Thursday, January 31, 2008

Enter Exibit A

Here he is. The love of my life. Wonderful father, loving (if occasionally crabby) husband. He is my joy, my rock, my royal pain in the a$$.

He is, of course, my husband. And if I could hit him over the head with a rubber mallet, or drug him with Acme sleeping pills I would. Seriously. This man lives under the delusion that he doesn't need sleep, or that things like folding clothes are more important. I will admit, folding clothes IS important, and if I had my domestic act together, we likely would not be having this conversation, but STILL! It is not like he's struggling along on 6 to 8 hours of sleep like a normal person. No, MY husband tries to live life on 4. 4 hours of sleep. He RUNS longer than that. SHEESH.

He works nights, so a normal sleep is usually out of the question for him, and he usually gets along pretty well. But every once in a while (like last night) he gets this bug up his #@%* to not sleep. "I have to be up all night tomorrow for work," he'll say. That would be fine with me. IF HE WOULD SLEEP THE NEXT DAY!!!! It's as if he doesn't understand that by not sleeping during the day AFTER he stays up all night, he has completely undid any good staying up might have done him, because now he will be even MORE tired. Sigh.

Anyone know any really good sleeping draughts I could mix into his morning meal before bed?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Stranded Delights

Oh boy. While I was supposed to be cleaning my house this week, I sort of fell down and knit a hat instead. A stranded hat. We Call the Pirates, to be exact. OMG! I could not put the stitches down! I knit this thing in about 6 hours. Now, 6 hours is not easy to come by when you are a mom of 3, AND are supposed to be cleaning a house (badly in need, I'm afraid) but there I was, furtively knitting in corners - just a few more stitches to the end of the chart, whoops, now I've started the next repeat, well, I've got to finish this repeat now. LOL. It was WAY more addicting than I ever thought possible. Once I finished the knitting I had to stuff it in the bottom of my bag so that I would not sew down the lining before I got a picture of the inside. It's sooo cool! So here, for your knitting viewing pleasure, I give you -

Jen's "We call them Pirates"
Made for my big Brother Scott!

The inside -

And Ta-Da!

All done!

Don't you love it? You gotta love it. Man, nobody told me this was so much fun. Probably a good thing though.
Now, I'm off to enjoy a rainy Friday with my hubby...

TTFN! (TaTa For Now!)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Let's Do the Time Warp Again!

Okay, so I'm spending an inordinate amount of time fussing over which pattern I'm going to start knitting next (not counting the Tomtens' for the boys) Mostly I'm fussing about what to do with my winnings from KnitWitches... but I'm also wanting to start the "We call them Pirates" hat from Hello yarn for my big brother. He lives way across the country, and I don't see him very often, but I know he's lonely for family right now, so I want to send him some love. But I'm worried about what yarn to use, because I notice that the choice of yarn for this drastically affects the fit. Too big, or childsize is most common. Sigh. Well wish my luck on that.

Onwards, I missed a fair amount of blogging while things were being settled with Javier and his job. I realized I never got to share the Halloween photos of my kids. Wanna see? I'm really proud of these, as I sewed them all myself, and with no pattern, so I'm a little puffed up at how well they turned out.

Here's my Maia Ladybug... Isn't she cute?

And this is Liam doing his best Eragon, from the movie of the same name.

And for all those Jeremy Irons fans, here's Brandon as Brom, the old curmudgeon of a dragonrider.

I had way too much fun watching this movie and designing the costumes. I had a little trouble at the beginning as it had been long enough since I was sewing all the time that I forgot to add in seam allowance a couple of times. Seam allowance isn't that big a deal in knitting, but in sewing, you lose at least an inch and a half, if not more -so watch out! But once I got a few things straightened out, it went really well. I actually think that my adventuresome knitting helped a lot with these because I wasn't afraid to just try it. Even though I couldn't just rip it out like with knitting, I had to realize, what's the worst that can happen? I buy a little more material. Which I did have to do for one pair of pants. But I am still really jazzed about how well everything turned out. Especially the vests, which I think really make the costumes for Brandon and Liam.

Well that's it for todays blast from the past.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Wrinkle in Time...

Where does the time go?

We had a beautiful Christmas with our family, a peaceful New Year's Eve in our home, and a lovely winter's vacation. I wasn't at all ready for it to end, but the kids are back in school, and we are settling into our new routine. Yes. Another new routine. Javier is now working 7 days on and 7 days off. Thursday through Saturday, Sunday if there is work, then Monday through Wednesday. Then he is off for a whole week. Javier is thinking it will be like having 2 weeks of vacation each month. I know it will be nice to have him around and conscious during daylight hours. And he will have time to run and de-stress a bit. We'll see. I am hopeful. It's a good thing that flexibility and patience are a part of my nature.

Okay, so if you know me, you know by now that I won the contest over at KnitWitches Yarn. (YIPEEE!!!) I have been soo excited, but felt it was bad manners to brag too much - sooo, wanna see the yarn?
Isn't it lovely? She calls the colorway "Heathered Hills" and I love it. It reminds me of the hills I used to see tromping through the English countryside when I was a footloose and fancy free student abroad. Mmmmm, I can almost smell it. Unfortunately I don't have a really good idea what I want to knit with it. I asked for all three skeins to be in the same colourway so that I could keep my options open. For most things I have way more than I would need. Then I bumped into this. The Frost Flower and Leaves Square shawl. There is just no guarantee in this life, is there? Any suggestions?

