Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sort of Progress

Hannah's Weasley:

Briton's Christmas (knit sleeve/across yoke/to sleeve):




Slow but steady. Hannah's is infinitely more portable, with no color changes, but Briton's goes faster because it's knitted on 13s. I'll keep you updated.

We're closing in on New York --- hard to believe we'll actually be there in 2 days. I plan to take lots of pictures, and will surely share as many as I have patience to upload.

Better get back to knitting!

Monday, November 28, 2005

This is Sad

Got an e-mail today that Secret Pal 6 is just about over. So soon? I have at least 2 more packages to send to my spoilee, and I can scarcely bare to imagine going on without my spoiler.

It's funny how you develop a relationship with people, even though one of you is in cognito. I have come to care about my spoilee in an almost motherly way (she is young enough to be my daughter), and I've so enjoyed thinking of her, and coming up with things she might like. Actually, Hannah has been very involved, as it happens that the two of them have lots and lots of common interests.

And the person who has spoiled me --- what can I say? She and I have e-mailed, and come to know things about one another that I treasure more than any present. (And her presents have been awesome!) I will miss the surprise treats, but surely hope that we have started a friendship that will continue.

Better go work on The Sweaters some more. See if I get any comments this evening.

This Was Inevitable

(If you're already shaking your head and thinking, "I told you so," fine. Move on to the next blog you read. . .)

Got the yarns for the sweaters. Getting Briton into Hobby Lobby was no small victory to begin with. But then, he begins looking --- really looking --- at yarn and declaring greens too "pea" and reds too "bright." Finally land on the right combination. Hannah finds a truly lovely red for her Weasley, then can't decide on a gold for the letter. (Does she want an "H"? Of course not. Her crush is on Rupert Grint; only an "R" will do.) We give up on the gold, pay for everything, then realize I've lost my keys. I'll spare you the hunt, but will say that I continue to be amazed that I can lose any set of keys which dangles from a rather large Yoda head keychain!

So, the casting on and the knitting begin. I'm careful to move back and forth between the two, both for fairness' sake and so that they might be finished at roughly the same time. I've been working on both for 2 days. Back and forth. Back and forth. Conscientiously. For 2 days. Back and forth.

Hannah comes into my room last night as I'm finishing up one of Briton's sleeves.

"Why aren't you working on mine?"

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Ya Gotta Love Teenagers

So both my children come to me in the last couple of days and say they want sweaters. Hannah wants a Weasley sweater (Harry Potter fans all recognize), and that's fine. Weasley sweaters are all-season. No great hurry, no particular deadline. Except for the one in the mind of a 13-year-old, who suspects that mothers really can do magic, and can whip out a garment on demand.

Briton, all of 17, wants a Christmas sweater. In the last 3 days, the child has decided he wants a Christmas sweater. Does he see me knitting every day? Does he pay attention to how slowly the rows move? Does he know he could have asked for one of these in, oh, say, AUGUST??

And yet, being a mom, I will try and get his Christmas sweater done by Christmas. Because he has never asked me to knit anything for him. Ever. When he was a little boy, I made him lots of stuff. But, when he was able to voice his own fashion tastes, he never mentioned a handmade cardigan, or a lovingly-crafted hat and scarf set. Until now.

Problem is, to get his sweater made by Christmas, Hannah's Weasley will have to take a backseat. Which will engender bad feelings. (And no reminding her that she could very well knit her own sweater. . . Hey, I've been at the mom game long enough to see a minefield laid before me.)

So, we will venture out today and try to find yarns. And I will cast on for sweaters. And, quietly, in the back of my mind, long for the days when clothes could simply be put on the children without their comment.

But also be very glad and proud that they both want Mom to make something for them.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I was going to produce a list of things I am thankful for, going from A to Z, but, so help me, I got stuck on "O." Oatmeal? Octopi? Maybe oceans? Great! Now I think of some. I may come back to it. . .

Hope your day has been pleasant, and peaceful. At my ripe old age, I have decided that peace is the thing. Peace of heart, peace of mind, peace of thought. Not happiness or wealth. Peace. With peace, everything else becomes manageable.

So I finished a scarf today, and began a mitten. Both are to be gifts, so nothing more be said. I'm trying to find a project that will last the duration of the NY trip, and that can be knit on the bamboo or circular needles that I have. (Both are allowed on planes.) With 2 hours in the air both ways, plus I don't know how much time waiting, I need something substantial. The hunt shall go on.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

OK -- "Goblet of Fire"

Rickman --- Not enough lines. But those he does have are delivered de.licious.ly.

