Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Simple Things

There's a song I really love (exposing my adoration of cheesy music) by a guy named Jim Brickman. Most of his stuff is sort of new-age, instrumental, George Winston-esque piano, but he's got one song that has been in my head all day. Here's a sample from it:

So here we go,
Let’s just dance,
Teach my soul to take this chance,
Put my heart, in your hands.

Out of all the moments that,
We leave behind,
Turn around and tell me,
Baby we’ll remember.

The thunder and the rain,
The way you say my name,
After all the clouds go by,
The simple things remain,
The sun, the moon, the stars,
The beating of two hearts,
How I love the way the simple things,
The simple things just are.

I think it's on my mind because I've had a day just filled with simple moments of joy.
  • Breakfast with one of my dearest friends and her son (who is, of course, my daughter's future husband).
  • Some time home alone with my girl, just playing. She adores me right now, and I'm trying to soak it up because I know (a) it won't last and (b) she's the last one. The older they get, the more complex the relationship gets. We've been having all these moments lately where she looks up and connects with me and just lights up, and gives me a giant, sloppy kiss. Pure love, what an amazing gift.
  • Time playing Lego with the boys while the girl slept, just listening to their imaginative play and chatter.
  • Time knitting - I got re-engergized on my Falling Leaves Lace Sock! It's sock #2, and I started the pair in, oh my, August of 2007! For some reason I just have been dragging my feet. I don't love the yarn, but it's bothering me less right now than it did. They're so pretty, and I am almost done turning the heel, and then I have 7 pattern repeats to go and the ribbing and the pair is done! (I am totally laughing because I am doing colorway 726, AKA "Put One Foot in Front of the Other"!)
  • A gorgeous moment this afternoon, at the farm where we pick up our CSA produce. We always pick up the veggies, put them in the car, and then go visit the goats, the chickens and the bunnies(in that order). Today we also took a walk out by the pond. My daughter was walking next to me, holding on to my finger (did I mention, since Friday, she is *totally* a walker now!), the boys were running and playing and chattering, the sun was so warm, it smelled like sweet hay, and it was just a moment where all was *right* in my world. The only way it could have been better is if my husband had been with me too.
  • We had a delicious dinner: steak (from our meat CSA, so local and humanely raised); fresh, local corn; fresh local greens for the salad; and mac'n'cheese (always a hit in our household).
  • Another wonderful moment, when I was taking out the recycling. Our lot slopes up to the road, so I was hauling stuff up the hill, smelling the summer evening, and feeling the earth beneath my feet. I try to be open in the present moment as much as I can, but it's so easy to get lost in all the things I "have" to do.
This isn't to say that I'm somehow calm and zen and happy all the time. I live with an anxiety monologue in my head that can make me crazy if I'm not careful, not to mention all the regular worries of an ordinary life (Did I pay all the bills? Why does my sink smell so bad? What *are* we going to have for dinner? Oh crap, the deadline for soccer registration is tomorrow!). There are also always larger concerns in any life of substance. But, I believe I have some choice, a lot of choice, actually, as to how much power I give those worries.

Ultimately, all I have, all any of us has, is this moment right now. Sometimes those moments are painful, or scary, or sad, or lonely, but often, far more often than I pay attention to, those moments are just simply beautiful.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Knitting and Math

Now, I really like math, I always have. I never got far enough along for it to get messy, and I just always enjoyed the fact that there were right answers, and they could be worked out. I loved equations, I adored geometry. Calculus was where I met my Waterloo but up until then, I loved it. It's odd, given my love of black&white thinking, that I ended up in Philosophy and Psychology, both areas known for fuzziness.

(Total tangent, I've been reading a bit on the whole issue of illiteracy in the US, and I'm wondering if math illiteracy is also an issue. Is that even the right term? Not quite the right term, but yup, it's an issue. Thanks, Google!)

Anyway, so I love to read and I love math. And statistics.

