Friday, October 31, 2008

Here are the Fingerless Gloves!

I finished winding and washing and balling the yarn. Hooray!

I could have made 8 balls, but I started getting too lazy and just made them in increasingly larger sizes. I think the last one was 5.5 ounces. I used that largest one to start on my Fingerless Gloves, so you won't see it pictured. There is something so fine about yarn all lined up in a row, don't you think?

As my first project with this yarn, I chose Fingerless Gloves. They are awfully cute, but you can see why crochet is my area of expertise, NOT knitting.

The thumb gusset looks oddly patched on and the ribbing lumpy. This I expected because after all, *I* made them. My biggest complaint is that they aren't the right SIZE. I consistently forget that I have man hands and must change the pattern to fit them. Dang it all. One more row of ribbing would be nothing at all to add, but now I'm 3/4 done with them both. I may have to give them away - to someone who appreciates a rustic, unstudied look to their knitting.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My new yarn is going to be....

drumroll please.... gauntlets! Or fingerless gloves, wristwarmers, whatever you like to call them. I found a pattern simple enough for me with just a bit of whimsy to catch my attention.
Prosaically name Button Up Fingerless Gloves, they should be done in a day or two. the first one is half done now.
Pictures will come soon!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Reclaimed yarn

This is my reclaimed yarn soaking up some sun and drying. Pretty, right?

I had been recycling wool for a while now, cutting up sweaters to make smaller tops or pants or shoes for the kids. Makes cloth diapering so much cheaper and easier - not to mention cuter.
So last night I was cutting up a few sweaters I had in storage and I realized one of the sweaters was knitted in sections and sewn together, not cut into shape and serged together. This meant that I could trim the seams carefully and pull the yarn to be washed and reused in other projects. Oh, happy day! I had been nervous of trying to before, but this time I plunged in headfirst.
I should probably have thought it through, lol. It took a couple of hours to rip the seams and unravel the yarn. But the hard part was the winding. I didn't really plan ahead and I had to wind it three times. Then wash it. I got it done, though , and I can't wait to use it! I could easily have spent $40 in a yarn shop for the wool I have now. It weighs nearly 2 pounds and is angora/cashmere blend. I get giddy just looking at it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Come check me out

I have a separate blog for less yarn-related subjects, more home and family. I just started it. Come read it sometime :)
Today is Totally Different

I've been tagged!

So Lin tagged me. If I understand it correctly, I have to go to my photo folder and pick the 6th picture. That picture for me was of my oldest child when he was only a few months old. Bad, blurry, dark pic, but he was so happy and sweet, a real angel baby. Lets see, that pic was 6/6/03 and he was born 4/25/03. Wow, less than two months old. Dang. That's so long ago now.

I don't know 5 people to pass it on to, so I'll do what I can!

OK I tagged Mom and Joleen.
Now, when Mom learns to post pictures..... love you.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

this is why there are no pics of knitting today

I came back from taking pics of the snow, only to find The Stain in my place.

And then there were cinnamon rolls

I made the salty, I had to make the sweet, right? I can't tell you how happy my family is that I love to cook. Muffins, cakes, cookies, cream pies, fruit and cream crepes, cinnamon rolls, baked chicken, meatloaf, peas with butter and toasted slivered almonds, smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels with green onion (yes, MY bagels, cooked them myself) Do you love me now too?
I never used to be that good. I would come up with monstrosities my own mother wouldn't try. Once I got good enough to make it resemble a food, I had to work on technique. The first two things I did well enough to share with other humans were white bread and apple pie. I didn't get really good til 25 years old or so, and from then on I have been begged nearly daily to make something.
It could just be hunger. I prefer to think of it as a need for my wonderfully delicious food. I'd like to thank Alton Brown, Paula Dean, The Barefoot Contessa, and my personal favorites - Caprial & John, and Americas Test Kitchen.

I love nearly any kind of cinnamon roll. These particular ones are fluffy and light and bread-y with the sweet stuff (filling and drizzled icing) staying put, not really soaking into the bread.

It's tall and soft and smells sooooooo good. Mick asked Can I have one before they are cooked? I put too many in the pan and when they rose, they got mooshed together a bit, thus the funny shape, but its looks don't matter - it's what's on the inside that counts. And the insides are warm and gooey and cinnamon-butter-brown-sugar-licious. I love the cold months because of all the super wonderful hot baked foods I can make. Sometimes just beef broth and hot crusty bread with butter is perfect.

I could cry

Really, I've done it before and I'd do it again. The problem? Takes a bit of set-up, be patient.

