Friday, February 24, 2006

Sockapaloooza update

My wonderful package of yarn arrived from Knitpicks! Here it is (along with the sock yarn at upper right, purchased from my LYS):

Since my sock pal likes autumn colors, I thought I'd try to hand-dye some wool for her socks. I used Wilton food coloring (brown, moss green and orange) and three mason jars in the microwave. Here's how it turned out:

Which is pretty cool overall, I think ;) However, there are three things I'm not thrilled with. First of all, there's big mostly-undyed spots where the yarn wasn't in any of the jars! Secondly, I think the brown isn't brown enough, and thirdly, I think the orange is TOO orange! So I'm considering over-dying it all with brown, thinking that will deepen the brown and tone down the orange, and fill in the undyed spots. Anyone with more experience have advice? Ideas? Would this potentially work?

And I finished my trial socks knit both at once, toe-up, on the 40 inche circular needle. I LOVED doing it this way! So I'll be knitting these socks that way, but searching for a pattern to make it a bit fancier. I kind of like this pine tree pattern I found... think it would be nice w/ the colors...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Am I losing the "bf" in bfmomma?

Contrary to what some unknown person asked me some ten + years ago, the "bf" in "bfmomma" does NOT stand for "big and fat" (although that is more true today than it was ten years ago!). I chose "bfmomma" as my screen identity when I was just getting into the internet and shortly after my first child was born. The "bf" stands for breastfeeding, and as a new, inexperienced mom, breastfeeding changed my life and taught me HOW to be a mother. It taught me that I didn't have to follow the baby books and measure when and how much to feed my child, as she'd know when she'd had enough and when she needed more. The natural progression was such that this oozed into the other areas of parenting. My baby slept better when she was lying next to me in bed than when she was alone in a cradle. My baby was happier in a sling, next to my body, than in a stroller where she couldn't even see me. My toddler had control of her own bladder and would be potty trained when SHE was ready--not when I was sick of changing diapers or when the books said she should be trained. And yes, my 9 year old was going to go to a week of sleep-away Girl Scout camp two summers ago because SHE was ready.

I have been breastfeeding or pregnant (or both) for one month shy of eleven years now. I cannot tell you how much I have changed as a person in that time. I used to be shy! I didn't used to share my opinions very often.

For about six months now, M. has been nursing only twice a day--first thing in the morning (her first words--even before her eyes open--are "kin' I ning you now?") and last thing at night, so she falls asleep with sweet, milky dreams. But now my last child (yep, she's the final one!) seems to be cutting back on even that. In the last week, she has skipped a nursing FOUR times. She skipped both last night's (I was gone) and this morning's (I was here). I have not tried to rush this, nor tried to prolong it, using La Leche League's "don't offer; don't refuse" means of weaning. As M. is such a blend of my other two children, I had always thought that she would wean when she was three (C. weaned at two; T. at four), but I didn't really believe it, either. I think I'd pictured myself nursing for the rest of my life. I still can't imagine it not being a part of my life.

And so I'll keep the "bfmomma"--for the mammaries ;)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I {heart} Target

There's just nothing like the slightly-exhausted and slightly-exhilarated feeling that comes from a good shopping trip to Target! :)

I got there about 15 minutes later than I'd hoped, but when I walked in, they still had the 75% off signs up. There was one guy there, tossing a lot of things into his cart and I asked if it was scanning at 90%. He said it was and that his wife had sent him! lol

Despite not really "needing" anything, here's what I got:

All these were 90% off, so I'll just list the clearance price:
Red and purple shelf 4.99 (actually this was orig. $59.99)
2 women's size small t-shirts 0.50
6 sets of snack-sized plates (striped) 0.19 ea.
6 sets of dinner-sized plates (striped) 0.19 ea.
4 packs of luncheon napkins (striped) 0.19 ea.
7 packs of beverage napkins (striped) 0.19 ea.
Madagascar valentines 0.19
Cookie Monster valentines 0.19
Elmo valentines 0.19
Choxie truffles 1.20
Choxie assortment 0.50
3 packs of Tissue Paper 0.19 ea.
5 gift bags 0.14 to 0.49 ea.
3 size 6X scooters (red, pink, black) 0.60 ea.
4 men's boxers and 1 boxer brief 0.59 ea.
Purple plush bear (M. actually bought) 0.49
6 pair women's/children's socks 0.29-0.39 ea.
2 rolls of wrapping paper 0.34 ea.

But that's not all! They also had some great finds at 75% off:

Cute green purse 3.74
Striped tights 4-6X 1.24
Size 3 1/2 boys' tennies $4.98
3-seater inflatable snow tube 7.48

Very fun!

Monday, February 20, 2006

MyPoints and MyCoupons...

I have been posting a LOT about knitting and a lot about my cute kids :) so I thought I should write a bit about some bargains. Tomorrow Target's Valentine stuff goes 90%, so I'll hopefully get some deals there, but I wanted to share my favorite online bargains.

