Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

With the new year comes another resolution to post more in my blog. I have people finding me on Facebook that may (or may not) want to see what I am doing with my life, so I need to be better at updating.

So, the run down of the last part of 2008:

Anna learned to knit: (Thanks Kassie at Iris!)
We had some birthdays (Nicholas' party is late, in a few weeks):

We started school:
We were a princess at Every Girl's a Princess:
We went to Florida:

We thought the snow was "cute" and "fun" and "quaint" when it first arrived in November:
(We learned snow is not cute or much fun when it comes down every day.)

I knit some mittens and a keyhole scarf for Emily (Saffy just thinks the scarf is hers):

We had Christmas:
During which time, I knit some snowflakes. A LOT of snowflakes. But they really turned out nicely:

Here's the pattern.

Today I get a yummy order from Sonny and Shear. Happy New Year to me!

And I'm currently knitting a warm tie bonnet in Caron One Pound.

So there's my life. You didn't miss much.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pitter Patter--and are all City Engineers dicks?

I finished Emily's 2 pairs of socks:

This method is so easy, I can't wait to start another pair! It's so nice to have them both done at once.

Alright, I got fed up yesterday on my traffic issues. They closed the main street in Appleton which runs parallel to my street. And didn't put up signs that kept people off my street--people got mad and were speeding. I counted 33 cars in 15 minutes last night going down my street and having to turn around. Most were speeding when they drove away.

So I went to city hall. Who sent me to the Police department. I sent an email to the Mayor, my Alderman and Cc'd the police department about the problem. So this morning I get back an email from the City Engineer stating they reviewed the problem last week (10 times no less. I'm here most days, but they were here 9 times I didn't see them. And the one time I DID see them, they were here for 3 minutes.) That I am pretty much a complainer. That the signs were appropriate and they already went "above and beyond". But he put up new signs anyway, just for me.

So I sent back an email telling him I am glad the new signs are up, they cut down the traffic dramatically. And that I am not a complainer. And that I felt the tone of the email was that I should just sit and shut up, and I thought government was about participation, but I guess I was wrong. But thanks for the new sign.


I guess I shouldn't be too upset, considering I got what I asked for and it worked. But very nice attitude they have over there when you want to make them actually DO their job, isn't it? Of course I am sure they don't teach manners in City Engineer school.

I let the police department know that they didn't have to do extra patrols because the city engineer did his job. I found out why he was so pissed--because they called over and said that Public Works wasn't cooperating. So of course he had to list all the ways he went "above and beyond" If this was their above and beyond, I'm a little concerned. And I greatly appreciate the Police Department listening to me and taking me seriously.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Packer Fans: Read this

Here is the best article on the Packers-Favre saga. Pretty much tells it as I see it:

It Works!

You know that feeling you get when something totally works out? Even when you thought maybe it wouldn't work out? Like the first time your cable works out and you think, "Dang! That looks good, and it wasn't that hard!" That's the feeling I got from knitting 2 socks at one time!

I bought the book 2-at-a-Time-Socks a while ago, and was waiting for the right moment to start. I pretty much had that moment stare me in the face when I f-d up my stole and just didn't feel like tinking 100+ stitches that I may or may not get them all. So I thought "Ok! Time for a break"

I read and re-read the directions. And re-read the directions again. I whipped out some pink and purple Red Heart and started on the toddler socks step by step pattern. And Ta Da!:
So far so good!

I wish the same could be about my street situation. We live near the pool, and they are doing construction on the street the pool entrance is on. So rather than put up signs directing people how to get to the pool, they let them wing it. Which means, when they can't turn down John street (that the pool is on) they make the next right--down my street. Which only has a walking entrance to the pool, not an auto entrance.

So my street--normally very VERY quiet--is loaded with cars. Cars who are pissed they are not at the pool, so they whip around at 40 mph. Throw their cars into reverse and slam it backwards, without looking. We live on a street with a lot of who have been spoiled by being able to play in the street. So it's pretty worrisome.