Want to see the Christmas presents? Well, the ones from Javier, anyway. The boys gave me gold heart earrings and a butterfly pendant. I'm wearing them now... I'll have to remember to take them off for picture soon.

I felt like a knitterly pirate digging up buried treasure as one thing after another came out of various bags at my feet. Life is good. It's nice to know that he's listening, and that he gets what's important to me, even if he doesn't entirely get the whole knitting thing. I tell him it's okay, I don't get the whole knife thing that he's started, but he's excited, and he is enjoying learning about different styles of knife fighting, and trying to figure out the best placement for a little 2 inch black blade on his belt. In a holster of course.

It's cute, in the kind of way that watching your sons dig up worms and play in the mud is cute. And I enjoy watching him talk about the different things he's excited about - it's like peeking at a little boy who has a new toy, and I love it.

Speaking of boys and toys, besides the various electronic gizmo's that I got him for Christmas, he asked for this one book "Whoosh, Boom, Splat." I think the title speaks for itself. I am somewhat alarmed at the thought of what will be happening in our backyard on his weeks off, but it will be really good for him and the boys to have the time to bond and work together on something both constructive and destructive all at the same time. Boys will be boys.

Sooo. Back to Christmas... want to see the lace wraps I knit?

Here's my mother with her Morning Glory Wrap, designed by Anne Hanson of Knitspot.

And my Mother in Law (a crocheter of L.A. County Fair renown for her lovely blankets and accessories) opening the Estonian Garden from Fiber Trends

They went beautifully. I wish that I had been able to take more pictures. I might have to steal them back for an afternoon to try to get close ups, but they were wonderfully received. Watching their faces as they realized what was in the box. Hehe. I'm already thinking of what to do next year... maybe the Grandpas?

Oh, and speaking of Knitting, I got some new yarn with a gift certificate. My first knit of the year?
These fingerless mitts that I designed using the new stitch dictionaries that I got for Christmas. Aren't they lovely? (Even if I do say so myself!)

I also have been bit by the Elizabeth Zimmerman bug. I have been reading a new blog lately, Brooklyn Tweed. The author, Jared Flood, has been getting a bit of attention lately over a couple of patterns that he has had published in Interweave Knits - and yes, I intend to make both at some point. But he has a definite passion for EZ. I wasn't at all sure that the whole garter stitch thing was going to be for me. A little plain vanilla. But I kept reading, kept looking, and began to realize that it was more than just simple knits, it was brilliantly designed simple knits. So I finally broke down, and for my annual after christmas Amazon purchase, I got a couple of EZ books. The result?

This lovely little Tomten for Maia. The yarn is just some dark purple Simply Soft by Caron that I had in my stash. Yes, I know, acryllic. Sigh. Despite my best efforts I might be succumbing to the whole yarn snob thing. But it is so very cute, and if you look carefully, you will see my first ever zipper installed in a hand knit. (Huzzah!) It looks fantastic on Maia, and she assures me that she loves her purple sweater. Since it will be truly washable, it will be going with her to pre-school, and all the mud and paint you can get. Next I cast on for Tomtens for Liam and Brandon. There will be plenty of Garter going on here for a bit. Good thing I have a lace scarf hiding in my bag for those moments when I think I will go insane.

I'm also swatching for a sweater for Javier. I have knit him one sweater so far. It was very early in my knitting career, and made with a cheap acryllic. In view of the lovely knitterly gifting this year, I figured he deserved to reap the benefits of those things. I was surprised to learn that the yarn he was yearning for was an undyed wool, with minimal processing. Hmmm. So I went looking.

I found this incredible site, Marr Haven Wool Farm. Go look it's really something. I got a cone of the sportweight, and we're off. I'm using bigger needles than I would have normally for this first swatch because on reading a review of the yarn, it says that it fluffs up and fulls a little with washing (be careful or a little "fulling" will become felting rather quickly). So, I'm swatching, like a good girl, and actually going to wash said swatch and block before taking the guage that will become my final guage for building a sweater for my man. I'm thinking of doing something a lot like the hybrid sweater Anne did for David. I really like the ribbing up the sides, and at the collar. But I have to think a bit about how I want to do that.. Javier is not one for neck plackets. I'll keep you posted.

And in other knits I have this organic cotton I picked up at JoAnn's (I love gift cards) that I'm thinking is going to be a lacy cropped cardigan for Maia. I have been flipping through the Lace volume I got for Christmas, and I'm putting together some ideas. I think it will be lovely for Spring.

Ah, yes... Spring is in the air. Just look at the Narcissus in my yard!

They are a bit confused. But then most things in my yard are...

look at all the leaves still on my Mulberry tree! I cannot EVER remember seeing leaves on this tree past November. But the times, they are a changin' ... I'm just keeping a weather eye out now a days. LOL.

Oh, and for me? What do you think of this? Rogue. I think I'm in love....

And with that I am off to read a new book to my children... Anybody know if it's a good one?