Sunday, January 21, 2007

FO Update

Okay, I don't know where to begin. I put 9 photos up so I guess I will just comment on each of them...

These first two are of my most recent spinning. The first is a mixture of chocolate brown and cream colored alpaca. It started out okay but as I kept spinning the fibers became less "in-line" with (for lack of a better description) the yarn and as a result a lot of fuzzy ends are sticking out...? I think I was hurrying and backing up (undoing the twist) to get a smaller yarn too much. I need to do more pre-drafting.

I also recently got rovings in these colors and also black and white. I figured this way I can do some color blending. I did, however, learn from the alpaca a little about blending...unless you want the two colors to be distinct as they are above, blend with combs or carders... I have since blended the red with white and the red with black using two pet slicker brushes as carders. It worked but I have more to learn in the way of methods....

This yarn is very soft and lofty though so I am pleased.

This is the finished Hoody for Carter. I like the design but I need to work more on fitting. It is almost tight on him. But, if the amount of time he wears it is any indication, he loves it. I like the stained-glass quality of the colors surrounded by the black and the fact that the body was knit sideways. However, I hate this yarn with a passion (Lion brand Homespun)! Because it is a bucle yarn you have to make sure every end is knotted. And while this yarn can be forgiving of errors I would prefer to be able to see my stitches a little more.

Ta-Da!!! This is the finished, felted stocking for Jake using the yarn we dyed to his color specifications. Max called it the Mardi-Gras stocking when it was still unfelted. I just call it cool. Because I knit it so loosely it really shrunk a lot. More than the usual third. This is probably about half the size it was before I tossed it in the tub and took out my aggression on it...

This is a fingerless mitt I made with some of the left over yarn from the stocking above. The pattern is from "Favorite Mittens" It is a fascinating book. The author tells you the history of each pattern. And, the patterns are written in a long hand way that is very conversational, easy to understand, and most important for me--easy to adapt. I learned a wonderful new cast-on method that she calls a Maine cast on. It is wonderfully elastic and has a pretty edge. It is sort of like the long-tail (or slingshot) method with an added twist to each stitch. I also got helpful information about faire-isle technique. If you haven't already, check out this book!

These are some of the socks I did for Christmas. I had already wrapped the ones for my Mom and Dad when I took this. They were done in Marble yarn and Caron's Simply Soft Shadows.

This is the hat I made for Jake on a whim one day. We had stopped at AC Moore for more sock yarn (what else) and I let him pick out one skein of whatever and this was it. It is crappy Red-Heart yarn but he loves the colors and for something a 2-yr old is going to lose or destroy it was cheap. Hopefully his taste in yarn will improve with age. He knows colors now I just have to teach him about hand and drape... Anyway, he loves it and looks cute in it.

This is the hat I made for Addison. The pattern is from Knitty and was wonderfully easy. I would have used Pattons Classic Merino but the local stores didn't have these colors (school colors don't you know) so I used Lion Brand Wool instead. It works up to the same guage. It costs the same as Pattons but I noticed the other day that the Pattons is a 100 gram skein and the Lion Brand is only an 85 gram skein!!! Another reason to use Pattons!

This is the hat I designed and made for Max. Yes, Max! He was with me when I got the wool for Addison's hat and I said something like, "You know, Sweetheart, if you ever want my to knit anything for you, just ask. I'd be happy to make you anything you want." HINT. HINT. HINT.

This is the 13-year old who absolutely hated the socks I made for him last year and only wore the sweater I made for him last Christmas once (when I forced him to). So, I had given up on him ever wanting ANYTHING. And, amazingly enough while we are picking out the wool for his Dad's hat he decides he likes the teal and grey and could I please make him a hat out of them? I almost fell over in the store... The main design element is from Vogue Stitchionary 3 (color).

I still need to sew the tails in on the baby blanket and photograph it. I am finishing up a pair of cabled socks for my boss. I will photograph them and post the pattern as soon as I finish. I am also still working on....drumroll please

Harlot shawl; pink and orange bag thing to be felted; rug for bathroom; large pillow; SWS pillow; two ponchos (homespun again--yuck!); dress socks for Addison; faire-isle socks for me; and I can't think of what else.....

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy on the home front

Ok, so Christmas wasn't so great as far as the house goes. As for the day itself...I'm glad it's over. I didn't finish 2 pairs of socks or CJ's pullover. I worried about what we did (and didn't) get for the older two mostly because I never know what Ad did or didn't buy. I know what I bought for them and I knew it wasn't much. Having a small paycheck get smaller by $30-$50 a week makes it almost impossible to buy anything for anybody. So, I try to knit things that the recipients want or that I think they will enjoy...

