Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My Handmade Holiday

I had a wonderful time in Vermont with Wifey's extended family. Those folks are amazing. They spend every Thanksgiving together, drinkin', smokin', jammin' (many are professional and amateur musicians), eatin', laughin', playin' with dogs, watchin' football, and harassing each other. Even Little Man (aka Shy Man) had a glorious time - reading books, gazing at the snowfall, and shouting "Rosie, no lick!" at Papa's overly-affectionate dog.

The end of Thanksgiving triggers the annual push to create handmade holiday gifts. Here's my list:
1) Scarf for Mom (DONE!)
2) Fingerless gloves for 13yoSIL
3) Fingerless gloves for 16yoSIL
4) Beanie for Bro
5) BeanBag+wooden box sets for: Lily
6) " " Leila
7) " " Owen
8) " " Charlotte
9) Secret knit-thing for Ms. G (since her MamaRoo reads the blog, I have to be quiet.)
10) Cut flannel lap blanket for my Gramma
11) Framed photos of Little Man and my Mom (for Mom)
12) Framed photos of Little Man and Papa (for Papa)
13) Felted clogs for 28yoSIL's early January birthday
14) Socks for Alice's almost-a-baby-girl

Jesus Christ*, will I finish all of this? What do you think:

[*is it still 'taking the lord's name in vain' if I pronounce it as "Hey-Zeus" Christ?]

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Nearly Done & Fresh Start

The Lace Poncho for my BFF&ExGF#2 is nearly done. Weaving those damn ends remains. Any of you experienced lace knitters have a good suggestion for weaving ends into lace? I tried to avoid all mid-row ends, but I might have one somewhere in there. Here she is, being modeled by a co-worker who thankfully has tiny shoulders and is willing to repeatedly try on this poncho:

Since the BFF&ExGF#2 is currently in Borneo, I have more procrastination to complete. FYI - this photo makes the yarn look pumpkiny, but it's actually more of a rust.

In other news, in the midst of my anticipating-holiday-knitting-funk, I tried to fix the Dianne Blanket. That was a bad idea. See ... I got lazy. After trying to use a crochet hook to fix all those lost loops, I ripped out the entire section and decided to re-knit it. I tried a couple needles sizes and finally settled on no. 5. And I knit up a new section of stockinette. Yucky stockinette that looks like this:

Clearly I missed a step - the ol' rinse and hang from shower curtain rod. Ramen noodles don't make nice stockinette, idiot. Silly lazy knitter girl.

I pause this knitting-related entry to momentarily turn to why my family rocks:

another bouquet from my Mom (on my birthday)

and the translation of "Happy Birthday" in Little Man's language

OK -- back to knitting. I have three main projects due on Dec. 25th: 1 skull cap for my Brother; 1 pair of fingerless gloves for my 13yoSIL; and 1 pair of fingerless gloves for my 16yoSIL.

Brother's skull cap will be made out of Jaeger Shetland Aran in a tweedy gray:

13yoSIL's fingerless gloves will be made out of Debbie Bliss's Alpaca Silk in dark blue (photos shamelessly stolen from Wool Needlework (which allegedly has really good prices on this yarn, by the way)).

16yoSIL's fingerless gloves will be made out of Noro Kureyon in shades of gray, maroon and black:

The yarns are lovely. They cost a small fortune. Both Bro and SILs are well worth it. I can't wait to cast on.

Since we'll be driving to northern VT for Turkey Day, I must wrangle Wifey into driving the entire way.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I Love Being Right!

As part of her new radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio (which I woefully don't have), Alexis Stewart admits dancing in dykedom. Explored most thoroughly in a piece by David Kiley of Business News, Alexis:

"confessed that she had slept with the cameraman assigned to shoot her, and had experimented with lesbianism."

Several questions pop to mind:

1) was the cameraman a man?
2) did she experiment with a contestant?
3) is this simply 'testing the waters' prior to coming out?
4) does she need another lesson in lesbianism?

*A huge thanks to Katie for emailing me the breaking news. This made my day!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Massive Fun

Thanks for all the wonderful birthday comments. I feel so loved.

The weekend of Nov 5-6 was SO fun it's taken me this long to post about it. I know ... I know ... it's terrible blog etiquette, particularly when other people have posted about it.

My Mom came out for the weekend. Mom and I are all about the New England art chase. Every visit is scheduled around exhibits, craft fairs, museums, and workshops. We map out the places and jump in the car.

