Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Alexander & Relativity

Call me Alexander.

Ok, not quite the opener that "call me Ishmael" is, but then, I'm not out hunting white whales. Instead I'm having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Hence, today my name is Alexander.

Only my day isn't quite as traumatic as that stalwart hero of kiddie lit. I got to sit in the seat I wanted in the car (I mean, hey, I'm the driver) and I don't pay enough attention to what I put on my feet to care if I get the tennis shoes I wanted.

No, it was really just one thing that set me off. Granted, since the one thing had the code word "ex" in it, it was, in typical ex fashion, a bit more serious than minor (Although a total goof on the ex's part, it nonetheless represented serious hassle for me. It fit the pattern for us.).

I even slammed a door. In 99.9% of my life, I am not a door slammer. My kids suddenly became extraordinarily well-behaved and quiet (to be fair to them, although this doesn't happen often, it does happen a lot more than .1% of the time).

I needed to calm down, so I went to get groceries, even though such a move represented a complete lack of logic on my part. No biggie; I live to be illogical.

So off I went. Once outside, I peeled off my gloves. It was in the 20s (Fahrenheit), and gloves felt too warm.

If you think I'm out of my ever-loving mind, I hasten to point out that it had been between -20 F and -30 F for much of the week. Forty to 50 degree hikes in the temperature tend to skew your perspective.

Starting the car, I realized that my kids had been incredulous that other kids long ago had gone to school in 20-or-so degree weather with no coats because the day was so "warm" and had then perished in one the worst blizzards to ever hit the Midwest. How could anyone think 20 degrees was warm? To say they scoffed would be putting it mildly. After one winter here, they now complain that they are hot when it gets to twenty, though after hearing the stories of the people in the book, they keep the coats on. (The book in which I read about this storm is called The Childrens' Blizzard, by David Laskin. It's heart-breaking, gripping, and never once does the author show anything less than the deepest compassion for the people about whom he was writing. Check him out.)

Is 20 degrees warm, or cold? It's all a matter of perspective (sorry, but it just sounds too hippy to say, "It's all relative, man." Maybe using dude instead would help?). I started mulling over the idea of relativity. (Well, kind of. It's a short drive to the grocery store, only six minutes or so. But I think quickly. Well, kind of.).

Relativity is the state of being dependent for existence on or determined in nature, value, or quality by relation to something else (thank you Merriam-Webster Online for the nifty definition). I wondered. Does that mean if I look at everything in a positive light, then the positive aspects of the situation become more relative than the negative?

Ok, maybe I think too quickly to be either logical or coherent, but bear with me.

For example, what if I looked at everything from the perspective that the fact that the person who peeved me so badly today is now at least only doing so once a month, rather than on a several times a day basis? This is progress, of a sort, especially when I consider that there are several wonderful states between us. So, be angry today, or just be thankful that today is the only day he made me angry?

This is rather Zen thinking, especially for me. I tend to mutter and freak and mutter some more when angry. And I did do that. Just not for as long as usual, which was odd, considering the bind said person inadvertently placed me in—and then had been too irresponsible to rectify.

I decided to enter the grocery store in this rather, not happy, exactly, but kind of detached accepting state, and see what happened. It was crowded and rather than running over slow moving little old ladies or kids with no cart control, I was patient. I moved serenely through the crowds (Have I mentioned I hate being in crowds? Especially if I have no knitting or crocheting in my hands?).

After I got the food, I wandered past the magazine rack to look for the knitting magazines. This, you understand, is an exercise in futility. I've never seen a knitting magazine there. (Oh, I'm sorry. I should have warned you to sit down first.) Crochet? Yes, thankfully. Quilting? Check. Beading? Plenty. Knitting? None. Ever.

What did I find today? Interweave Knits. Three days before it was supposed to be out on the newsstand. Three whole days early, where it had never been before.

It was a relativistic sign. I knew what I had to do.

I went to do the impossible. The especially impossible on a day which has just had a serious terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day hole blown right into it.

I went to find solid yarn to match the yarn that probably-shouldn't-be-used-for-socks-but-I'm-using-it-to-knit-my-little-Frankensocks-anyway yarn.

Did I find what I was hoping for? It's all relative, dude. (Hmm, not sure about that either…)

Besides, my skeins and I are reading the Knitting and Fine Art column right now. It's one of our favorites. We'll report back later, complete with pics. Until then, feel free to write in your own happy ending. Just give me a different name than Alexander, if you don't mind.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Tale of Two (Different) Socks

I have finally taken the leap into sock making. (Christmas stockings, while a good dry run, really don't count; if they turn out too huge, people love them even more. Extra loot capacity, you know). I found a yarn I am so in love with that it's a wonder that everyone around me doesn't gouge out their eyes at the sight of it, I've banged on about it so much.

