i'll knit if i want to...or not

So this use to be my knitting blog, now its a purging place for all of my ramblings...whether it be craft, cooking, or just the craziness of my everyday life!

Friday, June 30, 2006

A week off

Well our communication with the outside world was down for the week...no phone, no internet. And while it was annoying, it was a bit nice to forget about it for a few days. Now that I have it back though...it feels good to be back and blogging (yes the dorkiness never ends)

Well as you may be able to tell from the photo, I finally bought Happy Hooker. Which brings me to tell my story...

At 9 years old my grandma taught me to knit. I knit a 12x12 square (it was suppose to be a blanket for my teddy bear) but I never even bound off and it remained a tangled mess in my drawer well into my teens. Forgotten in the whirl wind of high school dramas my craftiness turned towards mainly ceramics and jewelry making, and I even attempted to sew together a few tops. And then there was a crafty draught in this girls life (enter working and parties).

Then about 2 and 1/2 ;years a go I found myself sitting bored on my couch, all of my girlfriends (really...every last one of 'em) studying abroad in countries far away. So I went to JoAnn's picked up a learn how to crochet kit and a ball of yarn (the worst yarn I have every purchased...hard, stiff, and very acrylic) and set off on a crocheting adventure. Finally one of my friends came home and we decided to be crafty together. Her mom taught her to knit and she brought over her shiny orange knitting needles and a scarf on the go. As I sat in one corner of the couch struggling with my hook and ropey yarn she happily clicked away progressing on her soon to be soft and cuddly scarf. I was jealous...and crochet became no more. I went and bought a trendy Urban Outfitters knitting kit and whipped out a yellow and pink striped scarf, the lessons from my grandma shining thru in little sparks as I cast on, knit and bound off. oh the satisfaction. I continued knitting random scarves for about 15 months and then debbie stoller entered my life with her Stitch n' Bitch books and there was no turning back. Knitting is my life and brinking on an unhealthy obsession.

So crochet...curiosity just got the best of me. I toyed with getting Stoller's Happy Hooker when it first came out. Even ordered it on Amazon...but I just couldn't do it. Thought "what do I need hooks for? I'm happy with my needles." So the order was cancelled. And temporarily forgotten. But that book just kept popping up. On blogs and in shops. And the patterns...oh the patterns...such good patterns. And slowly but surely I talked myself into "needing" this book. There tends to be a weird tension between knitters & crocheters, the highest offense it taken when ones fabric is mistaken for the oppostie craft. But I've decided for my love of fibers spun into yarn, and needles whether straight or hooked to blur the line of division and bring both crafts into my home and heart.

And I've got to say...I love crocheting. So fun and satisfying. Knitting will always be #1 in my heart, but crochet has found a cozy spot as #2. and for any other knitters out there who want to take a walk on the wild side...I definitely suggest this book and a hook. (that little purse? thats my "In Bloom" clutch from Happy Hooker, completed in a few hours, including time for my refresher course in crochet.) Fabulous.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

He came back

For those of you that read the beginning of our story I will continue on a bit.

JFC (when he was still just known as the cute boy who liked falafel) came back. I looked up and saw his curly hair and oversized headphones, and heard those 2 magical little words "falafel sandwich." And I smiled. I smiled very big. (And then my hands began shaking and I had to go in the back and have someone else ring him up because I was so nervous...)

He continued coming in every day for lunch, and I continued happily wiping down the already clean tables around him, attempting awkward small talk along the lines of

me: so you like music?

him: yeah

me: ME TOO!!

All of my coworkers knew about my infatuation, including my very, lets say talkitave, boss. She soon took it upon herself to not-so-subtly play matchmaker. She would tell me she needed to talk business, but over here (right where JFC would be sitting). Finally one day she asked him if he would like to come to the bar and grill we hung out at, not-so-casually mentioning that I would be there as well. He just smiled shyly.

He didn't show up.

