Friday, March 31, 2006

Day Off

How do I spend a personal day? Well, since the whole reason for taking two days in a row was to be with my kids (their school was closed -- don't ask), I spent it with said kids.

Today we decided to seek out the Thomas A. Edison Menlo Park Museum. We got there just as a school group tour was starting and the guide was, from my perspective, fascinating. The kids were a little less impressed but in the end they also thought it was pretty cool. I would not make this the focal point of my day but it is a nice side trip for half an hour or so. The Edison Tower -- yes, that is a light bulb on top. The tower is falling apart so we could not go up.

After touring the one room museum, we hiked through the woods on the same trail that Edison used. We, however, were not thinking deeply but rather were looking for a Geocache. After about half an hour we decided to give up on this one and headed for lunch at a nearby mall.
Cool tree we found instead of the Edison cache. Hey, even bombing out has its rewards in this game.

Fed and refreshed we headed to Roosevelt Park in Edison and spent the next 2 hours searching for Geocaches. We seriously looked for three caches and less seriously for two more, ultimately finding 2 and setting one travel bug loose on the world.
Me and Female child in front of one of the cache sites. She is holding the super ball that she traded her travel bug for in a different cache. The photography is courtesy of the Male child.

Since we were intent on finding all 8 of the caches in this park, I spent my morning frantically knitting mini-socks to put in the caches. I now have 5 sitting in my bag ready for the next spate of caching fever. This means that I have made very little progress on any other project.

Gloucester now has one sleeve joined in and one side seam sewed. Lots more still to go. Maybe I won't finish it this weekend. My problem is that I have several projects very close to done and I cannot decide which one to finish first. I am ready to ply the Jacob that I have been spinning on the bike for the last few months, the latest character socks are nearing completion and then there is Gloucester. Eventually all will be done.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Dad will probably see this a day late since I could not think of the right words to blog with this morning. I have since found them in the day we spent together.

My dad is worth taking a day off from work. (Forget that the elementary schools were closed and I would have had to scramble for childcare.) I kid you not that when I saw what days the schools were closed I said "hey, Dad's birthday is then -- I'll take the day and hang with him and the kids."

My dad has survived five children and gotten us all into, if not yet through, college. (Two are still in the process.) He has seen two of his kids married and has three grandchildren with one on the way.

He taught us all to write, and to do it well. (Though you would not know it from this broken list.)

He taught us that one can be a nice guy in business and still support one's family in a comfortable fashion. We also learned the other side and saw when it was o.k. to fight for what is right and not be so nice.

Dad taught us right from wrong and always gave, and gives, all of us unconditional love -- even when we pushed the limits.

He is open to new experiences and continues to teach and learn from the next generation.

We spent the day walking, talking, geocaching (Dad's good!) and eating. Over all, one of the best days I have had in a long time.

Happy Birthday Daddy! I love you so much.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Where's the Tuna?

What does it say about me that I had to look in 3 cabinets before I found where we keep the canned Tuna? Then, I could not remember what kind of container the mayonnaise is now in and then ... I forgot that the handles of the pasta pot get hot. D'oh!

I had the pleasure of cooking tonight -- if you can call Mac and Tuna cooking. It is, however, a favorite of the kids and one of the few things that I can reliably make without charring. I used to not be this way. There was a time when I could turn out tasty and edible meals on a regular basis. What happened? Oh yeah, I remember, I had kids.

When the Female child was born, Mike said "you feed her and I will feed you." That started my road out of the kitchen. For the next few years the number of meals that I prepared got fewer and further between until finally, I managed to burn a dish I had made many times before. The next day, Mike called me at work and asked what I intended to char that night. My answer is unprintable but the rest is history.

Now, I periodically prepare Mac and Tuna or, Spaghetti and Clam sauce or even, Spaghetti and Meatballs -- if Mike has the meatballs in the freezer.

He does the shopping and has so taken it over that I have no clue as to what things cost. On the rare occasions that I have to do it he has to tell me what a good price is.

Please note that I am not useless around here. I do clean up after dinner and I make a mean packaged Mac and Cheese. I am also in charge of some holiday items like hamentashen, latkes and matzo brei. I used to be in charge of chocolate chip cookies but Mike has managed to overcome his jinx effect on them so they are no longer my responsibility.

I also knit nice warm things for everyone in the family.

