Friday, February 29, 2008


No, that's not some sort of code, the title of this post. It's a knitting increase. And a nice one at that: 'Knit one in the front and back loop.' Trouble is, when you do it this way, it leaves this trail of bumps all the way up the sleeve:

Now, while it doesn't look that bad and it's on the underside of the arm, and this sweater is going to a Rappling who is going to out grow the dang thing in five minutes, I still feel the need for perfection. I'm a perfectionist. It's true. Hard to believe, I know but I am. Knitting has tried to teach me to relax in this area but sometimes I just can't.

After expressing my disgruntled-ness (hey, if Cami can say subsitutiary, I can say disgruntled-ness) to muh nittahs I got a little tip and I just like this so much better:

No little bumps. Just nice, neat, increased rows all the way up. The trick is, don't knit in the back loop, just slip the stitch off purlwise after knitting in the front. It's lovely! It's perfection! Looks like I'll be knitting that first sleeve over (again). Damnit. I just remembered I already put it on the circulars and knit it to the 59 front stitches and the 60 back stitches. Looks like I'll be doing a little tinking tomorrow. That's knitting backwards for you muggles knit = tink. Aren't we knitters a clever bunch?

Yes, we are. But Rhonda? Why couldn't you have shared this little tip two days ago? You like to torture me, don't you? It's ok. I can take it. I learned some more new stuff. That's how this wondrous craft works. Every time I knit something new, I learn something new. My brain is near bursting with all the fun, new things I'm learning. It almost hurts. Almost.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

new sweater update

wook at the widdle sweeve:

paper coordinates nicely, wouldn't you say?

I may never knit another sweater out of the round again.
Can't talk now. Must. Go. Knit.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

recipes and ramblings

You know my mom was a down-home, simple kind of cook. This was a favorite dish of mine when I was a kid. You can also do this to pork chops.

Dip chicken parts in seasoned flour. I happened to have thighs in the freezer. Fry in shortening till golden. Place in baking dish:

You know I sampled a smackerel of skin. mmmmm

Drain off most of the fat from the frying pan. Sprinkle a few hearty tablespoons of the left over seasoned flour into the drippings and stir till all the grease is sopped up.

Over medium heat, add milk, a little at a time, whisking and getting all the crusty bits off the bottom of the pan till you have a good looking gravy. Add a can of cream of chicken soup. Mom always used cream of mushroom and to be honest, it tastes better but there's only one thing I can sneak cream of mushroom soup into and that's my meatloaf.

Stir till the soup is fully incorporated and the gravy is nicely thickened:

Pour over chicken parts, cover and bake at 375° till chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender.

This is man-pleasin' food to be sure. On to the ramblings. . .

The new sweater is coming along nicely. I'm preparing to join the second skein of yarn tonight. I did have to stop knitting to prepare food. Fuel for more knitting, ya know. I found a great finishing technique on ravelry. The link only works if you're a member of Ravelry. If you're not a member, shame on you. It's still a super-secret club, not open to the public so you'll have to wait till you're a member. You are on the waiting list right? I love how she finished her sweater and I think I'll copy.

And this is love, let me tell you: Ken is going to the fabric store to pick up some needles for me! I had 5's, I had 8's through 11's but no size 7. Of course, I've called ahead and they're holding them at the cutting counter but still - he has to go into a fabric store and say, "You're holding some needles for me?" -lol- I wish I could be there to see it. Just imagining it makes me giggle. Maybe you have to know my husband. Nope. Think of yours doing the same thing. Still funny. Next time I whine about him, remind me of this, okay?

I had a rant but I think I'll save it for another day. To get you thinking though, I'm forming a new society: cruelty against hand-knit wool. Or maybe a hand-knit wool protection agency. Like CPS? HKWPS. Get your picket signs ready.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

a melly sweater for Sydney

I'm knitting another sweater! In the round this time. I hate to say it, but Cami was right! This circular sweater knitting is rocking my world!

