Thursday, January 31, 2008

Early morning.

The boy woke up at 4:30 this morning. He needed a "guy" to snuggle with. He wanted his Rudolph, so I trudged downstairs, located the red-nosed reindeer and delivered him. By the time I got there, SeƱor Wakeypants was already back to sleep. I sighed and went back to bed. It took a bit for me to settle in, but finally managed to doze a little, with a Lenten song* from last night's choir practice stuck in my head. It was 5:12 AM.



The boy was expecting me to be there for him, and was upset that I had gone back to my own bed. I got in there to find that he is thirsty. And hungry. And cranky. So up we get, and head downstairs for a "snack" of mini wheats and water. It is now 6:48, I've had 3 cups of coffee, he's seen too much Max & Ruby (his new favorite show), and I am ready to start my day. Methinks it's going to be a long one.

* If, by chance, you are currently considering joining your church's choir, I suggest waiting until after March 21. Songs for Lent are not. fun. to sing. Talk about a downer!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I always knew I had latent hooker tendencies

Gosh, it's been too long since I've updated you, bloggie-dear. I apologize for neglecting you. I promise to take better care of you in the future.

And now for the post. I'm being pulled to the dark side: crochet. I tried many times to get the hang of it, and just couldn't. It was so bad that I avoided knitting patterns that had crocheted edgings on them. I was a sorry sorry case. Then, for Halloween, I managed a single crochet had for my daughter's costume. It wasn't too bad. The workmanship wasn't great, but it was still much faster than knitting the same thing. I'm a rather slow knitter, so that speed stuck in the back of my head.

This last week, I entered a stash-busting game on a message board, and figured that I'd never get any points if I tried to start and complete any knitting projects. Heck, a knitted dishcloth takes me two days. So I dove into some "how to crochet" videos and gave it another shot. I picked a pattern that consisted of only single and double crochet, and went to work. In only two hours, I had a completed object. TWO HOURS! This crochet thing just might have something to it after all.

Here's the rub. I cannot hook worth a damn when I do it like the people on the videos (and in the books). I have to hold the yarn in my right hand. It doesn't surprise me, as I cannot knit continental very well, either. I'm probably going to give myself carpal tunnel syndrome doing it that way, but I don't care. I'm managing to make stitches and follow a pattern, and it doesn't suck!

I won't bother posting a picture of the "spa cloth" I did on Tuesday, but you can look it up on Ravelry if you want. Yesterday I started a shawl for Nora. She's been wanting one, and even has the yarn picked out. I don't know how far the "good" yarn will go, so I started out on some acrylic that I had in the cupboard, and she likes that too. It's purple. Nora likes purple.

Pattern: Half-Moon Shawl by Lion Brand
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft, in bright purple.
Hook: 5.0mm

Friday, January 18, 2008

Blogstalking '08, Week Two. My needles.

I actually suggested this topic, "my knitting needles all in one place." I figured that it would be an easy one for me, since I mostly use my Knitpicks Options set for most things. But then I realized that I would have to round up my many WIPs and needles that I do not use often. Suddenly, I got scared. If I show all of it, then people will know about how many projects I have on the needles, with little to no hope of finishing. ouch. Maybe that should have been my "bad habit" post last week. I have developed a bad case of Cast-On-itis.

In the interest of good sportsmanship, I did round up a few WIPs for this assignment, but not all of them. There are at least three still sitting in project bags, not pictured. I would love to finish any of them, but between my desire to start new projects and my children and this here computer thingy, I don't hold out much hope for them.

But I digress. I'll get down to business. First up is the tin where my DPNs live. They are pretty happy in there, as it still smells like cookies, but I'd love to have a needle roll, so I didn't have to sort through them, then pull out the needle gauge to figure which ones I need. (That's on my very long sewing to-do list.)
And here are most of my needles, attractively displayed. I think metal needles are so pretty and shiny. They make me happy. Wooden ones are great, too, but I don't own any of them (anymore,that is. The boy broke my one pair), so I cannot vouch for the happy-factor of wood needles. The Knitpicks Harmony needles are awfully pretty, though.

And here is my favorite set. This is a vintage Boye Needlemaster set, as bought at auction by my grandmother. It apparently originally was owned by a woman named Louise Jones. I wonder if Louise agreed that it was the "most exciting knitting innovations ever." It really is quite a nifty concept, but the execution in the 1960's lacked a little.

