Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sometimes, Blogger really bites

I am hearing more and more about other Blogger users problems. The same stuff spread across a multitude of users should be ringing some bells at Blogger central. 97.5% of the time, I do not get my comments in my inbox, my sidebar goes wonky when I post at times and finding answers to my most pressing questions is impossible. Any suggestions? At least when I was with AOL, the journals were easy to use.

I shipped off my "victim's" box today for the Great Unloved Sock Yarn Swap. She should get it in a few days, maybe a week at max, depending on how the mail is running. I sure hope she enjoyes it more than I did! The yarn that is, not the swap. This is my FIRST swap of any kind and I sure hope it continues to be a positive thing. Beth has done a great job with this. There are 46 of us swapping...how cool is that?

Yes, there is still knitting happening here at Chez Duckhouse. Hubster's Watch Hill Buttondown is at a standstill until I can order more yarn. GASP. So much for the knit-from-the-stash oath. He yammered on and on about getting a cardigan of his own because he is always so cold anymore. So off to the library website I trotted to request some books (Men In Knits, Knitting the New Classics were the two frontrunners). When they arrived, he and I sat down together to pour over them. I am not even sure he looked at the Men In Knits book because the Watch Hill Buttondown caught his eye and that's what he asked for. He wanted grey and I wanted blue. I won that one! He wears grey every stinking day...tees with a flannel shirt over them. I'm sick of grey. Hubster spied some Paton's Classic Merino Wool in New Denim in my basket, picked it up to see how soft it was and asked me to knit up a "piece" (he doesn't get swatch just yet) so he could see how it would feel. Well, if I'm going to cast on, might as well be either to swatch or start. This stuff is amazingly soft and knits up like a dream. No splitting or knots...just smooth knitting. So far, I am 2/3 done with the left front and am now out of yarn. So Friday will see me placing an order with Discount Yarn Sale to complete his sweater. Should I mention that he has already requested TWO more sweaters? One for each of his football teams: the OSU Buckeyes and the other for his Pittsburgh Steelers. Good thing he doesn't mind when I order yarn.

In other knitting news, Rockin' R's Guernsey is cruising along rather speedily. The back has been done for some time now and the front is nearing the pattern/design portion. Then I will do both sleeves at once and be done with it. I am constantly drawn to Aran and Guernseys...I see more in the future, possibly for the entire family EXCEPT The Amazing J. She doesn't like sweaters. Someday, she will beg for a warm, handknit sweater, I just know it.

Say a prayer for dear Kris and her family as they prepare to move from Florida to Washington state.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Trader Jill

Remember my excitement about this book? I'd ordered it with a Joann's gift cert my sister gave me for Christmas. Silly me forgot that there is really only ONE pattern in it I like. I listed it on ebay but the auction closed with 5 watchers, no bids. So I am looking to trade it for ???. You all know how to find me.

More later, once the kiddlets are down for the night.

Friday, January 27, 2006

I think I want to be a designer

And I think I'd like to profit from my design IF it turns out as I see it in my mind's eye. Anyone with any experience as a knit-designer lurking out there? I'd love some practical, useful info on making my endeavor a success. I have a thousand questions (like should I have an attorney for this?) but am still working on the proto-type. What started off as a swatch/teach myself something new session has blossomed into an idea that will not let go. Jane, Jan, and Kris, I would like to see you as my test knitters if/when this comes together. Interested? You know how to contact me...we can work out the particulars when the time comes.

Hubster's surgery is on hold until a stress test is completed. Sometimes I think doctors are the dumbest 2-legged creatures out there. We've known for weeks that this surgery was needed so therefore, I think we should have known for weeks that the stress test would be required as well. Which means the damn thing should have been scheduled for this week but no, some doctor had his head firmly up his you-know-what so Hubster must suffer longer with this. ARGH.

