Sunday, October 30, 2005

yukon leaves- the last hurrah!

I had envisioned exiting Socktoberfest on a high note, ala George Costanza, with a fourth and final pair of socks. Unfortunately, my overly ambitious Socktober plans got waylaid by other October plans this past weekend. As a result, I only have leg one of sock one to offer for my final Socktoberfest hurrah. (There is definitely Greek music at the end of that sentence.) The pattern is Yukon Leaves, in KnitPicks dye-your-own merino sock yarn, on size 1 Brittany Birch dpn's. Although initially I didn't dye the yarn out of sheer laziness, I'm actually kind of liking the natural color of the wool for this project. The pattern is just the right blend of mindless and mindful repetition and I really love the quasi-cables that magically appear. I wish I could have gone out with a bang like Laura, but being the George that I am, I am instead stuck in the boardroom with nothing funny to say. Ah, well- time to segue to the infamous tractor story!

Going with the G-rating, there will be no STD's or gonorrhea in this tractor story. And if you're completely lost, take it as a divine sign that you need to watch more Seinfeld! This tractor story involves a little hay, a little ride and a lot of pumpkins at Aloun Farms Annual Pumpkin Patch. Take one hot day (welcome to Hawaii!), add a long drive out to the farm, stir in gale-force winds and dirt, and you've got the recipe for USDA Choice Toddler Meltdown. Not to be confused with Nap-Interrupted-Meltdown and Share-with-What-Sister?-Meltdown, which are distinct, but separate, Grade B varieties. Things started out well enough with an impromptu and off-tune preschool chorus of E-I-E-I-O at the mention of the word, "farm." The hay ride went decently well, too. We even got to pull our pumpkins off the vine this year, as opposed to the Easter Egg Hunt mentality Pumpkin- free-for-all last year, but it was to no avail. Something about stepping foot on the soil to pick our pumpkins (aka the highlight of the trip) sent Bossy into crisis mode, as you can see in the pics. In our usual Wal-Mart crisis-intervention fashion, we grabbed Bossy, hid behind our shades and booked it back to the tractor, all the while menacingly delivering empty threats about the eternal time-out that awaited him once we got home. As we hauled butt and pumpkins back to the tractor, some goodie-goodie know-it-all moms gave us a condescending and disapproving stare, so I shot them all a dirty "I-saw-what-your-crappy-kids- did-at-Wal-Mart -last-week, so-don't-you-be lookin'-at me" look. Go, Hilo girl!

After the Pumpkin Patch Fiasco, we were able to avert further disaster by heading out to Waialae Iki Park. Pre-Halloween festivities awaited us later at home, including pumpkin carving and cupcake decorating. Stinky seems pretty freaked out by the jack-o-lanterns, but she keeps staring at them, laughing and crying, playing some demented game of chicken with herself. I'm praying she doesn't wind up codependent. Bossy, ever the capitalist, seizes every opportunity to terrify Stinky by turning the lights off to let the jack-o-lanterns glow. I'm praying he doesn't wind up a Corleone.

Ante-Knitblogging, I was an attentive, loving mother who baked organic Halloween shortbread cookies from scratch for the progeny to decorate with homemade icing. Post-Knitblogging, I am a neglectful, harried mom trying to squeeze in a few extra minutes of reading and commenting, baking additive and preservative filled cupcakes from a box, slathered with nuclear orange canned frosting. Judging by their smiles, I'm thinking Bossy and Stinky are pretty darned thankful for Knitblogging and high fructose corn syrup right about now!

As Socktoberfest draws to a close, a big thank you to Miss Lolly for being such an outstanding hostess for such a fun KAL!! It's been so inspiring seeing all the fabulous socks and "meeting" all the wonderful knitters out there. And as October draws to a close, it's time for Bossy, Stinky and I to start our hardcore mantra training: What do we say? "Trick-or-treat, thank you, bye." And how do we say it? "Loudly!" Say it again! "Trick-or-treat, thank you, bye." Again! "Trick-or-treat, thank you, bye." Again!...

Alright, that's it for me- you've been great. Good night, everybody! George Costanza has left the house!

everything you never wanted to know...and more

Agnes tagged me with a knitting meme- thank you, Agnes!! I actually saw this meme a couple days back while doing my daily stalking of Carolyn's blog, and I'm pretty positive that in her wildest nightmares, she never envisioned it making to this lowly realm. In the interest of full disclosure, I've been knitting for less than half a year and while I love it beyond measure, I have craploads more to learn and experience. In true Wayne and Garth fashion, read: "I am not worthy, I am not worthy!" Given this caveat, I apologize in advance for all of my RSAs (really stupid answers).

What is your all time favorite yarn to knit with?

Hmmm, being the ghetto knitter (I guess the PC term would be socioeconomically disadvantaged) that I am, I don't have much (okay, any) experience with upscale, luxury yarns. Knit Picks Shimmer, an alpaca/silk blend, is the closest I've come to tasting the good life. However, I am sinful and covetous, and if vicarious experiences are allowable here, I'd say fondling Acornbud's Classic Elite Lush was as close to heaven as I'll probably get.

Your favorite needles?
While I adore the *ahem* one pair of Addi Turbos I own (ghetto knitter, remember?), I really love my Clover bamboo circulars. They're warm and smooth, and in spite of my uptight nature (stop looking at me, Hairy Legs!), I am, ironically, a very loose knitter, so they work out well for me. For sentimental reasons, I also love my late grandmother's old aluminum needles. Some of her dpn cases still have the 25 cent price tag on them! For socks, I'm loving my Brittany birch dpn's. I know, I know, 2 circs or Magic Loop is the way to go, but I'm a stubborn, antiquated oaf.

