Monday, April 02, 2007

Relocation + Renovation

It's official. With Wordpress as my high-level assistant, I've moved to my own domain:

I'm closing the comments here, so please swing by the new house and say hello. With 6 weeks of nearly no blogging, I have lots to update. Fun times.

Friday, March 16, 2007


I'm moving the blog to Wordpress. Why, you ask? I'm annoyed with the limited design options in Blogger, and I've heard that the blog has ridiculously huge type when opened in Explorer. But I don't have enough design knowledge to manually fix these things, and that lack of design knowledge keeps me from moving to my own domain. Alas, Wordpress is the next best option.

I sincerely hope that you'll come along for ride. When I started the blog, I didn't really care about readers. It was purely brain-dump. But now that I have a couple peeps, I can't imagine doing this without y'all.

Stay tuned for the new link...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Forged in the Heat of Battle

I feel like such a baby for lamenting my tasks during the surro-c-section recovery period, because that's the least of my problems right now. It's like the universe gave me a big ol' smack in the head for being a whiner. And now I shall whine again. Skip directly to the photos if you're interested in the knitting.

- Teaching two classes is killer. The online class, in particular, is killing me.
- Wifey has been in and out of the hospital 3 times with post-partum preeclempsia.
- MafiaMom just got out of major surgery, and I'm trying to find a way to visit/care for her.
- The perfect next job popped up and I applied. Now I'm in the process of interviewing (a.k.a. shopping for professional drag, de-politicizing my resume, and filing my nails).

I don't have time to pay bills, clean the house, return phone calls, or snuggle with my Little Man. Literally, I work all day, grade papers on the train, read Little Man a couple stories before he goes to bed, and sit in front of the computer until I fall asleep (sometimes with it on my lap). Rinse and repeat. Weekends, you ask? That's when I clean the house a little, spend time with Little Man, and then slog through hours of writing PowerPoints and answering emails and grading papers. Wifey suggested that perhaps I shouldn't teach two classes again -- "pshaw, as if! after all this work I've put into it? the next one should be a walk in the park." This is clearly a sign of madness.

Jenny Hat is done, but might need a rip. If I don't move at all, it fits well.

If I move, I become a dick head.

The Monkey socks are nearly done

and I love the Socks that Rock (color: Watermelon Tourmaline, gifted by the ever-incredible Frickmeister), but the socks are a little tight and the color is frickin' awesome, but not entirely Mafia-esk, so I'm thinking about adding to Frick's Pay It Forward sensibility and giving them away. No official word on that yet, but I'm thinking about it.

I'm seriously neglecting my Arwen; I'd love to cast on some green socks with two beautiful gifted-with-love skeins waiting in the stash; and I signed up to participate in a quilt block for charity project, which thankfully starts in May.

Damnit, I just want an entire day alone in a shiny clean house with nothing to do but listen to music and knit. Is that too much to ask?
April can't arrive fast enough.

Monday, March 05, 2007


In total violation of my bloggie break and the spirit of Favorite Things Monday, I'm writing today to bitch/vent/fume. Expect cursing. Consider yourself warned.

What the fuck is this?

Why is an Asian woman dressed like a little girl?
Why is she pulling up her skirt for the camera?
Why is she dressed like a little girl and pulling up her skirt?
Why is she looking in the other direction? Is she being coy? Or is she uncomfortable?
What's with the sock monkey? Is it simply to further enhance the little girl imagery?
What is she planning to do with her sock monkey? Hump it?
What's with the corn field? Is she rushing off to the corn field to have an illicit affair with a sock monkey? Is this a solo excursion (i.e. she's in control of pre-pubescent sexuality?) Or was she brought to the corn field by someone who needed a private place to take pictures of this hyper-sexualized child-like stance?

Why are we, in the craft world, accepting this shit?

Would you stand in the middle of a corn field, dressed like a little girl and pull up your skirt while holding a sock monkey?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

It would feel really really fucked up, wouldn't it?

This photo could be worse, I suppose, if she had pony tails and a delicate floral print.

Still -- this photo is taking Cute-itis, which is nearly always associated with Japanese crafting culture, to a whole new level. It's cute + sexist + cultural misappropriation + exoticizing + sexualizing childhood, all wrapped up in a funky mod package with an objectification bow.

Ever since I entered the cyber crafty world, I've been uncomfortable with the obsession with "cute." Stuffies abound. I cringe when I see grown women across the craftosphere obsessing about all things "cute" but I tell myself "it's not my cup of tea" and try not to be judgmental of other makers. Stuffed cats and dogs and dolls = yuck; a stuffed praying mantis = irony = cool. In other words, No Tea Cozies Without Irony.

