Category Archives: Knitting

A little digging

I haven’t been inspired to do anything with yarn for quite a while now. It’s sad, because I like to knit and crochet but my personality is such that I get bored easily. So I start a lot of projects that will never be finished. And yet, I can’t bring myself to unravel them, either.

I like to PLAN my knitting projects, though. That part is the best. Picking a pattern, finding the right colors… all that is fun to do. And then we get to buy yarn!! I was thinking I might be able to avoid that, since yarn costs money and I am trying to save money at the moment. So I started digging through the Upstairs Stash (not to be confused with the Downstairs Stash) to see what I could find.

Didn’t find any yarn that would be suitable for the project I have in mind, but I did find the following things which I thought had been lost forever:

1. The only cable needle I like
2. My pink and black plaid scarf (not that I need more scarves in my life, but I love this one)
3. My Harris Tweed yarn (I knew it was in there but I’d forgotten HOW MUCH of it I bought
4. The very very small DPNs that I keep losing and replacing (have about 4 sets of them now)
5. My fancy markers (which probably ended up in there because I was hiding them from Jillian)
6. 3 pens, 4 mechanical pencils, and an eraser
7. the 45″ tape measure (my other one is something like six miles long – not practical)
8. A compass. Not the type you draw with, the directional kind. Why it was in the knitting stash, I have no idea.

Also found yarn. Lots of yarn! Project ideas are a’flowin! I might even revisit some that are giving me fits (the Union Jack wristwarmers spring to mind).

The main problem with the Upstairs Stash is that it’s in bags and boxes and bags and bags and baskets and piles (unlike the Downstairs Stash, which is in a couple of large plastic bins). It needs to be organized, or at least put together in such a way that the dogs won’t eat it.

Obviously, the solution is to buy more yarn. Be right back!

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I have finally admitted to myself that my half-assed self-taught knitting technique is not going to work for the Union Jack armwarmers that I so desperately want to make. I think I can rejigger the pattern to make them crocheted, which will be fine, but I will have to do a couple of tests to see.

The problem is that I am just not good at multi-color knitting. Either I am missing something entirely or the Fair Isle technique is just totally beyond me. I’m not sure. I wanted to avoid cutting the various yarns because I am not a fan of the weaving in of the ends. I can never relax because I always think they’re going to unravel eventually, and what if I get 80% of the way through it and mess up to the point where it needs to be frogged? Then I’m left with a billion wee pieces of yarn that I can’t really re-knit.

We’ll have to have a think on that while we experiment with the crochet.

In other news, I am itching for a new project. I have a shitload of random yarn that isn’t earmarked for anything (aside from the Harris yarn, which will be socks… someday [SORRY MOM! PROCRASTINATORS WILL RULE THE WORLD SOMEDAY]), and I’ve had a couple of ideas swirling around the creative neighborhood in my head… I just need to get them on paper and designed and then see what happens.

1. I’d like to make a crocheted/knit purse in the exact style of my kilt purse, which I love as if it were my child. I also have big plans to find a couple of pleated skirts and try to make one on my own but that will require thrift-store trolling and I’m not sure where to start with that. Time is my enemy most days.

2. I’d love to knit something mathy – I found instructions for knitting a hyperbolic plane, which might be fun, and I’ve been throwing around the idea of a fractal afghan but I don’t know if that would be interesting enough visually at the size I’m willing to crochet.

3. I wonder if it’s possible to knit a decent optical illusion. I have played with this concept a little bit by using colors that just… don’t go. The pink and purple I used for Jill’s blanket are lovely on their own, but together… ack! I forget the term for two colors that do that. I have put in an email to My Art Expert and if I explained myself well enough, she will be able to answer that for me.

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Double Teepee

It’s no secret that I am, by nature, fairly tightly wound. I have problems relaxing and I have myriad troubles with my head and neck because that’s where I carry all my tension. They used to call it “high-strung” and I still am to some extent but in my old age, I’m learning to control it more. Unfortunately, since murder is still technically illegal, that means I carry a lot of it around and it manifests as a tense neck and shoulders.

And this translates to my knitting, which is going to be a big problem. I’ve been practicing colorwork to see if I can handle doing a ton of it and also because after the Tetris afghan, if I have to weave in 20395823 ends every time I change colors, I will kill someone.

But I’m hitting a wall here, and I think it has to do with my tension issues. Tense shoulders = tense knitting and it pulls my colorwork all out of whack. I have a couple of things I can try to address it, but I’m not sure there’s a good solution that doesn’t involve me getting a massage therapist on staff here at The House of Flying Pigs.