Daniel Radcliffe --- Grown into a cutie. Growing into a very good actor.

Rupert Grint --- From the beginning, the best and most natural actor of the Main Three. Nothing's changed.

"Cedric Diggory" --- Oh so close to being as cute as "Oliver Wood." But not quite.

"Neville" --- So sweet, so charming. Hooray for being part of the film!

"Cho" ---- Radiant. Please use her more in more movies.

"Fred" and "George" --- About time they were allowed to do some things; pitch perfect.

"Karkaroff" --- Exactly right.

Maggie Smith --- A beautiful, lovely, shining, funny treasure.

Michael Gambon --- I adored Richard Harris, and, so, was slow to accept this Dumbledore. But I am fully behind him now.

Ralph Fiennes --- Too good at being so despicably evil.

The movie --- The best yet.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A pitched battle raged here yesterday over who would use the computer when. As a sucker-mom, I allowed my children to use it most.

And I have things to say. Here and on MindFull.

Only we are just before walking out to pick up Briton and go see "Goblet of Fire," so I'll have to remember said things for, probably, another day.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Vandy Wins!!!


Now, I don't know how many of you knit while watching sporting events. I don't know how many of you even care about sports. But, hear me out on this one.

VANDY BEAT TENNESSEE!!!!

Again, if you don't follow sports, this means less than nothing to you. If you do follow sports, but are fans of teams who regularly have winning seasons, or who defeat their most-despised rival more than every couple of decades, you can't quite fathom the thrill that those of us who love Vanderbilt are feeling today.

I am going to intentionally break my school's faculty dress code tomorrow by wearing a Vandy shirt to class. (With a nice skirt and shoes, but a Vandy shirt nonetheless.) There are only a handful of things that make me happier than Vanderbilt laying it to Tennessee. In anything.

Oh! Just remembered: that gold-and-black scarf I made in the spring. . . Fashion statement!

You go, Guys. I hope you sent this one up to Kwame.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

From Where I Sit

Knit, read, grade, write, watch TV --- my bed is my station. I prop up against the headboard, with all my "necessities" around me (Rox, the DP is on the handy nightstand to my left), and there spend virtually every minute of my free time. My constant companion, always at my feet, is our grand older dog, Jessie. She loves her rawhide! When I look up from whatever I'm doing, this is what I see. Or some variation thereon. The stuffed lion is one of dozens, most of which are in baskets all around the room. I particularly like the look of this one, though, and gave him a special place. He's perched atop a couple of knitting books, which are perched atop a chest which holds more books. And if you peer over his head, you'll see even more books stacked on an old phongraph.

But look at our sweet Jess. She is a good dog, plain and simple. Loyal, protective, gentle (unless you draw too near to her rawhide) ---every single thing a dog should be. She is unusually attached to me, as in no one else can take her outside. She is always, always within my arm's reach. We love her madly.

The weekend plan is knitting. I've got Bethieee's scarf-collar on the needles. I'm making some scrap crazy socks for Hannah and some Christmas wrist warmers (that recipient I cannot yet name.) We all want to go see "Goblet of Fire," but tickets have sold out until at least tomorrow. More time for knitting!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Susie!!!!!

Three days in a row, I've received glorious gifts from online knitters. Beth's you've seen. Stephanie, from Knit the Classics, not only sent the promised book for the swap, but also included pretty beaded row counters, candy and perfectly jaw-dropping (my jaw really dropped) lace-weight yarn. I have tried and tried to get a picture of it, but I can't get one that does it justice. I will continue to try, though --- it deserves to be seen. And ooooohed and aaaahed over. That came yesterday.

Today, the package from my sock exchange buddy, the incomparable Susie, arrived. Take a gander:



What? Fuzzy? But you must understand, I had Happy Feet!! These socks were made with love and patience and they are astonishingly beautiful, putting every sad little pair I've ever managed to shame. Dancing is what they were made for, and dance I did!!!

OK. I'll hold still long enough to let you be jealous:



Aren't they fabulous? All purply/pinky/navy thick, cozy goodness. You are a genius, Susie!

But did she stop there? No she did not. She sent 3 types of white eyelash/fuzz/shimmer yarn that will make a breathtaking scarf. She sent the black cashmerino which she spun, and which I "won" in a contest on her blog. She sent Christmas-scented candles and hot chocolate mix with peppermints. She sent eleven (yes, 11!) skeins of a green and purple yarn called "Fun," with directions to "make yourself something pretty." Now, I ask you, who does that sort of thing for someone they really don't know all that well? Who goes to all the trouble to pick and choose and pack carefully and send off with good thoughts and wishes?

