Saturday, December 22, 2007

Random is the new Saturday...

I've decided that I like the "random" form blogging, it is uniquely suited to those of us who are typing left handed while nursing...and those of us who are suffering from chronic mommy brain, a.k.a. the inability to complete a thought because you are trying to think of 20 things at the same time and suffering from sleep deprivation.

Firstly a fiber link: I got to do a crazy grown up thing. I went to a lecture by Takako Ukei, who is the genius behind Habu Textiles. If I have my facts right, and there is every possibility that I don't, she started Habu as a weaving supplies company, and then got caught up in the knitting tsunami. The yarn is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. Silk and stainless steel? How amazingly cool is that? I sat in the back and nursed through the whole lecture, but it was fascinating anyway. The next morning she taught some Japanese pattern reading workshops, and I'm thrilled to the gills about all the possibilities that opens up. Ava has great pictures on her blog, not just of the lecture, she always has great pictures, and a much more complete write up than I. There's even a Ragnar cameo, and how did she snap that picture without my noticing?

Free to Pee: I know that you are all riveted by my baby's bowels, so let me just give you an update. We started with a bang, going as close to full time as it is possible to do in this day of carseats and cold weather. I saw an immediate improvement in Ragnarson's mood, which was a relief, since he was one cranky mother fucker before hand. I haven't been "catching" (that's EC jargon for going in the potty instead of in the diaper) anymore than I did when we first started, which is about 50%, although higher in the poo category. I was a little too gung-ho about it at first and was whisking him off to the potty at every squirm or squawk. I realized though that this was making both of us crazy. My policy now is to take him to the potty at night before or after feeding him, first thing on waking up in the morning, as soon as possible after waking up from naps, and in between if it feels convenient (i.e. he's in a good mood) and I feel (based on timing and intuition mostly) that this is a "real" signal and not just a mood change. It seems to be working and is definitely more fun than changing diapers (although we are still doing a lot of that as well). This morning his diaper was dry, although he started to pee as soon as I took it off of him, then when I took him to the potty for his morning poo, he peed more...a lot more. Which makes me think that he decided to hold it for the I crazy?

Secret Pal: I have two apologies to make. Firstly to my secret pal who is now revealed as Jennifer from Craft Knock Out. She did a fabulous job of paling for me, and I have not posted a picture of her next to last care package. She sent some fabulous wine red yarn from a local spinnery, and I have left it sitting on the table so that I have something to remind me that I don't have to buy more yarn, (cough, habu kits, cough). I got my final "reveal" package today, and I can't post pictures of that either because my camera batteries are dead. However, it contained some really beautiful Tilli Tomas yarn with seacell (the seaweed stuff) so that is now sitting next to the wine red skein, so I really remember that I don't have to buy more yarn. (Habu, cough, Habu). My second apology goes to my pal, although she won't see it here. I have her final package packed and waiting for a note before it goes to the post office. In fact it is sitting next to the pile of birth announcements that have yet to be sent...what Ragnar and Manimal had another baby? Oh that baby. What is he, like two now?

Sleep deprivation: up until last night I had been using the baby straight jacket method of inducing long sleep in the baby. It had worked well, giving us 6-7 and yes even 8 hour long stretches of peaceful slumber. But now that he is a big boy of 4 and a half months, he is not so much into the swaddling anymore. Nay, verily he thinks it stinks and throws a big fuss when I try to bundle him up. So last night, for the first time ever, he slept the whole night without the burrito. He has also outgrown his basket (yes, he used to sleep in a basket) so we are now officially co-sleeping again. This doesn't mean so much that there is less sleep, but it is a different pattern than I was used to, so I'm feeling it more. I knew that I would have to give up the swaddle sometime, because it was going to be a real challenge to find blankets large enough to bundle a 3 year old, but I wasn't ready to give it up just yet.

My parenting philosophy. I feel like this is a good rule of thumb for new parents so I want to share it with any of you who might be having piglets anytime soon. There is a lot of stupid advice in the world, so ignore all of it. Do what feels right and natural to you, and don't let anyone tell you any crap about what you should or shouldn't do to make sure that the kid grows up happy and healthy. For instance, nursing. Several parenting books that crossed my path warned that you should never "nurse your child to sleep." Well why the hell not? It's the easiest way to put him to sleep, it ensures that he has a full belly which will make him sleep longer, and it would be a total pain in the ass for both of us if I had to keep waking him up to finish. So here's my advice. If you think that something you are doing is creating bad habits, whatever the hell that means, ask yourself this question. "Is it possible that he will still be doing this when he is 16? How about 20? No? Then do whatever the hell you need to do." Advice columnist out.

And finally a picture: what do you do while someone else is holding your baby? knit of course.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Because Mondays are the new random.

1. Car trip, we survived. In response to Granny's query of: "did he ride in his car seat the whole time?" "Yes of course he did, it's illegal and dangerous to ride in a car with an unrestrained infant, besides no baby on earth can nurse for six hours straight." Ha.

B. Free to pee, you and me. You get very strange looks from other rest stoppers when you take your baby into the toilet stall with you and make "pss" noises at him. Also you get rather snide comments from step-great-grandmothers, "let me know how that works out for you." Petoh's granny (my mum) on the other hand: "That is so cool. Grandpa, look at Ragnarson's little potty, isn't that cute?" So far our catch rate is hovering around 50%...this is good as we begin week two.

13. Ravelry, I am in. You can find me under Ragnar. I immediately joined all the groups having to do with skulls.

F. It is snowing.

11b. You can get a lot of knitting done while your extended family is holding your baby.

* I am thankful that Thanksgiving comes but once a year. Two roast turkeys, two fried turkeys, one fried goose, 20 pounds of mashed potatoes, and we lost track around 50 people.

H. We decided to cloth diaper while we were on the road. I admit that this was partially my stubbornness in wanting to demonstrate to my republican family that I am even more of a crunchy freak than they thought I was...result being that I am almost out of diapers, but satisfying to note that it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. Really the only difference was carrying the dirties with us.

3. Ragnarson's grandpapa knit him a very cute soaker with a matching hat. Also a pair of booties using Cat Bordhi's new sock book...they miraculously stay on his feet. I will try to post a picture.

p). Sleeping in your own bed, priceless.

Ragnar...home again, home again.

Monday, November 19, 2007 zealot in the making.

There are a bunch of crazy people who don't think their babies need to wear diapers. Actually that's most of the people in the world, but there's a group of "no diaper" rebels operating in diaper wearing countries that call themselves "ECers." Which means "Elimination Communication." Turns out that I'm one of them, except that EC isn't a very catchy title, so around here we're calling it the "Free to Pee" movement, we've been working on it for a little over a day now.

I have learned more about my baby in the last 24 hours than I have since the first week that he was born. Crazy huh? I was always confused by his mood swings, he would go from "smiley guy" to "grumpy face" in the blink of an eye. I just thought he was easily bored, or liked to nurse a lot (he still likes to nurse a lot), but it turns out he just really hates sitting in his own pee. Can you blame him? I would say "What's wrong Ragnarson? I just changed you ten minutes ago, so it can't be your diaper. Are you hungry, do you want to play?" Turns out it can be his diaper, since he pees about every 15 minutes.

