Archive for June, 2006

We have been challenged!

Stephanie mentioned an effort by a lovely woman named Jeanne in California, all about bringing breastfeeding education and support to low-income families in her area. Part of her plan includes handing out adorable knitted fruit and/or vegetable hats to the wee ones in the hopes of instilling smart nutritional values for life. (My own personal take-away lesson: always put your food on your head, because Mom’s face is just so much more fun when you do.)

Jeanne’s plan seems to be a pretty large one, and she could use the help of cheerful knitters to send some hats to simultaneously warm the noggins of babies and make them look like Carmen Miranda’s littlest fanclub. I totally dig breastfeeding (been on the receiveing end, but not yet on the dispensing end), and I think Jeanne’s effort is amazing. All the more so because who doesn’t love babies wearing fruit-shaped hats? It’s bound to succeed.

Because I’m so all over this, I’ve made a list of links to free patterns of baby hats that look like fruits and veggies for you to peruse and use. (I know you have the ability to head over to Knitting Pattern Central and check it out yourself–I don’t think you’re dumb in any way–I just like to be helpful and to pretend that I’m organized) (Hello 23 days until my wedding!)

And even though I found the bunny, squid, egg & kitty hats to be adorable, I’m vegan/vegetarian and don’t want kids to think that it’s okay to eat the squid, so I didn’t include them in this list.

Warning: the pictures with actual babies in them may cause you to flip out from cute.

Apple Hat (I must make one of these)

Tart Hat (it wants to be a raspberry, though! Can you see it?)

Pineapple Hat

Pumpkin Hat

Tomato (or perhaps Strawberry) Beanie (so very cute!)

Watermelon Hat Pseudo-Pattern (by none other than Harlot Herself)

At press-time (ha! I find myself endlessly amusing!), Stephanie said folks could email her to find out where to send the knitted adorableness. So go do it. And leave me a comment if you’re joining in the foodie fun. Hooray!

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Or doesn’t, as the case may be.

Our supergoodfriends Mark and Amy got married this weekend; Nick was best man and I was a bridesmaid (this is the third time in my life I’ve been a bridesmaid… is it possible I shall never marry? The rate this planning is going I’m sure my mother thinks I won’t) and we were busy busy people all weekend long. Some of us were busy getting our drink on and flashing our pretty blue underwear at all our friends. I won’t say who, though.

So, you could read “busy” there as “hungover.” Or, if you’re my Mom, you could just read it as “busy” and completely ignore the underwear comment.

I learned some things this weekend, though, and now you can too:

1. My wedding day is the feast day of Saint Mary Magdalene, that nice woman who everyone thinks is a whore. Or the wife of Christ. Either way, think of the parties that woman has thrown.

2. My wedding day is also Pi Approximation Day (one of many). I’m more a word person than a numbers person, but Pi is just so cute and wiley and infinite.

3. Wedding shawls are impossible to make and why did I even start oh my god.

4. The Misfits’ “Skulls” + a bottle of Wild Turkey + a wedding-type dance floor full of punk rock nerds = mayhem. But really sweet mayhem.

5. I cannot stop watching soccer/football/futbol videos on the internet. I love them so. I think I have a crush on soccer and am accomplishing nothing because I am entranced by Ronaldinho’s magic skills. We don’t have teevee (DeKalb doesn’t get any broadcast channels and I refuse to purchase cable), so we do the Netflix thing and now internet videos which have pulled me in with their seductive awesomeness.

Hey, It’s a Picture! And It’s Made Me Forget That There’s No Real Content in Today’s Post! Sweet!

I went walking last Tuesday around 8am and damn if the light isn’t just stunning at that hour. I took a bunch of pictures because I was surprised to find out that my town is occasionally pretty. I plan to use them to distract you from the lameness of my blog for the next LESS THAN FOUR WEEKS until my wedding.

Excuse me while I go freak out about something.

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I know. You don’t want to hear any more about the wedding. You’ve tolerated my whining and ranting because you just want me to get back to the fiber arts, for the love of pete. I know this because I don’t want to hear any more about my wedding. I’m wedding-ed out. And more friends are getting married this weekend! And Nick and I are in the wedding! And today our own wedding is one month away! Panic!


Okay. I’m fine. Where was I? Oh yes, yarn and lovely things made from yarn. What a pretty concept. I like yarn.

The wedding shawl (I just can’t get away, can I? Good lord, I’ll be so happy on the 23rd) is coming along nicely.

Here is the latest round, at one of the points. The points are getting bigger and may eventually take over the whole thing, like The Blob or a really sparkly fungus. This is the one thing that I want to be really elaborate (or as elaborate as I can make it in the next month. One Month! Oh My Freaking God!), because I’m making it myself and boy howdy do I want my on-display handcraft to pop.

As I mentioned before, I had run out of the Patons Brilliant I was using. I went to my lovely LYS (The Yarn Exchange, visit them because they are lovely people and if you’re ever in DeKalb let me know and I’ll meet you there because it smells like cozy wool and it’s delightful and I love it) to purchase some but they were also out of the color I needed. Not wanting a two-tone shawl (though the Ruby color would have looked stunning, not so appropriate for my blue/pink/yellow wedding), I asked for more and they of course ordered more and it was very nice. I went in after a week to check on my order and the owner said that she told Patons it was for a wedding shawl and they put a rush on the shipment (!!) and and that Patons wants a picture of my wedding shawl when it’s all done.

