A Knitting Mother's Defining Moment

So World-Saving Daughter and Singing Daughter returned to college today for their fall semesters. This is sad and at the same time OK. Both were excited to get back to their worlds and friends, and to start new and exciting classes. WS Daughter is majoring in Latin American Studies, emphasis Mexico, and Singing Daughter is majoring in child development. She wants to teach primary school age kids (so far that's her thought).

But I digress, as usual. When I gave Singing Daughter her unfinished sweater for her birthday, she expressed pleasure and excitement at the prospect of receiving it soon. But I did not know how much she TRULY likes it until she said last week, after reading my blog here, "You really won't have it done until October?" with some genuine sadness. Of course, she understands that a polygamous knitter such as myself cannot be satisfied with just one project. She knows that microfiber fleecy baby blankets are a temptation hard to fight off. She knows it's been blazing hot here, and the house (even with A/C) has felt uncomfortable for knitting wool. And I know she truly forgives me. But it gave me a huge boost to know that she had been hoping to have a chance to wear it sooner if Boston's weather cooperated. It does motivate me to work on it as soon as humanly possible, and finish it forthwith, so that I won't disappoint her too much. 8^)

Now that's a knitter's defining moment.

Did I mention it's been hotter than hell here? For four days now, and no A/C in the classrooms at school. People get sluggish when overheated. The kids get stuporous. Everyone is a tad more cranky than you expect them to be. And it's hard to care about lit'rature and such. But it will come to an end, and here in the States we have a 3-day weekend to recupe and catch our breaths for next week. There are two wonderful things about 3-day weekends. First is the weekend that lasts an extra day. Second is the work-week that now has shrunk down to four days, followed by another weekend! Woo-hoo!

Pictures later, perhaps. Happy knitting, all.

Where Did August Go?

Alas, I am already back at school finishing up meetings before tomorrow's orientation of the middle schoolers. I can already feel the busyness overtaking me, but I'm remembering that I like nearly all the things I do when work gets going. I guess I'd just like to drink from the garden hose, not the fire hose.

I have continued to knit and finished up a few things, but didn't start anything new! Woo-hoo!

DS visited for four days, and after all the nieces got to monopolize her time, we went just the two of us to San Francisco overnight to do some fun stuff. First stop, the Craft Show at Fort Mason (rather high end, but I bought a gorgeous "second" at a glassmaker's booth--ain't it sweet?).
We saw Beach Blanket Babylon (my 2nd, her 1st) and had second row seats--and laughed our butts off. That send-up of Oklahoma ("Yokohama") with the dancing cowboys wearing kimonos and cowboy boots is still about my favorite bit in the show. There were the current nods to Obama and McCain, jokes at George W's expense, and a reminder that Hillary Clinton has conceded the Democratic nomination. Aside from those, there were some gags that seemed a little dusty ("In Sink," with the boys joined by "Brittney and Jamie Lynn" who couldn't keep hold of their babies in the dance number . . . Prince and his unpronounceable symbol, Ellllllvis, etc. . . . zzz). But overall it was a really fun show and a bit of San Franciscana like no other city's got.

Later, dinner at the Fog City Diner was quite tasty. How many times in my life have I ordered the schnitzel?! We got Bill Shatner to help us find a deal on a great room (at the Hyatt Regency! [says with a flourish]) overlooking the Ferry Building.
After a good night's sleep, we went to the farmer's market at the FB and had a walking breakfast, looking at all the gorgeous produce that California can offer up.

Then we headed across the City to the DeYoung Museum, remodeled a year or two ago (and a totally different experience now!). DS has been keeping me from becoming a total lout for some time, as I find myself allergic to most modern art. But she took me to see Dale Chihuly's installation there, and it was a tour worth every penny. I loved the color and texture, the echoes of nature, blah blah blah. See, even with modern art, I can start up that art-speak stuff. But it was wonderful.
Then it was time to head back down the Peninsula so we would be home in time for Singing Daughter's 19th birthday celebration, prepared by her older sister, World-Saving Daughter. And then the next day, DS's visit was already over and we had to say goodbye to her. 8^( But she is back to her own busy life in eastern Washington.

OTN: Working on a totally simple baby blanket, yellow, out of some of that incredibly fuzzy, soft, and addictive microfiber that's available for baby stuff these days. Just garter stitch (it's fuzzy, and the stitch doesn't matter one whit). I know a few great potential recipients (or at least I know their mothers), and time will tell which of them becomes the lucky, cuddly owner of this blankie.

Continuing work on the sleeves for Singing Daughter's No Longer Super Secret Project #1, the Quidditch Sweater, done in her college's colors (brown and blue). I'm actually much further along than this picture would indicate.She likes it! And it will get finished around the time that the fall turns bitter cold and winterish, in Boston, in mid-October ([gasps]--and people want to live there??). So what is left to knit for a challenge? [maniacal laughter].