However, this cover of N.E.E.T. Magazine is really gross. And I'm pissed. For better or worse (worse, I'd argue), crafting is primarily a female pursuit. Craft blogs are primarily written by women. Women are the target audience for magazines like Craft and N.E.E.T. In fact, N.E.E.T. is part of Bust's Girl Wide Web.
With an attitude that is fierce, funny and proud to be female, BUST provides an uncensored view on the female experience. BUST tells the truth about women's lives and presents a female perspective on pop culture. BUSTing stereotypes about women since 1993.

We're the target audience for N.E.E.T. -- smart, creative, unique, diverse, savvy women. This imagery doesn't speak to me, and if you agree, join me in correcting the misconceptions of the folks at N.E.E.T. by emailing them at:

thefashionmagazine AT gmail DOT com

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

No Baby Daddy & Bloggie Break

Thank you SO much for all the wonderful Surro-Wifey and Daddies love.

It was nothing short of magical to participate in this surrogacy. All the cranky-Wifey moments were completely erased as I watched the Dads bond with their new baby girl. Unbelievable. Truly incredible.

That said, the best story about the unique experience of a lesbian couple doing a surrogacy for two gay dads in Massachusetts (got all that?) is that I was required to sign an affadavit of non-paternity. Yes. Really. Because B-Dad is the bio-Dad, and despite the fact that they used an egg donor, Wifey is still considered the "mother" until non-bio S-Dad completes his co-parent adoption. Have I lost you yet? The birth certificate administrator at the hospital was twisted into a pretzel trying to force the computer to accept her data entry. Apparently a male husband is the presumed father of a baby born to his female wife while they're married. Sure. Fair enough. But ... if he's not the baby daddy, he fills out an affidavit stating that yes, they're married, and no, he's not the father. Because Wifey is legally married in Massachusetts, the computer lists her as such. So when the birth certificiate lady tried to enter B-Dad and Wifey as "father" and "mother," the computer spit it back, requiring that I, as Wifey's spouse, sign off my paternity rights. Enter the Mafia, an Affadavit of Non-Paternity, a Bic pen, and loud peals of laughter. This was certainly the most ridiculous thing I have ever signed. Let it be known: I am not now, nor will I ever be H-Baby's Daddy. Signed: The Mafia, with love.

With Wifey recovering from the c-section (read: no housework, driving, child care, or lifting anything over 10 pounds for two weeks, and no work for an additional 4 weeks) and with the Mafia teaching TWO classes at a local university (in addition to my full-time gig at MIT), it's time for a big bloggie break. At worst, it'll be a 6 week break, but realistically, I won't last that long. I'll miss everyone. Be back soon. Smooch!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Two Healthy Girls!

More details when I've had time to sleep. In the meantime, the baby's on the outside, weighing in a 9lbs. 4oz. Wifey is happy and healthy, despite 14 hours of vbac labor and then a c-section. See aforementioned size of baby, note that most of the 9lbs resides in the baby's noggin, and remind baby that a sideways & twisted exit is ill-advised. Baby's off-center cone noggin with deep circular dent near the soft spot tells the whole story. Most importantly:

Baby is healthy, beautiful and calm.
Daddies are absolutely thrilled.

Another successful surrogacy that will never make headlines.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

If Little Man ruled the world

Little Man: Mama, you go to the doctor and push the baby out?
Wifey: Yeah, I'd love to.
Little Man: And after that, you get a sticker? Would you like Thomas? ..... Or Sesame Street? ..... Or ABCs? You like Sesame Street sticker, right Mama? But only after nap, Mama. Push the baby out after you nap and then you get a sticker, ok? You hear me?

- in the kitchen of Ms. 1890, 2/13/07, 6:30pm

Monday, February 12, 2007

Favorite Things Monday: "Well You Can Try ..."

This tiny rocking chair came from PapaTime (Wifey's Dad), a lover of antiques and family history. As the legend goes, PapaTime's parents bought a rambling old farmhouse on a stretch of land in the country near Watertown, NY. Another structure near the main house, previously used as an antique store, became the "Bunk House" where PapaTime and his brothers (the Bro's) slept. The former owners left several antiques in the attic of the Bunk House, most of which were incorporated into family life. This little chair was one of the Bunk House finds, and throughout the years has comforted most of the small children in the family. Shortly after Little Man was born, PapaTime brought the chair to our home, thrilled to pass along a family treasure.

The little quilt was a wedding gift from Wifey's best friend's Mom, who was also Wifey's Mom's best friend. Make sense? At first, I was unsure where to put a small quilt. For a couple years, it hung on the wall. But when the chair came home, the quilt found the perfect location. The two pieces together, despite getting little use, are a central part of our living room decor.

