Saturday, December 30, 2006


I was cleaning out the lint trap while doing my favorite activity, and I decided that the reason that I couldn't stand the purple and brown wrapalong cape was because the blasted bulky lavender merino is the exact color of dryer lint! I frogged it. I started over.

This is my third try. I like it. I mean, I really like it. This time I'm actually going to keep going and knit this wrap!

I still might do a purple one, too. Just look at that purple! It just might be worthy of pairing with the Mountain Colors merino ribbon. I had some of the undyed angora handspun left so I threw it in a pot of berry blue and slammin' strawberry-kiwi--et voila! I like it. And this time I mean it. I was just trying to talk myself into liking the blasted bulky lavender, but let's be honest--I don't like dryer lint.

Friday, December 29, 2006

a few days later...

Wow, what a holiday! The lovelies all got better from the stomach bug, then it cycled through Middle Sister and Middle Brother again! Despite the fact that our fridge died and we had to throw out all of our Christmas food, Christmas was a wonderful day. Aren't they cute? I like the way that Eric's portrait of Christ looks like He's sitting there in the group photo.

Nice, huh!

Shameless plug: By the way, if anyone would like a copy of this painting, we had it reproduced as a giclee (archival-quality inks on canvas) so that we could give copies to our parents for Christmas. The image is 16x20 inches and mounted on acid-free board, ready for framing. We have extra copies and one could be yours for a mere $160. :)

Okay now, KNITTING!

I am a hopeless knitalong zealot. I learned years ago that I have a yarn addiction; I'm at peace with it. This new, but related obsession with knitting along is perhaps a little scary. I think that the group mentality (the energy, the camaraderie, the peer pressure...) is sucking me in. I'd better take a break from a week or two. For now, another knit-along! This time we have the knitalong/wrapalong/travelalong! This is a fun idea for using stash yarns to make a cape. Would I wear this item? Maybe, maybe not. I'll have to actually finish knitting it and see.

I am completely enamored of the yarn combination possibilities. The requested/suggested yarns are A) some handspun, B) a variegated worsted-ish, and C) some alpaca. Now we all know that I am replete with alpaca, and I have a fair amount of variegated yarns, but handspun? Do I have any? Well, though I am not yet a spinner (it will happen someday...) I do, indeed, have a tiny bit of handspun. I have squirreled away in my stash a hank of Angora Cottage sport-ish weight angora/silk/wool!!! It's lovely-soft and a lustrous creamy color (seen here with some Noro Silk Garden and a bit of tan Plymouth alpaca). I started knitting the wrap with it and I hated the stripey look. The contrast between the Silk Garden and the cream handspun was terrible.

I frogged it and stuck the bit of handspun that I had used at the top of the pattern in a pot of steamy Kool-Aid (tamarind, strawberry, some berry blue and a sprinkle of arctic green apple). It just occurred to me that I should have dyed a little more of the handspun for the bottom of the pattern. Hmmm. Oh well. I'm sure that I can replicate my entirely scientific method of measuring Kool-Aid for another batch of yarn. Heh.

In the mean time, I've got a purple and brown fixation (I have a vast collection of purple and brown yarn that are intended for an afghan) that is coming to life as a wrap-along-thing. I adore this Mountain Colors merino ribbon yarn (it's the variegated one). The colorway is called Red-tail Hawk and it is everything that I love in a mixture of colors. It even makes me like the blasted bulky lavender stuff that I felted (whoops!) when I dyed it.

So there we are. I haven't done any more stranding since the green Center Square hat from Knitty. I still plan on making myself those lovely Anemoi mittens from Eunny Jang. I've just got to take care of this wrap first!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

bodily function day(s)

What do you get when you combine a 24-hour stomach virus and 5 kids? A five-day hurl-fest! And let's not even talk about what's coming out the other end. Poor PeeWee's bottom is almost as sore as when she was having chemo. All last minute Christmas knitting has been abandoned in the necessity of using the blessed carpet cleaner. Kristen, if you're reading this, SAVE YOURSELF! Don't come near. We started on Saturday with Middle Brother, then PeeWee had it on Sunday (and Monday--she had it the worst), Middle Sister on Monday, Big Sister today, and Big Brother is likely to succumb tomorrow. Yes, and Eric woke up with it today, too. I'm just glad that we're scheduled to wind up before Christmas Eve.

See that look on PeeWee's face? That's the same look that I have.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

soft focus

Here's one last meathead for the Meathead KAL. Here is the Cheesehead III: Swiss. Knit in Lamb's Pride Bulky (color: Aran) with needle felted "holes". I took about 20 pictures of it, trying to get one that wasn't all fuzzy. I finally figured out that PeeWee had stuck her baby-oiled finger on the lens, giving me a nice built-in soft-focus filter. I'm too tired to take another picture, so I'm just going to call it artistic photo effect. This is my middle son. That thing under his nose is a shadow--He doesn't really have a mustache.

I've got to get to bed because (drum roll, please) I've been getting up early in the morning to exercise! I'm having a life change and I just read that Marly is having one too (you go, grrl!) although I haven't tried knitting on the treadmill like she does. I like the elliptical machine and I can't think how I'd manage it. Maybe on a stationary bike...

Some stream-of-consciousness rambling: What's the significance of typing "grrl" as opposed to "girl"? Is it just a bloggy thing to do? Does it show that I'm hip and all that? I don't know. Marly, this one's for you: Why do I love alpaca so much? (baby alpaca...mmmmm...soft...) Probably because I can't afford cashmere. Where is that envelope that I used to scribble the Cheesehead I mouse directions? I'd better find it. I think I'm going to have to knit another one. PeeWee and Middle Sister had too much fun playing with the original one and it has disappeared. Oh noooo--Pee Wee awakens. Must stop rambling.

Monday, December 11, 2006

weekend knitting

The winter issue of Knitty is out! I got the email announcement of it on Friday, clicked over to see it, and knew that I must knit that hat! (See the pink and red one on the cover? Yes, that one!) So I found an excuse to stop by the yarn shop that afternoon and found these lovely greens. I am currently in love with alpaca--so this is Misti Alpaca worsted. I cast on while I was driving home and then later that night (okay, it was much later--oh, say midnight...) I had this groovy thing! It was a good warm up for the Anemoi mittens. I needed to work out a few kinks in my stranding since I haven't really done any since 1998!

I squeezed three squares for Project Warming Kaitlyn out of one skein of Misti Alpaca Sport. I knit them with two strands held together to make thicker, fluffier squares (yeah, that's it--it has nothing to do with knitterly laziness). As you can see from the photo, I had mere inches of yarn left over. See the loop? That's where the inside and outside strands of the skein came together. Little miracles, all around us...

The first square (bottom left) was done in a honeycomb slip stitch. Let us pay no attention to the row where I forgot where I was slipping and where I was knitting.

The second square (on the right) was done from a heart charted in Alice Starmore's Fisherman Sweaters.

The third square (top left) is a stitch pattern that I made up. I'm sure it exists in a stitch dictionary somewhere, but I had fun figuring it out on my own. I love it. I shall call it Traveling Cable Rib with Eyes. Catchy, huh. I've got to come up with something else to do with it. Maybe one of those 39 scarves I have planned to knit before Christmas. :)

Would anyone like me to post the Traveling Cable Rib with Eyes pattern? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

the day after scans

This is Eunny Jang. She is a design genius. She just released her latest pattern. She posts some of her patterns for free, but this one is for sale and rightly so! Supporting artists with our $$$ is very important. (No, I have no ulterior motives for exhorting people to spend freely on art...[buy art! buy art!]...what was that? I didn't hear anything. [buy art!] There are no [buy art!] subliminal messages on my [buy art!] blog.)

So for the Stranded Colorwork KAL, I'm abandoning plans to do Baby Norgi first. Instead, since the pattern is now on my hard drive, I'm going to do these spectacular Anemoi Mittens by Eunny Jang.

I was a busy little knitter yesterday. We had a drive to and from Salt Lake City, plus an hour of watchful waiting while PeeWee slept off the sedation--well at least she slept off part of it... I don't often have that much time in one day to knit, so I must say that I surprised myself. I finished this on the drive down:

I keep forgetting to get some raspberry Cremesavers at the grocery store--that's what I plan on using to embellish it.

I started and finished this while PeeWee slept:
This meathead is tentatively titled The Lemonhead (even though it's lime). I used Lamb's Pride Bulky in Limeade. The lemon slice dried for about a week on a piece of wax paper on top of my fridge. This morning I coated it with some glossy Mod Podge. I will probably brush on a few more coats of Mod Podge before I call it good. It was knit on size 15 needles in the smaller size and I had about 7 yards left over.

The Lemonhead was knit in honor of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. This is a fantastic foundation which was started as a little girl's dream to raise the money needed to fight childhood cancer. The little girl, Alex, had the same kind of cancer that PeeWee had (neuroblastoma) and she was determined to do her part to save other kids. Her parents continued with her dream after she passed away and have worked to create an organization that is doing great things in the fight against childhood cancer. We are already planning our own 2nd annual Alex's Lemonade Stand in Honor of PeeWee. Come, drink lemonade, donate with satisfaction that your money is going to be very judiciously and effectively spent to help sweet little loves like PeeWee. (Just my little plug for cancer awareness for the day...)

