Friday, April 28, 2006

Mojo galore

The mojo is back. I cast on for my Mom's Open Lace Poncho from Filatura Di Crosa Fall/Winter 2005.

In this lovely shade of purple Multicolor 60% mohair/40% acrylic that my Mom picked out back in November. Speaking of mohair, I believe that I'm mildly allergic to it, as I discovered on the train this morning.

I got gauge on the recommended #10 needles, which doesn't make any sense. But thankfully the #10s work because that's the only bamboo needle I own in that range of sizes. I swatched on #8 and #9, which I only own in old school brightly colored metal needles. Oh the joy of dealing with metal, mohair and commuting. eek! So me and my woodies are happy together.

After mentioning to Wifey that we needed to start thinking about Little Man's upcoming 3rd birthday, she immediately went to the paper stash and within an hour, designed the cutest cards ever!

The outside.

Swing it to the side:

The data (with help from office supplies to maintain anonymity):

This one is headed off to Philly to live on BFF&exGF#2's fridge, but every invite is unique with different papers and colors and brads. Wifey ... she's a smarty.

In the spirit of full disclosure, we're doing a Bouncy party, inspired by Martha. In the spirit of maintaining my reputation for creative thoughts, we have some original plans too.

And I'm DONE with my SockaPaloooza socks! Hooray!

The finished product, modelled by Danielle, who has much smaller feet than I do.

The heel, which was a different construction than I've used before, but turned out pretty well.

The toe (stretched over the Method bottle) was so strange to work, but I love the way it turned out.

Specs: Rib and Cable socks by Nancy Bush
Source: Interweave Knits, Fall 2005
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM, color 141
Needles: Size 0 Addis
Method: Magic Loop, two at the same time.

My fingers are crossed that they fit my Pal's teeny little feet.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Eris, take 1

Look -- I overcame my fear of Mafia-sized sweaters and started the collar of Eris.

Yes, those are #2 needles. I finally got spot-on gauge on #2s. Dear Lord, I'm one loose girl.

In other news, I present to you "Want Pish-Yur Chee-ros, Me Do It!" by Little Man. He loves the camera, and I love to see what he comes up with. I never help him or alter his pics (especially since I wouldn't know where to begin.) I know I'm biased, but I really like it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Favorite Things Monday

It's a cold, rainy day in Boston. But I have very little to complain about. Wifey must teach today despite knowing that one of her students is at Children's Hospital after a horrifying tragedy this weekend. I'm on the verge of tears, and I don't even know this child. I'm sad for Wifey. I'm sad for the school community. I'm sad to be reminded, once again, that humans can be truly evil. However, in some bizarre and twisted way, this morning is the perfect backdrop for a post I've been planning for weeks.

For the last two years, I've been blessed with Nina Gilbert's friendship. One of the many things I admire about Nina is her ability to stay focused on the positive. Mind you, sometimes it drives me crazy, but 95% of the time, it's a healthy way to cope with the difficult world in which we live. I have very few coping mechanisms, so I'm always on the lookout for something that will help me get through a tough day.

To stay focused on the positive, I'm starting a weekly "Favorite Things Monday" post, in which I'll post photos and stories about my most cherished possessions/places/activities/etc. I was tempted to join SouleMama's "Corners of My Home Thursdays" or "Favorite Things Saturday," but decided that my Favorite Things would extend beyond my home, and Monday was a better day for staying focused on the positive. So here are a few of my Favorite Things ...

For Christmas, Nina gave me this lovely garter stitch scarf in my favorite shade of green, and a super cute pin cushion with homemade shrinky dink pins. She's a new knitter, so this scarf is one of the first few projects she's done. It's so soft and cuddly.

Nina made this awesome quilt for Little Man for his 2nd birthday. He takes it to daycare everyday and uses it for naptime. Of course, no quilt can be spread across the floor without a cat jumping on it.

I know she's going to kill me for this close-up because she's self-conscious about her applique, but I love it, and it's withstood weekly washings for a year. This pic also shows the quilt backing, a beautiful cranberry corduroy textured fleece.

Coolio vintage fabric block

My favorite fabric in the quilt

Another thing I admire about Nina is that she's simultaneously frugal and very generous. I've learned a lot from her about making homemade gifts that are more thoughtful than any store-bought gift. A couple weeks ago, we went to Nina's Dad's house for the 23rd(?) annual family Easter egg hunt. We felt quite honored to be part of her family holiday celebration, and Little Man was delighted to run around with his buddy Grace all morning. Upon arrival, Grace gave Little Man his "Happy Spring" present, a bucket of homemade grape-smelling play dough. Only later that day did I peek underneath the paper decor to see the recycled container. I love it! She's so smart!