(my very busy street)

I'm hoping even if the unsafe/bazillion car issue doesn't get the city's attention that the fact that they are illegally parking in front of the fire hydrant or that they are cruising up the walking paths and driving over the grass to get to the parking lot maybe will get their attention. My guess is by the time they actually do something about it, the pool season will be over. But ah well.

Back to knitting.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Clue 2

I finished Clue 2 of the Casablanca stole.
Just in time for Clue 4 to come out tomorrow.

It took longer than expected, but mainly it was finding quiet time to be able to read the chart properly. I had 3 "little distractions" to work around.

I think it's coming out nicely.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Look what I got!

Under my knitting links, you will see a new link to Sonny and Shear. Check out what I got in the mail:

I not only got some beautiful Squooshy yarn in a super fun color, I got a handwritten note thanking me for my purchase, and 2 packets of tea. How is THAT for customer service???? It's just so nice in this age of "Hurry up. No soup for you!" that I not only receive my yarn fast, with very reasonable shipping, but I get notes? Tea? Wrapped in a bag with hand-tied ribbon???

Seriously, you can't compete with that. Sonny and Shear now has a lifelong customer

Next post: Anna and her amazing knitting. My girl is a knitter! But I want her to show you, and she's off getting gypsy moth caterpillars off our trees right now.

And I'm off to work on my Casablanca stole. I'm up to the repeat of clue 2, and I'm hoping to get Clue 2 finished before Clue 4 comes out this Friday. Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Yes, I have been knitting

Although it might not be very exciting to show you, I have been knitting:
At least Anna's doll looks very nice--although Anna could care less. Emily is happy. Now she wants outfits for all her babies.

The pattern is from Frugal Haus Knitting--they are awesome by the way! I ordered a Paton's slipper book, the pattern for this doll dress, and patterns for Mickey and Minnie Mouse sweaters (Disneyworld, here we come!) I was absolutely thrilled to learn that I earned 2 free patterns for my purchase! So I got this beautiful Fan Stitch pattern and a cute little apple hat (think Brian will wear one for Apple Picking this year??) Frugal Haus tries so hard to please their customers, and they have great patterns, from basic to advanced. I highly recommend them.

Speaking of highly recommended, I bought something from Sonny and Shear. Everyone raves about them, and I've talked to Kris once or twice on Ravelry, and she's such a nice person. I don't have a lot of money, but this yarn was calling me. I am such a sucker for hand dyed yarn lately. When it comes I'll take pictures.

Also in the "waiting with baited breath" category--Anna starts her knitting class tomorrow with Kassie at Iris Fine Yarns. We stopped in Saturday and Phyllis told us that Anna will be the only one in the class--which is great for Anna. I am just pounding into her little stubborn brain that she needs to L-I-S-T-E-N. I don't want to be vindicated on this one--that Anna can't learn knitting from me...or anyone else. I want her knitting with me in 2 weeks! She already picked out some light pink Cascade 220, that Phyllis let her take home to meditate over. I'll let you know what happens.

Other than that, I am still working on the Casablanca Stole. It's going well, although I wanted to work on it this weekend and accidently left the beads at my parents house--and of course, I was on a beaded row. I also cast on for the Goddess Shawl. I cheated. I used a provisional cast on and, I knit back and forth for the first 14 rows, then grafted it all together with the tail using a mattress stitch. You can't even tell. Of course then I f-d up a few rows later and I probably have to start over. But at least I started, and I can't believe that at least for 1 day I had 2 shawls on the needles.

I still have my garden sock waiting to turn the heel. And I started a market bag today while we were at the beach (I figure it didn't matter if I got sand all over my sugar and cream yarn...). I didn't get very far, since the pattern calls for 80 sts in the round, and I only had a 29" circular needle with me. I ended up casting on 120. Then it was about to rain, so I didn't get anything done!! But it will be a nice take-along project.

