Monthly Archives: October 2006

Oh, crap.

Literally.

I love this dog. But Gracie, shall we say, has had some intestinal issues this past year that results in some unpleasant surprises in the morning. She is much too ladylike to do something like bark and whine when she needs emergency use of the facilities in the middle of the night. She knows we needs our sleep, so she politely poops on the carpet, or by the back door, or on our shoes. We’ve tried telling this sweet girl it is much more rude to poop in someone’s shoe than it is to wake them up, but she persists. Needless to say, yesterday there was another surprise for us, which meant another trip to the vet for complete bloodwork this time. Possible diagnosis may be irritable bowel syndrome. Hopefully we can figure it out soon, because she feels bad, we’re sick of the messes, and my mom wants her carpet shampooer back one of these days.

The Knitters Coffee Swap is going to be a blast. These knitters are serious about their coffee, and I’m looking forward to seeing what these swappers put together. Haven’t signed up yet? There are still spots left, to get your coffee-lovin’-self over here and send me your info.

Socktoberfest? Remember how I said I’d finish up two pairs of socks and you all politely said to me that maybe it was a bit much (and at home said to yourself “That chick is nuts if she thinks she’ll knit two and a half socks in a month with two little boys.”) Okay, the idea was nuts, but, it looks like one pair might be finished by the 31st. Six more rows and I’m ready for the heel. Thank you boys for sleeping this month!

Now if I only had a nice Oktoberfest brew (beer this time, not coffee) to go with it I’d be a happy girl. Maybe the Skeptic will bring some home. Have a great weekend!

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Coffee Swap info

So here’s the link to the new Coffee Swap blog!

Link

(It isn’t the loveliest button, I know, but dang, if Photoshop is not just the tiniest bit confusing!)

I picked up Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitters Almanac at the library today so I can get going on Zimmermania. I’m going to make hats (Gnomy) for the boys out of the Panache I got from Cecily. Not only was she a brilliant knitter, but I forgot how entertaining she is just to read. I wish I had time ti knit more from the book, but I’m sticking with hats and mittens for now.

The funny thing was, when I got the book home and opened it up, a size 4 Crystal Palace needle rolled out! (Anybody lose one?)

As I noticed the first traces of snow this morning, I began to get into that winter knitters panic, especially serious here in Minnesota. You know, when you realize all the winter wear you need but don’t have time to knit?

Hat for Knittybaby
Hat for Little Man (because apparently he has reached the self conscious stage and will not wear his “wiggly hat” because he thinks kids will laugh at him. His other hat he lost, the other one is for sub zero days only)
Multiple mittens for Little Man along with wristers
Wristers for the Skeptic
Hat for the Skeptic (as one is “too itchy” and the other not tough enough for Minnesota winters)
Mittens for me

The question is, how many of you would actually knit all this because you know you can, and it will be way better than anything you can buy, and who just says the heck with it and orders from LL Bean?

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So let’s swap!

Okay, so I think the Knitter’s Coffee Swap is going to be a go! I’m going to try to get it organized and open sign ups this week. I’ve decided that since I’ve never done a swap before, I’d better get in touch with a couple of other hostesses so I don’t leave anything out.

But, I’d also love to hear your ideas too. What do you like in a swap? Don’t like? Suggestions for this swap? All I know right now is it will involve coffee and get wrapped up in early December (before the holiday knitting rush really begins!) So, get your ideas posted now and get the word out! Sign ups will start on Wednesday (as long as I’ve got my act together) and be open for about two weeks.

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I love swaps!!

Look what arrived!!!

My Knitflix package was on my doorstep yesterday. A very welcome distraction for a challenging afternoon. My swap partner, Cecily, did an awesome job of putting together a package!

Mostly Martha couldn’t be a more perfect movie: A German flick that involves food and romance. Can’t beat that! I’ll be watching it this weekend, enjoying my yummy treats and some incredible yarn. Cecily, you totally read my mind. I’ve been meaning to try Panache from Knitpicks. Even better, the colors are perfect for the boys. I see new hats on the horizon. I’m beginning to realize, especially with two kids now, you can never have too many hats and mittens. Thank you so much Cecily, you did a great job and I love my package!