The worst thing you've ever knit?
So many items, so little space...hmmm. Well, my first pair of socks were a complete disaster. I made them 3 weeks after I started knitting to less than stellar results. Let's see, I messed up the ribbing (Hello!! Who messes up *K1,P1* repeat??!!) AND I tried to modify the pattern for 4 dpns instead of 5. Which wouldn't be such a big deal now, but I had little, okay no, understanding of how turning the heel and gusset decreases worked, so I wound up with a big ol' "V" running down my instep, instead of my ankle, where it should have been. Second place would go to a boobholder I knit about 2 months back. Nothing technically wrong with the knitting, but I had run out of yarn in my stash and was going through horrific knitting withdrawal and, and, I (enough with the blubbering- spit it out, already!)..... *hangs head in shame* I made it out of acrylic. 100%. Red Heart. You may stone me now.

Your most favorite knit pattern? (maybe you don't like wearing it...but it was the most fun to knit)
I loved knitting Honeymoon Cami. Just the right mix of soothing stockinette and interesting shaping. And bonus, I actually wear it, too. I just wish I could knit some great triceps to accessorize the cami.

Most valuable knitting technique?
After several screwy looking sock toes and a lot of profanity, finally figuring out Kitchener Stitch was a pretty auspicious a-ha! moment. Right up there with grafting shoulder seams, which was amazingly fun. Such a dork.

Best knit book or magazine?
I am a ghetto knitter, but a resourceful one, so while I don't own too many books, I use my library card like it's going out of style. Okay, so the 1969 A Very Floral Christmas Knitting book didn't serve me too well, but I've checked out several great ones a multitude of times. Among my faves: Vogue Knitter's Companion and Barbara Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. My fave bargain basement find: Knitting Without Tears for $1.75 (!!). I've got a sweater in the queue that I'd like to fashion after EZ's seamless raglan sweater.

Your favorite knit-a-long?
Well, I've only done one knit-a-long so far (Lolly's Socktoberfest), but I've loved it!! It's been inspiring to "meet" so many knitters and see their fabulous work. I'm now addicted to blogstalking, so I definitely see more KAL's in my future. Which probably means restraining orders are in yours.

Your favorite knitblogs?
Being an avid blogstalker, I could probably blather on for pages here. In the interest of brevity and lulling you into a false sense of security about my stalking obsession, I'll try to limit myself to just a few. In terms of purely beautiful knits, I like/stalk SO MUCH YARN, SO LITTLE TIME!, Grumperina, Wendy Knits! and Knitting Escapism. For humor and knits, I enjoy Neglecting My Kids and Knit and Tonic. Being a sentimental sap, there are a special bunch of ladies with whom I feel a special personal connection . So for personal connection and fabulous knits (and in alphabetical order, as they appear in my BlogStalk, I mean Bloglines, list), I love Acornbud's Yarns, Adventures with a Knitting Spaz, Aloha & Oreos, Lolly Knitting Around, Knittin' Mom and Musings of a (mostly) Self-Taught Knitter.

Your favorite knitwear designer?
I love the simple beauty of Debbie Bliss designs, especially her baby items. I also love looking at Alice Starmore's designs- with my delusions of grandeur, I believe one day I will be able to attempt her patterns.

The knit item you wear the most? (how about a picture of it!)
A tie between Honeymoon Cami and Fiery Bolero, usually worn simultaneously to minimize public gawking at the arm flab and deflated balloons.

Who to tag?
Acornbud, Keohinani, Miss McSpazzitron and Karen....*TAG* you're it!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

double trouble

There are certain things in life that I prefer be non-identical. Like people. Identical twins freak me out. Take, for instance, my cousins, Jan and Jean. Their names are the only distinguishing feature that differentiate the two. And only by one vowel, at that! Same hair, same eyes, same stature, same mannerisms; they might as well be the slanty-eyed version of Sweet Valley High. And while I'm sure there are people who can tell them apart, I am not one of those people. Which proved to be quite unfortunate for me at Jean's wedding. Or Jan's. I'm still not entirely sure whose wedding I attended. What I do know is that hugging the bride-to-be and telling her that she'll make a beautiful matron of honor at her sister's wedding is not a good thing. In my defense, she (as in the bride, whichever one she was) was wearing a baby blue satin dress. Which, at any normal sappy wedding would scream "Can-you-believe -the-ugly-lengths-my-sister-will go-to-to-make-herself-look-better -than me- Bridesmaid's -dress." Unless, of course, you're at Jean's/Jan's nouveau wedding, where the bride wears blue and her matron-of-honor identical twin sister wears white. In any case, Jean/Jan wasn't very happy with me. It was a little difficult to backpedal once she turned to the tux-clad man on her right and introduced him pointedly as "Brian... you know, as in my husband-to-be?" Dislodging the Sasquatch foot from my mouth, I managed to flash a weak smile before I made a beeline for the open bar.

Conversely, there are certain things in life that I prefer be identical. Like socks. Image hosted by Photobucket.comWhy I seem incapable of knitting a pair of truly identical twins, I cannot, for the life of me, understand. Clearly, taking 2 seconds to jot down the number of pattern repeats in the first leg and instep so as to be able to replicate it in the second leg and instep would make entirely too much sense. As a result, the finally completed Go-With-the-Flow-Jan is about 1/2" shorter than Jean.Image hosted by Which, were it true in real life, totally might have saved me at the wedding, but that's beside the point. And, as I am definitely in the crapper with Jan and/or Jean in real life, I found it only appropriate to model these would-be-twins likewise.Image hosted by On the upside, I learned a new technique for picking up heel stitches the pretty way from Grumperina's tutorial. Ah, very pretty, indeed! So easy, yet so understatedly elegant.