There you have it ... a wonderful friend, wonderful prezzies (Nina-speak for presents), and my first attempt to stay focused on the many things I can be grateful for. Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Yesterday was great. There were kids and sheep and yarn and friends and family. Hooray!

I ran smack dab into Suzanne from Double Helix and her lovely family while browsing a craft booth, so we hung out for a bit and ate lunch together. It's easy to make friends when you bring extra picnic blankets. Hopefully I didn't scare her too much with my crazy stories. But I did discover that she's WICKED smart! CalTech. PhD. Hubby is an astronomer with similar credentials. Etc. Mafia felt like a meat head. But she's not one of those wicked smart people who can't have a real conversation. She's down to earth and super fun to hang with.

We've been chatting over email about her idea to host a Turtle completion party sometime this summer, so I'll get to spend even more time with her. Let's hope Suzanne's party plans are solidified enough to be made public. oops??? And folks --- put away that exciting new project from the Spring Knitty and get crackin' on those Olympic projects! Everyone will be invited, but don't you want to show off your project?

After being explicitly told "do not buy yarn" by Wifey, I loaned Little Man $8 so he could buy one skein of sock yarn. Yes, he actually requested socks while stroking and hugging the skeins. After much contemplation, he finally chose this colorway:
How could I refuse?
I met the woman behind Woolarina, who was very nice. And I met the lovely Skeintily Clad who was so sassy looking sitting at her spinning wheel with a tongue ring, red hair, and brightly colored roving. It's very hard to resist pierced girls spinning wheels.

After seeing Suzanne's stunning shawl kit, I had to run over to the Mostly Merino booth to see what other lovelies were for sale there. While there, I chatted with famous Margaret Wilson. Of course, I had no idea that she was famous. She gave me her business card and I stupidly said, "hey, this sounds familiar." She was very gracious as she helped me to understand which of the 1,000 places I may have seen her name, including Loop-d-Loop, and most embarrassingly of all, The Green Mountain Spinnery book. Yep, I've seen that one. Whoah. I felt like such a dope, but she was super nice, her yarn was delightful, and the samples were astounding. I can't wait churn through my stash, so I can justify dropping a wad there.

On the way out, I ran into the always lovely MIT SnBer Katie, fresh back from a trip to Florida with her adorable family. Seriously, her hubby is very sweet and her kids are even cuter in person.

Later that afternoon, Alison came over and we drank entire pots of tea, knit, cooked, playing with Little Man and watched Born Into Brothels until the wee hours. Little Man demonstrated his knitterly talents: when I asked him what Alison was doing, he replied "socks" and walked away. I expected "knitting," but apparently he's been paying more attention than I thought. My little knitting-mama heart nearly exploded with pride. Alison finished a beautiful pair of socks, of her own design, so let's all bug her until she puts the pattern and a price tag online, so we can all partake in the glory of these socks.

I'm off to finish these frickin'-frackin'-SockPalOOO socks before Little Man wakes up from his nap.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Harlot Cyber-Crush

I have to admit it, I have a cyber-crush on the Yarn Harlot. She's hilarious. Smart. Funny. Cute as a button (she'd probably hate that). Direct. Self-deprecating. Did I mention funny? And so damned cute? I had the utter delight to see her speak in Porter Square tonight, and since Wifey's away, I'll be able to sit at home in silence and read her new book until I pass out. Hooray!

I'm such a BIG-D dork! Do you hear what I'm saying? Delighted to stay home and read in silence? What happened to that baby-dyke bed-head deep-house drug-lovin' girl-seducin' chica? Yep, she's a crafty mama and lovin' it.

Yeah ... focus A.D.D.-Mafia. Focus. Right ... the Harlot is wicked cute, and she mentioned MIT. So of course I had to make a fool of myself and hoot and holler. Can someone stop me please?

There were even more MIT SnBers than I expected at the event tonight: Danielle, Jess, Rhonda, Chris, Christine, Marina, Erin (wicked preggo and so cute). I even saw Laura, an MIT SnBer who has been to a couple of our lunch meetings. Do you still love us Laura?

So I took my camera out to document the MIT crew, and was horrified by the empty battery compartment. WIFEY!!!!!! Damn it!!!! Thank Dog that Erin had her camera, so we did accost the Harlot for the obligatory group photo, and I apologize to everyone standing behind us in the book signing line. We took too long, and I'm sorry.

Originally uploaded by erin m..

Originally uploaded by erin m..