It's for my little friend Sydney. The fruit of Susan's unsavory loins. ;) She loves green and since all her sisters have a melly sweater, it's time for hers.
Pattern from Last Minute Hand-Knit Gifts yarn is Berroco Comfort.
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Sunday, February 24, 2008

more card craftiness

If you're one of the recipients of these cards, act surprised when you find them in your mailbox, 'k? :)

Copied from two peas again.

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Friday, February 22, 2008


I finished the lovely Lorna's Laces Tuscany socks just now. They're beautiful. The picture may not show the difference in the two skeins. I guess it's that slight. That's the good news. The bad news is, they're too small for me. I thought the first one was a little small and when I measured the second one before beginning the toe decreases I thought I measured correctly but I'm thinking the first sock was really stretched out from trying it on repeatedly because the second sock really is too small.

I thought the difference in the colorway between the two skeins would make them ungiftable but now looking at them together, I think not. So, someone lucky enough to have smaller feet than me will find a lovely package waiting for them when they get home. She'll be so proud. Her first hand-knit gift from me (other than a crappy washrag when I first learned how to knit).

Love you, mom.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

sock update

So I can't ever be accused of not updating my blog:

the entryway of Clementine's

Here's the progress on my second Tuscany sock. The skeins don't match at all and I stubbornly refused to knit half the sock with one skein and switch to the other so they matched. So, when wearing these socks, don't ask to see both of them at once, ok?
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

H is for

Harley Davidson
Once upon a time I was a Harley rider. It was some of the best times of my life. The freedom. The independence. The strength. The power. The thrill. The danger.

I learned to ride at a time in my life where I felt weak and insignificant. Fragile and small. Learning to control a huge scary bike was so big for me. The feelings carried over into my personal life and were my salvation at the time.

I got my permit the summer of '02. I took a motorcycle class on a little 250 or something ridiculous. I went home the first day after class and got on Ken's Fatboy (no comments from the peanut gallery!). I rode it around our neighborhood. Then I went around the block. Then I took it out on a main street. I'll never forget how vulnerable I felt stopped at an intersection. I was literally standing in the middle of the road! But I'll also never forget the sense of accomplishment I felt. I conquered a huge fear. I was riding a motorcycle.

Ken bought me a Lowrider the following week and I proceeded to put 3000 miles on my bike before putting it up for the winter. I rode every where - the bank, weight watchers, the grocery store. I refused to put bags on my bike - it looked so sleek. There were plenty of times I'd come home with a loaf of bread down my shirt or some other creative means of getting it home. I didn't care. I was riding.
In 2004 Ken bought a new bike so he handed the Fatboy down to me. What a bike it was - totally chromed out, Vance & Hines straight pipes, Kuryakyn Hyper Charger, chubbie bars, skull accessories - it was B.A.D. It was LOUD and that bike MOVED. So much fun.
I made some great friends during that chapter in my life. People who taught me so much that had little to do with motorcycling. Lessons I've been able to pass down and share:
  • yes, you can.
  • do things before you think you're ready
  • fear is nothing but not knowing how. learn.
  • it's easier to share a bed than a motorcycle seat with someone if you're mad at them
  • the wind is therapy
  • life is short. really short. enjoy the ride.

enjoy the ride.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

bah humbug

I'm a Valentine's Day scrooge.

Ken woke me up this morning and said, "Happy Valentine's Day!"
I grouchily said, "Oh we're celebrating Valentine's Day this year?"
To which he replied with a scowl, "Well, you told me the other day I had to."
"No thanks." said I and snuggled back into my warm bed.

I swear, my husband. . .

He did gift me with a wonderful box of mixed chocolates from Schakolad, a local chocolaterie. So he did slightly redeem himself.

The best part of the day was spending it with Cami down at Clementine's. What a hoot! I swear, she and I talk about everything! I think we have to cram a whole weeks worth of visiting in one day. That ain't easy. We talked music and movies, religion and politics, children, husbands, things we've done, things we haven't done, things we wished we'd done. And of course, lots of yarn talk. I think I have girl-child's next sweater picked out. Maybe. Knitting must be like childbirth - not soon after you're done you're ready to have another go at it, forgetting all the pain and agony.

I did finish the leg of my second sock today. Maybe by the end of the weekend I'll have a brand-new pair of socks to warm my tootsies. Now that's a good Valentine's Day gift.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

card kits

I knew with some simple written instructions anyone could help put these cards together.

So I assembled the cards a little more (less for the assistants to do) and packaged them all together like this:

I hate that I missed working with the old folks today. Even walking in to deliver the kit this morning - I saw some smiling, eager faces. Seeing the folks there reaffirmed that I want to be that someone who says, "Hello! I'm here to see YOU."

That Cami, she's a smart one. And not just cause she told me to take a shot of whiskey and go to bed. :)

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Can you find Indiana on this map? It's the state with at least one new case of the flu. Girl-child was in the emergency room last night with a pretty serious asthma attack where she tested positive for influenza A. She's ok now. I think it was the asthma that hit her harder than the flu. She's resting, drinking plenty of liquids, yadda yadda. On to me. ;)

I had to call the nursing home and tell them I didn't think it was a good idea to expose all the old folks to the flu. Damnit. I was so looking forward to today. When I woke up I checked myself - is that a scratch in my throat or am I just thirsty? Do I have a cough? Is my headache from lack of caffeine or am I getting sick?

I called my mom who is a retired nurse and asked what she thought (though I already knew the answer) and she told me about a girl who came to work with the flu when she worked in an old folks home and two of the residents DIED! Well . . . you know I can't have that on my conscience over a few little Valentines. So I called the activities director and offered to drop them by. I told him with some simple instructions anyone could direct the folks in assembling the cards. You should see the kits I put together! They ROCK! If I don't say so myself. Maybe I'll go take a picture while my car defrosts. I'm not going anywhere any time soon. :o\

I'm so disappointed. I was really looking forward to this. Better safe than sorry, I know. But they still get to make the cards and after all, not everything is about me. :)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

my funny Valentine

I know the thought of machine stitching paper makes some of you cringe and squirm but it's ok, really! It adds such a nice textural element. I tried these cards without and they just weren't the same.

Today I worked for about six hours on the Valentine's for the old folks. They'd better rock the glue sticks on Tuesday. If they don't come out in droves, check your mailbox for a card from moi. Better late than never and all that.

I stitched, punched, stamped, glued and outlined my way through thirty-two cards. I have only one hour with the old folks. But I made sure these cards were easy to assemble and I have faith in their shaky little hands and far-sighted eyeballs. These are much better than paper plate/bean maracas, don't you think? I'll let you know how it goes.

I wish blogger would fix the spell check function. It's a pet peeve of mine to have mis-spellings all over the place. But I suppose if that's the most I can complain about . . . life ain't all bad.

Carry on, crafty ones.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

meme time

I was tagged by Cami first. D-fly? Nice try.
So here goes. Seven wonders of the world that is melly. . .

  1. I love to cook. No big surprise my first factoid is about food. Have you seen me? Never trust a skinny cook and all that. My mom was a down-home, stick-to-your-ribs, nothing fancy but everything good sort of cook. I don't know that she taught me how to cook per se but I remember being in the kitchen and watching. I must have picked up something cause I've managed to keep my family alive for the last 20 years or so. I love everything about the process - finding the perfect recipe, selecting the best ingredients, preparing the dish and hearing that first, "mmmmmm" that drips off the lips of my loved ones. I don't like cleaning up afterward. Can that be fact two?
  2. I played the tuba in school. So did my brother. We were both always first chair and neither of us ever practiced. Prodigy might be a strong word but the potential was certainly there.
  3. I'm one of six kids. I liked having such a big family though really it was like two separate groups - I had three older siblings and I was the middle of the three younger ones. Like the Brady bunch only more spread out. Sometimes I regret not having more children but then I remember I don't really like kids so I'm glad I've only got the two. heh
  4. I can sing. Really sing. I won contests when I was younger. Sang my first song publicly when I was three or four. I think my mom has video of me picking up the hem of my dress and chewing on it or something during some church pageant. It's why I don't go to church to this day.
  5. Good segue for this one: I don't believe in God. I used to. I was raised going to church three times a week but somewhere along the line I lost that faith in the God of my youth. I do believe there is something bigger than me, I'm just not sure what it is. This doesn't make me a bad person. In fact, I'm a pretty good citizen. I try not to lie, I think I have integrity and I only steal when I'm drunk. (I'm kidding mom!)
  6. I can drive a motorcycle. And not just any motorcycle either. For a short time I was the proud owner of a Harley Davidson Fatboy. I said to my friend, Lisa, "There's nothing sexy about a fat chick on a motorcycle." And she said, "Oh yes there is!" Yes, there is.
  7. I struggle with depression and anxiety. I'm not afraid to admit it. It's a health condition like diabetes or any other chronic health issue. There's something out of whack with my brain chemicals or my hormones, maybe both but I'm having good luck with some good drugs. Happier living through pharmecuticals. Amen.