For humor this week, we have the thieving little black squirrel who appeared at our feeder recently. The sparrows seem to have chased him off which gives me mixed feelings. Being a transplanted farmgirl, I miss the opportunities to see wildlife on a daily basis that the country provides. Whitetail deer, red fox, chipmunks, squirrels, groundhogs(woodchucks), etc were daily visitors to our fields when I was growing up. Seeing them taught me to both respect and marvel at nature along with lessons about ecosystems, predators and all that. I sometimes worry that my girls aren't getting enough of those lessons daily. So the absence of Mr Squirrely is greatly missed. He was a lesson for us all as well as an amusement.

Let's blame Madcapmum for stirring up the longing for the country life again. OneWiseWoman hooked us up and I am a devoted reader now. I'm just doing my part to expand horizons and broaden minds. Hey, OneWiseWoman...did you take your blog down or did I just lose the link?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I guess I'm a joiner...

Usually I am unable to join the various swaps and KALs due to financial worries, but Beth has come up with a way to solve that problem for me, along with the knitters who've sworn to knit from the stash: The Great Unloved Sock Yarn Swap. Hurry and run, don't walk, over to see Beth and sign up for this swap. I am very excited to be in on the fun since I have sock yarn out the whazoo. Not to the extent of some, but for me, it seems like a lot. Looking at the collection has me burnt out because, well, I am a sucker for those self-patterning yarns. I see them and think "gee, I can whip up generic socks that look great with no effort whatsoever". Problem is generic is boring, stripes, patterning or whatever aside. I am comfortable enough with socks that I crave cables, aran designs, something which demands a smidgen of attention and challenges me. The pride which comes with teaching yourself a new technique is out of this world, a high worth the headaches of numerous visits to the frog pond. A happiness similar to watching your child take her first steps. The pride just wells up inside and bubbles over. You know exactly what I mean.

I had hoped to show pictures of the first 2006 adult socks but a snowy, gray day dashed those hopes in an instant. The wind was awful at times. Our feeders were busier than the bank on the first. Chickadees, nuthatches, sparrows and cardinals were gorging on black oil sunflower seeds. What was intended to be a pre-school science lesson has stretched into 3 years of devoted bird-watching while we eat. A shepard's hook and several bushes house the feeders on one side of the house, a few are right outside the large dining room window. Miss E learned early to identify several breeds and will narrate the bird-drama for me while I cook. We have a rather bossy sparrow who likes only one side of the feeder and will chase the others away.Great wake-me up in the mornings with my tea.

Oh, I fell off the knitting wagon there for a moment. I finished another pair of baby socks this afternoon and picked up Rockin' R's Guernsey again. Since there are inches of stockinette, I have been trying out new ideas for the next project. Maybe something for Dulaan? I need to check on yarn requirements before I decide since the other, larger stash is mostly acrylics. The Debbie Bliss "How to Knit" book has several children's patterns which appeal to me. They are simply written and the book includes some awesome stitch patterns so I feel comfortable in thinking I could change one pattern to show off some stitch work a bit. I just need to get my rear in gear and hunt up more circs so that I may have more than one going at a time.

Speaking of circs, did I mention that Rockin' R is learning to knit? She's known the knit stitch for quite some time but was frustrated by the quality of her work. After watching her struggle with those blasted straights, I hooked her up with a circ and taught her to use it like a straight. WOW! Her stitches are absolutely perfect now. She isn't ready to learn to purl, she says, so garter stitch it is for now. I'm thinking she could master in-the-round work rather quickly and be cranking out stuff in no time if I could find the nerve to teach her. Suggestions? Remember, this is my dyslexic daughter who often learns best on her own, following her own set of ideas and directions.

I could go on and on but it is late and I need some sleep. Hubster goes Monday for that gallbladder surgery and I have tons to do yet. I owe some of you emails...I will get to it, I promise!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Isn't this just nifty?