I spotted some other local beauties too. Alison (who is clearly stalking me because I saw her last night and we have plans for Saturday) and Kimberly (who has the most amazing eyes!). I also spotted Grumperina and FreckleGirl and Alison on the other side of the room.

Boston's a great place to be. Can all knitters live here please? We could claim one of the islands in the Boston Harbor and even designate some green space for the sheep.

Fun.Fun.Fun. Knitters are such a great community. Thanks Harlot!

P.S. On the way out, I nearly humiliated Alison by taking a ride on the chair. I had to! I've never seen one before. I just can.not.behave.

It's Yarn Harlot Day

Hooray! I have a babysitter tonight! Wifey is out of town for a few days, so I was afraid I'd have to miss the Yarn Harlot. But I'm delighted that a dear friend of Wifey's who calls Little Man her 'grandson' is excited to pick him up from daycare and play with him for a couple hours tonight. I'm a lucky Mommy.

So ... if you'll be at the Yarn Harlot reading sponsored by the Porter Square Bookstore tonight, say HI. The Mafia is sporting a rusty red silk jacket today and the Mafia hands are sporting the SockPalOOO socks. I'll be surrounded by my bee-atches the famous MIT Stitch-n-Bitch gals.

Another Mafia sighting will happen this Saturday at the Gore Place Sheep Shearing festival. I'll have Little Man and my two favorite teens in tow.

ETA: If you go to the Gore Place Sheep Shearing festival on Satuday, arrive early. It gets pretty busy around 12noon, so I'll be busting down the gates at 10am with plans to stay until lunch/naptime at 12noon or so.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Memes - yucky to answer, fun to read

Memes - I'm not a big fan. Perhaps I resist because I hate being told what to do? Whatever the reason, I avoid them. And yet, there are long-overdue memes that I promised to answer. And since my post plans for yesterday fell through, I guess it's time to do some blomework.

#1 - Carry's from eons ago. My knitting spot, as shown in a photo from eons ago (x-mas tree), and me, sporting much longer hair. Most other people who participated in this meme showed an organized location with all the knitting tools close at hand. Mine? Yeah, my tools are scattered all over the house in little baskets. It's organized, but not close at hand. Someday I'll have a craft room...


#2 - Marisa's from eons ago. Leave it to an exGF (#3 to be precise) to tag me with this doozy. Damn...she's making me think about things I'd rather avoid. Just for that, I'll steal some of her ideas. Italicized entries were Marisa's ideas that I'm shamelessly stealing.

Seven things to do before I die (not necessarily in order):
1. Create a community where my friends are committed to each other as family [stay tuned for an upcoming post about this topic]
2. Be a good parent and eventually a friend to my child
3. Learn to throw
4. Become a blacksmith
5. Earn a PhD in Women's/Gender Studies
6. Own a home
7. Bungy jump off a bridge

Seven things I cannot/will not do:
1. Diet
2. Dust
3. Soul-sucking work, which means many things depending on my mood
4. Work at a strip club
5. Watch A Clockwork Orange ever again, or force myself to like Stanley Kubrick's work
6. Resist the temptation to hit Rush Limbaugh should I ever encounter him in person
7. Spank my child

Seven things that attract me to my spouse:
1. Her eyebrows
2. The muscle definition on the sides of her thighs
3. Her breasts [shit, did I say that out loud? so inappropriate! must redeem myself...]
4. Her commitment to teaching in a really really tough middle school
5. Kids who are truly struggling trust her
6. Watching her snuggle with Little Man
7. She lets me go to Philly whenever I want to visit the BFF&exGF#2 (as my Mother pointed out recently)

Seven things I say most often:
1. Shit
2. No, you may not ____.
3. I'm going to count to 3 and if you don't stop _____, you're getting a time out.
4. Honey, Mommy can't hear the whining voice. You need to use your big boy voice.
5. Where's my favorite boy in the whole world? Are you my baby boy? Who's my Little Man? Mine, mine, mine...
6. [mostly at the TV] Are you f-ing kidding me?
7. Sure, whatever

Seven books I love:
1. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
2. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
3. Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson
4. Push by Sapphire
5. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
6. Hallucinating Foucault by Patricia Dunker
7. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Seven movies/series I watch over and over again (or would if I had more time)
1. Amadeus
2. Antonia's Line
3. Go Fish
4. Girl with a Pearl Earring
5. The Secret of Roan Inish
6. The L Word
7. Antiques Roadshow

Seven people I'm curious about that I'd like to join in:
You're off the hook folks. But if you'd like to participate, leave a note in the comments so I can read your answers.