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A list!

1. Did not go to the gym today. My excuse is that all my workout junk was in the wash and I was unmotivated to actually GET it in the wash until it was just about time to drop Jillian off at school.

2. The weather is completely shitty today. Beyond shitty, actually. It’s the kind of cold that gets in your bones coupled with a relentless grey drizzle. Not the best environment for HELL YEAH.

3. My knees are ON FIRE. This is mostly due to the weather, but the left one is still tender. I feel like I hyperextend it when I’m walking, but I’m not sure how to not do that. I have been trying to land more on the balls of my feet and have been pretty successful with that, but that’s easier to do while running.

4. STILL COUGHING. Not nearly as much, but enough that I’m annoyed. I do feel like I’m on the mend, which is good. It’s just going to take some time. I can’t get sick for three days and then recover, OH NO. I get slightly under-the-weather for two weeks instead. Stupid body. Why am I not a robot?

In other news…

5. I really feel like I have a lot of knitting/crocheting to do but I’m not feeling up to doing any of it. I did finish the yarn portion of Jillian’s Halloween costume, but now I have three on-needle projects that need some attention or I can start new things. I will probably start something new.

6. I feel really dehydrated today.

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Filed under Knitting, Me Me Me, Triathlon

More resolutions

Well, I de-friended a few people from Facebook because they were stressing me out and of course now I’m stressing about being stressed about it. Awesome. Nothing has been said to me, nor do I expect anyone to say anything, but I’m stressed over the anticipation of some maybe-confrontation. Classic! I need to learn to let that go.

So – more resolutions. My reading life has suffered massively since I left the book world, and that’s sad because I love books more than just about anything else. I need to read more. However, there are only so many hours in the day when I’m not entertaining Jillian or cooking or working out or doing something. I need time to sit and really get into a book or it will NEVER get read. Case in point: The Instructions by Adam Levin. I am almost to page 100, and it’s been sitting on my nightstand for over a month now. After I finish this one (at nearly a thousand pages, I should be done sometime in May at the rate I’m going), I have a long list of things I want to read about. World War I, South America, Beer, and I’m really looking for a very good, very comprehensive book or series of books about European history, from as far back as they can go to present.

I’ve been told “that’s a college major.” Yes, I know. Ideally, I’d like to read about the history of Europe as told through its music. That might be a book that hasn’t yet been written, however.

Aside from my super-nerdy list of things to read about, I want to knit more. I just frogged a 99%-finished second sock because I noticed a dropped stitch some 30 rows previous that couldn’t be fixed. That was nice. I hated the yarn I was using and was so happy to be almost done with the pair, so I have put that project aside for the time being and started working on a crocheted afghan for Jillian. I got a gift cert for yarn for the holidays and of course I have project paralysis because I don’t know what I want to make. Fun. So the next resolution is to knit more, and try new skills that are scary to me (Fair Isle, entrelac, etc). I am a fringe member of a couple of knitting groups – maybe I should start going to more meetups. I don’t know.

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Things I’ve been doing

1. Listening to Thriller. I revisited it as a tribute to Michael Jackson and I am amazed at how well it holds up. Amazed. It’s excellent music for cleaning the house, too.

2. Not writing blog posts (duh). I have come to the realization that although my life isn’t boring to live, once I start writing stuff down… whoa. BORING. It’s boring as hell to write about, so I can only imagine it is at least twice as boring to read about. However…

3. Gardening! Well, not so much gardening as much as ‘sticking seeds in the ground to see what happens.’ The lettuce was pulled out weeks ago because it bolted a lot faster than I expected it too. Oh well. The scallions are just hanging on, so we’re about at the end of that. I planted peppers, which are… slackers. I’m not sure how well they’re going to do. But the tomatoes… oh the tomatoes. We’re going to have a lot. 38 plants and they’re all THRIVING. I also have cucumbers. I’ve never grown them, so I am not familiar with how they grow but… I have a few that are as big around as my daughter’s entire body but they’re only about 4 inches long. Weird.

4. Beer. Our first batch of homebrew came out AMAZING. So the second batch was brewed last Thursday and we’re hoping our beginner’s luck holds out for that. We have decided that we need a boiler for outside though, because the house was stinky for four entire days. This will also help when the tomatoes arrive, because the thought of canning tomatoes in my sweat lodge of a kitchen makes me want to cry.