Gloucester is now totally knit and joined at the shoulders. I will probably not finish the seaming until Thursday and then comes the crochet edging and a good wash and block so ... Watch this space say ... Sunday? (maybe Monday depending on drying times) The latest character socks should also be finished this week so keep looking!

Sunday, March 26, 2006


No, it is not a metaphor. Yesterday I got an urge to take the kids to the Circus. We saw a commercial and the kids commented on the elephants. [They did NOT ask to go or even hint at it. My kids are really good that way.] That set me to thinking and I did a quick set of internet inquiries and determined that we should be able to easily get walk-up tickets to the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus which happens to be playing just blocks from our apartment. After some quiet conversations with the other adult in the family we left it until today. This morning he was still undecided so I decided to bring out the big guns and asked the kids what they thought. I suspect you know their answers ... Female gave a big YES! and Male a "guess so." (He is much like his father.) So, off we went to the 10:30 a.m. performance.

I have not been at the circus since I was younger then the Male child and figured that I would be able to knit through it as I would through a movie. However, none of my current projects lend themselves to distracted knitting so I was forced to wind a skein of Claudia's Handpaints in the Turquoise Jeans colorway. Note: the Circus is NOT a good place to start a toe-up sock. The toe is rather wonky (but wearable) since I kept forgetting if I had increased or not as I was distracted by aerialists, clowns, horses and elephants. The circus was great and when it was over, the Female child looked me in the eye and exclaimed "THANK YOU! for taking us to the Circus." There was so much emotion in that one statement that I immediately regretted not going for slightly more expensive seats. Next year ...

(Male child also enjoyed himself but, as I said before, is much more laid back about it.) The sock is still very small -- the circus is not for knitting.

Question: Are Lion Tamers no longer PC? The animal trainer used dogs, cats and birds and the announcer said that a portion of all ticket sales goes toward Elephant Conservation. I do not mind the lack of big cats, I am just wondering.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Closing in

I can see the end of this sweater in sight. The first sleeve is finished and the second on the needles. The buttons are purchased and I am raring to go -- once I am fully awake.

This week was exhausting. Just the thought of staying at work until 8:00 P.M. wipes me out mentally and the actual act does me in physically. I did get a lot of paperwork done and watched a group of kids view Mars through a telescope. The excitement they felt reminded me why I do this job. It is all about the kids.

We then started the weekend properly with a lovely shabbat dinner with good friends and then a trip to Fairways for groceries. Now there is food in the house and the weekend started in a relaxed frame of mind.

The sock-in-progress is taking form and now kind of looks like its intended character. Last night, Mike suggested the characters for the next pair. They will take some thinking to figure out the 3-D aspects and he will have to decide if he really needs them poking at his pant legs. They will also require a purchase of "Simpson-yellow" yarn. I already have the blue, leftover from the Elephant sweater.

Male child is now immersed in the Princess Bride (the book) having become obsessed with it after finally watching the entire movie. He is trying to do a credible imitation of the various characters. Female child is practicing her violin and looking very grown up in a pair of jeans that almost hit the floor. We finally found some pants that fit her tucked away in the recesses of her closet. We are truly blessed to have wonderful neighbors and one of them regularly passes down her girls' clothes to us. I do not torture the Female child by forcing her to only wear hand-me-downs, we do go shopping for her on occasion, but these neighborly recycles definitely come in handy when she has a sudden growth spurt. The girls downstairs also get a kick out of seeing their things on someone else. This pair of pants really makes the Female child look like a young lady -- a sight that kind of saddens and gladdens me at the same time.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Parent-Teacher Week

This is Parent-Teacher conference week in the Z house. Tuesday, we had the pleasure of being the parents for two conferences and tonight and tomorrow we get to be the teachers. This means that little knitting will get done tonight. No, I cannot knit while waiting for parents. What I will do, probably, is clean my office. I noticed that the level of soot has become noticeable again so it is time to bring out the cleaning supplies.

However, for your viewing pleasure, I give you the latest in sock and sweater progress:Doreen mentions that she is also making Gloucester and has made a number of changes. Doreen -- where can we see it?