#3 - Also from Marisa . She hates me.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I had just moved to western MA from New York City with my girlfriend (exGF#1) for my second attempt at college at a fancy pants campus. I lived on campus and spent lots of time driving to the western MA college where my girlfriend was a student. I was adjusting to life in a dorm filled with very privileged women who had way less 'life experience' than I did. Within those first few months, I met some of my best friends, participating in some incredible debauchery, and started working at the best place I've ever worked with the best people I've ever worked with.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Parenting. Working at MIT. Preventing a divorce. Blogging. Knitting.

Five snacks I enjoy:
1. Dark chocolate, the darker the better. 80% cocoa is pure bliss.
2. Quaker chewy granola bars, peanut butter and chocolate chip flavor
3. Sliced apples and a heap of peanut butter to dip them in.
4. Cape Cod Nantucket Spice potato chips
5. Sorbet

Five songs to which I know all the lyrics
1. Blue Sky - Allman Brothers
2. Red Dirt Girl - Emmylou Harris
3. Shiny Happy People - REM
4. Both Hands - Ani DiFranco
5. Chicago - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Five things I would do if I were a millionaire:
1. Buy freedom from my student loans
2. Buy a house
3. Start a college fund for Little Man
4. Start a retirement account
5. Find a 2/3-time job much closer to home

Five bad habits:
1. Being distracted by the damned internet
2. Googling every curious question that pops into my mind
3. Biting my finger nails. After 16+ years of gnawing at my fingers, I stopped in 1996. But it's back. What gives?
4. Being brutally honest
5. Not exercising

Five things I like doing:
1. Knitting
2. Dreaming and sketching things to sew, and sometimes actually sewing them.
3. Reading blogs and being inspired
4. Listening to every kind of music imagineable
5. Watching Little Man doing his "look what I did" happy dance.

Five things I would never wear, buy or get new again:
1. A new car
2. Shoes that hurt
3. A skirt
4. A dress
5. Commercial pants (hopefully)

Five favorite toys:
1. My iPod
2. My local library
3. My Little Man
4. My crafty supplies
5. My imagination

So here's the deal: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot:
from maternity to madness
cityslicker mom
a la carter
An Elephant's Gestation

Then select five people to tag:
Nope. Not doing it.


#4 - from Andy Grrl
The five women who inspired and influenced me the most, in no particular order:
1. My Grandmother
2. My Mother
3. Diane Welsh, a dear friend in NYC
4. Every Ex
5. The Bionic Woman


I'm done! Yeahhhhhh... happy dance.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

She works hard for the money

It's absolutely delightful to have an envelope filled with someone else's money that I cart around to fabric stores and use to buy fun things. Then I come home, make pretty stuff, and know that I'll be paid in the very near future. Whoah! This rocks! Here's the Puma quilt update:

The envelope, downloaded from The Small Object

The paper used for the envelope -- file under 'inappropriate use of office supplies'

The fabric (all from Joann's)

Taped to the studio my bedroom wall. I'm not thrilled with placement of the greens, so I'll probably rearrange those.

Busted sleeping on the job by Little Man, who is obsessed with the digital camera. Perhaps if my 'studio' wasn't in my bedroom?

While I snooze, he takes interesting pictures of fabric.

During Little Man's nap, I make all the pattern pieces.

I emerge a couple hours later and find Wifey and Little Man snoozing. In fact, they've barely moved while I've been downloading pictures and writing this post. Aren't they adorable? [shhh! don't tell her this picture is on the blog. she'll kill me!]

Our Easter plans with Wifey's father were cancelled due to sickness up there. And while I was looking forward to our Portsmouth trip, I can't imagine a better afternoon than this one. Back to the 'studio'. Kisses to all.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I actually knit

I know, I know, I haven't been posting about knitting on this here knitting blog. But I have been knitting.

First of all, I've been swatching for Eris. I hate swatching. It's boring and tedious and involves lots of measuring and math and stuff. Barbie doesn't like math. That's why I have a big strong Ken in the next cube. In the photo, the handwriting referring to yarn and needle size is mine. The teeny chicken scratch is the gauge #s, as written by my "gauge ho". Thanks to her, I might actually make a sweater that fits. Whoah.

Secondly, I've been knitting away at these SockPalOOO socks, and I'm enjoying the Koigu more than before. I guess "screw you Koigu" was a bit strong. And yes, as you all suggested, I got used to the teeny needles and teeny yarn. Sorry Koigu.

Here is photographic evidence that I'm not knitting "willy warmers" as Danielle* suggested. The sock fits over a Method wipes bottle that is roughly the size of a man's forearm. However, as Danielle skillfully pulled the sock down over the bottle, I couldn't help but giggle like a 14 year old boy.