So, I'm knitting on my Forest Canopy shawl, and looking at the pattern, which calls for 8 pattern repeats. I'm knitting a large gauge yarn on smaller needles (god, will you just stop with the whole SWATCH thing already!!!), which is looking nice, I think, but really, I'm already halfway through the 5th pattern repeat, and this thing is nowhere near shawl size. It's not even napkin size, should you, you know, want a wool/silk blend, lace, hand-wash-only napkin, which I'm not saying you would, but it takes all kinds, people, it really does. Wait, what was I saying? Oh yes, it's not big enough. I also don't appear to have used a whole lot of my 100g ball of yarn. Given that it's a triangular shawl, knit...well, how to describe it if you haven't done one, it's knit out from the center of the long side. So, you're increasing every other row for a bunch of rows (20 stitches per pattern repeat of 8 rows). So I was pondering how to figure out how much yarn I might be using.

So, I created a spreadsheet. Ahh, the noble spreadsheet.

I figured out how many rows the pattern calls for (this is just for the increases section, not the scalloped edging, I'll fudge that calculation later), and put those in, and figure out how many stitches you're doing on each row. Then I look at how many rows I'd already done, and weighed my ball to see how much I've used. (Caveat, I didn't weigh the ball to start with, so I don't know if I started exactly at 100 g or not. Which may make all my calculations way off.) Then I summed stitches completed (2974), and divided the weight I'd used (100-the weight of the ball, or 3 g) by the stitches I'd done, giving me, I think, a grams per stitch calculation. Just FYI, it's 0.0010.

Then I summed the total number of stitches for the lace body as the pattern is written (9706) and multiplied it by my grams per stitch variable, giving me just under 10 g for 8 pattern repeats. This seems low, so I'll be interested to see what it comes out to be! It is interesting to me that while I'm just over halfway through the lace repeats, I've done about less than a third of the pattern stitches.

This means, obviously, that I'm going to be doing far more pattern repeats than the pattern calls for. Which is so not a problem, but I was all psyched to get this thing done, and it's not going to happen that quickly.

And, since I'm home with one baby sleeping and two boys off at Machines Camp, I'm going to go knit on the thing right now! I *should* be doing housework, but knitting and math are way more fun.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Proof that I'm doing *something*

Well, I guess TECHNICALLY it isn't proof that *I'm* knitting, just proof that someone has started a Forest Canopy Shawl. This is being knit in a fingering weight yarn, purchased from the Vermont Yarn Company, and it's one of their yarns, hand-dyed. I can't find the tag, but I believe it's a wool/silk blend, with 2% silver fibers. I wish the silver showed up more, it's very subtle but really pretty. I don't think you can see it all in these pictures. The color remind me of the twilight sky.

I am trying to get better at the double decreases (sl1, k2tog, psso), because when I pass the slipped stitch, I tend to pull it a bit, and it gets loopier, and thus more noticeable than I like.

And as you may have noticed, I am using lifelines. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I am a researcher. Whether it's psychology, child birth, diaper bags, strollers, yarn, or whatever, if I am caught by something, I like to learn a lot (A LOT) about it. I love to share what I've learned, but I also just like knowing things. So, having gotten caught up by lace, I've done some reading, books and blogs and whatnot, about the process, other people's projects, etc.

The hallmark of hubris is a presumptive pride, and let me tell you how mine went. "The pattern's not that hard...I'll be REALLY careful...I can do this...I DON'T NEED A LIFELINE."

Ha. HA.

I ripped out the 7 pattern repeats I'd done on the Swallowtail shawl for a mistake that I cannot for the life of me figure out. I finished the pattern repeats with the correct number of stitches, I did Row 1 of the next repeat correctly (verified about 8 times) and yet...I had the wrong number of stitches. Perhaps it's the fact that I did something horrible to my back yesterday that resulted in hours of lying on the floor weeping from pain (that's actually not an exaggeration, sadly), but my morale was low, and I frogged it.

*sigh* I decided to do the Forest Canopy Shawl instead, as that is listed as a good beginner project, and I *am* a lace beginner (however many lace socks I've knit notwithstanding). It's very pretty, and I've already got my first lifeline in. I'm using unwaxed dental floss and the clever clever hole in the KnitPicks Options needle to pull it through.