But look. See the pretty patterning on the swatch? How could one not be totally enamored of the pretty patterning? I mean to say.

I even found the perfect pattern/tutorial online at Hipknitism.com that very nicely walks all non-mathematical people (that would be me, in case you were wondering) through the math so that they can create a uniquely them sock, rather than said newbie casting on a "follow me completely pattern" and discovering that they have a) knit a sock that could easily double as a leg length tourniquet should they be in the mood to get rid of a leg they really didn't care for anyway or b) scrambling to find a charity which sends socks to needy elephants.

And really, this is a basic ribbed sock that encourages you to do what you want for ribbing pattern (so long as it matches your math) and leaves you free to choose.

It's a very me pattern.

The problem?

I've done just a bit over an inch and I'm already bored with ribbing (okay, okay, so maybe I'll do a bit more, just to keep the socks from falling into a puddle around my ankles). I read far too much to suspect I have the attention span of gnat, but there it is. I want to do….something else. I love this yarn, even if it is cotton. I can't hold its cotton-ness against it. I want it to be spectacular even if it turns out that despite my best efforts into the realm of numbers I can't get the sock on past my toes. If I fail, I want to fail beautifully.

So, suggestions? If there are any knitters out there reading this (even one) please, I beg of you, give me some ideas. I want something that will stun and amaze all without detracting from the self-patterning, er, pattern.

There is (dare I admit it?), one small flaw with the perfect yarn. Just one. Tiny, really.
Despite my best efforts at trying to match up the yarn from the center and the outside of the skein so I could do this totally cool old-technique-made-new-again a.k.a Kory Stamper's knitting two socks at one time (I know all about SSS. I've read "the literature"), I couldn't get the freakin' colors to match. At all. I finally gave up, stuffed the yarn back into the center of the ball (no way that will tangle, I'm sure) and decided that if I really wanted to try this technique, I'd, well, have to get some more yarn.

I bought this:

Now, ok, the not so knitterly new among the whopping three of you who read this are no doubt trying to think of a way to tactfully say a few things. Let me help you along.

Don't you think that yarn is a bit, well, thick for a sock? How do you think it will behave as a fabric? Or, come to that, how do you think you will put on your shoes?

It's the colors' faults. The colors! Blame them for attracting me and insisting that they wanted to be socks, even if it turns out that is totally unrealistic of them. Really. Besides, have I perchance mentioned that it's freakin' cold here? My shoes are old, they can stretch. I have no sympathy for the shoes. I want warm feet and I don't want to wait until summer.

If it makes you feel better, we can call this a slipper sock. Just imagine that I will sew one of those leather wannabe soles to the bottom. Not that I have any plans on doing so as that would mess up the look of the cool solid colored heel and toe I'll be doing (said solid to be purchased after I decide which stripe color is my favorite) but you can imagine all you want if it will make you feel happier.

You do realize that at that gauge you'll have to cast on so few stitches that you'll be in danger of impaling yourself each time you turn a corner on your (cough) dpns.

Yes, well. I'm a knitter on the edge. Give me the pointy sticks that make me feel as if I've gotten somewhere with each needle rather than mindlessly chasing myself in a circle. I'll take my chances with impalement.

You've bare faced admitted you were a newb. And you want to try double knitting these? Two socks at once? Why??

Go read Kory Stamper's article. She uses pen drawn happy and sad faces on her fingers to show you what's right and what's wrong. Peeking their wee little faces out between good stitches (happy face!) and bad stitches (looking oh so sorry for you) that mean you've fused your work together. And then she kindly tells you how to de-fuse—sorry, couldn't resist. How could you not want to try the technique?! I mean, it's a seriously cool, motivational visual aid, that. They are very encouraging little fingers.

Have you thought about the fact that with needles that small and yarn that thick you will soon be reduced to a gibbering idiot because you'll probably splitting your yarn with each stitch (and have you wondered if the good Lord gave you a brain, period)?

I have accepted the fact that this yarn splits into more pieces than a cookie that four Things are trying to divide equally. At least in some places. In others? Bwaa ha ha, I'm knitting on!

Gibbering, after a certain point, is actually rather soothing. You should try it.