Ok, here's the rules if you want to play along. I'm tagging Susan, Nansi, Angela, my mom, my brother Russ, Vickie and Steph.
Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
You can play or not. It's all in fun. Come out and play!

10 things I learned from knitting a sweater

  1. There are some men you just shouldn't knit with. Sam, Jack, Jim and José are not good choices for knitting companions. I learned this one the hard way.
  2. Take ALL the pages of your pattern with you wherever you go. You may think you remember exactly what you're supposed to do. Trust me, you don't.
  3. When you alter said pattern, WRITE IT DOWN. While my sleeves are the same in length and size, I couldn't remember how I did those funky decreases and on the second side. I did them wrong but didn't care. This brings me to the ever important:
  4. Leave perfection at the door or teach José how to knit. I'm a new knitter. It's not going to be exactly right. And THAT'S OKAY. It's ok. Why do you want to handknit something that looks storebought anyway?
  5. You can't go it alone. It's like swimming - always have a buddy. I know I give these shout outs every time I finish a project but I swear, I couldn't have done this without my mom, Cami and Rhonda. They were my constant companions throughout this amazing experience and I couldn't have been in better company (see #1).
  6. This is a big one. When the voice whispers in your ear, "I can't do that!" I'm here to say, "Yes, you can!"
  7. Enjoy the hugs and the feeling when the recipient says, "Oh I love it! It's perfect!" Don't cringe there, refer to #4.
  8. Ignore the muggles who say, "You could just buy her a sweater."
  9. Sit back and enjoy the wonder and amazement. You just knit a sweater! You took sticks and string and made something she can wear. And it doesn't look that bad! (Cami says it'll be the thing she reaches for to warm her on a chilly day or the thing that makes her feel better when she's sick or the one thing she can wear the whole time she's pregnant - while I appreciate her thoughts let's not get ahead of ourselves! But thanks, friend. I get what you're saying.)
  10. Take naps whenever possible.

Now go knit something. Or learn to knit. It'll make you a better person. I swear.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

the good the bad and the ugly

First the good - a great picture of Ken and I from this weekend:

Too bad you can't see my shoes. I was rocking some serious heels that night. I think I was halfway to drunk by the time this picture was taken. heh
The bad - I had to rip out the button hole band on that %#$&* sweater yet again. Three hours of work gone in 20 seconds. Luckily I was at Clementine's and Cami was there to console me and give me chocolate. Tonight, Sam Adams and I are going to tackle this thing once and for all. I realized the left side of the front was lacking about 14 stitches from the bottom to the point where the neckline starts to V. All I have to do to remedy the problem is make a few stitches. Knitting is pretty forgiving, sometimes. Cami told me once, "It's great! You get to knit it again all for the same price!" However, my time has got to be worth something and spending 24 hours on half a button band isn't my idea of a good time. Luckily, the shop emptied just in time for me to let loose with more than a few expletives.
And now for the ugly - I trust Cami will post some unflattering pictures of me over on her blog. Keep checking. She needed photographic evidence I was actually back. Now that's a good friend. I may hunt down that crooked face picture yet. . .
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Thursday, February 7, 2008

