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...