I found this at Tres Bon Babble and just think it is the neatest thing I've seen in a while. Go create your own.

create your own personalized map of the USA
or check out ourCalifornia travel guide

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Cheese-less Whining

Why does it always, ALWAYS work out that the days when Chez Duck is missing a few critters, I am low on energy? The lists of must-dos, should-dos and wanna-dos are immense and somewhat oppressive at this point. Hubster and The Amazing J(TAJ) both have clothes in the mending which should be done soon. The TTL box is overflowing, things in it need finishing touches and repacked. The master catch-all-crap-room bedroom looks as if Joann Fabrics barfed all over one side. The kitchen has a funky, undetermined smell wafting about. The kitchen sink needs scrubbed, the bath could use a pressure hose, some Clorox and a HAZMAT suit. The yard is a disaster zone thanks to the wind and some careless roofers hired by the landlady last week to repair leaking valleys. Things need sorted and listed on eBay so maybe we will survive the next few months financially. The laundry is threatening to take over the house. CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY.FAR.AWAY. BRING CAFFEINE, ADDI TURBOS, YARN, AND EXTRA PILLOWS Make sure you also possess the ability to HIDE ME from the ducklings and Hubster. They are driving me nucking futz!!

Ok, enough with the whine....once again, Chez Duck is outta cheese so it's pointless to have whine. Hubster goes Jan 30th to have the bothersome gall bladder yanked. At this point, the doctor is saying only a possible two day stay. What on earth could I accomplish in a mere two days? Probably nothing since he will be at the local hospital and therefore a local phone call. Which means he'll be more apt to call and "harass" me throughout the day and night. Honey: I will miss you too but we really, really need some rest. I'll see you...don't worry.

Oh, is this supposed to be a knitting blog? Where has my head gone? Last night saw the finish of one lonely Peaks and Valleys sock. Intended as a Valentine's Day gift for the Duck. I have not a clue how I got distracted and ended up casting on for a single sock but it happened. Let me just say, I am no longer in love with my dpns. I still like them. They are comparable in that old- sweatpants-you-dare-not-wear-in-public way but are no longer my favorite. Too slow and tedious, pokey and annoying when I am craving fast, sleak and soothing. I had high hopes for ordering some smaller addi's next month but a quick peek at the budget reveals I will just have to live with the lust and current gauge of 7.5 spi for a few months more. Oh well.

Hubster finally went out for his afternoon stroll around the neighborhood so I think I will go kidnap the remote before the evening Testostrone-fest begins. I gotta get me some girlfriends who are fiber-crazy and live close by. Or move. Which is something we are tossing about, if we can find the right housing in the perfect setting at a price we can live with. When I dream, I dream big, don't I?

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Just now, the amazing J was washing dishes. The E-ster was being annoying. She thought she would bug her oldest sister by dancing around the tiny kitchen when something caught her eye. "Hey, J, what is that hairball thing?" Trying desperately to smother her laughter, J replied "It's an S.O.S pad". "What's SOS?" queried E. "Shut yO Shithole. Now leave me alone before I get Mama."

Sometimes I just love being a mom. Sometimes I don't...then I remember something like this and then it is all worth it. Laughter brought to me by my kidlets is the VERY best medicine.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

This is where I long to be today...but on a warm, summer day with a slight breeze stirring up a froth on the water. The bitter cold reared it's ugly head today and has left me freezing, dreaming of being warm and on vacation again. So, I decided to share another of my favorite vacation 2005 pictures. This was taken on the Arnold Transit ferry boat to Mackinaw Island, late July 2005. Not exactly the very best shot, but it evokes a jigsaw puzzle in my mind. I used to be a puzzle queen, thanks to my grandmother who kept a stash of them in our toy closet for cold winter days to be done after an hour or two of sledding down the pasture hill. Somewhere in that stash, there must have been a sea/lakeside one with boats because I am always drawn to them. And European scenes. And snow, although the snow ones are beginning to turn me off in a major way.

