Thursday, March 31, 2011

Impatient. Tap, tap, tap.

Because a few of us just can't wait another minute to find out if Turtle's pattern, Breaking Hearts,  has won the rights to the Second Quarter KAL in our Socks That Rock group, we've elected to just do it anyway.

Let's just sum it up with: We were all going to knit it eventually anyhow.

I grabbed a skein of some very colorful STR gifted me by the most awesome Mary Scott Huff (thank you again, Mary!!)
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Rare Gems Mill Ends. I was tempted to swatch it, just to see what it does.


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But I didn't.

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I just can't wait anymore...and my needles are empty.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I do NOT have a problem with lace knitting

While we braved the frigid cold to stock our freezer (and our bellehs) with some yummy salmon over February vacation, I knit Charlize.

I love this pattern, especially the ruffled, ribbed edge!


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Okay, I should have made her change her shirt! She was a reluctant model this day, as they were in the middle of a playdate.
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Unblocked, of course. But you knew that, right?

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Semi-solid Pirate Yarn, in merino/tencel. It has silver sparklies throughout.
Don't judge me. Every yarn has a purpose.
I have a 14 year old niece who will LOVE this.

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And because said niece is headed to GREECE soon...



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Yup. I bit the bullet. She's drying right now.

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I have no idea what I'm doing.

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I pinned the snot out of it, making it as symmetrical as I could. That matters, right?
I kinda figure it does.

Tomorrow, she comes out of her restraints.
I promise to dress my model appropriately for her Grand Unveiling.

By the way...taking a page from Grace's book (Grace's husband does all her blocking for her. He's a Master at it, from all the experience he's had, given Grace's prolific knitting!), I brought The Things in on the pinning action.
I figure if they learn alongside me, I can make them do it.

You know that if this turns out badly, it will very likely be that my To Be Blocked pile will remain in that state forever. So...fingers, toes, and eyes crossed for a good outcome!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Unveiling:

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The pins are only half out, and already I am in love...


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yessssssss.

My model and I passed like two ships in the night yesterday afternoon, she on her way into the house to start homework, and I on my way to a school board meeting. By the time I got home, we had an hour to eat dinner together, and it was time for bed. (The Things, not me!)
Our photo shoot never happened.

But the light is lovely today, and I'm free after I close up the PO at 2, so we'll do it this afternoon.

On another note, the school budget that we've been agonizing over, is in. And I'm nauseous.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Just passing time...

I have two sweater designs percolating in my head for a friend's grandsons. While I agonize over yarn and color choices, I thought I'd throw something on the needles to keep my hands busy.
It distracts me from the evil around me. And keeps me from weeping openly for the people of Japan.

I don't think I can read any more about the horror currently being experienced over there, after the account I saw of one Mother whose baby was ripped from her grasp by the swirling, powerful, surging water. She said, "One second I had her clutched firmly in my arms, shielding her with my body...and the next she was gone, and there was no sign of her."
More recently, Mothers are looking at their babies and wondering what effects the radiation leak will have on their future. How do you compare our problems to that worry??
I listen to people whining about their lives, and their 'big' problems, and I have NO compassion.
I wonder if I ever will again. The disaster in Japan has become the barometer by which I measure everything.
I just look at my babies kids, and think about what it would feel like to have either of them ripped out of my arms. And be gone, just like *that*.
I have been given great perspective as relates to my own life, I can tell you. I hope the rest of us can open our eyes and hearts to that perspective as well. That humility would go a long way.

So, in an effort to distract myself, I cast on for Summer Flies. Clearly, my subconscious is looking forward to long lazy days spent out in my patio, something fruity and refreshing in a glass (with an umbrella!) nearby.

I cranked this out in 5 days.
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In spite of adding two repeats of lace sections, a full third of it's size, it only took 5 days!

This is, of course, unblocked...because you know that I am Blocking Challenged.

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It's going to look so cool when that lace opens up!

I think this pattern appealed to me because of the variation of the lace sections, sort of sampler-like.
I've always been a sucker for needlework samplers.

And so the To Be Blocked pile grows....
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I see the downside to my lace addiction. Sigh. I'm going to need to learn to block, aren't I?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The first STR club shipment

It started off in the great frozen North, cut off from civilization (okay, we were just missing wi-fi, but that really sucked), with the challenge of performing Judy's Magic Cast-On without benefit of instruction.

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I did eventually get it, but not without involving law enforcement.

Upon arriving back home, in what passes for civilization on the rock known as Frenchboro, I made the difficult decision to pass on not one, but both, patterns included in the Socks That Rock club shipment.
Not an easy decision to make.

But I was determined to do a pair of toe- up socks, and would not be deterred from my mission.

