my life as a crocheter & knitter & working mom

Friday, October 26, 2007

Happy Birthday to Mom!

Today is my mother's birthday. She turns 54. I know, I have a very young mother. She was just 18 when I was born. (Most of my peers growing up in NW Vermont had young parents, unless they were the youngest kid. Not many people of their generation went to college, so families were started young.)

I've never had a fight with my mom. Which is funny because she and my two sisters have many arguments. I guess I could always see why she was making the points she made. Of course, I was a ridiculous goody-two shoes who strived to not embarass her parents.

My mom's one of the strongest women I know. She had a baby senior year of high school that she placed for adoption and still graduated on time. She held us together through some hard times financially and while my sister went through some severe health problems as a kid. When her mom was dying of colon cancer, mom was at the hospital or nursing home everyday doing whatever she could to help her mom have some comfort and dignity. Her dad's stayed with her after both of his hip surgeries. She does it all without complaint or resentment. Sometimes, I think she thrives on crisis.

Nearly every Saturday I've known her she's driven the 40 minutes back to her home town to visit her sister and father (when they're not travelling).

Mom recently started a new job. She'd been working for the same company for at least 25 years. That tells me two things, she's not afraid of making a change and she was smart enough to get out before they close the doors at her old place.

Mom loves kids. Especially pre-school and younger. I remember baking with her when I was a kid (mmmm, moon pies) and her getting on the floor and tickling us.

I also remember the ways she tried to push us to be independent and self-reliant. In some ways it felt like she was shutting me out. Until the women she worked with told me how much she missed me when I went away to college and how excited she'd get when I'd come home for a visit.

Mom never lets you know when something has hurt her or is too much for her. She can also seem aloof and reserved. She tended to yell a lot and had her share of banging moments.

I am the woman I am because of my mom. Warts and all. But, I know I wouldn't have gone to France on a three-week exchange program in High School, chosen a college six hours away from home, spent a semeseter abroad in England, or moved to NYC/NJ to find a job and love without her.

Happy Birthday Mom.

I sure hope she likes her Freya.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

sock update

I have now knit nearly one full repeat past the heel on the dragon sock. I know, it's exciting and special, I deserve a parade. Boy the colors look washed out in that photo.

In other news, I am now the proud owner of my first skein of SOTR. Yes, unashamed stasher that I am, I had never purchased a skein that rocked. Fortunately for me, Valleygrrl e-mailed me a couple of weeks ago asking if I still had some ASC in Orkney. (She'd found B's Kate in my archives so she knew I'd used it in the past.) She offered to buy/swap, but since I was never going to use what I had left (really, none of us looks good in yellow), I offered to send it to her gratis. In her grattitude, she sent me a skein of SOTR in foo foo. I'm tres bad blogger because it arrived in the mail on Monday and I only photographed it today. It's been sitting on my dining room table all week, being adored. It's going to become the second pair of socks I cast on once Dragons are done. (The first being my Harlot duplicating pair of monkeys.)

It's a shame lunch hour is over. I just activated my Ravelry account. There's nothing there, but I can be found as NetterKnitter (must find who used my nickname first). One question about ravelry, do I give up my job or a family member so I can fully enjoy it?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

If you read my blog

You know at least one woman who's had PPD.

Please contact your Senator to ask them to support The Mother's Act.

I haven't talked about PPD in a while, mostly because my depression's in remission, at least enough so I can ignore it.

But, almost everyday we hear about some woman who didn't have the resources I had. Who didn't tell her doctor she'd been crying for hours every afternoon for two weeks or that she'd been having these horrible thoughts she couldn't control or that she simply cannot handle motherhood. Because I had a doctor with no qualms about prescribing an anti-depressant, because I had health insurance, my baby and I survived. Lots of moms and babies don't. Even in the cases where it doesn't cause murder or suicide, PPD has an incredibly negative impact on the families involved. A child can't reach his full potential if he doesn't feel loved and nurtured. Mommies with PPD can't give that love and reassurance.