Yes, we've been having a great afternoon in the office with lots of belly laughter (and prayers that we don't get fired or hauled into HR on sexual harassment charges). And, NO ...

*Hey-Zeus Christ, it's all Danielle, Danielle, Danielle today.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Much Love & A Plea

First, some love. THANKS to everyone who commented and sent emails and called me. You all are SO sweet. I'm over it, for the moment, though I sense a larger post bubbling to the surface. In the meantime, let's talk crafty biz.

Since I'm a evil horrible no good friend, I forgot to post the BFF&exGF#2's plea. So here goes --

"I need the help of some crafty folk!!! My famous nanny refuses to use her's your standard grandma aluminum 4 footed cane with a grippy handle. I thought maybe she'd use it if it were more fun. I want to cover it in faux fur along the cane part and maybe sequins or something on the bottom feet. Who has suggestions for glue or other sticky stuff that will hold the fabric to the alumninum??? Anyone? Other ideas for fancying up nanny's cane? I'm a craft idiot.

Now, my cane would be covered in neoprene for all-weatherability in ocean, sun and mountains and have retractable spikes on the feet for ice climbing and traction...naturally the grip would have hand warmers...perhaps a built in pedometer and swiss army multi-tool holder...oh and a big knife would come out of the shaft, james bond style just in case i needed to kick some ass. My evening wear cane would be black suede with a tapered handle and a single row of tiny tiny tiny tiny diamonds slowly swirling down the handle...the grip would have a little hidden compartment for a key, lipstick and a packet of lube for those grandma nights on the town when you don't want to carry a purse and might get lucky. ahahah. fun. mafia post a poll - what would your cane look like?"

So ...

Question #1: What should Nanny's cane look like?

Question #2: What would your cane look like?

p.s. I would suggest super glue for the alum. E6000 and Modge Podge probably wouldn't hold permanently.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Knitty, Spring 2006

The new Knitty. Overall, I'm underwhelmed. However ---
I love Topi and must cast on immediately.
I love Anatolia which I see in shades of blue.
I feel Tendrils (sans beads) and the Hedera socks growing on me.
Reid would make a great present for a small someone.
Little Man would love Double Scoop.
UnGranny Smith (sans beads-sensing a pattern here?) might be a good work sweater, but would it be flattering?
Exchequered would be an interested knit and a great gift.

-Side Note-
I'm feeling very alone today, with my core value of chosen family swiftly withering, my job feeling anti-family, Wifey's job being anti-family and totally unstable, our family scattered across the country, and little/no support structure for us. Grrr!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sunday afternoon

Wifey and Little Man on Plum Island. Little Man is very excited about his new frog kite.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Saturday afternoon

After snuggling with Little Man and Wifey and watching PBS Kids all morning, I went to work on the commissioned quilt (which needs a name ... how about Puma?). Yeah, so I went to work on Puma. I measured and drew and then completely redesigned. I measured again and drew again and then completely redesigned again. Now I'm happy with the overall size and composition. It'll be 48" x 36" with a 6" border. The border will consist of T-shirts, photos and embellishments. The center panel will be a fabric representation of the family's lake house in New Hampshire.

Step 1 (actually step 8, but we'll just forget those other steps)

Step 2 (can you see the image forming?)

Back to work...

Friday, April 07, 2006

40 Days Later ...

The Turtles are still chuggin' along.

April 6th - Songbird finished her Clapotis! The past couple days have been hard for Ms. Songbird, so go give her some knitterly love, will ya?

The grand total finished is 9 out of 30, which is 33.33%. We're 1/3 finished. Come on folks, stop playing with those new and exciting projects and get crackin'. We leave no Olympian behind will stalk you until you've seamed.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Random Update

1) Still working away at the Koigu SockPal sock, pattern-Rib & Cable socks by Nancy Bush from IK Fall '05

2) Decided on Matisse's Blue Hair for long-overdue gift quilt blocks. Thanks for participating in the poll.

3) Negotiated price, developed budget and started sketching for commissioned memory quilt. The design is really exciting! I can't wait to post about it.

4) Loved volunteering for CraftBoston, especially meeting a friend's Mom quite by accident, and booth sitting for this excellent artist. Apparently my favorite piece was sold this weekend. Notice the curtains blowing in the breeze? Love that. If you're in Brooklyn, go check out her studio.

5) I found an unused(!) Borders gift card in the house, so I bought Simply Felt. I LOVE it, and now I won't feel too bad for bringing roving into the house. You hear that MamaCate? Next thing you know, I'll come home with a drop spindle. eek!