This weekend, in the midst of crazy crafting, Little Man and I did some excellent snuggling on the couch, while Wifey perched on the matching chair. When Little Man decided that he was finished snuggling and turned the couch into a trampoline, I vacated. With no place to go, I tried to convince Little Man to stop jumping. Instead, he offered the rocking chair. When I explained that my bum was too big for his rocking chair, he said, "well you can try ..."

"Well you can try" and all its various iterations has become something of a Mafia Family mantra lately. Little Man started it, and now Wifey and I catch ourselves saying it too. There's a very specific Little Man intonation which is challenging to mimic. But mimic we do.

For the most part, "well you can try" is charming, loving and supportive, all characteristics that I attempt to nurture in my boy. But occassionally, as in the case of the big ass vs. small rocking chair situation, he's actually trying to manipulate the situation. He's taking a cute little family mantra and trying to turn it around on me, the wee beastie. In full knowledge of this, I just walked into the kitchen to make a cup of tea. I was halfway there when he jumped from the couch and ran after me, completely forgetting about his trampo-couch and the attempts to lure me away from it with the carrot of a too-small chair.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Due to a massive re-organization of my craft room, I've actually been working again, with missionary zeal. So far I've scored two converts -- my fantastic teenaged SIL, who was helping cut green flannel with white stars for some PJ pants for me. Next lesson -- PJ pants for herself.

Convert #2: Little Man, who actually pinned pieces and he helped with the sewing!

Here's the finished project.

We used stashed cotton flannel from Hancock Fabrics with Sesame Street characters on tropical islands, and Simplicity 5874, a kids pajama pattern with several options. I intended to make only pants, but he insisted that we make a matching shirt, the little slave driver.

For the record, I used the size 4 pattern for the top, size 3 for the bottoms and both pieces came out really wide. When I use this pattern again, I'll adjust the pattern even more.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

My that's a big glass of wine you've got there

clos du bois cab-sauv, powerpt, texts, 92.5fm the river

For some silly reason, I've avoided difficult topics on the blog lately. I don't know why. Perhaps I'm playing the ole 'if I ignore it, it doesn't bother me' game? Strange, 'cuz that's not my typical M.O. That said, as of this moment, I'm cuttin' it out. Feel free to click away now.

#1: One of my dearest dearest dearest people is in the hospital. I'm devestated. Could I have done something to prevent it? Did I do enough? Is it partly my fault? Is she OK? Will she be OK when she comes home? What can I do?

#2: I'm losing a dear friend, and I feel like I have very little control over it. I'm mad. She's mad. But that's easy enough to manage. The problem is our wives -- they're being effing ridiculous.

#3: I start teaching again very soon, in addition to my regular full-time gig. I'm teaching two classes this semester: one in the classroom, one online. Same class, very different venues. The problem is -- last year, when I was asked to teach this class (my first ever) exactly one week before the semester started, I threw everything together, showed up, did my best, and considered that an accomplishment. Surprisingly, I loved teaching, and according to the evaluations, my students loved me. Who knew? But this year, I've had plenty of time to prepare and I've done nada. So here I am, ten days before classes start, freaking out in front of PowerPoint, trying to write everything out. Have I ever mentioned that I hate writing? Ok, I hate professional writing. Talking in front of people? I can do that. But writing it all out for the online class? I'm terrified. So I've pledged to try "prof-casting" tomorrow to see if that's a reasonable option. Talk it out, and lay the audio over a scant outline in PowerPoint. Scant outline? I should be able to do that. I think. The whole situation has my nerves 100% on edge, and even on the best day, those neural-puppies are extra wired. Panic City 90210.

In the midst of all this, I've started biting my nails again. I hate that. It's an ugly habit. Not to mention, there are several other odd & detrimental coping mechanisms that have cropped up. Argh!

But I'll get through this time, just like all the others. Note to self: this is a cake-walk in comparison to times past. As MafiaMom and MafiaGram would say: this too shall pass. In the meantime, I'd better get back to PowerPoint and my big ass glass of wine. Slainte!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Cold Ear Frog

Alas, I was just rounding the corner

and realized that the Jenny Hat needs a good frogging. I enjoy a nice skull cap, but Jenny is simply too small. See my poor exposed ear?

In case you're wondering, I'm too lazy to schlep my camera around, and my blogtographer/work-wife took a 1/2 day, so I'm left to play the boss-avoiding/quick pic/blurry Photo Booth game. Fun times.

-wifey update: no baby and no allegations of spousal abuse. all is well.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mafia Week '07: Winners Knit


The correct answer to the Mafia Week '07: Game #1 is -- the birthmark above my right knee is shaped like a HEART.

When I was a child, my Gramma said I was kissed by an angel. So sweet. In later years, I imagined being kissed by this angel.

