Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Knitting

It is hot here.  I know, it's summer.  It's supposed to be hot outside and I don't have a problem with that.  But this is really and truly miserable hot and humid weather.  Temperatures are in the 90's and the humidity level is darn close to being underwater.  My boys are both on one of the local swimming and diving teams, and my oldest also plays tennis four days each week.  What this means for me is that I have to be outside in the heat & humidity while they are engaged in their activities.  My Canadian blood is not up for these temperatures.

I love the fact that my boys are so active, I really, really do.  But their aquatics and tennis programs are outdoors in the summer.  And they go from 10:00 am until 4:00pm.  And there isn't an air conditioner in sight.  Luckily I can jump in the pool and swim laps to cool off or I would not survive.  But my biggest complaint is that it is too hot to knit!  My hands perspire and the yarn starts to stick instead of gliding over my fingers.  The weight of my project in my lap adds a layer of insulation that I really don't need.  If anyone has any suggestions as to how to knit while in the pool, I'm all ears!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


How do you help someone who does not want to be helped, but who needs your help?  Suggestions, please.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

One is Too Many

I must admit that I am at a loss.  Please bear with me, this is difficult.  I am an extraordinarily fortunate person.  Which is not to say that my life is "Perfect", no one's is.  But I have been blessed with people who love me and who I love without abandon.  My children do not suffer from any serious intellectual or physical handicaps.  We are not worried about where our next meal will come from or if we will be warm next winter.  I do not take these blessings for granted.

However, there is that expression about bad things coming in three's.  And I don't like it.  Not one bit.

For one thing, it means that if you suffer through one bad thing, this means you need to be on the lookout for two more.  It also means that if you have made it through two bad things, you are constantly searching the horizon for the third.  What kind of life is that?

Today I had the good fortune to visit my LYS, but for the worst reason possible.  I needed to buy yarn for a third comfort shawl.   Personally, I believe that yarn shopping should be nothing short of joyous, but today I found myself walking into the shop with a set jaw, and the determination to find the perfect yarn for my sick friend.  This is the point at which joy and passion becomes a chore.  This marks the third comfort shawl I have undertaken.  I don't like these numbers one bit.  Three comfort shawls in two years?? How can that possibly be right?

These are all good, beautiful, smart and funny women.  I love them all.  They have all played an important role in my life.  If not for any of them, I would not be the person I am today.  I would do anything for any one of them; from folding their laundry and grocery shopping to taking care of them in their most dire moment of need.  This is the worst possible reason to knit for someone.  I hope you never, ever have to do it.  And I sincerely hope that it's the last time for me.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Getting on the Crazy Train

While poking around on Ravelry earlier this afternoon, I checked in with group I belong to called Martial Arts Knitters (you must be on Ravelry to access this last link, sorry!), where I found out about the 100 Push-Up Challenge.  And this, my friends, is when I bought two non-refundable tickets to ride the crazy train.

I say two tickets not because I'm going to try and do 200 push-ups in one set, but because I am also signing on to do the two hundred sit-up challenge.  (For those of you more hard core than I, you can also try the 200 Squats Challenge and the 25 Pull-ups Challenge.  All can be found on the link above.)  So, as of next Monday, June 7, I will beginning my quest to do 100 push-ups in a single set and 200 sit-ups also in one set.  The program gives you a day-by-day as well as a week-by-week workout, and you can track your progress on their website.

Why do it, you might ask?  Well, I have never done 100 push-ups all at once, but have come close.  I think I hit around 70 or so right before my 1st Degree Black Belt test, but that was over three years ago.  I know I can get to 70, so 100 will be a new goal.  I have done that many sit-ups at once, but not since I was in college, back when the world was flat.  Also, since I have been on & off crutches between October and March, I have put on a few pounds that need to come off, and these challenges should be a help.  I'm going to try and remember to track my progress on the website and on Twitter & Facebook, if you're interested in following along. 

Wish me luck!  Anyone out there want to join me?  Please??

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day at the Farm

I spent today voluntolding at my local working farm & nature center doing a spinning demonstration.  For those of you who don't know ex-Marines, being "voluntold" to do something is, well, exactly like it sounds.   Someone, who may or not be your Mom, "volunteers" your time and effort to do something.  And you do it.