In other news, I finished Wicked Monkey #1 and it's very pretty.

It's funny, I really like variegated yarn in lace, but when I linked to some yarn I was interested in in another forum, one (very experienced) knitter raised the opinion that the yarn was "too busy" for lace (and clearly owned it as her own opinion). I thought it would work. I am doing Branching Out in STR, (this, to be specific) and I think it looks nice. I don't know, now I'm second guessing myself.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Willpower is overrated.

Isn't it?


Back on the yarn diet tomorrow...

Things I am Interested In

People who know me, know I could be described as a bit obsessional and controlling a planner. I like to think about what I might do, I like to look at yarn...I am pondering some purchases (which I should NOT be making).

So, let's see what's on the radar right now.

A friend *cough*ROBIN*cough* has me convinced I need this yarn, in this colorway: Knit One Crochet One Ty-Dy Sock in Blue Pansy.

I am knitting with a local version of Dream in Color's Starry, and I *love* it. I want to do a darker colorway because I think the silver will really pop. I'm pondering another triangular shawl (you know, because I've already finished the one I'm worki...oh wait, no I haven't). But I'm thinking about the Forest Canopy Shawl maybe. Either in a dark blue or green colorway. Pretty, right?

I am also thinking about doing Gail in Handmaiden Sea Silk, maybe in Lily Pond or Renaissance (if I can find it anywhere).

Hmm, apparently I have become obsessed with knitting shawls. I think a shawl (or three) would be really useful for me to have around the house this winter, as we like to keep the heat low, and I don't actually own a ton of sweaters (odd, I know, I live in New England). I love being wrapped up in a blanket, and really, what is a shawl but a blanket sized for mobility?

I still laugh at how emphatic I was that I would not, never, no way no how, want to knit lace, and now....well, that's all I want to knit!

I'm also pondering Rona (in Iris Heather) and Janet (as shown, I love that color) from KnitPicks. And, they've got some new sock yarn colors that are nice too.

Hi, I'm Knitting with a Purpose, and I am addicted to sock yarn.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

There's a lot of muttering in knitting lace.

For me, at least. I have to mutter the pattern aloud so that I don't lose my place or forget things like a YO or a K1. And since I'm either sneaking some knitting in while on kid duty or knitting after the kids go to be (i.e. when I'm in an exhausted daze), I need all the help I can get.

Someone, please stop me before I order some of this. Look at how pretty the pansy is! Pansies were my wedding flower! I have pansies tattooed on my back! *sigh* I'm broke.

I am very very tired. We had two very sick little boys yesterday who recovered enough to have energy today, but not enough to do anything (and we were still in quarantine anyway). And the baby got me up at 5:30, which is too damn early. Good thing she's cute.

And, I am completely ashamed to report that in the midst of a bounty of wonderful produce and delicious meat, tonight's dinner was canned baked beans, hot dogs and frozen garlic bread.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wait, what's that??

It appears to be my knitting mojo! Not embracing me completely, mind you, simply putting in a bit of an appearance.

Part of the circumstances leading to some actual knitting happening are that both of my boys are SICK. They've got some crappy (and hopefully short-lived) virus that has knocked them out with HIGH fevers, and each one has had one random barfing episode (SO FUN). So today was spent entertaining the baby while bringing them ice water and letting them watch the most consecutive hours of TV they have ever watched. They watched more TV today than they've watched in the last 4 months, seriously. We're not usually a big TV family, but today was one of those "do what you gotta do to get through." I'm swimming in a triathlon on Sunday as part of a team, so I'm praying I don't get it. But anyway, I had some actual time while the baby was napping.