I'm very glad I did, as it turned out.

I settled on a seemingly random stripe sequence, inspired by Fibonacci numbers.
What, you think we knitters just grab whichever string lands in our hand to decide when to start and stop stripes? There's major planning in that!
Oh, it's just me? OCD? What?
Whatever. Fibonacci numbers are way cool. We spend HOURS in the Math room at the Museum of Science in Boston. Lots of budding engineers in our brood. (And, we always know where to look for Daddy, when he goes missing.)

The colors were every bit as delightful as expected.

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Toe-up, man, is the way to go!
Short row heels! These heels are, by far, the most wearable with shoes.

You know, if you actually wear socks with shoes. 
Which I do not.
I'm taking a lot of heat from a particular non-knitting friend, who wants to be shown to knit something called a 'tube sock'.
I will not show her how to knit a 'tube sock'. If she knits it, it will have a proper heel, or I will find her sock-in-progress, and rip it out. We're in tough negotiations right now.
In retaliation, she has threatened to 'out' me, for being a compulsive sock knitter, who does not wear socks.
I'm just beating her to the punch.

I'm not a wearer of lace shawls, either, but that doesn't stop me!
It's all about the art, not so much the practicality.

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My favorite funky thing: mismatched toes, heels, and cuffs.
Let your freak flag fly...especially where nobody sees it.

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Look- no gaps. Wrap and Turn, baby!

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Toe pic!

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Love.

I have gifted the socks to a friend who lives in Brewer, who was very happy to receive them (and surprised!).

And that was the best part of knitting them.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Success

Thing One and I are back from our latest excursion.
Remember that appointment I didn't figure would come to pass? It was yesterday.
We made it across the bay with no trouble (it was a most enjoyable ride actually, with very pleasant company in the form of some visitors from the Island Institute, including a very friendly dog and the sweetest baby you ever saw).

We did some business on our way to Bangor, and then we headed to: the Orthodontist.

She is not encased in metal yet, but it is soon to follow! Very exciting!

We celebrated the news with a Girl's Day Out, replete with fine dining, mocktails, and an evening of swimming.

The weather today is absolutely stunning; bright sun and a cloudless sky. The ferry rolled along some wide swells to bring me home, and wonder of wonders, instead of whimpering...
I nearly fell asleep.

A perfect 'weekend'.

Of course, upon hearing what we saw and did and ate, Thing Two is now asking when HE will be getting braces!

Friday, March 4, 2011

To-Do: make appointment

I found this old post from December. It made me laugh, then cry, then laugh again.
That alone makes it worth sharing.

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I've had this item on my to-do list for a few weeks. An unpleasant little task, one that probably takes the average American a minute or so.
I am not the average American.
Living year round on an island means this task is akin to having bamboo shoots shoved under your fingernails.
Like having super sensitive parts of your body waxed.
Like being stung by 482 bees, at once.

I have to make an appointment.

Cue screaming in the streets, sirens wailing, dogs and cats, living together...


Seriously, you say, have you lost your mind out there on that rock? What's the big deal?

Let me give you a glimpse:

I write the task down on the whiteboard which graces our fridge, in less of an effort to remind me to make the call, more as a warning to the rest of the household that the call is going to be made. There is palpable tension in the air.
The Big Guy spots the note, and retreats to the garage. I haven't seen him in two days.

Thing One spots it, and asks 482 times if I've called yet. She is, of course, praying that the call takes place while she is out of the house. Thing Two is young enough that he is oblivious to it all.

I clear my schedule for two days. I arm myself with coffee, calendar, and a preemptive ativan. At 9am, just as the office is opening, I pounce.
The receptionist answers. She is cheerful (always a good sign).
Hello, I need to make an appointment.

Sure thing... (still cheerful!)...let me get The Book. Is this routine, or something else?

Wow, thanks for asking! Yes, just a routine appointment, no emergency. How far out are you booking?

Well...into January, but I'm sure we can find something sooner. (Remember- this was December)
(I make a bet with myself that March is possible, but April is more likely.)

I have openings next week, she says, one Tuesday and one Friday.

I take a deeeeep breath, and start my spiel.
Okay, here's the thing. I'm coming over from Frenchboro, which, I know, you've never heard of. 
It's an island. The one next to Swan's Island. We have to take a ferry boat to get to the mainland. 
And this ferry boat, it only runs Wednesday and Thursday, so I'm limited to appointments on those days only. 


