Oh, Polly, How I Loathe Thee

When my little Princess turned six years old this weekend, I wanted to give her something really special. I knew that she wanted a lace shawl, so I wrapped up this one that I made a few months ago as a swatch for an idea that I had. I also gave her the smaller swatch for her doll.

Then, using the same yarn, I created a great little crown. My little princess.

Knowing that this wasn’t enough, I also set out to make her some little dolls. She has always loved Polly Pocket, which I don’t love, so I tried to make an alternative doll. Using a wire and wood frame, I planned to make clothes and accessories, and give her three dolls that I could love, too. A more innocence-friendly dress up doll (read “not anorexic looking with boobs and hips and hootchie clothing”).Here was my first attempt.

The sweater turned out really cute, and the dress is real silk and gorgeous. But, knowing that I was competing with this:

I knew I had a ways to go before I got it right. The sweater was awkward to put on and take off, and the dress was too ill-fitting to be perfect. So, I put that whole idea out of my head, and went for a different toy. This is what I ended up with:

Using embroidery floss, silk flowers and wood glue, I made three beautiful fairy princesses. I put them in a little basket and was so excited to give them to her. On the morning of her birthday, she got up, climbed into my bed and I gave her the gifts I had lovingly made for her.

She was thrilled. She loved every bit and detail. She oooohed over the dolls, wrapped herself in her very own shawl and wore the crown for the rest of the day.

Then, she got her other gifts from family and friends. Nasty, plastic, naked girls with rubber clothing. I am trying not to be spiteful, but really. How can I compete with that? And, while my husband assures me that she does still like her handmade gifts, I know that they aren’t the treasures I intended. And while I realize that my jealousy is a little selfish and irrational, I want to give my kids good things. Treasures. Stuff you can’t get in the stores. Stuff made by my hand with all my heart. Not mass produced, dime-a-dozen junk. It is frustrating.

Oh, Polly, how I loathe thee!

The Cloverfield Hat and Other Strange Associations

I am a big fan of movies. Mostly “guy” movies. You know, “the more explosions, the better” kind of movies. I like the Die Hards, the X-Men, the Borne movies. I do okay with “chick flicks”, but it is mostly hit and miss. I hate sappy. I hate unrequited love. I hate extramarital affairs made to look beautiful. I like good comedy. And by “good”, I mean actually funny, not some stupid slapstick. Hitch is still funny after 100 viewings. I like capers. Give me a good batch of impossible missions and cool gadgets, like the Ocean’s movies. And, of course, I love musicals. Sound of Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Singing in the Rain all come to mind.

I like to knit in front of the screen. Especially if the movie is scary or violent. The knitting keeps me just separated enough so that I don’t get nightmares later (as I have a tendency to do). This is cool, because I get a lot of knitting done in the evenings while watching a movie with the man. But it also has its downside.

Have you ever knit something while watching a movie, only to have that item to forever remind you of that movie? Especially quick projects, where there is only one movie associated with them? I once considered naming my projects after the movies that they reminded me of. I would have the “Indiana Jones Longie”, the “Lord of the Rings Baby Cardigan” and the “Ratchet and Clank Sweater” (that last one is from that time Marc borrowed a Playstation and played almost endlessly one weekend). Of course, these are all okay, it is the things that remind me of movies that I hated that are a problem. There was the “Aliens Sweater”, which I can’t even look at without getting nightmares, and the “Cloverfield Hat”.

It is the Cloverfield Hat that inspired me to write this today. My cousin was the recipient of the cutest crochet hat that I ever made. I wish I had taken a picture of it, but it was before my Ravelry days.  (I can’t even find it on Ravelry.) But, (and you know I hate crochet) it was really cute. It was a few, very cobwebby squares joined at the brow and then a netlike cap. I knit it in Patons Kroy FX, double strand, and the color is awesome. I am really proud of it, and my cousin seemed to like it. (She is a teenager, so maybe she didn’t. I have never seen her wear it, but she lives far away, so maybe she does…)

So, my sister brought it up  the other day, as in “hey, if you ever want to make one of those for me…” And I thought about it for a second, and in my mind I saw people running through the streets in terror and giant bugs attacking people in a tunnel, and a huge monster knocking over a bridge, and I thought, “I will never make one of those hats again!”

Last night, I continued working on my “Smallville Season 8 Lace Shawl”. At least this project will be spread out over several different movies, and maybe I will be able to look at it once it is done!