Feeling silly, I toned down the smiles to just a friendly waitress smile. Things went back to normal, and I just quietly enjoyed his presence at lunch time.

Until finally, 2 months after I had first laid eyes on him, he came up to me as I was taking out the trash. Thinking he wanted to put a napkin or something in the bag I kind of offered it in his direction, with a slightly crazed smile on my face. But then much to my surprise he asked if I would like to go to a show with him that night at the bar. A bit surprised I just said "yes", but quickly realized I was only 20, and couldn't go to the bar. (I cleverly worked that all out the next day...but we will leave that alone). We decided he would call me the next day, so I wrote my phone number on a piece of waitress order paper...and well that was that. He still has that piece of paper with my number. I gave it to immigration as proof of our relationship. We hung out that next evening. And then the next day, and every day there after.

Also for anyone curious...that cat that decided to come live with us?? He's still here...and he has a taste for chives.

Burnt Sierra Fancy Socks

I have an issue with matching. I really struggle with it. In fact...I am almost anti it. I tend to feel like a bit of a tool if I match...not that I have anything against other people who match. I just personally cannot fathom matching say...my shirt to my belt, shoes, purse and lipstick (especially because i don't own 2 of those 4 items). I couldn't even if I wanted to, because I just don't pay that much attention during my once a year shopping spree. Now this doesn't mean I go out of my way to "unmatch". I don't wear black &white polka dot slacks with techni-colored plaid shirts or anything.

The fact of the matter is that I haven't always been anti-matching. My outfit didn't necessarily match itsself...but it would match...(please don't judge me for this) my friends. In fact we even went as far as to attempt "matching mondays".

Examples: 7 of us (yes SEVEN) would all wear overalls (and yes we all had the same pair from the Gap) with a white t-shirt underneath. Now that one isn't too bad...it could be played off as a very horrible coincidence...but it gets worse...

Another "Monday Outfit" we had planned was to all wear sarongs (yes those brightly colored tapestrys your wrap around like a skirt) with wife beaters...as if the brightly colored sarongs weren't enough...we decided "why not make our own t shirts???" So we went to the craft store, bought fabric pens and puffy paint, white t shirts and promptly made sets of matching tshirts with all sorts of dorky inside jokes written on them.

this continued thru out my high school career, the whole time believing it was cool. Sadly, it wasn't until the other day when I was explaining "matching mondays" to JFC, that I realized just how big of a dork I (and all of my friends...they're coming down with me) are.

Now it gets a little worse...this didn't stop in high school. Oh no...it continued well into "college years". I distinctly remember having the same pair of DKNY jeans, Puma hoodie, and steve madden red slip on shoes as 3 of my other friends. And just last year I was bringing my friend some more comfortable clothes to wear (she had gone out partying and stayed at someone else's house and I didn't think she would want to stay in her party clothes) and it wasn't until she put on the outfit that I realized it exactly matched the outfit I had on. I am not saying "similar"...i mean exactly...moosejaw hoodie, gaucho pants, knit boots...the whole nine yards. Every once in a while I even realize that me and JFC match...

*sigh* so maybe i don't wear matching outfits in an attempt to counteract my overwhelming tendency to match those close to me. Or maybe I just wear such great outfits that everyone else copies me???

Either way...it seems I am a bit of a dork. Love me or leave me...and ifyou love me...feel free to match me, cause its the cool thing to do. And those socks?? yes those are JFC's new fancy socks I made for him. There is also a cable running up the back of the sock and some fancy shaping...but my camera died before I had a chance to take a picture. And those burnt sierra colored toes? I was short a little bit of yarn...and yeah...the whole matching thing just doen'st come easily to me. But it looks alright. Right?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Thats Snow on That Thur Mount'n

Winter is here. JFC is off snowboarding and I am home attempting to keep a pitiful little fire going in the fire place. Looks like I need to learn some man skills as well. I'm definitely not into the grabbing of the logs off of the spider infested wood pile...*shudder*