The other reason this picture appeals to me is that it commemorates E's first boat ride. I enjoy boats and water a lot but this ride was a nightmare for me. Too many times I have been trapped on a ride with a kidlet screaming "STOP THIS THING! I WANT OFF NOW!!" and I had a very irrational fear that she would do this as soon as the boat left the dock. My other highly irrational fear was that the boat would begin to sink and I would have to chose which kidlet to help, knowing full well that Duck doesn't swim. (Don't ask. Duck is a person, not a duck) So, how did I survive the ride? Part of the way to the island, I rode with my eyes closed, listening to E and Duck ooh and aah over everything. R and J were rather silent I think...old hands at boat rides. The way back to the mainland, I knit on what I called my 'nervous riding sock'. I do not ride so well when others drive anymore so this sock was knit and then frogged when we came home to Ohio.

While I am not anxious to return to Mackinaw this summer (it is VERY expensive), I am looking forward to our Michigan trip again. The girls miss their gram and I miss her too. Plus, there is just something about Michigan. I vacationed there years ago as a teen with friends and loved it then too. The people are friendly, the scenery is beautiful and wide open spaces seem to be plentiful. A very nice place and I could imagine living there. Go figure.

Hubster is hanging in there. His ER visit was basically a bust. They ran a few tests, gave him pain meds and sent him home since he has an appointment to see the surgeon on Friday about having his gallbladder removed. While he was gone, I managed to knit 5 inches on the Guernsey sweater back. I bound it off yesterday and cast on for the front but have been dragging my needles a bit when it comes to working on it. Why the pause? Well, I guess the thought of 13+" of stockinette has stopped me in my tracks. While I enjoyed the st st during the back, lately the thought of all that just makes me shutter. I mean, what the hell heck was I thinking when I agreed to knit this for R? Maybe that I'd earn "Good Mama points"?? So to save my sanity, I also cast on for...socks. What else? LOL. Someone has created a monster. Any guesses as to who that person is??

Last night, I made 3 pounds of fudge because chocolate sounded good to the kidlets. Best fudge I've made in a long time. Today the girls helped me get the crockpots (yes, plural) going. One had tangy pork roast and the other had chicken and carrots. Why two crocks going at once? I am trying to get the freezer filled with home-made, ready-to-heat meals during the winter months so during the summer we have a variety ready to go when it is too hot to cook. Tomorrow, we will be trying out the roaster oven the Egg Donor gave us for Christmas. Fixin's? A mondo batch of chili. And I will be trying out a recipe I found for Cheddar bread. Keep your fingers crossed and the drool to yourselves.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Yes, Jane, you really are an enabler. An encourager and wonderful friend too. Not only have you inspired me to knit more socks (LOL) but also to consider starting a KAL especially for tiny socks. See? I have even started trying to come up a logo. I know the flash glare makes it a little tough to read. It says "5 Tiny Toes x 2". I have no idea how to set up a KAL or even if it would take off but I will continue to knit up these small wonders.

Yup, two views. I am absolutely in love with these socks. The Baby sock pattern is easy to memorize which makes it a great zen-knitting pattern for me. Also is great for doctor office knitting, which I will be doing this week with Hubster. I have 'unvented' the pattern at times, using K2,P2 ribbing all the way to the toes. They look so incredibly tiny when I do that.

Next up are more FOs for 2006...4 pairs of kindergarten size mittens and a scarf. Technically, the scarf was started in 2005 but not finished until this month so it counts as a FO for this year in my book. That puts me at 15 FOs for the year. Hmmm....can I hold on to that lead? Only time will tell. LOL

Should I mention that I have also cast on for the child's Guernsey from Debbie Bliss' How To Knit book? I got frustrated when swatching for gauge and said "forge ahead regardless". Instead of the 6spi, I'm getting 5.5spi on size US6 using LB Fisherman's Wool. R has claimed this as hers and I have no doubt the largest size (pattern says 6-8 yrs, actual chest measurement 37 3/4 ins) will fit her 12 yo frame. I cast on for this January 8 and am 2/3 through the back already. There are times when I love stockinette!! I would love this pattern more if I had felt confident enough to convert it to be worked in the round but since I have heard mixed reviews of Ms Bliss' patterns, I opted to do as written. With the gauge change, of course.