For anyone who cares, the conferences for our kids went just fine. It is always interesting to hear how differently their teachers experience my kids. One is turning in to a leader and the other is becoming more social. Both are good things but things that we do not necessarily see at home. Given our a-social tendencies it is nice to know that our kids can get past it and become social beings despite their parents.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sock Progress

The latest "Squid" socks are progressing nicely despite being assigned to the "carry-around" knitting category. A small amount of knitting will get the Grey topped one to the start of it's face. Again, for those of you tracking these, the characters-- of which one is not at all Squid like and the other is only vaguely Squidish -- hail from a program from the creator of The Simpsons. This program is now going to have 26 new episodes so it looks like I am ahead of the curve here.

Gloucester is progressing nicely with both pockets finished and the first sleeve a few inches up. Unfortunately this evenings plans include taxes and not knitting. Maybe an inch or so before bed?

Today's plans also include parent-teacher conferences where we get to be the parent. It should, as always, be a lovely experience. The kids have a half-day so they get lunch out with Daddy. Since we get to do the other side of the table on Thursday and Friday the kids get another treat this week ... An evening with Bubby and Zeida and maybe their youngest Aunt. Hey! I want two treats this week!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The best laid plans ...

I should know better. Going in to this weekend I looked at Gloucester and figured that I should be able to easily finish the second front by the end of Saturday, finish the pockets and be rolling on the sleeves by the end of Sunday. It was not particularly ambitious but I really figured that all I had left after Friday night was a single evening of work on the front.

Then my cell phone broke. Again. This is the second phone that has gone wonky on me in the barely 4.5 weeks that we have had the new phones and the third one to malfunction in 5 weeks. The first was dying a premature death after barely a year of use but we were switching plans anyway so it was not too big a deal. The next two are just plain annoying since they are fancy, all-in-one devices that I absolutely love because I now carry only one device where I was previously carrying 3. And, I now use my PDA all the time where it was not getting the use it should since having it and my cell phone out at the same time was an invitation to lose one. However, do not despair, our service provider was surprisingly nice and replaced the phone again, without charge. (It better have been without charge -- the phone was only 2 weeks old each time.) Please note, Mike has the same phone and it is working just fine but ... If you have a Treo 650 and use the hands-free frequently, do not be surprised if you lose the ability to talk without the hands-free. It is a known problem.

Anyhow, here is Gloucester:

And here is another project that kept me from working on it:

The above are the raw ingredients for Wampum. Below is one of the resulting Wampum.

Why, I hear you asking, are you attempting to make Wampum. Because the Male child was distressed that his macaroni Wampum had broken and Daddy promised that we could buy clams to make "real" Wampum while also providing spaghetti with clam sauce for dinner. Daddy, obviously, did not think this through and so Mommy found her self hammering and drilling clam shells last night. Male child is doing the smoothing himself.

Yes, we know that Wampum are round but this is making Male Child happy.

The last reason why Gloucester is not further along is that our neighbors had an emergency this morning and asked us to please watch their boys. I do not begrudge Gloucester progress at all for this -- they are lovely kids and we had a very nice time playing and reading while their parents dealt with important matters. It is very nice to have neighbors who can be counted on in an emergency and I am glad to be able to help them as they have helped us in the past. Hey, what are friends for.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Happy Birthday Amanda!

There should be a picture of the Birthday Girl inserted here:

However, I do not seem to have a current one. I will remedy that when I see her later this week.

Amanda is my younger sister and the youngest of my siblings. She is (gasp) 20.5 years younger then me. I will not give away either of our ages because then the bars in her college town will realize that they should not be serving her. Hmmm ... That might not be a bad idea ... But then it would also give away my age. Let it suffice to say that I have a fabulous picture of Amanda at my wedding -- she was 3. (She turned 4 just days later.) Now if anyone wants to track back through my posts and do the math, feel free.

She is the only sibling for whom I can knit socks with confidence since her feet are the same size as mine -- though she claims they are a tad smaller. We are about the same height and weight though shaped a little differently. She is blonde to my brunette and has far more social skills then I will ever posses. She is intelligent, kind, pretty and writes as befits a child of our father. She is also the youngest of 5 and knows it.

This is the sibling who followed me around her high school last year, finding me in every room I went to (and I went to a lot of different rooms) and called me old. She also, complained. "Everyone makes out in front of my locker," she whined. So, what is a vengeful sister to do but grab hold of a convenient male teacher and make out in front of her locker. O.k., the convenient male teacher was my husband ... But it did the trick and elicited the comment "ewwww!" Why? Because her sister was kissing in public? NO! Because we are OLD. Blah!