Look at the cords. The things are huge. When stuck through my handy dandy needle-sizer, I find that they are equivalent to a US6 needle: a far cry from today's skinny cords. Funny enough, though, they aren't much less flexibly than some of the cheaper circs' cords I've tried. And the needle tips are actually a bit smoother and nicer than the modern Boye Knitmates needle(one-at-a-time version of the Needlemasters) I bought last year. When I was a novice knitter, I did complete a few projects on these. I'm quietly proud of that.

So there you have it, most of my needles in one place. Ta daa! Now I am going to sign off and use them a little bit.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What a weekend!

Urg. I feel like I'm becoming one of those complainery hypochondriacs these days. Really, we're not normally sickly people- I swear! But last weekend, Casa de Deplume became virus central once again. Friday night, the girl came down with the world's worst cold. Her ears hurt, her sinuses were going crazy, and she spent a lot of the weekend either in tears or asleep.

Saturday morning found my dear husband in the throes of some stomach bug. The boy had had it early in the week (although he certainly had a mild case), and we all thought we had managed to avoid it. The poor man was laid up for two whole days subsisting on one popsicle, ten animal crackers, one piece of toast and 2 liters of ginger ale. I haven't seen him that sick in 10 years. I managed to fight most of it off, but was definitely under the weather by Sunday night. The girl and the man both called in sick on Monday. I'm hesitant to say it, but I think we're all on the mend now.

On other fronts, the house is a total mess. The laundry (both clean-in-baskets and dirty) is piling up, and my stairway is still not finished. But I did catch up on the dishes yesterday, and tidied up my linen and clothes closets.

Last week I promised a post about a recycled sweater, but it awaits finishing. I've been unraveling while pedaling the recumbent bike in the TV room, and knitting it back up into a project while ignoring household chores the rest of the day. But the WIP is slow going. I'll post copious pictures when it is all done, I promise.

And now I shall bring this post to a close. I have to go tackle something domestic. And go buy chicken for dinner tonight, too.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Blogstalking week something-or-other: My bad habit

This one is easy:

Yep, my computer is a nasty nasty habit. I spend too much time with it (after all my friends live in there), and my house is messier than it should be (but who wants to clean, when she can browse at, right?). I knit less than I'd like (although I look at a whole metric ton of knitting each day, thanks to Ravelry), and I even manage to blog less than I want, thanks to the internet's siren song.

Oh well. Only one thing to do about it. That's to turn it off. But we all know that's not going to happen, right?

By the way, the computer behind the computer is not a bad habit. That's the computer I work on. It will be pressed into service tomorrow.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Recipes from my Grandmother's kitchen

Note: Please do not make this soap. It is posted as a bit of history, and some modern-day soap makers have informed me that you might maim yourself if you follow this recipe. And don't make tapioca in your soap pans. Apparently lye-flavored pudding is not the taste treat you might expect.

My Grandma Bug left this earth in May of 2007. She left behind a large number of recipes (not to mention a hundred thousand great memories), some of which I have taken into custody. I was flipping through some of them the other day, and came across one for soap. It made me smile. I don't know if Grandma ever used this particular recipe: I only recall her doing other frugal things like melting the soap scraps together to make new layered bars. But it is just so indicative of the old-fashioned country spirit around here that I have to share.

1 box Lewis Lye in 1 qt rain water
2 qt used lard
2 c tallow
1/2 ammonia
1/2 c borax

In a stainless steel saucepan, dissolve 1 box of Lewis lye in 1 qt of rain water (stir with stainless steel spoon). Let cool. Than [sic] add 2 quarts used lard and be sure to have about 2 cups of tallow in this above amount of fat. Put lard in a small plastic bucket and stir in the cooled Lewis lye. Stir until thick. Then add 1/2 cup of ammonia and 1/2 cup of borax or Borateen. Stir until dissolved and pour into 1-quart milk containers. Slice in 6 or 7 pieces. Let it air dry. Do not let it get too hard before cutting or it will not cut well.
Helen C___ and I watched Hilda L___ make this one day. After she was done with the soap she washed the stainless pan and spoon and made tapioca. Hilda was a neat lady!
Pat R___

I hope there re more gems like this. But then again, I might be the only person who gets a kick out of these things. In that case, Come back tomorrow for terribly exciting yarn recycling news!