Thursday, April 27, 2006

Knitting Update


The long promised DNA model

Isn't it clever?

The Pixie Hat

The design is done in duplicate stitch. I've always avoided duplicate stitch because it seemed silly to go back and add something you could just knit in the first place. But this time I did what the pattern said and I LOVE duplicate stitch. It's a change from knitting and it's actually a lot of fun. I re-did several sections of the embroidery many times because I kept messing up. But I think I'm happy with it now.

The Baby Blanket

The body of the blanket is now officially halfway done and if I keep working at least two rows a day, it will be done sometime in July. I'm going to do it!

The Ribbon Sweater

I cast on for the Ribbon Sweater from Knitting for Two. This is the yarn I bought at Lambikin's Jungle Jim's while I was in Cinci a few weekends ago. I love this yarn. My gauge swatch came out to exactly the gauge called for in the pattern. How often does that happen? Now I just have to get through the 7 inches of ribbing before the lace pattern starts.

American Idol
If I had managed to post after the performance show I would have said "Now that Ace and Bucky are gone who am I going to hate? I liked Chris and Katharine best and I think Kelly is going this week. She hasn't been bringing it lately."

Since I am posting after the eliminate show I'll say "Paris has been in the bottom three several times. She'd better get it together next week, unless it's already too late. Dum dum dum!"

And Just for Good Measure

A picture of Sally.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Knitting History

I called my parents this morning to tell them about the new house and get the latest news from home.

My family is doing well but one of my great aunts passed away over the weekend. My dad went to the graveside service yesterday. After the service people were reminiscing about various relatives who have passed away and someone mentioned Great Aunt Dora. My Great Aunt Dora is best known for her knitting. She knitted children's sweaters and sold them in a shop in Traverse City. One Christmas all the kids got sweaters from Aunt Dora. (That's a lot of kids. She was Grandma and Aunt and Great Aunt to a lot of people.) They were all the same basic sweater, but they all had different scenes that wrapped around the body of the sweater. My sweater had dogs; my older brother's sweater had fish; my younger brother's sweater had clowns. I always thought they were pretty neat. You could turn the sweater around and around and the design never ended.

When I started knitting obsessively, my mom got out one of the sweaters and asked if I remembered them. Of course I did. "But those were knit on a machine."

"They certainly were not!" My mom corrected. Inside the sweater was a tag that said "Hand Knit by Dora K_____." The sweaters were perfect and I always thought they were knit on a machine. There was no way she could knit that many sweaters without a machine.

"She hand knit them and sold them for $25 or $30 in Traverse City. The store couldn't keep enough in stock."

Again, I protested. "You can't sell a hand knit sweater for $25! This is weeks of work."

"Oh no. She could knit a sweater in 2 or 3 days, depending on how big it was."

Again I looked at the sweater. This boggled my mind. 2 or 3 days? Are you kidding me?

Back at the funeral, people were reminiscing about Aunt Dora's knitting and someone mentioned her spinning wheel. Apparently, in addition to being able to knit the same sweater repeatedly at mind-boggling speeds, she also spun her own yarn. Her daughter had the spinning wheel for a while but now no one knew quite where it was. My dad mentioned it because he thought that I might like it if it ever turned up. I caught my breath and immediately started imagining where I could put it in the new house.

"Oh yes," I said. "I would like that very much."

My Uncle Harry told my dad about seeing Aunt Dora spin yarn. She would wash the wool, dye it, and card it. Then she would use the spinning wheel to turn the carded wool into yarn. I've never seen yarn spun but I imagine that it must almost look like magic. Uncle Harry still has a pair of gloves that Aunt Dora knit from yarn she spun.

Suddenly the spinning wheel didn't seem that important. I'm not very likely to become proficient with a spinning wheel. It's more that I have a burning to desire to own anything related to knitting and yarn. I have lost so much more because I didn't learn from Aunt Dora. It's no one's fault. I didn't start knitting until after she had passed away. But I can't help feeling a deep regret. I could have learned so much. Compared to Aunt Dora, I am a second-rate hack. I should probably be embarrassed.

So, if the spinning wheel comes my way, I'll be happy. I'll even let the greedy knitter inside of me gloat a little. But I always want to remember that I ought to be trying harder. That saying "oh, it's good enough" is not good enough. After all, this is my family history. I'm knitting history. I want my children to feel pride when they say "your grandma knit this."

