Monday, December 29, 2008

W is for ...

Weather appropriate knitwear. Yah, I am stretching it here for the abc-along but dudes! I'm running out of time. I knit my MiL the Spiral Hat from 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders. I wanted to take pictures so that I could send it off quick so that it gets to her in time for her birthday which is in two days. Which meant I had to hurry. Which meant I did a photo shoot in the bathroom. Which meant I didn't have time to shower and get all done up. Which meant that when my hair was down I looked like Slash.



Looking like Slash has advantages I'm sure, probably, for someone, but it seemed like all that hair was distracting from the hat. Unfortunately, without all that hair, I kind of took on a phallic form. Looking like a giant phallus? Also distracting from the hat.



I tried to get a picture of the back of the hat, I got two! Bonus!



After a quick scan of the photos, I realized that the lighting was off. Way off. So I moved to the other bathroom. But I was sick of the hat photo shoot by then and started farting around. I ended with a picture of the Cat in the Hat. It amused me!



So. I knit a hat for my MiL. I tried to have it done by Christmas but I cannot knit a hat in the time it takes to drive to New Joisey, so ix-nay on the hristmas-Cay resent-pay. It was really easy to knit and now I am gonna try to get it to her for her birthday. She can wear it in the winter, thus it will be weather appropriate. The End!



Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa, Sympathie, Color 3, Lot 3082, part of 2 skeins (note: I double-stranded the yarn). This is the same yarn I used to knit LB's sweater.
Needles: Susan Bates Circ, size 5.0 mm (US 8)
Pattern: Spiral Hat
Modifications: None.
Time: Three days.
Care: Hand wash cold and dry flat in shade or dry clean.

Satan Claus



As noted, I did in fact finish LB's stocking in time for Christmas. One might say it was a Christmas miracle considering all of the trials and tribulations it took to get to the finish line. In any event, come Christmas Eve, the stocking was hung by the chimney with care. A WHOLE LOT OF CARE! And, it made it to Christmas morning still full and still hanging.



Let's start with the good. I love this stocking. I think it's beautiful. I feel like it is whimsical and fun, yet not overly childish. Something LB will enjoy as a kid and appreciate as an adult. I love the design. I love the angora on Santa's beard and eye brows. I love the bedazzled bits. I love the little single stitches on the foot that look like hearts. Visually this stocking just does me right.



The knitting of the stocking was quite easy. Having knit a gazillion socks I did have some stocking-like experience. Nonetheless, I felt that the pattern was clear, straight forward, and easy to follow. The pattern was well written ... sort of. There was a small glitch. The pattern, a stock pattern for all of the stockings made by the company, is written for a stocking knit from the top down. The sample picture of this stocking, however, is of a stocking knit toe up. So though the pattern is great, it isn't exactly like the picture which might make someone, say someone neurotic and detail-oriented like me, twitchy. It isn't a huge difference, but it irked me. It made my eye twitch. I really wanted the foot stitches to be oriented to look like hearts. Also, I felt the snow looked more melty when they were oriented in the toe-up way. So after my first goof, I re-knit the stocking from the toe up. I used basic toe-up sock stuff, like a star toe done with increases instead of decreases, but used the pattern's stitch numbers. I also knit the stocking in the round, up to the chimney.



The bedazzling was also pretty easy. I felt like you needed a little intuition to make the package bows, but it worked out fine. I'm not such a great seamstress so the antlers and the chimney cement are not prefect, but they are good enough. In the end the bedazzled bits make me smile and feel all warm and squishy.

But even though I have a whole lot of love for the stocking, I also have a whole lot of fuckin-piece-of-shit-asshole for it too. Here's the bad. There was the whole bleeding thing. That REALLY upset me. When it dried and was still pretty pink, I wrote to the company, which I think is actually one woman. I first wrote on December 11, explaining what happened, noting that the instructions specifically said to block the stocking and asking for a miracle cure or a new stocking kit.

The response was not exactly what I expected. The woman stated that you never wet block anything red and recommended I use Rit dye remover or Synthrapol. She also noted that, "I did not state that items should not be wet blocked, probably because I have never thought of wet blocking anything, other than just lightly spraying an item with a fine mist, or as I said, lightly steaming it. I have washed many of these stockings with no problem, but I always use a really good wool wash like Eucalan." Ironically, I had wet blocked Monsieur Stocking in Eucalan. Not ironically, she made me feel like a dumbass.

I was unable to find a Rit dye remover that said it was okay for colors. The ones I found said for whites only or stated that they would fade colors. Not really viable options. I also did not find any Synthrapol. I ended up using Rit white brightener which stated that it was color safe. When that helped, but didn't solve the problem, I used Sharon's Solution (aside: I really like this for yellowed heirlooms like linen table cloths; it's never done me wrong). After using both (separately), a lot of the pink was out and most of the grey was out too. Unfortunately, some of the fibers were weakened so that several of the floats snapped. Or rather disintegrated. This happened in the foot area of the stocking, which got me all pissed off again, since the foot is what takes the weight of all of the stuff in the stocking. I was able to tie off all of the floats, or weave them in when there wasn't enough to tie off, so that the stocking looked okay from the outside.