Amanda -- you are a wonderful sister and I love you dearly but I will NEVER stop telling this story. Happy Birthday!

Thursday, March 16, 2006


The left front is almost done and I have rediscovered the rule of maximum ends. This rule is the reason why I have to join a new ball with only an inch to go on the piece. Now, this could have been prevented if I had started a new ball when I started the front instead of using the half or so ball that I had left from the back (it used 1.5 or so balls) but I have a need to plow through the yarn and finish each ball in turn.

I hear the yelling now ... What do you mean you are not knitting both fronts at the same time? I figure that since the tweed pattern is leaving me with an easy counting method I am not likely to make a serious mistake in terms of length. I also HATE constantly switching balls of yarn when knitting two fronts or two sleeves at the same time. I do not do 2 socks on 2 circs or 2 socks on one magic loop at the same time for the same reason. I will knit 2 socks at the same time on separate sets of needles and just switch which sock I pick up after stopping for a while. This I do so that the pair is done all at once.

For those of you who like a little poetry, there are some new ones up here. My favorites are actually much further back, here (Sky on the Ground) and here.

Now to pick up my knitting and settle down to The Princess Bride.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Young Einstein

Here he is!

And there is the wig that he obsessed about for a week. This child decided early on that for his project, he was going to become Einstein. I knew that he was planning the wig and mustache. I did not realize, until Sunday night, that he also knew that he needed a white shirt, slacks, his jacket and a tie. It was at the tie that I almost lost it -- however, since he had everything else located and ready to go I decided that I had to admire his planning and then, went and found the tie. He designed the wig on his own, creating a frame of paper glued strips glued together. He requested a ball of grey yarn and then spent much time "fuzzing" it to get just the right effect. The adults voluntarily joined in the fuzzing when we realized just how long it was taking. Finally, DH suggested untwisting it on a spindle. Fast forward to my unplying a half a skein of Lambs Pride on my wheel and then quickly pulling it apart. Yes, Lambs pride does indeed seem to have 2 unspun "plys" in it if something that is unspun can be called a ply. When split in half the untwisted stuff just pulled apart easily.

Einstein provided a credible presentation at the class share session yesterday morning and yes, it is captured on video for family members who ask to see it when they are here.

Gloucester is progressing -- the back is done and the left front is 1/3 done. Not much knitting was done last night since we went to relatives for Purim dinner. Einstein fit in perfectly. Next year the rest of us will really have do some sort of costume -- we were a little out of place this year. Mike's cousin invoked tears when he referred to the person who was missing from the dinner (MIL) but overall he gave a thought provoking d'var torah about names and language. I fully expected the male child to use it as the base of his question of the night but he actually fell asleep fairly quickly.

The answer to yesterday's riddle: What do you call a boomarang that doesn't come back?

A stick!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Gotta love him

I will contend that the reason we have children is to keep us laughing. Today I tell a tale of the male child, a curious creature with an insatiable appetite for knowledge. His mind works in a manner different from my own so while I admire the questions he asks, I find the manner in which they are asked to be amusing. Take last night ...

The usual bedtime routine around here involves sending p.j. clad, teeth-brushed children in to their rooms at 8 p.m. There, they read in their beds for a short while when, unprompted by an adult, the female child turns off her light and puts head to pillow. Somewhere around 8:15 p.m., one adult or another yells for the male child to put lights out. He complies and comes out for a round of hugs. Returning to his room, the male child then proceeds to toss and turn, and sometimes even, fall asleep. It is on the nights that sleep does not come easily that the adults often find themselves convulsed with laughter. After half and hour or so of the tossing and turning, the male child wanders out and asks a question that the adults are not prepared to answer. Two nights ago the questions were: how does a camera work? and how does a boomarang work? Not particularly amusing and easily answered the next day.

Last night, however, following a dinner conversation involving Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman, the questions were: How does an Atom Bomb work? What are the different types of Atomical (sic) weapons? and How did Albert Einstein's idea's lead to the Atom Bomb? The third question is directly from the male child's talking points in his presentation today -- he is portraying Albert Einstein, grey wig and all.

So, my project for today ... figure out how to explain the workings of the atom bomb. Forget about the caveat ... to an 8 year old ... I figure any explanation that I can understand, this kid can get his brain around.