Today instead of putting covers over his cloth diapers, I've just left them open, and put legwarmers on him to keep his little knees warm. I'm still getting it figured out, but every time he gets starts to get upset, I hold him over the sink, and usually get a pee. Everytime I decide not to take him, as in "I can't believe you have to pee again, you just went five minutes ago," I still end up taking him because he's wet within a few seconds. It's crazy.

Turns out babies are people, and they don't just get crabby for no reason. Who fuckin' knew?

Which reminds me of a pirate joke.

Stop me if I've told this one before.

This pirate was sorting through his treasure, and he found an old lamp. "I wonder if this be silver," he said,buffing it with a greasy coat tail. A genii popped out and said, "Thanks fer savin me peg leg, I'll grant you a wish, just one mind." "Thas alriight, I only need one wish, 'tis my hearts desire. I wish the sea was filled with rum." *poof* As far as the eye could see the sea was filled with golden rum. The pirate dipped his hat in and took a long drink. The parrot on his shoulder sqwaked "You asshole!" "Whateryou mean?" asked the pirate.

Said the Parrot: "Now we're gonna have to pee in the boat." to pee, a bowel movement.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Join the collective...

I think I might have mentioned this before, but it's post or die, so I'm going to mention it again.

I love collective nouns. I think I was a little pre-goth when I found out that a bunch of crows is called a "murder" and a group of ravens is called an "unkindness." After that is was all down hill, and I've been a might bit obsessive about it ever since.

I think it was the great McPhee who first started referring to a group of knitters as "a whack." I'm not sure why that's so appropriate, but it sure seems like the right word. We all know that a bunch of yarn is referred to as a stash, and I always think that spinners come in "whirls." Is there a collective noun for a bunch of knitting needles?

Since I have been steeped in babies lately...yes absolutely marinated in them, I give you "Ragnar's totally incomplete list of collective baby nouns."

A squall of infants.
A clutch of midwives.
or perhaps a pool of midwives would be better.
An insurmountable of laundry (Manimal said the unthinkable about the laundry yesterday, he said "I think we're almost caught up...there has been exactly 15 minutes since the baby was born when there was no laundry waiting to be done.)
A leak of diapers.
An obstacle of toys (will someone please clean up the obstacle in the living room?)

Ragnar...straws, grasp them firmly.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Yeah that would be "no" blog posting month, 'cause it turns out that I'm too busy having play dates and watching DVD's to stick to my commitments.

I have this block that in order to blog I must have pictures, but I blogged for almost a year without that's no excuse at all.

So here is a totally random story:

Several years ago I was sitting outside of one of our local middle eastern eateries enjoying a falaful sandwich when a cop car pulled up. I have a totally unwarranted paranoia of cops, I am scandalously (for someone who claims to be a pirate anyway) law abiding, and yet whenever I see a police officer my heart goes pitter pat. Two of the boys in blue got out of the car and commenced to standing around waiting. Then another squad pulls up and two more cops get out...apparently the local brotherhood was planning on have shish-ka-bobs for lunch.

Then a bike cop pulls up, and hops off her bike. She pulls out her handcuffs and proceeds to lock up her bike by hand cuffing it to the front bumper of one of the squad cars.

This is one of the coolest things I have ever seen.

Ragnar...teller of random stories.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


This is a lousy picture, I couldn't find the "real" camera and Ragnarson was in a good mood. The idea was to put the current knitting project in his hands and take a cute picture of him with it, so that I could tell you all about my hat...I am very excited about this hat.

But when I was looking at the picture I started to laugh, not just because it is a lousy picture which doesn't show off the knitting exactly, but because it so clearly illustates what I do all day. See how there are random bits of crap strewn all over the floor? Here's how it goes:

Oh...oh the baby is crying.
Is he hungry?
Is he wet?
Is he tired?
Is he bored?
Who can tell?
Shake toy 1 at the baby...seems to be working, oh oh , no there he goes.
Shake toy 2 at the baby, oh he likes it, oh, no he doesn't like it.
Is he tired of sitting up?
Is he tired of laying down?
How about the fuzzy toy?
How about the rattley toy?
Does he want to be in the sling?
Does he want to bounce on the exercise ball?
Oh, now he's wet.
Oh, now he's hungry.
Oh, now he's tired.

And of course you never have time to put away any of the toys, or his play mat, or his sittin' up chair, or the laundry, or anything else. Basically it looks like "baby" exploded all over our house.

Ragnar....tidy this bitches.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Out of the Running

I never said everyday. Did you hear me say everyday? 'Cause I never said that. I said "regular," that I would be a more "regular blogger." That just means most days...I was going to have to take time off for Thanksgiving anyway since we are going out of town...justify justify.

But I was really going to try and post everyday, and I can't believe I fell off the wagon this soon. Yesterday was very busy. I couldn't post in the morning because Manimal was fidgeting with the computer trying to figure out why the fancy mobile internet card wasn't getting the speed that it should (because we go it from evil phone company, and nothing that we do through them ever works the way it should...nevermind).

Then we had to get some breakfast/lunch which was complicated by the fact that Saturday was the Michigan v. Michigan State grudge match, and every person in town was hung over and looking for greasy breakfast food to soak up the extra alcohol in their stomachs. We ended up at the Lebanese restaurant...apparently hung over college students don't think "schwarma" when they're looking for a post football pick-me-up-off-the-floor. Great, more Arabic Coffee for me.

Then we went to the studio so that I could sew velcro on some soakers that Sarah and my father knit for Ragnarson...he's outgrown his first set of diaper covers, and if that isn't a milestone than what is? The sewing of velcro is not a complicated process but there was no way it was getting done unless Manimal came along to hold the baby, so I had to seize the opportunity.

Then, after a quick stop home, I went out to the birth center for "knitting" group, where I actually knit several rounds on a hat...the subject of another post.

Then when I got home it was dinnertime so we went up to Crunchy's (our Sunday ritual) for pizza.

When we got home I watched half a DVD with Manimal while nursing the baby to sleep.

As I was drifting off I thought, "Oh shit, I didn't blog today...oh well I'll do it in the middle of the night when I wake up with Ragnarson." I woke up several times, and he squirmed a little and seemed like he might wake up several times, but low, he didn't actually awaken until 6:30 this morning. 7 and a half hours. Good baby!

Ragnar...only slightly sleep deprived

Friday, November 02, 2007

On pain of boring...

Turns out I'm sort of a joiner. Never thought I'd have that label pinned on me, but in the interest of trying to be a more regular blogger, in the frequency sense rather than the content sense, I am stating my intention to join NaBlaPoMo. That's not a freaky cult thing, it's National Blog Posting Month.

There is only one problem that I can foresee and that is that the old Blogaroo might come out the other side as a "mommy" blog rather than a "fiber-crafty-piratey-was-that-supposed-to-be-funny" sort of blog. 'Cause that's what I'm doing right now, mommying. In fact I just learned a new internet acronym. "NAK" Stands for nursing at the keyboard, and it takes me down from my reasonably accurate 60wpm, to a typo ridden 15 or so wpm.

I went to mommy group today, it's a gathering of moms out at the birth center. We all bring our babies (this is the precrawlers) and put them down on blankets and wave toys at them and talk about mommy stuff. I am not ashamed to say that I have been looking forward to it all week. I like mommy group so much that I'm trying to start another one at a coffee shop by my house.