So I spent the day spinning at my local nature center for their annual Spring on the Farm event.  And I can't honestly say that I have anything to complain about.  A lot of the adults asked very interesting and fairly technical questions, and it was great to have two-year-olds in my lap again (my boys are 9 and 11) as they tried to stretch their legs and reach the treadles of my Kromski Sonata.  Do I have pictures?  Of course not.  (Have I yet???  Soon--I promise!) My family ditched me for the best slide in town once all my gear was lugged out from my car. (Really, if you have little kids who like slides, check out the Stamford Museum & Nature Center's playground.  It really is the best slide in town.)  I wish I did have some photos though, because I believe that whenever a Mom or Dad whipped out their cell phone for a photo, my smile was the bigger of the two.

I really, really want to have more days like this one, and I hope you all have them too.  Spinning or not.  Make yourself happy.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tricot Machine

This clip is so cool--a French Canadian music video illustrated by over 700 knitted panels.  Even if you don't understand the lyrics (about winter in Montreal), the visual is still worth watching.

Knitting as animation--who knew??

Thursday, March 18, 2010


While I was away taking three days of  knitting classes with Nancy Bush (I know how you feel; I'm jealous of me, too.) my home town was hit by a massive storm & my house lost power sometime on Saturday.  The phone call from my husband didn't make it sound all that bad. (huh--men!; shake head & roll eyes here).  I suggested a camp out in front of the fireplace and a weinie roast with it.  Little did I realize the extent of damages, or the fact that our power wouldn't be restored until Thursday at 12:30 pm.  (By the way, the linemen from Chicopee, MA: you are my favorite people.  I owe you, bigtime.  I suggest you cash in that IOU in home cookin', 'cuz I am that good.  You know where I am; call anytime!)

While I do have a certain special fondess for the Chicopee Linemen, I am also equally thankful for the linemen who came from Quebec (mes freres!), PA, NY, --and where ever else you came from.  Thank you for giving up sleeping in your own bed, time with your families and home-cooked meals.  Thank you for making the long drive and coming to our rescue.  Thank you for working long hours in what wasn't always the nicest weather.  Thank you for politely answering our questions--over and over and over again.  I hope that you got to see the best of Stamford and other parts of Connecticut, and I apologize if you didn't.  I am willing to make that bit up to you.  But either way, please know that there is at least one family in Stamford that has nothing but praise for you and your efforts on our behalf.  I can only hope that we will be there for you when you need us, just as you were for us.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Coolest Thing

Today, while spending what seemed to be endless hours at a swim meet in which my older son was competing (no, really: 4+hours of meet, 3 minutes of actual swimming), I was fortunate enough to need a crochet hook that I didn't have.  I had started an entrelac wrap in Mistero (color, grays to white #026, based on a pattern for Di Ve's Teseo Entrelac Stole, for which I can't find a pattern link) and found out after the base triangles were done that my cast on was way too tight.  Rrrrrip!  My solution to this was to use a provisional cast on and the only one I could remember at the moment required beginning with a crochet chain.  I know you can do this with fingers or even a knitting needle, but, let's face it: a crochet hook is well, made for this.  It's the whole "use the right tool for the job" argument. 

So, I say that I was fortunate for not being properly equipped, because I happened to spy a woman crocheting a few rows down from me in the bleachers.  "Aha!", I said to myself, "Perhaps she has more than one hook with her--after all, I have my whole set of Addi Clicks with me."  So I went over and asked her. 

And this is the really, really cool part: she did not in fact have a hook large enough to accomodate the yarn I was using, but it opened the door to a really fun conversation.  We talked about knitting, our kids, swimming, you name it.  We exchanged contact information and plan on meeting up tomorrow during the last leg of the swimming competition.  How is that not the coolest thing ever?? I love people who play with yarn.