By the way ... the answer to the Aquatic Socks puzzle is ... Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss ... possibly the finest work on the subject of turtle stacking.

And lastly ... what do you call a boomerang that doesn't come back? (answer tomorrow)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Cheesy Hamentashen

Sundays are for spinning and this week ... Baking.

I do not, as a general rule, cook. A few times a year I do some holiday foods -- challah for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippor, Latkes at Chanuckah and Hamentashen for Purim. No, I do not do matzo ball soup for Passover but I do make matzo brei.

This year, we introduce the Cannolli cream Hamentashen. (Those are the ones with the white filling.)

This merger of cultures comes to us courtesy of my SIL who introduced DD to cannolis a few weeks ago. Ever since, DD and Mike have been chowing down on fresh ricotta mixed with a smidge of sugar and chocolate chips. DD even brings small cups of it to school for her dessert. So, when it was time to make the Hamentashen, those two suggested Ricotta Hamentashen. They are actually quite good.

The other Hamentashen are prune and apricot using the wonderfully fresh fillings from the Yorkville Packing House. The pastry is from Bernard Clayton's The Complete Book of Pastry. It uses grated lemon rind in the dough and is wonderful!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Is it Spring Yet?

Maybe yes ... Maybe no.

We ventured out in to the sunshine yesterday attempting to take advantage of this brief bout of spring. After painlessly running a couple of errands (since they involved a pick up at the post office there was the potential for pain) we wandered up to Bryant Park in search of a microcache. Once there, we totally lost our GPS signal but still managed to find the Geocache we were after. Score! Then a quick trip to coliseum Books and then ... To Le Carrousel.

The Carosel in Bryant Park is a tiny one but has some very interesting animals on it. Apparently yesterday was the first day of the season for it so the operator gave everyone on it a second ride for free!

After lunch and some wig making (a story for another day) the kids and I headed to my favorite playground. They played while I made some headway on Gloucester and then did some spinning -- attracting the usual bunches of kids. I know that there are some parents find playground time boring and tedious. I love it! The kids go off and do their own thing and I get to listen to a good book and get some fiberwork done. The only time I get antsy is when it is a tad too cold for me to knit or spin comfortably.

Dinner was at Craft (not Craftbar as previously posted) and was wonderful. We ordered too much food and have lots of leftovers for tonight. Vladimir Feltsman was also fantastic so the evening was a total success.

Today ... We make Hamentashen!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

How to Spend an Anniversary ...

*** Thanks to everyone who wished us a Happy Anniversary. You provided lots of smiles and warm fuzzy feelings for me throughout the day. ***

1. Get only a little sleep the night before due to fright that you will not get up at the extra early time required by the fifth-grader's trip to Philadelphia.

2. Arise at 4 a.m. due to fear of finally falling solidly asleep and missing alarm.

3. Post a blog entry about your wonderful spouse.

4. Great same with a kiss when he finally wakes up after 5:00.

(Fast forward through all standard morning stuff.)

5. Bring kids to school and drop off 5th-grader at 6:50 a.m.

6. Have a leisurely breakfast at favorite diner with favorite (and only) son.

7. Return to school to discover that buses are STILL there.

8. Leave second child and go to work.

(Fast forward through work stuff.)

9. Leave work and settle in at Starbucks near kids' school to kill time until buses are due to return at 7:00 PM.

10. Get joined by Elaine of UWS Knitters and spend a pleasant hour or so knitting and gossiping.

11. Change venue from Starbucks to car which is intentionally parked where the buses will have to pass before turning on to the school block.

12. Continue to knit and gossip with Elaine until 7:40 PM.

13. Finish turning heel of sock and knit first inch or so of cuff. Start toe of second sock.

13. Decide to join other parents in front of school and then glance up the block to see the buses coming (Elaine, those WERE the buses!).

14. Wait a seemingly interminable time for the buses to start unloading and great a sobbing child.

15. Gather said child in arms and guide to car and drive directly home, bypassing intended leisurely dinner with said child.

16. Eat the pizza left over from son and husband's dinner.

17. Retire for night after giving the still-awake daughter (no longer sobbing) a dire warning about coming in to our room.

(Fade out ...)

I spent, maybe, 2 waking hours with my husband. We will make up for it tonight with a leisurely dinner at CraftBar and then a concert by Vladimir Feltsman.