The funny thing is JFC works from home and I knit from home (heh heh), yet he leaves for a few hours and I still miss him. Sickening isn't it?? I remember the first time I saw JFC. I was working at the restaurant and noticed him come up to the counter in a huge knee length winter coat, giant headphones wrapped around his curly brown hair...short stubby beard, tattered jeans and chuck taylors. He came up and asked for a falafel sandwich. And those are the only 2 words I heard him speak for the next month. He came in every weekday, walked up to the counter and said "falafel sandwich." I would watch him walk in the door during the lunch rush and would make whoever I was working with switch places with me so I could be the one to hear those 2 little words. I didn't even realize he had an accent for the first 2 or 3 weeks. I decided I would win him over by smiling really big whenever he looked over...that surely would let him know my intentions. So Monday thru Friday at about 12:45 it was "falafel sandwich" and a big smile.

After a month of these going ons I left to go visit a friend in Philedelphia for a little over a week. Telling her about the cute boy that came into the restaurant every day.

I came back, looking forward to working and spotting the cute boy with the big coat and headphones...but he didn't show up that Monday. Or Tuesday...or any other day that week. I was sad. And work quickly became just counting down the minutes again to go home. Nothing to look forward to, to break up the day.

I decided he must've been an exchange student whose term had ended and he had gone home. I gave up on all my daydreams and hopes that he would finally realize what all the crazy smiling was about and went about life as normal.

OO...the phone is ringing, and should be a friend from back home...I hope...more on all that at a later date...back to knitting in the next post, i promise.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Back to Normal

Well I have been working on a pattern that I am trying to get published. I am finally done and it is sent in...waiting to be scrutinized...and then maybe, hopefully, please...chosen. Cross your fingers for me! That is by the way the pattern that has been keeping me from posting...I am not sure if I should show it in my blog..not sure how that all works.

Anyways it is finished and out of my life for a bit. So now i can get back to knitting things I can share. Right now I am working on a simple hair wrap for a friend. I will post a pic when it is done. The picture included...I was making soup a few nights a go and pulled that heart shaped potato out of the bag. Isnt it fabulous?? Just a little love omen to brighten the day.

I am trying to decide what to knit next. JFC is begging for a pair of socks...anybody have any fun patterns? Besides that I want to do another sweater/top I think. The one I made to *hopefully* get published turned out really well and now I am totally motivated to do more more more! I was thinking of redoing Fad Classic. But now I am thinking I would like to use the yarn from that for a different project...and use a better suited yarn for that. Something a bit thinner...a bit lighter than what I used before. Decisions Decisions. Ah well..time to go put the kettle on for afternoon tea.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Women and Jeans (and maybe men too??)

First things first...I just want to say thanks for everyone that left comments on my blog the other day. I was feeling a bit blue and all of those kind and encouraging words really helped to bring my color back around to a nice warm green (green's my favorite...don't ask). So thank you.

On to important things...and since I can't talk about the knitting that is taking up all of my time...i will talk about jeans. Buying jeans is a chore. A special chore. Because if it turns out well...it isn't like a chore at all, but if it doesn't...well then the world comes crumbling down and most ladies I know sink into a mini depression. I buy a pair of jeans once a year. That is usually all I can handle (and most times all i can afford..heh heh) Now if you are reading this and going "what is she rambling on about?? I LOVE buying jeans" then you are probably shaped like the manequins that they drape the fancy jeans on in the store windows...and read no more. If you are reading this and thinking "Who cares...my wife/girlfriend/mom buys my jeans for me from Old Navy...don't even need to try them on" then are you probably male in gender, and it just isn't that difficult to find jeans to fit your no hips simple straight man figure...and read no more.