I Had A Great Idea

Wool longies are so useful. I have been knitting wool longies and shorties, and skirties and undies, for a few years now. I use them everyday. I love them. I just hate knitting them. Granted, it is a quick knit. I don’t need to look up a pattern. I can whip out something cute, useful and compliment worthy really fast. Sometimes, in the middle of a long sleeve, or a lace shawl, I make a pair of longies to remember what it is like to bind off. But, they are boring. Boring, boring, boring. So, every time I make another soaker, I get creative. This time was no exception.

Winter is coming, and the nights are getting cooler, so I was thinking that I would like a pajama type of longie that would be warm and cute and wonderful. I wanted a square neckline, a straight body and long, warm legs. Something like this, only put the longies at the bottom:

Now, a smart girl would buy the pattern and just change the bottom, but I had a “better” idea. I just decided to wing it. How hard could it be? (famous last words, right?)

This is the first prototype. Well, the first one that got farther than 4 rows. I cast on, knit a bit, and frogged. Over and over and over. And, each time I started over, I changed my stitch count. I really didn’t want it to be too small. Of course, there was no gauge swatch involved, so it was all a big guessing game. And, while that picture above may look cute, it is a disaster, and I will tell you why. The front portion of the neck, from corner to corner, measures seven inches! I don’t know about your baby, but my baby’s chest is probably closer to three.

No problem, I thought when I realized this. I will just change my plan. This can be a something for Emma. This is where knitter denial reared it’s ugly head. Emma’s chest is only 5 inches…

So, I knit around and around, and it was nice, fast, mindless knitting. Then, I thought, I should try this on Emma. So, I put all the live stitches on scrap yarn and called Emma over to me. Wouldn’t you know it? The straps are too far apart (as I suspected they would be) and the body was too tight around the middle.

Some garment I made – it doesn’t work on any body, and there are a lot of bodies to choose from in this house! I need someone who is broad shouldered and skinny as a rail.

Back to the drawing board….

Three Random Things

1. The Boy’s ear is all better. His glands are still swollen, but he is looking better and better all the time.

2. Six years have flown by. My Beka turned six this weekend. I love her.

3. The Rona Shawl grows and grows. And, for lace, is somewhat boring knitting – imagine that! I am sure it is just this section.

We still have family here from the memorial this weekend. Monday is still weekend for our family. I’ll be back to my witty self tomorrow!

Happy Monday, Ya’ll!

Attack of the Bees

Two days ago, my son and two daughters were in the yard playing when, all of the sudden, they all started screaming like crazy. I thought they were being attacked by coyotes, they were so panicky sounding. I ran outside and around the house, chasing after my son, who was running around the house chasing me, screaming. (the girls, it turns out, were screaming just because he was screaming. Girls!) My heart was slamming in my chest and my mind was going crazy. I was trying to figure out if everything was going to be okay. I was scared, let me tell you. I finally caught up to the boy, and, through his frantic sobbing, was able to figure out that he had been stung by a bee. On the ear. Yeah. Ouch. This is what he looked like yesterday.

Again, with the awful picture. Really, if you have an extra camera laying around….

His ear blew up to an unimaginable size! It is hard to tell in this picture, but it was red, and huge, and itchy. Then, the red started to spread and by last night, it was halfway around his neck and both his glands in his neck were swollen. This morning, he looks better. I am sure that tomorrow he will be back to normal. For now, I am dosing him with Robitussin regularly and praying, praying, praying. We are going to have to get an epi-pen for that boy. That was too scary for the mama.

But that is not the end of the story. Yesterday, my mom, sisters, cousins and aunt were all here to help clean up the place (in preparation for todays memorial service for my grandpa) and my sister and mom both got attacked by bees. It is like a bad dream. My sis, who is all business, took some revenge, pouring boiling water into the hole in the ground where they are nesting. She plans a second attack this evening. Nothing like a few bee stings to make you fight back, eh?

So that is a little peek into my life, as I head out to a service in honor of my Grandpa. We are expecting about 400 guests to attend, just a fraction of the people God used him to touch in his long, beautiful life.

I’m Not Obsessed, I am Passionate…. er, something….

When it comes to spending my spare moments in selfish pursuits, I am torn between two pastimes – knitting and reading about knitting on the internet. And, while doing the actual knitting is my favorite, I find that more and more often, I am sitting in front of the computer. I mean, wow! There is so much to read and learn, and so many friends to be made. Between Ravelry forums, writing this blog, and reading about all of your fabulous knitting exploits on your blogs, I could spend hours a day just reading about knitting. And, while I would love to knit while I read, as stated previously, I only have two hands. Lately, I have been doing more reading than knitting because, despite having six WIP’s (yes, it went up one since I last spoke of it), I am bored with them. Until now. Finally, the all consuming knitting project has come along, causing me to do more than read.