Is is a beautiful, balmy, early spring day and I just hope that the exterminator comes early so we can go out and enjoy it as a family.

(Current Status of Gloucester -- up to armholes on back.)

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Love of My Life

Here he is.

Fifteen years ago today we said those words which forever raised our taxes. Do I love him as much as I did the day we married. Nope! I love him so much more.

After all of these years he still manages to surprise me in good ways and I cannot imagine my life without him. When I try to ... I start crying.

Mike is my husband, the father of my children and my best friend. I hope to knit his socks for many, many more years.

Happy Anniversary oh Love of My Life!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Today's Lesson

Beware of situations that may cause sudden rises in aggravation levels when you are already in a foul mood. Then apologize immediately. I am laying low for the rest of the evening and am not risking offending anyone else by going back out. This means I am missing this week's Upper West Side knitting but I honestly think it is best for all -- I'd probably wind up telling off a poor, innocent bus driver or token booth clerk for no reason.

Meanwhile, Gloucester is now 7 inches long on the back. I should get up to the arm hole shaping tonight.

The new character socks are now 6.5 inches long (o.k., the first sock) with 3 inches to go before turning the heel. That may happen before the weekend if I wind up "hanging" at Starbucks on Friday while waiting for DD to return from her class trip to Philadelphia. If anyone is on the Upper East Side between 4:30 and 5:45 on Friday, I will be at the 81st Street and Second Ave Starbucks. I have to be in front of the school by 6 but want to be there early -- just in case.

Now for some hugs from my offspring -- that makes everything better, right?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Just NYC?

Is it just a New York City thing or is it common for teens to wear black jackets? As I watched my school dismiss today I wondered about this. I know that dressing in black is a very City thing. There are plenty of days that I do it because black is a nice background for some of my knitwear. I have yet to knit with it, however, except for one shawl done for a friend. So ... What color outerwear do teens in other cities wear?

There is nothing exciting to show today . A few more repeats were added to Gloucester and another 3 inches or so were added to the socks. However, I have, as always, Squid.

These are actually called the Aquatic socks and feature a whale, a Squid (which looks like a jelly fish) and a shark and ... Try to guess the creatures and the literary reference made on the second sock.

Monday, March 06, 2006


I am total overwhelmed with the number of people who have viewed this blog over the weekend. This should not really be the case -- I knew when I posted to the socknitters list that the membership is over 5000 -- but still ... Wow! Thank you for your wonderful comments both in the comments section and sent privately. A few of you are apparently now being pressured to make Kang and Kodos for your own family. Good luck! There is no pattern but I highly suggest knitting the mouth and eye sections flat and then duplicate stitching in the pupil and teeth. The heel tentacles (scroll down a few posts) were stranded to give them extra strength inside the shoe.

On other matters, if you need to figure out the title of the posting prior to the premier of Kang and Kodos ... read it backwards.

Even though I swore that I was now knitting for me, I have to admit to having the next pair of character socks on the needles. These will be fraternal socks with the color on the feet different from the color on the cuff and that then switched on the other sock. These characters are also from the creator of The Simpsons if anyone wants to try to figure it out as they progress. Right now the first one is in my travel bag so I can do the plain foot knitting on the run. Given how much wait time I have this week, I should easily finish the first foot and may put it on hold to start the second. (I only have one set of size 3 dpns right now.) Maybe ... I will even finally buy that second set of dpns if I get desperate.

Gloucester is progressing after 2 rip-backs until I got the cast on just right. Hint to anyone else thinking of making this -- do a long-tail cast on, reasonably snug, on a single needle. I first did a cable cast on and then a loose long-tail cast on but the compression that results from the tweed stitch left the cast-on edge looking wavy and untidy.

Now for a nice evening of knitting.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Presenting ...

... The only socks bent on World Domination -- Kang and Kodos!

Kang is on the left and Kodos is on the right. (Yes, I can tell them apart.)

Notice how the tentacles come out over the sneaker? That was Mike's idea.His comment -- "these may not be your best socks but they are your most creative socks." I can deal with that. The foot is a bit too long and if you look closely you can see where I knit flat for a while and then seamed up the hole in the back. (Actually, you can't see it because it is in the back of the sock.)

Technical details:

Yarn: Cascade 220 superwash. Less then one ball used of each the mustard and moss.
Needles: Size 3 dpns
Knit toe-up with figure 8 cast on of 20 stitches -- too many.
The only measuring done on these socks was for the foot -- 9.5 inches before starting the heel. Mike has a size 11 foot.