Ragnar...tryin' to bring a little pirate into parenting

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Internet Frenzy...

I'm LOVING at home internet. The laptop is great, because I can surf and nurse at the same time. Here's a question, is it better to watch crap DVD's while nursing, or surf the internet while nursing? I think both habits fall into the vice category, but I'm trying to convince myself that the internet is better. I mean, typing one handed is a skill right?

I've rediscovered some of my old daily reads, seeing the new things that everyone is doing is very exciting. I was especially inspired by Jodi's MFA thesis project. Rather than describe it here I'll let you go and check it out for yourself. I always love to see other fiber artists and their processes. I think I'm especially enchanted with this project since I have a background in printmaking.

And I decided on the perfect way to celebrate my plugged in status. I have joined the Ravelry cue.

"You signed up on October 30, 2007
You are #51012 on the list.
12331 people are ahead of you in line.
704 people are behind you in line.
68% of the list has been invited so far."

While I am waiting for the 12331 people ahead of me I am going to try and track down and photograph as many finished objects as possible. This will be quite a challenge, since I have given most of them away. After taking a several week break from knitting my wrist is back to normal, as long as I don't knit while nursing. I've been filling in a little bit more at Woven Art since Nancy is off gallivanting around Spain, and there is so much amazing new yarn in the store. Everyday I see another skein that demands to come home with me. I can justify every purchase by saying that I'll knit something for the baby...although at my rate of approximately three rows a day he's going to be a teenager before I have time to knit it all up.

Ragnar...plugged in baby!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hey guess where I am.

Sitting in my "nursing" chair (formerly known simply as my chair) a ratty but comfortable green recliner, with a sleeping baby on my lap. Yeah, that's right, in my house!

Manimal decided that our internet dependence had reached a point where paying for in-home service was warranted, so we are auditioning "mobile broadband" for a month. So far I'm loving it, and I want to celebrate.

My first thought was to post one of the patterns that I'm always promising to publish, but then I remembered why I haven't done it before. Most of my projects involve charts and I don't have a good method of getting them on to the computer. Basically I need a way of generating a page of graph paper and putting little symbols in the squares. I know, I know, I'm basically a cave woman when it comes to computering, I know this isn't as hard as I'm making it. Any suggestions?

And my second thought was that I should make some more blog friends. So far I've added to my blogroll thusly: someone tells me they blog and I check them out, or I like what they have to say in comments on a blog I already read, or they are notorious (harlot, franklin et al). So how have you all acquired your blogfriends? Anyone out there want to recommend a "must read?"

Since no post lately is complete without a picture of my baby:

He seems to wave his left hand over his head a lot, I call it his "shout out" pose. house blogging, who knew?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Catch up post...

So much to say! It seems like it's harder and harder to get up to the hot spot to update the old bloggerino. Ragnarson sleeps less and less every day, so when I manage to get there I can only count on enough cooperation for a quick email to the grandparents, they of the insatiable need for baby pictures.

I dragged the computer along to work today and I'm going to catch up on blogging, dern it.

Ragnarson has made his media debut, check out the State News' profile of Woven Art. Note that the photographer managed to take the picture from an angle that obscured the boob...and for the record he is 10 weeks old, not 10 months.

Yes my baby is wearing legwarmers. This picture is a nice intro to another topic, which is that I can't knit anymore! For some reason my wrist has begun to hurt A LOT, and the pain subsides if I don't knit for awhile. Gee do you think it could be from holding my needles at this crazy angle? But check it out, since I am apparently incapable of doing only one thing at a time, this is my first attempt at toe up socks, and also my first attempt at knitting two socks at the same time. I don't know why I decided it would be a good idea to knit from both ends of the ball at once, but I guess I thought that that way I would be able to squeeze every last inch of yarn out of the ball (I'm sort of envisioning these as thigh highs). In practice though I spend most of my time untangling yarn and needles and trying to figure out what direction I supposed to be knitting in.

Before my wristy problem set in, I did manage to finish a hat for the Manimal. He was inspired by Ragnarson's Fibonacci legwarmers, and wanted a Fibonacci toque, and it was time for his annual winterhat.

Manimals are hard to photograph in the wild, so you'll have to pardon the blurry, someday we'll get one of those hotshot wildlife photographers in, and we'll get a good photo of him in his natural habitat. Anyway, that hat represents the sum total of knitting accomplished A.B.R. (that would be after the birth of Ragnarson). The red socks in the newspaper photo were started B.B.R. and have only grown by about half and inch, so they don't count.

In other news, my secret pal keeps giving up the goodies.
Although there was a postal tragedy, and I am sorry to announce the death of a really nice lavender scented candle. Judging from the size of the glass fragments (the world pulverized comes to mind) this was the winning package in the interdepartmental postal carriers football championship. You can't pulverize yarn though and this is beautiful stuff, Classic Elite's wool bamboo. I've sworn off lace and scarves, but I think this yarn might have a lacy scarf in it's future. Plus how did my pal know that I'm a sucker for things that come in little tin boxes?

And following my pal's good example, I finally posted to my own secret pal. This box now represents both September and October, but should be all the more fun since it now has more stuff in it, right? Plus I got to go to the drive-thru post office.

I'm sure I had more things to say, but Momma brain has set in...perhaps I'll bring the computer to the store tomorrow as well.

Ragnar...former knitter.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Subliminal Messages...

There are only so many things you can talk about with a baby. Once you’ve exhausted the topics of diapers and milk and “just hold on a minute so mama can eat, get dressed, brush her hair, use the toilet, etc,” there’s just not that much to talk about. We do a lot of bouncing though, which is a rhythmic activity and naturally progresses to singing, Ragnarson seems to like singing, sometimes he coos along, but mostly he doesn’t cry. The only problem is that my repertoire is skewed towards the whiskey and outlaws branch of folk music.

Here are some things that I am teaching my son when he is at his most impressionable:

It’s okay to get drunk, as long as you spend your own money.

If you’re lucky you’ll grow up to be a moonshiner, an outlaw or a hobo.

Church is where you go to meet women.

It’s okay to steal as long as you help the poor.

If your woman is slowing you down, shoot her.

If your wife is a nag, pitch her in the river.

Tu-rum tu-rum fiddley diddley diddy dum.

Landlords are the worst.

If it’s cold and snowy, find yourself a nice warm box car.

Loving a pretty woman almost always ends badly.

Ten shillings will get you a gallon of moonshine.

Never surrender.

Two pistols are always better than one.

You can fit ten million hogs, six million dogs and seven million barrels of porter in the hold of a ship.

There are A LOT of things you can do with a drunken sailor, (although if you slow the tempo and sing more softly, there are a lot of things that you can do with a sleepy baby.)

It’s better to go to the gallows than admit that you’re sleeping with your best friend’s woman.

Love burns, like a ring of fire.
If you don’t have enough money to cover your tab, then you better have friends to fight for you.

Whiskey will get you through times with no women, better than women will get you through times with no whiskey.

Never assume that the corpse at the wake is dead.

There are no policemen in heaven.

If you want to make friends, all you need is a well rosined bow.

If your mama tells you not to play with guns, don’t go off to Reno and shoot a man just to watch him die.

War isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but the farmers’ daughters are okay.