As I recall, I later received a rather curt thank-you note from Jan/Jean signed, "Sincerely yours." Ouch. The sad irony is that while I can still recall the "Sincerely yours," I cannot, for the life of me, remember whether it was signed by Jan or Jean!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

good golly, miss lolly! (and 20 things, too!)

Yesterday, I had the pleasure and honor of meeting our lovely Socktoberfest hostess, Lolly, her wonderful husband, Kris and her gorgeous sister, Mimi. I'll admit to having butterflies in my stomach before meeting Lolly! I had so many thoughts playing racquetball in my head- What if she's an internet weirdo? What if she thinks I'm an internet weirdo? What if we meet and have nothing to say to each other? How long can I talk about the weather? Can I pass Bossy and Stinky off as someone else's kids if they start acting up? And my fave from my very protective Hairy Leg-ged husband: What if this is some kind of online stalking sex solicitation lure? All of my anxieties were immediately allayed the moment we met. Lolly is as gracious and beautiful "in real life" as she is in her blog. No awkward pauses, no mumbling about the rain, no nervous giggling or leg shaking in silence. Talking to her, I felt like I'd known her for a long time. She and her family are so warm and real- so full of aloha- they give you that tingly good-feeling when you meet them.

We started with lunch at The Green Papaya, a Vietnamese restaurant in Honolulu. Finding the place was a little tricky (So sorry, Mimi!), but we both arrived in good time. With so many great types of cuisine to choose from locally, my concern was finding something with vegetarian options for Lolly. Hairy Legs and I enjoyed lunch, and the company, especially, with only one minor mishap when Miss Independent Stinky decided to launch her water glass in a fit of defiance. We were grateful that Bossy didn't decide to follow suit. Instead, he was content to suck his vermicelli noodles up through his straw. We were thankful that Lolly, Kris and Mimi decided to have selective vision with regard to the kids' behavior.

After lunch, we went on a yarn crawl! Well, it should have been a one-stop LYS visit, but my lack of foresight turned it into a two-store crawl. Being the space cadet I am, I neglected to find out whether Isle Knit would be open on Monday. Let me assure you that it most definitely isn't. Ever gracious, our guests trekked back to their parallel parked car in the pouring rain, sans umbrellas, with smiles, though I'm sure they wanted to clobber me. I got my bachi (returned bad karma) for my negligence when the bottom handle of my automatic umbrella popped off into the street and got run over by a bus. At Lolly's urging, I almost ran out to save it, but was grateful I didn't when I saw my umbrella handle's fate.

Not wanting to experience any more spontaneity, Hairy Legs called Yarn and Friends to discover that they were indeed open. We drove there and were able to snap a few pics during a brief sunny interim. I didn't notice it earlier, but we were both wearing fuschia colored tops and skirts! How weird is that? Knit blogging minds must think alike. Kris and Hairy Legs were also wearing the same colored tops and shorts. Eerie! I also didn't realize it till we got home and I looked at the pics, but gosh, Lolly sure is tall!! Makes me feel even more vertically challenged. The yarn store owner was very sweet and outgoing, but Lolly managed to distract her long enough so we could get down to yarny business! We perused the store for quite a while and decided on some Cascade Fixation for some future matchy-matchy socks- maybe a little corny, but it is still Socktober, after all.

Although I'm sure they were hoping upon hope that we would decline, Lolly, Kris and Mimi invited us to the Waikiki Aquarium. Well, by now, my whole family had become true-blue Lolly-family stalkers, so of course, we tagged along. Bossy, because he is aptly named, led the tour, since the Aquarium's one of our regular haunts. Kris cracked us up with his knowledge of the Latin genus and species names for all of the aquatic plants. You would've thought we were in ancient Rome, the way he spewed those names out so effortlessly! Bossy and Stinky managed to hold it together pretty well in spite of having no nap (you can see they're about to pass out!), though I'm sure we averted certain impending disaster by deciding to finally stop stalking Lolly's family after leaving the Aquarium.I was a little sad to leave- we'd had such fun all day and there were still so many more things I wish we could've talked about, but I'm so grateful that we had the chance to meet and make a connection in person. Lolly, Kris and Mimi, it was truly such a pleasure meeting all of you!!! Our family loves you and we hope we get the chance to do this again someday. Thank you for a wonderful day!

The very talented Myra of My Little Mochi tagged me with a Twenty Things meme. Thank you, Myra! I am an incredibly boring person, so it took me a quite awhile to come up with these. I salute you in advance if you manage to make it to the end of my list without falling asleep.