I’m getting started on my first SP9 package to send out. I really do love these swaps. I love trying to figure out the perfect package to send, and it’s so nice to get spoiled myself, getting a chance to try things I might not normally think of or never get the chance to pick up. There are so many fun swaps to do, but I was thinking last night, has anyone ever seen a Knitters coffee swap? I’ve seen tea, chocolate, but not coffee. How can there not be a coffee swap? I was thinking, if there wasn’t one already maybe I’d host one, but it could turn into one of those “what was I thinking I don’t have time for this” things. Hmmmm……but a coffee swap……anyone think there is actually enough interest out there? Lemme think about it.

On to Socktoberfest. Mountain Peaks sock #1 done (except for grafting).

Don’t you hate that no matter how you take your sock photos, your leg seems to double in size?

A close up:
Sorry Gracie, it was the only halfway sunny spot in the house.

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The Skeptic Continued and SP9 Questions

I found it interesting how many of you have your own skeptics! Could it be a knitter thing?

Chris asked what his original nickname was going to be. I had though Mr. DIY would be funny. Partly because he is a total do-it-yourself kind of guy, to the extreme. How extreme? When we bought our house, we had a small leak. Did we call a roofer? Nope, The Skeptic went right up there, ripped off about 6 feet of shingles, then came back in and said he might need to get a little help. He dives headfirst into all projects and home repairs with gusto, figures it out as he goes, and while it sometimes takes forever, he does do an awesome job. The funny part was I used “DIY” the other week and he had no clue what it meant, the other reason I thought it would be a funny name. But, he didn’t like Mr. DIY and when I he said “The Skeptic” I thought it was better than mine, so The Skeptic he will be.

Speaking of home repairs, The Skeptic has one of his least favorites this weekend: window repair. Why is our window broken you ask? One guess……yup, Little Man. How did he break it? Now don’t worry, because he is just fine, but, he broke it with his head. He was bouncing on the couch and went just a bit crooked. Amazingly, he had one tiny cut that barely bled, and was more scared than hurt. The funny part was that in order to get all the flakes of glass off I had to vaccuum his head off. Not many kids can say they broke a window with their head!

Now, on to my SP9 Questions:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I’m definetely more of a natural fibers person. Love wool, alpaca, and silk. Not a fan of acrylics. I’m okay with some novelty yarns, like ribbon, just not the really furry/gaudy stuff.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I have a straight needle case that my grandma made for me, and a crochet needle case for my double points, but since it’s really for crochet needles it’s too short so they always fall out. My poor circs? Jumbled up in a bag!

3. How long have you been knitting? How did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I started knitting a few months after Little Man was born, so that would be close to three and a half years. Geez, it seems so much longer than that! My grandma got me started, and then I’ve learned everything else from the Stitch and Bitch Books and all of you lovely bloggers! I’m intermediate, I’d guess.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Yup! right here

5. What’s your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
lavender and citrus, but only the all natural stuff like you’d find at a coop/natural foods place. I’m allergic to most synthetic stuff.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate! And nuts too.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I’m learning to spin and bought my spinning wheel last summer, although with the boys it’s been very neglected lately. I bought a new sewing machine this summer which I love!

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I like classical, jazz, folk and folk/rock the most, but I’m pretty much open to anything that’s not mainstream pop. Yup to MP3’s.

9. What’s your favorite color? Any colors you just can’t stand? Wow, that’s hard! I’m really into the pink/brown or blue/brown combos lately. My least favorite would be the “baby” pastels, as well as yellow and purple (although I guess I like those colors for the boys, just not me). Oh, and although I love each color separately, I hate pink/purple varigated; reminds me of Barbie dolls 🙂

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I’ve got two boys, 3.5 years (Little Man) and just about 7 months (Knittybaby), and a husband of almost 9 years (The Skeptic). I’ve got two cats, Arthur and Basil, and a greyhound named Gracie. Little Man loved SP8 and thought all the chocolates were his 🙂

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Yes to all! I couldn’t make it through a Minnesota winter w/out them, especially my scarves. I made one poncho, but now I think I’m kind of getting tired of the poncho thing and I pretty much wear it only around the house (its Rowan Big Wool, very warm)

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? I love to make socks! I also like to make stuff for my boys and sweaters for me, although I haven’t actually finished one yet. They are both UFO’s. Felted bags are fun too.