KNITTERS, that's who. And I am proud to know every one of you. And I am blessed and humbled by Susie's overwhelming goodness.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bethieee!!!

A while back, Rox (The Fearless Knitter) had a sock exchange, and I was chosen to knit socks for Bethieee (On My Needles). I made some aqua, ruffled-cuff anklets, sent them off, and they were too small. Curse my seams! I was mortified, but Beth was lovely about it. She very politely asked if she could make sock puppets out of them, which was splendid with me. I asked her if I could knit her something else to take their place.

Yesterday, look what came for me! Yarn and yarn and notecards and a photo album and a candle and gardenia soap and, can you see him --- a lion finger puppet!! I LOVE the lion finger puppet!!! All for me! Out of nowhere. And what did Bethieee include for herself?

A simple three skeins of alpaca for me to make her the Sally Melville collar-as-scarf-scarf-as-collar. How wonderful is she?

Much love and thanks, Bethieee!

Knitters are superbly generous people.

(Speaking of which, can anyone tell me why all my right margin material took a dive to the bottom of the page?)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Cosetta Shrug Finished

(Photograph by Hannah.)

I'm very happy with the stripe effect on the back. And I'm thrilled with the sleeves, which, admittedly, are a little blurry here. They're belled, and I made them quite long. (My sleeves and my pant legs must be long.) The garment is just as soft to wear as the yarn was to knit with. As soon as I came into the den wearing it, Hannah said, "Oooooh, I want it."

(An added benefit of long sleeves is that your daughter will be unable to wear your clothes. . .)

I also finished a scarf this weekend, but no photo. And, it being a weekend, there were mittens on the needles. Finished one, just got through with the ribbing on the other.

Over the weekend, I got a lovely e-mail from Rachael, at Yarn-a-Go-Go. I'm sure that all of us have favorite blog-writers, and she is one of mine. Sort of a star, knitblog-wise. Anyway, all my dreams last week involved her in some way, which I found sort of oddly humorous, and I wrote to tell her about them. She was very sweet to reply.

Every morning, after taking out the dogs, showering and putting on what little make-up I wear, I sit down to read all my bookmarked blogs while waiting for everyone else to get ready. There are about 30 to go through, and they all help me start each day entertained, amused and inspired. Thank you all. Most of you are listed to the right. Some of you I have written, and some of you have written back. You are all wonderful company.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

From Elsewhere

Your Birthdate: February 12
You're a dynamic, charismatic person who's possibly headed for fame.You tend to charm strangers easily. And you usually can get what you want from them.Verbally talented, you tend to persuade people with your speaking and writing.You are affectionate and loving, but it's hard for you to commit to any one relationship.
Your strength: Your charm
Your weakness: Your extreme manipulation tactics
Your power color: Indigo
Your power symbol: Four leaf clover
Your power month: December
What'>http://www.blogthings.com/whatdoesyourbirthdatemeanquiz/">What Does Your Birth Date Mean?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Everyone Should Be So Lucky


Look at what my glorious Secret Pal has sent me! I make a mention that I think I might be able to finally knit seamless socks using Cat Bordhi's 2 circulars method? Boom! The book shows up. With --- that's right; you all see it --- purple sock yarn!! Anyone who sends you purple yarn is a friend indeed. Cleave on to that person!! She may also send you pencils which say, "Knit for life," "Yarn is love" and "The Surgeon General has determined that knitting may be habit-forming."

As I am posting while waiting for the children to dress and come down for school, I haven't time for much else. But the following deserves an upload:



This is Rupert. He was a great help in the unwrapping process.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Unconnected Thoughts

1. I realized today, and too late, that one type of the dollar-a-skein yarn that Target has had would make absolutely perfect panels for the glass inserts that flank our front door. Actually, I realized first that the yarn would be ideal for the screen door project in AlterKnits, and then the train of thought led me to our entryway. Target, or at least our Target, no longer stocks the dollar yarn. Missed opportunity.

2. My students have been listening to me for more than a month and a half now, and I wonder if they've heard anything I've said. This morning, I asked a question about a term they should have mastered long ago, and their faces registered nothing. NOTHING. How many times do I have to say, "If you don't get it, ask"? Do they think I'll be offended? If you don't get it, ASK!