1) I used to work in an entomology lab where one of my duties was disemboweling poor, unsuspecting termites by pulling their alimentary tracts out through their anuses for "testing."
2) I also used to work in a fly lab, where I'd regularly commit mass genocide by freezing thousands of flies in a minus 20 freezer, all in the name of science.
3) I knit English style.
4) I've tried knitting continental, but apparently I am an undextrous continental loser. It would make knitting ribbing go so much faster and lessen my odds for bursitis.
5) I gave birth twice without the use of drugs or medical intervention.
6) That said, I am the first to request (okay, beg) for anesthesia during the most minor of dental work.
7) I am a coffee fiend. We actually spaced Bossy and Stinky apart so that I could have a few months to support my habit between weaning Bossy and getting pregnant with Stinky.
8) I nursed both Bossy and Stinky for a combined total of 33 months. They sucked the life out of me, literally. I am now left with pathetic, deflated balloons in their wake.
9) I once broke a mercury thermometer during Organic Chemistry Lab. I've never seen a roomful of people evacuate so fast.
10) I still consider myself a Big Island girl, even though I've technically lived in Honolulu longer than I ever lived in Hilo.
11) When I was a little girl, my dream was to be able to eat Sapporo Ichiban ramen everyday of my life. That dream came true my first year out of college because it was the only thing I could afford to eat. And it wasn't even Sapporo Ichiban, it was that cheap Top Ramen, feed-yourself-for-a whole-month-with-this-$2-case brand.
12) I regularly have elevator nightmares. I swear it's some past life thing. And it sure makes living in a condo and riding the elevator daily a freaky trip. I enjoy it in a sick kind of Fear Factor way.
13) I am an out-of-the-closet American Idol fan. And a Clay fan. So there.
14) I know all the words to every Barry Manilow song ever written. I am not proud of this. It is my evil mother's doing.
15) I love Christmas trees. Real Christmas trees. When I found out my mom bought a fake fiber optic tree from QVC last year, I almost cried. Both because of the fakeness and because she was subscribing to QVC. Which, of course, she got me hooked on, just like Barry Manilow, though I will adamantly deny it if questioned point blank.
16) I have a very nervous stomach. Unfortunate things happen when I get nervous. Out of both ends.
17) My husband claims I have two stomachs. One for meals and the other, more highly developed one for snacks. I think that just makes me more evolved.
18) I almost won my elementary school's spelling bee in the fifth grade. Except that I misspelled playwright. How the hell was I supposed to know what a playwright was? (And yes, I asked for a definition.) I just figured it was what my mom always admonished me to do with my sister.
19) I once tried to mangle a Chinese squash plant (hyotan) in our backyard with a sickle when I was little to stop it from producing any more squash. Divided into a 100 different pieces, that evil Hydra grew into 100 distinct monstrosities. We ate hyotan soup for many, many nights.
20) I am a very protective mom. I have been known to engage in WWF type smackdowns at Thinker Toys with parents who let their evil spawn run amuck.

Hmm, now I need three people to pass this on to. Most bloggers I know have already done a 100 things meme, so I'm passing this on to acornbud, karen , mamma and beak knits, so I can delve into the darkest recesses of their minds, bwahahaha!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

rainy days and mondays

Sadly, I have very little progress to report on my current Socktoberfest socks. After my recent bout with sock polygamy, I decided to re-visit my Go With the Flow Christmas socks for my coleslaw loving mom. In a surprising move of propriety, I chose to re-commit myself completely to sock #2. While it seems that I have been cured of my former adulterous ways, the going is slow and tedious. After knitting the last two pairs of socks on size 3 dpns, I'd forgotten how ungratifying and thankless size 1's can be. Two nights of knitting, and barely 3/4 of a leg to show for it! Already I feel the urge for a cheap fling, and it's been less than half a week since my vow renewal. Once a cheater, always a cheater, I suppose. You've already seen one completed Go With the Flow in KnitPicks Dancing in the Ballet colorway (albeit a while back), so I'll spare you the requisite in-progress shot. Hopefully I'll have something picture-worthy by week's end.

All is not lost, though. A certain someone *ahem* has called me out about my SnB Under the Hoodie, not once, but twice! Truly, I had good intentions of posting pics earlier, but know what they say about the road to hell. Who would've thought that knitting would put me on that road? Not posting pics, sock adultery, coveting thy neighbor's yarn, slumming around with acrylic- 4 out of 10 Commandments- my chances for knitting redemption aren't looking so hot, eh? Just to prove that I really am serious about repenting, though, I present to you the finished, post-blocking, 5 billion ends-woven-in SnB Under the Hoodie. A back view of the hood. And last, a dorky pocket-action shot. And yes, I am aware that it looks like I'm trying to stop a ferret from weaseling out of the pocket. Trust me, no ferrets or other small creatures were harmed during this production. Unless you count Bossy and Stinky, but I don't think inflicted emotional scars should really be counted. I'm now a holy roller when it comes to extolling the virtues of blocking. Wet-blocking and steam-blocking took care of the stockinette curl and really evened out the stitches. I was also able to lengthen the body by about an inch. Overall, I'm really pleased with the final result. And what perfect timing, because it's actually cold and rainy enough for me to wear now that the temperature has dropped to the low 80's. It's the tropics, people. Low 80's is pretty damned cold for us!

Of course, no photo shoot would be complete without Bossy and Stinky trying to insert themselves in every picture. They were jubilant when I told them that they could each pose by themselves. And as it turns out, they didn't actually manage to worm their way into every picture. Just 34 out of the 37.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Orange Letter

Tutti Frutti is done! Ever mindful of the genteel nature of this audience, I tried to spare you direct bowl shots, but yes, you are in my bathroom again. Which really wasn't supposed to happen again. With just the toe shaping left, I was confident that Tutti Frutti could be completed by lunch today. I anticipated fun, outdoorsy frolicking pics with sand and surf, grass and sky, but alas, it wasn't to be. Instead, here I am at 11:30 pm, barely coherent, taking pictures of my feet in the bathroom. Indulge me, if you will, as I recount the sock saga.

Something was bound to go wrong today. It was one of those eerie days. Moms, you know what I'm talking about. The kind of day where the kids share with each other willingly, pick up their toys the first time you ask and apologize to their siblings without prompting, deluding you into some false sense of security about your competence as a parent. Yep, verrry eerie. All day, I kept waiting for the other sock to drop.