Nov. 5: first stop, the Paradise City Arts Festival. It was our second time attending this amazing show, and I always carry my sketch book so I can jot down ideas as I'm sparked. More accurately, I start sketching at the sound of my Mom's voice, "Oh, I love the lines of that. Can you make it for me?" How can I say No?

This year was a little different. Little Man added the most delightful ingredient to the day. I barely had time to sketch. First of all, he had zero interest in the stroller. Seriously, who would? It's so low, you can't see anything down there except adult asses. So I carried him most of the time (not conducive to sketching). In the process I discovered his love of metalwork and abstract landscapes in vibrant colors. He pointed. He identified images (water, moon, sky, cloud, leaf, moon, moon, moon...), he counted obsessively, he exclaimed loudly ("Wow! Oh! Whoah!"). One painter was unimpressed with her two year old fan, but I was the Proudest Mama ever. Mom discovered lithe Man's love of mobiles, and she was one Happy Gramma:

Little Man was most obsessed with Cincinnati artist Chris Seeman and his large metalwork pieces. After Little Man stood in front of one piece counting the moons and stars and repeatedly saying "wow!" for about 10 minutes, I asked the artist if he made little pieces so I could buy one for Little Man's bedroom. He didn't. But he disappeared behind a curtain and emerged with a gift (!!) for Little Man:

Who was the Happiest Mama ever?

While waiting for Gramma to finish looking around, Little Man and I explored the piles of leaves in the grassy islands in the parking lot. We stuck so many leaves in our hair that by the time Gramma emerged, we looked like wood nymphs.

Next stop: The Old Deerfield Craft Fair. Although Mom loved it, there wasn't much for me. Except this exciting new project:

a Needle Felted Pumpkin Kit from Decadent Fibers*

Next stop: Webs and the much-anticipated MamaCate meeting. The moment we entered Webs, Little Man found the huge basket of toys, and Mom disappeared into the store. Yep, my babysitter abandoned me at the precise moment when I planned to sink into wooly goodness. MamaCate found me, and Gramma returned in time to be led down the Enabler's Highway: "Mom, this is Cate; Cate, this is my Mom, Shannon." At that moment the Earth shifted on its axis, and I was knit-bound to my Mother for at least 6 months. By the end of the Mom-Cate Mohair Affair of 2005, I had orders to make one poncho (with explicit modifications) and one shawl for my Mom:

Mohair for the Perfect Pie Shawl from Weekend Knitting*

Mohair for the #31 Multicolor poncho in Filatura Di Crosa's Fall/Winter 2005 Collection*

Shortly after the pile became truly obscene, I squealed like a spoiled little girl, "Mom, I didn't bring you into this amazing yarn store so I could play with toddler toys! You're the babysitter, now come play with your grandson and stop shopping. It's my turn!" Although slapping me would've been justified, Mom shrugged, agreed and plopped down next to the boy. Perhaps she was simply sated and therefore, pliable.

So Cate and I embarked on the clearance hunt for Eris yarn. She introduced me to the extraordinary warehouse room, where I fondled every bolt and skein and ball in sight. [speaking of, I've been meaning to create a list of knitting expressions that would be dirty in other contexts. note to self: the list began here.] Cate found this:

amazing Valley Yarns Brora Softspun Shetland on HUGE discount*

In spite of my bitching about enabling, I am very grateful for this! I can't wait until post-holiday knitting so I can cast on for Eris.

The Webs folks indulged us for a couple minutes past closing time, and when Mom whipped out her credit card, the skies opened and the angles sang. She insisted that since I'll be knitting for her until June, at least she could pay for the supplies.

After our Webs feast, Cate joined us for a Tibetan feast at the Lhasa Cafe. Cate and I met at 4:30pm and parted as friends at 7:30pm. Knitters are the best! [In saying that, I'm actively ignoring her repeated suggestions that I take up dying, spinning and weaving. Did I mentioned that she's Queen Enabler?]

Two hours later Mom, Little Man and I arrived home, and dumped the two huge Webs bags onto the living room floor. It was only then that I fully understood the extent to which Cate is an enabler: this ball mysteriously fell from the bag and rolled across the floor:*

The Mafia: "Hey Mom, what is this?"
Mom: "Well, your friend Cate asked if I liked handknit socks. I told her I liked those colors and she said it was great sock yarn."
My eyes huge, excited and overwhelmed, all I could think to say was "Damn that Cate, I'll be knitting for you until June."