(oh, and I've spoken with God and He's assured me He will get back to me on that last question as soon as is Omnipotently possible. Seems He's rather busy at the mo. War. Famine. Intolerance by Group A for everybody in Groups B-Z who do not believe or live or love exactly as they do. You know. Basically even bigger acts of human brainlessness than me attempting to make this yarn into socks.)

Thus herein lies, for now, the end of the tale of two (different) socks. Perhaps you'll hear more (if you don't want to, don't click on this blog. Easy, right?)

And if any of you three were wondering what became of the fetching hat, its patiently waiting its turn. While I feel guilty about that (seven-year-olds can still do sad eyes to the max) I'm currently sending out so many resumes and writing so many freakin' cover letters that I'm not quite sure that my mind is focused enough to follow the pattern well. I'd like to avoid screwing it up on the second go round, if that's even remotely possible.

Monday, February 11, 2008


It's a Bill the Cat, hairball kind of day.

I should have known it was coming. When one has to go to bed with an extra blanket (most likely crocheted by one's aunt or grandmother) and use one's wee heating pad as a sort of bed heater, and furthermore must wear two layers of clothing and wigwam socks (which are, short of creating oneself a thrummed pair of socks that would make one look as if one had been attacked by a swarm of deranged bees, the preferred warmwear for the discerning feet), one should suspect that the following day will be…fraught. Fraught with what, you ask? Read on.

~One large amount of cold.

It's freakin' -20 F out there this morning and I'm writing this with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders rather than turn up the heat (heat costs, the blanket doesn't). When I walked my son, the Thing Four one, to school this morning, the snow that generally looks like dirty brown rock salt strew across the hardtop (from the street salt spread out) was frozen solid. The snowdrifts were so tightly packed that we could walk on top without breaking through. My hair, which was dry when I set out, was frozen due to me having the temerity to breath.

And on the way back from the school, the freakiest thing happened. A guy stopped the delivery van he was driving to let me cross the street. I've never seen any car so much as slow down around here. Kudos to the driver, and here's hoping he wasn't in the delirium stage of hypothermia (did I mention it's freakin' cold here?).

Not enough? Oh, there's more.

~One kid with the flu

(and I'm thanking my stars for Nintendo DS, trying to adjust to teenage coolness that will not permit a mother to fuss over him and praying that not all of the other three get it).

~One car that thinks it has the flu and had to be jumpstarted

(we won't talk about the interesting sparks I generated, okay?)

~One application

that asks for so much personal information (it's for the government) that I freaked and had to read a whole month's worth of the Yarn Harlot blog—September 2004, to be exact; I'm playing extreme catch up—just to calm myself down. These people want to know every address I've had for the past ten years. When I considered that a) I used to be married to someone who generally wasn't happy unless we were somewhere else every few years and b) I forget addresses and phone numbers if I don't use them for a long time (like a week), I realized that I would have to call the ex to get some of the addresses. It's enough to make me go back and read the October 2004 blogs as well.

And (since these blogs are supposed to be about knitting and/or crocheting, it had to be coming)

~One hat.

I've been very pleased by the hat. I found the basic pattern at Knitting-and.com (and if that doesn't show up as a link, save yourself a lot of hair pulling and just Google London Beanie) and tweaked it for the different yarn I was using. I added a few stitches and adjusted the number of rows I would need based on how many inches tall another hat I had knit that fit the kid was (I felt so mathematical).

I found the train pattern at Knitting Any Way and tweaked it as well by adding another car to match the number of stitches I'd figured the hat should be (the youngest son thinks trains are seriously cool at the moment). I'd cast on, and had fun doing alternate color ribbing (pattern tweaking again).

Things proceeded well at first. After the five color Christmas stocking, I felt I was ready for anything (the fact that I would be carrying five colors at the same time rather than two or three at a time should have warned me). But the knitting seemed to bear witness to my good feeling. The knitting was lying nice and flat. Like this:

What few bumps there were straightened out beautifully with a gentle tug. Hello blocking, you will be my hero. It was working, and I was finally shrugging off the title of the world's slowest knitter of lumpy objects.

Then I got to here:

Okay, so it was suddenly a tad lumpier. Not to worry. I pulled gently, confident I would see the knitting smooth like an abyssal plain.

Instead, I got nothing. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Well, that's a lie, actually. What I got was a bunch of yarn strands telling me in no uncertain terms that they were a bit uptight and if I was fool enough to think I could block them into relaxation then I was, well, a fool.