Because nobody guessed the correct shape (and what's with all the land mass guesses?), I used the random number generator to decide the winner.

And the winner is:


Congratulations!! I'll send the Knitting Rules book out tomorrow. Enjoy!


I spent a week on the Monkey socks in the Frickmeister STR and got to the heel.

I love the yarn, and although I had several moments of doubt during repeat #2, I love the colors.

Then a cold spell hit Boston, and I realized that commuting in Massachusetts is bitter. So I put the Monkeys down in favor of a much-needed Jenny hat in leftover Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran in Jewel. As of today, it's about 2/3 done.

I'm hoping to have enough JS yarn for a pair of much-needed Massachusetts commuter mittens.

Last weekend, I did two lousy rows on the Arwen sweater. I'm the worst KAL co-host in the world. And at this rate, it'll be 90 degrees outside before I finish it.


Oh, and did I mention the mistake I made on the back of the Arwen cable? For some reason, it doesn't appear on the front. Strange. I'm still trying to decide if I should rip it out, which might explain the languishing. Any thoughts?



Wifey is ready to pull a small baby girl from her belly, but has been advised by her doctor that this isn't a great idea. So she's waiting. And god love her, she hasn't killed me yet. So all is well. In fact, I believe she's walking the mall right now, trying to get that baby to 'engage'.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Mafia Week '07: Game #1

To celebrate my 2nd Blogiversary, I couldn't decide on one activity, so I opted for a few. How many? I don't know. I have lots of ideas, but we'll see what the week brings.
speaking of my week: there's no surro-baby yet + Little Man has conjuctivitis + our dear friend/doula is at the hospital with her youngest, who has either RSV or pneumonia, so please go send her lots of love.

Alright -- back to the celebrating. Beth's "Mafia Week" idea rocks, so I adopted it. Sharon says that only 7% of bloggers make it to the first year, so I'm feeling kinda special. That can only mean one thing -- a contest!

For the one knitter in the universe who doesn't own a copy of Knitting Rules, I'm giving one away. But you have to answer the following question:

What is the birthmark just above my right knee shaped like?

The first correct response in the comments gets a copy of Knitting Rules. If you'd like to guess, but already own the book, just say so. If you're right, you get the sense of moral superiority from winning, but the next correct answer gets the book. Make sense?

I'll take guesses until Thursday at 12noon and will announce the winner shortly thereafter. Good luck!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Favorite Things Monday: Pretty Boys

I had plans for Favorite Things Monday, but after my train ride this morning, those plans were tossed aside. You see, at stop #2 the most beautiful boy tossed his Louis Vuitton bag onto the middle seat, swung his oversized sunglasses up to the top of his head, and sat down in the aisle seat. Actually, he perched, because someone this beautiful does not simply sit.

Every time I had the opportunity, I stole a glance to grab another detail. Hair? Skin? Eyes? Clothes? Shoes? Bag? Louis Vuitton attache. Sunglasses? Christian Dior. What is he reading? Jackie Collins Lovers and Players (of course). After seeing the book, I was tempted to slip this note into his bag:

Only at the end of the train ride did I realize why I was obsessing about this boy: I have a thing for well-groomed androgynous boys. My name is FemiKnit Mafia and I like Pretty Boys. It all started with this guy -- my first boyfriend:

We started pseudo-dating in 6th grade, when he moved into my school district and I practically assaulted him with my subtle-as-a-sledgehammer preteen sexual advances. We broke up at the end of 8th grade because I realized he was gay. Of course, at the time, calling him gay was an insult, in addition to completely presumptuous. As it turns out, I was right. If only I'd had such insight into my own identity, I could've saved some other teenaged boys the embarassment of lackluster sex. Or perhaps they didn't even notice?

Anyway ... my little Pretty Boy this morning reminded me of my first love, and there is something terribly sweet about that. I wanted to protect him. To pet his lintless black double-breasted wool jacket. To squeeze his perfectly tanned little cheeks. To treat him like a paperdoll and dress him in Diesel and Kenneth Cole.

But what do I look like to him? With my hair growing longer, my wattle getting fleshier, and my knitting in my lap, I probably looked like any other 30-something suburbanite. I wanted to yell, "hey, I'm a dyke! can't you see me in here? did you see my manly shoes, my white button-down shirt, and my confident stride?" Yeah, he probably did. He's observant. Pretty boys always observe, even if judgmentally. And to be honest, I didn't care.

But when the click-click of the conductor's hole punch got closer and I realized that this morning would be all the better because my conductor-crush was working my train, I began to care. Does this cute-super-cute lesbian conductor notice me? Hey cutie conductor - I'm in here! Look closely.

Perhaps that's my personal task for today: to stop caring and to look closely.