My favorite online shopping deal has to be MyPoints . I've been a member of MyPoints since it started, I think. If you're not familiar with it, you can join and receive points that can be redeemed for all sorts of great stuff! You don't even have to buy anything! You sign up to get emails about different products direct from companies and you get points just for visiting those websites (if you do make a purchase, you get even MORE points). You can also do surveys to earn points or join different clubs and gain more points. Then (the best part) you can redeem your points for great, free stuff. I have earned a TON of gift certificates to restaurants.

The other online site I want to share is MyCoupons . The two boards I visit most often are Look What I Found: Online Shopping Deals and Look What I Found: Brick & Mortar Shopping Deals (where I find my Target deals and clearance dates!).

That's it for the online plugs. Let's hope I have some great IRL finds for tomorrow!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Booga Bag, Baby!

I am way too excited about this bag, but this is the first time I've felted anything (unless you count the wool soaker that I accidentally felted...). Anyway, here's the booga bag pre-felting (dimensions 10" x 4" x 13")
and post-felting (dimensions 7" x 3 1/2" x 7")

I can't get the colors to show up very true--they're really deep colors in real life!

This was a very fun project!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ode to My New Sweater

Some of you know that my husband has a long-standing tradition of writing silly (sometimes raunchy) poetry for me in honor of "big" occasions (birthdays, Valentine's Day, anniversaries, etc.). I have quite a collection! Anyway, he wrote one about his new cardigan yesterday and gave me permission to share it (though he couldn't understand WHY I'd want to!). This is reassurance to all of you that he really does appreciate the work I put into it.

Ode to My New Sweater
by G.

Gently purple like Prince's rain that colored your adolescence,
The product of the magic that you do with your fingers
Pulling strings around sticks that I will never understand,
The same fingers that do other sorts of magic that I do,
Like you, it scratches me even when I didn't know I was itchy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cardigan pics!

The cardigan is done, it's blocked, and it's being worn today! Here's a picture of G., modeling it. He looked so stiff in that picture that I told him to look happy to be wearing the sweater. So here's "the real G."

And I'm moving along with my booga bag! I like these first three colors so much that I decided not to include the other two colors--I'll just repeat a purple and turquoise stripe and then make a fuscia strap. I kinda wish I'd have made smaller stripes, though.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Trying to get my life back in order

We finally had a not-so-chaotic weekend and it gave me a chance to look around and see what a dump my house has become. :( So I've re-subbed to FlyLady . This is the third time I've thrown myself into FlyLady. I never really got completely out of it this last time, but I'd stopped shining my sink every night and I wasn't doing the weekly chores. I vow to get back into the swing of things, and to prove it, I scrubbed under my toilet and tossed out my old laundry supplies today! I also dusted and now I just need to sweep, vacuum and mop and I'll feel lots better!

I also felt a need to get the kids cleaned up this weekend. You saw M's before and after pics of her haircut. We waited two hours to get C's done yesterday (just a trim so it doesn't look much different, but it had been 8 months since her last haircut, so those ends were shaggy!), and then I attacked T's head. :) He did not want much cut off, but it was soooo messy that we compromised with a short-in-back and longer-in-front 'do. It's the trickiest haircut I've ever done myself. I'll try to post pics of both older kids when they get home from school.

And the cardigan is done! Here's a picture of it blocking:

And since that project is done and everything I've read says to have at least two knitting projects going at once, here's a picture of my humble beginnings of Booga Bag, along with the colors that I will use as stripes. I finally collected enough Paton's Classic Wool from my Michael's 40% off coupons.

And to finish with a bargain post, I just found out the Target post-Valentine's Day markdown schedule:

50% feb 15
75% feb 18
90% feb 21

Guess I know where I'll be next Tuesday!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Lotsa little stuff

First things first... M's hair was getting a bit out of control, so she got a haircut! Here's before and after pics:

In other good news, I am just inches away (ok, HOURS away) from finishing the cardigan! I have even woven in about half of the ends (man, that takes a lot of time... has to be my least favorite part of knitting). See?

And here's how far I am on the trial socks (if you click on the picture to make it bigger, you can see those little holes at the toe that I was talking about earlier):

I have also come to two "final" decisions on my socks. First of all, I got an invitation to Ruhama's Winter Sale (even though my membership has lapsed...) so I'll go there on Thursday and see if they have any fitting sock yarn on sale. If not, I was told about knitpicks from a few people and I found that they have sock-weight yarn that you can dye yourself!!! So that's my backup since my sock pal specificially requested wool socks. Very exciting!

And (OMG!) my mom just called and said she's flying down this weekend to see M's ballet "recital"... I have to get cleaning!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Some positive knitting thoughts

Even though I got good advice from wise, seasoned sock-knitters, I decided that, since I had this super-fine yarn sitting in my stash, as well as 40 inch, size 2 circulars, I'd make a "dry run" of the two-socks-on-one-circular pattern. So I've started:

And I really like it! This probably sounds silly, but I've never knit with needles smaller than size 4 before and the tiny, neat little stitches are just SO cool! I'm going to continue with these socks and maybe do some funky topper and/or lacey thing (trying something else new) and use them just as "dress socks". That way I'll get my trial out of the way. But I'm already looking forward to making socks in this manner with some good sock yarn!