Holy crap, Patons wants a picture of something I made. I’m falling over every time I think of it.

Remember that yarn I had rambling everywhere willy-nilly on my green post?

It is now a sock. Or, more accurately, the beginning of a sock. It’s a tube, people, and it’s a pretty one. I love it, and I love the ChiaGoo 5″ dpns (size 4 for this sportweight yarn, good for a first sock which will become winter boot socks). I can’t find a website for them, and Google thinks I mean “Chicago double pointed,” which opens up a whole new realm of possibilities, so you’ll have to take my word for it that they are pretty darn good. And pointy enough that I can stab the living daylights out of this yarn and split it quite effectively.

It may be because I’ve completely lost my ability to focus due to the wedding and its never-ending torrent of details that must be attended to this very instant! or all will come crashing down and don’t you want everything to match exactly, you heathen?, but I’ve been casting on for a bunch of projects lately.

My latest obsession: Picovoli, because I am a sheep. But a sheep who knows what looks amazing. The yarn is KnitPicks (to whom I cannot link because–and I kid you not–“There has been an overflow or underflow of GC memory pressure.”) Shine sport in Orchid, and it looks stunning on Ziggy, I think. Hopefully it’ll look nice on me too. Considering I have no idea what my gauge is (I used to kind of know what it was when I was a thrower, but now that I pick … ? Who knows. Maybe I’ll measure my gauge today. Hmm.)

I also swatched for the Baby Maggie sweater (the yarn for which was purchased a hundred years ago, or maybe just back in February),

and got confused. The pattern calls for Size 6 (4.0mm) needles. My size 6’s (from Clover) are 4.25mm. What the damn hell is going on?

If you clicky-clicky you can see that the needles clearly say 6 4.25 mm. Clearly something is very wrong, because all the charts I have seen comparing needles sizes (that would be a total of one, in Stephanie’s latest book) say that US 6 = 4.0mm and US 7 = 4.5mm. Where does this mysterious 4.25mm needle come into play? I couldn’t figure it out, so I went with my US 5’s, which are aluminum and so very annoying when paired with 100% cotton. I’ll probably use my mutant 4.25mm bamboo needles for this sweater anyway… I’m making the 18-month-old size and if it’s too big, the child can grow into it. As children do.

And I haven’t cast on with this stuff yet, but I did buy KnitPicks Shadows laceweight (3 skanks) and plan to turn two of them (maybe?) into lacey scarf-type gifts. After the wedding is over and everything is back to normal.

Heather turned one skank into a ball for me. Man, I want my own ball winder.

And finally, there is a new e-zine out there built (does one build an e-zine?) by Yvonne of Cogknition, called Faces of Yve. It’s all about web design in the smaller scale, how to tweak your blog template, how to make buttons (I asked her a question and she used it in her button column–way cool!), etc. It’s a good resource, and she writes in a totally approachable style so you don’t feel like a heel for not knowing what an HTML tag is, exactly.

And finally finally, I leave you with a picture of my new notions bag, advertising our honeymoon destination and the kind of people we hope to meet on the way.

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The universe conspires against me.

I’ve been watching the Yarn Harlot‘s tour page, anxiously awaiting a date for her Chicago stop. There are a few awesome things happening this summer– one of them is Stephanie’s book tour (another being a little thing I like to call my wedding) and I really really want to see her again. However, the day she comes to Chicago (July 24th) is the very day I leave for my honeymoon, and no amount of wheedling, cajoling or promise of crazy hot sex will induce my husband-to-be (holy crap! I’m going to have a husband!) to drive anywhere that is not our honeymoon destination.

Not that I blame him. After all this insane planning of details and compromising of ideas and assumption of stress and guilt, we’re going to be so very ready to leave Illinois.

I hope some of my friends go and have a yarntastic time for me, though.

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Name Calling

These days I get asked a lot of questions about wedding plans. How are they going? Are you getting nervous? What are your colors? Will you wear a veil? What does your dress look like? (Answers: Fine [never tell the truth to the well-meaning person, they really don’t want to hear it]; Heck yes; Blue and yellow and pink [long story]; Heck no; and White, with beading. I think it has a train and no, it will probably be bustled the whole time because I hate trains.)

Context clues may give you the idea that I’m a bit of a non-traditional girl. That would be the correct idea.

I also get asked, quite a lot lately, what my name will be after I get married. This has always been a no-brainer for me, since before I began my dating years: I’m keeping my last name when I get married. I like it. It connects me to these amazing people who are my family and who are strong and amazing and it’s my name.