For everyone left...I'm thinking you can feel my pain. Jeans are the most difficult item of clothing for me to find. Oh sure...there are plenty of pairs out on offer...but to actually have them fit. And I mean really fit. Hug the right places...don't pinch the bad places. Ya know? We should really just be assigned our own individual jean maker at birth. They can travel thru life with us, constructing jeans to perfectly fit our bodies as the fashions change, as we lose 5 pounds...then gain 10...then lose 12...and so on. My personal dilemma?? Well some women are pear shaped...some boy shaped...some "curves in all the right places" shaped...me?? I'm "perma-pregnant" shaped. No...there is no bun in the oven....and there never has been...but for some reason, for as long as i can remember, I have always had a round tummy (i tend to believe i have yet to lose my baby fat) but thinner arms and legs. Now as far as I can tell when I am shopping for jeans..every other person in the world (besides the mannequin shaped ones) have the opposite problem...tiny flat waist...big legs. Because all jeans are huge in the legs and tight on the stomach. Now this is not flattering...this means, my tummy gets pinched over the tight waste of the jeans and my legs look twice as big because there is twice as much fabric as necessary for my legs.

(read: it just struck me i should probably just be shopping at maternity stores...hmmm)

Anyways, if you couldn't tell I went jeans shopping today. the first store that i tried is called "just jeans"...yeah well just jeans my back end...because they had about 3 different brands in 2 different styles...wide leg or so low you better not wear underwear.
I left feeling the need to urgently go on a diet and never try on jeans again...

but then by some lucky chance i stopped in "just one more store". Tried on 2 pairs...and much to my glee...they both fit! So to make a short story long :) i bought 2 pairs of jeans today. And so shouldn't be complaining...I just thought some of you would be able to feel me on the drama of denim. Now to push it to the back of my mind until next year.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


So this is probably the longest I have gone without posting. Due mainly to the fact that I am working on something that I can't post about...and since I have had to restart/revamp it about 4 times...it is taking allllll of my time. That and the fantastic cooking voyages I have been on. I even made homemade granola bars yesterday. I am very interested in macrobiotics and whole foods and all that so I am trying to learn more and experiment more...and well that would be a whole other blog...

I also I am going thru a bit of transition period right now. Less than a year a go I was working at a fast paced restaurant 40 to 70 hours a week. I lived in my home town (East lansing michigan) in my dads basement. Now...now I live in a remote lake cabin on Lake Okareka in the middle of the north island of new zealand. I don't work more than a day a week (although i kind of like to think of my knitting as "working" towards my future career..heh heh). In the 5 months I have been here i have not made a single friend. (read: Wait I have made a friend! It just happens that she lives in the Netherlands...not New Zealand...and well I haven't exactly met her in person...ok i am making this worse...but she's great..check out her blog by clicking the SAS knits it again button in my sidebar)

The homesickness has set in as just a backthought always kind of lingering. Little things remind me of home...and I miss it. But then I look around...and realize all of the good things I have gained. I think the hardest part of moving so far away...is worrying that you are slowly being phased out. When I first moved the email box was always full, I talked to people more than when I lived at home. But slowly...slowly that tapers off. I get just a spattering here and there. I write people 2 or 3 times with no response. I know it is my responsibility to hold up relationships...I am the one that chose to move. I also know I shouldn't be so dramatic...people are busy. and probably don't have as much time to dwell on these things as I do.

Originally I had a great little story planned of how I don't drink sugar in my tea anymore and how that links up to feelings of self doubt in my knitting. Ah well. Oh and a little lesson I learned the hard way...don't do colorwork in the round...there is actually a reason why they are always written in flat patterns....

Today I am going to focus on getting over my "sluggish" feelings and enjoy where I am right now. Cause lets face it...i live in a pretty freaking amazing place. And I just reread that last line...cheesy enough to spread on a cracker...ouch...gotta stop. Better ones to come...cross your fingers

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Mancala Hour

Well here it is...the project I have been talking about. A homemade mancala game. I had one when I was little. It was wooden and had turqoise stones as the playing pieces. I use to play for hours with my god sister. Then just a couple years a go, I played again with my nephew Aidan. I love this game because it is simple enough for even young children to play...but entertaining enough to keep playing thru-out adulthood as well. It was very fun to do something besides clothing. Something a bit out of the ordinary...even if I did have to felt until my hands just about fell off. We even made our own playing pebbles out of clay. Let the epic mancala battles begin!

