Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I'm a joiner, yes I am

I saw this over at Amanda's blog and thought: what a cool idea! I like doing the Secret Pal thing, but sometimes it can be a little hard to keep up with sending out all the packages when real life gets busy. With the Yarn Aboard swap, it's a one time thing. Plus it's kinda neat to see what people will put in the box before you. The randomness of the swap appeals to me. So I went ahead and signed up- it should be fun.

More knitting has occurred on both the Jaywalkers and Lady Eleanor. I'm up to the heels on both socks, but we had out of town guests so I haven't had much of a chance to knit on anything. Actually I've been feeling the urge to sew....I even got my fabric out and started pawing through it.

We're finally starting to recover from the Plague here at Chez Shizzknits. The Dearest & Little Man still have some nasty coughing but are pretty well over it. I'm blessed with a lovely runny nose and cough, though I feel pretty good otherwise. Poor Monkey Boy got the worst of it this time. We had a couple of difficult nights where he was up with croup. Luckily he's also starting to feel a little better.

I'm going to try working on the Jaywalkers tonight and maybe I'll have turned heel pics for y'all tomorrow.

Monday, January 30, 2006

From this....

Remember this tank? As soon as I was done with it, I realized that stripes and busti-ness do not go well together. So I've only worn this tank top once other than this pic.

To this.....

Originally uploaded by shizzknits.

To....Lady Eleanor

Isn't she pretty? This is Noro Silk Garden, colorway #84. I think it's a MUCH better use of the yarn than the tank top! The pattern is in Scarf Style.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

"Will Work for Fiber"

Yesterday morning I was at LPK bright and early for a product shoot. We were taking pics of some knitted items for pattern booklets that they'll be selling at the shop.

It was a lot of fun to shoot a model who actually takes direction! Most of the time I have to chase my subjects around, crawl all on the floor, get drooled or peed on, and make funny faces to maintain eye contact. Not this time! Our model, Amy, was gorgeous and super easy to work with.

After the shoot Lori (the lady who is publishing the patterns) wanted to write me a check for my fee. I reminded her that we were bartering- my photography for her handdyed rovings. So I got to go diving into her big box of luscious fiber and look what I brought home! YUMMMM

I got three different colorways of alpaca/BFL/silk rovings (the purple hanks, the green hanks and the pink/purple hanks), and two balls of lovely BFL in purples, blues and reds.

Now the tweedy red merino/mohair that I've been spinning looks pretty boring! How long do you think it's going to be before that bobbin gets changed out for one of these?

Friday, January 27, 2006


-Chez Shizzknits has turned into the House of the Damned. We are all SICK. The Dearest came home last Friday complaining of a scratchy, sore throat. Then Little Man started coughing. By Monday morning I sounded like a pack-a-day smoker too. Last night Monkey Boy was making some pretty gurgly noises. As far as illnesses go, this one isn't too bad; no fever or severe fatigue- just a LOT of coughing and sore throats. It could be worse so I'm trying not to complain too much.
Little Man has been ensconced on the sofa, watching waaaay more TV than usual and demanding full bedside service.

-I've been asked to do commercial shots of some knitted items. The images will be for several patterns that'll be sold at LPK. It should be a lot of fun to work with a model who actually takes direction! I already told the pattern designer that I would 'work for fiber', since she does the most gorgeous hand dyed rovings.

-We took Little Man to check out a local church-run preschool last week. We're planning on putting him in preschool 3x a week starting in the Fall. He *loved* the preschool and I liked it a lot too. The classes are really small at only 12 kids per age group, and they have two credentialed teachers for each class. The biggest problem with the preschool is that it's so popular that I'll be spending the night in line to sign Little Man up for the next session. I've never in my life waited overnight for anything! But I've asked around and I guess the whole overnight camping thing is de riguer for all the good preschools in our area. Maybe I'll bring some knitting and get a pair of socks done or something while I'm waiting.

Jaywalkers v5.5

Well. Jaywalkers. AGAIN.

This time I'm trying a completely different yarn, which will hopefully lift the curse on this pattern. I cast on 76 sts on US2 DPNs and I've decided to knit both socks at the same time. Maybe that will avoid the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome.

I'm really crossing my fingers that this works because this is the last time I'm attempting the pattern!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Twinkle toes

A recent newborn session. I *love* those baby feet....this little one has the cutest jelly bean toes!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mail call!

Dontcha lurrrve eBay?? I do! I especially like being able to buy stuff from the UK....like these 8 balls of Cashsoft from Rowan. I"m going to use them for this free pattern from Elann.

And the seller threw in this little Rowan mag...isn't that sweet?

Not sure when I'm going to start this particular pullover, but I had to have the yarn since it was at least $2 a ball cheaper than the price at any of the local LYS (if I could find enough in my colors). I normally like to support LYS- all of them!- but it was hard to find this particular color of Cashsoft. One LYS actually had the right color, but not enough balls of it.

I'm giving the Jayalkers one more try in a different sock yarn. Maybe I'll start on this pullover when I'm done.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

My Birthday...

Your Birthdate: February 11

Spiritual and thoughtful, you tend to take a step back from the world.
You're very sensitive to what's going on around you, yet you remain calm.
Although you are brilliant, it may take you a while to find your niche.
Your creativity is supreme, but it sometimes makes it hard for you to get things done.

Your strength: Your inner peace

Your weakness: You get stuck in the clouds

Your power color: Emerald

Your power symbol: Leaf

Your power month: November

Thursday, January 19, 2006

What's bliss?

Coming home to an *empty* house. I had a shoot today and my babysitter normally only stays till 2pm. That usually means that I barely have time to finish my session and run home. But today she's staying till 3pm so she took the boys to the park and the house was beautifully quiet when I walked in the door.

I actually got to eat my lunch and read the newspaper by myself for the first time in probably a year! Woot!

What else is bliss? How about starting another project? I have been eyeing Lady Eleanor from Scarf Style for a long time (check out this beauty!). One of the talented knitters from LPK showed up wearing a LE that she'd knit in Noro and it was absolutely gorgeous. She said it took about 10 balls of Noro Silk Garden to complete the stole.

I counted out my Noro stash and I have 6 balls of Silk Garden in colorway 84. Plus I a tank top that I knitted previously and want to rip- that has 5 balls in it. So if I rip the top, I should have enough to knit Lady Eleanor with some left over.

Last night I met with blogless Joyce at the Sheared Sheep, and we went thru the whole entralac instructions together. I'd tried it before and always got all bolluxed up, but with Joyce's help I was able to finally make sense of the pattern. I'll probably be casting on for LE right after I get done with this entry (and before the boys come home!).

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Aran? I can't even finish those darned Jaywalkers!

My Jaywalkers are cursed, cursed! I tell ya true. They are coming upon their fifth and probably last frogging. Like the &#@$ Silk Corset, this may just be a pattern that I will forever lust after but not be able to complete. Here is the sad evidence.

The heel flap is completed and the heel has been turned. I'd finally been able to get my foot thru the sock's cuff, so I thought I was home free.

Haha! The knitting gods laugh at my overconfidence. What happens when I try on the sock to make sure the heel is deep enough? I broke one of my DPNs.

SNAPOLA. Bye bye Brittney US2 DPN.

And the worst part is that I like to knit my socks using 5 DPNs....four for the sock and one to work with. So now I have a set of 4 DPNs that I probably won't use again. Well...maybe for a child's sock.

Right now the Jaywalker is in timeout in my knitting basket while I decide whether or not it's worth it to rip back the heel and maybe turn this into a pair of fingerless mitts or something. I"m so bummed because I *really* like this pattern (despite everyone in blogland knitting it). I may try again with some Socks That Rock- at least that will give me an excuse to buy more sock yarn!

On a happier note, check this out:

One of my Waving Lace socks is done. And it FITS! Woot! I'm probably going to cast on for the other one tonight.

(let's not speak of the awful Kitchner stitch toe)
And did you see? IK's new Spring Preview is up....I *really* like a couple of the projects. This is a pretty sweater

And these socks look like a lot of fun!

But before I go on to any other new projects, I should mention that I'm seriously thinking of knitting an Aran or fisherman's sweater. Not sure why, since I love in So. Cal and there's no reason to wear such a thick, warm knitted item. I've been haunting eBay, looking at old Aran patterns. I think it would be fun to do all those cables and twisted stitches in an aran weight yarn.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


*No knitting content, so skip it if that's what you're looking for*

I'll let you all in on a little secret: I'm a photo hound. Meaning I take photographs of just about anything that will stay still long enough for me to get my camera out. And it's not just because of my portrait work....I've always been a visual person who learns best by seeing and doing. So photography was a natural hobby for me.

BC (Before Children), I had so many pictures of my dogs, my house, cars, and random objects that there were easily 10 or 12 boxes of photos and negatives stored up under my desk. The clerks at the local Costco photo center knew me by name. I was also a total film snob.