And I finished this on the drive home: This is Cat Bordi's Moebius Scarf knit in Fleece Artist (or is it Handmaiden?) 4-ply cashmere in the Nova Scotia colorway. It's for my mother.

We were at the children's hospital yesterday for PeeWee's regularly scheduled followup scans (aka The Day o' Torture). The sedation she has to have knocks her out cold for about 2 hours, then she's drunk for the next 24. It would be pretty funny if it weren't sad to see her wobbling around, unable to keep her balance, alternately crying and giggling. That was yesterday. Today, she's just plain belligerent.

So what did the scans reveal? "No evidence of recurrent disease." Yahoooooo! I admit, I was feeling anxious. The greatest chance of neuroblastoma relapse is in the first year after completing treatment. Well, we are now past that first year. Combine that with the fact that PeeWee's tumor didn't have the gene amplification that increases likelihood of relapse and that puts her, statistically speaking, in the clear. So the great news from yesterday was that PeeWee's oncologists feel that further regular scans are unnecessary!!!!!!!! Did you hear that? NO MORE SCANS! We'll still have quarterly clinic visits with urine and blood tests for the next couple of years, but that's nothing! Dr. Afify, a most compassionate and understanding woman, even asserted that we could do every other visit with our local pediatrician! So that means visits to the children's hospital only every six months!

Monday, December 04, 2006


I LOVE stranded knitting--Fair Isle, Latvian, Swedish, Norwegian, South American, Fijian (I know, there's no tradition of stranded knitting in Fiji, but they have lovely tapa cloth patterns that I'm sure I'll find the time to recreate in wool...someday...about the same time I get all the laundry done which will probably be NEVER!!!) Sorry, what were we talking about?

Well, I done gone and joined myself another knit-along! The Stranded Colorwork Knit-Along!

I couldn't help it. Stranded knitting is magical. I first came under its spell upon cracking open Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting. It was mis-shelved at the library next to the silk-ribbon embroidery pattern books. I was not yet a knitter (though I had been trying to teach myself since I was 9--I had found a little unfinished pink baby sweater that my mother had started for me that was so tiny and sweet that I resolved to learn how to knit so that I could finish the sweater). I was transported, illuminated, enlightened by those stunning Fair Isle patterns. My fruitless attempts to teach myself had been very discouraging, but Alice Starmore seemed to hold out her hand to me, telling me to try again. Fortunately I had recently become friends with a knitting-Wendy (actually it's Wendi). When I found out that she was a knitter, I asked her to teach me. I didn't have to ask twice. THANK YOU WENDI! It was a glorious summer afternoon and she sat me down on her front porch, handed me a pair of mismatched aluminum Boye needles and a ball of squeeky green acrylic. It was eight years ago and one of the best days of my life.

The first thing I knit was a baby blankie in cream colored Lion Brand Homespun. I promptly gave it away. I have no pictures. It was shaped like a trapezoid. I learned a lot. The second thing I knit was this lonely little baby mitt. You see, Alice had convinced me that stranded knitting was my destiny--so I kept the mitt, though it never acquired a mate, to remind me that when the season of life was right, I would have time to knit something amazing. I'm not sure that I have arrived at that season, but I'm going to ease myself into it by doing something that accomodates the omnipresent needs of my children. (No, no--please don't misunderstand. I'm not complaining. Oh, all right, I am complaining. It's just that I wish that some little elves would sneak in and do my housework for me. But as Wendi has said, "There is no elf; do it yourself." See? She's not only a wise and gracious knitting instructor, but a poet and philosopher!) So I'm thinking of the beautiful Proper Colorwork Mittens that Eunny Jang designed and showed in this post. But until she writes up the pattern for them, I'm going to start with a pattern from Norgi.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

big decision

As I rocked PeeWee to sleep tonight, I came to a "conclusion". I must change the name of my blog. "Barefoot" just does not represent "me" or at least the "knitting me" since I am consumed with the desire to knit socks. Then there's that other little urge that I have to put a disclaimer after "barefoot" that says "but not pregnant"--but that would be stupid. So I have made a "big decision"--I will return to my roots and go back to "shoeless", since that is my desired state of being--and it is winter and I'm currently wearing slippers.

Way too many quotation marks...

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Cheesehead II: Gorgonzola

This represents my first attempt at dying yarn. If I hadn't already been moved to painfully bad poetry by the last meathead (Cheesehead I), I would be breaking into verse right about now.