At this point I didn't have enough time to knit a new stocking, had I even had one to knit, so I decided to proceed as planned and hope for the best. I bedazzled Sir Stocking and stitched him up. Oh how I suck at mattress stitch. My sucktastic mattress stitching is not the stocking's fault though.

Once the stocking was done, it was time for the liner. I had a friend sew the lining on her sewing machine (thanks Zazoo!!) and we made it smaller than the stocking itself.



I thought that if I made the lining slightly smaller than the stocking, it would take the brunt of the weight of all of the goodies inside. I am sure that LB will be quite irked by this when she is older and her stocking only holds one toothbrush and three chocolate kisses. In any event, once the lining was done, I hand-stitched it into the stocking. Let me re-phrase that, I stitch the ever-lovin-shit out of that bad boy. I figured that the smaller sized lining would do me no good if it fell into the stocking so I REALLY sewed it on. In hindsight I think that since the white floats snapped, and not the main red ones, the stocking probably won't fall apart if it gets weighed down. But I am a safety girl, so the smaller lining stays. Also, there is no way in hell I am unstitching it. I am so done with the stocking.

On Christmas Eve the stocking company woman wrote me, asking how the stocking was doing. I explained what I had done, down to the smaller liner, indicated I was stitching it in that night and hoping for the best. She responded by asking that I send her the stocking after the holidays and indicating that she would send me a new kit. Um, ??? I just spent a month of my life in high anxiety getting this stocking together. My daughter then used it for her first Christmas. I ain't giving it up. So I told her that I didn't want to give it up. I thought maybe she thought I had been trying to scam a free stocking kit from her, so I attached pictures of the parts where the red dye was still noticeable. She, however, didn't care about that and wanted the stocking so she could send it to the yarn manufacturer to show them the broken/disintegrated bits. Despite my refusal to send the stocking to her, she is still offering me another stocking kit. Quite frankly, I think this is the right thing to do but the wrong time to do it. If she was going to replace the stocking, she should have done it back on December 11. The whole exchange makes me feel a little weird. There is nothing overt, she never says, "THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT. YOU ARE A MORON." but that is kinda the vibe I get. Maybe it is the tone of the e-mails? Maybe I am just sensitive? For whatever reason, my panties are bunched. Which, incidentally, totally annoys me because I love the stocking. I'd recommend the kits. I'd knit another. But yet ... grrr.

So that is the story of the stocking. But for the part where it is apparently demonic.



Both my husband and his brother feel that I have created Satan Claus, not Santa Claus. When Boo first mentioned this to me, I almost choked on the M&M (peanut butter of course) I was eating. He said something along the lines of, "It looks great but what's the deal with Satan Claus?" After dislodging the M&M from my esophagus, I laughed. I thought he was talking about all of the crap that I went through to get this stocking done ... like it was possessed by the devil or something. But no. He means that Santa looks like he wants to suck your soul right out of your body, and feast on your kidneys for desert. Something about the eyes or the eyebrows ... he can't pinpoint it. He just feels like his mortality is in danger if he looks Mister Claus in the eyes. Trying to disprove such silliness, I asked BiL5 his thoughts while he was here. He was solidly in the Satan camp. Bastard!



Yarn: Elegant Heirlooms, Googleheims Stocking Kit purchased from Angelika's Yarn Store
Needles: Addi Turbo Lace Circs, size 3.25 mm (US 4)
Pattern: "Here I Go"
Modifications: Knit toe-up. Knit some of it in the round. Added extra stripe around white name band so both top and bottom had a red and green stripe. Added bells to reindeer collar. Made Santa evil.
Time: One and a half months.
Care: Prayer.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Joyous Festivus For the Rest of Us

The Danny DeVito of Christmas trees wishes you a happy holiday ...



And notes that even the dimmest, most flattering lighting can't make one look all that much taller and thinner ...



For those that are extremely observant, you might notice that LB's stocking is hung by the chimney with care. It was done in time and will get it's own   rant   blog post soon!

Oh and in case you doubt the Danny Devitoness of our tree, I refer you to Slim Shady of 2006.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

UPS

Dear UPS Man:

Please accept my apology for flashing you my milky white legs. I know they stood out spectacularly against my black underwear and stained hot pink tee shirt. It was not my intention to great you sans pants. When I saw your truck and heard the bell ring, I thought you were ringing and running. I had no idea that you would still be in my driveway, let alone at my door awaiting my signature when I flung open my front door. Had I known, I never would have answered the door without my pants on. Heck, if I was expecting a delivery I would not have been pantsless while standing on the ladder in the middle of the huge picture window next to my front door, re-hanging my drapes. Honestly, I typically wear pants around strangers.

In any event, in addition to offering my apology, I would also like to offer my thanks. The fact that you maintained eye-contact, and played along with me, never acknowledging my pantsless state, the entire time I was signing your electronic whodickey was quite professional. If it was up to me, I would award you some type of UPS professionalism award for that.

