I was grocery shopping this afternoon and I saw a bag of Bugles. Every so often, I just can't resist purchasing a bag of Bugles. I love Bugles!
The flavor takes my mind straight into the kitchen on Mintern Lane. These were a rare treat for me and Kim, always enjoyed the day after an evening neighborhood card party hosted by you and Daddy. I couldn't help placing a Bugle onto each finger! They make a good witch hand for Halloween....
...or beautifully manicured fingernails for two young sisters playing pretend at the table in the kitchen on Mintern Lane.
A friend, who also happens to be a knitter, is facing some surgery and a few days in the hospital next week. Being the sort of person who could not even donate blood without knitting in my lap, I immediately set about preparing knitting care packages for her hospital stay.
The knitting needs to be the kind where she can pick it up and start knitting without having to clear a possibly foggy-from-medicine head. I want the knitting to help her heal, to boost her spirits, and to comfort her.
I found some clear paint cans at Michael's, and each can has yarn, needles and instructions for a simple scarf. Each is completely self contained so she can take it with her or her husband can grab a paint can and know that everything she will need is in there for her. I've already cast on each scarf so they are ready when she picks them up. Nothing more than the soothing repetition of knit stitches (and a speedy recovery) required.
Pipsqueak came down from her bath this morning with nothing but a towel wrapped around her. Oh. And this:
And just in case that isn't enough of a fright, take another view:
But. She had the good graces to hold it together. No fussing or crying--from her. Her mother?! That's an entirely different ball of wax! I hiccuped my tears down. I paced the floor trying to focus before I attempted the surgical removal of the comb. I had to involve the Husband. In an urgent, frantic phone call I explained the situation, "That beautiful hair is going to be chopped off right at the scalp! It will take years to grow back! We will have to cut off all of her hair so it looks 'normal' *hiccup* Everyone will tease her! *hiccup-hiccup*" In a calm, soothing voice from the Husband, I was told to find the wire cutters and "simply cut the comb from the hair"!! Simply cut the comb from the hair?!?! Is he high?!?!?! But I did. And I did. And this is what it looked like:
We combed the hair! Pipsqueak hopped her way up to her room, got herself dressed, tied the damn shoes and went on her merry way to school. I'm still drinking coffee with the Bailey's. Yep. Just an average, normal day here . . .
So, I showed this picture to Bonnie Jo along with a few others I took on my walk last week. Apparently, Bonnie Jo has some issues with grasshoppers dating back to our Mintern Lane days. I don't remember the incident she mentioned to me, and I am putting pressure on her to share the story. It has something to to with Cruelty to Insects. She is haunted by the memory.
The only insect cruelty I can recall is pulling the legs off of the Daddy Long Legs spiders and watching the spiders try to make a crooked escape while the amputated legs continued to move where we dropped them.
I think that I turned out okay. I am not a serial killer or anything, unless we are talking about insect serial killing and then yes, I admit it. I will not hesitate to step on and squish beyond recognition any spider I see.
Autumn is my favorite season. I love the colors, the cool crisp air, and the sound of crunchy leaves underfoot. I don't like what comes next, and it makes no sense to say this, but I feel more rejuvenated in the fall than other seasons.
Earlier this week, before the kids were out of school and while the weather was perfect, (why is it that spring and fall breaks seem to trigger the worst sorts of weather, trapping us all inside?) I took Bumper Joseph to our favorite soon-to-be-a-park for a nice walk. I'll be sorry when this becomes an official park and it isn't so wild and solitary.
Conjuring up the memory of a smell is impossible to me, it is not like remembering an image, or even a touch, but an actual scent can quickly evoke a forgotten memory and transport me to another time or place. The autumn smell of the field wasn't something I expected to enjoy as much as the sights on our walk, but it hit me as soon as I opened my car door. There is just a different kind of clean, head clearing scent out there in the fields that isn't here in my backyard.
I took a bazillion pictures on the walk. The dog running ahead and then waiting patiently for me to catch up.
Too bad I can't take a scratch and sniff photo.
CarolWHGSbL has taken my Parka design, made it her own, and is creating a work of art. I am thrilled.
Part of her design process has been the inclusion of Afterthought Pockets. I put them in the Young Lady's jacket and Carol wanted to put them in her parka to carry keys or gloves, maybe her phone and an ipod. As the name implies, Afterthought Pockets are placed in the knitting AFTER it is done. This way you can be sure that the pockets go exactly where you want them to be.
HOWEVER. Cutting into perfectly good knitting is definitely scary and sounds absolutely crazy. But once you have done it, you are liberated. The first time, though, requires a team of emotional and experienced support. I remember my first time. At Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp, in 1992. I cut a steek into a hat. It changed my knitting forever. I digress.