13. What are you knitting right now? A sweater for my youngest, socks for me, my raglan sweater. I’m getting ready to start Christmas sweaters for the boys.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Yes I do! 🙂

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Usually circular, addis or bamboo, but the more slippery bamboo like Crystal Palace. I also have a set of Denise needles that I love. Oh, the Knitpicks Options are cool too.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? yup, yup

17. How old is your oldest UFO? 2 years. It’s the Barbara Walker Learn-to-Knit afaghan. There are 63 squares. I’m only on 9!

19. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

20. Is there anything that you collect?
Other than yarn, patterns and CD’s, I’m an anti-collector. I’ve been trying to de-clutter the past year, not that it seems to be helping much. All my new spaces keep getting filled with toys and little boy clothes 🙂

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I’d love to get my hands on some of the great handpainted sock yarn coming out of all the Etsy shops lately, or “Socks that Rock” as I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. I subscribe to “Vogue Knitting,” “Interweave Knits” and “Spin Off.” I could use size 2 and 3 24 inch circular. Books, see my wish list.

22. Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn?
Lace! And although I’ve practiced on cable swatches, I’ve yet to make an actual garment.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? I love to knit socks. Size 8 shoe, length 9 and 3/4 inches, circ below the calf about 10 inches.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) 3/29

Thanks, SP!

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Introducing…

The Skeptic


He picked it himself. I had actually thought of a different nickname. When I told him I had one picked out he said, “Is it the Skeptic?” When he said it I realized that is actually the perfect name for him, much better than the lame one I had though of. Why, you ask?

Main Entry: skep·ti·cism
Pronunciation: 'skep-t&-"si-z&m
Function: noun
1 : an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object

As in:

“Isn’t the wind going to blow right through that hat?”

“Isn’t that going to be itchy?”

“Those socks look like they’ll fall down.”

“Looks like it’s going to curl in to me.”

“Do you really need to buy more needles?”

“Are you really going to use that thing?” (spinning wheel)

Not to make him look unsupportive of my knitting. This is a man who says very little about my closetfull of yarn, and despite his comments, wears his handknits daily and occasionally requests more. But, he is a German-Lutheran from a small farm in Central Wisonsin, which makes him genetically incapable of making his initial comment a positive one, regarding anything, not just knitting*. His mind automatically focuses on the one thing that just might be a problem. Now all the above comments are usually followed by something like “…but I really love the colors and I know you worked really hard, and I’m sure those socks will fit just fine.” But, he is a glass half empty kind of guy, although in a very endearing way, which is one of the reasons I am absolutely crazy about him. He balances out my overly optimistic nature, because yes, sometimes the socks do fall down (but only the first pair!) When his is old, he will be one loveable curmudgeon.

The Skeptic is the reason I was able to finish the treasure hunt this past weekend. He took Little Man to help him fix the lawnmower so Knittybaby and I could hit the last two stores, Zandy’s and Needlework Unlimited. I bought a felted mitten pattern and some other goodies for my secret pal and called it quits. I also picked up my Amazing Threads door prize Monday night: a skein of Soysilk, a candle, a couple patterns and a small woolwash sample called Soak. I’m not sure if they have picked the $3,000 winner yet. There is no way I’ll win as I was amazed I even won a door prize; I’m usually not the winning type when it comes to contests. But I had a good time, got to run into quite a few knitting friends, and found some new yarn shops. A good weekend!

*For further insights into this phenomenom, take a listen to Lake Wobegon. Small town Minnesota is strikingly similar to small town Wisconsin (at least north of Madison, anyway).

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Of Socks and Sleep

Here’s my first official Socktoberfest post. I’ll get to the questions this weekend, but I did make progress on the Mountain Peaks sock:

See the heel? It’s on the way!

On to mothering…..