Ad gets furious if I spend any money on anything other than food and paying my car payment or making a payment to 1 of the 3 credit card bills I have that I am trying to get paid off. That is completely understandable. Any time I get behind on any of them he gets fed up with the phone calls and is keeping a running tab on any money he funnels my way to help me out. So, if I buy any yarn or anything else knitting related but can't pay my financial obligations he goes balistic. I understand that. I am trying to knit from my overflowing stash instead of buying new yarn. What I don't get is how angry he gets about my knitting when I am knitting a gift for someone rather than spending money on them. If I asked him this directly he would bitch about the housework and how he does ALL of it and I shouldn't be knitting if there is laundry or dishes to do or vacuming or whatever. And, then there is Jake to keep and eye on and interact with. And so, since these things are never all completely done (except maybe at night after Jake is asleep) apparently I should not be knitting. Oh, wait...I guess I can try to get a few rows in on my two nights off before I pass out from exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Because if I knit while interacting with Jake I am a bad mother...

Then it turns out that Ad got Max a cell phone. I had proposed the idea a while ago. Max is 13 and starting to want to hang out with his friends and so I thought it would be a good way for us to be able to better keep track of him. I was overruled on numerous occassions because of a lack of consistant responsibility on Max's part. Max knew this. We were dangling the idea of his own phone in front of him in the hopes that he would improve. Then, Ad tells me (on Christmas eve) that he got Max something else and it's a surprise. He actually got pissy when I pressed him about what it was. I had to "Wait and see" along with everyone else and he wanted to know why I couldn't just be surprised. And, lo and behold, he got Max the very thing I had suggested and got to play the Hero.

Meanwhile, he got Carter nothing.

He was so busy making sure that HE (without me) got Max the very thing Max really wanted and gushing about how he couldn't wait for Max to see it that Carter was a minor afterthought. On Christmas morning after Max has opened the phone and Carter's face has fallen a little he asks me, "Do you think I should have gotten one for Carter too?" I'm thinking, "It's Christmas morning AFTER they have opened their gifts and NOW you want to know if I think you should have gotten one for Carter?????" Now my answer about the phone would have been the same had he bothered to ask me proir to Dec. 25th (no on the phone for right now) but I also would have said that we need to get him (Carter) something too if Ad was buying another present for Max.

I've ranted long enough. Can you tell all is well here?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Drip, drip, drip

You know how sometimes your subconcious is more aware of your surroundings, or should I say "unusual" things in your surroundings, than your busy with a million and one things-hurryhurryhurry-consious mind? Well, at some point Christmas day when I was down in the basement putting a load of laundry in I had a fleeting OhShit thought. There was water in the basement. Not a lot. We regularly get water in the basement when it rains. The house is almost 70 years old and is in an area with a high water table and gets water when it rains. It had recently rained a little. So, nothing unusual or worthy of the OhShit my subconsious was trying to tell me.

Fast forward a few hours...still Christmas day. Now, the dishwasher has been run and the 2 year old, Jake, has had a "you Will be clean when we have Nana, Nana, Pop-Pop, your Aunt Sam, Uncle Tony, and 4 of your cousins over for Christmas dinner if it kills one of us" bath, and now I am in the kitchen starting to clean veggies for said meal....

Addison goes into the basement for some reason and YELLS for me to get down there with him in that voice that means either the house is on fire or something else equally severe has happened/is happening...

There is water in the basement.
There is the splish-splash sound a fountain makes.
There is the smell of a sewer.

There is NO sign of water coming IN from the outside (this is what my subconsious was trying to tell me when I first went, hmmm there's a little water in the basement). DOH!

So, while I attempt to cook dinner for 14 people Addison gets to call a plumber ON CHRISTMAS! Now, there's a merry time for all.

We called our guests to request that they please do any flushing at their own houses prior to coming to ours.

I was looking at the prospect of a quick tub bath and then just not draining it...I had last had a shower on the 23rd. No way was I hosting Christmas dinner in the state I was in...pipes or no pipes!

Turns out our cast iron 60+ year old pipes had had it. The plumber was from a company called SECCO, and was amazingly wonderful! They don't charge by the hour. I'll say that again (we were mumbling it to ourselves increadulously for two days), THEY DON'T CHARGE BY THE HOUR!!!! The entire $4,000+ bill was quoted up front. He patched the house together Christmas night so that we could flush the toilets, and do whatever was neccesary. Then, he and another very professional plumber-type guy came back the next day and replaced all of the water pipes in the basement.

When the plumber guy was leaving Christmas night my Mom-in-law started to ask how the furnace was doing. We couldn't shut her up fast enough!! Cross your fingers that the Fates didn't hear her...