"You ain't gonna get me to go with one of them new-fangled digital cameras, no way no how. Yous gonna have to pry my film SLR out of my cold, dead hands!"

Then Little Man came along and I took so many photos of him in the first month that we were going broke with developing costs. The Dearest being a techno geek and all, he brought home a new point and shoot digicam for me to use. I must have shot over a thousand images with that little camera before the Dearest surprised me with a *real* digital SLR. It only took a few weeks of shooting with my new camera and realizing how much power I had over my images with Photoshop before I was listing my trusty old film camera on eBay. And I haven't looked back. I'm purely digital now....all my professional sessions are shot with a dSLR, all the post processing is done by yours truly, and the digital files are uploaded to my lab for printing.

Another little secret? The only thing I like better than taking photos is sharing them. I love me my Flickr! It's so cool that I can upload pics of the boys and everyone in my family can see them. What I'd forgotten is that *everyone* on the wide world of the 'net can see them too.

The other day I got a message from Flickr that I'd been added as someone's new contact. Meaning someone saw my images and added me to their list of people to watch for. So I go over to this new person's profile and start taking a peek at their photo sets. I recognize a couple of my photos- all of socks or Little Man's feet in socks....then I notice that *all* of the shots are of feet or socks.

Ummm...ok. I'm not skeeved yet. Some photogs I know will pick a certain item (body part, flower, fender) and explore it visually by taking as many different photos of it as they can. I'm thinking: maybe that's what this guy is doing.

Then I go down further on his/her (profile lists them as "other") photo set and more and more of the images are fetish-ish in nature. As in: feet tucked under a naked bum. As in: f33t being licked. As in: f33t wrapped in rope.

Oh. My. Gawd.

I have *nothing* against this person's fetish. In fact, as far as I'm concerned whatever consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home is their business. Lick each other's f33t? Fine. Rub each other in salsa? No problem. Tie each other up and use up a whole Costco brick of D batteries up? Go to it!

But I really get my Momma Bear instincts up in a big way when images of my child's feet are two photos over from an image of a woman's peds being licked. Now, to be fair, this person may have had absolutely no sexual interest in children's feet....there were plenty of old feet, young feet, baby feet and shapely women's feet in the photo set. I actually didn't block this person from my Flickr account right off, partially because I thought I might be over-reacting. I know several bloggers who never show their kids' faces in pictures on the 'net because they are worried about pediphiles, sexual predators, etc. And I've always thought that was over-reacting because your kid gets seen by probably a 100 people a day....unless you want to wrap them up like MJ, there's no protecting them from strangers' eyes.

So I let the whole situtation ferment for a day or so. I thought on it now & again....and finally decided that I just wasn't comfortable with the whole idea. I blocked this person from my Flickr account and have actually placed most of my photos of the boys into a pool that is only available to friends and family. Momma Bear instinct was just too strong to do otherwise, and sometimes it's best to listen to instinct.

I'll still post pics of the boys here on my blog, along with plenty of knitting. Cuz after all, I'm a photo hound!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Is there a Socks Addicts Annonymous?

I've been eyeing the Waving Lace Pattern from IK for quite a while, but couldn't find the right yarn to use. If you haven't noticed, I'm not a solid colored yarn kinda gal. If it's not varigated I'm probably not intererested. This especially goes for sock yarns. But the Waving Lace socks looked like they would be much prettier with a solid color than with a painted yarn so I've been putting the pattern off till I found the right yarn.

Looking thru the stash last night, I pulled out this gorgeous Highland Silk from elann with the Waving Lace socks in mind. Then I realized that I would have to do some *shudder* MATH, since the pattern calls for sock weight yarn and the Highland Silk is DK weight. After some swatching, I went with:
-reducing the stitch count from 64 to 56
-using US2 DPNs instead of the called for US1
-cutting out one full pattern repeat

So far so good I think. It won't be as 'lacey' as the picture shows, but I've already tried the sock on and it looks pretty cool.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

First time for everything

homejewel tagged me....

