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  • I think we can all agree that Geico has a brilliant ad team.  This latest one, at least for me, takes the cake.  It won’t tempt me to leave USAA, but I must admit to uncontrollable laughter when I saw it for the first time last night:

  • I knit a hat over the past few days, without a pattern.  It’s HUGE.  Giant.  Ginormous.  I read Yarn Harlot’s Knitting Rules! and went by her guidelines for swatching, determining size, etc.  Considering her expertise, I can only conclude that I messed up somewhere, probably in the math.  Or maybe I should have stretched the swatch before measuring.  The more I think about it, the more I think that’s the answer.  Jason or I could wear the hat, turned up at the brim, but…yeah, even then, it’s rather comically gigantic.
  • Remember that list we made back at the beginning of the summer?  Surprisingly, we haven’t made a whole lot of progress on it.  I had been envisioning a summer full of boredom, during which we would NEED that list as an idea-maker.  The List would serve as a hero of sorts, rescuing us from bickering, frustrated doldrums.  Really, though, we haven’t needed it.
  • We are knocking a rather large item off The List this week, however.  More on that tomorrow.
  • I’ve never been one to fear change.  In fact, I tend to embrace it with glee.  Sometimes it manages to throw me for a loop, though.  A couple of weeks ago, the boys’ swim lessons were changed from Tuesday evenings to Wednesdays at the same time.  Every Tuesday afternoon about this time, I get antsy, feeling like I’m forgetting an appointment.  I now check my calendar more on Tuesdays than I do any other day of the week.
  • Every evening, just after dinnertime, the ice cream truck drives through our neighborhood.  More often than not, the annoying music blaring from the speaker is “Greensleeves”.  Which, of course, is also used as the music for “What Child Is This?”  Which means that I’m finding myself humming Christmas music.  In July/August.
  • That’s all I got.  Check out Keely’s place for more randomness!  (Click the purple button at the top of the page.)

It turns out, the Mattress Stitch works perfectly!

It turns out, picking up stitches and knitting in the round are harder to explain than they are to execute.

It turns out, after a lot of handling, Noro feels a lot softer than it does in the original hank.

It turns out, this pattern plus this yarn make a fun [and warm!] hat.

Mochi Spiral Hat
Noro Furin (colorway #11), Sz. 10 needles (6.0 mm)

It turns out, I only used one skein to make this hat.

It turns out, casting on for a matching scarf is pretty irresistible, even if said scarf is going to be somewhat short and skinny.

It turns out, you can knit a hat out of a long, thin strip.

Check out this cute pattern!

It turns out, it’s really, really fun to knit with Noro.  (Surprise!  Not.)

It turns out, it’s kind of fun to reply, “A hat!” when strangers ask what you’re knitting.  The looks on their faces as they contemplate “She said, ‘hat,’ but it looks like a…scarf,” are always interesting.

It turns out, the spiral configuration you need to seam the thing up isn’t that difficult to figure out.

It turns out, however, that the seam on that spiral needs to be able to stretch.


Back to the drawing knitting board.

(Experienced knitters, what do you think?  Mattress stitch?)

This morning, while Nicolas was busy elsewhere, Kalen and I had some together time.

We need to do this more often.

Having just one of the kids around gives me such insight to who they are as people.

We drove by some botanical gardens.  It was early in the day; they were practically deserted.

Later on, when we passed this fellow on our way out to the car, Kalen cried, “Oh look! It’s my old friend, Mr. Frog!”

The requisite “hold my arm out for a self portrait” portrait.  I saw recently that a professional photographer had this listed as her photographical pet peeve.  Methinks she needs to get over herself.  There’s room for fun snapshots in photography, folks.  They don’t all have to be perfect.

Plus, the outtakes from these are almost always fun.  (If not good blackmail fodder.)

As the household camera-keeper, I’m happy to report that all double-chinned arm-extended self portraits were quickly deleted.  I claim right of artistic license.

There is no shortage of comfy benches with great views on which to park oneself and knit.

And read.

And listen to the bees hum.  I was very proud of Kalen.  After a few minutes, he stopped backing away from the bees like a person faced with a knife-armed mugger.  The child has a slight (ha) fear of bugs.

Especially the kind with stingers.

On the other hand, he adores honey, so there’s a certain amount of respect and gratitude there.

Kalen took on the role of “tourist guide,” showing me an endless variety of plants.  He insisted this one was a perfect photographic subject.

My knees hurt just looking at that photo.