Top Hunter

I would like to reminisce on a story my best of friends told me last year.

It was a sunny day, they had been packing for their move down to Florida. She took a break to look out the window at the beautiful day and spotted their cat, Tage, in the front yard. As she watched him a warm feeling bloomed inside of her and she sat thinking "aww, he is so cute, I love our cat" a tender smile stretched across her face. "what is he doing??" she wondered as she saw him sinking low in the grass. "silly cat"

and then...then the horrible happened. Tage pounced, fur flew and from the window my friend watched as he clasped a baby bunny between his fatal jaws. She screamed, ran out of the house and tried to stop the murder taking place. She was awe-stricken.

Household cats are one of the best hunters of the animal world. Did you know that? Better than many of their wild cat family members.

This afternoon, after spending a lovely morning at the farmers market and then a nice chat with my sister and mom I worked on making some homemade ciabatta. As I stood at the counter kneading my dough, I heard a startled reaction from JFC. I looked up just in time (hold on a sec...this is, *gulp*, hard for me to write)...

I looked up just in time to see Puss jump back in thru the window holding...holding...a. ....a... RAT in his mouth. Not a mouse...not a bunny...a rat. A rodent a third the size of himself. With its naked horrible rat tail...stiff...but still warm in Puss's mouth.

We reacted poorly. Frantic...wanting the rat out of the house...ASAP. Poor Puss, so proud of himself...as he should be, helping get rid of the demon rats that torment this country...but, well...it was just so unexpected. So startling. You just don't expect your precious little adolescent kitten to jump thru the window holding a rat he just tracked down and killed in the middle of a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Now we both feel guilty, wishing we had given him the praise he deserved...instead of flipping out and tossing his "catch" back into the bush. Don't get me wrong, the rat had to get out of the house and would've in a quick matter....but we should've let Puss know he did a good job.

But, I can't help but still shudder. Days like these I miss Little Bit...the simple, lazy, graying minature dachsund back home.

Friday, June 02, 2006

One Tree Hat

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I've been busy. I shouldn't really say that considering I only work about 1 day every 2 weeks...but it seems I have an amazing talent at keeping myself busy all the same. In fact it scares me...because I am not sure how I will ever fit anything more in at the rate I am going.

Anyways...the project I have been working on, which I choose not to speak too much about...well it involves felting. A lot of felting. A lot as in I finally got fed up trying to do it in the sink and just got in the bath with a million bits of wool and turned into one giant agitator (for those of you out there who may not knit, or who may knit but not felt...well just ignore that last comment). Basically to make a long story short I needed a mini break. And the other night as I was looking longingly up at my stash I noticed 2 balls of yarn that seemed to be gazing at each other. They had to meet...and they were going to do it with my help or not. So I decided to help.

It was a simple pale yellow merino and a perfect gray-softest-you-have-ever-had-the-fortune-to-touch-yarn and as I held them my thoughts began running a marathon around my head...Voila...I needed to make a hat. But not just any hat. I have already made a couple hats this year, and although I like them, they aren't really getting my heart pumping. I needed a hat that could be worn any time...rain, shine, or snow...something that looked like a favorite. Something worn every other day (the day the hair is not shampooed). So I cast on an extra 12 stitches for a loose fit and threw in a random stripe sequence. But hadn't I seen the most amazing tree the other day?? And why did it keep popping into my head? What could I do with that tree???? Ah yes...I had to wear it. And wear it I would. I was nervous, embroidering can be like drawing without an eraser...but it was meant to be, and I had to try...

And so was born...the one tree hat. And a much needed break from "the other project". Which by the way..here is another sneak peek: