Thursday, June 29, 2006

Four Things About Me

I finally got hit by a meme! Yay! So here it is online instead of by email, since I've never done this before on my blog.

Four jobs I have had in my life
1. File clerk
2. Copy editor
3. Newspaper reporter/columnist
4. Nonprofit executive

Four places I'll visit this summer
1. Duck, N.C.
2. Bloomington, Ind.
3. Monticello, Va.
4. Ocean City, Md. (I hope)

Four places you have lived
1. Mooresville, N.C.
2. Seymour, Ind.
3. Akron, Ohio
4. Chapel Hill, N.C.

Four TV shows you love to watch
1. Big Love
2. Seinfeld
3. CSI
4. Absolutely Fabulous

Four places you have been on vacation
1. England
2. Guatemala
3. Mexico
4. Canada

Websites you visit daily (I'm such a knit stalker)
1. Crazy Aunt Purl
2. Yarn Harlot
3. Grumperina
4. Sugar Bunny Boulevard

Four of my favourite foods
1. Chocolate chip PopTarts spread with extra crunchy peanut butter
2. Cap'n's cooking
3. Ethiopian food
4. Chicken parmigiana

Four places I would rather be right now
1. Ocracoke, N.C.
2. Cabo Pulmo, Mexico
3. Cuddling with my honey
4. Knitting

Feel free to respond if you haven't done this one yet, and link to your blog in the comments. I'll come check it out!

Knitting? What Knitting?

I'm a little blase right now about what's on the needles. Tonight I'm hoping to get started on the second toe of my first Magic Loop socks so I can move forward with two socks on one circ. I'll let you know how that goes.

It's not like I don't have plenty to work on. I do. The baby blanket, the baby hat, the fall socks, the tank top, the sweater, the cream swatch, the Magic Loop socks...Part of the malaise is a sinking suspicion I have about the tank top. (Sorry Cap'n!) I don't think I'm getting gauge. I may need to start over. Ye gods.

Anyway, Slim and I have been hanging out with relatives as my mom and some Indiana friends came to visit, and now Cap'n's father and father's wife are here. We had a lovely lunch today at a Washington "power" spot, The Palm. We didn't have any "famous for D.C." moments, but I was pretty busy keeping Slim from emitting any ear-splitting screeches in the ears of the powerful and important.

It was pretty interesting hearing the stories of Cap'n's dad growing up in Cleveland with his pals, two friends he's known since elementary school. All of them also served in the Army. Things have changed a lot over the years they've known each other.

As a matter of quirky coincidence, one of the Indiana friends who was just here is a girl I've known since elementary school. Her mom (who was also here) and my mom were best friends in high school and have always been in touch. It's good to have that continuity in life.

The Palm has some fancy digs, with cartoons of the "famous for D.C." who have dined there decorating the walls. Perhaps you'll recognize the name on this one, though the face is obviously from happier, less convicted times:

Isn't it the case that the infamous are almost more fun than the good famous?

Cunningham had a live-aboard yacht called the "Duke-stir" docked here at the Washington Marina. And he complained about the crackheads running D.C. because he thought they were on the take when he didn't get the slip he wanted for the boat.

Okay, crackheads did run the city for a while, so he wasn't far off there. Yet he was on the take way more than any of the relatively small timers at the city level. Guess the guilty always are the first to point fingers, huh, Randy?

So we had lunch with the Duke-stir looking over our shoulders and missed the Cap'n, who traveled at the last moment to Wilkes-Barre to cover the massive flooding there. We were lucky to be on the second floor here in D.C., but the two unfortunate basement dwellers in our condo building had to deal with 3 inches of water. Hopefully the sun is out tomorrow for the family trip to Monticello, Jefferson's home.

Slim says, "Rrrarr! Fear me, Duke-stir!"

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

That's No Blarney!

Look at that beautiful stack of yarn! Tivoli Celtic Aran all the way from the Old Country, thanks to my wonderful stepdad, who is, unfortunately for him, back at work in Ireland until July 13. When he went the first time, all I asked for was yarn, and boy did he deliver. Apparently, with some difficulty, as yarn shops aren't that common in Ireland.

The only weird thing is this is the first yarn I've ever encountered that does not have a gauge recommendation. The ball band says use a 5mm (US8), but it doesn't say what you get with it. I'm swatching with a US9 because I knit tight. We'll see how it comes out. I love how the fabric looks knitted up. The yarn is a lovely light cream color with grey, black and brown flecks in it.

