We're not here for a long time; we're here for a good time.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Can't Talk Now, Jack's On

First, let me say, about the lack of blogging, I hold Jack Bauer entirely responsible. Have you all seen this show? Good grief! Every episode ends on a heart attack waiting to happen. We rented the first season a few weeks ago (and here I blame The Hubba entirely) and now we're addicts. No way around it. I'm not even sure I like the show, but it's fast pace, constant plot twists, actors skilled in The Art of Suspicious Looks and promotion of Men of All Heights is too much to resist (on IMDB it says Keifer Sutherland is 5 feet, 10 and a half inches- it's true, folks, true the same way I often body double for Gisele Bündchen ((is it possible to do a parenthesis inside a a parenthesis? 'Cause I am, only to tell you, check out Keifer and Gisele's full names- seriously? I mean seriously?)) ). Whether or not you like the show, whether or not those accents are even close to accurate, whether or not Keifer's wearing heels, Jack Bauer is a bad man.

So very little blog changes occured this weekend due to Season Two. Though, home changes did take place. We have curtains! In our bedroom. So exciting. And The Hubba hung them. And I stood around and handed him screws and tools when he needed them. And we're still speaking! It's a 24 miracle!

House repair/remodeling/updates never do run smoothly for us (didn't Shakespeare write about that?). The Hubba isn't exactly "handy," as a repairman once said, and I'm not exactly helpful and most of the time odds are 2:1 if he's using tools around the house and I'm there, words will be exchanged.

However, curtain hanging (including putting up the rods) is safe territory. Between the two of us, we located all necessary tools, opened boxes (The Hubba only suffering a minor cut on his thumb from a rogue staple in the curtain rod box), he asked how high the rod should be, I answered concisely and clearly, and together we got it done. Whoo-hoo! Now, instead of large, fur-covered blankets hung up over the windows with thumb tacs (we were the the low-end smack house in middle class suburbia), we have dark blue curtains on honest-to-God curtain rods. One small step for Adulthood, one giant leap for Knitterkind.

I'll be blog updating today- bringing in the new changes and improvements. Honestly. At least I will unless CTU calls and says there's a bomb somewhere in the city of Burlington and only my Steve Madden heels and eyebrow-raising ability can save the state of North Carolina. I won't be at liberty to write about it, but I know ya'll will understand.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Your weekend update!

I've finished the first of the purple-urple socks and am a quarter of the way through the next.

I've finished the body of the cabled green bag and only need to a) knit the straps b) seam the bottom together c) sew the straps on and d) line it. No problem!

Also, ladies, if you're married or living with someone, seeing someone, or basically have any partner in your life you're even a little bit fond of, I beg you, don't go see "Catch and Release," Jennifer Garner's new film. Because if you do, when you're not wondering over her ability to keep that pursed-lip, sucked-in cheeks expression of sad/hurt/anger, you will spend the whole time, sobbing over the loss of her fiance (they bury him the day she and he were SUPPOSED to get MARRIED- how sick is that?). At least that's what I did this afternoon! Not so much sobbing, but doing that tears streaming down the cheeks, snotty, gasping-hiccup crying just loud enough for the teenager in front of me, seeing the movie with her mom, to turn around every few minutes and shoot me nasty looks because, frankly, she's thrilled Jennifer's hooking up with her dead fiance's best friend. (Sidenote: The Hubba it turns out is not nearly so astute as the teenager. When we left the theater I asked him to check my face, certain I had one helluva set of Alice Cooper eyes, and he asked "why?" "Because of all the crying," I explained and he, who was sitting RIGHT NEXT TO ME, said "You were crying?")

Finally, Brooke, the thing? With the website? That we've been speaking about? I'm all over it, babe. At least, by all over it, I mean will no doubt start it tomorrow afternoon after the UT Men's basketball game. It's in good hands! No worries! Tho' we must speak of names for it...

And, on the same subject, blogsite updates are coming your way! Get excited!

And that is your weekend update.

Coming Attractions...

I've got good plans for this blog. Changes and updates. Like learning how to use a button (the blog kind, I'm quite- decently skilled at using buttons in real life) and creating some new sidebars. One blog I saw (more than a month ago and I've only been there once and promptly forgotten where it was) keeps a running tab of books she's read this year. I thought "hey great idea!" and then decided I might try that with books AND finished projects. Ingenious, yes?

So, until I get these changes done (hopefully in the next day or two if I can bring myself to set down these divine socks), if only to stay in tune with the world of the internets, here are a few projects of both the FO and UFO kind.

Finished for the Red Scarf Project and shipping out this morning (and tagged with little "good luck at school, by the way these scarves are made from wool, best not to chunk them in the dorm washing machine in hot water or they'll come out a third their real size and I'll hunt you down and- well, anyway, good luck!" cards:

Nearly finished first of a pair of lace socks.

This is the first pair I've done a design on the instep. Nifty, yes?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!

I'm so pleased to bring you

Flora, the newest member of the Yoda family*. Isn't she just gorgeous? Truly, I can't describe it. You can't quite imagine her adorable little mouth, beautiful eyes, and gorgeous head of RED HAIR. We love the Scots! The Hubba and I saw her at the hospital Saturday and, while I've not seen too many newborns, I can say she is surely the most gorgeous baby I've ever laid eyes on.

*This message was approved by Knitty Yoda (or at least she said she didn't mind me posting pictures and I took it as "full steam ahead!")

Other, less important, but still crucial, news: it's the NFC and AFC championships. So, please, forgive me, if I fall off the planet today while watching games. I'll be back to phoning, emailing, and posting tomorrow or as soon as my heart stops racing and my blood pressure comes down to normal levels.




It is a wonderful world, isn't it?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Lovin' the Laces

I'm kooky crazy for this lace pattern!

Cast-on Tuesday, frogged Wednesday evening at Knit Night with the girls (for once, it was a pattern mistake NOT my mistake- ha!). I recast on Wednesday evening, 1.17.07, with Cherry Tree Hills Supersock Solid in Violet on size 0 DPNs (I found them!).

A four-line chart creates the lacy pattern and I knew there was a teeny-tiny chance this could be a bit of a struggle. Oh-ho, not true! There's a RHYTHM and once you get into it, these babies SAIL along. Love it! Live it, love it, lace it!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Yarn, Yarn Everywhere but Is It Safe to Knit?

A Blog in Pictures and Few(er) Words:

Red Scarf Project Contribution

Knit 2, Purl 2 Pattern, Cast-On 1.11.07, Cast-Off 1.14.07

Plain Ol' Garter Stitch, Cast-On 1.14.07

Out of three hanks of Arauncania Nature Wool in "Berry" I managed to get two scarves total and are both about six inches wide and, when finished, will be about 60 inches long, just like the RSP people suggest.

My Sockret Pal's secret gift (I admit, I don't think of highly creative gifts- hey how about some yarn? is more my take- so she's receiving three skeins of Noro wool, Elizabeth Zimmerman's book, a pair of size 3 DPNs, and a hank of Brooke's fabulous hand-dyed sock yarn- would you like a side of yarn with that yarn?)

Speaking of Brooke's yarn... When it arrived it was wrapped like so

and when unwrapped

Isn't she a genius? I can't say how excited I am about casting-on ALL of these yarns! And I'm still to get "Sweet tarts" my free yarn to knit up fast and send pics to her.

Don't hate me because I'm yarniful.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Calling All Type-A's

I spent a little time last night in serious contemplation. Meditation. Not exactly self examination. Stash examination.

I have, over the last nine months, acquired a wide assortment of yarns, left-over yarns, circular needles, double-pointed needles, patterns and knitting notions. And over time, all these bits and pieces have picked themselves up and scattered around the house. Honestly. I had nothing to do with it, being a naturally organized person. Yet against my best intentions I now have many knitter possessions and absolutely no rhyme or reason on how to sort them out.