My state senators are sponsoring the bill, with Senator Menendez having introduced it. Our former Acting Governor's wife has been very vocal and active as a PPD survivor. Voices are being heard in NJ, are they being heard in your state?

Thanks to Thor for pointing this out.

new for me

So, I'm trying a new heel on these Here There Be Dragon Socks. I've done short-row heels before, but on the Lolita Legs stockings, there were supposed to be holes. The designer of the Dragon socks suggested the Priscilla Gibson-Roberts method of short-rowing heels with a backward yarnover. She also suggested looking at the tutorial at the Blue blog.

So, armed with the pattern and a print out of the tutorial, I sat on the train last night ready to short-row me a heel.

I read the tutorial. I tried to do a couple of rows. I read the tutorial again. I could make neither heads nor tails of the damn thing. Determined to not deal, I picked up a book and read until I had to change trains in Newark.

Then, as I was walking between tracks 2 and 5, I remembered that when I first turned a heel and gussett heel, I just blindly following the directions, having faith that it would work. And it did. So, I determined to try again once I was sitting on train three (train one being the subway, train two being the train between NYC and Newark, with train three as the train that actually gets me home). And try again I did. The first part, where the rows get shorter was pretty easy. The second half, where the rows get longer, not so much with the easy. But as I was ripping out and being very careful not to drop any YOs, I realized I had two stitches together where there was supposed to be a YO and a stitch. Problem solved. I am now about two rows from completing the heel. I'm very excited. I've been working on these socks off and on since May and they've been in the state of "waiting for a heel" for months.

I do still see some holes along the heel, but I think I know what I did wrong there (the YOs are twisted and need to be turned to sit properly on the needle). I might rip out or I might just see what washing will do (socks are koigu and it does bloom a bit when washed).
I'm also magic-looping this pair and so far, I like it!
No progress has been made on the St. Andrew's sweater. I knit two rows on Monday and didn't touch it yesterday. I'm not having an easy time with the hormones this cycle. To think I used to believe PMS was balderdash put forth by the patriarchy to keep women in place.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Book Meme

I picked this up from Samurai Knitter the other day.

1. Hardcover or paperback, and why: Mostly hardcover right now. It’s what Zooba sends me ($9.95 a book with no shipping charges). If I were to start reading a lot again, I’d definitely go paperback, cheaper and easier to carry.

2. If I were to own a book shop, I would call it: Buy This Book. I know super lame take on the Abbey Hoffman title. You should hear my thoughts when I try to name a yarn store!

3. My favorite quote from a book is: “Take a drink with anyone, and pick your pals where you find them.” From one of Marjorie Allingham’s Campion books (I found them one summer in college when I was reading my way through the ridiculously tiny public library in my ridiculously tiny hometown).

4. The author (alive or dead) I would love to have lunch with is: Shakespeare. Let’s put to rest whether or not he actually wrote the plays. Also, did he know who killed Christopher Marlowe?

5. If I were going to a deserted island and could only bring one book (other than a survival guide), it would be: As I mentioned over in the comments at Samurai Knitter, my Riverside Shakespeare. It’s got all the plays, the poems, etc. That would keep me occupied.

6. I would love for someone to invent a book gadget that: Let me know if a book were worth my time and interest before I opened it. (You can’t trust cover material, it’s written by marketing people who may not even have read the book.) Also, Amy Lane mentioned a page turner for knitting while reading.

7. The smell of books reminds me of: Work. Seriously, I work at a publishing company and there's a printing house in the building. But it does bring back the memories of hours and hours lost in other worlds.

8. If I could be the lead character in a book, it would be: This is a tough one. I haven’t read anything lately where someone has the life I want to lead (too many crime novels). But, let's pick something sweet and light with lots of romance. Actually, Anne of Green Gables. I'm not sure if I've read all the books, but Anne Shirley would be it.

9. The most overrated book of all time is: Anything by Hemmingway. Being able to appeal to machismo while writing without adjectives does not make you a great writer. (Except his short stories, “Clean Well-Lighted Place” is one of my favorite ever.)

10. I hate it when a book: Has characters I can’t care about. I’m not going to invest my time reading about people with no redeeming characteristics. That’s what the news is for.

Monday, October 22, 2007

socks that suck

I hate these socks. The heel flap is too short, the toes aren't long enough and I did a crappy job of grafting. I'm so tired of these socks. I thought I really wanted them in this yarn for me, but I can't look at them anymore. They're going to go away. I'm going to rip them out and put the yarn in my stash and maybe, someday, I'll knit something else out of them.
This I like. It's hubby's St. Andrews sweater. I carried to the beach Saturday and Sunday but didn't take it out of the bag until we got home. One thing I don't love. The joins between white and blue are wonky on the right-hand side. Behind it is my homemade chart holder. Under it is the shoe box that holds the working balls (with slits cut in the side for each ball). I want to finish this piece this month. Then I'll work on the front in November, sleeves in December, and seaming in January (I'll also have Dad and B's birthday sweaters to work on in December and January).
Tomorrow, we discuss Here there be dragon socks.

Friday, October 19, 2007

grafting for the weekend

I've got two sets of decreases to finish, then the gusset is done. I do still expect to be grafting tonight. Should we place odds on how likely it is I will be able to maintain the pattern while grafting?

Hubby and I are packed for our last weekend "down the shore" before the condo is closed for the winter. Hubby was very disappointed that his parents didn't buy in a year-round building, but I'm not sure I want the beach when it's freezing. Tomorrow should be nice. It's forecasted to be 70° and sunny-ish.

Good news on B yesterday. His lungs are not involved with the cough that's been plaguing him (more me and hubby, B doesn't let things get him down). Doc thinks he's outgrown the reactive airway problems that had him on a nebulizer with every cold and allergy outbreak from the age of 1. Yay! So, he's on stuff for sinuses and if it ever gets past being late summer around here we might finally get past the allergies.

I'm looking forward to two days of temporary childlessness. I've had some impatient and yelling spots the last few days. I'm going to miss him, but I'm looking forward to a break from Super 3.

I'm bringing Hubby's St. Andrew's sweater for beach knitting (maybe in the car, too, when it's light out). Hubby was a little concerned that it might get sand on it. I pointed out that it is cotton and he's never shown concern when it's things I knit for myself on the beach. If I get any time in on it this weekend, I should be past the halfway mark. I'll try to get some pics of me knitting it on the beach.

I wish all of you going to Rhinebeck a fun time. I really should get there one day....

Thursday, October 18, 2007

successful excision

I'm such a knitting dork, I took a picture of the excised toe on the train last night, as soon as I finished separating the two pieces. (Okay, the soon to be ripped heel made it into the pic as well.)
The heel was completely ripped and turned before I got off the train. I even managed to pick up for the gusset.

I expect to complete the gusset this afternoon. I'm taking a one o'clock bus home (Billy has a doctor's appointment because his cough's been around for a week and a half and is not getting better) so I should be able to get the gusset completely done. Tomorrow's commute should see these socks completed (so long as I can graft reasonably well in pattern).

That means Dragon socks become the commute knitting for next week.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I've started hacking up the sock with the bad heel. Sock with the good heel might still be a little short, but we'll judge after it's had a bath and been worn a bit (cotton does tend to stretch out). I hope to have bad heel sock back on the needles tonight. I'd love to have this pair of socks done by the weekend.
I've been making good progress with the St. Andrew's sweater, about a quarter of the way through. I guess I should try to take a picture.
Yesterday was a really busy day for me, lots of meetings at work, but it was a good day.
My grandfather had his colon surgery yesterday morning. They only had to remove a foot of the colon; the spot (no one's called it a tumor yet) was only the size of a quarter. They were able to do the surgery laparoscopically so he should be able to go home in less than a week. They'll have the pathology results on the lymph nodes about the same time. Then he'll know if he needs radiation or chemo or nothing at all.
Dad had a positive experience at the pain clinic yesterday. They did a try out for a new type of injection and it left him with a pain-free lower back for a few hours, usually he gets no relief from the injections. Next week he goes to get the real ones (they could last six months to a year depending on nerve growth). Next, the pain doctor goes to work on his neck (he has spine narrowing in the lumbar and cervical spine). He's also been prescribed a fentanyl patch (one doctor said the darvon's like tylenol, so why do they have a guy with a debilitating pain condition on tylenol?). I was hoping the his new primary doc would be more aggressive with the pain management. Dad's big request was for the new doc to make it so he could drive again, then he'll go to physical therapy.
I got a nice gift from someone yesterday. A friend gave me a belated birthday gift, a gift certificate to PURL. She also took me out to a nice lunch. Since she and her family are moving to Connecticut from San Antonio next month, I think I need to knit her a hat and scarf.
And then my B peed standing up for the first time. He was so proud! Such a big boy.

Monday, October 15, 2007


And I don't mean the TV show.

When we were heading back to the car after grocery shopping, I realized B was no longer wearing his hat. Hubby went back into the store, but no one had turned it in.

Hubby doesn't think it's a big loss; he thought it was the kind of thing that gets a kid beat up. He keeps forgetting B's in pre-school.
Fortunately, B wasn't too upset, which was surprising. He was a huge PITA all day Saturday (and this morning). I've been trying to cut him some slack, since he seems to have a pretty annoying cough, but when we need to get out the door in the morning, there is very little slack to cut.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Halloween knits

B very much likes his pumpkin hat. He was hoping to wear it to the farm this morning, but the trip was postponed due to the tons of rain we've been receiving. He wore it to school instead.
He was a very willing model. (He doesn't have an underbite like it looks here. I think he was singing along to Bruce or something. Yes, we're still all Bruce all the time.)

I linked to the pattern the other day. It's Crazy Aunt Purl's Reversible Halloweenie Beanie. I decided to go with the stockinette side. I'm just not feeling reverse stockinette lately. The only mods I made, besides an inadvertent tighter gauge which is why it's B's beanie and not mine, was of the decreasing. I liked Purl's method, but didn't like the way it looked. So instead I K2tog right before the purl ditch for a few rows and then ssk after the purl ditch for a few rows. The last set was p2tog around.

I loved the yarn. I see many more projects in Cascade 220 in the future. I'm making good progress on my Hallowig. I should have it done tonight, you can see I've done a few rows with the bangs in place. I'm going to embellish it a bit and will post FO pics Monday.

Have a great weekend everybody! I get to spend mine seeing if a second Windows re-install will fix the BSOD we're getting at startup. I wish I knew more about hardware, because I'm pretty sure it's a harware problem. Question is, do we fix the 2 1/2 YO computer or do we just replace the tower?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Impatient knitters knit short socks

I'm sure you're wondering why I didn't just make sock #2 the same length as sock #1. I didn't think I needed to. I thought the messed up heel would impact the way the rest of the sock fit (especially the length). However, I should have assessed more closely than to think that the pic I posted of it on my foot meant that I was ready to start the toe shaping. I'll be ripping and re-knitting this toe soon, although it's kind of neat how the striping lined up at the end there (actually added a new ball during the gusset of sock 2). First, I'm going to cast on for my Hallowig.

B's pumpkin hat is done and drying. Hopefully, he can wear it tomorrow when he and Hubby go pumpkin picking with his class.

I'm sorry Amy Lane's not talking to me anymore. I'll miss her. She really should be giving Hubby the cold shoulder. He went again last night. Bruce is one of the acts we try to catch every time he plays. Hubby's a native Jersey Boy and it's in the state constitution.

I used to hate Springsteen with a passion (mainly for Hungry Heart, which I like now, but I used to be one of those people assuming he was an ass because he was singing about an ass, but I digress). Then Hubby introduced me to his non-top 40 stuff and I agreed to go to a show. Then I was hooked. Now, we've hooked B but good. Poor kid didn't really have a choice. He went to four shows in utero (2003's Rising tour). We've been listening to Magic alot, since the release was so close to the show date and Hubby got him watching the Barcelona show on DVD. Forget Thomas or any other pre-school character. First thing B asks to do is watch Bruce on TV.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