Eerie occurrence #1: Bossy and Stinky haven't seen Hairy Legs since Suday because he's been working till 10 pm every night. Which means it's been just me and them, all day, all night, all week. Which would normally set them off into a tizzy. It did yesterday, it will tomorrow, but not today, oh no. They kissed Hairy Legs goodbye and happily carried on.
Eerie occurrence #2: I take the kids to Wal-Mart to pick up some odds and ends and nothing happens. No whining, no crying, no poop hazmat explosions, no hiding my face behind grocery bags as I book it to the van.
Eerie occurrence #3: Bossy and Stinky eat lunch! Not only do they eat the pasta salad I serve, they also eat the broccoli and celery in the salad without any evil eye prompt.
Eerie occurrence #4: I park at gymnastics today. At the building, instead of 5 blocks away like I usually have to, hauling butt, Bossy and Stinky to make it to gymnastics 5 minutes late.
Truly Eerie occurrence #5: I am gifted with simultaneously napping children- children who never nap. Napping together. Simultaneously.

So I guess it should have come as no surprise to me when karmic justice came in the form of Tutti Frutti. Still, I was caught unawares. Subscribing to the boyscout motto, I was duly prepared for the antitheses to the aforementioned eerie occurrences, but I was completely unprepared for sock madness. I finished Frutti before dinner, with only the Kitchener left to go...or so I thought. Just for kicks, I pull out Tutti to compare. And realize that Frutti is over an inch shorter, in spite of following the same pattern. Which means frogging over half the sock to get back to the foot. Stupidly, I pull all the dpns out and start ripping with abandon, when it suddenly occurrs to me that I have no idea where needle 1, which should be perfectly centered over the heel, is supposed to begin. The ensuing panic attack could be likened to Joe Rogan appearing and unveiling the 8 goat testicles I have to eat to win Fear Factor. (Which, for the record, I would totally eat for $50,000. Do you know how much yarn 50 grand could buy??!)

I finally figure out where 1 begins and 3 ends, but not before endless trials and countless errors till past 10 pm. Then I get stocki-cocky thinking how boring all-stockinette is (You'd think I would've learned my lesson after the Hoodie pocket) and incur stocki-cocky-bachi (karmic crap) in messing up all my decreases. Again. Suffice it to say that I had to frog Frutti to the beginning of the foot more than three times today.

But, all's well that ends well, and Tutti and Frutti ended pretty well. Almost identical except for the distinction of Frutti's possessed orange toe. It's his Orange Letter, I suppose, the burden he must wear, brandishing the (many!) errors of his ways. Apparently, though, Frutti repented just in time....with only one yard left in the skein, his number would've REALLY been up!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

got a girl named daisy

Inspired by acornbud at our last SnB meeting, I made a trip to Yarn and Friends this weekend to pick up some Patons Kroy sock yarn. I normally gravitate toward solid muted earth tones, but I was determined to find something festive and fun with true Socktoberfest spirit this time. And what could be more fun than Tutti Frutti??!! A wop boppa loobop a womp bam boom! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)
This knit up in about a night and a half on size 3 dpns, top-down. Although I'm tempted to keep this (soon-to-be) pair for myself, Tutti Frutti is destined to be a gift for a friend. This was my first time working with self-patterning sock yarn- what a revelation! Sure, all-stockinette- all-the-time can be boring, but you can't beat it for a quick and gratifying knit. I just cast-on for the second sock, so I'm curious to see whether they will be identical or fraternal twins. On a serious sock-knitting side-note, I'm very interested in giving the toe-up method a try again...I've used Wendy's Toe-Up pattern, and I must have done something wrong, because instead of getting a beautiful seamless toe, I wound up with an ugly wonky ridge down the center of the back and front. If anyone can offer some insight as to what I might be doing wrong, I'd be very grateful.

By now you all know what deprived souls my poor kids are. No Tutti Frutti ice cream, no additives, no preservatives, no fun. In spite of my last post alluding to my sadistic tendencies, even their Blueberry Waffles are of the distinctly weird variety. No wheat, no gluten, no eggs. I'm not sure they even really qualify as waffles, honestly. It's not like I set out looking for weird food. As a concerned consumer, all I ask for is a non-processed, mostly-organic, low-sugar, low-salt, non-peanut/peanut related product. How weird is that, really? (Just so you know, I can see all the head-shaking.) I'm nervous that they're going to wind up being the ostracized freaky kids at school, raving about their tofu burger and soy milk lunches.

In light of their freaky upbringing, they go bonkers at the prospect of a birthday party. Bossy Boots will dance around in a little circle, singing, "cake and ice cream, cake and ice cream!" at the top of his zebra lungs. Lately, even Sister Stinky, all of 19 months old, has been chiming in. At the birthday party we attended recently, one of the moms asked the kids if they were ready for cake and ice cream and a very jubilant Stinky screamed, "Yay!!!" This from a little girl who has about ten words in her vocabulary. Of course this garnered an immediate raised-eyebrow see -what- happens- when- you -deprive -your -kids look from the other moms. I smiled sweetly and re-directed their attention to the birthday boy's older sister, who was gleefully gorging herself on half the frosting from the full sheet birthday cake. I'm betting the soy burger path didn't seem like such a bad idea at the moment.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

of socks and waffles

Tada! I completed my first official pair of Socktober socks last night: Blueberry Waffle Socks in Lion Brand Wool- Ease Sportweight Blue Mist, on Size 4 dpns. Hairy Legs (not to be confused with the author of this post) obliged me again by modeling these socks intended for my dad. Getting into the spirit, he even suggested a photo shoot location, which wound up being in the bathroom next to the toilet, mostly because it's the only place in our house that's illuminated by more than a 60-watt lamp after 9 pm. (Because that's the one place in the house you really want illuminated!) We tried both with and without flash to get an accurate color and stitch representation. Funny thing is that upon review, I only notice the hair. And how much more starkly noticeable it appears with flash. And for the last time, those are NOT my legs!! This was a super quick and fun knit and was just what I needed after the seemingly interminable hoodie.

