Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Toddler Adventure

My new friend, Olga, and I took our kiddos to the Brookfield Zoo this week. Despite the rainy weather, we had an absolute blast. The amazing part of being in Illinois is that you can take your kid to the zoo in the summer and not witness animals barely breathing b/c of the intense heat. Notice in the pics that the kids are wearing jackets. Yup. Jackets. In August. This was a first for me as well. Growing up in Texas, a kid rarely gets to watch animals walk around and play at the zoo. They're always sleeping or cooling off inside. I was as giddy as the kids were to see a tiger playing with a ball in his pool and baby gorillas playfully beating the crap out of each other.

Here's Olga's daughter, Ellie, and my kiddo, Perrin.

And here's one of me and Perrin

I definitely HEART Illinois in the summertime

Monday, August 28, 2006

My new goal

I will only work on one project at a time. I will not CO for one thing, get stumped, and start another. A few months ago, I had 6 projects going on at once. Irritating as all hell was keeping them all arranged so that the needles wouldn't fall out while I shoved them into a drawer only to be scoffed at every time I needed a pair of socks. I started a cardigan for my son in Feb and frogged it a couple of weeks ago b/c I just couldn't bring myself to seam it up and finish the button rows. Oh, and he's grown about 4 inches since then.
So...I am working solely on my latest love affair....Tubey. I will post a progress pic tomorrow. The new addi's I bought are making this an amazingly quick knit.
I started it 3 days ago, and I've finished the back and one sleeve of the shrug-like top. It's sort of perverse how much I enjoy fondling the cashmerino as I knit with it. I might just move into this sweater when I'm done. My mission is to finish it by Sept 16 so that I can wear it to Wisconsin on our mini-vacation. My aunt taught me how to knit with 2 circulars, so I may never use DPNs for sleeves again.
On another note, my newest pattern is burning a hole through my desk waiting to be started. Here it is in all its adorable glory.
Rusted Root from Zephyrstyle

I really do think I need to find a way to function on 3 hours of sleep. Check out this beautimus sweater that is just begging to be knit for my first Chicago winter.
Simply Marilyn from Interweave

Then again, in order to afford the amount of yarn required for this sweater, I'd likely need to sell a kidney, so it can wait.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

No right to bitch

My life is truly wonderful. I have the all-American sorta fairytale lifestyle that most women dream of. My husband adores me and helps a lot with Perrin. My son is a doll who only occasionally makes me want to rip my hair out. I live in this beautiful place where I feel serene. Yet I sometimes mope about mainly trivial things as though the world may collapse around my shoulders at any moment. As if the fact that I twitch a lot gives me any free passes to throw myself pity parties. And here's why I don't have any right to bitch. Recently, my little boy fell madly in love with a darling girl at the playground. They hug and hold hands while they frolic through the daisies. I adore her. Her grandma brings her almost every day b/c the kids like each other so much. So one day I ask the grandma if the girl's mom works. She tells me that she has cancer and doesn't have the energy to play with her daughter anymore. How dreadful. Just dreadful. To be in your twenties, have this sprite of a child and be battling a disease that is very likely going to keep her on the sidelines for years. Then I met the mom. She came by the other day b/c her daughter had talked about Perrin so much that she wanted to meet us. She's frightfully thin and pale. She's bald from chemo, but she has the biggest smile I've ever seen. She has an unshakable faith in spite of the cruel hand the universe has dealt her. While I agonize over the possibility that my son may have Tourette's or any of the other oddities that we may have given him, this woman goes to bed every night praying that she'll get to see her daughter grow up. Life is all about perspective, and mine definitely needed changing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Introducing "Pike"

In tribute to my rockingest girl on "Rock Star: Supernova" I have named my little felted bag after the one and only Patrice Pike. I have loved her for 10 years, back when she was in a band called "Sister 7." She is a hometown rocker from Austin, and I have seen her perform numerous times and have even chatted with her. This is a very cool girl. I am so excited that the rest of the country has been able to get a little taste of what Austinites have been loving for ages. Tonight may very well be her last night to rock on Supernova, so I dedicate this bag to her reality TV memory.
Anyway, back to the knitting. I totally lazy-assed my way to the end of this bag. I hate seaming, so I really just did some simple stitch thing (I don't even know if it has a name) that seemed to hold the thing together. It made a couple trips through the washer before I was satisfied, but all in all, I like the way it turned out. It fits my wallet, cell, and keys; what more does the simple girl need?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I can do intarsia. Lookit!!!