The lovely deep teal afghan in the Spring Breeze square and the oh, so warm and cuddly Rupert The Striped Afghan are going to slow down a bit. I bought about 1/3 of the yarn I needed because it was so much cheaper to get at a local store than ordering it online, but the store doesn't carry as much as I need all at once. I figured, they have carried the same colors for years and it's only a couple of months til the blankets will be at their new home, so it should be fine.


I started to run low on a color, I stopped by the store and found all of the racks of the chosen yarn red tagged and mostly empty. Oh, sure, there was the occasional neon pink and a couple of dirty white, but nothing I needed. I thought it must simply be a sale to make room for the new shipment.
Two weeks later and the sale is still on, the yarn has not been replenished and I am getting nervous. I priced another store and it was almost double the cost. I found Annie's Attic sells the colors I need, and only 40 cents more per skein than I quoted my customer, so I'll have to eat the cost of shipping and the extra yarn cost, but it'll be made. I really should have simply ordered all I needed to start with and this wouldn't be a problem. But NO, I had to be clever.
I hate waiting.

Get your hot pretzels!

So, it's not crochet. But it IS a project I undertook and I want to share. Don't give me lip! Look at the blog name... no really, take a look. Up. A little further. There. Melanie's Closet Project Blog is not an inspired name, I grant you that, but Mike thought of it for me years back when I wanted to sell the products of my hook and he set this blog up for me to, so I keep it the way it is. Til I'm bored. :) Fickle, fickle, me.

I was struck with the desire for hot fresh pretzels last night and like any normal person, I decided to make them myself. I live 30 miles away from the nearest city and 'bout everything in it closes up at 10 pm, so unless my craving is for an Apple Martini, I'm out of luck. I need to be self sufficient. LOL, I say that as thought pretzels were a staple of pioneer times.

I made bagels before and pretzels aren't so very different, I felt confident I could do this. As usual, I was completely right about me. I have good instincts when it comes to me. So I made half the batch plain with salt and the other half with parmesan cheese. Oh, so good! Soft and warm out of the oven, they were exactly as I hoped they would be. I made up a little melted garlic butter for dipping and I felt complete. Deep sigh.

The children woke me this morning by hopping excitedly up and down both on and near my bed yelling
"mom! mom! mom! mom! mom! mom! (one with every up or down bounce) can we have one of the ... um....(wildly sketching the vague shape of a pretzel in the air near my head)...?"
Yes, yes you can. I was smiling about how cute it was. They loved my food, it feels so good making something people appreciate, do you know what I mean? Then as I woke up a little I remembered that these kids have eaten an apple after dropping it in the dog water, fishing it out and then dropping it again in the dirt near our front porch steps. They also think Fruity-O's are ok to eat after they hit the floor because, and I quote "they're dry, mom"
But I loved the pretzels and so did Mike even though he laughed and said it was so adorable that I do that as I took pictures to show my online friends how good I was.

OK, maybe I didn't get my credit where credit was due, but I enjoyed a darn good midnight snack and the feeling of accomplishment over making something yummy. Can someone tell me now.... are they supposed to have that green tinge? I know the ones at the mall stand do, but it's the mall food court. Things often don't have colors found in nature. I'm just curious and hoping I haven't lethally poisoned us. Maybe the kids take after me more than I thought, because after all, do many adults eat a food that's oddly greenish then later ask if it was ok?

Being a mom

I don't have pictures to add to my project blog tonight, I'll take them tomorrow. I have made several crocheted sponges and they were exactly what I look for in a pattern- pretty, fast, and easy. I know, sounds bad. Any yet I haven't changed it. Hm.
I've also started on a children's cat neck pillow. So cute and so far, simple too.

Ah, life is good. I have crochet, supercharged coffee from one of my many coffee machines, and thou. I am assuming here that I have readers since I have Followers. Oh, I love saying that. I have Followers. I am mighty and wield my hook with mighty mightiness. Alright, so I sound like a freak on a box on the corner of the street wearing a tin hat and my underwear on the outside, proclaiming I have been visited by Beings from Above and they tell me water gives us cancer. I have three kids, I'm buzzed on caffeine, and it's 1 am. Everyone has their little idiosyncrasies - mine is that I am a loony. I pull it off with style and grace, right?

Over a year ago, I was looking through eBay's greatest and found a set of Pokemon cards for auction. I'll never forget it. Not that I like those gaming cards, no, those are for kids and weirdos and goodness knows I'm not either of those. Ahem. Moving on. The mom selling the cards impressed me and made me laugh so hard that I could never forget, in fact, I sent a link to my own mom. The writer has 6 kids, my mom had 4, but other than the number, there were stories of my childhood that sounded eerily similar and were delivered with as much talent and showmanship as this woman's tale. Her blog Because I Said So is funny as all get-out, I snorted my gum into my left lung while reading it and trying not to wake the baby.
I just got off an obscenely long phone conversation with my mom. I love you mom and this is for you. I hope you pee yourself. Again. Yes, I said that in front of the entire web and they are all staring.

Adventures in Grocery Shopping

I'm selling a bunch of Pokemon cards. Why? Because my kids sneaked them into my shopping cart while at the grocery store and I ended up buying them because I didn't notice they were there until we got home. How could I have possibly not noticed they were in my cart, you ask? Let me explain.

You haven’t lived until you’ve gone grocery shopping with six kids in tow. I would rather swim, covered in bait, through the English Channel, be a contestant on Fear Factor when they’re having pig brains for lunch, or do fourth grade math than to take my six kids to the grocery store. Because I absolutely detest grocery shopping, I tend to put it off as long as possible. There comes a time, however, when you’re peering into your fridge and thinking, ‘Hmmm, what can I make with ketchup, Italian dressing, and half an onion,’ that you decide you cannot avoid going to the grocery store any longer. Before beginning this most treacherous mission, I gather all the kids together and give them “The Lecture“.

“The Lecture“ goes like this…
MOM: “We have to go to the grocery store.”
KIDS: “Whine whine whine whine whine.“
MOM: “Hey, I don’t want to go either, but it’s either that or we’re eating cream of onion-ketchup soup and drinking Italian dressing for dinner tonight.”
KIDS: “Whine whine whine whine whine.“
MOM: “Now here are the rules: do not ask me for anything, do not poke the packages of meat in the butcher section, do not test the laws of physics and try to take out the bottom can in the pyramid shaped display, do not play baseball with oranges in the produce section, and most importantly, do not try to leave your brother at the store. Again.”

OK, the kids have been briefed. Time to go.

Once at the store, we grab not one, but two shopping carts. I wear the baby in a sling and the two little children sit in the carts while I push one cart and my oldest son pushes the other one. My oldest daughter is not allowed to push a cart. Ever. Why? Because the last time I let her push the cart, she smashed into my ankles so many times, my feet had to be amputated by the end of our shopping trip. This is not a good thing. You try running after a toddler with no feet sometime.

At this point, a woman looks at our two carts and asks me, “Are they all yours?” I answer good naturedly, “Yep!

“Oh my, you have your hands full.”

“Yes, I do, but it‘s fun!” I say smiling. I’ve heard all this before. In fact, I hear it every time I go anywhere with my brood.

We begin in the produce section where all these wonderfully, artistically arranged pyramids of fruit stand. There is something so irresistibly appealing about the apple on the bottom of the pile, that a child cannot help but try to touch it. Much like a bug to a zapper, the child is drawn to this piece of fruit. I turn around to the sounds of apples cascading down the display and onto the floor. Like Indiana Jones, there stands my son holding the all-consuming treasure that he just HAD to get and gazing at me with this dumbfounded look as if to say, “Did you see that??? Wow! I never thought that would happen!”

I give the offending child an exasperated sigh and say, “Didn’t I tell you, before we left, that I didn’t want you taking stuff from the bottom of the pile???”

“No. You said that you didn’t want us to take a can from the bottom of the pile. You didn’t say anything about apples.”

With superhuman effort, I resist the urge to send my child to the moon and instead focus on the positive - my child actually listened to me and remembered what I said!!! I make a mental note to be a little more specific the next time I give the kids The Grocery Store Lecture.

A little old man looks at all of us and says, “Are all of those your kids?”

Thinking about the apple incident, I reply, “Nope. They just started following me. I’ve never seen them before in my life.”

OK, now onto the bakery section where everything smells so good, I’m tempted to fill my cart with cookies and call it a day. Being on a perpetual diet, I try to hurry past the assortment of pies, cakes, breads, and pastries that have my children drooling. At this point the chorus of “Can we gets” begins.

“Can we get donuts?”
“Can we get cupcakes?”
“Can we get muffins?”
“Can we get pie?”

You’d think they’d catch on by this point, but no, they’re just getting started.