Fourth of July was nice. Worked on my stole a bit, enjoyed the fireworks at my parents house. They finally took our Weber grill and brought it to their house so I didn't have to cook over here. Only they continually needed directions on how to do this or that, and my father burned everything to a crisp. So I'm still trying to figure out if it was better or worse not having them here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Wish To Thank The Academy

Ladies and Gentlemen...thank you for your kind praise. I am humbled and awed at myself for finishing the first clue in the Casablanca stole--BEFORE the 2nd clue comes out. It was a challenge, but with the help of many people in my life (most of whom don't have a frickin clue who I am), I have succeeded.

First of all, I have to thank Wendy at Knit and Tonic. Without her help with the Long Tail Provisional Cast On, this project would have never been started. Provisional cast ons always terrified and confused me, but Wendy's tutorial made it easy.

Next I have to thank Debi at FluffyKnitterDeb, who's excellent tutorial taught me how to add beads without stringing them all up at once.

I was not only excited when I read her very easy to understand tutorial, I was shocked and amazed when I did it and IT ACTUALLY WORKED! I felt like when I did my first cable: "Holy crap that was easy! And it looks like it was hard!"

(BTW as an aside note--both these blogs have INCREDIBLE patterns, for free and for sale, so you should check them out!)

Of course I have to thank the amazing CatLady2 who, with her sister thought up and created this KAL. It's a real treat!!!

Last but not least, I have to thank my friend Thora, who taught me that circular needles don't have to suck, in spite of Karola ripping out my entire sweater for Anna I worked on for HOURS on a train to New York. I swore I'd never use circular needles again. The second time I went out there Thora was making socks--on circular needles--and I figured they deserved a second try. So thanks my Knitting Friend.

BTW Karola, if you stumble across this: I forgive you and love you for what you tried to teach me. I just wasn't ready to jump that far ahead in the lesson yet ;)

I now await the second clue. AND if anyone has a good way to do a circular cast on that does not involve 9 tiny stitches slipping off dpn's and lots of swearing, I am ready to be a good student. I am 2 clues behind on my Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery Shawl and every time I try to figure it out I am ready to scream

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Summer Solstice

Yay, it's summer! We started it out by going to a drive in movie of all things. Seriously, I haven't been to a drive-in movie since I was Anna's age and saw Clash of the Titans. That one and Star Wars were the ones I saw at the old 41 Outdoor in Appleton. I remember the playground, and going in your jammies in case you fell asleep in the backseat. I remember driving by going somewhere, and the screen faced the highway--and turning around and straining just to keep watching the movie going by for a few seconds, even if you couldn't hear it. Life was so much easier than. Joys were a lot more simple to find and covet (even if the rest of it sometimes scarred you for life....)


So we went to Field of Scenes. It was a nice atmosphere, and we saw Kung Fu Panda and Iron Man for $16. The food of course was expensive, but ah well. Nicholas and Anna (we left Emily with Grandma) stayed up through both movies (!!!) and we didn't get home until 2am. But it was really neat. Next time I hope we get the mini-van fixed and we can just open up the back flap, put the seats down, throw some blankets in and hang out and watch the movie.

I have been working on my sock--the green garden one. Emily says that my one sock is lonely and needs a buddy. So I am working on the buddy:

I am also a little disappointed in my Knit Picks order. I ordered Shadow Lace yarn in the color Snorkel and some Gloss Lace in the color Aegean. If you look on the website, the colors are different. Still blues of course, but the Aegean definitely looks darker to me. Here is the Aegean as taken with my camera:

And here is the snorkel:

And here they are side by side:

Not much of a difference huh? They FEEL different. And there is a little difference, but not as much as it looked like when I ordered. Glad I like the color--but still. I expected something a little different anyway. Even for monitor variations they look different on the monitor--so shouldn't they be different in real life?

