Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Caprice: noun- a tendency to change one's mind without apparent or adequate motive. The newest issue of Interweave Knits has brought out my full capacity for capriciousness. On first glance of the website preview, I audibly groaned a little. Color work? Ack. I can barely keep one ball of yarn tangle free and on the needles with a 2 year old wanting to " me help mama knip otay". Dang, I thought.

But the preview has called me back with her siren song and after the 18th time looking it over, I think I am getting excited about knitting a few pieces from it. The color work might not be too bad, the lace items are really gorgeous, and I love Wallis, but won't knit it since I feel like my Puff Sleeve cardi is so similar. Anyway, here are a few of my top possibilities (maybe. at least right this moment. I still don't know for sure.)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Inside and Out

I have been reading an amazing book , Raising Your Spirited Child, to better understand and parent my daughter. She is incredible, brilliant, funny, sweet, and more sensitive, more dramatic, more aggressive and sometimes more overwhelming than most people know. Life with her is a constant roller coaster of highs and serious lows. She is not autistic or ADHD, but very spirited. This will serve her well as an adult, but I need to know how to get her there with our relationship still intact. For more info about spirited children, read the inside excerpts on Amazon and you will get a good picture of what I mean.

This post isn't about her though, it is about me. The act of discovering my daughter's personality traits and needs has let me see my own more clearly. Needless to say, I am spirited. Not to the extremes my girl is, but in some ways we are so similar. I couldn't see through my frustration to recognize that. This is an ongoing process and I am just now scratching the surface. I need to share one trait that she and I both share, one that now makes sense of much of my life.

I am an introvert. I am classified as an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs. This lands me in a small percentage (1-3%) of the population. So, yeah, I feel a little misunderstood most of the time. One of the most taxing encounters with others has always been when extroverted people ask me a question, which I take a moment to think of a succinct answer to, and they misinterpret my pause as ignorance, hearing problems, or confusion. These people then immediately ask again or jump to the conclusion that I have nothing to say. This usually happens in the span of 2.5 seconds by the way. The author, Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, notes that introverts like to reflect before they answer and extroverts need an immediate response. This leads to frustration for both.

This also opens my eyes to many of my familial relationships. Certain people in my life always ask me a question, only to ask another as I am opening my mouth to respond to the first, which causes me to back track mentally, revise verbally, and stutter a response to which this person then tries to finish the thought for me to fill in the gaps... but they are never right about what they think I was going to say. I am left exhausted, cranky, and never did get to give my brilliant minimal response. I often wish I could say to these people, "I will tell you the secret to the darned universe if you would just shut up and listen." Extroverts like this are terrified of a pause in conversation like I am of heights. Didn't know that either did ya?

Thanks for reading my self analysis if you have gotten this far. The book is a wonderful resource for understanding all of your relationships, not just for those with children. I suspect many people will benefit from the information and be able to apply the dynamics to their lives. This is only one tiny example of a huge frustration I have had since childhood. Now I am better equipped to catch myself before I fall prey to frustration and evasion. Just remember the next time you ask a question to actually listen (mouth closed- ears open) and you may be pleasantly surprised by the response.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Test Knitting 1, 2, 3

Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap by Gro
Yarn: Knit Picks Bare Merino Sock Yarn (natural)
Needles: US#1 and #2 DPN's

This little cap is very sweet. I cast on only 109 stitches at 7 st to the inch to achieve a newborn size. I think this is close. The cap is about 14.5 inches stretched. I only knit 5 rows of garter, then followed the pattern exactly. Very fast, very easy, very cute. Does not photograph well flat, so I used an inverted Mr. Potato Head to model the cap. For a real baby wearing one, check this out.
Magic Slippers by Caroline Dlugy-Hegwer
Needles: US #2 DPN
Super fast ( the pair can be made in an evening) and really easy. Great use for sock yarn left overs.

The votes have been tallied and the three most popular knits for babies are cardigans, blankets, and hats in that order. Booties/socks and wash cloths came in last. There are so many cute cardigan patterns, I can hardly wait to find out genders of the soon to be's in my circle.

I knit this set up to test the sizing and cute factor. If I were to give these as a gift, I would add embellishments like knit flowers for a baby girl or sailboats for a boy. The cap pattern does call for ties at the neck, but I don't know how moms might feel about ties. I remember those first few months of the irrational fear that my babies would suffocate if I didn't check on them every 3 seconds. Anyway, I'll pack these away in case any of the babies brewing in my friends might need an extra set of woolly love when they arrive.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Woodland Gnome Socks

Woodland Gnome Socks
Pattern: my basic sock
Needles: US # 1 DPN's
Yarn: 100% Merino 2 ply in "woodland gnome" from Enchanted Yarn & Fiber

Super soft, beautiful colors, I love these. The hank was 450 yards, so I have plenty left over for a small project. Hmmm, booties anyone?

On a side note, there is a local blogger who hides garden gnomes around the city and people search high and low (well, mostly low) for them. I think anything having to do with gnomes is fabulous, and want to applaud the individuals out there who look at life a little differently. Where would we be without wonder?

Friday, April 18, 2008


Harmony is partially defined as a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity. That reads so nicely doesn't it? Nature has the whole harmony gig down. These tiny shells from a far away beach just happen to coordinate with pebbles from a nearby playground. Small treasures like these make me feel a little less overwhelmed since their very existence proves order, momentary and coincidental, but order nonetheless, in a life that at times seems to harbor no harmony at all. When all of the personal limits are reached and all that's left to do is shout and cry, take solace that even when we don't have a hope much less a plan, Nature does and is always willing to share.