I (obviously) have nothing against Nick or his family, but his name is not my name. I want to keep my name and pass it on to our kids (our current plan for possible kids is to hyphenate the two last names. This plan may change, as plans do). Part of the reason for this has to do with my family tree. I’ve been on-again, off-again researching my family tree and when I go back far enough (300 years and up) the women’s names start to disappear from the records — it’s just Thomas Browne married ________ and had Thomas, John, and Francis Browne (no visible daughters). I’ve always felt frustrated when I couldn’t find out who these women were, like I was missing out on a connection between that person and myself. Maybe that’s a little foolish, because there’s no way of knowing what these people were like, but I like the idea of some traits being passed down through families the way names are (and are.they.ever in some branches of my family–you’d think they only knew 3 names for men and 3 for women).

My aversion to losing my own name got cemented a bit further the other day. There is a patron at the library, a lady of maybe 70-ish years old, and the name on her library card record is (and I’m changing the acutal name here, of course) Mrs Richard VanLandingham. Generations are different in how they view these things, I know, but man–to not even have one’s own name on one’s own library card, that’s not for me.

And I’m not calling out any woman who has changed her name to her husband’s when she married him; that’s her choice, and it’s definitely the mainstream thing, and it’s none of my business. It surprises me, when people ask and I answer, how many are taken aback by my choice and how a few even get a little defensive or stand-off-ish.

Has anyone else gotten that, or reacted that way, or have an opinion on this topic? All viewpoints welcome and respected. Comments telling me I’m a damn sinner and going to hell will be deleted. Because I know that already.

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Our good friends R. & L. got married this past Saturday. It was so much fun, and the ceremony was very personal and lovely, and they both looked so amazingly happy.

The bride and all the girls from Table Four, the neighbor table. They put us right up front, right next to the head table so we could throw them air-high-fives and stuff all night. Plus R. & L. went out of their way to make sure there was ACTUAL VEGAN FOOD for Nick and me, and it was tasty. So thoughtful.

And they did this other awesome thing (we’re probably going to steal it, because it’s such a good idea) where they put bottles of wine on the table, so you could serve yourself. It came in handy when, near the end of the reception, the waitstaff took my glass away while I was shaking my booty on the dance floor (with Nick, who usually never dances and who totally came through on the dance floor Saturday night. I love him). I came back to no wineglass and decided (there had been many glasses of wine consumed by this point) that the remaining bottle of red was mine, and I began drinking straight from the bottle. High class all the way, that’s me.

Riley wrote my name on the bottle, and Nick helped me smuggle this one and a bottle of white out of the reception and into our trunk.

When we got home, we were too tired to get the bottles out of the trunk and Nick thought we’d forget them and they would erupt or break or cause massive damage. I said “Of course we won’t forget, for I will write a drunken note to myself about the bottles in the trunk!” And this is the result:

Even in my drunk state I was amazed by my drunkenness. It’s cosmic, man.

And the next day, as one might assume, I felt like this:

Congratulations to R. & L., who know how to take care of the vegans and throw an amazing party. Rock! And congratulations to me, because I managed to keep my camera away from predatory wine glasses all night long.

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This is all happening to me because I’m making a 13-pointed shawl to wear on my wedding day.

Last Thursday morning I mailed off nearly all of our wedding invitations. (Damn little bits of paper that we stayed up till 1:30am folding! Snarl! I love them!)

Right, so cross that off our (bloody massive) to-do list! Except no! We can’t cross it off because on Saturday at my (blissfully) last bridal shower, some friends of Nick’s Mom tell me that they got someone else’s invitation (Name B with Address A) and it turns out the whole thing is my fault because I entered the information into my spreadsheet wrong (there go my aspirations toward a career in data entry… shucks) and now I am horrified and embarrassed beyond belief and wish the fates would see fit to strike me down with a bolt of lightning, or at least a deep 6-week long coma.

But that wasn’t the worst part. After the shower I learn that this kerfuffle has deprived someone’s relative of his/her invitation. This relative is … sensitive to oversights and often takes such things very personally and has been known to be a tad unreasonable. Again I wish for that swift lighting bolt. I remain conscious and arrange to send out another invitation to this relative immediately on Monday morning.

Can I breathe easy now? No, absolutely not. Later on Saturday I realize yet another mistake: I sent an invitation (another Name B with Address A) to the home of someone who isn’t invited! How stunningly brilliant! Hey, we cut you from the list and just to rub it in (even though you didn’t know it) we’re sending an invitation to your house addressed to someone else! Ha! Lightning bolt, you may fire when ready.

Perhaps the invitation situation has resolved itself? Not a chance. Sunday afternoon we get a call from Nick’s Dad, who tells us that his brother hasn’t gotten his invitation (okay, well, we just sent them out on Thursday…). We check the address, the address is correct. We send out another invitation to this brother who may now be getting two invitations. Where is that damn lightning bolt?

You would think by now everything that could go wrong has done so, but you would be wrong. Mercifully nothing happened on Monday, but on Tuesday (Mark-of-the-Beast Day, you know) I received two invitations in the mail, returned to me because there was no such name at the address. Of course, the addressee was my aunt and her family. Then I check my voice mail and learn that Nick’s aunt hasn’t received her invitation yet and was getting worried. Oh my god, just smite me now.

(And as I type this I’m getting a message from Blogger saying that “saving and publishing may fail” and I’m so tired of Blogger having its head up its ass, and I want it to go away.) (It eventually did.)

Whiskey, anyone?

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