And yet, even as that idealistic goal is stated ... I still wish the wicked-cute lesbo conductor would notice me. Just one raised eyebrow, up-&-down assessment will satisfy me. See me? I'm cute!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

2nd Blogiversary!!

Happy Blogiversary to Me,
Happy Blogiversary to Me,
Happy Blogiversary to The Maaaaafiiiiiaaa,
Happy Blogiversary to Me!

About a week ago, with the blogiversary looming, I decided to do something celebratory to mark the occasion. I came up with a few ideas: a give-away, a contest, a serious contemplation post, a best-of, cake, presents, streamers, enhancements to the site, etc. The problem is -- I can't decide what one thing to do, so I'm going to declare the entire week a celebration, and do a couple things. So stay tuned.

*And because several people have asked about the Battle of the Bulge, the current score is Bulge: 1; Wifey: 0. Everyone is fine, but if the baby stays inside for one more day, Wifey may kill me. I'm her favorite target. Ah, the joys of married life.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hangs Head in Shame

Alright. I admit it. I've been holding out on y'all.

Indication #1: I spent a good chunk of last Friday with Cate and despite having an amazing time, I haven't mentioned it here.

Indication #2: I met Kristen last Friday, fell for her, and said nothing on the blog.

Indication #3: I went to Webs last Friday and gushed not one teeny bit.

Indication #4: I haven't mentioned knitting for a week, despite being 5 glorious repeats into a pair of Monkey socks in the Frickmeister-STR.

The Confession: I can't talk about knitting or Webs or Kristen or Cate because I would be forced to admit that I've been sneaky. I found a loophole in my Knit From Stash rules [and it's all Kristen's fault]

If you have a gift certificate for $25 and spend $25 on yarn, that's fine. But if you find a mis-shelved cone of some mystery tweedy wool with the most stunning emerald base and flecks of pale blue, turquoise, hunter, and olive; and carry it around, pet it, and swoon over it for an hour; find out that it's $20 per pound (ouch!) and weighs 3 pounds; hear from a well-trained Webs brain that $60 is actually $48 (or even $45) with the discount; and then allow another well-trained scoundrel to buy said yarn for you and hide it until StashBust'07 is over?

Yeah ... that's cheating. I'm ashamed.

But god-daaaayyyyamn, that yarn is stunning! and it matches my eyes [blink, blink].

The Beloved Molly Ivins

has died of breast cancer. I'm so sad.

Boston Globe
Smith's site
two pieces at The Nation.
*The one at the Texas Observer brought tears to my eyes.

So so sad.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Broken Waters

Thurs. ETA: Still no news.

Wed. ETA: It's unofficial. Something is happening, but we're not sure what's going on. Keep those vibes coming. THANKS!!


It's official -- Wifey is going into labor. Hooray!!

Although I'm still contractually unable to blog about the specifics, I can say that Wifey is a surrogate and that Nina is her doula. So go give Nina some love too, k? She'll be taking care of my girl while I'm taking care of Little Man.

And can I get a big of shout out for the VBAC? Please send all of your strong chica vibes to Wifey's body. Dilate. Dilate. Dilate. Progress. Progress. Progress.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Favorite Things Monday: Simplicity

These pix are housed in a multi-photo frame that ordinarily hangs in a prominent location in our house. I say 'ordinarily' because all of our wall decor has been in boxes since October. This photo set is one that I particularly miss, so it's a relief that I have access to a digital version.

Taken at Carrie & Hag's house a couple years ago during a weekend trip to the Cape, these pictures show Wifey and Little Man in a moment of pure joy. On the floor. Being silly. Playing with dishes, as opposed to conventional toys. Laughing.

It shows Carrie & Hag's manner of living. Rustic. Cluttered. A little bit dirty. Organic. Homemade. Lived in. Loved. Simple.

It shows Wifey's completely natural relationship with her sister Carrie. Whose house can you visit and feel comfortable in randomly pulling dishes from the cabinets to entertain your toddler?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

When your wife is surro-preggie

Wifey: When's the full moon?
Mafia: Um ... let me see [pause for google-ing] ... February 2nd
Wifey: I think that's the day I'm going to give birth.
Mafia: Oh? Cool.
Wifey: Do you have any idea?
Mafia: When you're going to give birth?
Wifey: Yeah.
Mafia: Nah, I can't even remember your due date
Wifey: You can't even remember that I'm pregnant [giggles]
Mafia: Shut up! I'm not doin' any more laundry for your ass!

Sat. 1/27/07 at 8:32pm

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Team MIT - Red Scarf Project

Thanks to the excellent leadership (and postage money and pile of lace cookies) of Katie of The Dilettante Debutante, Team MIT sent off 20 (!) scarves for the Red Scarf Project. 15 of the scarves are pictured here. We also got a fabulous surprise visit from Suzanne, who added that beautiful bias stitch brown/orange/yellow scarf up near the top. Aren't we awesome?

