work on my computer. I thought it was because he wanted me to look at him, but I later realized, he thought I was playing with a really cool toy and wouldn't share. We used to give him old keyboards to bang on, but he knew they weren't really hooked up to anything. I'm not a proponent of early computer exposure for children, but this kid has been using them (in one way or another) pretty much since before he could speak. More my husband's influence than my own. For my site, I worked out a visual concept in Photoshop that he could follow. Let's just say that his aesthetic sensibility is pretty much what you'd expect from a just-turning-12 year old boy.

Still Darn Cold!

This morning when The Little Emperor and I came downstairs, my outdoor thermometer was registering -9F. (That's -22.78 for all you centigrade users!) And that wasn't the windchill. Right now, according to the temperature widget on my dashboard, the Madison temp is -7F/ -21.67C, at just after noon. Brrr. I haven't been outside yet today, but I'm supposed to take the LE swimming at the Y this afternoon, so there's no avoiding it!

As promised, I did get a couple of photos. The sun streaming in through the glass porch door in the living room offered enough natural light to take a couple pics. It's harsh light, but got the job done.

First, here's all the yarn that came in the last two packages from my Cheap A$$ pal. I think I might go at the hanks of light tan yarn on the right with dye and see what I get from that.

Here is the progress pic of the second attempt at the sleeve for the Shetland/Morrison/Faroese cardigan:

It goes quickly, so I should get an actual sleeve pretty quickly.

Movie Review
Last night we watched the movie Syriana. I had high expectations for this movie: I'd heard Terri Gross interview George Clooney about it sometime last year. But, I have to say, I spent most of the movie a little (or a lot) confused about what was going on. In the end, I understood a bit more, but still had a lot of questions. I'm willing to work at a movie a bit if it's demanding material, but I feel like the script and editing need to meet me halfway. In the end, after watching Syriana, I felt like the only thing I could definitely say was that most of the characters were corrupt in some way and the corruption triumphed. They could have made a taut spy-thriller, but I think they were aiming a little higher. Instead, though, they missed that mark, too, and just left us baffled.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Not sick of blogging, exactly...

Sorry, it's been a while since the last post. Too bloody cold to take pics outside and too darn messy to take them inside. And not a whole lot to report. I've been in Sudoku phase lately, so that kind eats into my time for anything else.

The Morrison Cardigan is coming along. I got the body up to the underarm zone about a week ago and did some math for the sleeves and then ground to a halt. Yesterday I started the sleeve, but I think I need to do it over with a wee bit more ease.

I did spend a bunch of time working on the plan for my new website. My son Owen has been building it for me in Flash, though he's come to the conclusion that we will need some html pages in there. I think he thought it would be the fastest money he ever earned (and I am paying him serious money for an almost-12 year old, but I expect a professional result), but he's come to realize that it'll take a bit more time than he first thought. Meanwhile, I've been getting all the original photos for all my patterns recropped and resized (and sometimes balanced and color adjusted) for this.

For those of you who are reading between the lines about TGB, don't worry. Too much. Wendy W has been mostly unavailable by internet for the better part of 4 months. Because of this and because I don't have access to the site files to upload new stuff, I feel I need to develop my own venue for pattern sales. I love being a member at TGB and I hope this all works itself out soon, but at this point, I just need to know that I have a direct and timely way to put my goods out there.

We are absolutely in the deep freeze up here today. Tomorrow will be worse. The boys are driving us nuts. They've just been released from their respective rooms, after a little spitting fight.

What else has been going on?

I got a great couple of boxes to finish up the Cheap A$$ Secret Pal Round 3. She sent a lot of great little things for the kids and a lot of yarn. If it ever seems possible to take a picture again, I'll post one! (Today's high is 4 degrees F; tomorrow's will be -1F, with -30 windchills! Definitely not a good time to go outside.) Thanks Michelle!

Last Saturday, I went to my knitting group. (See sidebar for details: I hope anyone who lives in my orbit will feel welcome to come.) I got to meet Molly Bee, who was delightful. (P.S. to MollyBee, you've set your blog to keep commenters out. In case you didn't intend that.)

This weekend, I have nothing scheduled, but a mountain of laundry. I do laundry all week and still have 4 loads on weekends. I'm trying to decide if we can forage a dinner from stuff lying around. I really don't want to make a trip out to the supermarket if I can help it.

Finally, I spent an afternoon finishing up the sleeve for Jim's sweater. For those who aren't regulars, it's been a thorn-in-my-side knitting machine project for over two years. I was sure it had all gone very well. But I noticed the raglan sleeve cap was rather large. I hoped it would relax, but after a day or two, I took a closer look at the sleeve I made a year ago. It definitely different. When I counted again, I realized I had decreased every 8th row, not every 12. OOPS. So, yet more frogging ahead. The good news is, I now feel confident that I can make two matching sleeves with relatively few difficulties in a reasonable short time.

So, look for pictures soon. I hope. Stay warm everyone!