4 Jobs You Have Had in Your Life:
-counter clerk at a dry cleaning store
-Workers' Compensation hearing rep
-location scout for a cell-phone company (I looked for property which they'd use to build cell sites)

4 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over:
-Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring
-LOTR, The Two Towers
-LOTR, The Return of the King
-The original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

4 Places You Have Lived:

4 TV Shows You Love to Watch:
Discovery Channel
Project Runway
Battlestar Galactica (the new one on SciFi Channel)

4 Places You Have Been on Vacation:
San Francisco
Las Vegas

4 websites you visit daily:
Two Peas

4 of your favorite foods:

shabu shabu
anything chocolate
Starbucks' pumpkin spice lattes

4 places you would rather be right now:
Anywhere Knitting
Scuba diving in Fiji
Horseback riding in Ireland

4 Bloggers You are Tagging:


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

New socks

Toddler and baby socks are like crack for sock knitters IMO. They take very little yarn and can be whipped up in mere hours. I love them!

These are knit with yarn left over from Little Man's Shawl Collared Sweater. It's handpaintedyarn.com/Malabrigo's worsted weight merino. Soooo soft! Little Man says they are 'very warm'.

Stats: Malabrigo worsted weight merino, less than 200yds in "Rich Earth" (purchased over a year ago, when they still sold their yarn on their website).

Size 3 DPNs.

My own basic sock pattern. CO 36sts, work in 1x1 rib for a cuff and then do stockinette for the body. Slipstitch heel.

I tried using the sock chimney method to close the toe, but it didn't work at all well. Maybe because these socks are very small?

another view

Originally uploaded by shizzknits.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Little Man the photographer

LM asked me if he could play with my little point and shoot camera today. That was fine with me, as long as he took pictures of things that he really liked. Here's one of the pics he shot...more can be found here.

Park Day

Originally uploaded by shizzknits.

We went to a local park today, thinking that there would be other moms from our Mom's group, but we were the only ones who showed up. There were plenty of other kids & moms hanging out, so Little Man got to play a lot. He finally found someone just his size to make this teeter totter work.

Rock wall

Originally uploaded by shizzknits.

Little Man was very proud to finally climb this rock wall all by himself.

Friday, January 06, 2006

New BSG!

*geek alert*

Ok, so what did I do tonight after I put the boys to bed? I settled down on the couch with a ball of Malabrigo worsted merino and one half of a completed sock for Little Man. Trusty Tivo had the newest Battlestar Galactica taped so I got to watch it with no commercials.

The worst thing about BSG?

It's too damn short! I wish it was 2 hours instead of just one!

Seaming hell

Chelle's blanket
Originally uploaded by shizzknits.

Blogless Joyce and I decided that it would be nice to knit some squares for a baby blanket for Chelle. I had a big bag of leftover Shine in multiple colors, so we each took a couple of ball and started knitting 4x4 squares. Several other Wednesday night knitters at LPK also volunteered to knit some squares.

Then we threw a little party for Chelle last Wednesday where we put all the squares together. Of course everyone was volunteering to knit squares, but the whole seaming thing? Not so much.

Joyce ended up taking half the blanket home and I took the other half. Today we met at the Sheared Sheep and Joyce had already seamed her half so she handed it over to me. I'm going to attempt seaming the rest of my squares, then put the two halves together. Hopefully we'll have enough of the cream yarn to knit an edging around the whole thing.

And hopefully this will get done before the new baby is a toddler!

Little Man taste tests a cupcake

Originally uploaded by shizzknits.

Cupcakes for the party

Originally uploaded by shizzknits.

Little Man helped me decorate these. We used real buttercream frosting on top of both chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. The chocolate ones tasted like Oreos. Yum!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

How I really look

When I worked full time, I was always very conscious of how others viewed me. I worked in a field where I wore suits almost every day. My clients and the people I worked with expected it, tho I have never been much of a clotheshorse and really hate wearing suits.

My sister usually came shopping with me because my taste in clothing leans towards overalls and jeans. Sis has *excellent* taste and can really put an outfit together. She gets that from my mom, but I guess that gene skipped me.

When I was on college and high school I pretty much didn't care how people looked at me. My 'uniform' at the time consisted of Birkenstocks, long flowy skirts and lots of flower prints. I was BoHo before BoHo was cool.

Anyways, I went from hippie chick to corporate suit when I started working. Then I got PG with Little Man. My new style was born along with him: jeans and a T-shirt every day, to be mixed with jean shorts and a T-shirt when it was hot. That's the mommy uniform.

The other day I was complaining to a friend that I was tired of wearing the same old thing every day, and you could tell just by looking at me that I was a mom. My T-shirts always have the ghosts of stains on them even when they are clean because little boys usually have sticky paws they want to put all over you. All the jeans in my drawers have smudges of who-knows-what that won't wash out. I wear the same old pair of beat up white sneakers 365 days a year.

