Archive | April, 2011

Easter Dyeing

24 Apr

We bypassed Easter egg dyeing this year and went straight to yarn.  Much more fun.

The base yarn for today is Patons Kroy sock yarn.  Not the softest but I love the way it wears and it sucks up dye well.

This is using Jacquard Acid Dyes.  I love the colors I get with these dyes.

As an added bonus, I got to hear Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me while I was working (this week featuring John Waters!)

Some spring colors


And an experiment that I’m rather pleased with.  Okay, tremendously please with, not to toot my own horn. 

One of these two will probably end up as a variegated sample for a scarf pattern I’m working on.  Here’s my solid one so far:


I figure that working on a scarf that I’m excited about is the most surefire way to end winter.  Seeing as how it snowed here yesterday that may be wishful thinking.

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The illusion of life through photos

21 Apr

I use to read more blogs than I do now. Early on in both my knitting and parenting lives, when I was still wide eyed and absorbing every bit of information like a sponge, I use to scour the internet for wisdom and guidance. I remember coming across, as we all have, the blogs of women who had it all together. Immaculate, enviable craft rooms, beautiful houses, angelic children, and both the time and patience to keep them all up.

Even though I think I’m not as materialistic as the stereotypical woman (I own mere six pairs of footwear and two purses) I wondered if I was missing something by not having the hip barn door upcycled to a craft bench or vintage glass jars to hold my supplies. Would my children be as wonderful and seemingly content if we built that Montessori style bedroom for them or took the time to walk barefoot through the woods together?

After a while I started finding myself looking at old photos of me and the family with this same kind of longing. Wait, this was it! It’s the deception of  the photos! These split second snippets that I thought were wholly representational of lives were not at all. Hell, any life is going to look amazing if you capture that right second or the right angle.

So here’s a little exercise in perception.

Remember my button post?  Here’s what my counter really looked like at the time.

Too lazy to even clean up my dirty dishes.  And speaking of dishes,

Here was my kitchen yesterday.  At about 4pm.  Those are breakfast crumbs and droppings.  At 4pm.  Because I wanted to sit around and knit instead.

Oh, and the cardigan photo on the button post?  Here’s the real scene.

This table is 90% dedicated to the boy’s toys, so whenever I want to use it I just shove his stuff in the window.  And that’s not nice defused light coming in the window, it’s hazy since I hadn’t washed the outside of the window since we moved into this house in January of 2010 [note: it has since been cleaned, but only because someone else did it for me.]

And today, here is my living room.

Yes, that’s my four year old, standing a foot and a half from the television.  Yes, to the left of the chair is a toothbrush and half a pancake that I didn’t pick up when we ran out of the house in a hurry this morning.  Sometimes mess and tv have to be the sacrifices for some craft time sanity around here.  I use to feel bad about that.  But now, whatever.  I’ve become so conscious of how I try my best to hide these things in photos, as we all do, as if future generations will remember me falsely as a clean person.  *Snicker*

But what a cute old little house, you say?  Yes, it is cute.  And old.

It sometimes strikes me as a sweet old place, full of history and charm.  But most days it’s more sad geriatric to which the previous owner did some quick fixes that seem akin to putting this old gal in a nursing home.  Just hang out over there for a bit longer, will ya?  For example:

No, this isn’t to look at the cute cupboard or the messy carpet.  It’s to show you the reason we can’t have nice hardwood floors here.  See those shims under the shelf?  They’re compensating for the inch and a half difference between the floor level between the back and front of the shelf.  My whole poor living room sags.  And creeks.

Look again at my kitchen.  Those cupboards are vinyl coated.  Just like the floor.  The previous owners were obsessed with vinyl, plastic, anything synthetic.  So much original wood in this old house has been replaced by things that look nice but are horribly cheap.  It makes me nuts.

None of my old doors latch right.  My vinyl windows track crooked.  In the living room, when the summer morning sun hits just right, there is a strange pee smell that we cannot find the exact location of.

But it all looks great in photos, doesn’t it?

Dear Henry

12 Apr


Poor little boys. Or rather, poor knitters who knit for little boys. One does not realize the imbalance of the ratio of girl-to-boy knitting patterns until one tries to find a boy suitable pattern. It’s rather sad.

I was very pleased to see just how much of a positive response there was the the Dear Liza pattern. As a mother of a son, I did feel a tinge of guilt for leaving out all the wonderful little boys out there. In the interest of fairness I created Dear Henry. Dear Henry enlists the same type of eyelet pattern for ventilation as it’s feminine partner but they are cleverly hidden in the garter stitch band. A shorter hat and a flatter crown lend to a more masculine look.