The surgical team gathered at my house yesterday.
Yes, it was an elective, cosmetic procedure. But surgery nonetheless. Scalpels, clamps and sutures were replaced by scissors, locking ring stitch markers and double pointed needles. Careful measurements were taken... and retaken...and pocket placement checked... and double checked... measurements triple checked. Pocket area carefully and clearly marked. A Clean Visual Field maintained.
We held our collective breath as CarolWHGSbL snipped the first stitch.
That deserves a close up shot.
The snipped stitch is made at the center of the soon-to-be-pocket-opening and the yarn is then carefully(didn't really need to say that) unraveled to the left and right to the desired pocket width. As scary as that first snip is, the unraveling part is probably the most unnerving part because now you are making a big gap in your beautiful knitting and exposing live stitches.
These live stitches are then placed on double pointed needles. Here you see the surgicalnurse DebbieWtPFHatPC passing off the required needle to the surgeon CarolWHGSbL.
And here you see all the rescued stitches resting comfortably on their needles.
The stitches on the top needle are then worked to create the pocket lining and the stitches on the bottom needle are finished off for the outer pocket border. Pretty slick.
If you've been at all observant to the details in the previous photos, you will have noticed that CarolWHGSbL was wearing a lovely blue hand knit sweater in the first photos, and is wearing a lightweight bright pink shirt in the later pictures. I think she may have broken out into a sweat at some point during the procedure.
I am happy to report that the pockets were successfully completed and the Parka is home, blocked and resting comfortably. The Surgeon is justifiably pleased and proud.
Okay, okay. I confess. These brownies were made from **gasp** a box. And who can resist purple and green ghoulish M&Ms?!?! Don't the M&Ms alone just make you want to giggle? Or do a happy dance?! I did make the buttercream frosting. For a birthday cake. And it was just going to waste in my fridge. It was begging to be eaten! And I am not eating the entire pan of brownies by myself--I gave a few to the neighbors.
It's just one of those warm brownies with fun M&Ms kind of day!
Have a good one!
It really is just an old shoe. Pink and black. A "new school shoe" purchased in the summer by a tired-of-school-supply-and-new-school-clothes-shopping mother; a shoe picked out by the 6 year old who couldn't wait (!) to start first grade. An average everyday shoe.
Except my 6 year old tied it this morning. All by her little pipsqueak self. And yes I celebrate her independence! Her wiggly pride in a shoe well tied!
But I also mourn because I need to tie her shoes before school every morning. She is only 6 after all!
Really, though. It's just a shoe, right?
Okay, I confess. I started knitting another North Porch Hat last night during Project Runway. I may knit more hats than I know people with heads that would wear them before this craze wears down. Such is my obsession, that I took the hat with me to the blood drive at My Hero's office this morning. Even though the voice in my head was counselling me that this was Unrealistic and Knitting would be Impossible with one arm occupied by the donation. Still, I had my knitting in my lap the whole time. Never knit a stitch, but it was there just in case. I even brought the larger sized needles I would need if the hat got that far.
I learned that yogurt and granola is not a substantial breakfast if one is to donate blood. I felt a bit peckish afterwards and was rewarded with a Sprite in addition to my orange juice and cookie, and a longer rest time. I was kept company by another donor who was feeling even worse than I was. I am thinking that the office may want to rethink hosting blood drives at the same time there is an in-office Biggest Loser competition going on. All that crashing blood sugar is not a pretty sight.
I don't know if I am cleansing my knitting palate after the black lace marathon, but I seem to be obsessed with knitting this hat. I finished my third yesterday. This one is for me.
I used 1 ball of Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn for this one. Purchased at Inish Knits.
I am putting the finishing touches on the pattern and will put it for sale in my ravelry shop. Melissa has expressed an interest in selling it at Inish Knits, too!
Last night I started a pair of socks, tried to figure out what my next big project will be, and stared at another ball of sock yarn that I think is crying out to be another hat.
Obsessed, I tell you!
Last week I met with Barb, Creative Knitting Magazine's editor, so that I could give her a to-be-published knitted item and the instructions for it. She and I bonded several years ago when we met at a local yarn shop and realized that we could speak fluent knitting to each other and be understood. OH! My heart leaped in joy!
Barb had a beautiful pair of socks in progress and showed me the new (to me, at least) sock yarn she was using. You can kind of see the sock in the background. I was enchanted with the actual ball of yarn and not thinking clearly when I snapped the photo. In fact, I commented on how pretty the yarn was wound ( I know- knitter knerd) and wondered out loud if that is how the yarn is sold.