There are a few things that I'm not really sure of, with the pattern. I think I'll stop in at my LYS to "fix" it before the real socks. First of all, the figure 8 cast-on was really neat, but when I tried to "snug it up", I couldn't pull the yarn tail to do so! Secondly, there seems to be a row of little holes on one side of where I did my increases at the toe (not sure if it was the "pick up a stitch and knit in the back of it" or "pick up a stitch and knit in the front of it").

And I have to share what C. did to remedy the too-small hat I made her. She has wanted to learn to knit with circular needles for some time. So she found all my scraps of Wool-Ease Thick N Quick and whipped up a hat:

Monday, February 06, 2006

First Sockapaloooza update

I couldn't sleep last night for worrying about my socks! :) I have so many ideas running through my head of what I want to do for my sock pal. My "backup" idea is to do some basic, ankle down socks with some beautiful Lana Grossa Meilenweit in colors that I found at my LYS, but can't find elsewhere... It's shades of orange, brown and purple! It's what I bought on January 31--the day my yarn club membership expired, but before I got my sock pal's preferences... Now that I got her preferences, I'm looking at a few other, more exciting things! I haven't hand-dyed for socks yet, but really like this pattern I found for pine tree patterned socks. I'm not sure if it would work, but I was thinking of dying some Fisherman's wool in natural colors and trying that pattern. Then when I was digging through my stash last night, I came across a bunch of Riviera St. Remy yarn (can't find that online, either) which is very thin, 75% acrylic, 20% mohair and 5% wool. Anyone know what kind of sock this would make? Would it wear well? I really want to try to knit 2 socks on 1 circular and might try that, too. Since it's plain, natural-colored yarn, I'd want to work some pattern into it...

I also have a free shipping code (no minimum purchase) at this week and if you buy 8 or more skeins of yarn, you save an extra 10%, so I thought of getting an assortment of Paton's Kroy or Lion Brand Magic Stripes. Or even just one or two skeins to try (with the free shipping). If anyone has input on any of this stuff, I welcome it! I've made four pairs of socks, but they've all been with Moda Dea Sassy Stripes with size 6 or 4 needles and, while fun, wasn't a very tight knit...

So those are the things I'm considering... And I'm hoping I can pull one of these off! :)

Friday, February 03, 2006

4 things meme

Fun stuff... tagged by my sock sister, Ashley . Man, do I lead a borrrrring life!

4 jobs you have had in your life
High School Science Teacher
Switchboard operator at Sears
Legal Secretary
Ticket sales at Whitecap Mt. ski resort

4 movies you could watch over and over
any Austin Powers movie

4 places you have lived
Fairfield, CA
Iron Belt, WI
LaCrosse, WI
Milwaukee, WI

4 TV shows you love to watch
Arrested Development
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
30 Minute Meals

4 places you have been on vacation
San Antonio, TX
Edmond, OK
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Angola, IN

4 websites you visit daily
MyCoupons B&M
Food Network
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
all the knitting blogs listed in the sidebar

4 of your favorite foods
Qdoba's fajita ranchero burritos
Noodles & Co.'s Japanese pan noodles
Mattar Paneer from any Indian place
Hot & Sour soup from any Chinese place
(notice they're all things I can't cook myself)

4 places you would rather be right now
Right now, just somewhere I could be wearing shorts and short sleeves (comfortably)

4 bloggers you are tagging

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Can I really call myself a "knitter"?

How many imperfect/failed projects does it take for a person to realize that maybe knitting isn't their thing?

Instead of a trip to Target, I spent a full day knitting the earflaphat for C. She came home after school and gave her approval, helped me pick out yarn from my stash (including the accent color green that perfectly matches her jacket), and bugged me to keep working on it. I followed directions perfectly, even making a gauge swatch (I never do that, but for this pattern, the swatch was an ear flap, so...). Nevertheless, after I finished the green accent color, I became a bit concerned. Well, here's the pic of the hat, all beautifully blocked. Nice, no? I love the colors and the braid... So there's only one problem. Here's a pic of C. wearing the hat:

Yeah, it's a bit snug. QUITE a bit snug... :(

Alright, in a kinda-related vein, I got my matchup for Sockapaloooza! I'm thrilled to have a "foreign" sock buddy (can't be too specific) and I love the idea of the whole thing, but I'm now having panic attacks about actually making these socks. Even moreso, I'm wondering whether I should have really called myself "not a beginner"... I have three months to make something that looks good, so I'm not completely spazzed, but I am quite nervous. Anyone have a great pattern for ankle-length socks (her request) that doesn't involve a ton of fancy needlework, but will still make a very cool, fun sock? :)

Let me take a minute and brag a bit about my shopping trip. Short and simple, but I got $180 worth of groceries for $103. That included bottled water, diapers, and SIX boxes of cereal...

And last, but not least, a bit about my beautiful daughter (the older one; the younger one's beautiful, too). This weekend she played in the "Music for Munchkins" concert, which is the High School fundraiser for the orchestra. The fifth graders got to play one song with the High Schoolers. The theme was "Hootenanny Hoedown" and they were supposed to dress the part. Here's C. in her outfit (and with M's horse):