And I had some repair to do. SOMEONE who shall remain nameless (mainly because I don't know which kitten it was) pulled a sock-in-progress out of my bag and CHEWED THE YARN THROUGH! ARGH!! It's my KP Imagination in Wicked Monkey sock. I *love* this yarn. So I sat down to fix it in my own fairly half-@ssed way. It's superwash so you can't spit splice it, so I just tied a tiny knot and hoped it would land more on the side of the sock. Which it didn't, hopefully it won't be really uncomfortable under my foot. But, I'd rather have the knot there then in the lace work on the top of the foot. So, I actually managed to complete a couple more lace repeats, and I think I have about 4 more before I'll start the toe. Which makes me very happy. This sock is going to fit me very snuggly but it should work.

Then I pulled out my Koigu stockinette sock and swooned over the yarn a bit, and then knit about 15 rows. I decided to decrease it down 2 stitches as it felt like it was going to be loose. (Gague? Huh? What?) This is another one of these socks where I just increase until it sort of looks right.

Yesterday I also managed an entire lace pattern repeat (it's only 6 rows) on the Swallowtail shawl. This is so, so pretty. I'm struggling with my higher nature on this project, in terms of keeping it versus gifting it.

AND I also got Branching Out going again. I'd say it's close to half done, it really doesn't need to be that long as it's a decorative scraf, not a 6-foot-keep-me-warm-in-the-depths-of-Massachusetts-winter scarf. Also, so, so pretty.

So there you go, I'm knitting a bit. It makes me happy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Blog Name Not So Accurate the moment, anyway. I'm not doing much knitting at all, either with a purpose or without one. It's summer, it finally got warm, I have three kids. Yeah, yeah, same old same old. It does hit me sometimes, holy cowzels (a phrase of my son's), I have THREE kids! That's a lot of kids. Thankfully they're awesome. Have you ever noticed that all bloggers' kids are (a) awesome and (b) brilliant? Heh.

I will say that I'm enjoying July a lot more than June. At this moment in time, everyone seems healthy (knock wood, it won't last). Older son's bone thing was nothing. Younger son's tummy thing is NOT celiac (don't know what it is but it's not celiac). We're really busy, which seems odd, because it is summer, but we're having fun. The last couple of weeks have been hit or miss with weather (miss, really), but we've had a couple of good days. Today being one of them - it's GORGEOUS out there. We spent the entire morning at the beach. Both boys actually enjoyed their swim lessons - hey, how odd, when it's warmer than 60 degrees, they like it better! Then we just hung out for the rest of the morning! We came home for DD's nap and now we're heading back to the beach, to meet up with more friends and have dinner there. The local pizza place delivers to the beach, how awesome is that?

I'd love to get more knitting done...but somehow, when it's hot, I'm just less in the mood.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Summer is here!!

After something like 30 straight days of rain, we've finally had some wonderful summer days! This weekend, my DH and I were able to go out for dinner ALONE together! The place was even BYOB so we had a lovely wine for a reasonable price. It was so wonderful just to sit and be together, and remember why it was we wanted to get married NINE years ago! He's the best. We had a nice long weekend filled with some productive stuff (finally weeded the front gardens, which desperately needed it!), some lounging around, and some fun family stuff. AND, I got some swimming in! I'm doing the Appleman Triathlon with two friends, and I'm the swimmer. I finally got in the lake and did the course, and I'm quite pleased with how it's going. The race in is less than two weeks. Of course my gym membership expired Saturday so I have to decide if I'm going to re-up or not. I probably will, it's cheap and close and has babysitting. But for now, I'm swimming. Today was gorgeous, and we spent the whole morning at the lake, and then the afternoon at a friend's house for swimming lessons. I am *exhausted* now. But happy.

Knitting has been, well, um, you know, not so much going on there. I started YET ANOTHER sock, because I needed a plain stockinette project for knitting group (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) and I just couldn't face the Mini Mochi yet. So I pulled out some Koigu. Ahhhh, Koigu, how I love thee. It's just so pretty! I also did a little more (like, two rows) on my Swallowtail but made the mistake of leaving it out on the couch. Did I mention we have kittens? Thankfully they didn't pull it off the needles, but SOMEONE chewed on my KP Options cord, so it's no longer usable!!

I think I may go do a little knitting right now! Though honestly, given how tired I am, I'll probably just go nap on the couch until it's time for bed.