While I must admit that my past experience with Fiber Junkies of almost any ilk (knitters, crocheters, weavers, dyers, spinners, etc.) has firmly established, in my opinion, that fellow Junkies are open and welcoming to each other, this encounter confirmed it.  Furthermore, it firmly cemented my belief that it doesn't matter where you go in this world that it's easy to meet people and befriend them.  All you have to do is be open to the other person and greet them with respect and a smile and you will generally receive the same in return.  My bet is that those hours at the pool tomorrow will not be long enough.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Needless (or Needles) Acquisition

Now that I am blessed with a set of the Addi Clicks, (BTW, love, Love, LOVE them!) I have become irrevocably intrigued by all other interchangeable sets, with few exceptions.

While I don't knit with wood or bamboo needles on a regular basis (note Addi reference above), I am itching to try the Webs bamboo set, the KnitPicks set, and am eagerly awaiting the announcement from Crystal Palace that they will soon be introducing a set of their own.  In my book, they are the perfect bamboo needle: smooth, strong, smooth, and not too sticky.  Did I mention that they're smooth?  Add multiple cable lengths, connectors & a nice case and I'm sold.  Forget the cost--mac & cheese for a week or two to pay for 'em, I'm IN.  Like Flynn I'm so in.

I have also seen ads for the Hiya Hiya set, which comes in such lovely small sizes. As a loose knitter who starts all guage swatches at 2 sizes smaller than the pattern recommends, I find this particularly interesting.

Have I mentioned convenience?  Imagine, between two sets (one wood/bamboo, one metal), all your knitting needs are covered.  Perfect for one of those knitting cruises where whenever you go ashore they send you right into the mouth of temptation and a rampant case of startitis.  The Girl Scout in you would be praising your level of complete preparedness.

I admit it. I am greedy.  I covet things. Especially these things.  Need doesn't even enter the picture.  I want them all and I'm not afraid to admit it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow, Darn It, Snow!!

I am now sitting at home and waiting with absolutely not one single trace of patience for the big snow storm to hit southwestern CT.  I feel as though we were cheated on the last one: we had the cloudy sky, my knees ached due to the change in barometric pressure and....nothin'.  Not one lousy flake.

Well, the ol' knees are at about max on the ache level, all the birdfeeders are full, we have batteries in the camping lanterns and we have moved firewood inside to make sure it's dry.  Snow, I'm ready and waiting.  I have knitting to finish in front of the fire & the boys have prepared their sleds.  We have been waiting for you all winter, and now we are waiting to play in your wintery glory.  I hope to see you in the morning.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Time for a Change

With the upcoming fact (i.e. birthday) that I will soon reach "middle age", I have noticed that, increasingly, I am willing to make varied & sundry changes to my life, my habits, and my living space.  Is this a sign of middle age?   Is this the same reason that so many people (mostly men, in my personal experience) start to look for new lovers?  Or am I merely a bored, middle-class housewife?

I have been working for the last two months or so on a general clean-out and reorganization of the house.  Iam entralled by the Asian esthetic of minimalism, to the point where my New Year's Resolution is to use what I have.  Bring stash enhancement to a minimum (it's a subjective scale, granted) and to use the wonderful resources that are at my disposal and make the most of them.  I am also hoping that this will lead me to a new and profound appreciation of all that I have and of all that I can give to others. 

I rationally know that I do not NEED to buy any more yarn, fiber or fabric.  I have plenty of beads.  The time has come to differentiate between "want" and "need".  However, as all Fiberholics and Textile Geeks know, rationality has precious little to do with our cumpulsion for acquisition.  We buy the thing because: 1) We can, we have the resoures and 2) we can rationalize it, one way or another.

But now, especially in the face of tremendous loss and calamity (Haiti), I think that we should all take a step back from our own stresses & desire for acquistion and recognize how lucky we are.  If you have a home to protect you from the elements, you are blessed. If you and your family are well fed, you are blessed.  Do you have extra food/money/shelter/compassion that you can make available to another person?  You are doubly blessed, because you not only have enough of something, you have some to spare.  Be happy: there are many, many people who would give up an awful lot to be in your position.

Be grateful and thankful for what you have, and share what you can.  If you have nothing material to share, prayers for peace and freedom are always welcome.  We all have something to give.  Karma works; give of your heart and soul fully and you will be rewarded.