Perhaps I'll camp out at Cate's house and make her help me.

*extra special thanks to Roo for loaning her camera to me while my computer was dead.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Happy Birthday to the Mafia

Now that it's long past my bedtime, it's also officially my birthday.

I'm 31.

I'm a Scorpio. I bet you're not surprised.

I'm fine with my age, it's my ass that could use some youthful vigor.

I'm working toward my goals, but damn if that 20 year old version of myself thought I'd be a lot closer to them. Silly young girl.

I'm tackling the big issues and trying to ignore the small ones.

I'm a Mom. Holy shit, I'm a Mom (?!).

I'm no longer a 'player,' but I love watching hot girls on TV act like sluts and goddesses.

I embrace my craftiness and it's 'trollishness', and I'm glad that I finally accepted creativity as a major part of my life, in spite of what others may think/say.

I love chocolate, and my ass needs to stop complaining about youthful vigor because I'm not giving up chocolate.

I have some lovely photos of my 20 year old ass to prove that it was once youthful. I pledge to gaze at those photos as I grow older [while ingesting large quantities of chocolate].

The 20s were for recreational drugs and attempts at utopia. The 30s are for chocolate and snuggles from a Little Man. The 40s ... well, isn't that a woman's sexual peak?

Do you think about aging and how it's changed you?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sometimes I'm a follower ...

This is just such a cool toy.

Check out my Frappr!

If you're lurking, give a shout out. If you've commented, I'd love to see your face [or the famous painting you've chosen as a mask].


My computer is dead and my camera is having a relaxing day off at home. I have plenty of knitting and crafting to report, but without my visual backup, I'll just stick with borrowed laughs:

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dianne's blanket

Two months prior to meeting Wifey, her Mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Over the next two years, we watched her roller-coaster through treatments, hospital stays, and finally ... as she passed away in her home in Nov. 2001, one month after marrying us. She was 47. She left a husband, four daughters (aged 26, 25, 12, and 9), a career as a poet and professor, and a huge circle of friends.

Somehow four years have passed in a heartbeat, and in spite of only knowing Dianne for 2 difficult years, I still miss her terribly. She was a wonderful, sassy, kind, harsh, generous, tough, bitter, brilliant woman and ... you guessed it ... a knitter.

I picked up this little blanket that she made out of scraps of left-over yarn at some point long ago. It's unraveled, unfinished, partly felted and badly in need of some TLC, much like Dianne's grief stricken family.

Much like I have over the past 4 years, I am picking up a piece of her family, dusting it off, and trying to repair it. Gently, slowly, and with much love and respect.

In honor of Dianne. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Somehow I forgot to report on my dearest Alexis from last week's Martha Stewart's Apprentice. Here she is, in all her dykey glory.

Ms. A -- you are sososo close. Ditch those girly black slides and strap on these:

- weekend update with photos coming soon - hint: there is lots of wool involved!

Friday, November 04, 2005


My Mom, Little Man and I will travel around the state tomorrow visiting arts and crafts festivals, shopping for yarn, and making a much-anticipated connection with another knitblogger. Hooray!

In other news, here's 1 of the million reasons why my Mom rules:

She sent these flowers to my office on Monday as congratulations for passing my CFRE exam. Thanks Mom!

I'm Comin' Out

Lots of changes this week.

1) For several days we thought the camera was lost. Luckily it found its' way home and brought the Halloween pictures with it.

2) Our home computer is officially dead. We're shopping for used parts, but might just buckle and buy a new machine. eek! That's not in the super duper tight 1 income budget!

3) On Monday, I posed for pics with the intention of remaining mysterious Mafia. My insane co-workers held a Halloween party on Monday afternoon. It was hilariously. Here's the crazy pack:

And here's Danielle and me. By the way, my costume was not "angel" but "the embodiment of irony."

4) But today, I'm growing weary of playing Mystery Mafia. For the sake of my son, I won't reveal my home city, or any names. But pictures ... geez, it's getting harder and harder to post pictures without faces. And I don't love my ass enough to keep posting pictures of it. I know I'm a little late for National Coming Out Day, but here's a picture of me (gasp!) and Little Man on our porch last Saturday.

And in Brookline Village on Monday. Isn't he cute?

Yes, I made the costume. Remember the pile of supplies? I used the pattern from his 2004 Lion costume and made the eyes, belly and feet look like a tree frog. I love Halloween.