If I had to make them again I would cast on few stitches for the toe and knit it in the green to provide a bit more foot interest. Mike would like to see a tentacle on the front of the foot but I think it would be uncomfortable in a shoe.

Kang and Kodos come to us courtesy of The Simpsons.

The next pair of "Squid" socks are now on the needle as I needed a simple project for the car this morning. They will also sport some 3-D details but I am not going to rush through them. My sweater takes priority.

Now for a nice evening of swatching.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Yvan eht nioj

So admit it, how many of you just suddenly come out and say "Yvan eht nioj" during a conversation about the definition of the word "subliminal?" Are we really the only family that is so in tune with the Simpsons with a 10 year old child that just does this automatically? (The Male adult is also prone to quoting the Simpsons.) Is it possible that we are just that strange? O.k., maybe we are that strange. Does anyone out there even know what "Yvan eht nioj" means? (Yes, I do know, it is almost a rhetorical question.)

Meanwhile, the only knitting that was done this week was on the Squid Socks. I fully intend to finish this pair tomorrow and to then start swatching my sweater. This is where they now stand:May I suggest, if anyone cares, that the Squid in question are linked to the television show mentioned earlier.

I would like to say that I am about to settle in for a quiet evening of knitting but Mike and the male child are in rare form so it is unlikely to be quiet any time soon. Maybe I will go hide and read ... But then I would miss all this fun! I must admit that while he is a Loud Child, he is rather amusing.

Happy Knitting!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

To Tink or not to Tink ...

This is the early stages of a shawl. The yarn is a two-ply charka spun (by me) cotton. I am thinking that this shawl has served it's purpose and should now be ripped back.

Last spring I finally got the hang of my charka and starting spinning up a storm. Eventually I finished the first 4 ounces and plied it to an almost invisible-in-places thread. Then I started in on the next color. (I had 4 hanks, each about 4 ounces, each a different natural shade.) The yarn had decided that it would become a very simple pi shawl and would be knit while we traveled around Scandinavia over the summer. I was doing well and spinning it for about an hour an night when my mother-in-law suddenly had a stroke.

At some point during the long week that followed, I cast on for this shawl and then knit it in the hospital. Then I knit it while sitting shiva. During most of the summer it sat in the bottom of my sock knitting bag and occasionally got worked on but mostly I knit socks this summer -- frantically and everywhere. In late August when I returned to work I knit on the shawl during the first meeting or two and then once again relegated it to the bottom of the bag while I knit socks and other things. Periodically it emerged for a round or two (at over 900 stitches per round at this point, a round takes a while) but it always descended to the bottom of the bag again.

Today I took it out and took a good look at it. There are a bunch of messy stitches where it came off the needles while in the bag and unstretched it looks like a crumpled mess. Spread out it is light and airy and I cannot, now, see myself wearing it. I am contemplating ripping it and putting the yarn away until the rest of the cotton is spun and plied. Maybe someday we will take that trip and I will knit good memories in to the yarn but for now it just makes me sad.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

New Project

I have decided that I need a new sweater. It has actually been a few years since I knit a sweater for me so I figure I am due. I am also resisting knitting baby things. There are two people close to me who are expecting and I so want to knit for them. However ... I have a strong Jinx mentality (also known as not wanting a "kinahura" ) so I do not knit. I also try to even avoid thinking about knitting for small ones. Instead I am trying to channel my urges into large things such as Gloucester from Jean Frost's Jackets. Mike and I flipped through the book last night and I let him choose the jacket. I find that I look much nicer when I let him chose my clothes. This afternoon I hit Knitty City and Pearl helped me choose the colors as pictured below.What do you think? The main color is a pale purple. The jacket is on the right.

For those keeping track, yes, I have purchased A Lot of yarn since I started this blog. Those purchases, however, follow almost two years of light yarn acquisition so I do not feel so bad. I will yarn diet again -- maybe over the summer.

Meanwhile, Squid sock the second is now ready for the heel tentacles. I managed to get the first half of the heel knit at Starbucks with the Upper West Side knitters this evening. Mary was there and admitted to being the anonymous commenter two days ago. She points us to this adorable Squid Hat. I think I will have to make it for my DBIL's kid ... But it has to be born first!