Anyway, there is my complaining. So I have some shawls to make. I have some "sock buddies" to make. I still haven't finished my Obama charity knitting for the month. And of course we are trying to get ready for a rummage sale next month (because my friend Leslie, who is a kind soul, put it off a month for me since I still have so many boxes to go through) and clean the garage and the basement--that leaked more than we thought. Brian cleaned a lot of mold. And yarn that had to get thrown away because of mold. And my nice (expensive) knit knack sack that had to be thrown out because of mold. It was my first "real" knitting bag. It cost a fortune for me, but I was so proud of having an ACTUAL knitting bag (instead of plastic bags. And later tote bags which work fine. But this was a KNITTING BAG!) Don't get me started--I am glad that I don't have all my yarn cataloged, because I don't know what is missing now. Ignorance is bliss.

So that's what is on the agenda for the next few days. Glad I had a day off today. Work on Wednesday was less than stellar. I'm only there 2 hours a day, 2 days a week. You'd think I could avoid Drama. It just finds me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I know I've been missing, and I have no good excuse really. Just life catching up with me. I've been trying to knit a sweater, but I am not enamored with the yarn (it is some acrylic/wool mix I had in my stash...that I was in love with years ago when I bought it in I am not so in love). It's going slowly.

I did manage to finish the baby sweater for Anna's teacher.

We also rode on Thomas the Tank Engine! It was expensive, but worth the money. There are so many activities at the railroad museum, and they have so many "Day Out with Thomas" activities, it was worth it (even in the pouring rain). I made Anna and Nicholas' shirts. Are they cool or what? (If I do say so myself!)

We are fortunate to be up a hill from the Fox River, so we are not in danger of flooding, although our basement is getting a wee bit damper than I like it, and the dehumidifier is running overtime. But the river is moving VERY fast:

Other than that, I have just been knitting charity washcloths and hats for our Knitters for Obama charity project. I need to sit down and work out my 2-at a Time Socks one of these days. And the yarn for both my Mystery shawl KAL and my Casablanca Shawl KAL is on the way, so that should keep me slightly busy I think!

And I'll leave you with this completely awesome picture of a hawk. I think he thought Emily looked tasty. He was SO close, and directly above us:

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

I've been trying to keep myself busy--honest! I rediscovered my sewing machine after seeing that all the little girl's shorts this year were on the "I'm going to show my underwear I'm so short" side. So I made Anna a pair of shorts...white with pink polka dots.
They turned out great. They come above her knee, but not up to her crotch. And I fit the waist so they don't slide down and show her butt crack all the time (which is an exciting moment around here!)

I am also making a Baby Surprise Jacket for Anna's teacher, who had her baby the 12th.
I am thinking that as long as I get it done by the end of the year I'm good to go, since I won't see her and it might be sitting in her classroom. Darn early babies!

I also have to share this picture of my little boy riding away--without training wheels!
He had his buddy down the street take them off, and they broke in the process. I was thinking about how many times Anna wanted hers back on (Trying to teach Anna to ride a bike...oh the drama!) and I told Nicholas that he'll have to ride a two-wheeler or go without a bike for the summer, because we're not buying him new training wheels. So he got on his bike. And rode. Within an hour, you would never have guessed he just learned. Today he is riding all over. I am amazed.
Oh and to end with, last night I finally got a picture of the Oriole down on the trail.
So far I haven't coaxed him up the hill...but I do have beautiful Gold Finches now. I also have blue jays AND bluebirds. And a robin took a bath in my birdbath yesterday. So that's kinda fun too.

No big plans for this weekend. All the campsites in the area are booked, because nobody wants to spend $4 a gallon to go anywhere (us included). So we'll have a cookout this weekend and probably go to the parade on Monday (and enjoy not going to work anyway)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Little Down...and some knitting

I had a nice Mother's Day. Brian actually shopped ahead of time, which means a lot (he never does. For anything.) I got a Sudoku cube (like a Rubik's Cube, only Sudoku. It's really hard), some massage lotions and the best--an entire set of bamboo circular needles!