Dying yarn is incredible! The only thing that I could imagine to be better would be dying unspun fiber and then (gasp) spinning it myself! 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. (There. I knew I could work in some verse at some point. That's Shakespeare, for those of you who have forgotten the To Be or Not To Be soliloquy that you had to memorize in high school. I, of course, remember it because it is all in line with my superfreaky need to be perceived as well-read. Whether or not I am well-read is another matter.) Back to the matter at hand...

I wound a skein of cream Lamb's Pride Bulky into a hank, pulled it into an irregular triangle, rubber-banded the points together and then dipped them into a pot of steaming hot Kool-Aid. Yummy! I used one packet of Berry Blue, one packet of Arctic Green Frost, and 1/4 packet of Grape. I let it sit for half an hour. The dye bath didn't go clear as the Kool-Aid dying directions say it will, but the yarn color was right.

After a rinse and dry, I had this hank of hunky loveliness. And then 1 1/2 hours later I had my Gorgonzola! So what does one use to embellish a hat named after such a fabulous cheese? Why pears, of course! First I tried beading a green pear. Didn't look right. It had too delicate of a look for all that bulky yarn--And I liked the idea of warm tones to contrast with those cool blue veins.

I cut a pear out of tan felt just to check for size, because I thought I might try to do another beaded pear with chunkier amber and bronze beads. But that little felt pear grew on me--So I dusted it with a some eyeshadow, glued on a stem, and here we are!

The children are whining something about "food" and "hunger" and "neglect". I suppose I should go...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Cheese, Gromit!

Yes. I confessed in my last post "My Life. My Blog" about my weakness for cheese. I love cheese. There. I don't mind saying it and having everyone (anyone?) read it. I love clumps of curdled, bacteria-laden milk products. I especially love it if they are goat milk products. And I love knitting. (Shhh. I actually love knitting more, but don't let the friendly hordes of micro flora in my reefer know.) Now the two have come together in a most gratifying way. How can that be, you ask? Is she knitting with mozzarella strings? No, no. You see that little button on the sidebar? The one that says "meathead"? Well, I present for your viewing pleasure, the Cheesehead! Ta Da!

Thou meathead, thou hat,
Sprung forth from my needles,
O object of my creation,
Though thou wert designed by another,
Yet still thou art mine entirely, forsooth
I did dream of thee with thy wee felted vermin

Thou meathead, thou hat,
Thy decreases curvaceous,
Thy gauge Oh! so bulky,
Thou hast made of me a finisher,
Tho' still my cast-ons do outweigh
I become more truly a Knitter with thy seaming

I am inordinately proud of this, this, really pointy hat! Why? Why am I so intensely pleased about this? Perhaps because it was SO quick to make, or perhaps because I'm just so in love with the mouse. It's all hairy. I shall call the hat Cheesehead I: Vermont Cheddar. Cheeseheads II and III are forthcoming. I had planned to have them all done before posting about them, but after the delight of felting that little mouse, I couldn't hold back. I think we need a closeup of the mouse.

Project Specs for Vermont Cheddar
Patterns: meathead hat--Larissa of Stitch Marker; mouse--my own

Yarns: hat--Lamb's Pride Bulky in sun yellow and I used all but 3 yards of the skein; mouse--KnitPicks Suri Dream in sandstorm

Needles: hat--US size 15 straights; mouse--US size 7 straights

Likes: Super quick to knit (2 hours maybe? too many interruptions to know) and dang it, that point is cute. The pattern was a breeze. I had so much fun making the mouse. It was my first intentionally felted item and I'll cherish the memory of its drowned little carcass swirling around in the pot on my stove. I used a couple of jet black seed beads for eyes and some black fishing line (Fireline) for the whiskers.

Dislikes: Hmmm. None! I do usually prefer knitting hats in the round, but I don't have double points in the right size--knitting it flat was fine because seaming it was such a quick job.

Oh, and no, I'm not from Wisconsin, although I hear it's lovely. Nor have I ever been to a Packers game or worn a cheese wedge-shaped block of foam on my head. The closest I have come was a Browns/Chargers game in San Diego in 1993. After a thrilling overtime victory by the Brownies, my husband did, indeed, eat a dog biscuit offered to him by a member of the Dawg Pound.