Honestly, it seems to call out for cables, which I haven't tackled yet. If anyone has some pattern suggestions, I'm all ears.

P.S. I also finally signed up for the Stitch and Bitch (Bite me, SFSE@!) DC group, and I hope to get to do some KIP-ing with other knitters!

Pride and Prejudice is My FAVORITE Book

Which Classic Female Literary Character Are you?

You're" Elizabeth Bennett of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Committed KIPper (Or the Knitting Serialist)

I love to knit in public. And I love the fact that there are so many places in D.C. where I can just whip out my knitting and not have to worry about it.

Today alone, I knit:
1. In the Metro
2. In the physical therapist's office
3. At a sidewalk cafe

I have even knit while walking the dog and carrying the baby in the backpack and while sitting on the bench at the park. And the funny thing is, I've never had the experience that a lot of people talk about, of people asking what I'm doing. It's like I'm in my own little world.

It certainly helps that I can drive and take the subway mostly everywhere. I've only driven twice in the past two weeks.

Of course, my tank top is still chugging along. Only 3 more repeats to go on the lace border til the 3-needle bindoff (which I've never done). I mostly worked on that today. And I need to get moving on the Magic Loop socks to see if they're going to work. And I need to up on finishing the fall socks, and the baby blanket, and see if I can make a baby hat out of some leftover yarn...

I've not exactly been project monogamous lately. I don't even want to count how many are on the needles now. 6-ish? Eek. Must. Knit. Faster. No photos right now, but to distract you:

A very cute baby and dog photo.

Slim's latest thing when we're feeding him (something he doesn't like, of course) is to turn his head, stick out his bottom lip in a pout and say "Na."

I had no idea it started this early.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

So Pretty, So Loopy

It is fitting that my new favorite knitting activity has "loop" in the title. You know, like me? A little loopy!!

That little hat sitting on the top of the very pretty Caribbean Blue colorway from Claudia's Handpainted Yarns is the start of a toe-up sock on one US 1 32" Addi Turbo. (Insert Brenda Dayne sound here...very zoomy.)

I used two resources last night to impetuously cast on for this sock. I already had the Fiber Trends booklet as a reference, and then I found this page also. (This one is pretty useful, too.)

Y'all. Why didn't you tell me Magic Loop was so easy?

(Sidenote: I can hear Cap'n asking right now about the tank top. Don't worry, it's coming along nicely. I've memorized the lace border pattern. But I may need an artificial deadline to get it finished. You know, from one journalist to another, we work better with deadlines. )

You will note that the main online reference I used shows you how to work two socks at once. Whoo-hoo! I am currently facing second sock syndrome doing the Welt Fantastic, so I'm into anything that will get both socks done at once. I also have a couple balls of yarn that I'm not sure how far they will go. So I figure with Magic Loop I can do both at once, get the longest socks possible and not let any yarn go to waste.

I am loving the Magic Loop, but I'm only on the toe increases for the first sock. Is there a connection? Once I get those done, I'll put it on a holder and do the other sock toe. The foot (AHEM, feet) should be no problem.

However, you think it might be a problem that I've only skimmed over the instructions for the heel and gusset? You know, the difficult parts when you're only doing one sock at a time on the tried and true DPNs? Hmm, I think that might say a lot about my personality right there.

Anyway, between the easy start of the Magic Loop and a glorious hour and a half to myself while Cap'n took Slim (Malcolm's new nickname) to the park, I'm feeling more confident today. I think because everything moves at a snail's pace when I'm with baby, I was starting to think I'm a bit of dimbulb, slow in every way.

I've been thinking of making some life changes that require a modicum of brains to pull together my thoughts, and really after a year, I don't know if I can blame it on mommy brain anymore. Maybe I should read the book so she can tell me that I really am smarter if all my grammar skills have been replaced by memorizing the collected works of Sandra Boynton.

So I needed a pick-me-up, a kick in the shorts along the Stuart Smalley line of thinking. Thank you, Magic Loop, for providing one!

"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it, my needles like me!"

(She says to the echoing ether...)

My Time At the Doctor

Does anyone else feel that your kid's pediatrician spends as much time checking you out as she does the kid?

Oh, no? So it's just my paranoia?

That's nice.

Yesterday was Malcolm's 1-year checkup, which he passed with flying colors. Let me just stress that right up front: He's a very healthy kid. We're incredibly lucky. I appreciate every day that I don't have to deal with the horror and stress that parents with sick children have to go through, and I wish that no child had to deal with health problems EVER.

But (and you knew there was one)...