It seems that a lot of time in our house lately is either spent dealing with three year old drama and tantrums, or dealing with sleep. And although three year olds are naturally prone to drama and tantrums (it helps us get ready for the middle school years!) good sleep can help all that drama be less, well, dramatic. With a baby, trying to help them sleep can be a project in itself. Every now and then when I find myself getting too crabby and short with my kids, I really try sit down and think about what’s going and how we can reevaluate how we’re handling things, So, this week I’ve resurrected an old favorite of mine, The No Cry Sleep Solution and checked out two others, Unconditional Parenting and Sleepless in America.

The No Cry Sleep Solution is by far one of the top parenting books I’ve ever read. It’s not a “sleep training” book. Instead, she really teaches you to understand sleep and to figure out your child’s needs and sleep patterns. It is time consuming to do. You really have to commit to it for at least a month, if not more. But it has worked for us whenever sleep (or lack of it) has started to get difficult for us. The best part is that she covers all sleeping situations, so if you’re a cosleeping family like us she has very specific suggestions. She also has a lot of great advice for nursing and sleeping issues. She truly values each child as an individual. As I’m sure you can guess from the title, there is no “cry-it-out” involved, which makes me a happy mama; as frustrated as I’ve been at times I could never understand that philosophy. Sleepless in America promises to be similar, but seems to have a lot of research based information as well and be more in depth.

Our current sleep problems revolve around Knittybaby in the daytime. Like his big brother, he’s a great nightime sleeper. But our wacky schedule has not left us with much consistancy, which leaves him catnapping a lot of the day, getting overtired and crabby and unwilling to sleep. Today I felt like I spent half the day trying to get him to sleep. The Amby is great once he’s sleeping, it’s getting him there that is the problem. So it’s time to reevaluate and figure out something that works for him.

Little Man’s sleeping had been a big problem this past summer, but seems to have resolved itself in the last couple of weeks. You see, he’s made the big move into his own room. He slept in our bed until he was two, then in a toddler bed in our room until the baptism weekend. I don’t think he ever really got the concept that the other room was “his” room. But a couple weeks ago we set up a new bookshelf in there (he loves his books) and my mom brought up this quilt:

I thought I would give you the realistic unmade bed look we have going on.


Isn’t it beautiful? I love, love, love this quilt!!! The colors are much more vibrant than the picture shows. She’s spent the last couple years working on it and he was thrilled to have it. He’s been sleeping in there ever since.

I have mixed feelings about this. We both have loved cosleeping with our kids. I couldn’t really imagine having them anywhere else, and there is nothing we love more than all falling asleep together at the end of the day. Plus, no one has to get out of bed in the middle of the night. I miss having him in there. But at the same time, I’m thankful he was able to make the decision himself when he was ready, and it does seem to be taking the edge off during the day. This past week has been a lot better and I think it is because he is sleeping better at night since he’s in a bigger bed. I’m sad though, as he seems to be doing more and more “big boy” things lately and I can hardly believe he’s at that stage in his life already.

Wow, I wrote more than I planned. But it’s been on my mind lately as I’ve been getting frustrated, and I know how hard it can be for moms to deal with, especially those going through sleep issues with their first babies. I’ve found it to be one of the most challenging things to deal with as a parent. But I’ve also found that when you really take the time to figure out what your child needs to be a good sleeper, naptime and bedtime can be one of the nicest parts of the day. Every child will be different and will need different things, and it can take work and time to encourage good sleep habits with our kids. There is not one right way to do it except to follow in your own heart what feels right for your child. Because eventually they won’t need a nap anymore, and they’ll stop letting you tuck them in or read them a story or sing them a song, and believe it or not, I know we will miss all these rituals with our kids. I have nothing but fond memories of bedtime with my parents. I never felt lonely, or scared, or sad. They read, they sang, they sat, even though I know by then they were ready to call it a night and try to sneak in some time to relax themselves. I hope when my boys are grown they will be able to look back and say we did the same thing.

Okay, I feel better having reminded myself of that. Hope I didn’t tick anyone off. I know sleep is a touchy issue at times. Now, who’s going treasure hunting this weekend?

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