Holy Toledo! I hear the milk truck. Yep, there go the empty bottles...(clunking) and there are the 5 half-gallons of 1%. This means I have officially stayed up WAY too late. In my defence, darling PeeWee has been waking up screaming every half-hour. Either she's having chemo nightmares again, or the pumpkin pie is not sitting well. I don't think it's the latter. She has been trending toward better sleep patterns, but something has set her back tonight. Sometimes it's easier just to stay up rather than get in and out and in and out and in and out of bed. I usually take her to bed with me around 4 AM on nights like these. Eric is such a light sleeper that once PeeWee is in our bed, he's done sleeping. More than you wanted to know...oh well. It's my blog and I like it. Wow, look at me being all sassy. Didn't know I had it in me, did you? (Don't answer that, Beans.) (Beans is my sister.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My life. My blog.

What fun. I nabbed this from Cara of januaryone and I likey. First the black and white self-portrait:

I'm totally copying Cara. She is a professional photographer and her black and white self- portrait is in focus and artistic. Mine, on the other hand, is fuzzy and odd. I'm trying to look mysterious. I like to think that I just help other people feel better about themselves when they look at my feeble attempts. I kind of like it, though. As Burt would say, "Better than a finger in the eye, ain't it?" (And if you don't know who Burt is, you are lacking a good dose of Mary Poppins.)

And here is the utterly unmysterious written part of the exam:

Can you see that? Oh well.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled content...

I've got some pink 5 inch squares going for this worthy endeavor: Project Warming Kaitlyn And I'm awhirl with Meathead ideas. Do I have pictures of either? No. Those attempts are still in the "feeble" stage. Time to get on with the day. Happy Thanksgiving to you all! (All two of you!!)

Monday, November 20, 2006

and again with Joe's hat

I've discovered something ugly about myself and my knitting world has come crashing down around my ears. Here's what happened...

Friday, in the car, driving children home from school. Sweet, lovely, 7th grade neighbor-child says, "Did you make Joe's hat?"

I reply, "Why, yes!" (blush), "I did!"

Sweet, lovely, darling neighbor-child excitedly says, "My grandpa makes hats like that all the time!"

"Oh, how interesting!" I say, slightly puzzled. "Is he a knitter?"

"No," says sweet, lovely, darling, earnest neighbor-child. "He uses one of those round thingys."

"A knitting loom?" I ask, trying to mask my horror.

"Yeah! Is that what it's called? I guess he is a knitter, then, " concludes sweet, lovely, darling, earnest tormentor-neighbor-child.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Yes. The world looks at the hat, the beautifully striped and ribbed Kureyon and alpaca-silk blend hat that filled me with such pride from deciphering the brioche stitch in the round instructions (which wasn't the easiest thing for me, mind you) and sees just another knitting loom hat. Not that there's anything wrong with knitting loom hats...but can't you see the decreases?????? You can't decrease on a knitting loom. Look at the beautiful decreases!!!!! I will probably never knit in brioche stitch again. I'm grieving. I grieve that no one will look at that hat and think, "Hey, someone used double-pointed needles to knit that!" I grieve for the realization that I am such a shallow, vain knitting snob.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

brilliant! (and Joe's hat)

I'm feeling just a wee bit smug. Not greatly smug, nor even mildly smug. Just the tiny, but satisfying amount of smugness one might feel when one is essentially new to the blogging universe and one figures out how to put a picture of one's first knitalong on the sidebar. Yes, yes, I know that I first posted an entry almost a year ago, but really. You must cut me some slack for still having late effects of chemo. I wonder how long I can keep laying down that card. . . especially since I wasn't the one who had the chemo. Hmmm. I'd better find a new excuse in light of the fact that PeeWee has been napping for an hour and 45 minutes! Alert the media!!!! She has never had a non-drug-induced nap of that length in her life! Wahoo! If this keeps up I just might conquer the world (or at least the mountain of laundry sitting menacingly behind me)!! I can see it now: sleep-deprived no longer, Valerie takes up her needles and knits sweaters for everyone on her Christmas list! I'm getting delusional. I'd better stop now.

Oh yes, I finished Joe's hat last night. He wore it to school. I'll have to find some sunshine and grab a picture when he gets home. I got a little loopy-loose in my knitting (so what's new) and the hat is a little bigger than it should be. I love it anyway. I love the nifty reversible-ness of brioche stitch and I love the ribs of grey against the strips of Kureyon on the cuff of the hat.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

too many projects

PeeWee's sweater is almost done. It just needs buttons. Seaming it was actually rather gratifying. There really weren't all that many ends to weave in and little bitty sweaters have little bitty seams--so it all came together quite rapidly. That's bizarre. I don't know why that picture went in sideways. Oh well. You'll have to tilt your head. All two of you. ;)