The Details:

Yarn: DK weight cotton (pattern shown in EL. D. Mouzakis Butterfly Super 10)
Yardage: 110-250yds
: 6sts/1 inch in stockinette
Suggested needle size: US 4
: 0- 6mo, 6-12mo, 12-24mo, 2-4yo, 4-6yo
Price: $3

Find this pattern on Ravelry

Inspiration and Motivation

11 Apr

This weekend some friends and I went to check out the Firefly Handmade market at the Makerie workshop in Boulder.  Although money kept us from attending the actual Makerie event, the market was a fun public addition to the weekend’s activities.  Just look at all the great vendors that were there!

It was great to be immersed in all the craftiness and if nothing else it was a much needed kick in the ass to get me back on track for my own art and craft endeavors.  I bought a woodcut print from Wonderbound Press and felt a little sheepish over the fact that I’ve been telling myself for over a decade that I need to learn how to do this.  I’ve done lots of linoleum cutting in the past but never on actual wood.  This is going back on the top of my list of to-learns.

When I got home yesterday I had a new set of eyes.  I’ve become stuck in a craft rut.  So in the last day I have come up with a list of Spring Crafting Resolutions, if you will.

#1: More respect for my craft room.

I adore this room.  This is the one place in the house that is all mine. Often times it’s the only room in the house whose door remains closed.  Because of this  the room usually houses a number of things that I’m trying to keep away from small hands (hence the box of weeded out toys and the boxes in the lower left).  When it starts to get junky I’m less likely to try to keep it nice in there.  I mean, really, there is no reason that the dye pot and the dye pot lid aren’t together.  Or why the doors and drawers of the lovely yarn cupboard never stay closed.  Enough with the excuses.  I need to make this my room again.  And it needs to be clean and comfortable enough to hang out in.  And I need a chair.

#2: No more using yarn that I don’t like.

I’m so much less likely to finish projects that use yarn that I’m not crazy about. I don’t need to knit exclusively in Malabrigo or anything, but my cheap side needs to be muzzled a little bit more.  And kitchen cotton doesn’t need a permanent place in my stash.

And while we’re on the subject…

#3: Who needs to knit dishcloths?

I’m committing myself to knitting things out of love, not always necessity.  Yes, knit dishrags are awesome and last you forever but my knitting time is precious and I need to use it more wisely.  If it’s not the kind of project that I’d take to knit night and say, “Look how freaking awesome this is!!” I don’t think I need to knit it.     

#4: Part with the infinite hibernating UFOs

Oh sad, red pinwheel blanket that I started when I was pregnant with my now four year old.  You are never, ever going to be finished.  Green sweater made from another sweater’s recycled yarn, your half finished self needs to be frogged.  And that baggy purple Hourglass Sweater that’s two sizes two big?  I have something grand in store for you once you leave this tomb of UFOs.

#5: Not every known newborn baby needs extensive handknits

I know so many moms.  And my circle of friends from high school seem to all be finally having babies.  I know about 8 pregnant women at the moment.  I need to vow to not feel the need to making every one of them an entire layette.  Today I boxed up two baby hats to send to Seattle to a friend who had her baby in November.  I’ve been dragging my feet because I have this nagging side that I need to add something more.  No more.  It’s not going to kill me to buy something for a baby.

Whew.

I’m ready, bring on the spring crafting!

 

Lengthy weekends vs Vacations

4 Apr

The last real family vacation we had was nearly two years ago. This combined with the fact that my husband’s job has pretty generous annual allotted time off means that my husband has lots of days off without anywhere to go. As a result we have taken a liking to the random four day weekend. And not any of these memorial day/labor day/presidents day messes where everyone in the country has a day off too and it’s a madhouse to try to do anything. These only-us days off rock. Family breakfasts out on weekdays without battling the usual Saturday crowd. Parks that are more empty. Shopping trips without the weekend hordes. Sometimes I don’t miss the “real” vacation when these long weekends can recharge me easily without having to deal with the chaos of travel, packing, and the unknown (which is no fun with a creature-of-habit four year old).

So here is it Monday, but for us it’s really Second Sunday. Ahh. The four day weekend really does a lot for the morale too, making you feel like a superhero of accomplishment with four days to fill. This weekend I:

(over)dyed some yarn,

started on the new garden beds (okay, this was mostly the husband but I orchestrated it),

took the niece’s Flat Stanley on a nice outing in his new sweater,

finished writing a new pattern,

opened an Etsy shop (as you can see, not too exciting yet. Yet!),

took a trip to the kid’s museum (Actually, this was husband too. I stayed home with the baby),

and made the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever baked. Hey, Elizabeth, they work at elevation too!

The best accomplishment of the weekend I can’t show you yet since it’s for a design contest that I’m oh so excited about. Sometime after May, though, you’ll see it in all it’s glory. Tonight I think there’s just enough time to squeeze another family trip to the park, a good dinner and some more cookies into this weekend. I’ll take that over a busy vacation.