5. Potty-training. Jillian is getting the hang of peeing, and the pooping is coming along as well. I can’t get her to dress/undress herself yet – she is content to let me do it. Hmm. Still, not having to change diapers except for naptime/bedtime is a wonderful thing.

6. Knitting. I’m working on Preppy Sock #2, which is almost done. I turned the heel the other day and now it’s just a matter of getting to the end. I started this pair way back in March, so it’s about time. Then I can move on to something else, like…. more socks. Actually, I’m going to knit a new sweater for Jillian who refuses to stop growing and has outgrown the one I made for her two years ago.

7. Party planning. Jillian’s 3rd birthday is at the end of this month. I am gobsmacked that she’s already three! In one sense, it feels like she just got here, but in another, it’s getting difficult to remember what life was like without her. She’s talking (constantly) and growing (constantly) and learning stuff and just being delightful.

8. Working out. Because $40/hour for a personal trainer is a bit expensive, we have acquired a lot of the tools I was using at the gym and can work out at home. We have BodyBars, medicine balls, resistance bands, and sometime in the next week or so, we’ll have dumbbells. I also have a treadmill and a stability ball, so there is no excuse at all, ever, for me to not be working out. I worked out in the backyard with Freddie on Saturday and I’m pleased to note that 2 days later, he is still hurting a bit. Story of my life – I know what I need to do… I just need to do it. I’m trying to build up my running stamina and I’m planning to start working with a swim coach…. and Freddie wants to buy me a bike because he thinks I’m going to be ready for a triathlon next year. Errrrrr….. I’m not so sure about that. There is one at Cedar Point that I would LOVE to go to, but I was thinking more along the lines of Freddie doing it. Turns out he thinks I should do it. I suppose it would be fitting. There are few places on Earth that I love the way I love Cedar Point.

9. Maybe getting a dog. We have been talking about getting a dog for awhile now, and we finally found a few that we like on Petfinder. The application process is interesting – it’s no wonder people just go out and buy dogs because it seems like there are a lot of hoops to jump through to get one through a rescue. It should be the other way around, i think. Still, we’ll see. The dog we’re interested in is a Border Collie/Whippet mix, which translates into HIGH ENERGY OMG! But I have a three-year-old, so they will match up well.

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Sock photos


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Yes, I’ve been neglecting the blog. It’s an occupational hazard, I think. There just isn’t all that much to write about. This isn’t to say that life is boring (it is), because it’s not (no, it really is). It’s just that… well, I mellowed out a bit, I think. And when I’m not angry about something, I don’t need to write.

Who knew happiness would lead to writer’s block?

Things are good. I did just drop $400 getting the refrigerator’s motor replaced, which was making me unhappy. Then I called the cable company about my wonky internet connection and spent a day raging about that…. how boring. Fridge is fixed, cable is fixed, life is fine.

Jillian is officially a Big Girl. She has been in her Big Girl bed since shortly before the new year started. And while I do miss the Baby Cage and the bonus hour of sleeping we would get in the morning, it’s nice to wake up to toddler morning breath right in my face. Sometimes she pokes my eyes and says “Mama’s eyes open! It’s morning!” Yes, it’s morning, but only in the sense that 5AM is after midnight. Sigh.

We still haven’t made much progress with potty training. Please do not call it ‘toilet learning’ because that phrase makes me want to punch you in the face. With my foot. It’s potty training, dammit. And we’re not doing it. We had a couple of weeks when it was The Thing To Do, but now? Not so much. I’m in no rush, and like everything else the kid has figured out how to do, she’ll wake up one day and decide to pee in the potty and that will be that.

Jillian is growing much too fast. Her language skills have exploded, along with her imagination. Her new favorite thing in the whole wide world is the movie Toy Story, so we watch that approximately 32 times a day. While it’s on, we draw pictures of Buzz Lightyear and Sheriff Woody, and Jillian uses her blocks to build action figures of her own. It’s very cute, and because we do all of these other things, I don’t worry too much about the fact that the movie is on repeat pretty much all day.

Of course, that’s not EVERY day here. We have been getting outside to stomp around the neighborhood. Lately it’s been very chilly so we haven’t been out as much as we’d like to be, but most days we bundle up and head out. Jillian is a big fan of snow and her one true heart’s desire is to make a snowman, but we haven’t had enough snow to do that this season. Me? I detest snow. Freddie thinks he’s going to get us all to go skiing either this season or next but he is obviously deranged.