If it wasn’t for the weavers we’d all be neekid.

When you die, a tombstone isn’t as good as a couple of jugs of whiskey.

Behind every outlaw there is a loving mother.

So, anyone know any good lull-a-byes, before I turn Ragnarson into a woman hating alcoholic, living on the wrong side of the law and sleeping in box cars?
Ragnar...hey it's post number 100...huzzah.

Monday, September 24, 2007's a secret.

I arrived home at about 11 o'clock on Saturday night, after a mini-road trip to visit a friend who lives about an hour away. I thought I was ready for bigger field trips, but apparently this was a little bigger than Ragnarson and I could take because I was literally weeping with exhaustion. Stumbling into the house I almost tripped over a couple of packages that had been tucked in between the door and the screen. I had ordered a few baby things last week, long sleeve onsies, diaper covers...really exciting shit right? so I didn't think much of it. I dropped them in my chair and staggered off to bed, hoping for a few minutes of sleep before Ragnarson woke up for his midnight nosh.

So I didn't take a close look at the packages until the next morning. One of them was baby stuff, but the other had a mysterious post mark from Wisconsin...who do I know in Wisconsin? No one that would be sending me things.

What ho? A package full of piratey swag and yarn? Yay for secret pals who send packages timed to arrive precisely when you need a little pick me up!

Ragnar...I can take non-blurry photos, I swear.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Arrr you talking to me?

It seems like everyday is “something” day. Hug a Monkey Day, National Eat Your Brussel Sprouts Day, International Day of Random Violence etc. Usually they go uncelebrated except by a select few, probably those who lobbied to have it proclaimed in the first place. Not so International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Everyone celebrates ITLPD. Ragnarson’s grandparents even sent him a ITLPD card, with a pirate themed T-shirt so that he wouldn’t be caught out with nothing to wear to the party.

You might be familiar with Highland Games like the Caber Toss and The Guess What I’ve Got Under My Kilt Contest, but unless you are a really dedicated Pirate Talker, you probably aren’t familiar with the Pirate Games.

These include, the Wench Press:

X-Marks the Spot, which is sort of a treasure, hunt:

The Bilge Water Drinking Contest:

And Who’s Got the Baby?:

I couldn’t tell you who the winners were, because I was too far gone from the Bilge Water Drinking Contest and I didn’t make it to the awards ceremony.

Anyway, if you weren’t there, you shoulda been. We had a parrot…

And Melanie made me a dangerous, but delicious cappuccino.
But now I have the post ITLPD blues, knowing that it's all over until next year. I will cope by making elaborate plans that in spite of my best intentions will not be undertaken until the last minute.
Ragnar....keep on talkin'

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Arrrrr you ready?

It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day tomorrow, you lubberly scallywags. Arrrr you ready to get yer plunder on? If yer liferaft washes up near Lansing (and that would be a feat, since we're landlocked here) you better take your booty down to The Caffe on Michigan Ave, where we will be drinkin' our coffee black, and talkin' like the lowest, scurviest, most dastardly pirates it was ever your ill luck to cross cutlasses with. Ragnarson will be there, representing for the Vikings, the pirates of the north.

See you there, or see you in Davy Jones locker!

Ragnar...if you're a pirate, then whatever you say is talkin' like a pirate, in'it?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Urban Babysitting...

There's a theory of new motherhood known as the "babymoon." You lounge around the house bonding with your baby for the first month or so, and keep the visitors to the minimum. This gives mom a chance to recover from delivery and get to know her baby, gives dad a chance to snuggle with his new family, and everything gets off to a rosy start.

Sounds good in theory right, but I'm not a sitting around the house kinda girl. The first week yes, I needed the rest and recuperation, and even the second week I kept "fieldtrips" to a minimum. After that though? Where are we going to go today Ragnarson? I'm not talking about a full day of running errands, or anything like that, just one "getting out of the house," expedition per day. Sometimes we would meet Eli for lunch, last Sunday we went to the yarn store...but usually we go to "the caffe."

I don't know if I've blogged about the caffe before, but it's a local coffee roastery which is cool in and of itself. The crazy thing about the caffe however, are the irregulars. If you come in more than once, you are adopted into the family, and the next time you come in you can expect to be greeted by name. It took me awhile to get used to this actually, since I'm not a touchy lovey type of girl...but the coffee is so good I couldn't stay away, and I'm used to it now.

When they found out that I was pregnant the first question was "can we be part of your village?" At the time I said "sure," thinking, "village, whatever." But that was before I had a 26 day old baby. When you have a newborn the idea of a village becomes really appealing.

Our morning ritual: sleep in as long as possible, then get up and nurse for exactly 15 minutes on each side (the minimum amount required to travel the 5 blocks up to the caffe). Bundle the baby into one of our many baby carriers. (I went baby carrier crazy, I have 5 of them). Walk up to the caffe and pass the baby off to anyone sitting at the bar, this gives me time to order a cappuccino and possibly even take a sip before he wants to nurse again. Whoever has him will bring him back to me as soon as he starts crying, so it works out pretty well. Then he'll nurse for awhile while I do a crossword puzzle or (yay!) update the blog, and when he's done (okay, he's never done, when I pry him off after an hour or so) I pass him over to someone else and finish my (now lukewarm) cappuccino. It's friggin fantastic! Before he was born I mentally committed myself to "in arms" parenting, meaning no strollers, no cribs, keeping him close to me while I'm working throughout the day, etc. I still think that it's important, but I've realized that it doesn't always have to be my arms he's in.

The other great thing is that there is another couple at the caffe who have a six week old baby, so at times there will be two nursing babies hanging out at the coffee bar. Always a plus when you're getting used to nursing in public.

Things I just realized yesterday. 1). the computer fits in the diaper bag. 2). while Ragnarson is being passed around by all and sundry I could theoretically knit something!

Ragnar...bring me my village!!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Baby blogging...

It is fascinating to realize that I could have been pregnant for 38 weeks and not grasp the fact that I would be ending up with a newborn baby. I thought to myself "baby," not realizing that truly new babies never leave the house and that I had never actually met one.

So here's the dish on newborns, they have exactly six tricks: sleeping (which they don't do nearly enough of), eating (which they do ALL the time, even when they are sleeping), squalling, flailing their arms about (which complicates sleeping and eating and frequently results in squalling), creating dirty diapers (also non-stop), and occasionally cooing and looking around in a way that makes you think they might turn into a human being at some point. And the crazy thing about being a new mom is that all of this is enchanting and endlessly fascinating.

Actual quote from Ragnar to baby: "Oh, do you have a pooey diaper? Pooey ooey diaper."

Embarrassing but true.

The grandparents were in town last week which meant I got to do things like take naps, and showers....I think I even brushed my teeth at some point. Mostly their visit consisted of me nursing the baby and them being grandparents, by which I mean that they were endlessly fascinated by all six of baby's newborn skills.

At some point though we got to talking about all the different baby organizations, and how people can get so obsessed about certain aspects of babies and parenting. Like N.I.N.O. who think babies should get nine months of being carried on the outside in addition to the nine months on the inside...I agree coincidentally. And La Leche League, the breastfeeding enforcers, who I also agree with, but people get sort of weird about breastfeeding and breastmilk, and it all gets to be a bit much.