This, by the way, is the point where I'm usually told that the Doc golfs on Wednesday afternoons and doesn't see patients, and schedules only surgery on Thursday mornings, and I politely hang up and search the Yellow Pages for the one Doctor/Dentist/Whatever Provider who has graduated at the bottom of their class and gotten their license in the State of Maine by the skin of their teeth, and is so desperate for patients/clients that they WILL work Wednesday afternoons AND Thursday mornings, and hell, will even come in at 7, to be sure you make the ferry on time. I'm still looking for him/her. But he/she is apparently in court defending him/herself for killing his/her last patient.

Oh, she says.
 (The cheer? It's gone.)
Well, hmm.....I........hmm.....oh, here! I have a Wednesday morning, at 9am, January 19th! She's all proud.

Sigh. No, I'm sorry. The ferry doesn't leave the island until 10:15, and gets to the mainland around 11am (if there aren't any delays, that is...). The earliest I can get to you would be noon, I guess.
I neglect to tell her that that's pushing it, and I will very likely be late for a noon appointment. Always hedge your bets.

Oh...we close for lunch from noon to one. Of course you do.
Let me find a Wednesday, after one.....

Well, a Thursday morning will work, too...but I'd have to have your very first appointment. 
(I wisely do not add that at 9:30 on the nose, regardless of what is transpiring, we will be walking out of the office to head for the ferry.
Been there, done that. You do not get invited back.)

Hmmm....I have the following Thursday, the 27th, at 2pm! She's cheerful again!

Noooo. No. The boat leaves the mainland at noon. We have to be in line by 11:30. As your office is located in Bangor, we'd have to leave you by 9:30, to be sure we can get there in time.


In my head, I begin the countdown...3...2....1....
and there it is!
WELL, CAN'T YOU TAKE A LATER BOAT OUT TO YOUR ISLAND?

Choking back the bile that quickly fills my throat, squelching the bitter rage at The Powers That Be in Rockland, who manage the ferry schedule, and are insensitive to our plight, I explain that No, No, I cannot take a later boat, because there IS no later boat...there is no other boat at all. There is only that one boat.
You either come off, or go on the island Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Sundays. 
I can come over to see you on Wednesday, and I can go home on Thursday. The boat makes other runs, five other runs to be exact, all to the OTHER island next to us, Swan's Island. 

She is now thoroughly annoyed, and all pretense of cheer has been eradicated. I can hear her wondering what kind of Halfway House situation this is. I can actually hear her brain stereotyping me as some kind of felon with a substance abuse problem, who has been locked away on some deserted island and only allowed access to the normal folk on the mainland one afternoon a week. I sense her wondering if I possess extra limbs, and the state of my dentition.

I find myself taking deep breaths, and considering a second ativan. And wishing I could telepathically give her one.

 Look, I know what a pain this is. I have to go through this explanation each and every time I make an appointment. I don't like it any more than you do; in fact, I can guarantee you that I LIKE IT LESS. An appointment on any day other than Wednesday afternoon or extremely early Thursday morning means leaving the island for three days, spending three nights in overpriced hotels, and three days of missed school and work.
Work with me here.
Let's look at March. You should be wide open then. Can you find a Wednesday appointment, after one, in March??

She is incredulous, as this is December, that I would be looking at March, but gives me the 16th at 1pm, her first open Wednesday.
Success! In only 28 minutes!

I win!
I get to pull my kids out of school for two days, take two days off from the Post Office, close my Bakery for two days, spend $56 in ferry tickets for the four of us and one car, and another $125 for a place to sleep.
And because it's such a hassle to come off the island, losing work and days of school, we do it very infrequently. Like, about 4 times in 9  months. (My record is 16 weeks. It wasn't pretty.)
So...the grocery shopping?
Oh. My. Lord. Almighty.

MONTHS of Bakery supplies, plus MONTHS of bathroom supplies, and MONTHS of dry goods, and a crap-ton of milk, and &^%&^)(*)(@#!@#*()__)(*^~!@#$%^.
Wal-mart is jealous of my pantries. (-ies, as in, plural. Because, yeah...that's a ton of food.)

But I'm jealous of Walmart, because in this house, we only see fresh, green veggies every 8 weeks or so. My kids - and I quote- "love going out to eat because the salad is never brown".

My kids, when asked by my Father what they wanted for christmas this year, asked for a membership in the Fruit Of The Month Club. (Papa once sent a fruit basket. They STILL talk about it.)
He was only too happy to oblige. And they LOVE it.
The rest of these islanders, almost all of whom all have either a second house on the mainland or family to crash with, don't get it. They go off every 2 weeks or so for groceries, or 'a break'.
My kids jump for joy at a fruit basket.

Ah, island life.

The best part? I now have an appointment, in Bangor, on March 16th at 1pm.
Fifty bucks says it storms and the frickin' boat don't run.