For instance, after a little digging, I realized I have a ball of Euro Flax linen in a lovely variegated purple, a couple balls of Bambino variegated cotton, a pair of Clover Flex needles in size 10 and many, many, many crumpled yarn store bags. Yet the one item I was convinced I had, the one item I did not purchase before I left the store last night, certain I had it at home, are a set of Addi DPNs size 0. The one thing I can't put my hands on.

Or in my yarn bag- the one I heave all over this earth- I discovered (just to pick a few): two separate scraps of Sugar n' Cream cotton, one unused tea bag, one broken tape measure, a stack of crumpled patterns, one Christmas card (thanks Miz Knotty!), a whopping handful of knitting needles, of all types and sizes, and, oh I shudder to think of The Hubba ever coming across this, a stack of receipts.

I ask, how do I organize this, er, situation? This Saturday there are no football games/holidays/parties and I plan to spend a chunk of it at either Home Depot or Lowe's purchasing supplies to sort this out. So- how? Plastic bins seem a step in the right direction. Or what about those little cabinets with wheels made of that plastic-y stuff (the cabinets, not the wheels)? Where do I start? What are all the cool knitters doing these days?

Also, what's on the needles pics to come in the next day or two. There's lots being knit, swear it! At least if I can find my size 0 DPNs

And, nothing to do with the rest of the post (please give suggestions, ya'll, I'm needin' some yarny guidance):
The Balloon Flower Story (for the more metaphysical readership, a.k.a, the more woo-woo readership a.k.a. the more hoo-doo voo-doo readership, a.k.a. me)
There's actually a great story behind the balloon flower. I watched a movie dealing with the idea of how we, individuals, create our own reality. Did anyone out there see "What the Bleep Do We Know?" This film takes What the Bleep to the next level and if you're a WtB fan, seriously, you should see it.

Anyhoo, one of the speakers in the film recommends trying out this theory of creativity, by picking something small you want to create, like cup of coffee. Last Thursday morning I woke up and decided I wanted a flower that day. And I didn't say anything about it to anyone, not even The Hubba, and I didn't think about it again (that's what you do, have the thought, focus on it briefly and then release it. It can't be something you have anything attached to like "I want a million dollars" or "the perfect body" though that IS possible, once- well, anyway, if you want the name of the film let me know). So I wanted my flower and then didn't think about it again until I was driving home Thursday night and suddenly thought "Well, I didn't get the flower. No biggie. Maybe later."

Friday night The Hubba came home from work with a gift, he said. And, because we are twelve, he made me close my eyes and hold out my hands, while he told me about a clown (I kid you not) who was in his office making balloon creations to raise money for charity. And what did he get with his donation? A flower! I realize, you probably saw where this was going but still- a flower! Isn't that insane and so neat at the same time?! Power of the mind, ya'll, power of the mind (I'm nodding wisely while typing this and looking out into the distance). So I had to post my balloon flower which I'm plain crazy about it and which, shockingly, is sill holding up five days later.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Remember to stop...

and smell the balloon flowers.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


The Hubba's Vols socks?


(Excitement marred only slightly by the grievance filed by Georgie under "Feet on Head Degradation." If she gets the boys on board we could be looking at a class action.)

Free Yarn? Check.

No pictures to show yet but somehow I fell upside down in good luck yesterday and will be receiving a free hank of "Sweet Tarts" yarn from Brooke, a victory made all the sweeter by the fact I missed buying this exact yarn twice before. My task, should I choose to accept it? Knit said free yarn up immediately into socks, take professional quality pics (no dogs will be harmed) and send them to Brooke for shop purposes.

Good dog table manners? Gone.

Hmm... pork chops.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

This Little Pig Went to Market...

Good Wednesday afternoon to you!