And here's my finished Besotted. After blocking, it had such a nice drape that I decided against fringe. Oh yeah -- and -- I just didn't feel like it.

Thanks to Danielle for modeling. And providing the camera. And for printing out the cute little gift tags and wrappers. And for bringing a bag that was big enough to fit both her scarf and my scarf on our walk across campus. And for carrying said bag. According to Chris, this makes Danielle my "work wife." That's fine with me; let's just hope her husband doesn't mind.

I'm heading off to Northampton tomorrow morning, so be prepared for booty from Valley Fabrics, Webs, and Cate. And since I got a gift certificate from Webs for Christmas, I won't be breaking my Knit From Stash rules. Score!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Random Kindness & Dye

lightweight Socks That Rock in Watermelon Tourmaline

Let's talk about love. The love of one blogger for another blogger. Like ... for instance ... when one blogger enters a contest and doesn't win. And another blogger sends Socks That Rock in the mail, unsolicited, for no apparent reason. Seriously. Love.

With all this love around, I ditched all prior knitting plans and commitments and wound balls and cast on for a new pair of socks for me! I'm so excited, I can barely stand myself. THANKS Frickmeister! You made my day, week, month, year!

don't make fun of my polka dot socks + pin-striped pants.
it was 6am when I got dressed and clearly I wasn't awake yet

Then I came home and bathed the Red Scarf. Wash #1: red water

Wash #2: red water

Wash #3: pink water; will this ever end?

Honestly, I was too bored to actually test the stamina of the dye. But ... as a word of warning: do not wash KnitPicks Swish Superwash in Red Pepper with your silky white 'special set' from VS.
[oh, the glory of a mental image ... ]

Monday, January 22, 2007

Favorite Things Monday - My Hoosier

For a long time, Favorite Things Monday has languished. The original concept was to focus on the positive, but FTM quickly morphed into whatever sparked my interest on that day. Positive? Yes. Focused? Not so much. Then it fell off entirely. But since it was such a favorite in my little reader survey, I'm going to revive it. Here goes:

This is my Hoosier cabinet. I love it. I love it dearly. My Mom found it at a yard sale in about 1990. It was painted red. [Yes, someone painted it. Oy.] In addition to it's overall charm, Mom noticed the original Sellers tag, most of the original hardware, the sugar dispenser, the covered tin bread drawer and several original glass spice jars. Recognizing the value of the piece, MafiaMom found a talented restoration pro, had it stripped and refinished, and had one of the glass doors replaced. While the restoration may have diminished its value in the official antique marketplace, it revived this old lady, and brought an antique gem into our family.

Several years ago, MafiaMom visited my apartment in J.P., saw the perfect spot for the cabinet, and offered to sell it to me. At first, I was conflicted. I didn't love the style. It was heavy and old and expensive and fiddly. But Wifey loved it, so we bought it (and spent the next several years paying Mom in dribs and drabs).

I've had Hoosier Cabinets by Philip Kennedy on my Amazon wish list and someday I'm going to buy it. Among other things, it'll tell me what year my Hoosier was built, which parts are original and give me a roadmap for maintaining my little antique gem. I've started hunting eBay for replacement hardware because the old hardware on Ms. 1890's kitchen cabinets is similar, and when we renovate the kitchen, I'd like to use antique hardware that matches my cabinet. In addition, I'm saving digital copies of vintage ads so I can design my kitchen with the period in mind. Without that classic text about my cabinet, I've been completely ignorant of her history. Even without the book, I've very recently started to find her history here and there.

Hoosiers are generally considered 'depression era' pieces, so I always assumed it was built in the 1930s. But I've recently discovered some Sellers advertisements from the early 1900s, and I'm fairly sure mine was built in 1917. I used to envision the kind of family that could afford such a beautiful cabinet during the depression, and I couldn't relate to their life at all.

But now that my cabinet was born in 1917, I envision a world of possibilities. Was her first owner a wife and mother? A wife and mother and activist? A lady in a boston marriage? Instead of envisioning a woman kneading dough to feed her family, I envision Mrs. Agnes Moray, Miss Janet Fotheringham and Miss Lucy Burns perched on stools over the porcelain counter, writing letters, planning demonstrations, coordinating support for their jailed sisters, succeeding in NY State -- not realizing that they would be jailed together at Occoquan. And then I envision them, three years later, setting glass goblets on the porcelain counter, pouring cordials, and toasting their victory.