It's ironic that I would knit a pair of socks called "Blueberry Waffle." For the record, I cannot STAND blueberry waffles, but when I saw the title in a list of sock patterns, I was drawn to it like a magnet. It all goes back to my childhood (doesn't everything??), when my mom used to force me into eating those toaster-variety Eggo Blueberry Waffles for breakfast. Which in and of itself may not have been that terrible a thing, but my mom had a sadistic way of making us roll out of bed and right into the kitchen for breakfast. I have since realized that I am not not-a-breakfast-eater (had to double-check the double negative to make sure that's what I meant to say); I simply prefer some downtime between opening my eyes and having food shoveled down my throat.

Those were some awful mornings in the early '70's...sitting across Fredo with a plate of Eggos. Both because of the Eggos and because of Fredo. She had this way of staring at me with her huge puppy-dog eyes that really irked me. Bad enough I had to stomach those damn waffles, but to have her looking at me was almost more than I could bear. "Stop looking at me!" I'd hiss, shooting her my most evil eye. Quickly, she'd avert her gaze, but those pathetic puppy eyes would stir feelings of guilt, making me more irate. Angrily, I'd stick a forkful of waffle into my mouth, only to have my reflexes betray me with a gag (yes, Bossy Boots' talent for deliberate gagging is inherited). Of course, this would cause Fredo to look at me again. With total horror in her eyes, she'd fixate on me as I commenced with my daily gagging/almost-upchucking side-show routine, all the while vehemently whispering, "Stop looking at me!" Exasperated as hell, my blueberry-waffle-loving-mom stopped intervening after a few days of this routine and pretended that she couldn't see or hear anything. Luckily, that is another talent that has been inherited.

In a twist of ultimate sadism, I, of course, force my kids to eat blueberry waffles for breakfast. Total anachronisms, however, they seem to love it. Having inherited mom's see-no-evil, hear-no-evil talent, though, I can't be entirely sure.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Have you caught Socktoberfest fever yet?? Watch out, because sock mania is sweeping through blog land and it is contagious! I've been spending so much time nursing my own fever by checking out all the great socks that everyone's been cranking out that I almost wasn't able to complete a sock in time to post for today. Almost. Luckily, knitting a pair is just what the doctor ordered. Right now, it's only one half of a pair, but I hope to remedy that in a few days time. This is Blueberry Waffle, in Lion Brand Wool Ease Sportweight, size 4 dpns, which will become a Christmas gift for my dad. Since the intended recipient is masculine, I did the logical and went with a masculine sock model. (I know I don't shave nearly as often as I should, but c'mon now, you didn't really think those were my hairy legs, did you?) I know you're probably wincing at the acrylic factor (or the hair. I swear those aren't my legs!), but my dad is a no-nonsense, machine wash and dry-don't tell-me-I need-to-block this-100% wool - kinda guy. Being used to knitting on Size 1's with fingering weight yarn, these are a little thick for my taste, but they'll be functional. Although it's still Hawaii, the weather actually occasionally drops below 70 degrees in Hilo, where my parents live, so I'm hoping they'll make good house socks. And I certainly can't complain. On size 4's, that sock basically knitted itself up in a night and a half!

Since I didn't have size 4 bamboo or brittany dpn's, I had to use aluminum ones. I know you're probably wincing again, but these dpn's hold special sentimental value. You see, they're the same needles that my grandmother used. My grandmother passed away 8 years ago at the age of 85, and with her died a vast wealth of knitting knowledge and crochet know-how. She lived frugally and had only an 8th grade education, but she could design patterns like nobody's business and knit the cheapest acrylic into the most beautiful garments. She taught me to crochet and knit when I was 9 years old, but I didn't have the patience to withstand the constant frogging she "subjected" me to. It took 24 years for me to appreciate her drive for perfection in handcrafting. I wish I could have shared her passion for knitting while she was alive, but I know that her spirit lives on because I feel connected to her everytime I pick up the needles she used. Whenever my snobbery for aluminum kicks in, I remind myself that if they were good enough for her, they're certainly good enough for me. They're precious heirlooms to me and I hope to pass them on along with an appreciation for my baachan's skillful handiwork. I miss her so very much, but I'm grateful to have such a wonderful reminder of her. Watching her knit is one of my most vivid memories of her, and I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree (or grandtree!) because that'll probably be my munchkins' most vivid memory of me, too!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

show proof!

As kids, we frequently used the phrase, "Show proof!", demanding material evidence to substantiate whenever anyone made a preposterous claim. Many a time have I flashed the contents in my mouth to "show proof" in response to some double dare to eat some random combination of mud, insects and glue that my sister, Fredo had concocted. Occasionally, my parents would require us to "show proof" of consumption, but more along the sublime line of broccoli and brussel sprouts. Once, when I was 7, Fredo and I were bathing in the tub, as was our usual routine. I suddenly yelled to my mom that I wanted out immediately. From the kitchen, she said that I was to stay put with Fredo. I told her that Fredo had done something VERY BAD. Mom kept countering that she didn't think so. Whining turned to crying and finally, to hysterics. Annoyed as hell, mom stomped and slammed her way into the bathroom and demanded that I "show proof." She didn't have to look very far, for as Fredo and I huddled in the corner of the tub, bobbing freely about in circles in the bathwater was Fredo's long, intact and quite buoyant excrement. I'm sure the expletive in my mom's mind accurately captured the essence of the situation.