I'll ponder that in all my free moments.

Happy knitting to you all.

I've been tagged! (but not with spray paint)

Well, summertime wouldn't be summertime without tagging some blog walls. Susan got me, and I'm passing on the favor (see below). Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who “tagged” you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

Randomness is my middle name! First, I've moved 13 times in my life. Second, I've had, at one point or another in my life, four step sisters and a step brother. Sadly, we all lost contact with the first step sister, but happily, I know my step brother, and my three "wicked" step sisters are good friends. Third, I got married at age 18. Fourth, I saw Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman in Park City, Utah during Sundance a few years ago (wooooo [rolling of eyes]). Fifth, I was once ultra religious (growing up). Last, a dirty little secret: I love a lot of kinds of music in the rock/pop/alt rock genre, but one of my all time favorites is John Denver.

Hope no one feels the need to go and shower. Now, to pass on the baton (am I watching the Olympics or what?), let's see what randomness these people can provide for us! Melissa, Jen, Lizzie, Karen, Bells, and Jejune--what can you tell us?

Update on things:

Here is a finished pair of slipper socks for World-Saving Daughter:

And I finished the shawl/scarf in Ella Rae silk for Vegan Girl.

I'm making steady progress on Super Secret Project #1, and it's so exciting! But I can't show you yet, sorry.

DS arrives tomorrow afternoon for a long weekend, and we are all looking forward to time with her. My girls love their auntie.

And some super secret information I came into a few days ago has to stay under the radar for a little longer, but I'm glad DS will be here to find it out and share in the excitement. (No, I didn't get a book contract! Hah!)

Happy knitting, all.


Only a few days ago I was excitedly extolling the knitted dishcloth. I still love them, and intend to do many more. BUT

I frogged a pair of slippers I'd started (actually just the one I'd finished), put away that yarn and started thinking about the knitted slipper pattern I'd found on the internet many moons ago, and whether my tea-dyed wool from The Spun Monkey wouldn't make just the loveliest pair of cozy slippers.

And they do! I'm about halfway down the foot, and during this stage, the bottom is knitted with a double strand. I decided to make the second strand some heavy crochet thread for extra durability.
I hope this turns out to be a good choice.

Got a second shoe organizer at Target while I was at it, and while they were on sale, and now the study is really starting to look as if it could stay organized.

Now, I still have a bit of stash in a set of drawers, but I see organization transpiring. "See" being the operative word for me. If I don't see it, I don't possess it, mentally. So it's always good for me to be able to visualize what yarns are available to me.

Here is a cool gadget that may remind you of something I showed you in June. I gave my mom a keychain with a tiny crochet hook on it, a metal one. Well, as so often happens when I gift something to someone, I covet the gift and have to be a big girl. But then I ran across this:
It's very tiny, so not always helpful. But then my small-size crochet hook (from the regular set) works for those larger gauge disasters that need a crochet hook. I've already pressed it into service to fix stitches on my slipper pattern. When I increased, things got wonky and this did the trick!

I've been working on this drapey scarf/shawl for Vegan Daughter, who asked for it. (This mom, when asked to knit something, is ALL OVER IT!) I'm using (at her request) some lovely Ella Rae Shibu silk, and it's hard to take a photograph that shows the flashes of shine that this raw silk yarn brings to the knitted stitch. But I persevered.

I think it's going to be a great success. It sheds a bit as I'm knitting, sort of little silk bits, not fluff, but after it's washed, I'm thinking that might not be a problem.

Speaking of problems, sometimes a knitter has an emergency. So I have decided to prepare myself for just such a contingency and plan to keep this either in my car or at school. With a set

of needles and some oddments, I can knit up things to felt, or small booties, or ??? whenever I have just such an emergency situation--must sit still, cannot escape, and so will knit for relaxation.

Cancer Update: DH had chemo #5 yesterday and is doing fine today (from outward appearances). He needs less time in the treatment room than originally because they now administer one of his medications at a much faster rate, now that they know he won't react to it. He's started his five days of monster doses of Prednisone, so it may get rocky for the rest of the week, but he refuses to give in to tiredness. Pain is harder to ignore, but he makes himself keep working even when his body wants him to lie down. No worries--he's getting sleep and does occasionally take a liedown, but his tenacity in the face of that feeling is something to admire, from one who goes to bed and takes a nap whenever she is remotely capable of it.

Funny moment: At the end of chemo, the nurse removed DH's IV line, and then as usual, DH held a cotton ball on it with a bit of pressure, since his platelet count is a bit low and can lead to excessive bruising. He was finishing up a paragraph on his laptop at the time all this occurred, so after a second of holding down the cotton ball, he asked me if I would do that for him. Which I did. And did. And did. And after a few more minutes of this, I asked him, "Could you finish that at home?" and he looked up at me and said, knowing I would totally understand, "Just one more row." :^)

We Interrupt this Regularly Scheduled Blogcast . . . for Something Completely Different

I did something I thought I would never do! And I did it for such great reasons, and now I'm really glad I did it.