Example: Storknet has a recipe for breastmilk cottage cheese. First ingredient? 16 cups of breastmilk. Yeah. Okay. Because I've got an extra 16 cups of breastmilk that needs to be turned into cheese. Uh-huh.

Or even creepier: Mother's milk ice cream. Check out that logo, perky pink nipples and everything. I can't tell for sure but it seems to be someone's school project, but the idea of a commercially available ice cream made from human milk brings up some who exactly are they milking?'s all I do, so it's what I'm thinkin' about.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Look what I made!

Okay, Manimal helped a little bit, but I did all the carrying and pushing and stuff like that...and it's going to be really hard for me to resist shouting "I was in labor for 69 hours!" the next time I see a pregnant woman.

And since then it's been nothing but nurse nurse nurse all the time, apparently my milk bar is open 24 hours a day whether I like it or not, and I have not mastered the art of nursing and knitting, although I've been told it's possible. And I have to get it figured out because he's teeny weeny and I need to knit more soakers since the ones that I made while pregnant come up to his armpits.

I will try not to turn this into a baby blog, but it will be very hard. Harder even than my resolution not to talk to him in baby talk. The day after he was born I had him sitting in my lap and I was cooing and gahing at him, and Rat Girl gave me a look somewhere between amazement and disgust and said "I have never heard you talk like that." So a certain amount of baby will probably sneak through, but I'll try to keep it knitting related.

See? It's not a baby, it's a baby in a knitted hat.

Ragnar...stupid happy mama.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

And speaking of craft...

I've been knitting a lot lately. Knitting is a good thing to do when you are sitting around waiting, (and waiting). My attention span is microscopic though, so mostly I've been knitting things like this: Baby hats can be finished in about 3 hours, making them the perfect thing to knit while sitting around trying to decide if you are actually in labor or if you're just having more braxton hicks "practice" contractions. My uterus has had so much practice contracting... yeah nevermind.

Have I mentioned the fact that I love! love Nancy's Kona Superwash? There are obvious reasons for this, like the washable, merino-ness of it, and the hand-dyed wonderfulness, but there are purely material reasons as well. Like the seemingly never ending skeins. It comes in 8oz bundles, which is just under 600 yards, in the $22 to $28 range (depending on if it's hand-dyed or hand painted...) which makes it about $5 an ounce...for washable hand-dyed Merino, and it's all in one beautiful chunk that you can knit off of forever! Bliss!

Needless to say when this orange showed up in the store it had to come home with me, and the black as well, since they go so well together, but after knitting a microscopic baby hat I have A LOT of yarn left over. After the hat I started these legwarmers:

If you are a geeky like me you'll notice that the pattern is based on the fibonacci number sequence. I have been told that legwarmers are very practical baby gear, since they facilitate diaper changes....although since it's 90 freakin' degrees out, I doubt that wooly leg warmers will be high on the list as far as outfits go.

As I near the end of the second legwarmer (only 8 more rows to go) I still have a crap load of yarn left-over. I have this insane urge to only knit baby stuff out of this yarn, to answer that age old question: "How much baby stuff can you knit out of a pound of wool?" I'm sort of out of ideas though, so I thought I'd open it up to the bleaders....what should I knit next?

Ragnar...still pregnant, for now.

PS...I do have plans to post some of these patterns. It has long been my intention to be one of the "cool" kids with free patterns on my blog, but it's that attention span thing. I really only have one thing on my mind at the moment and it doesn't leave very much room left over for writing patterns.

Push my buttons...

It seems like my blogging is taking on sort of a pattern posty for awhile and then two posts on the same day. I suppose I could combine these into one big mega post, but somehow it seems more appropriate to divide them up along subject lines.

Firstly I wanted to weigh in on something that Imbrium brought up over at Nerd Knits, and

Secondly a knitting update.

So Imbrium got her panties is a twist over an article that she read in “Real Simple.” I haven't read the article, and confess to not liking the magazine very much (a little too much “simple” and not enough “real” for my taste), so first of all go over to Nerd Knits and read what she had to say. She touches on some of the issues of this debate that never fail to get the metaphorical fly up my butt, specifically the gender divide between "crafty" and "arty" pursuits. She is as always insightful and well spoken (written). That being said this is one of my push button issues, as in push Ragnar's button and stand back because it will take her awhile to wind down.

Consider me "pushed."

The “craft” vs. “art” debate is something that I've been bumping up against for a long time. My bachelor's degree is in “fine art” whatever the fuck that is, and I joke that this gives me a legit claim to the title “artist,” (pronounced with a long ahhhh). While I was studying art I concentrated on printmaking, and bronze casting, which interestingly enough are both areas of art that have been denigrated in the past as being too close to craft to be considered “real” art. Printmaking gets hit because of the reproductive aspect; sure the first one might be “art” but what about the next 250? Bronzecasting admittedly hasn't been subjected to the “craft” label since the Renaissance, but the material was considered to be of lesser quality than other substances because it was an industrial material, and the skill required to craft it was less than the skill required to sculpt marble where one wrong strike of the chisel could ruin months of careful workmanship. When Michelangelo wanted to sculpt in bronze he had to take his model into another city-state and find a group of cannon makers to cast it for him. The Greeks sculpted mostly in bronze but the Romans made copies of them in Marble and then melted the originals use as cannons. Anyway, the important thing to note is that as an artist I am attracted more to those mediums which require a mastery of craft, than those which lend themselves more to pure expression, so consider that to be the full disclosure of my crafty predjudices.
My other major pursuit in college was working in the costume shop, I did a lot of costume design while I was in high school, and thought that that would be my major in college. I quickly realized that I needed more freedom of expression than theater would allow me, but I still enjoyed sewing and was lucky enough to land a work study job in the costume shop. Both my printmaking prof and my sculpture prof made no secret of the fact that they thought I was wasting my time with sewing. When I mentioned printing on cloth I was told “this is not the happy craft hour,” and when I was working late nights in the sculpture studio trying to get my portfolio together I was told that I needed “stop fucking around with this fabric shit.” Sort of hard to take that as anything but hostile. Had I been working my 15 work study hours in the library reshelving books, I doubt that I would have heard lectures on how I “needed to stop fucking around with books,” but because my job happened to involve the “craft” of sewing, it was somehow taking me away from the important work of creating “art.”
Interestingly enough now that I am out of school my primary medium is fabric, specifically quilting, and when people ask me what I do I am equally likely to introduce myself as an artist or as a quilter. Admittedly I'm being slightly bloodyminded when I tell people that I'm a quilter, since I know that they look at my black clothes, my fuck-all attitude, my skull and cross-bones bumper stickers and try to reconcile that with the quilts their grandma used to make. Inevitably when someone sees my work they will say something like: “Oh you're an Artist,” as if I was selling myself short by using the lesser label of “quiltmaker.” I could of course call myself a “fiber artist,” which is the category that I apply in when I do art shows, but I feel like that's even more confusing. Fiberart is a catch all phrase that includes, wearables (down to and including pictures of kittens glued on to sweatshirts with puffy paint, but also hand dyed silk kimonos), baskets, weaving (both functional and non), leather, dollmaking etc. I feel like I owe it to my craft (yes I embrace that word) to call it what it is. It's a quilt. I make no distinction between artist and quilter, although after working in a quilt shop for 6 years, I know that the majority of the quilters in the world are not artists. That's not to say that they don't do great work (although there are a lot of really awful quilts in the world), it's just not approached with the attitude of an artist.