forget blue socks, I need some ORANGE

I just couldn't resist any longer. I don't know if you read Crazy Aunt Purl, but on Friday she posted a pumpkin beanie pattern. I thought about that pattern a lot all weekend. Part of my pondering was wondering if I had anything appropriate in stash, not really. So, yesterday at lunch, after I couldn't resist the siren call of the pumpkin beanie, I went to Purl and bought some yarn and needles (I'm sure I had the appropriate needles at home, but you know when you just HAVE to cast on?). I spent the last 15 minutes of my lunch hour hand winding 220 yards of Cascade Heathers into a luscious orange ball and cast on on the subway home. This is where I've gotten. I wasn't sure if the hat was to be mine or B's, but it seems like it's going to fit the kid better. Tonight, I should have it done. Then I need to find my leftover green worsted for the stem.

For me, I'm going to knit a hallowig with the leftovers. Some of the kids at B's daycare didn't liek my witch hat last year, let's see how they like ORANGE hair!

I thought I'd give you a close-up of my stitch marker. Appropriate, n'est ce pas?

Monday, October 08, 2007

I should be starting the toe shaping tonight. I'll just do a few more rows. So, maybe a finished sock tomorrow? Then, I need to rip my house apart to find my smaller chibi needles. I need a fine point to add the lifeline to sock 1 before I chop it up.

In other news, I made my large chart holder. I painted on Saturday and sewed yesterday. I'm not sure if it's the paint or the magnets, but it's not quite as magnetic as I would like. But, it's working so far. I've got a couple of ideas on how to tweak the design for the chart holder (different materials mostly). I'm about an inch into the pattern on the sweater. I'm very worried I'm not going to have enough yarn. I have 15 balls of the blue (1920 yards) and 5 balls of the white (640 yards), which Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements tells me isn't quite enough to make a 48" sweater at 6 st/inch. We'll see. (And yes, I do want to knit faster to see how it's going to work out, especially since I can't find the fifth ball of white.) Maybe Hubby will like a vest!

I will try to get a pic of the chart holder and the sweater tonight.

It was a nice quiet weekend. We bought B's Halloween costume (Optimus Prime) on Saturday and yesterday B and I had fun buying gifts for Hubby. I hope he likes them. B told Hubby this morning that we'd bought him presents and was going to show him the surprise. I don't know if he's going to hold out until Sunday!

Friday, October 05, 2007

why I need to re-do the heel

So, sock #1 (really beaded rib anklet #3, but that gets confusing) is on th eleft. As you can see I completely mucked up the heel. Sock #2 is on the right, still a couple of inches before the toe.
I might be crazy for wanting to do the sock surgery, but I love the look of these socks. The beaded rib looks so great in this yarn and I was bummed when the first pair didn't fit last year (just a wee bit too narrow). I really want to wear these socks, so I really need them to fit right. Sock #1 just doesn't fit. The heel is turned way too narrowly (if you want to know I decreased at the end of each row but didn't work the stitch after the decrease). I absolutely do not want to knit the whole sock again from the heel. As much as I like the look and want to wear them, beaded rib in the round is just too much purling! (I like purling, it has it's place, but it's not on itty bitty DPNs in the round.)
Poor Hubby had a rough night last night. His baseball team got spanked in their opening playoff game, his hockey team lost 3-1 in their season opener, and our local MLS team also lost. Kind of like this past weekend when 2 out of 3 football teams lost (Jets and Rutgers). Here's hoping the Yanks perform better tonight!
I, on the other hand, had a pretty good night. I didn't knit or craft at all, but James Marsters is on Without a Trace. Only for a few minutes last night, but enough to bring back fond memories of Spike. I love those cheekbones, but I'm not a huge fan of his current hair.
Exciting weekend coming up. Well, not really. Lots of housekeeping. We might take B costume shopping tomorrow. Then Sunday, B and I have to go birthday shopping for Hubby.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

no sock pics today

I have the battery and charger with me, but not the camera. I can't take pics of the socks for you. Maybe tomorrow. I still have a few inches to knit before I hit the toe on number 2. Maybe surgery will commence next week, but I still wanted to put pics of the two heels so you could see why I think #2 is superior.