Well, it was a good thing I did, because not only is Barb a wonderful editor, expert knitter, patient teacher and generous friend, she is a human wool winder! All these many years I have been using this to wind skeins of wool into center-pull balls of yarn:
Barb taught me a new trick and now I can create lovely center pull balls of yarn by hand, too! OK, I know. Knitter knerd. But a happy contented one.
Yesterday I gave the first batch of raw wool a bath.
I put a small bundle into a mesh laundry bag and let it soak in hot water with Orvus WA Paste (my favorite sweater wash, by the way). The initial bath water was caramel colored. I gave it several soaking rinses until the water was mostly clear, then the wool took a ride in the washing machine's spin cycle. It is now upstairs air drying, out of reach of Bumper Joseph, who seems to think I brought the sheepy smelling stuff home for him to tear into.
When I figure out what my next step is, I'll let you know, but in the meantime I am liking this wooly fluff and all the promising possibilities.
The long drive to and from the weekend wedding destination offered plenty of knitting time. We had terrible driving conditions on the way up on Friday evening- it rained the entire drive- and I tended to my knitting to avoid getting nervous and making My Hero even more tense than he already was. When it got too dark to see my knitting, it was time to help navigate unfamiliar roads.
The wedding reception was well underway when we arrived. Now, there are times when it is glaringly obvious that my children favor one side of the family or the other, and when The Young Man immediately disappeared to join the crowd on the dance floor, I didn't have to stop to wonder where that came from. It wasn't from me. The Young Lady joined me with the quieter out-laws.
When family pictures were taken, the patient photographer needed to take several of the boisterous group. When it came time for a "just the outlaws" picture, she only needed to snap one because we took our positions, smiled for the camera and held still.
I was able to knit some more over the weekend and then a little more on the drive back home. (When I wasn't dozing.) I think the fact that My Hero left his voice in Detroit at the Red Wings game making it difficult for him to yell at instruct the other drivers on the road, along with listening to football on the radio, made the ride home a tad more peaceful than normal and I kept nodding off.
I did finish thesemittens and the hat to go with them, though.
I am tweaking my hat design. I started another, in a fingering weight yarn. We'll see how that goes and then I may offer the pattern.
I purchased the buttons for the mittens at Skeins on Main, a yarn shop my soul sister-in law, Cheryl, took me to on Saturday morning.
On Saturday, another outlaw, as if he didn't have enough to do what with just having hosted a wedding and all, asked me if I would like some raw wool from his sheep! I was struck speechless. He misinterpreted my condition, thinking that I was trying to find a polite way to say No Thank You when in fact so many happy thoughts were scrambling in my head and fighting to be the first spoken that they were jammed up and nothing would come out! I did find the words, and brought home this:
Processing, or having it processed will be a learning experience. I will document the progress of the bag o'wool here on the blog. If I am successful, there is more wool for me if I want it!
I must be off- today the weather calls for homemade soup and bread for dinner, and I need to make a quick trip to the grocery for ingredients.
It took some panicky marathon knitting (I knit through the entire school day on Thursday with the first Harry Potter and Chocolat- the movie not the food- to keep me going) and my right arm may never completely straighten out again, but I managed to get the black lace duster off my needles in time to have it blocked and dry (thanks to a box fan blowing on it all night) so I could wear it to a niece's wedding on Friday night.
It is soft, flowing and comfortable. It deserves a better name than "black lace duster". I used Classic Elite's Wool Bam Boo yarn. The buttons were purchased at Inish Knits.
I have ideas for modifying this design a little to make an everyday casual sweater, but it is nice for this knitter to have a dressy handknit of her own design.
This next is a poor self portrait using the timer, but maybe you can get an idea of how the whole thing looks:
Tomorrow I will show you what I finished over the weekend. And the exciting gift I was given.
I took the kids and my favorite neighbor to one of my favorite places. We met the authors of The Spiderwick Chronicles, Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi!! WOW!! We spent the evening listening to them talk. They were funny, animated, serious . . . fabulous. They shared where some of their ideas came from.
We watched Tony Diterlizzi draw his incredible pictures!
We got to listen to Holly read from the newest book in the Beyond Spiderwick series.
We were entranced.
Holly and Tony played a trivia game with the kids in the crowd.
And the teenager won the motherload of prizes!! He won the original drawing from earlier in the night, he won the Spiderwick Chronicles movie and he won a book that hasn't been released yet!! It's the entire Spiderwick Chronicles, The Completely Fantastical Edition, all of the series in one book!
Holly and Tony also sat and autographed books and talked with every person.
I can't believe how magical the night was. In Spiderwick terminology, it was completely fantastical!