In the bakery, they’re giving away free samples of coffee cake and of course, my kids all take one. The toddler decides he doesn’t like it and proceeds to spit it out in my hand. (That’s what moms do. We put our hands in front of our children’s mouths so they can spit stuff into them. We’d rather carry around a handful of chewed up coffee cake, than to have the child spit it out onto the floor. I’m not sure why this is, but ask any mom and she’ll tell you the same.) Of course, there’s no garbage can around, so I continue shopping one-handed while searching for someplace to dispose of the regurgitated mess in my hand.

In the meat department, a mother with one small baby asks me, “Wow! Are all six yours?”
I answer her, “Yes, but I’m thinking of selling a couple of them.”

(Still searching for a garbage can at this point.)

Ok, after the meat department, my kids’ attention spans are spent. They’re done shopping at this point, but we aren’t even halfway through the store. This is about the time they like to start having shopping cart races. And who may I thank for teaching them this fun pastime? My seventh “child”, also known as my husband. While I’m picking out loaves of bread, the kids are running down the aisle behind the carts in an effort to get us kicked out of the store. I put to stop to that just as my son is about to crash head on into a giant cardboard cut-out of a Keebler elf stacked with packages of cookies.

Ah! Yes! I find a small trash can by the coffee machine in the cereal aisle and finally dump out the squishy contents of my hand. After standing in the cereal aisle for an hour and a half while the kids perused the various cereals, comparing the marshmallow and cheap, plastic toy content of each box, I broke down and let them each pick out a box. At any given time, we have twenty open boxes of cereal in my house.

As this is going on, my toddler is playing Houdini and maneuvering his little body out of the seat belt in an attempt to stand up in the cart. I’m amazed the kid made it to his second birthday without suffering a brain damaging head injury. In between trying to flip himself out of the cart, he sucks on the metal bars of the shopping cart. Mmmm, can you say “influenza”?

The shopping trip continues much like this. I break up fights between the kids now and then and stoop down to pick up items that the toddler has flung out of the cart. I desperately try to get everything on my list without adding too many other goodies to the carts.

Somehow I manage to complete my shopping in under four hours and head for the check-outs where my kids start in on a chorus of, “Can we have candy?” What evil minded person decided it would be a good idea to put a display of candy in the check-out lanes, right at a child’s eye level? Obviously someone who has never been shopping with children.

As I unload the carts, I notice many extra items that my kids have sneaked in the carts unbeknownst to me. I remove a box of Twinkies, a package of cupcakes, a bag of candy, and a can of cat food (we don’t even have a cat!). I somehow missed the box of Pokemon cards however and ended up purchasing them unbeknownst to me. As I pay for my purchases, the clerk looks at me, indicates my kids, and asks, “Are they all yours?”

Frustrated, exhausted from my trip, sick to my stomach from writing out a check for $289.53, dreading unloading all the groceries and putting them away and tired of hearing that question, I look at the clerk and answer her in my most sarcastic voice, “No. They’re not mine. I just go around the neighborhood gathering up kids to take to the grocery store because it’s so much more fun that way.”

So, up for auction is an opened (they ripped open the box on the way home from the store) package of Pokemon cards. There are 44 cards total. They're in perfect condition, as I took them away from the kiddos as soon as we got home from the store. Many of them say "Energy". I tried carrying them around with me, but they didn't work. I definitely didn't have any more energy than usual. One of them is shiny. There are a few creature-like things on many of them. One is called Pupitar. Hee hee hee Pupitar! (Oh no! My kids' sense of humor is rubbing off on me!) Anyway, I don't think there's anything special about any of these cards, but I'm very much not an authority on Pokemon cards. I just know that I'm not letting my kids keep these as a reward for their sneakiness.

Shipping is FREE on this item. Insurance is optional, but once I drop the package at the post office, it is no longer my responsibility. For example, if my son decides to pour a bottle of glue into the envelope, or my daughter spills a glass of juice on the package, that’s my responsibility and I will fully refund your money. If, however, I take the envelope to the post office and a disgruntled mail carrier sets fire to it, a pack of wild dogs rip into it, or a mail sorting machine shreds it, it’s out of my hands, so you may want to add insurance. I will leave feedback for you as soon as I’ve received your payment. I will be happy to combine shipping on multiple items won within three days. This comes from a smoke-free, pet-free, child-filled home. Please ask me any questions before placing your bid. Happy bidding! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

They grow so quickly, don't they?

Rupert is getting bigger and bigger. Why, I remember when he was nothing but a couple of stripes. He's beautiful, I love the random stripes and the size. I can't wait to get this done so I can see the big picture! I believe in this pic he is 14 inches.