Again, with the lousy picture. Anyone have a camera they want to send me?

You see, I recently participated in a swap on Ravelry. I have been watching these swaps for awhile, but they always look too expensive. Then, I saw this one, a Knit Picks stash swap. No purchase required. I am so glad that I signed up. I sent out some lovely sock yarn (that I bought long ago, for who-knows-what), a couple of knitting books I will never use, some treats, a knitting bag, and some stitch markers (that I made) to a lovely knitter in Minnesota, whom I have never met. Then, a few days later, I received a package from another lovely knitter, in Arkansas (who happened to be a Christian like me – bonus!) filled with yarn and patterns and tea and lotion.

When I say filled, I mean filled – eight balls of Wool of the Andes in White with two patterns – Abalone and Hemlock Ring Doily Throw (and you know I am going to make that throw!) Plus, three balls of Shadow in Vineyard – a most excellent shade of dark purple (OH I LOVE PURPLE!!!) to make Rona Lace Shawl, pattern included.

So, you know what I am going to say next, right? That Rona Shawl was on my needles in a flash! I tell you, folks, I am obsessed with- no. I  am passionate about knitting lace.

That makes seven WIPs, for those of you who are counting. (You know who you are)

If You Need It, Dab It On!

So, the other day I was doing a last minute sweep of the house, trying to get it clean before The Man got home from work, and I passed by a mirror and caught a glimpse of myself.

This is what I saw.

No makeup, still in my jammies, hair not brushed, still wearing glasses (instead of contacts), I stank (you can’t see that, but I did), and I hadn’t even brushed my teeth, yet.

Now, I can’t be the only mom who makes it to 4:30 pm looking like this. I can’t be the only mom who looks like this and doesn’t even know it.

But, it got me to thinking. My wonderful man comes home to me everyday. He is faithful, loving and wonderful in every way. I never have to worry about him finding someone better, or younger or prettier. He will stick with me to the end. Even if I look like a worn out old hag. I know this.

So, shouldn’t I give him something worth coming home to?

Still not a super model, but, hey! contacts, a little paint, and some deodorant, and now I am looking a little more like the cute, young thing he married and less like a worn out mother of five who just wants a shower and a nap!

Cast On Conundrum

I need to cast on something new. I was over at Ravelry looking at my project page when I noticed something unusual. I have five WIPs – two of them are just hours away from being finished, one is probably going to get frogged and the other two are strictly “after kids go to bed and the house is quiet and I can think” knitting. Which means, technically, I don’t have any WIPs. (How do you like that math, eh?)

So, the next question is, what lucky pattern to pair with some fabulous yarn from the stash? And that is a conundrum. Here is why:

1. I should start something that will get me closer to completing one of my knitting goals. A sweater for the Year of the Sweater Project or a Christmas gift or a sweater for one of the kids (I try to make a sweater for each of them every year). But, that is too typical and boring. I want something different. (Really what I should do is laundry, but I don’t want to talk about that…)

2. I want to design something new and exciting. I have this idea swirling around in my head for longies that go all the way up, like overalls, but cuter. I have the yarn and a pretty clear vision, but I am not quite ready to start knitting, yet. Soon. Very soon. I also want to do some lace. There are several sirens calling to me. And I have yarn for that. But –

3. I have yarn coming. When new yarn gets here, old projects tend to loose their shine and I want to make something with the new yarn. I have Madelinetosh Eyre on the way. Why start something now, when I will be starting something when that gets here? I am also in a swap on Ravelry, so soon I should be getting yarn and a pattern that you know I am going to cast on as soon as I open the box. If I am not careful, I am going to end up with too many things on the needles in just a few days. (I am such a maniac, aren’t I?)

Therefore, I will be a good girl today. I will work on a current WIP until the new yarn arrives.

When that new yarn gets here, watch out! 🙂

If I Were an Octopus…

I often wonder why God didn’t give moms more than two arms. How are we supposed to hold a baby, stir the soup, pick up the socks, go to the bathroom and answer the phone all at the same time? It just doesn’t make any sense. I have been known to lament the apparent shortage of arms in the past,mumbling something to myself about how during childbirth we should sprout another – at least the first couple of times. It has vexed me time and again. But, today, I am thankful that I only have two arms. I am knitting sleeves.

Although, I really can’t complain about these sleeves. These are interesting sleeves.

They are a fun knit, and I am actually looking forward to working on the second one… tomorrow.

But, I am glad that I only have two arms!

Labyrinth in Louisa Harding Grace, whale