Joe complained to me a couple of days ago that his poor ears are suffering in the cold as he waits for the bus in the morning. His hat from last year seems to have gone missing, so of course I told him I'd whip one up. You see, from the moment he said his ears were cold, my mind had started ticking away, trying to figure out what sort of manly hat I could come up with for my big little man. I have this lovely, slowly growing collection of Kureyon that is intended for my Lizard Ridge afghan. Unfortunately, the pile is vulnerable to pilfering because I just can't resist it. I need to get going on my Lizard Ridge so that I'll stop "borrowing" from its stash. Back to the subject: Joe's hat. I have been intrigued by a pattern in the book Weekend Knitting (I think that's supposed to be underlined, but curiously, there is not a option on Blogger for underlining, only italics or bold) that uses the interesting brioche stitch in the round. I remembered a couple of balls of lovely soft gray KnitPicks Elegance (70% baby alpaca, 30% silk) in my closet that I thought would look great with Kureyon #183, et voila! (I'm having entirely too much fun with that italics button.) (I'm also having way too much fun with this hat. I adore Kureyon and I'm really enjoying the brioche stitch. It's magical the way those slipped stitches and yarn overs come together.) (I'm also way to fond of parentheses.)
And what other projects are lurking about the house? There's the aforementioned Lizard Ridge afghan. Then there's the KnitPicks Geo Moderne afghan. Then there's yet another afghan for my bed(room) which is coming together from a delicious collection of purples and browns. YUMMY! What else? Some fingerless gloves (got some Misty Alpaca worsted in tweedy green for those) Of course, there's the cashmere moebius scarf Christmas gift for my mother. Ooop. Must stop listing. Baby awakens.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Big Sister's world

When I looked at the computer desk this morning I found this fantastic vignette, courtesy of Big Sister:

I particularly like the perspective lines created by the left knitting needle and the clarinet. And isn't that tiny teacup, sugar bowl, and creamer the perfect little accent? But the thing that amazed me the most was that my 12-year-old daughter figured out all by herself how to do a stockinette/reverse stockinette motif in the middle of her scarf! And unless she has a chart hiding somewhere, she did that heart freeform!! I brought that ball of gold Plymouth Yarn Yukon home from Yarn Today about a week ago. Big Sis saw it and asked if she could play with it. I said yes, but she didn't do anything with it until last night. I went to bed a little early (Pee Wee was tired) and when we left to go start the bath/story routine, Big Sis was just starting to cast on. !!!!! I guess if you have enough yarn lying around and you say you are too busy to give your child knitting instruction, then that child might just get a little defiant and figure things out by herself!

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Who me? Up all night? Nah. I'm going to get at least 3 hours in bed before the kids wake up. I just have to do one last thing...a picture of the moebius I'm working on.

I caught an episode of Knitty Gritty with Cat Bordi demonstrating her magical moebius cast-on. I recorded it. I watched it three times in a row. I was transfixed. I dreamed about it. I couldn't wait for my order of Hand Maiden cashmere to arrive (that's it in the picture--the color is Nova Scotia) so I got some Classic Elite Miracle (alpaca and tencel blend) at my LYS. (I'm still tickled PINK that I actually have a LYS!!!! That's a Local Yarn Shop, Shirlene.) and I whipped out a loopy, sloppy moebius. I can't stand to have anyone look at it, so I haven't taken a picture of it. Blech. Fortunately, I'm more at ease on this second one and my knitting is much tidier. This lovely Nova Scotia is for my mother for Christmas. I am loving every minute of it. I've never knit cashmere before--blends, yes, but never the straight stuff. It almost defies description. It's like stroking baby skin. Ahhhh.

Does it say something about my personality that when I'm uneasy about a knitting technique that my tension gets looser rather than tighter? Hmmm. Shake it off, Val. This is not the time for excessive introspection. Finish up and go to bed.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


There's PeeWee's little hand, irresistably drawn (like mine!) to this Mountain Colors merino ribbon scarf. I've decided that this blog is going to become my chronical of creative endeavors, most particularly, my knitting projects! Yes, yes! A knitting blog! Of course, there will still be all of that tiresome personal information that leaks around the sides-- but after grappling with the dilemma of posting something meaningful, yet not completely embarrassing, this seems to be the perfect solution! (I figure that being mildly embarrassing should be fine. I am, after all, mildly embarrassed most of the time. It's just who I am.)