He's small. Percentile-wise that is. 19 lbs 7 oz and 29-1/4 in. That would be 10% in weight and 50% in height.

I know that I'm filled with neuroses and I'm fine with that, really. But this is the kind of thing that makes me wonder if I'm a good mother. Am I feeding him right? Is he getting enough exercise? Enough sleep? Enough toys? Enough sunlight and Vitamin D? What???!??!?

At this rate, he won't be in a forward-facing carseat until he's a year and a half old. Which doesn't rank high on the list of priorities in life, but still. Perhaps lacking better things to worry about, I'm creating one. (At which point my entire family chimes in: "YES!")

Whatever. I am thankful that he is healthy. He does his little crabwalk across the apartment and is starting to chase after the dog. He loves his books and he loves throwing things. He has a great sense of humor, and he's on a great sleeping schedule.

In 16 years after his voice changes, and he hits his growth spurt and defies my ban on playing American football, I'm sure I'll look back on this time and laugh.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

He's a Magic Loop, Man

(With apologies to Heart...)

Hot late night not long ago
When I was not so strong you know
A pretty yarn came to me
Never seen wool so blue
I could not run away
It seemed we'd seen each other in a dream
It seemed like he knew me
He looked right through me
"Cast on now, girl" he said with a smile
"You don't have to love me yet
Let's get knitty awhile
But try to understand
Try to understand
Try try try to understand
I need a magic loop."

Through the night we made a Figure 8
Knit and made one left and right
Never think of tinking
Addi Turbos last forever
10 o'clock passed to 11
Tried to realize it all

DPNs say they're worried
Moving on in a hurry
"Come back to bamboo, girl" they cried on the phone
"Too soon to lose my sock yet, my needles should be your only!"
"But try to understand, try to understand
Try try try to understand
He's a magic loop, man
He's a magic loop"

"Knit on with me, girl" he said with a smile
"I cast my spell of love on you a woman from a child!
But try to understand, try to understand
I'm a magic loop!"

Pictures to follow later...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

My Husband, The Enabler

That's him there, the handsome man in the purple shirt and white hat at the helm. My husband, the enabler.

What I Love About Love, Part I: You make each other better people. You encourage each other to chase after the things that make you happy.

Oren has always wanted to learn how to sail, so earlier this month, he went out for sailing camp at the Washington Sailing Marina. After sinking the boat on the first day (no, really), he managed to stay on top of the water and pass the exam. He will be referred to as "Cap'n" from now on.

Cap'n has been incredibly supportive of my knitting habit and showed his love for me this month when we went down to Duck, N.C., for a wedding. (I didn't know it at the time, but a fellow blogger was the mother of the bride! Hi, Liza!)

As predicted, I used my Stashalong Free Day for Souvenir S-E-X at Knitting Addiction. It was AWESOME! Jeanne and Brittany have an amazing selection of yarn, including several that I had read about but never seen, including recycled sari silk, 1824 wool from Mission Falls, and Cherry Tree Hill's sock yarn.

Oren walked around the shop with me checking out the yarns, and he's the one who found a swatch of the Plymouth Royal Bamboo knitted up and washed. I had no idea what it was at first, but quickly fell in love. So did he. So much so, that he helped me find a pattern to use it for (Gina Wilde's Picot Camisole from Interweave Knits Spring 2006) and pushed me to buy it.

Here is the progress so far:

Thanks, Cap'n. I love you, too.

My Husband Thinks They're Ugly

Oh well. Good thing I'm not making him any more socks.

Here are a couple of FOs:

To your left in this tour of Ginny's Sock House, a pair of toe-up socks on 56 stitches with the Openwork Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks. Bless you, Charlene Schurch. They were made with Claudia's Handpainted Yarn in Chocolate Cherry. The photo doesn't do the color justice: It really does look like chocolate and cherries.

I have not yet blocked them, but was thinking about making these sock blockers and jumping in tonight. I'm a little nervous about blocking. eek. I think I have a deep-seated fear of water.

And the Exile on Lonely Sock Island, a Welt Fantastic chevron sock, also from SKS. It's in Heirloom Jigsaw 4-ply yarn from Yarns Unlimited in Bloomington. I used 4 metal Boye dpns, and I must say: Garter stitch in the round on 4 dpns is FROM THE DEVIL. It is making me drag ass on casting on for the second sock. Must get over garter stitch hump, which only happens to be six rows wide.

If I do this sock pattern again, I will definitely do a ribbed top instead of garter stitch. I really wanted this pair of socks for myself, but alas, it fits my foot just barely. So it will be a gift to someone with smaller feet.