Sometimes I'll be out with the boys and see another mom (usually with older kids), who's much more put together than I am. They're usually wearing cute tops and heeled shoes. Their hair is nicely styled and they actually have lipstick on. I always feel like other people see me and think "SAHM".

When you spend all day with little kids, you don't get much feedback on how stylish you're looking. It can be quite difficult to feel good about how the world views you.

But then something like this happens: I'm doing dishes and Little Man walks up to me with a piece of paper.

"Look Momma," he hands me the paper. "I drew you!" He's beaming with pride and so am I. I think it's a pretty good representation of me. And I realize that it's not so much about how the world views me, as it is about how the people I love see me.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Whose feet are these?

Inspired by Cara:

Little Man spins.


name it
Originally uploaded by shizzknits.

Winding off

Originally uploaded by shizzknits.

Remember that BFL that blogless Karen brought me from Black Sheep? I *finally* spun it all up. It only took me six months!

The whole batch is currently in the sink, relaxing in some Eucelan. I'll count up the yardage when it's dry.

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Sheared Book, er Sheep

I had a little free time coming to me today, as the Greatest was taking down the Christmas tree with the boys. So I decided to head over to the Sheared Sheep, a new yarn shop that I'd heard about.

It was a lot closer than I thought- only about 15 minutes away- and pretty easy to find. Funnily enough, the owner Lisa was once part of the same knitting group that I attended at Yarn Lady. So we recognized each other right away and had some fun catching up on each others' lives.

The shop is nice and cozy and they have a Wednesday knit night which I may just have to attend occasionlly since I know a couple of other knitters who go there. It was nice to have a good selection of patterns; she carries some really fun Knitwits and Stitch Diva patterns.

The Kid Seta was calling my name, but since I have a quite a bit of Kidsilk Haze already stashed, I went with a book purchase instead.

So The New Knitting Stitch Library is now mine. I was little frustrated that the book didn't lay flat when I was looking at the charts inside and had an "ah ha" moment. On the way home I stopped at the local Kinkos copy shop and had them cut the spine off and apply a coiled binding.

The cover looks a little chopped, but everything inside is fine. And now the book lies perfectly flat. Woot!

Closeup of the spiral binding.

You can choose to have a clear cover put on if you wish, but I decided that the existing cover was durable enough as is. This only cost about $6 and makes the book so much more functional.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Baaaaa baaaaa (like a sheep)

Yes, I have joined in with the rest of blogworld to knit Grumperina's Jaywalker Socks. Fun pattern- just enough thinking involved to keep me from falling asleep while knitting, but not so much thinking that I can't carry on a chat.

Good things? It's quick and easy and I don't need the pattern to keep track of where I am.

Bad things? This afternoon I was knitting away quite happily when I realized that I somehow dropped a stitch several rows down. Ok, no problem. Just unravel on down to that dropped stitch, pick everything up and keep on knitting.

Nice plan, but the execution was lacking. First off, Little Man decided to use me a trampoline while I was trying to pick up the stitches. And y'all know how much fun it is to pick up fingering weight stitches with US1 needles. Then I was off on my stitch count and had to do a bunch of M1s and K2togs before everything was put right.

So I put the boys to bed and am sitting on the sofa happily knitting and watching the Twilight Zone Marathon when I attempt to try on the sock for the first time.

It doesn't fit.


I had made the smaller size of the pattern, casting on 76 sts, which is my normal amount of stitches for a fingering weight sock. I guess I forgot all about the pulling in effect of the Jaywalker pattern.


Here is my Jaywalker pre-frogpond.

I re-cast on and this time I'm using US2 needles and doing the larger size. If these are too big for me, I'll give them to my sister who wears a size larger shoe.

NYE 2005

Progressive dinner in our neighborhood:

Three houses in three hours.

Running thru the rain to cross the street for appetizers.

Main dishes at our house. Fourteen adults and ten kids (!) for tacos, taquitos and PB&Js.

36 taco shells.

Four pounds of ground beef.

Six packages of goldfish crackers crushed into the floor in the living room.

One very happy doggie-vac who had her own NYE celebration eating all the stuff on the floor.

Dessert at another neighbor's house.

Massive amounts of fun was had by all!

The Dearest and I retired to the sofa by 9pm to watch a Tivo'd hockey game and knit (well, at least *I* knit).

I think it was a great New Year's Eve. Wishing you all a happy and safe 2006.