Still, I was undaunted. I finished the last bit of all red rounds and then jammed the thing on Thing Three's head this a.m., hoping it would stretch enough that it wouldn't really matter.

Did I mention that Thing Three has rather a large head? As in, bigger than his 13-year-old sister's head? You can already guess the results, can't you?

Aside from getting "the look" from a kid who still wears footie pajamas with moose all over them (namely due to the indignity of his mother trying to jam a too small hat that still had dpns in it onto his head before she would even let him have his breakfast), I was sure I could hear that damn hat sniggering at me. Sniggering.

(and if you are too, don't tell me.)

Now the hat looks like this:

But this is not bad, right? I mean, I can go back and add pale yellow for the window openings so they look more like windows; I'll like that better than the red, I'm sure. Floating one more color for a few more rows is really no big deal.

But….I now have this hideous scary feeling that the hat will be too tall and will fall over his eyes when he pulls it on. And I should mention that even the part that stretched over his head was still an extremely tight fit (why, I ask you why? This was a beanie for teenagers/adults, I added stitches to allow for the extra floats in back, and it was still very…snug. Either British teenagers' heads are incredibly small or my kid's head is freakishly large instead of rather large) and I'm wondering if it will really fit it the end or if I'll have to add more stitches, rechart the train and start back at square one? No, I shouldn't mention that. No worries; it'll be fine.

And, I tell myself as I straighten out skeins of yarn, it's interesting to learn that floated yarn tangles just as much when you frog out as when you're knitting and furthermore, if I have to frog out all the way, then I can use that cool technique I learned about in Meg Swansen's last newsletter to get rid of the purl bump when I increase (that random bit of blue did show up well in the red and if I have to do everything over at least I won't have to convince myself the blue purl bump makes the hat "unique").

And either, way, it has to be better than a 32-page application for a job, right?

That last sentence just killed off every positive thinking gene in my body.

All of them. I can hear taps playing softly in the background.

Think I'll go do the math for my simple, custom-fit, uber-basic ribbed sock in pretty self-patterning yarn now. Self-patterning yarn is good.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

This is the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be crafting in it.

I had a very less than minor miracle today, so the borrowing and...adapting of the above biblical quote seemed more than appropriate.

(And for those of you who are about to point out that I previously posted two blogs that were sneakily dated after this blog (at my original site) and therefore I'm not really rejoicing on Sunday as it is in all actuality Saturday a week later, I have only to say that my blog--old and new--lets me put whatever day I want to on the post and that I am still experiencing leftover bliss from last Sunday so it's perfectly legit to still be rejoicing and that I don't need to hear a word about my time management schedule, thank you oh so very much. Do not stomp on a chica's rejoicing.)

It started out innocuously enough. Two of the kids (Thing Two and Thing Three, as they shall here be named—anyone who has read Cat in the Hat will understand this immediately) are in a group called Hands of Praise, which puts on pretty funny puppet shows to some funky music that would have never made it into my church when I was kid.

(I was raised in a German Lutheran church. If you're one, you understand. If you're not, let's just say that German Lutherans of the traditional stripe feel most comfortable with speaking in unison, singing songs at an octave that only a bat could hear, and would never, ever dream of interrupting the minister with a, "Praise God" or even an, "Amen to that," while the minister is speaking. Never. That would be impolite, after all.)

The last song the puppet team performed to was pretty fun, as it pointed out all the womanizing, drinking and other such problems of the major heroes and heroines of the Bible (before some of you fall over from shock due to reading this, the entire point of the song was that God accepts people for what they are and uses them for His purposes, just as He finds them. Imagine. Acceptance and tolerance and grace given, no matter what. No judgment because someone is not like you—and considering He's God and we're not and never can be, that's very compassionate of him, don't you think? Ohhhh, compassion. Perhaps that's a concept we should all mull over for awhile…).

But I digress. I come to these Sunday night practices with plenty to do, for both myself and others, because while Thing Two and Thing Three practice, Thing One and Thing Four are at loose ends. Then Thing One goes to youth group, and the other three are left to entertain (as it seems pointless and wasteful to make four trips back and forth, we only make the two and all go along for the ride.).

Anyway, while youth group was doing group stuff of a youthish nature, and while Things Three and Four played some only slightly loud imaginary game in the large entryway next to the sanctuary (as the minister didn't clutch at his chest and go white, I imagine said game's less than holy origins were still okay for church), I knitted my swatch for the pretty, pretty sock yarn. Thing Two was sitting beside me, getting her reading interrupted by my happiness over my rosewood dpns. I was in share the joy mode, you know?