The knitting is going well – I finally figured out socks! I made a pair each for my mom and dad, and I’m currently working on a pair for myself made from Harry Potter-inspired yarn from Opal. I am totally in love with this yarn and when I manage to get pictures, I’ll put some here because it’s amazing stuff. Once these socks are done, I’m not sure what my next project will me. I may make a shawl for Jillian, since I usually have mine on and she wants “a cape like Mama has.” And then… I don’t know. Jillian is getting to a size where she’s not considered a baby anymore but she’s not yet a kid, so the knitting patterns for this size of person are few and far between. Plus I haven’t been looking that hard. Girlfriend does love her hats, so perhaps I’ll make a bunch of them for her.

As for me, I am trying really hard to get into an exercise groove and stick with it. I managed to acquire a Wii Fit, whom I have named Harold. Harold tells me I’m obese, which is laughable but… not terribly far from reality. Ooops. Shut up, it’s baby weight! Yes, she’s two and a half years old. I said shut up.

I’m trying to hit the gym at least 2 times a week. I wish it were more, but the schedule doesn’t really allow. I have a treadmill which I use fairly regularly, so…. it’s a slow process. I feel good about it, though, which is a huge difference from before. I know I won’t ever have the body I had when I was 17 (I tried to sell my soul but couldn’t find a buyer), but I can at least be a little less fluffy, eh?

Oh, and Phish decided to go on tour this summer so I am anxiously checking the credit-card statement to see if I got tickets yet.

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Less Big/Less Ugly


Bask in the glory of my craptastic knitting! I’m a spaz knitter who doesn’t like to follow directions all the time. Occasionally, I create something wearable! And my model is pretty cute, too.

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Because it’s Friday and stuff

I know Ms. Prufrock is not a fan of the bulleted-list-of-random-crap-style of blog post. I’m pretty sure she thinks in complete sentences, wheras my brain spews out random words and phrases on a fairly constant basis. So, HERE WE GO!

1. My doctor visit went well. I can breathe again, with the help of a $50 inhaler and a $50 bottle of amazing cough syrup. The bottle has so many warning stickers on it that you KNOW it’s good stuff. Can’t drive, use heavy machinery, or sign contracts while under the influence of this stuff. Also causes blurred vision, dry mouth, extreme sleepiness OR hyperactivity! Yay! I’m supposed to take 1 teaspoonful every 12 hours, but I find if I’m not ready to go to sleep right then, I am useless (well, more than usual) for the entire day. I take it before bed and sleep so soundly that I wake up and whichever arm I happen to be sleeping on is numb. Excellent.

2. The Jillian is talking up a storm lately. She tends to repeat the last three words of whatever I say, so we’re hearing a lot of “Holy shit!” these days. We keep trying to get her to say “President Obama” but have been unsuccessful so far. I think she’s just hedging her bets, but god help us all if she turns out to be one of those close-minded, bigoted right-wingers. I’ll disown her ass.

3. My brother is our long-term houseguest. He’s got a job working for The Man in Homeland Security and needed a place to stay until he finds an apartment or a room or a cardboard box or whatever is in his price range in the NYC area. He found out yesterday that The Man is sending him to Texas or Jupiter or similar for 6 weeks or so of training in How To Be The Man, so he’ll be with us for quite a while. Well, his stuff will, at least. I must say, it’s been nice to have the kid around, plus Jillian loooooooooves him.

4. Something in my fridge died. I just cleaned the fridge out, like a month ago and there’s already some new casualty. Good thing we use those reusable plastic containers instead of the expensive Tupperware crap! I just toss the whole thing in the fridge even if it has arms and calls me by name. In the trash you go, Fridge Alien Baby!

5. Apparently we’re supposed to get smacked around by Tropical Storm Hanna this weekend. To be followed by TS Ike Turner. We need the rain, but I don’t want it all at once. Sheesh. My tomatoes will be unhappy and my basement will flood. Someone needs to schedule these things with me ahead of time.

6. I am knitting The Less-Big, Less-Ugly Sweater and it’s already giving me fits. Apparently, I cannot do math. I’m supposed to increase until I get a certain number of stitches, then decrease until I have a certain number of stitches. I decided to be really smart-like and figure out how many rows it would take to get to the right number of stitches and either they’ve changed the math or I’m extremely stupid and have not counted correctly. Either scenario is equally probable. Math is not one of my strengths, though I used to be really good at it. Anyway, I think I will get it figured out. If not, Freddie will just have to wear it however it gets made.

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