Big news: I wrote today! After almost (gulp) a month of No Knitter-No Writy, I took to my desk*, pulled out the page**, and from my brain*** came actual words. Whoo-hoo!
*hunkered down on the couch **flipped open the laptop ***God knows where

Of course, there are yarny projects in the works. First, and first time on this here site I believe, the bag I'm doing:

It's cabled and knit entirely in the round- the most work, from what I can tell, is seaming together the bottom when I'm done. I've used Cascade 220 Tweed in- can you guess the shade?- green! Also, those red and blue and yellow spots aren't the results of shoddy camera work but little flecks in the yarn. Bright and cheerful, isn't it? An excellent spring bag, which is probably around the time I should expect to finish it. I found the pattern here.

Also, The Hubba's socks, out of the school colors yarn dyed by Dani of Sunshine Yarns.

I'm so close to a finished pair. And The Hubba will have them for good luck throughout college basketball season. Have I mentioned both our men's and women's teams are ranked in the top twenty-five? I said it's great! to be! a Tennessee Vol! (And ya'll thought you might escape it because football's over...)

Speaking of Vols- and might I say, again, how nice it is to be associated with a school who's mascot is a Volunteer?- I've been out and about in the knitting Good Works community and have a few suggestions for anyone looking for a project.

I read about the Red Scarf Project from the Mason-Dixon girls and I'm on board to try and get a scarf or two out between now and the end of the month.

I'm also barking mad for the Snuggles Project which I first learned about through Brooke, who's lovely mom has been knitting these pooch blankies for a while. I look at our guys (cue Orchestras of Cuteness)

and figure if a homemade blanket gets one more kooky pet out wreaking havoc on the world, who am I not to help?

Or if you're looking to give some cash (from all the money you're saving with Renee's Stash-a-Long) send it over to Yarn Harlot and her Knitters Without Borders.

Can I get an Oo-Aa for these nifty Knitters?

Good Neighbor News of the Week: Well, I've been thinking-
What's that?
What did you say?
What's Good Neighbor News?
Oh. I'm embarrassed. Let me es'plain. No, there is no time, let me sum up.
I thought, what with all the conversation we've had lately about our outstanding 2007, it might benefit us all (coughcoughme) to find some good news, here and there, to keep us on the Bright and Optimistic. You never know when it could come in handy- or it just might save your life.
OK, that last part was a little dramatic. Let's stick with, it might come in handy.

So, Good Neighbor News of the Week: We have markets and grocery stores! OH, you laugh- but wait. I, too, once thought this a mundane detail of everyday life. But I say to you again- and this time with feeling- we have grocery stores!

This lightbulb went off earlier this week. I'm not much of a shopper; I love to cook good food, I love to eat good food, I do not like to shop for good food- it's some basic flaw in my DNA. So there I am, at the store, behind my cart, Ipod on, and I'm buying apples. I look at the apples- this huge selection, Granny Smith, Gala, Macintosh, you name the apple, the Teet's got it- and, in my peripheral, notice displays of lemons, potatoes, bananas, peppers, salad dressings, and I'm grousing- probably loudly (see: Ipod)- "Blank and blank for apples! The price of them."

Then, folks, it hit me- We have grocery stores! I can, at one store, buy apples, pork chops, green beans, bell peppers, Hostess treats filled with cream, toothpaste, DVDs, all life's necessities. In one place. It's shocking.

Maybe you've thought about it before. I'm betting, considering the thoughtful comments I get on a daily basis (particularly those that start "Em, you are the smartest, coolest, best looking blogger I've ever read..."), you readers are an appreciative bunch who walk into a store and think "Man! A grocery store! This is the life!" I, I'm ashamed to tell you, never thought about it.

Until Monday. And then I noticed all these benefits everywhere. The store is bright and clean. They have great sales all the time. I can sip a Starbucks coffee while I shop. The people who work there are absurdly friendly (I can't walk down an aisle without someone in a red apron jumping out and chirping "How're you today, ma'am?", usually making me jump and slosh caramel macchiato down the front of my shirt ). It's a pretty sweet deal.

So I'm on board with the appreciating of the stores. I will try (really), from this moment forward, not to complain (coughcough) to anyone who will listen (The Hubba) about the drudgery of supermarket shopping. Instead I will take a moment to appreciate all the people, and equipment, and trucks, and planes, and energy that went into getting all this food in one place for me to purchase at almost any time day or night. Good News, huh? I thought so, too. I mean, what's fifty cents here or there when we've got apples in the middle of winter?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Good Start

PASSION: |ˈpa sh ən| noun an intense desire or enthusiasm for something

The same idea has come up continually to me in the last few weeks, first in Charleston watching Nolan, our friends' two year old son and then really brought to fruition last night reading Stephanie Pearl McPhee's "Knitting Rules!" book given to me for Christmas. Nolan, The Hubba and I discovered, is crazy about the movie "Cars." Wildly passionate about it, obsessed his parents might have said, though, wonderful people, they seem very little bothered by it. He's watched the movie countless times, his room is filled with toys of it, and the time we were there he clutched two Matchbox-type cars of Doc Hudson and Sheriff in his little hands as often as he might. Reading McPhee-Pearl last night, I noticed the first few chapters were filled with her passion for knitting, while also balanced with explanations for why she loves knitting, why other knitters love knitting the way we do and why it’s OK. (Stay with me on this one, this is going somewhere, I promise.)
Nolan is passionate about "Cars." Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is passionate about knitting. The only difference between the two? Nolan hasn't learned he needs to apologize for his passion yet.

THAT is the difference. And that leads me to wonder, why? Why do we feel we shouldn't be passionate, fervent, zealous about something or two things or more?

OBSESS |əbˈses| verb [ trans. ] (usu. be obsessed) preoccupy or fill the mind of (someone) continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent

I’ve heard that before in my life that I’ve been obsessed with a thing. I wonder how often we confuse Passion and Obsession? Shakespeare said, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." I’m realizing more often, every moment, a person’s passion becomes an obsession most often when it’s deemed so by another person. And I ask you, what’s that? The opinion of another person on you?

Do you think Wilbur and Orville Wright drove people crazy with their talk about wings and flight and measurement and speed? Do you think, if they had let that stop them, we would have the ability to fly today? I do. I believe someone else, someone less concerned with the opinions of others would have discovered the root to flight, but luckily for us, the Wright brothers weren’t discouraged and we’ve had the ability to take to the sky for over a hundred years.

Michael Jordan did not become a god of basketball by spending a little time in practice and a lot of time on other things. He became a legend at basketball because he was passionate about basketball.

Shakespeare, I’m betting, isn’t a great writer because he spent an equal amount of time on math and science as he did on writing He is a great writer because he WROTE.

My brain moves closer to home. The Hubba is passionate about sports. Focused on the subject. He watches games- all types, by all teams- he watches TV shows, he reads articles, he listens to radio broadcasts about the games, he spends a large portion of his time with his brain focused in that direction. What comes of it? I couldn’t show you a physical product of this love (yet), but he is joyful in the time he spends. I find myself, a girl who never gave a thought to sports for any two consecutive seconds except to offer a half-hearty “Go Vols” when called upon, inspired to know more, to watch more, to listen more, if only to move to closer to that place of joy he occupies when he focuces on this subject.

My mother throughout her life has thrown pots. Off and on, when time permits, she works with clay, with glaze, with kilns, and only in the last six months, after years of not touching a potter’s wheel, has she started back up with this task of which she is passionate. She’s spending a lot of time on it now, almost every day, at least an hour a day, at a potter’s wheel. This was a Christmas gift from her.

After only a few months of practice. Can you imagine what these bowls might look like in a few months?

My stepmother Suz loves to shop. She thrives in the atmosphere, she excels at finding the best sale, she revels in what she will give to others, on what is the exact right item to be handed over, she studies other people, she finds what they love and she brings them physical manifestations to inspire them.

My friend Bruce loves “Wallace and Gromit” and my friend Sarah is wild for “Curious George.” I’ve watched these shows with both of them and I tell you now, there is little in life that will bring you to happiness like watching these two in their absolute joy, showing you, talking to you, reveling in these beloved children’s characters.

Though out his life, my dad has been a reader, passionate about books. He read all the time, even in a family where few people picked up a book, he graduated with a degree in English, and he chose a job as a printer and has done that almost all of his adult life, putting print to paper.

My friend Ann, you know her as Knitty Yoda, and her husband are passionate about cooking. They grow their own vegetables, they buy unusual foods, they spend week nights and weekends putting together exotic meals, Ann with her love of recipes and techniques and Steve with his instinct for finding the perfect combinations of spices and flavors.

Miz Knotty, Renee to everyone else, knows yarn. She knows yarn inside out and all around. She knows what yarn to substitute, she knows where to find good yarn, she never makes a trip without finding a yarn store to explore. She is a fountain of information on fiber.

I could keep going. I could tell you about my blogger friends, Brooke who creates extraordinary palettes of color through a little dye and fiber, and Parisa who traveled halfway around the world, on her own, to study and sing and make music.

Or Barkley, our dear dog, who wants to spend as much of his life running outdoors and eating. That’s what makes him happy. How many people would benefit to feel as strongly about some aspect of their life as Barkley does for running and eating?

My life is flooded with passionate people and as we start this new year, I'm seizing this inspiration.

There are three things I'd most often rather be doing: writing, reading, or knitting. These aspects of my life bring me joy, they bring me new challenges, they bring me even stronger desire and this is the year, this great new year of 2007, I’m bringing my focus, my passion to an even stronger place. With no apologies or explanations, I tell you: these are my passions! These are areas I will put my time, my energy and focus whenever I feel called to do so!

I feel uplifted this morning. I’ve been on this rampage of appreciation, this snowball effect of inspiration and admiration and enthusiasm.

Today, this Saturday morning, I encourage anyone who might come across this entry (and everyone else!) to stregthen, to build, to rediscover or to find a passion, a focus, a place, to put your energy this year. Be the passionate, enthusiastic, joyful person you’re meant to be and let others feel and see and hear your joy and thrive from it.

I believe every year gets better than the next. I believe 2007 will be our best year yet. From a jail cell at a time when he could not drink from a whites-only fountain, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “I have no despair about the future” and I read those words and am flooded with hope.

I wish a brilliant 2007 to everyone. I have only the highest expectations for this New Year.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


First post of the New Year and, hardly surprising, in true Neighbor Knitter fashion, we're starting off backwards! Knitting backwards that is. Much in the same way Disney's Merlin aged backwards, I've reverted from socks and fingerless gloves to scarves. And not just any kind of scarf: garter-stitch scarves! I've been moved to it. Three scarves in a matter of a week. I went from these, a pair of Vols socks for my Dad at Christmas:

to this:

A plainly knit, long, skinny scarf done with Berroco's Boho yarn. The other two scarves went to Renee, our delightful hostess in Charleston, as Christmas presents (hence, no pics), but they brought me no end of easy knitting joy. It was a kinder, gentler return to knitting after my pre-holiday frenzy and my Christmas hiatus. These scarves, with their size 15 needles, their 10 stitches cast-on, and easy knit stitch construction, have guided me back to The Hubba's Christmas socks (also done from Vols yarn) on their size 2 DPNs with 70 stitches cast-on and their knit two, purl two pattern and heel turn. It shows, I think, getting back to the basics can really recharge the exhausted knitter- much like a spa for the hands, minus the tootling panpipes soundtrack and need to tip.