She responded with a, "Well, I'm glad I remembered them at Christmas for you then," in the slow sort of tone you use with the mentally deranged. Clearly, she was not getting it. I pushed the needles between her nose and her book and said, "But feel them!" She tried, oh so heroically for a 13-year-old gir, to stifle her sigh and randomly stuck out her hand to feel the needles.

That's when it happened. There was a sudden, warm glow of light that could only be from Heaven falling on my daughter and from far away there were beautiful angelic voices that were clearly singing nothing found in the traditional Lutheran hymnal and….

Okay. So not really. But the kid's expression did it all. She looked up. She looked at me (if you're a parent, you understand the significance of that). Then she said it. "Those do feel good. Can I try a few stitches?"

Can I try a few stitches?

Please understand that when mom took up knitting, Thing Two was very excited. Being the only girls in the house (even the dog was a guy), we immediately invented mom and me knit nights, which consisted of kicking out all the guys from my bedroom and holing up with a movie we'd seen a million times, armed with herbal tea and popcorn or chocolate, knitting and giggling on my bed. Only she really couldn't find anything she wanted to knit. Nothing. She's not a girly girl, she gagged at the thought of pink purses, and she wasn't ready for knitting complicated stuffed wolves or penguins or such cool animals (she goes for realism and scoffed at the simpler patterns). The knitting languished on the needles.

Then mom (that would be me) decided, in a perfectly logical way, that since I had two whole granny squares crocheted, not to mention one bird made of the sadistically named "fun fur" (Yes, knitters, I'd crossed over. Please note the name of the blog.) that it was sensible for me to not only crochet this for my best friend in the world's first baby:

but that it was also permissible to change the colors to match the baby's room and oh since they were doing a dinosaur motif that those teddy bears could go too and I could make up my own pattern for the dinos right??? Which produced this:

(That is Thing Three's conception of Flat Stanley next to the blanket. Stanley admired the blanket and wanted to be a part of the pic. Note Stanley's totally cool variegated purple scarf.)

And as my friend produced this:

all those hours spent with white rectangles that were enough to make me leave a large depression in the wall where I banged my head endlessly were worth it. The permanent twitch in my eyelid means nothing, Owyn. Just ignore that about your honorary auntie, there's a pet.

(We'll also ignore that said blanket arrived a tad after Owyn. Good things come to those who wait, right?).

Yes, all this…enthusiasm…mom displayed convinced Thing Two that crochet was the way to go, not knitting. (Forgive her. She was young, and one hook seemed less complicated than two needles). She even found a project she was excited about. A ladybug pot holder for Thing Four's teacher, whose class was called (you guessed it) the ladybugs. (Thing Four had been hoping to be a frog, because the frog teacher wore seriously cool ties that lit up, but he loved his ladybug teacher just as well). We went to our then-LYS and with the help of the wonderful Darrin (scroll down to see her), we bought Dale of Norway wool (who wants a potholder that melts in an acrylic sort of way, after all?) and Thing Two produced this:

(please note that she insisted that she "do this on my own—I'm big enough.")

When it was done, she looked thoughtfully at it. Then she looked at me. Then she expressed her opinion about her work.

"Crochet is evil, mom."

She's banned all hooks from her presence ever since. (Well, except for my cool light up hook. But that's a post for another day.) Die-hard crocheters, don't despair. I'm about to learn Tunisian, so I have one last chance to er, hook her.

Our girls' night title changed. They became craft nights, and she went back to latch hook. I consoled myself that there was still yarn involved even if it had been mercilessly snipped into tiny pieces.

So, can I try a few stitches was big. Earth shaking, I-expected-cracks-to-form-in-the-walls-of-the-sanctuary-from-the-tremors big. I handed over the itty bitty needles and the thin yarn and tried to look calm and collected (note: it didn't work). She tentatively did one stitch. Then another, then another.

"Do you have bigger needles that are rosewoods, mom? I think I'd like to try knitting again."

The sanctuary swam before me. I tried to look nonchalant. Thing Three was having none of it. Thing Three rolled her eyes, laughed and said, "Be a goof and celebrate. I know you want to."

I did. As none of the youths who were grouping noticed, she seemed more bemused then mortified.

Like any good addict (mother. Did I not say mother? I meant mother.), the minute we got home, I proceeded to drag her upstairs to choose from my small but much loved collection of rosewoods.*

She actually picked the pair that were not rosewoods, but some other hardwood. That was ok. That was fine. Then the flu hit her (that's two to get it; two more to go), rending her unwilling to cast on.