3. I am really, really liking my Secret Pal. I have no clue who she is, though we have established --- well, she came up with it --- a nickname for her which I'm sure I'll use even after learning her name. She seems smart and clever and I am thoroughly enjoying hearing from her. If she never sends me another package, she has bestowed substantial gifts.

4. The projects of other knitters often make me feel inadequate. Folks are tackling intricate laces and cables, they are knitting away happily and without frustration on double-pointeds, and my straight needles are loaded with stockinette stitch shrugs and simple scarves. Am I unambitious? Do I truly lack confidence? Am I more concerned with numbers done than complexity? And the yarns people use: way out of my range, pricewise. I feel sometimes like I'm in the corner of a Master Class, watching magnificent creations unspool while crocheting a granny square afghan out of garish, clearance Red Heart.

5. Neither of my children will fork over a Christmas list. And I know these two --- each of them will want several things only available through mail order. I need to get moving on this stuff, but am getting no cooperation.

6. Boy, besides loving my SP, everything else here is pretty gripey, huh? How about a little more love? Alan Rickman. I just rented Eddie Izzard's "We Know Where You Live, Live!" from Netflix, and there is Rickman, doing shtick! Love him. Stop-what-I'm-knitting-just-to-listen-to-his-voice love him. And the performance was a benefit for Amnesty International. What's not to like?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

This is Cosetta

I am really enjoying working with this yarn. It's got a soft feel to it, and a wrapped sheen that doesn't show up in the photograph. The picture also doesn't show the amount of light blue that actually wanders through the yarn. This is going to be one of the Interweave Knits shrugs from a few issues back --- the Minimalist Ribbon. Only this, obviously, will be the Minimalist Woolen. It's going very well.

"A Piece of My Heart" closed last night. I was able to make it through the complete performance. I took a lot of pictures afterward, but Briton doesn't want me to ever post his photo on my blogs. I'll respect his wishes. Even though I'd love to show off!!

Back to the grind tomorrow. I don't think my Secret Pal has gotten her package from UPS yet. I feel so, so awful. I'm going to send her something else as soon as possible.

Through the mail.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Tearjerker

This probably more rightly belongs over on mindfull, as knitting plays no part in the story, but I'll talk a bit about it here.

"A Piece of My Heart" opened last night. It's tough. I watched my son "die" 3 times --- each time wearing fatigues. Each time painfully. Each time making me realize that one day he might wear fatigues for real.

I was a Tail-End Baby Boomer: born in 1960. Yet I remember Vietnam quite clearly. Remember Huntley and Brinkley giving body counts each night on the news. (There's a scene in the play where Briton plays a news anchor, doing just that. That was also hard / spine-shivering.) I was aware of how divisive the war was, and I was old enough to really, fully comprehend what was happening when the men and women came home and were spat upon. Literally and figuratively. The play deals with that, too.

Most of the audience were high schoolers. They don't know. Can't. Hopefully, they got a taste of it last night. A few people there were my age, and older. We were all visibly shaken.

I had to bring Hannah home before the first act was over. She couldn't watch it anymore.

The play ends at the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Each of the girls' characters has come to see it. Briton hobbles on as a double amputee with a cane, and recognizes the nurse that took care of him in the field. He hooks his cane on his arm and takes a few halting steps on his artificial legs, into her arms. I broke. He was crying, too. I could hear his voice give way.

We aren't there tonight. Too much to see twice in a row. Hannah won't go back tomorrow, for the close, but I will. It will be a little better, I guess, because I know what's coming. But we better never not cry over things like this.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hannah and I spent some girly time together this afternoon. Briton is off at a Drama competition outside Atlanta, won't be back until late, and the timing was ideal.

We went to Barnes & Noble, where she had a strawberries & creme frappacino and an asiago pretzel, and I had caramel apple cider and cheesecake. We looked through picture books of puppies and kittens, squeeing and giggling to our hearts' content. She read a manga and I read the ESPN magazine article on Phil Jackson. We bought a book of knitted dog sweater patterns that came with needles topped with these cute little puppy figures. Hannah is an excellent,if sporadic, knitter.

We both added books and calendars to our Holiday Lists. I've been intrigued by AlterKnits since I first saw it --- I think I'll ask for it for Christmas. And I saw a new book today: Mother of Purl, by the owner of a Hollywood knit shop, with stories of famous knitters (fine; whatever. . . Except for Kellie Martin. Big Kellie Martin fan ever since "Life Goes On") and some nice patterns. That will most likely go on a list, too.

(To Secret Pal, if you are reading this, NOT a list for you! A list for my mother and my children --- understood?)

We had a terrific time. Girls rule.