Monday, April 10, 2006



After some countering back and forth, everything is set. I thought I would be excited and giddy if we got the house. Instead I was relieved. I'd gotten myself pretty worked up over the possibility that we wouldn't get the house. James and I went out to eat to celebrate. Probably the last time we'll be able to for a while since we close on the house on May 12th. How crazy is this going to be?

Since the house was only on the market for 1 day, we don't have any pictures, but if you wait a month, I'll take some myself!

Tomorrow I'll do a knitting post. I promise!


Our trip this weekend was exciting and stressful! We found the perfect house and now we are waiting to hear if the owner accepts our offer. Finding this perfect house was quite an experience.

On Friday we looked at all 11 houses in our price range. That's right. There are only 11 houses on the market that we could afford. James fell in love with one. I wasn't so sure, but he convinced me and on Friday evening we put in an offer. Before submitting the offer, our realtor called the listing realtor to make sure the offer wasn't too low and to explain our time dilemma. We were only there for the weekend and we needed to know quickly if the answer was no so that we could put in an offer on another house. The listing realtor said she completely understood.

Well, by the time the offer was ready and faxed to the appropriate people, the listing realtor had left town for the weekend and no one could reach her. The owners of the house were also out of town and incommunicado. The offer sat out in no man's land until Sunday morning. And then the answer was "I'll accept the offer on Friday if I don't get any better offers before then."

I think I laughed. It was so ridiculous. We had to leave in 3 hours. We'd had plenty of time to think about the houses all day Saturday and James and I had agreed on two other houses that we liked. We asked our realtor if we could go back and look at those houses. Both houses were already under contract. One had only been on the market for four days. It looked like we were going to have to make another trip out. But not to worry! One house had come on the market the night before. We might as well go look at it. But honestly, what are the chances?

I stepped in the front door and smiled and I never stopped smiling. It didn't matter that the carpet was forest green or that the kitchen was small and awkward or that basement was completely unfinished. It felt like my house. I hadn't felt that in any of the other houses. I don't even feel that in the house I currently live in. We put in our offer and now we are just waiting. The owner has just over 4 hours left to consider the offer. I think the waiting might kill me. I'm trying to keep busy but I can't focus on anything. My nails are quickly disappearing and I've had a stomach ache all day.

Ok, I think I'm going to go look at my yarn or something. Wait, I was doing laundry. And dishes. And raking the yard. It would be nice if I could be unconscious for the next 4 hours.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Living in a Gold Fish Bowl

Well, I didn't post about last week's American Idol because things have been a little frenetic around here. We listed the house last week and someone was already scheduled to view it. So we had a week of frenzied house cleaning and then a weekend of frenzied yard work. We work best under deadlines around here. We still have to clean the garage and I spend every morning straightening the house and cleaning, just in case. A couple I know is also trying to sell their house and they have three girls under the age of 6. I don't know how they can manage it.

Tonight is another big cleaning night because tomorrow we are flying back to Wyoming! Hopefully we'll return with a new house.

Despite all the chaos I managed to finish the DNA model and put in some time on the baby blanket. I'll post pictures of the DNA model in my next post. You can mock the DNA model all you want but it was fun and it's gotten me out of knitting funk! When I showed James the finished model he knew what it was (1 point for me) and he thought it was very clever (another point for me). But when I told him that I made it more as a joke and that I might give it to Sally, he said that was out of the question and he disappeared with the model. It now sits on his desk and is apparently his.

While digging out the yarn for the model I came across some yarn that I stole that Brooke gave me that would make a lovely baby hat and I bought a couple of new knitting books: Knitting Rules! and Knitting for Two. Knitting Rules! arrived yesterday and I am enjoying it immensely. Knitting for Two should arrive next week.



The last two weeks were boring. The best part of last week was Simon's inane comments. He told Chris that he'd crossed the line because "Creed would never appear on American Idol." I guess I missed it last season when Live and the Chili Peppers made guest appearances. He also told Paris that her performance was "precocious." Really? You think? And yet her performance of Fever was not?

This week Simon wasn't ridiculous but everything else was. The songs were boring and the performances were ho-hum.

Ace was terrible, as always. It's time for him to go. We've been subjected to his nasally, whiney voice long enough. I thought Paris was very weak. But then, I hate that song. And I thought it was interesting that Kenny Rodgers told Bucky to enunciate and then I couldn't understand a single word he sang. Way to go Bucky.

I thought Kellie and Katherine did the best.

When are they bringing back the guest judges? The guest judges were awesome. They made ridiculous, inane comments, and they made the show so much fun.