But that's okay. I am patient.

There is no such thing as an incomplete miracle, after all.

*small aside. I know that, from an environmental standpoint, from the standpoint of a woman who would freak if she ever put out a trash container that was bigger than her recyclables bin on pick up day and who can't wait to live where she can have a garden and a compost heap, thus reducing trash even more, that rosewoods are not a good idea. That some species of rosewood (hopefully not the ones mine are made of) are endangered. I know that. I feel like Elizabeth Zimmerman with her tortoise shell and ivory needles. They are something to be treasured if you already have them, but not purchased. But I also know I love them to distraction. So if any of you can tell me of anything other hardwoods that have the same, almost oily, feel in the hands as rosewoods (and I can already tell you that bamboo and sustainably harvested Brittanys don't) please tell me.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Newbie Begins

All right, everyone who knows me but has no interest in this subject can completely ignore it and you're absolved from feeling guilty about hurting my feelings (unless I think you're good for some really excellent dark chocolate. Then I'll guilt trip you to the max.). This blog is just hanging here until it finds some knitterly-crocheterly blogland paradise to which it can transfer its wee little self. *

And on to the real stuff (the rest of you can go listen to a song or something).

Okay, so there are tons of knitting and crocheting blogs out there. Does the world really need one more?

But you know, those blogs are created by knitters and crocheters who know what they are doing.

Oh sure, they make mistakes too, but they're generally not what you'd call beginners. If they make mistakes, it's on complicated stuff that makes your left eyelid twitch when you read about it, and possibly your right eyelid too. They're the type of people who could knit half the piece backward and still have it come out looking right.

They'd never, for example, mix up which is Continental and which is English style knitting. Especially when they could do both with equal ease.

(Okay, so yeah, I can do both types of knitting. I just never remember which one it is I'm doing.)

They never have to stop to puzzle out what the difference between Fair Isle and intarsia is, nor wonder which one they're doing even after they cast on.

(I do that, too. That's what I get for taking a plain pattern and, ahem, tweaking it.)

They've never had to look up trbl three times in a row on the same square because they could not remember how many times to yarn over.

They've never made the mistake of reading about both the UK and US designations for the same crochet stitch. The double in the UK is the single in the US, the UK treble the US double, and so on.

(And yes, that was a contributing factor to the need to re-check the yarn overs. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.)

I mean, I'm sure they did at one time. I'm sure they all began like me, not like Elizabeth Zimmerman's spirit had inhabited their bodies (if someone knows the name of a crochet master, chuck it at me) and thus they could knit or crochet blindfolded with one hand tied behind their backs. Or, like a Veggie Tales cucumber, with no hands.

But then again, seeing their stuff, I could be wrong about the above. Maybe EZ in all her kindness, when granting the gift of inspired knitting, missed the quiet chick in the back left corner of the room. Though from what I hear, she didn't miss much (I'm sorry I missed her).

But me? I'd settle for at least being as good as Gromit, even if he never seems to get past the middle of his row in any given episode.

But I'm not. Gromit's got me beat.

I'm recklessly daring (Think I'll learn color work. Hey, here's a pattern with 5 colors! For my first try at it ever! Once more into the breach, dear friends!), wildly grateful when I discover just how much better something looks blocked when I was ready to weep over its shriveled, lumpy little pre-blocked stitches (more color work), and while I'm at it (I've made a whole crocheted bird with the sadistically named "fun fur" after all), why don't I not only change the colors on the baby blanket kit I purchased, but for a laugh, chuck the teddy bears and design dinosaurs instead, since that's what said baby's room will be decorated in? I mean, dinosaurs must be easy, right?

And, er, I'm also surrounded by non-crafters who keep looking at me a bit askance. (Thanks to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's books, though, I've found that's not uncommon.)

My kids don't like to listen to knitting and crocheting talk past their bedtime, claiming falling asleep in class gets them in trouble (where are their rebel genes?!?), and though my boyfriend takes an active interest in what I do, I've yet to corrupt him to the point picking up a hook or casting on some socks or some such for me (I'm working on that).

But if there are any of you out there who also belong in the "Hey, yo, I'm a newb here" class of crafters, take heart. Rather than wonder how you can get from where you are to where they are, know that there are knitters out there who are right with you (or in my case, possibly far behind!! :P). And you've just met one who's willing to publish photographic proof of that.

Soon. I promise.

*And this is the new place to which my blog has come to live. Huzzah! The blog is so excited.