So here I am, being asked to "show proof" yet again, though this time, it's self imposed. When last we met, our heroine had been relegated to a dark corner, relinquished of all posting ability until she had a completed hoodie to show. So without further ado (and mostly because narrating in third-person creeps me out), I present to you SnB Under the Hoodie!!!
SnB Under The Hoodie
Knit with Elann Peruvian Highland Wool, in Clay, Orchid and Fuschia on Size 5 circ needle
Started: Sept 28, 2005 Completed: October 10, 2005

It looks a little like a creepy headless Kenny, huh? I promise to post finished, post-blocking, non-headless pics later this week. I will admit to having a couple of nervous moments. Like when I realized that I had 5 inches left on the addition to 18 inches on sleeve#2 that I had managed to trick myself into forgetting about. I feared my posting days would become a memory of the past. But I plugged on...even through the seaming, which SUCKED!!! Mostly because I suck at seaming, which I never fully realized until this sweater. Seaming took a LOT longer than I'd anticipated, which was a huge female dog. Not of Saint Bernardian proportions (recall Padded Footlet?); but perhaps Great Dane-ian would be fairly accurate. I'm cheating a little, because there are about 500 loose ends that still need to be woven in, and it clearly needs some aggressive blocking, but .... for all intents and purposes, It's Done! And added bonus: It fits!! It's so warm and comfy, I just know I'm going to find and/or create any excuse to wear it. Hooray!!! Now I can revel in all the Socktober festivities with a clear conscience (and warm hoodie, to boot!). Hand me those DPNs, 'cause I got nothin' but socks on the brain!!!

And what's that old adage? The proof is in the pudding? ....Guess that all depends on how one defines "pudding!"

Friday, October 07, 2005

she's got a way

I've got a way.....of procrastinating.

This is not something that I'm proud of. Every clock in our house is set at random, varying intervals ahead of "real time." I do this to trick myself into thinking that I'm late in doing whatever it is that I'm supposed to be doing but am not doing. Initially, I did the ol' "set your watch 5 minutes ahead" bit, but I'm not easily fooled. To truly freak myself out, I had to set all ten of our clocks ahead of time at different intervals, so that I'd never really know what time it was. Be that as it may, I still tend to run late, according to at least five of those clocks.

I procrastinate the worst with homework. Even as I write this post, I know I should be working on the 70 page reading and response paper that's due on Monday. But somehow, whenever the heat is on high, I get distracted. The first time I experienced true stress in my freshman year of college, I got distracted and ended up becoming a vegetarian for 4 years. Now that's really distracted.

It was 3 am. I was supposed to be studying for midterms and writing a paper when I decided that I absolutely could not function without having a 7-Eleven nachos with extra onions and jalapenos. (I also have a penchant for really nasty food when I'm procrastinating. Red Vines, anyone?) Naturally, the only 7-Eleven in the vicinity was a 25 minute walk away, but I really needed the nachos. So, I grabbed my jacket and started on my trek. As luck would have it, I passed our good ol' cafeteria along the way. We all cracked the usual jokes about the cafeteria food, calling the company "Marri-Rot" instead of Marriott and bragging about developing cast-iron stomachs. Jokes aside though, it really was rather bad... I would get the runs for a full 2 weeks at the start of every semester re-acclimating to MarriRot. (What, too much information? You know it makes you feel closer to me.) I'd always wondered what made the food so damned bad. And then, that night, I saw it. There, shrouded in the darkness of night, unseen by the masses...

The cafeteria delivery truck that said: "Meat: Grade D, But Edible"

In that instant, all was revealed to me. Grade D? Grade D?! I'd never even seen Grade B sold in a market, let alone Grade D! But, in spite of that, it wasn't even the Grade D part that got to me. No, it was the conjunction that killed me. Grade D BUT edible. BUT edible!! On the spot, I became an instant vegetarian convert and never looked back till graduation.

So here I am at 12 am (or 12:15, 12:20, or 12:25, depending on which clock you're looking at), looking at my hoodie, literally less than 5 inches away from completion....and procrastinating. Blog surfing and dreaming about Socktober instead of knitting and purling. I think the stockinette's finally getting to me. You know it's bad when you look forward to grafting shoulder seams. I actually enjoyed it, in a sick kind of cool way. I just need to focus and power through these last few inches so I can enjoy my hoodie and move on to socks with peace of mind. I solemnly vow here and now not to post again until I have a finished hoodie to show. I will not procrastinate! I will not be distracted!

Then again, if you find out I re-converted to vegeterianism tomorrow, you know why.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

the good, the bad and the lost

The good. (Can you hear the Western whistle?)

Lots of progress on Under the Hoodie, thanks to some recent obsessive-compulsive instruction reading. The front is officially finished, as is the better part of one sleeve. Since I'm pretty vertically challenged, I made a couple of modifications to ensure I didn't wind up with Washoe length sleeves. One more sleeve and a hood and I'm done. I'm soclose to finishing my first sweater that I can actually taste it!

You knew something had to go wrong, didn't you??