Little did these ladies realize that 90 years later the same porcelain counter would hold poster paint belonging to the boy child of lesbian moms, and the glass cabinet would house a porcelain mug inscribed with Votes For Women in honor of Alva Vanderbilt Belmont's sassy hospitality:

Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt Belmont (1853-1933), born in Alabama, grew up as a Southern lady. Upon marrying into the wondrously rich Vanderbilt family, Alva focused her impressive energies on winning over New York Society. Her divorce from William Vanderbilt and ensuing marriage to, even richer, Oliver Belmont caused a sensation. The scandal forced the hitherto sheltered society dame to reconsider women's position.

When the Women's Trade Union League in 1909 supported the garment workers' on strike. Mrs. Belmont personally went on the streets of New York City; into the city's jailed and bailed out the arrested strikers. This strike was her initiation into the woman's suffrage movement. She established her own Political Equality League, paid for the office space for a national NAWSA office in New York City, and underwrote a national press bureau for the association. While her sudden plunge into the movement aroused some skepticism, her commitment proved enduring.

When radical Alice Paul broke off from NAWSA, Mrs. Belmont left the NAWSA to become one of Paul's most significant supporters. It was at her famous home, Marble House, in Newport, Rhode Island that Alice Paul and her cohorts formulated their plan to hold President Wilson and the Democrats responsible for the lack of progress on woman suffrage.

Mrs. Belmont commissioned her own set of "Votes for Women" china for a major Suffrage dinner party at Marble House. When the dinner was over, each guest was given a place setting to take home. "
Since I will not be spending $6500 on 4 pieces of the original china ( ... don't think I didn't consider it ... ), perhaps I should start collecting the reproduction Votes For Women china. Wouldn't that be a wonderful way to honor the history of my Hoosier?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Scaring the Muggles

This one's for Lucia.

That's Danielle and me KIPing over lunch today at The Stata Center, a major thoroughfare at MIT that was brimming with muggles. There were several second glances, a couple raised eyebrows, and a few smiles. Certainly some of these brainiacs will become bankers. May they remember this day.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Red Scarf haul-along

Back in November, Katie suggested that the MIT Stitch & Bitch do a mini-knit-along during IAP (aka January) to create scarves for the Red Scarf Project. Of course, the idea was a big hit, and lead to an official event in the IAP calendar. [clearly we're famous now]

Despite not posting about it, I've spent the last week knitting away at a Besotted Scarf in KnitPicks Swish Superwash in Red Pepper.

As of right now, the scarf is about 32" long. I'm getting 15" out of each ball, and since I only have three balls, this scarf will be 45" with no fringe. I was hoping for a teeny bit of fringe, but it's already fairly short, so I can't spare the extra yarn. Oh well.

While I feel great about participating in this project, I also feel silly about walking around with cold hands because I refuse to 1) buy mittens or 2) stop the scarf and risk not finishing it in time, so I can make mittens for myself. Am I being totally ridiculous? Yeah, I thought so.

But if I slog through to the end of this scarf monogamously (despite the siren call of my Arwen and my cold hands), my reward will be to knit a pair of mittens (or a hat?) out of the most beautiful handspun that I got from the recent MIT SnB holidaze yankee swap (note to self: explain why I'll never participate in another yankee swap). But I've also signed up for the Green Sock Along over at Knotty Bits because I have two skeins of the most incredible green sock yarn from my generous birthday presents and I can't wait to cast on. But what about Wifey's Icarus or Hag's socks or Mom's poncho or my Eris or Little Man's cornflower sweater, you ask? Yeah ... I should get back to those, huh?

Clearly monogamy is difficult for me. And clearly, I'll have no problem knitting from stash until the end of September.

- Bruise update: it was measured, and it's larger, and more colorful (eeewwww!). there's a new photo, and the old photo has 69 views, which scares me a little.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Bruise = very deep purple, arnica slathered (thanks Kat). With all those comments, I Felt The Love.
Sinuses & Lungs = congested, infected, loud, raspy, medicated.

On the Needles
Red Scarf Project = not secret, but not yet blogged. Yet 2/3 finished.
in the Besotted pattern = much love and adoration.
in KnitPicks Swish Superwash = nice, but a bit splitty, especially when frogged.

A Knitter's Mad Libs
It was a sassy day. I decided to stay in doors and work on my A Cardigan For Arwen. Oh Shit! This pattern is green! I have been hardly knitting this 4 days now. It's going carefully. What a wagon! I decided to move on and work on my bra. That is a much tighter knit. Only when I was knitting, I made a hose. Now it looks like a drug instead of a bra. I'm so loud. I guess I'll have to frog and skip it again. Those are the perils of running.
*source: Knotty Bits


This photo was taken a couple weeks ago after our first real snow. Little Man is such a good helper, and this is our basic weekend M.O.: I pick a household project and Little Man helps me. At some point he'll realize this is a racket. But for now, I get some companionship and a little assistance.