So, instead, a pic of me and B. He gets his complexion from his dad, obviously, but he looks a lot like my dad. We've had a rough couple of days. I had a basically no-show period and haven't levelled back out. He's been super grumpy himself. I was over an hour late for work yesterday because he just wouldn't eat his breakfast, but he also wouldn't get in the car. This morning went much better. What is better than having your kid blow you kisses?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


For Socktoberfest this year, I'm not planning on new socks. Instead, I'm planning on finishing two pairs for me that have been lingering.

First up, my beaded rib anklets. I spent three commute trips home turning, ripping, and re-turning the heel on the second sock of the second pair of these bad boys. The last time, I'd gotten most of the way through the gusset. I realized that I'd made a complete muck up of the heel when knitting the first sock. This is what happens when you don't double-check that you're re-inventing an ugly heel. So, when I recreated that ugly heel in the second sock and it was even uglier, I decided to make a nice heel for sock 2, which meant I'd have to rip and re-knit sock one. That meant I'd be knitting this same anklet five times (two times for the pair that was too small, two times for the current pair, and a fifth time to fix the really awful heel.)

Ah, not so grasshopper, the knitting goddesses reminded. I had an epiphany. I could cut off the good part of sock #1, rip back the heel, re-knit the heel and gusset and graft the rest of the foot back on. The only problem, how to graft reverse stockinette and garter stitch portions of the stitch pattern. Ta-da. Google it and the answer is yours! I'll share pics when it's time for surgery. For now, I need to finish sock #2 and it's vastly superior heel.

Heel pics should be posted tomorrow, my camera battery mysteriously went from 2 bars to dead. It's allright, though, I might not have any other blog fodder.

The second pair of lingering socks to be finished this month are my Here There Be Dragons socks. I first started these in January in a much too fine yarn. Then I started over in Koigu. Much better. I'm at the point where I need to start the short-row heel. That shouldn't be too hard. I just need to get the directions for the heel Theresa suggests.Then I get to cast on for new socks! I'm thinking Trekking XL in oranges in straight stockinette or a pair of Monkeys like The Harlot's in this post (I immediately bought the same yarn from Etsy and it's been sitting in my house being all beautiful).

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Freya done and Papa update

I finished Freya last night. I spent a week on the finishing (she had her bath last Monday night). Not because it was hard, but because I barely touched her over the last week.

Bad Netter.

She was a lovely little knit from Rowan 36. I used the called for yarns (Rowan Plaid and Kid Classic), but not in the called for colors (mine are bramble and peat).

I hope Mom likes her. She should fit (my dress form was sized down to almost it's smallest size which is still bigger than my mom). B had fun helping out this morning and couldn't wait to see the pictures. They didn't hold his interest too long.

So, I'm going to wrap Freya up with a note to not open until 10/26 and get her in the mail, I'll be nearly three weeks early! That's a switch.

My grandfather (also known as Papa) got the results of his CT-scan yesterday. They saw no evidence of cancer outside his colon. So, it seems they caught it very early. No schedule yet for his surgery or other follow-up treatment. The doctor did say that my father and his siblings should be checked early and often (every 5 years), which is what they told my mom and her sibs when her mom was diagnosed. Mom told me I should let my doctor know as well when I have my next physical (hmm, I'll have to think about actually getting one of those). Big sigh of relief from all of us.

Poor B got socked in the nose yesterday afternoon. He wouldn't talk about it to the afternoon teachers, but he did tell me one of the boys hit him. He was very upset about it, but no lasting damage. Hubby did mention it to the director. Not so much to get anyone in trouble but so they can keep an eye out. I'm sure the kid's parents will want to know if he's acting out.

I must brag about my kid. He wrote his name yesterday. He's not reading yet, but he's known how to spell his name for a while (he can spell cat, too). He's been doing alot better with his coloring, making real lines and coming very close to actual shapes. He'd been practicing with E's and decided to write his name. He had a little problem with the Y but the letters were recognizable! I need to find some tools to help him with learning how to read. I think he's a bit ahead of his class (they don't all know all of their letters). Any suggestions?