To me the distinction between art and craft lies mostly in the attitude of the maker. I think that if you make a soap dish, or a wind chime, or a wreathe for your front door out of silk flowers that you bought at Michael's and hot melt glued together with polyester ribbon, and you approach it with the attitude of an artist, whatever that means to you, then you are making art and screw anyone who says differently. Hot melt glue is an extremely useful thing if you use it in applications that are appropriate. Similarly if you sit down and a paint a still life because you need something to fill up the hole on the wall and you want something to match the couch, no matter how technically accomplished it is, it's not going to be art.
The British have a term that I really like: “maker.” Which basically means someone who makes things, specifically things that don't fall into the category of art. When we call someone a craftsperson, we aren't using it as a job title, and it's usually applied somewhat condescendingly. I think the word “artisan,” comes close, but it has that misleading “art” stuck in the front of it. My understanding of the word “maker” is someone who works with their hands, carefully crafting things, taking pride in their product, but who doesn't feel the desire to classify themselves as an artist. On my business cards I give myself three titles: artist, designer and maker. I feel like that encompasses most of what I do. Even my art is done in a somewhat makerly spirit. I spend a couple of hours composing a new design, and then dozens more crafting it. The fun creative part is over very quickly and the boring sweatshop part takes much longer...then when it's done and I hang it on the wall and realize... "oh yeah, I'm making artwork here.”

The word “craft” has so much more depth of meaning than art. Art carries a lot of baggage around with it. Craft has become associated with the world of Michael's, Jo Ann's, kits and projects, but it also can refer to the quality of craftsmanship, meaning that something is done with care, attention to detail and a high level of quality that can't be duplicated by machine, or by someone working in haste. To say that something was done with “old world craftsmanship,” is high praise indeed. To call some “crafty” is to imply that they are not only wise, but somewhat sly and tricky as well. Conversely if you say that someone has an “artistic” temperament, you're probably implying that they are creative and quirky, but also unreliable and self-centered.
So what am I saying? Basically that I'd rather be the crafty old woman than the flighty artist, even though “artist” is what I put under “profession” when I fill out my tax returns.

End of Rant...
Ragnar....just prop me up on my soap box and tie me to the mizzen mast.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Secret Pal...

Everyone else was having so much fun with the Secret Pal stuff that I decided that I wanted to play along as well. So it's a two post day. If regular bleader's don't want to know my preferences in knit gear you can all skip this post:
1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I am a sucker for the Kona Superwash from Woven Art (new website coming soon!). It's a no frills washable Merino. I am basically inclined to knit with solid colored (or not super "painted" hand-dyed) smooth yarns, but as far as wool, cotton, silk, linen etc. there is nothing I wouldn't take home with me. I leave you the fun furs and eyelashes of the world. They have no place in my stash.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
One of these: only mine has skulls on it, and if any of you want one, let me know and I'll make you one. You can even tell me how many pockets, which fabrics, etc.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I've been knitting for about 4 years and was originally self taught. I knit backwards for six months or so until someone pointed out to me that you knit through the front loop, not the back loop. Duh. Mostly I figure out new techniques by making lots and lots of mistakes and reknitting many projects. I think it's safe to say that I'm an advanced intermediate knitter.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

I have a baby wish list on Kaboodle, but as it's mostly diapers and more diapers, it's nothing you should concern yourself with.

5. What's your favorite scent?

I'm pretty partial to Lavender, it's good for my blood pressure.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I have an intermittent sweet tooth, I will eat sweet stuff all day one day and then avoid it for weeks. Dark chocolate is always appreciated.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I do it all I'm embarrassed to say. Fiberwise I am a quilter, knitter, spinner, and new weaver. I can crochet if I have to, and I have been known to dye things. I also cook, grow things (when I can bend, not while I'm 39 weeks pregnant), can things etc. And did I mention we are remodeling our house. I suspect I'm going to be an A+ #1 drywaller by this time next year.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I'm sort of a "classic" heavy metal/punk kinda girl, but I also like "good" country and bluegrass and some out there new stuff (Rasputina! cello playing women in underwear...can't beat it with a stick)

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

It's not so much that I'm against pink, I'm against what pink stands for...except you know, pink triangles, those are fine. I mean in the gender classification, sit still and be a good girl so you don't get your dress dirty sense of the hue. So yeah, not so much pink. My closet has a lot in common with Johnny Cash, the man in black: it's dark in there, with spots of grey, red and brown. I like to knit in color though. I'm and fair isle, intarsia, mosaic freak. I like strong colors and saturated hues, especially reds and oranges but as long as they look good together that's fine with me. Just not pink.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I live with the Manimal, the father of my soon to be born, and we have partial custody of his daughter Rat Girl. We have a cat, or perhaps the cat has us. She is named for the sound that a cat makes when you throw it over board...Splash.
She is helping us figure out all of our new baby carriers. She likes the Mei Tai...or maybe she just couldn't get out of it.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

I wore a poncho once when I was about 6 years old..since then, not so much poncho. I like scarves, am obsessed with hats (admittedly more the knitting of them than the wearing of them, but I wear them too) and can never find my mittens.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Right now it's baby anything, but mostly soakers. I also knit many hats, mostly of the bizarre and unwearable variety.

13. What are you knitting right now?

The UFO file runneth over. Let's see, I think we're down to three unfinished sweaters for me, they won't fit for awhile so why bother. I just started reknitting the Rat Girl sweater:

It's not so much like frogging if you just knit off of the the old piece right? And then there's the teddy bear (body stuffed, but no arms yet), the baby sack, and random other pieces that are so far gone they're not in the active file anymore. As soon as I can get a few of them wrapped up I have promised Manimal a Gansy.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Yes please.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I'm an Addi Turbo Whore. I love those things, and I prefer circulars. Bamboo is lovely but doesn't stand up to my aggressive knitting style....that would be tight.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

I am semi-permanently borrowing both from a friend who has fallen from the true faith...that would be knitting. I suspect that when she's done with this PhD thing that's taking up all her time she will want them back. I work at a yarn store though, so I have access.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

That would be the "free wool" sweater. Started spinning for it when I first started spinning, and that was at least 3 years ago. It's almost done, I just have to reconcile myself to ripping out the top half of the second sleeve.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

Seriously I like the solstices and the equinoxes. I don't celebrate them in any special way, I just like to observe them. And not seriously there's international talk like a pirate day, and also my birthday, which is just like talk like a pirate day.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Hmm...I have sort of a collection of pirate stuff, it's not conscious so much as incidental. I also collect fabric with skulls, flames, or any other cool print on it (Alexander Henry, I love you so) (at least 1 yard pieces), and yarn of course.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I've been looking at rogue for years, trying to justify buying a pattern for what is essentially a stockinette sweater with a cable on it...I mean, that pretty much describes the three unfinished sweaters in my stash why should I get another one (but it's sooooo purty). There's also a really cute pattern on etsy for baby booties that look like chuck taylors. I also pick up "vintage" knitting books and patterns anytime I see them, some for entertainment and some because the patterns are really good. I don't subscribe to anything because if I like it one month I hate it the next, Interweave Knits is consistently the best.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

All of them. I'm obsessed with adding to my "arsenal" of available skills. I'm working on Mosaic right now, and I'm anxious to improve my dying techniques.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I don't wear hand knit socks (you just can't beat wigwam silk/merino hiking socks, my feet feel good just thinking about them) but Manimal does and although I don't generally knit socks, I have promised to knit him one pair a year. I wear a size 10 at the moment, we shall see if I am still a 10 after I am unpregnant again.