I've decided that from now until Christmas/Hanukkah (Did I really say that?) I'm not going to say who will be the deserving recipients of knitted goodies, since I know the fam is reading up on the blog. You're welcome to guess, but I'm not spilling the beans. Also, pleas for knitted wear are also welcome.

More updates to follow, including some summer wear for me!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Happy 1st Birthday, Malcolm

About this time a year ago, the midwife was starting me on a pitocin drip at UNC Hospitals.

It had been about 28 hours since my water broke and about 15 since I checked in to the hospital. I was uncomfortable, before I really learned what uncomfortable was about. All the pacing up and down the halls wasn't getting labor going any faster. The pitocin kicked it up a notch, but it wasn't until 8:39 p.m. that Malcolm first put in an appearance after hours of, let's just say, unpleasantness.

All's well that ends well, and June 14 brought us a healthy, sweet-faced baby boy.

Today is his birthday, and we'll celebrate him, but this year in particular, before he realizes that it's his special day -- it's also the first anniversary of my labor. (I know, I know, self-absorbed much?)

Having a baby has been life-changing. All the cliches people tell you are true. It changes how you sleep, how you eat, how you walk, how you talk. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know what I'm doing. I just try to make him happy and keep him healthy, and hope that my neuroses just stay that -- mine.

I wish I could know that I'm doing this parenthood thing right. That there was some guarantee that everything you try and everything you do will be the right thing for this kid, that it will help him grow up safe and healthy and happy and with everything that he wants out of life.

But I know there aren't any guarantees, and I'm crying writing this. I just want to be the best mom I can be. I hope he knows that when he grows up.

And this growing up thing is killing me. I had "a moment" last weekend after we put up the big crib in the bedroom. Prior to this Malcolm's been sleeping in the co-sleeper, which is great, but now that he can pull himself up on things, I kept waking up in the middle of the night afraid that he had catapulted himself out of bed.

I looked at the crib and saw the first steps he was making to his independence. Then he would be off to school, to college, to work, to living all the way across the country busy with his own life and family. Not that I'm overly quick to make assumptions or anything. I started missing him already.

I want to remember every moment with him. Every nonsense babble and every smile. Every poopy diaper and every cry. I want to be able to tell him when he’s older how he liked to throw everything he could get his hands on (future ballplayer maybe?) and how he liked to grab the dog’s leash and “help” walk her from the stroller. I want to remember the names of his favorite books and the songs that make him laugh.

It’s been an amazing year, and Malcolm has been one of many changes that happened (left job, sold house, moved to a new city). He is the best by far, though.

I love you, baby.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Worldwide Knit In Public Day

I almost forgot! Here's the link. It's June 10th, and I don't know if there are any Washington, D.C., area events planned, but I hope so. If any other D.C. knit bloggers want to get together, please let me know!

FO' Sho

I really have finished things while I've been gallivanting around this month.

First, the organic cotton dishcloth out of Pakucho yarn, a present I won from Carol at Infiknit. I used this free dishcloth pattern, which turned out such a wonderful traditional dishcloth. I might have to make myself a couple. It was a present for my sister's wedding shower, along with a really cool-looking cutting board from the Blue Ridge Cutting Board Company at Eastern Market and some lemon verbena hand and dish soaps. She has promised a pic, as I forgot to take one at the great unveiling.

Then I finished my stepmom's socks out of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in the rainbow colorway.

I'm calling them the "Happy Feet" socks. The variegated yarn did a really funky pooling pattern, and I only made them anklets because I wasn't sure how far the yarn would stretch. I really had fun knitting with this yarn, and I think the socks turned out so sunshiny and happy. I hope they make her feet happy too!

I used the Elongated Corded Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. Speaking of, I went ahead and joined the KAL for the book, because it's been the basis of all of the stitch patterns I've used so far. Check it out.

I'm loving socks right now. I have to resist casting on for more before I finish the pairs I've already started. The chevron socks are moving along on the first foot, but I'm dreading the Kitchener stitch toe after a messy graft at the heel. OzKnitter passed along a link that I hope will help. She used the same yarn that I'm using for some really cool socks.

Well, I'm off to bed since the fam is off to Duck tomorrow for a friend's wedding this weekend on the beach. I'll probably try to do most of the driving. I'm debating whether to use my June Free Day in the Stashalong to find some Souvenir Yarn at this store I found, Knitting Addiction. The only problem is then I'll be done with stash enhancement for the month by the 5th. Eek! Don't know if that's such a good idea.