Is it wrong to be jealous of your 7-year-old’s knees?

We plan to head back tomorrow morning and search out any letterboxes that might be hidden amongst the plants and bees.  We’ll take along our books and knitting, too.

Knitting Olympics, 2010

Event: Novice Scarf Knitting

Results: Gold Medal (go me!)

<—–  (ETA the medal – lookie!!)



Yep, I did it!  Finished about twenty minutes before the flame was extinguished last night.

Sebastian’s Scarf by Lion Brand Yarn
Yarn: Reclaimed Lambswool
Needles: US 8

Ignore the ends that haven’t yet been woven in.  I could have woven them in during the time limit, if I’d felt like it.  Which I didn’t.  I need to block it, anyway.

This is a different pattern than the one I originally linked to a couple of weeks ago.  This one has more variety, and I’m really happy with the results.  It served exactly the purpose I was hoping for: I am now completely comfortable with both knitting and purling.  I’m even considering tackling a pair of matching fingerless mitts.  (Seamed…not quite ready for working in the round yet.)


  • Ice dancing costumes can be seriously distracting from what should be a beautiful performance.  (Bee Gees, anyone?)  I loved the simplicity of the Canadians‘ outfits last night.  Davis & White‘s were nice, too.
  • I’m about 65% finished with my knit scarf.  I should finish in plenty of time for my Olympic goal!
  • We’re in the midst of planning a 10th birthday party.  10!  I know, I’ve mentioned this before, but my little, teeny, one-and-a-half pound baby is going to be TEN in a month.  Sheesh.
  • This also means that I’m going to be 35 next week.  Growing older doesn’t bother me.  Age is, after all, a state of mind.  What does bother me is that 35 is when one gets one’s baseline mammogram.  Not looking forward to my first Big Squish.
  • We took Mom and Dad up to see Snoqualmie Falls on Saturday and were lucky enough to get a perfectly gorgeous day.  I got a few shots that are really tempting me to open Photoshop and have a little fun.
  • Cancer sucks.  (And because I know someone will ask, I’m not referring to anyone in the family in this particular instance…a friend of a friend.  Hell, many family, and family of friends, and friends, and friends of friends. Cancer sucks shit.)


  • My parents get here tonight!  The guest room is ready, and I’ve just got the kitchen and bathroom left to clean.  You know, if you don’t count the den.  (Still post-explosion, but better than it was.)
  • Jason has had a white chocolate bar on his desk (and sometimes on the end table in the living room) for at least three weeks.  He’s eaten 1/3 of it.  (I have – remarkably – not touched it.  Go, me!)  Seriously, though…who has a chocolate bar that lasts over three weeks?  (Perhaps this is the reason he still has a 34″ waist while I shop at Lane Bryant.)
  • It is going to be sunny all week, or, at worst, partly cloudy.  Atypical, but much appreciated.
  • I’m 1/4 of the way finished with my scarf for the Knitting Olympics.  No further major gaffs have been made!
  • In cleaning up last week, I found the notebook where Jason and Mom kept notes while I was in labor with Kalen.  Neither of them remembers taking notes, but it’s very cool to see them in their handwriting.  I’ll spare you the details.  You’re welcome.
  • It turns out we’re going to be in Vancouver during whale watching season.  I really wanted to go whale watching.  Then I looked at the price.  Ouch.  I still really want to go whale watching, but I really don’t think it’s going to happen this trip.
  • I should go clean the kitchen and bathroom.  And maybe eat lunch.

It’s Midwinter Break!  The kids are off school for five days!  Let’s keep them busy…

10:20 am – We’re off to a good start…me hiding in the bedroom with Betty and a cup of coffee.

10:38 am – “Kalen, your hair looks so nice; let’s take a picture!”

11:55 am – Lunch with Dad at work.

1:02 pm – Saying goodbye, so Dad can actually get some work done.

1:34 pm – After a quick stop at the thrift store.  How to make kids happy for only $3.20.

1:54 pm – At Goodwill.  I’ve been looking for a console to makeover as a TV stand.  This isn’t quite right, but for $6.50(!), I can make it right.

2:24 pm – Back home…anyone know what this bush is?  It’s gorgeous…

3:10 pm – Taking photos for yesterday’s post.

4:55 pm – Those of you who follow me on Twitter know what’s wrong with this picture.  I was. not. happy that we didn’t get to see the Ceremonies live.

5:14 pm – Bunk beds = jungle gym.  (Hmm…I really should repaint those so they match one of these days.)