23. When is your birthday?

May 22nd. The year is not important to anyone, I'm 30. I have been 30, and I will continue to be 30 until I get really good at it and they let me go on to the next level.

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

I've thought about it, but honestly just schleping the laptop up to the cafe is almost too much for me, so I've decided to exempt myself. I'll breakdown sometime next year and then I will be 102,457,098th on the waiting list. I'm okay with that. are now returned to regularly scheduled blogging.

The finish line...

Lots of things are finishing up around here. First and most important to me is the fact that Ragnarson is due a week from today! Yay! Although many an overdue Mom has warned me that that means nothing and he might hang in for several more weeks. He is related to both me and Manimal so the lateness is not so much a possibility as a probability, but seriously, my waist, how I've missed it. It's not just the bending and the backaches, it's the fact that waists actually do a lot of work, like holding up skirts and pants.
If you want to see an embarrassing picture of me with my pregnant ass belly hanging out, you will have to come up with a compelling reason for me to lose what dignity I have and post it on the blog.

I suspect that babies have a sixth sense about whether or not you've finished all their sweaters and booties, so I've been finishing like mad, just in case he is hanging on in there until he's sure there will be plenty of knitwear out here for him. Not that he'll need it since it's been 90+ degrees here on the "outside."

This is the "sue" sweater from Elspeth Lavold's Designer's Choice 6. It is knit out of silky wool, which I fell in love with after knitting the golden harvest hat. It's actually going to be a shop sample for awhile until Ragnarson grows into it, I'm going to teach a "knitting for babies" class, and this is a great, stylish beginner's project. I have every confidence that an absolute beginner could tackle this with good results. We will knit, we will purl, we will make button holes, decrease and pick up stitches.

I also finished the strange brown sweater, I'm hoping it will look better when it's actually on a baby, so I'm not showing it here. It has a shawl collar, which persists in curling oddly in spite of the fact that I tried no fewer than 4 different bind off techniques...ah well. Babies are cute, so they can wear sort of wonky sweaters right?

And Manimal's socks are done just in time for the Woven Art, Hand-dyed, Hand-knit show...but like I said it's been 90 degrees out so he won't want to wear them for a month or so at least right?

You can't tell from this picture, but they actually have a really nice depth of color. Come by the shop next weekend and check out lots of customer projects that have been knit out of Nancy's yarn. You can also peek at my weaving which has almost passed the half-way point. My unreachable goal is to have it off the loom before the baby comes, so that Nancy's not stuck with a half woven blanket for a month or so while I adjust to being a mommy...yes yes, I hear the collective cackle. Thanks.
And I finally finished the last 6 inches of I-cord on the Intarsia pillow. It was an interesting experiment in deciding that something should work and then making it happen. I wanted a "piping" effect around the edge of the pillow so I combined a three needle bind-off with an i-cord bind off and I think it worked pretty well.

We have been practicing our new parent skills on this stuffed gorilla. We call him Monkey baby, and here he is modeling my first attempt at knitting a "soaker." For those not in the know, a soaker is a diaper cover which crunchy cloth diapering mom's everywhere assure me are "the bomb" as far as diapering accessories go. When you treat the wool with Lanolin it becomes moisture resistant, I hesitate to say "proof" because there really is no such thing with babies is there?

It's all soakers all the time at my house these days, here's an in progress shot of a pull on variety. This is actually left over yarn from the intarsia pillow. Cute no? I tried to make the skulls sort of friendly and baby like...uhm yeah. My poor baby is probably going to be one of those sensitive poet types, but when he looks back at his baby pictures it's going to be nothing but skulls and flames.

See you all next weekend at the Hand-dyed show! If I'm not in labor that is.

Ragnar...skully diapers baby!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Dum dah dum dum...

Cue ominous music. It's sort of hard to take a scary picture of a sock, but I think foreshortening is photographic code for spooky.

So there's Manimal's first sock. I had to reknit the heel once, and the toe once, but that's pretty much on par for me and sock knitting.

But the spooky part comes in here:That would be one the heel flap of the second sock. I thought at first that I was just distracted, because I was knitting at birth class (you have to go to birth classes, because otherwise you won't know how to have a baby) and they were showing videos of newborn babies "rooting" response. Basically a baby will find the nipple on it's own if s/he is left alone, but watching a 20 minute old baby flop around and peck at it's mother's breast until it comes up with a nipple is singularly hilarious. I now think of my unborn son as the naked mole rat baby. Anyway, it was very funny and I thought it was conceivable that I had miscalculated the number of stitches in the heel flap. But I knit it twice and still not the right number of stitches.

Then I knit it twice more when I wasn't at birth class and still not the right number of stitches.

How is this possible? These socks are possessed. Actually every sock I've ever knit is possessed because this always, always happens. Perhaps this is why I avoid knitting socks.

I am sock cursed.

So what do you do when you are sock cursed?

Well I don't know what other people do, but I'm going to weave. This whole process is thusfar misleading, because the first inch and a half is to straighten out the warp so that you can weave the "real" thing, and the second inch is the "hem" so that you don't have to have fringe....not that I really have anything against fringe, but basically I have about 1 and 1 quarter inches of actual "blanket" here. Of course I was only at it for an hour and a half....not including the "warping." I'm sure the next 43 and 3 quarters inches will go much faster.Ragnar...I loomed!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Putting the "in" in Spin.

Woven Art has sponsored a "Knit in" every second Sunday almost since the store was started 2+ years ago, and I always try to go. Recently the third Sunday has become "Spin in" Sunday, as well as any 5th Sundays that might come along. In spite of the fact that this was MY idea (not that I'm a greedy, credit monger or anything, but it was) I haven't been able to make it to one yet.

Until yesterday that is.... In case you can't recognize me, I'm the one with the 9 month pregnant belly...and to my right (that would be your left) is Sarah of Handknitter fame, notice that she is knitting, not spinning. There are many other knitting celebs of course including some sewing night regulars, but none of them have blogs and are therefore not linkable. But look! The comfy couch is empty, just waiting for more spinnerly goodness, and July is one of those crazy months with a 5th Sunday. You don't have to spin (apparently) so what's your excuse?

I do have some finished (ish, buttons don't count do they?) items to show, and an almost finished sock (the first one, but I'm counting it damn it) but I've had a crazy week. Check out the house blog to see what's been occupying my time ( house is now a one story, a very breezy one story). I'm limited in what I can do during the heavy demo phase, although I do try to show up at least once a day for moral support, and because it's so exciting to see everything get destroyed.

This is Rat girl and my knee sitting in the backyard watching the roof come off, notice the knitting? I figure knitting socks for Manimal (his heart's desire at the moment, but don't remind him about that sweater that I promised him two years ago) is sort of like helping on the house right? My previous job was manning the burn barrel.

