Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Inevitably, when I take out my knitting in a public place, the person next to me will say, "I've always wanted to learn to knit!"

I have no response to that. Here are a few of the things I've said in the past that I don't think are quite right:

"That's nice."

"You should! It's fun."

"I did too, so I learned."

"I love it. Once I got started I couldn't stop."

"Beats smoking crack."

I'm not trying to be deliberately antisocial, but it's hard to have a conversation about something when the other person has a limited frame of reference. I have the same problem when someone comments on a book I'm reading.

They'll ask what I'm reading, I'll tell them, and they might say, "Oh! I've always wanted to read that."

Um, okay. Then... do it?

Do I just not understand how to carry on my side of that conversation?

My favorite non-exchange is when someone asks me what I'm making. I'm not sure if they expect a complete knitted sweater to drip off the needles, cartoon-style, or what. But if I say it's a sweater, they'll spend the next fifteen minutes squinting at it sideways –- is that the neck? Is it a sleeve? Is it a sweater for a manta ray?

I really need to start knitting nutsacks.

No! These! What is wrong with you?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Norah Gaughan capecho in progress

Norah Gaughan capecho in progress
Originally uploaded by squeakyweasels.

This is what I've been working on... and I have to say I LOVE this pattern. It's probably the most fun I've had knitting in a long time. It's a little challenging but instantly gratifying as each little cabled pentagon forms to join its neighbors. I have one motif left on the back, then it's just sleeves and collar.

And then I'll have to shave my eyelashes and drain the blood from my face so I can be a Vogue cover model, too!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Goddess of love, beauty, and public humiliation

I don't think we've ever kept it a secret from our children that they are the girl kind, but I guess we neglected to clue Gert in on one of the most specific differentiating features.

Gert goes to daycare with a lot of boys. Her best friend is a boy. She's a self-professed, tutu-wearing princess, but she's still one of the guys. So I'm sure you can guess where this is leading.

Friday night, we decided to get dinner at Bandana's. It's not a super fancy place or anything, but it does involve sitting in a booth, which to us means we try to act proper parents who enforce etiquette rules at home.

After the waitress had taken our order, Gert got squirmy. She stood up, she perched on her knees, she crawled under the table, she did a backbend into the booth behind us. I felt like my stop-its and please-sit-rights were getting louder and louder, and Gert was attracting more and more attention from people who were trying not to look like they were looking at us.

I leaned across the table and tried to level with the five-year-old. "Gert," I said firmly. "Why are you acting like this?"

Gertrude said, plainly and unmistakably in her clearest voice, "My penis hurts!"

Gary and I looked at each other.

Everyone in the entire restaurant looked at us, as did everyone with a several mile radius.

I had absolutely no idea what to say to that. If I explained to her that she was a girl and girls don't have penises, that would inevitably lead to a conversation about what girls did have. If I shushed her and explained that we don't talk about things like that at the dinner table, it would confirm that she did have a penis to be quiet about.

Gary cleared his throat and leaned over to whisper something in Gert's ear.

"Oh!" said Gert.

The entire place seemed to exhale and gladly resume its business.

Later that night, Gert was lounging on the floor in front of the television watching her usual run of Disney Channel shows.

"Mom," she announced casually, "guess what?"

"What?" I said.

"My Venus is still bothering me."

Friday, January 26, 2007

Pimped my blog!

I know, change is scary...

Bear with me a second here while I shake the bugs out!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Lace fingerless office gloves for the people

Here's a pattern! If you find any errors or have any questions about it, just let me know.

Snowflake Lace Office Gloves

Lace fingerless gloves, office style!

1 ball (196 yds) King Color Baby, fingering weight stretch merino wool
Set of double pointed needles, size 1
Stitch holders or waste yarn
Stitch markers

Stretches to fit all hands up to an 8" wrist circumference

Snowflake lace (instructions and chart here)
CORRECTION! the PDF of Snowflake Lace Socks in which this chart was published is now available for download via this link.

Work cuff
CO 40 st, join and work K1, P1 ribbing for about 1 inch. The cuff you're knitting will seem alarmingly small, but don't worry. It's stretchy. Decrease 1 stitch and divide stitches over 3 needles. Work in Snowflake lace pattern with one repeat per needle until cuff measures 3.5 inches total length. End with an even (knit) row.

Shape thumb gusset
Row 1 (pattern round), increase 1 stitch by knitting into the front and back of the first stitch (40 stitches). Place marker after the created stitch. Continue round in pattern.
Row 2, knit all stitches.
Row 3, increase 1 st by knitting in the front and back of the first stitch. You should now have 15 stitches on your first needle -- two plain knit stitches before the marker, and 13 pattern stitches. You're going to use these two knit stitches to form the thumb of your glove.
Row 4, knit all stitches.
Row 5, when you come back to the two knit stitches, increase by knitting into the front and back of both stitches. Now you'll have four knit stitches and 13 pattern stitches on your first needle.
Continue to increase by 2 stitches on every other round by knitting into the front and back of the first and last stitch of the marked group until you have 17 knit stitches before the marker (56 st. total).

Work even until thumb gusset measures 3 inches. Knit the thumb stitches, then slip these stitches to a stitch marker or waste yarn. Work the rest of the round in pattern, reconnect pattern stitches above the thumb gusset, and continue in pattern 1 more inch.

Work fingers
Right glove: Divide stitches evenly onto two needles (19 on one, 20 on the other) so the thumb is positioned on the right side of the hand, slightly forward.

Little finger: Move 9 stitches farthest from the thumb to a separate needle (take 4 from the front, 5 from the back). Place remaining stitches on waste yarn. Knit 9, CO 5, join. Knit in the round to desired length. Bind off loosely.

Slip all stitches from waste yarn back to needles, pick up 4 stitches from base of little finger, and continue in lace pattern for an additional .25 inch. Then work ring finger as follows.

Ring finger: Keep 5 stitches from both the front and back of glove on needles on either side of little finger. Slip all other stitches to waste yarn. K14, CO 4. Join and work in round to desired length. BO.

Middle finger: Slip 5 held stitches from front and back of glove onto needles. K5, pick up 5, k5, CO 5. Join and work in round to desired length. BO.

Pointer finger: Slip remaining 10 stitches to needles. Pick up 6, K10. Work in round to desired length. BO.

Thumb: Slip 17 stitches from waste yarn or holder onto needles. Work in round to desired length. BO.

Left glove: Work as for right glove until you are ready to knit the fingers. Divide stitches evenly onto two needles (19 on one, 20 on the other) so the thumb is positioned on the LEFT side of the hand. Knit fingers in the same way as outlined above, beginning with the little finger.

Eee! Now we both have gloves!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

test swatchin'

I've been knitting!

I made a test swatch of the orange and pink, which silly youngest daughter volunteered to model for me. The pink, as you can see, makes a passable hat, but the orange is far more pose-worthy.


And then there were four.

4th pentagon

Meanwhile, I've been in search of the perfect solution to cold keyboarding hands, and I believe these are the answer. They are the Perfect Office Gloves:

Lace office gloves

I have about a million pairs of fingerless gloves, but none accomplish the objective quite as well as these. They're slim and lightweight but warm. They're pretty without drawing undo attention to themselves, and they blend right in under any sleeves or jacket. They travel effortlessly from typing to filing to jotting down notes in meetings. Best of all, I can forget I have them on and they don't bother me in the least while I'm typing.

If anyone's interested in a pattern, I think I could put one together from the notes I kept. The lace is Melanie Berney's interpretation of the stitch for her Snowflake socks which are themselves so perfect and graceful I could cry.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I have two exciting and perhaps equally dorky things to tell you!

One, I got a new women's specific seat for my bike, and let me tell you, my "sensitive tissues" are beside themselves with thanks.

I was reluctant to make that leap up until now because I didn't want to be the kind of girl who trades in a super sleek, cool-looking Fuji seat for something that sells itself as extra-wide and padded. I found a good compromise in the Serfas Women's RX, which has cushy gel and curvaceous, womanly shaping but won't make me feel like the boys are laughing at me.

I rode with it last night, and holy rear-end revolution! I can't accurately describe how wonderful this seat is. If you are a female and you continue to ride on a boy's seat after reading this PSA, well, you must enjoy that kind of pain, because that's the only excuse you have now for putting up with it.

The other exciting thing is that we're now leaning toward driving instead of flying down to Disneyworld this summer for our second Once-In-A-Lifetime family Disney adventure blowout. That means we'd easily be able to drive down to the coast for a brief glimpse at all the cool space stuff.

Ride, Sally Ride!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

This is me...


And these are the three lucky yarns from my stash who are Still In The Running toward becoming Norah Gaughan's cover sweater on this issue of Vogue Knitting.


But which one? The dark chocolate brown would be very classic and versatile and warm. The salmon pink is so sweet and feminine. But the pumpkin orange is so spicy and playful. Which one most deserves to be made into this fantastic piece of sweater art?

I can't decide. What would you do?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Gertrude is a child who adores being cuddled. Her idea of a perfect weekend would be to spend 48 hours in continual, uninterrupted contact with Mom and/or Dad. Last night she broke into tears because it was starting to get dark outside and she hadn't gotten in nearly enough cuddling.

This morning she dragged herself out of bed and came into the kitchen where I was digging through lunchmeat packages (and discovering that the ham I'd had on my sandwich Saturday was at least two weeks older than it had a right to be). She grabbed my hand and pulled me over to the couch, I assumed in need of early morning cuddles before facing the week ahead.

"I need to talk to you about something," she said seriously, as I nuzzled her on my lap.

"Okay," I said.

"Do you like Daddy?" she asked.

Oh crap, so she heard us "loudly debating" the timeframe for projected home improvements yesterday...?

"Of course I like Daddy!" I said.

She got a sappy smile on her face. "Did you marry him because you like him?"

"That's right," I said. "Daddy and I go together like peas and carrots."

This was an ironic thing to say to Gert, who openly despises both peas and carrots.

"I'm glad you married him... because he's my best Daddy I ever had in the whole world."

Then Matilda came prancing into the living room, pushed her hair back and proclaimed, "They stayed in!"

We all congratulated her.

I should explain. Matilda finally worked up the courage and resolve to get her ears pierced yesterday, and went to bed with the fearful conviction that somehow her gleaming new cubic zirconian studs would work their way out of her lobes while she slept. No amount of reassuring her would convince her otherwise. When I tucked her in last night, she was fast asleep with her hands cupped protectively over her ears.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2007 resolutions, courtesy of Wilco and Bill Fay ("Be Not So Fearful"):

1. Be not so nervous
  • Be friendlier.
  • Smile more often.
  • Seek to make eye contact with other humans.
  • Initiate conversations.

2. Be not so frail
  • Get on the bike at least 3 times per week (four would be better).
  • Walk the dog more, or at least encourage him to chase a ball or two.
  • Consider rollerblading.
  • Avoid whining.