Of course Mother's Day turned into cleaning and catering to our mothers. I told Brian next year we should go out of town for Mothers Day...then I can actually do something with my kids besides entertaining.

I also finished one half of a pair of socks. Again. But it looks nice.

Of course I made the mistake of buying a book about knitting 2 socks at the same time (I recognize my problem. And it is becoming a problem. Then I read how to fix it. And try to work up my Fearless Knitting skills to try it out.)

I also whipped up some baby booties for Anna's teacher.

I emailed her 2 days ago (Anna stayed home today, since she was up all night coughing) and she didn't email me back, so I'm pretty sure that she probably had the baby, and I'd better get working on that baby surprise sweater (and hope I have enough yarn left! It's from my stash.)

I've also been so blah about Ravelry lately. It seems there is something in the air there. I know it isn't everyone, but yikes. Nearly every group I go in (except maybe MCY--what does THAT tell you??) is crabbing and sniping and just down right mean. When the Knitters for Obama aren't getting along, there's a problem. Some people in the NASCAR group don't want to go in there because people are bashing their favorite driver (although they openly say they hate another driver.) It just makes me down--I've already been here, done this, you know? So I need to step back for a bit, use Ravelry for documentation and pattern finding, and stay out of the groups and forums for a while. I just kinda don't need it. I have enough going on "IRL".

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I'm Not The Master of My Domain

Just like on Seinfeld, I'm out of The Contest, "I'm Out!". Of the SKP contest anyway. I had to have my Jacobean socks done and posted by today and was too damn intimidated and didn't get them done.

But I have been working on socks. The first sock for "Down the Garden Path" (last month's SOTM at is working up nicely.
I really love the yarn--Trekking XXL in pretty spring greens and pinks. I'm nearly to the toe decrease.

I always get so crabby that my SOTM comes late. I pay with Paypal, and everyone who doesn't gets their sock sometimes 2 weeks before I do, and I have to sit and read about it on Ravelry. So every month I say, "That's it! I'm going to get my yarn and pattern and cancel." and then every month it comes and I change my mind.
This month's sock comes with Regia Mosaik yarn...VERY nice. So...maybe next month I'll cancel.

Nicholas had his last day of preschool yesterday. I can't believe he is going to be in Kindergarten next year. He's so expressive and fun when he sings

--but he is a lot like the kid from the Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life", when there's "No talkin' while the music's playin'". Nicholas can't stand when anyone else sings. We were watching his end of the year slide show and they were playing "You've got a Friend in Me" and he was getting twitchy. I asked him why and he says, "I HATE SINGING." But if he's'd better enjoy it!

We're sure going to miss his teachers.
Emily noticed all the girls wearing pretty dresses. I told her she needs to get on the "potty train" and lose her Nuk and she can have a pretty dress next Fall too!

Emily is but 2 years old and is a "Barbie Girl".
It's fun to have a girl that likes Barbies, because that was my staple plaything as a kid. And Anna doesn't like toys, and Nicholas likes boy toys, so at least I have one girl to play Barbies with.

I checked out some old (recent) episodes of Knit N Style from the library, and found a few sweaters/summer sweaters I would like to make. Now I have to decide which one to do. It's such a major time investment, and I have become such a sock-maker (whether I really wanted to or not) that I have made nothing else for a while. And after over 8 years of knitting, it is about time that I made myself a sweater, don't you think? So any suggestions work for me...I'd like something semi-fitted, but not tight. And it has to hide my gut while not drawing attention to my boobs. So if you have anything in mind, drop me an email at annasmommy AT gmail DOT com. I was thinking the Cable-Down Raglan.

We're off to Chuck E. Cheese in about an hour for a play date with Emily and Nicholas' friends, Gretchen and Andrew. Always an adventure! And tomorrow is the Girl Scout office to pick up the badges and pins for the girls--the bridging ceremony is Wednesday! So my little Brownie will be a Junior!

I'm getting old....