I knitted some dishcloths.

As Miss WoollyKnits knows, I have admired hers among many people's dishcloths but never done them myself. Maybe it's because DH, who regularly pulls kitchen cleanup duty, is a sponge kind of guy. Maybe it's because I never saw the fun in knitting letters or pictures into a square.

But then I attended a conference the other day (interesting! How to Deal with Employees' Unacceptable Behavior--wow, what an earful I got!), and while I was mindlessly doing my 2x2 ribbing (on Super Secret Project #1), I got through the whole morning's fascinating information, presented by someone who doesn't believe in reading PowerPoint slides. Woot! Stick with me here--I am getting to the point. As I was getting up to go to lunch, I saw that a few chairs over from me was a woman knitting! So of course I asked her what she was knitting, and it was a Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth.

It was pure white, and those lacey YO holes along the edge were so elegant. She and I talked briefly, and I really GOT something that Miss Woolly Knits has said before, but I guess I needed to hear it in person--this is a method by which you can learn many more complicated knitting techniques in a limited and quickly-finished project. For me, this time it was increasing with YOs and decreasing with K2's (while creating the corresponding hole with another YO).

So now I have knitted up four of them in just a few days. And it was a serendipitously perfect week for sales at Michael's--$1/skein for Sugar and Cream. While I've discovered I don't really like the white striping colorway, I love the ombre (reminds me of autumn). And the solids are also rich--yellow especially.

After a really nice dinner on the patio last night (something you can't count on being able to do in the Bay Area in summer--the "A/C" usually drops after 5 p.m. with the arrival of cool winds from the coast), I sent our friends Connie and Greg home with two of them, with strict instructions to USE them and let me know how they work, how they wash up, if they get straggly. I foresee fiddling with the pattern, trying other patterns, getting what size works best (start decreasing at 40? 44? 50?), and then knitting them up whenever I'm in meetings this fall, and giving them in sets for Christmas to a few of my favorite relatives who still do dishes the old-fashioned way. ;^)

I am still working on those other WIPs of course, and also have cast on a Super Secret Project #2, which is here for you to view, without any other real info except that it's Yarn Harlot's One Row Scarf done in a lovely thick tweed (Rowan's Soft Tweed) I got on sale from Herrschners. That was also the order that included a bunch of maybe my favorite wool to knit with when it comes to stitch definition--Bazic. I now have it in several coordinating colors and am prepared for the knitting of baby items (it's superwash!) as the need arises, and it surely will. Our school seems to be a . . . I was going to say "hot bed" and then was going to say "breeding ground," but both just sound so . . . wrong. Our school is experiencing a baby boom among faculty and staff (thankfully none of our MS students has found herself in that state, to my knowledge!). I already know of at least two buns-in-oven.

Here is a bit of lovely yarn from Gingerknits--a handspun skein of wool and metallic thread (destined to become a scarf for someone's Christmas gift)--ordered along with one of Meg's really cool cloth bead necklaces. When DH saw the PayPal purchase, you may remember that he said, "What did you buy, half a sheep?" (Really, it wasn't an exorbitant amount, it's just you know, how husbands are sometimes.) So Meg sent a note promising to "throw a jumbuck in the tuckerbag" to please DH. Little did I know she was serious--not mutton serious (whew!), but here is a little stitch marker--a jumbuck for all you Yanks who don't know your Aussie slang (I didn't either--I'm eternally thankful for internet slang sites to help me out!). Right, it's a sheep! She also sent the cutest little possum stitch marker, but no way would it photograph clearly. Thanks, Meg, you're a good sport. And I've half a mind to knit MYSELF a scarf with this yummy yarn. (8/4/08 BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! Today I found an email from Meg [Gingerknits] telling me that I'm a winner! She regularly draws a name from the previous month's patrons of her internet shop, gives them a $10 store credit, and makes their day. That would be ME for the month of July! [big toothy grin] Well, she had sold me on those charms and stitch markers with her adorable sheep and possum, so I went back to look at her offerings and found some really elegant ones [for lace shawl knitting perhaps??] that I'll feature here when they get across the pond from Oz.)

Later this week, World-Saving daughter is coming home for a few weeks before school starts up again. Next week, DS Kate is coming down to spend five days with us (bliss!), and I will have to compete with the 3 DD's for her attention. It is lovely to see that they all are so attached to their auntie. I always hope for them that their sisterhood will serve them as ours has/does.

Time to take a long walk and then get busy knitting! I could get used to this summer pace! LOL.