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!