The bad. (Ominous Western whistle, sans Clint Eastwood cameo)

So I'm looking at the orchid pink yarn that I used to make sleeve #1, and as I merrily knit along, it slowly occurs to me to question how much yarn I need for sleeve #2. In denial, I brush off the nagging, haunting suspicion that I don't have anywhere near enough of this orchid pink yarn. A quick calculation threatens my tenuous hold on sanity. If marginally-holding-on -to-her-marbles-knitter uses 1.75 balls of yarn for sleeve #1 and has only 1.25 balls of aforementioned contrasting color B yarn left to complete sleeve #2, what is the probability that said knitter will have to go medieval on remaining knitting? I don't need to do any two-tailed t tests to know the answer to that. Sigh. Ever the delusional optimist, however, I somehow believe that everything will work out in the end...even if it means having Ewok sleeves.

The Lost.

I've been blog reading, and it seems that a lot of you (this one's for you, Karen & Chrissy!) are die-hard fans of Lost, so I thought I'd share this little tidbit. I know it's appalling, but *ducks* I have yet to watch a single episode. All the more appalling because Lost films right here in Hawaii. And downright unforgivable because Lost uses the DH's workplace to cook for and feed the cast and crew. The DH is the contact person the producers call to schedule time to use the facility. According to the DH, they're very easy-going and pleasant to work with. They cook way too much food and always invite the DH and his co-workers to eat with them. They were using this tent to barbecue some extra food. It doesn't look too impressive, but this was just to supplement all the other food they had already catered. Here's a shot of their trailers. DH said he saw a few of the stars the other day while they were getting their lunches. We're so lame, we had to go online to figure out who they were. We *think* he saw Daniel Dae Kim (Jin), Harold Perrineau (Michael) and Josh Holloway (Sawyer). Then again, we can't really be sure since he deduced this in police line-up fashion using the cast photos. One of the producers gave the DH this shirt, too. How cool is that? (Though I'd admit, it'd probably be more cool if I knew what the show was about!) I asked the DH to snap covert shots of the cast so I could let you guys live vicariously, but he declined, saying it was unprofessional. You can go swat him now.

So there you have it: the good, the bad and the lost. No ugly?
Crossing my fingers that it's not the hoodie!!!

Monday, October 03, 2005

some enchanted evening

There are bad decisions. Like deciding to try your hand at Salmonella Roulette with precariously pink pork. Like jumping in the ocean after reading the sign that says, "Warning: Box Jellyfish!" Like leaving the perming solution on for 45 minutes instead of 10 so that you can have really curly Molly Ringwald hair. Aside from a minor case of the runs and several small chemical burns to my neck and scalp, I managed to emerge from these bad decisions relatively unscathed.

Then there are Really Bad Decisions.

Like when I was a junior in college and making frequent evening trips between voice practice at the music building and my dorm, which was clear across campus. Like any other young girl walking unaccompanied at night, I felt vulnerable and often feared for my safety. The campus was poorly lit, and rumors abounded about attackers lurking in dark corners, preying upon defenseless victims. I don't subscribe to the philosophy of living my life in fear, but I'll admit that I was all too willing when my friend offered to sell me a black market can of Mace for extra security. At barely 2 inches high, the canister was so diminutive and unassuming. I held it in my hand with a mixture of both trepidation and relief, knowing that if the need ever arose, I could rest assured that I could protect myself. Just to be sure, I studied the trigger mechanism, and it seemed to operate like any other aerosol device. Having had a lot of experience with hairspray after the Molly Ringwald fiasco, I felt fairly confident about my ability to execute the index finger-pump action. Reassured, I set off on my trek back to my dorm.

But doubt is as doubt does, and paranoia started to set in on that chilly, breezy evening. Distant trees began to look like looming rapists, and I nervously stroked the canister in my jacket pocket for reassurance.

And then I made a Really Bad Decision.

On that fateful, breezy evening, I decided to test the pump to make sure it really worked. I depressed the trigger without a hitch and was congratulating myself on my foresight to ensure that everything was in proper working condition...when the Mace blew directly back in my face. The sequence of events subsequent to this I do not recall with any real certainty, as my faculties were otherwise paralyzed by mind-blowing pain after I Maced myself. I do, however, remember writhing on the ground like a Raid-sprayed dying roach for the better part of 15 minutes, clutching my eyes and yelling some incoherent mix of primal scream and profanity, laced with reference to mothers, copulation and defecation. There may have even been some mention of genitalia and random orifices, though I cannot be entirely sure. I am fairly certain, however, that my display warded off any would-be attackers, who apparently are more discriminating than one might guess.

Although my current Really Bad Decision was nowhere near as painful, it did garner as many expletives. I got Stocki-Cocky on my SNB Under-the-Hoodie. Stockinette-cocky, that is. I was confident I could get the front of this hoodie done over the weekend, and I was feeling very comfortable with the pattern. So much so that I decided not to re-read the instructions for the pocket, and proceeded to knit ALL 43 ROWS in pure stockinette, instead of with the 5 stitch border pattern called for in the instructions. Which I realized only as I was completing the 3 needle bind-off for the pocket. AAAARGH!!! 8 INCHES!!! That's a whole skein of yarn and a whole night of knitting!! I was forced to rip back and re-do the pocket, so my progress now seems rather abysmal as I don't have much to show beyond the pocket. I guess that's my Stocki-Cocky-Bachi (which is Japanese for karmic crap, usually with connotated overtones of "Good for you, you got what you deserved," with a slight nuance of "Told you so").

So yeah, the Molly Ringwald do was a don't, I ran with the runs and I'm still slightly aerosol can-phobic, but I'll probably continue to push my luck with Really Bad Decisions. After all, I'm 1 for 4: I've never gotten stung by box jellyfish!