The poll about baby knits has been eye opening. I am going to keep the poll up for another week since votes are still trickling in. As of 1:30 pm CST, the results are as follows:
Cardigans 37%
Blankets 27%
Hats 20%
Booties/Socks 15%
Wash Cloths 2%
If you haven't voted yet, go here and let your preference be known. Speaking of baby knits, check out The Lady Knits, Crummy Knitting , and Single White Knitter for some wee inspiration.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Big Questions About Tiny Things

I am in need of your assistance fair reader. I am suddenly surrounded by pregnant women. All of the knitters out there know what I mean by saying the sight of a swollen belly makes my hands ache to knit the perfect sweet item that the baby growing in there just has to have to protect it from the cruel elements here on the outside. Resistance is futile; wee knits will be made. But, what items do new moms actually use? I love knit booties, but do they stay on? Probably not. Anyway, here is where you come in. Please take a moment to answer my poll. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Do it for the children.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Camping with a Supermodel

The months of April and May are designated to greens, browns, and metallics for Project Spectrum 3. Luckily I was able to stock up on photos with all of the earthy colors in New Orleans. The city was lush and verdant due to the rain and humidity. The days would begin very cool and damp then turn hot and steamy when the sun came out. Not the easiest weather to dress for when you are walking everywhere, so I had to choose layers carefully. The resulting wardrobe uncertainty apparently was a nuisance to my husband who more than once declared the trip ,"like camping with a supermodel." I have no idea what he is talking about. Hand knits always save the day even in the tropics; note my Clementine Shawlette.

These are my side project since I am also working diligently on the Pi shawl. The yarn is Woodland Gnome dyed by Ashley of Enchanted Yarn and Fiber. I am going to love this pair to pieces, I can already tell.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Where Yat?

We are home, but I seem to have left my heart in New Orleans. I've been struggling with how to sum up my trip because, like this incredible city, there are simply too many layers to my journey to fit neatly in one post. The weather was rainy and cool on Friday night, perfect for a stroll through the French Quarter since it kept the drunk kids inside the bars. Heads up to my frat boy readers: y'all are a foolish mess.

Contrary to popular belief, I do not melt when rained on, and enjoyed the walking, sipping, and ducking into this place and that to chat with the servers. I did not meet one stranger. I also did not meet an entree or snack I could pass up and consequently do not fit into my pants now. Normally, while walking through busy cities, I put on my " I may be half your size, but I dare you to cross me" scowl, but here, I started smiling at some point and just couldn't stop.

When in the Quarter, park yourself in front of these people, toss all the bills in your pocket in their crate, and enjoy every note they play for you. Tired of the Quarter? Wander up to Poydras and go into Mother's, across from the W hotel. Order a cup of gumbo and an oyster po-boy. Heaven. Add three dashes of Tabasco and you will actually hear angels singing on high.

Searching for live jazz on Saturday night, I braved walking up stream on Bourbon Street, dodging the inebriated hordes like Dante struggling through the tormented souls to find Beatrice. I found her. She was, for me, a table against the stage at Preservation Hall. The music was incredible; the experience was unforgettable. I also find it fitting that the gentleman dressed in white, who waved me over and led me through the door, happened to be standing under the St. Peter street sign just when I thought my mission was hopeless. New Orleans is brimming with hospitality and hope. And strong coffee. Trust me, you'll need it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I've Known Rivers* : Post #100

This is the view that greets you when you enter my brother's home. Those are his beloved Chuck's ( the real ones ) and they wait there by the door ready to go. I love this photo because it captures the essence of the otherwise mysterious Michael.

I took a road trip with him a decade or more ago to Memphis, Tennessee. Graceland, of course. But we also went to Mud Island and spent a slow, humid afternoon walking the scale model of the mighty Mississippi River. He was probably wearing one of those pairs of shoes up there. We touched the war plane Memphis Belle ( no longer housed there ) and stuck our hands in the flowing river ( and washed well afterwards. ) I will always remember this trip with a sense of melancholy for no return trip there will ever be as good or as simple. We laughed, we learned, we philosophised, and took a wrong turn accidentally landing us in Arkansas. The good old days.

The meandering path of the Mississippi ends in the Gulf of Mexico, outside New Orleans, Louisiana. On Mud Island, the river flows into a small wading pool where people toss coins and make wishes. Soon, I will be going on a road trip to New Orleans, hoping to reconcile the memories my new friends hold of the time when they lived there, with the experiences I will have on their suggestions. They send me off with a list of places to eat and things to see, but hidden in the lines between those addresses is a coin to toss into the waters and make a wish that one day, their return trip might be as good and as simple.


Pi shawl sea creature

I've been thinking of my freedom. The larger political reference is something we take for granted and is an interesting topic, but I have been thinking about the smaller sphere, the intimate relationship I have with freedom.

I am not surprised the earliest known written word is a Sumerian cuneiform representing the word freedom. The concept sits snugly at the center of all philosophy. Every day I make a million tiny decisions, good and bad, that are all based on my personal freedom to do so. I can choose to not lose my temper, to roll with the punches, to lavish attention on someone, or even to walk away from it all. I know that I could never be happy if not given the space to freely be myself and I am grateful that I am loved by a few people for exactly who I am, even when that isn't easy. I just need to remember not to take that for granted.

closeup of increases

I've changed my mind about the woodland shawl. I started wondering if I would ever wear it. I really choose simple clothing over lacy, so I turned to the queen of simple knits, Elizabeth Zimmermann. She never steers you wrong. Her circular shawl, based on the mathematical equation Pi, is my April Project Spectrum knit.

view if you are Linda Evangelista in "Freedom" video