7:20 pm – I couldn’t watch them live, but I cast on while they were going on, anyway.  This is the beginning of my scarf for The Knitting Olympics.

11:37 pm – 46 rows done.

Happy 12, everyone, and thanks to Chad, as usual!

So, as promised, Wednesday I learned to purl.  I also attempted a 1×1 rib.  Oy.

The stockinette turned out okay, but the rib…I couldn’t keep track of what I was doing!  After learning from Mom that a 1×1 rib is perhaps the most difficult (because you can’t see the pattern easily while it’s close to the needles), last night I cast on and tried a 3×3 instead.  (And this time I counted.)  Muuuuuuch better.

One teensy error, though (aside from using the wrong kind of cast on for a rib; I’ll tackle that at a later date), which I’m sure any experienced knitter can see from the above photo.  For those of you who can’t, I’ll flip it over.

And here we encounter the second reason I was nervous to try knitting.  Had I been crocheting and noticed this type of error two rows later, I would have simply pulled out my hook, yanked the yarn out until I’d gotten to the offending stitches, and redone it.  Time lost, but a simple fix.  Knitting needles are not so forgiving, though.  I have no idea how to take this off my needles, go back to the problem, fix it, and end up with it on the needles.  I shall be Googling and YouTubing to figure this out; you can count on it.  Victory shall be mine!

Speaking of which, The Knitting Olympics (and, yes, the actual Olympics) begin tonight!  I have decided to make the Simple Sampler Scarf, as it seems a good bet for (a) something I can finish during the Games, and (b) a good medium for practicing my new knit-purl skills.  Go, me!  I haven’t yet chosen a yarn, but I’ve got about 2 1/2 hours to dig through my stash, which should be plenty of time, if the kids and Jason don’t care what time dinner’s on the table…

So, last week, Jason brought me bamboo knitting needles.  He would have brought me crochet hooks (after all, he is a very intelligent guy who knows darn well I don’t know the first thing about knitting and will argue such with women who insist that “Oh, no, that beautiful hat your wife made you must be knit!”*), but the Stitch ‘n Pitch people at the Mariners’ Fan Fest only had free knitting needles.  Being a very intelligent guy, he knows I don’t turn down free.  And I don’t turn down crafting supplies of any sort.

Since then, the needles have been taunting me.

And then, the Yarn Harlot has to go and do this.  The challenge is on.  I am going to knit something for the Knitting Olympics.  Cast on during the Opening Ceremonies and commit to knitting something that will be a challenge for me to finish during the Games.  Part One, finding something to knit that will be a challenge to finish, shouldn’t be too hard, since pretty much anything would fall into that category for a non-knitter.  Part Two, casting on…well.

Enter the internet.  (Ooh, that’s kind of fun to say: enter the internet, enter the internet, Moses supposes his toeses are roses…)  Last night, I watched this about five times.  I read this nearly as many times.  I already knew I was going to use the Continental method, because (a) it’s supposed to be easier for crocheters to learn, since the yarn is held in the same way, and (b) it’s supposed to be faster and more efficient.  I cast on a couple of times.  I knit a few rows.  I frogged.  I repeated.  I finally ended up with this:

I know, it’s nothing to write home about, just a few rows of garter stitch.  However.  Knitting has always seemed complicated to me, so I’m quite excited.  I am still not comfortable enough to be able to count the stitches, but if my crochet experience is applicable here, that will come with time.  (My first few crochet projects were all kinds of wavy along the edges until I learned to recognize how the stitches flowed.)

So, here we go.  You’ll notice my category cloud has a new entry.  Tonight I’ll settle in and learn to purl.  Perhaps with a less splitty yarn.

Which reminds me…I’ve heard many times that knitters don’t recommend certain yarns to crocheters because they’re so splitty, but hello!!  I find it so much easier to crochet with a splitty yarn than to knit with it.  My hook has never had the problems with Caron Simply Soft that the needles did last night.  In fact, I’ve never experienced SS splitting at all before.  This leads me to believe that splitty yarn is more difficult to deal with in whichever craft is more difficult for the stitcher.  It stands to reason…if your hands are moving more awkwardly, you’ll likely have less control over the yarn.  Thoughts?

*The implication of which, of course, is that a hat that beautiful could not have been made using such a backward craft as crochet, which never fails to tick me off.  If I’m honest, I’ll admit that this sort of snobbery is what’s kept me from trying knitting for so long.

My boys

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