life's a beach

Some shots from beautiful Marco Island, Florida.
I could have walked along the beach all day. The first morning we took a walk was the best. We saw so many different types of shells, sponges, starfish, crabs, anemones, urchins and other, unidentifiable creepy crawlies (I tried to stay away from those!).
The weather was absolutely glorious the whole time we were there.
and this one inspired by Kelly Rae Roberts. Do go check her out.
We were able to take a five day trip because my husband works for an incredible company. This weekend was an award trip for their top customers. 105 of us arrived in southern Florida for five days of wonder. We enjoyed spa visits, deep sea fishing, golf, walks on the beach, wonderful food and drink, music. It was amazing.
The resort where we stayed was five star (or however many is the most). From the housekeeping staff to the servers and even the groundskeepers (which were stunning!), everyone was so nice. Ken was sure to tell me more than once, "This is NOT a vacation." Funny though, it sure felt like one! I got to eat, drink and be merry. I got a little sunburn and came home exhausted. That sounds like a vacation to me!
In all honesty though, it was work. As Ken's wife I was a representative of his company. I had to host and schmooze right along with him. It was terrible. I had to suffer through some of the best seafood I've ever had. I think I ate 152 pieces of shrimp. I felt a little like Bubba from Forrest Gump - I had boiled shrimp, fried shrimp, shrimp scampi, coconut shrimp, etc. Along with all that seafood I had to suffer through gin and tonics - Monday night I impressed the server at the restaurant with my skills. I didn't know what the fuss was all about, I had only four. Turns out they were doubles and I'm some sort of champion in those parts. I don't know about that but I do know, the more I drank the more comfortable my shoes became! heh.
On Tuesday we had some free time, so we took some customers on an everglades tour. We saw all sorts of wildlife including alligators! I'm not sure I'm prepared to talk about the airboat ride just yet. I was absolutely convinced an untimely death was imminent the whole time we were on the water and that tends to scare a person. And they all laughed at me. I tried not to cry and mostly succeeded. :) I asked Ken at one point, "Are you mad at me or something?!" I know he knew this wasn't my thing.
I do have to say though, all in all it was a great day, and an amazing experience I won't forget.
Tuesday night we had the awards ceremony. Ken and I got dolled up in our finest (somehow, those same shoes I wore the night before weren't near as comfortable the next night) and headed out for our last night. Dinner was wonderful, gourmet and de-lish. Crème brûlée followed for dessert - my FAV! And dinner was followed by music. I can't say when I've enjoyed live music more. We flew down The Funk Brothers as the night's entertainers. I think most of us knew every song they performed by heart. It's the music we all grew up on. Fan-freakin-tastic.
It was all more than I could have ever imagined, all paid for by Ken's company. And thanks to him, I can look forward to these sorts of trips yearly. Next February, we're headed to southern California and Pelican Hill. Can't wait!
For more pictures, visit my picasa album here.
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Friday, February 1, 2008

knitting for dummies

I think I need to get this book. If there isn't one, perhaps I should write it. I think I know just enough about knitting to get myself in trouble and annoy my friends (not to mention my mother). I'm stuck. I've tried picking up the stitches for the other side of the button band on that dang sweater four times! I just can't get it to look right. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong.

AND to make things even worse, the girl-child said sweater was made for has decided to lose 30 pounds. How does one lose 30 pounds? I seem to be good only at finding them. Still, she loves this too-big, sloppy, un-done sweater. So much so that she's threatened to wear it with only one side button banded. She's a good one, that kid. AND she's in LOVE. Maybe that's what's making her love the sweater. It's really not that loveable if you ask me. The sweater, I mean. The girl-child is completely adorable but all this sappy love shit? It's too much for this old, married woman. She walks around with this goofy grin on her face just DRIPPING with love. I tell her to take it outside before she gets it all over the carpet. heh

That's all I got for now. Packing has commenced. I'm heading to Florida for five days. FIVE. Leaving five days of grey, cold Indiana for sunny, 80° Florida.
Ya'll be good till I get back.