However ... hold your breath ... this is the last time my Celtic Cable Cap was seen in the wild. I know. I know. It's hard to fathom. It's a travesty of knitterly justice. Perhaps I lost it. Or perhaps the felting monster made a wee mistake, was too terrified to fess up and shoved the offending piece deep in the trash underneath some old oatmeal. Or perhaps I lost it. I probably lost it. [frown]

The Lesser Knits
With my hat missing and temperatures dipping into the single digits on my ass-crack-of-dawn walk to the train, I broke down and wore in public the formerly beautiful hat that my deceased MIL made for me (now irrevocably stretched out) and the first pair of mittens I ever made. Oh the shame.

To see if I'm really ungrateful, shallow and silly, here's a poll:

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Icy hell

Have you heard about the ice storms that slammed the northeast this weekend? Wanna see something really really gross? Go see my brand-new 10" x 6" bruise. Note: not for the faint of heart.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Guest Loo & How to Electrocute Yourself 101

Guest Loo

How much does my Mom love me? Or how crazy is my Mom? You decide. During her Christmas visit, she could barely sit still because she was jonesin' to rip something apart in my house. One evening, I came downstairs after putting Little Man to bed and found her in my downstairs bathroom, doing this:

Only the world's best Mom would strip wallpaper when you weren't paying attention. That's love. After the wallpaper came down, we discovered a corner where some old floor-to-ceiling beadboard was covered with plaster. [who would do that?] So I joined MafiaMom, and reclaimed the beadboard.

This involved running the sharp tip of my multi-purpose putty knife down the ditches between the boards. But in doing so, I created a lot of texture where the old layers of paint were uncovered. I can't just sand it, because it's no doubt lead paint. I don't want to putty over it again, because I will have wasted 2 hours of hardcore scraping. So I'm ignoring it until I decide what to do.

In the meantime, Wifey and I skim-coated and sanded the walls, harkening back to these days. Then Little Man and I primed the rest of the room. He was delighted to be a part of this activity. He learned to put only a small amount of paint on the brush, to tap it gently on the tray, and to paint up and down. [wax on, wax off]

Then Wifey I finished the job with a nice coat of American Tradition in "Spring Spirits" green.

How to Electrocute Yourself 101

Step 1: Decide to replace a light fixture when noone else is home.

Step 2: Disconnect fixture from the ceiling, discover wires covered in black linen, and still continue with your project.

Step 3: Find a cast iron mounting brace, make a mental note that you've never even seen one of those, and continue with your project.

Step 4: Disconnect all wires, notice that they're not copper, consult your giant manual, read the warnings, and continue with your project.

Step 5: Go to the basement, turn the electricity back on, and decide to test for "juice." Touch the black end of your electricity tester to the metal tube surrounding your wires, the red end to a bare wire, and act surprised when it jolts, sparks and melts the metals tips of your tester.

Step 6: Rejoice when you finally call the electrician because you can clearly state which of the wires is "hot."

Friday, January 12, 2007

Drag Queen In Training

Since just before Halloween, Little Man has been obsessed with dressing up. It all started at day care, where he mobilized the boys to dress in high femme princess attire. Wifey would arrive to pick him up and find all the boys wearing high heels, and the teachers claiming that Little Man was the ring-leader. Then Halloween hit, with the Mafia made matching Peter Pan and Tinkerbell costumes for Little Man and his neighbor/girl friend Lila. Then Lila caught the dress-up bug, collected an entire (vintage!) suitcase of princess bits, and has played with few other toys since then. At our house, we've been hoarding dress up clothes for over two years, patiently waiting for this period of Little Man's development. The time has officially arrived.

The first favorite outfit: pirate hat, and a purple glittery cape (made with scrap fabric by Auntie Carrie). Accessories vary.

Phase two: Large straw hat, purple glittery cape, and small silky black purse.

On Monday, Little Man had a croupy cough, so we stayed home together. Of course, this meant a trip to Nina's house, and Target: two of our favorite places. To my delight, the Target $1 Spot was packed with dress up clothes, so we grabbed an entire princess ensemble. For the record, when given the choice between pink and purple, Little Man chose purple. For the gender-concerned among you, I tried talking him into the pirate and safari outfits; he was. not. interested.

While chatting on the phone with MafiaMom the other day, Little Man was playing dress-up. After hearing his explanation of why he absolutely can not wear his red shirt, only his white shirt with the purple cape, Ms. conservative MafiaMom offered the following insight:

"Perhaps he'll be a ballet dancer when he grows up.

Or ... maybe a fashion designer.

No, no ...

[giggle giggle giggle]

He's gonna be a drag queen!

[giggle giggle giggle]"