Hubster is at the ER right now. J is at a sleepover so I had to stay home with R&E since they are still afraid to stay alone at night. I am so hoping for some quick, solid answers so I can retain my slim grip on sanity. Kris..you made my day!! I am so glad to know others can understand it. So now I think I will make the most of having control of the remote, recliner and quiet. I am going to, what else? KNIT.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Among the Living, I think.

The holidays really suck the life out of me anymore. Factor in the crazy weather we have been seeing here in hell SE Ohio and I am just a puddle of ooze in a chair. A knitting puddle of ooze without pictures to prove it but oh well. Best thing to come from the holidays (other than rest?)- a $5 gift card to Joann's from my baby sister. Used today to order Besty McCarthy's Knit Socks! book. Sweet deal I could not resist since JA was offering 50% off one item...I think I paid a total less than $9 out of my pocket for the book and shipping. I am still lusting/drooling/craving the Nancy Bush books, the Barbara Walker stitch libraries and the Socks,Socks,Socks books but will continue to pray I stumble across them at a thrift shop or real deal somewhere. I have two knitting books I would consider trading for any of these but I have to hunt up the proper titles. One is a Debbie Bliss "How to Knit" book and the other is a stitch library which uses only charts. I like charts but get too flustered and p.o'd with them at times to truly enjoy the book. Holler if a trade interests you.

Hubster is experiencing health issues again. Now the doctors think it may be his gallbladder. We hope to know for sure come Friday what it is and what will be done. Do I get bad wifey marks if I admit to hoping for a few days of hospitalization for him just so I can have a break from it all? Truth be told, he is driving me up the flipping wall lately. But to be fair, he is trying to pull his share of weight around here. It's just his inability to cope with insomina that is getting to me. I am an old, old pro when it comes to not sleeping. I have it down to a science. I read, I sip tea quietly, I knit, I watch the History Channel...I am QUIET. I STAY PUT. I do not feel the need to wake him up and explain that once again, I cannot sleep but please do not let me bother you. Yup, his exact words. Honey, a little hint: waking me up constitutes bothering me. Therefore, don't do it!

I set a new goal for myself this year....something I swore I wouldn't really do but that blasted nagging voice in my head talked me into it. Since Jane knit some ungodly amount of socks last year, I wanted to see if I could come close to her numbers. See what you do, Jane? Just stir up all sorts of commotion and trouble wherever you land. lol. My goal is to knit a pair of BABY socks each day...or until my stash of sock yarn leftovers is gone. Hubster thinks I am trying to hint for another pair of wee feet to inhabit Chez Duck but no, just adding to my charity box. The count thus far is 9.5 pair. Not too shabby considering I did not set this goal until mid-week. Whoo-hoo!

Other goals for the year:
Track all books read. Even the dull non-fiction stuff. So far, the book count is hovering around 4 plus several house plan books which really do not count as reading since they are all drawings. Duh.
Cook even more from scratch. I do a lot of from-scratch cooking and love to bake. Lately when I have cooked, I have made double or triple batches of stuff and froze part for our own 'microwave' meals. (Or toaster pancakes)
Knit from the stash. I know this is a popular one in blogland right now but for me, it is a practical choice. Money will be tight for most of the year thanks to the Medicare Prescription program coupled with other issues so using the stash is mandated for now.
Quilting and sewing from the stash until absolutely unable to proceed. Actually, the only things I can forsee needing to buy are batting and backings in the near future. I have assigned the older kidlets a charity project per month each. J hates yarn and really claims to hate sewing but does design beautiful quilts so she is piecing quilts and will quilt or tie one each month. R loves all things textile/fiber so she is knitting a garter stitch scarf.

About R's scarf: amazing the difference in stitch quality and knitting speed once I switched her from straights to a circ!! She told me "No more straights...ever! those things are the devil's creation". I have to agree. Her goals include learning to purl and work in the round. Patterns baffle her so I have no doubt she will learn to craft knit garments in a manner completely her own.

Well, I think I'm off to sip some ice tea and finish that .5 pair of socks. Craft on!