But the Fire Marshal stopped by and explained that burning tons (literally, we figure we managed to burn a whole dumpsters worth at least) of construction debris in your backyard is not really legal and that he would prefer it if we stopped. Sure thing, Mr. Marshal, won't happen again. So I am out of a job, although I hope to be of some use during the Con-struction phase, rather than the de-struction phase.'s 'cause my belly gets in the way of the sledge hammer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Summer yeech....

I'm finding out all sorts of things about myself this summer. Apparently I am the type of person who complains about the weather. I always assumed that I would be grey haired and feeble before I didn't have anything better to do than sit around and bitch about how hot it is...but really! I'm thinking of opening up the dashboard on my car and putting a little piece of black tape over the temperature gauge. I really don't want to know that it's 98 degrees outside. If anything it just make me feel more sticky and miserable.

So where do you go when it's hot and nasty, you're covered with drywall dust and insulation and your fingers and toes are all puffed up like little sausages? (okay, maybe I'm the only one who has to worry about that one). Where else but Hell?

Actually we go to a little lake that's just outside of Hell and we float around on those silly looking noodle things and generally just bask in the cool watery wonderfulness of it all. Then if we still need a little bit more "summer" when we're all shriveled up like pruney muskrats, we go into Hell and get an Ice Cream Cone at "Screams" which is as far as I can tell the only actual business in Hell. No that's not true, there's also a convenience store called the Hell Country Market that sells pizza and other convenient things, and is also the post office so that's where you go if you want to have something postmarked from Hell. There's also a little motel/hotel called the Dam Site Inn....but that's it, that's everything there is in Hell.'s 90 freakin' degrees outside and I'd rather be in Hell.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

From the secret "UFO" files:

This transcript was discovered in a plain manila envelope shoved under the door at Kevbot's seems to be a secret government document concerning a rash of recent UFO (unfinished objects, since I know some of you bleaders are non-knitters) sightings, but I can't be sure. Some of the "exhibit" pictures look vaguely familiar however.

Scary Government Agent Guy: What do you know about these UFO's Ragnar? We've been getting calls about "piles" of yarn around your house, and some of them are getting ugly.

Ragnar: The piles of yarn?

SGAG: Don't get cute with me pirate girl. What I want to know is why you can't finish what you start?
R: I finish things. Look at that picture marked exhibit 12A.

SGAG: What is that? Some sort of joke? What did those take you 15 minutes to knit?

R: I don't have to take your scary government agent crap, that's a finished pair of socks. A pair! Like two that are the same. I guess I could even count that as two finished objects if I wanted to.

SGAG: Oh, so that "pair" of socks that you've been knitting for your former co-worker, that's really one finished object and one ball of yarn? Considering that you don't even have the ends woven in on the one lonely finished sock, I don't think it counts for much. And what about those skully toe socks that don't fit in the toe and have needed reknitting for about two years? What would you call those?

R: Hey, if you want to talk about ancient history that's your problem. Both of those projects have been sitting quietly in the bottom of the basket without bothering anyone for a long time.

SGAG: Well then let's look at more recent history shall we? I'm counting three partially finished baby sweaters here Ragnar. Would you like to say something in your defense?

R: Hey! All of those sweaters are about 5 minutes away from being done. One of them only needs to be sewn up, one of them needs to have the arms shortened, and buttons sewn on, and the other one needs to be sewn up and have the buttons sewn on. Those sweaters are, like, done.

SGAG: They are "like" done, but the fact is that they're not done, are they?

R: Hey would you mind adjusting that light, it's shining right in my eyes.

SGAG: Just answer the question, are those sweaters done or aren't they

R: They're not done! Okay, are you happy? Do you want me to sign a confession or something?

SGAG: And what about the "free wool" sweater, and the "Celtic" sweater?

R: They're not done either! The free wool sweater has gauge problems, and the sleeve cables aren't matching up. And the Celtic sweater is a dye lot nightmare, and I just can't face them right now, okay? Gees. Maybe I'll finish them after the baby is born and it's not 90 freakin' degrees outside and there's a chance in hell that they'll fit me....why are you laughing?

SGAG: You just said "after the baby is born," as if you'll have all the time in the world. I just struck me as hilarious for a second there. But back to these UFO's isn't it true that you just started a pair of socks?

R: Hey, you have to talk to Manimal about that. He did all these crazy calculations and decided that he was being left out of the knitting loop and that with the amount of time I spent knitting, he should get some socks. He even started knitting a pair for himself, and I don't know if you know Manimal, but he HATES knitting, so the man is desperate for socks. I didn't have a choice.

SGAG: Are you trying to tell me that Manimal forced you to start a new pair of socks?

R: Yeah, basically. That was totally not my fault.

SGAG: Okay then, what is this?

R: That is a teddy bear.

SGAG: A teddy bear?

R: Yeah, a teddy bear? You got a problem with that?

SGAG: Well since it's obviously a UFO, yeah, I got a problem with that, little miss attitude. Plus I'm skeptical. That is one fucked up looking bear, and judging from the number of strings hanging off of it, there's a fair amount of finishing in that.

R: Yeah? So? I like sewing remember? I'm a quilter. I sew professionally.

SGAG: Which is why those baby sweaters are languishing away, unsewn and unfinished?

R: Is that all you've got? Because if so I'm leaving.

SGAG: As a matter of fact, I have some more exhibit photos here. Tell me what you think of A34 and 62C.

R: Those are both going to be frogged. That first one, that should never have been started. I was all on fire because I borrowed this Gansey book from Swift Black Betty, and had this homespun that I wanted to do something with. It's just not working out, it's going to turn back into yarn. And that second one, that's the little red riding hoody. I don't suppose I should have started that one either. If I had read the pattern I would have realized that there was no way it was going to look good on Rat Girl. I'm going to rip it out and knit something that will be more practical for her.

SGAG: So you admit that you have a problem with starting inappropriate projects.

R: Hey! You're putting words into my mouth. That is not what I said!

SGAG: What about this intarsia pillow? Is it true that you have 6 inches of I-cord trim left and that you've had that same 6 inches of trim left for about 3 weeks now?

R: Well, it's so close to being done that I didn't feel like I had to work on it.

SGAG: You didn't feel like you had to work on it...I think we're getting to the root of the problem. Let's see, according to my notes you have three pairs of unfinished socks, an unfinished "we call them pirates" hat, two as-yet-unfrogged ill-considered sweaters, three adult sized sweaters that you will work on "after the baby gets here," *snort* three infant sized sweaters that are "almost" done, one intarsia pillow that's "so close to being done that you don't feel like you have to work on it," one tangle of ends that you swear is a teddy bear, and oh...what's this on the bottom of my pile?"

R: Hey! Where did you get those photos?

SGAG: A loom! You have, by conservative estimate, 13 UFO's in progress and you decide to take up weaving? What kind of fiber fiend are you?"


That's the end of the transcript but there are definitely some pages missing. I'm just trying to figure out what it all means. Are they on to me? Is the UFO brigade going to freeze my account at the yarn store? Do those baby socks I knit last week count for nothing? What's going to happen when they find out about the "little monster hoody" that I have stashed at Woven Art? Maybe I should get off my ass and do some finishing. (shudder). try working in a yarn store and see how long you last.