I have finally attempted a knitting technique that I believed way beyond my meager "beginner" status. It was so much easier than I had led myself to believe it was. I even designed the chart myself, though considering the simplicity of it, isn't really saying much. It will eventually be a tiny felted handbag that will likely get stashed in a closet somewhere until I no longer have to trek around with a ginormous diaper bag. But damnit, I did it!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Knitting with Tourette's

Imagine not being able to control your body. That every time you feel slightly nervous, stressed, tired, or just trying to relax, your brain keeps telling your muscles they need to be doing something else. So you flap your arms uncontrollably b/c your sleeves aren't exactly perfect or you tense the muscles in them until they hurt so much you can't use your hands anymore. Every time you meet a new person you're wondering if they're noticing how many times your body jerks out of control or wondering why your nose twitches.
This is what it's like to have Tourette's Syndrome. My body is in a constant state of motion; my muscles are always working. I can't remember ever sitting still for longer than a few seconds. That is the suck. Now this is the awesome. The only time I feel any relief from this curse is when I have knitting needles in my hands. When I'm knitting, I'm concentrating so hard on the feel of the yarn flowing through my fingers that the rest of my body gets a little break from its perpetual motion. The muscles that I tighten for no reason during the rest of my day suddenly have a purpose.Knitting is much more than a hobby for me. It's a saving grace in an otherwise exhausting attempt to reclaim control of something I can never have...a body that fully belongs to me.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Knittyhead Party at Loopy

As evidence to all that I have, indeed, been making good progress in the "meeting people in real life" department, I give you Exhibit A: Me and some cool girlies at Chicago's Loopy Yarns. This photo is brought to you courtesy of Helen (poetangel of Knitty and blogger AngelKnits)

The party was very fun. Rode the train into Chicago with Helen. She's a really cool girl; it was nice to finally meet her. The girls that run Loopy are beyond helpful and sweet, and the yarn was so cheap, I would've hated myself if I hadn't bought tons of it. Check this out. 8 skeins of Lorna's Dove hand dyed wool/cotton blend (normally $17 a skein) and 8 skeins of Peer Gynt wool - all for $1 a skein! I ended up spending around $20 for yarn that normally would've been about $180. Unbelievable. I believe I shrieked like a howler monkey when the woman behind the register showed me the immense savings. Helen and I went nuts, grabbing as much of our chosen color as we could before the other ladies could see what we were up to. We met up with some other folks that post on Knitty frequently and some regular Friday night knitters. Can't wait to dig in to my new stash. Helen and I have discussed starting up a local knitting group to avoid the weekly hour-long train ride to Loopy.

Can you believe that just 7 years ago I was an agoraphobic virtual shut-in? And now I'm going to parties where I don't know a single soul and actually talking to strangers. Look how far I've come.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Photopalooza Part 2

My last week in Austin, our Stitch N Bitch got together at Robin's for a kids-included knitting extravaganza. Craziness ensued and children got painted.
Here are the girls

And here is how we kept the kids busy and happy while we knitted. Robin mixed up some koolaid, split a skein of wool in half, and gave the kiddos paintbrushes. In the end, we both got an adorable handpainted ball designed by our beautiful offspring.


Now that we're finally settled in, I can be extra posty with the photos. Here are some knitting pics of projects I've completed this year.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The bear that started it all

My BFF Robin taught me to knit in the fall of 2005, and the first project I completed was this bubby (from Knitty) for her then unborn son. I was so stinkin' proud of this thing, but now that I'm a little more experienced I can see all the mistakes that I made. I still think it turned out well for a beginner though. I have no idea if the wee one has ever touched the thing, but this was the the project that started my obsession with knitting. I barely put down the needles now, even to sleep.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Heat wave

Well, it would appear that I have actual magical powers. And not the super cool make-myself-invisible or the decoding-toddlerspeak powers, but the supreme and ghastly ability to drastically alter a location's natural climate. Is it ever 100 degrees in Chicago? Um, not really. Is it 100 in Chicago now that I'm here? Um, yup. I'm still loving it here b/c let's face beats the hell out of Texas. But seriously, weather gods, I'd like some appropriate coolness. Good news is coming, however, in the form of a thunderstorm which is supposed to return my wonderful new home to its original state....high 80's. I suppose the universe thought I was not prepared for the dramatic change in temperature and decided to gradually welcome me to the Midwest by giving me a brief glimpse at what I was leaving behind before bestowing upon me the deliciousness of weather that doesn't make me insane. Yup, that's gotta be it.

**Yay!!! The weather gods heard my plea, and now it's 80 degrees and perfection again. Disregard heat rant...must have been well, um, the heat.**