Another reason for the morph into a knitting blog is that I have discovered that there is not one, but two (2!!!) yarn shops in my little valley! The closest yarn shop used to be an hour's drive away, but sometime during the cloistered year of PeeWee's cancer treatment, we acquired TWO shops! I've overjoyed! Since my discovery of them a few weeks ago, I have already spent my grocery money on yarn! Who needs to eat? There's Kureyon within my grasp! And a lovely cashmere for Cat Bordi's moebius, and some baby alpaca for a lace shawl, and a locally spun and dyed merino for Elizabeth Zimmerman's nifty knit-in-one-piece baby jacket, and some georgeous Mountain Colors merino ribbon for a scarf, and an assortment of lovlies for an afghan (from Knit Picks, but the purchase was inspired by the presence of the other yarn), and I think that's it for now.

The Noro Kureyon is for an afghan in the latest issue of Knitty. The pattern is called Lizard Ridge and I have joined the Leapin' Lizards Knit-Along (my first knit-along!) since I am determined to have that afghan. Oh yes, it shall be mine. It's georgeous.

I use to hate my stash. In fact, I wouldn't call it a "stash", I'd call it an unfortunate collection of cheap and ugly yarn that I couldn't bring myself to use because it was so awful. Now I LURVE my stash and I feel that in some mystical way found only in natural fibers, it loves me back.

Monday, August 28, 2006

August is almost over! How does it all go by so quickly? School started and I miss having the children around all day. They are probably glad for the change and the chance to breathe without me listening.

I made more bread. It wasn't worth taking a picture of it. It turned out poorly. I watered down the egg wash too much and sprinkled Germade on top of the loaves. Result: dull, pock-marked, ugly loaves of bread. It tasted pretty good, though. I didn't oversalt the dough this time. I may break down and start using a recipe, but I do enjoy just dumping stuff in to the bowl. It makes me feel liberated and innovative.

I've got about 7 knitting project that I want to start. Each child needs (NEEDS? Ha!) a sweater and Bev and Lydia both want leg warmers for dance. I want to find a lovely pinky self-striping merino for the leg warmers. Bev wants a lime green and yellow tweed wool for her sweater. Lydia wants a pink cotton-silk blend. Ted wants the bulky blue wool that I already have in my stash. Joe just wants anything--he doesn't care what, just so long as I actually finish it before he grows out of it. I think Ted's will get started first, seeing as how we are in between gallery checks just now and a trip to the yarn shop would not be a good idea...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Game today. Joe's team lost. Lydia and Ted had a great time. They played on a nearby playground the entire time and spent at least $10 each at the snack stand. Bev stayed home. I think she read that blood-sucking book about vampires the whole time. After we got home, I took a three-hour nap with Paige. She will actually sleep for longer than 45 minutes if she's latched on...

Alene just sent me a bunch of pictures from our family reunion in July at Bear Lake. Here's one of my favorites: my beautiful, contemplative, big sister Joyce. She's getting ready for the new school year--teaching two classes. She's a marvel. She has about an inch of hair now. Larry hid her wig, so she just has to go with the pixie look. I think she's adorable.

Cancer sucks. I get mad at my kids when they say that things suck. It's such a vulgar thing to say and children shouldn't have it coming out of their little innocent mouths. Hmmm. Cancer sucks.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Joe has his first football game tomorrow. He couldn't find his game jersey all day today. I told him he needed to pray about it. We turned the house upside-down looking for that jersey. Finally when we were all starving and ready to give up looking to go out to eat, Joe came skipping triumphantly up the stairs with the blasted thing...I had been on my knees in my bedroom, praying "Lord, help him find that jersey right now, please. He needs it and he needs to know that he can ask for Thy help and receive it..." Joe told me he had finally stopped searching and prayed for help, then had the idea that it might be in the crawlspace under the stairs (which he sometimes uses as a hideout)! There it was!!! Phew! I don't know that there are any extra jerseys and he might not have been able to play tomorrow.

We celebrated the departure of our houseguests by going out to a favorite Chinese restaurant. The children behaved very well and we had fun together. Ahhh...I like my kids. (I like Wendi's kids, too--but I must admit that 9 children on a full-time basis would be too many for me.) Paige over-ate. Does that baby have an off switch? She threw up in the parking lot as we were leaving. She seemed to feel much better afterward.

I told Eric that I was just going to read an article in a magazine and then come right in to bed. Hmmmm. I just can't seem to let go of this quiet time. I want to stay up and knit. Go to bed, Val! I am strong. I can do it. I can go to bed. But first, a picture of the bread I made yesterday. It's so pretty--I have to hold it up for display. :)

Thursday, August 17, 2006


This morning I was trying to explain to Eric why I often stay up WAY too late at night. He totally understands my need to have time to think my own thoughts. I figured he would relate. So as I was thinking about this idea of "thinking my own thoughts", I realized that part of why I feel deprived of the opportunity for introspection is that I have no record of it. I have not regularly written in any sort of a journal since I was 20. That's 16 years ago, people! A lot has happened in those years and I can't remember most of it. It's time for a life-change.

So here comes the deluge. Shirlene, if you read this, I'm sorry to present this to the viewing public, yourself included, but it's your fault--you got me started (well, restarted anyway). Maybe I should find another journal-y type avenue for this stuff that's a little more private...Maybe tomorrow.

I used to look down my nose at people who drank cola-type drinks. I used to think it was very low-brow and pedestrian. Well, I need to pluck and I'm on foot, because here I sit with a diet Pepsi and I LIKE IT.

My friend Wendi is in Europe. I have her four children at my house. I love them, but not quite like my own. I would actually like to stuff two of them in the closet until she gets home on Saturday, but I'm trying to disguise that urge by declaring everything they do or say to be FANTASTIC!

I took all of the kids (plus Joe's friend Peter, that's 10 kids all together) to the aquatic center yesterday. I think they all had a good time diving and sliding. I had a great time playing with Paige. I lined up the big kids in pairs and told them to stick with and look out for their buddies. For the most part, they did so, except for one of the closet candidates who didn't stick with his buddy when he didn't feel like it, which was roughly 3/4 of the time.

I made bread today using a recipe that requires a sponge (mixture of flour, water and yeast) that is stirred up the previous night and left to ferment until the next morning. My dear friend Julie called me tonight after dinner and we found that, once again, we are cosmically aligned--as she made bread using a sponge today, too! It was a first time for both of us. Listen to her--this is an example of why I love talking to her--"I've been watching this sponge bubble and heave and it's so comforting. Stephen is out of town and I feel like I have a friend over."

I've run out of steam. I guess it's time to give over to sleep. I just vant to be alone...Just for a little longer.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Here's a picture of my cute kids from a trip to a nearby amusement park three weeks ago. What a fun day. We don't go anywhere very often, so when the Candlelighters (an organization that supports families of children with cancer) sponsored a day at the park, we carpe-ed the diem.

PeeWee had scans on Tuesday, August 1. They were all clear with good results on blood and urine test, too!!!! We asked her oncologist if we could discontinue the pelvic CT scan and HE AGREED!!!!! Plus, we don't have to go back for another scan for 4 months instead of the expected 3 months!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wahoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know I've used up my quota of exclamation points for the week, but that there is good news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 24, 2006


There. I felt the need to put PeeWee on this blog. I also felt the need to add an entry because I have been experiencing that dreaded "me-too" feeling caused by visiting Shirlene's blog.

Today is Pioneer Day. In honor of the pioneers, I cleaned off my patio. Yahoo! I am feeling liberated and also slightly remorseful because I sent off the nifty, but very bedraggled 60's patio furniture that I got from my neighbor's estate sale. Something is prodding me to keep it, repaint it, and make new cushions for it. I must be realistic, however. In what century would that happen? Not this one. I will pass that project on to someone else. Sigh. Unexpected benefit: Joe and Ted have rediscovered the lovely, level expanse of cement and played broom hockey all evening on it.

Things that Paige said today: Mom! Mom-mom! Moooooom! Up. Num-num. More (sign). Please (sign). Shoe (sounds like "shhhhhh"). Woof. Moo. Quack (sounds like "kak"--it's my favorite animal sound that she makes--SO cute). Hi. Hi. Hi. Dad. Dad. Dad. Bye-bye (sounds like "die-die"). Lydia (Ya-ya). Ted (Ded). Joe (Doe). Bev (Bob). Kay-ko (the all purpose word--it means thank you, here you go, give it to me, I'm the cutest baby ever, etc.)

I dearly love all my children and each one is my favorite child, but this Paigey-bug has me bound up in ways that I can't explain. I think I've developed some extra nerve endings that are in her body.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

picture possibilities

I wonder if I can stick in a picture. Other people are doing it. Hmmm.

It worked! Ta Da!!!

There's sweet Paige, bald and beautiful at about 3 months of age. She had two months of chemo down, one more to go at that point.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Wow, creating this blog thingy was so easy. Will I actually write anything worth reading? This would be great for family stuff. This could be a little scary. How easy is it for Joe-off-the-street to access this? If I were to google a key phrase, would that bring up this blog? I'd better try it and see.

I could use this as some sort of self-improvement goal-actualization accountability forum. I could publish to the world all of those things that should just, in the interest of good taste, be kept private. I could make this very personal, or I could have it be more of a family meeting place. Why should I have all the fun? We could ALL post embarrassing things!

Shall I go ahead? Shall I hit that "Publish Post" button?