Again, I'm sorry and thanks!
- SPR

Saturday, December 20, 2008

MIA

Dear Unknown Entity/Force:

Please quitting eating our socks, one at a time. If you really must, and by must I mean that you really need to eat our socks, this is a survival issue and not something you and your pals are doing for a good time, if you really must eat our socks, could you just take a pair? If one fills you up, save the other for later. A snack or even desert? If that's not good, then maybe you could store the extras, a baby sock might be an amuse-bouche next time? It would really be quite kind of you as this current one-at-a-time thing is making my eye twitch.

Sincerely,
SPR

P.S. Also, have you seen the middle of the foam O?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pavarotti

Today was a day of errands, which, in and of itself, not very noteworthy. It
was a day of errands which I ran with child in tow, which is also not very noteworthy, but pertinent to the story.

So after several hours and many stores, LB and I found ourselves at Lowe's looking at stuff for the bathroom re-model. She was at the end of her rope having run a lot of errands but she was trying to keep it together. We had picked out our medicine cabinet and a few other doodads and I was thinking it was about time to get her out of the store when it hit me. And by it, I mean the overwhelming need to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW! Do not stop, do not pass go, go NOW! Something had broken and needed immediate evacuation if you get my drift. Which, had I been home would have been no problem. Had I been at Lowe's by myself, or with LB and Boo, unpleasant, but still not a problem. But no, I am there with my infant, who is hermetically sealed into our shopping cart with some hippiedippie keep my kid germ-free seat, and a boatload, or cartload, of unpaid merchandise. Now there was no way I was going to be able to do what I had to do with LB on my lap which meant she had to come in with me. Which also meant that the cart was coming in too. But my cart was FULL and there was a big red sign saying not to bring "unpaid merchandise" into the loo. Unfortunately time was of the essence and there was no handy dandy table to load up with my unpaid merchandise, so me, I'm a badass. I looked right at that sign and I laughed, oh yes, I laughed as I pushed my unpaid merchandise laden cart right through that restroom door. Which you would think would be the end of the story ... Ha! Ha! Jenna pulled a George Costanza and brought stuff into the can. But no, there is more!

So into the loo we go and I am hurrying and I wheel us down into the handicap stall with the fervent hope that the kid and the cart will fit in the stall. Which, thankfully, they do. So, in we go. Everything goes smoothly and I am doing what I went in there to do, but while I am doing it I am talking to LB. Or, rather, I am providing her with commentary, via song. And she is not saying anything. Being that she was in the cart and I was, well, seated, we were at eye level and she is just staring at me with her "Dance for me Clown!" face. And I know that if I don't perform well the kid is going to lose her shit. So I am singing and I am making stuff up as I go, but it is hard to sing about things of a certain nature so maybe, just maybe, when I was finishing up, there might have been a verse which was something along the lines ... "Tee hee! I farted! Toot! Toot!" And that would be when a toilet a few doors down flushed.

Apparently in my hurry to get to the handicap stall, I neglected to notice that there was someone else in there. Needless to say, I felt a little dumb. But, being a mature adult, comfortable with the fact that I am human and do what humans do, I didn't say anything. No, instead, I waited (hid) until I heard the random woman open the main door to exit my stall. I figured she would never see us and I could escape unseen, if not unheard. Unfortunately my timing was off, as was my luck, and so time slows down and this woman looks over her shoulder towards my stall as she is exiting and she sees this huge, filled to capacity cart, emerge from the handicap stall. Then she sees the kid in the front. Then she sees me. And, what does she do? Does she keep going and leave? No! Does she, having made eye contact, totally inappropriate eye contact, smile and then leave? No! She stops, coos at LB and then says to me, "What a beautiful little girl!" Lady, I just committed some sort of crime against nature in that stall, and I sang about it, OUT LOUD, to my kid and you want to talk to me? Seriously?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pitiful

I haven't looked at the stocking yet so we're not gonna talk about that.

No, instead, let me tell you about the most pitiful e-mail that I've seen in a long time! It went out to our knitting group and was concerning food for our holiday party. Due to allergies, pregnancy, nursing, and general health stuff, we have some food restrictions. Doesn't seem like a big deal right? Well, when you speak to one person with one issue, isn't such a bad thing. But, when you line them up all together, HOLY CRAP!

Amongst ten or so people we have folks who can't do dairy, gluten, nuts, wheat, corn, potato, sugar or eggs. We also have a vegetarian and a sorta-vegetarian (though, quite frankly, I think this category is lame and should not exist because you either eat the animal or you don't, the end. Eating only chicken or only fish or only bacon makes you NOT a vegetarian ... you might be picky but you are not a vegetarian since the definition of a vegetarian is one who does not eat meat, fish, fowl, or, in some cases, any food derived from animals, as eggs or cheese, but subsists on vegetables, fruits, nuts, grain, etc. According to Wikipedia there are semi-vegetarian diets like flexitarian but I have to say that I think the internet made this shit up. I'm a flexitarian? Bah! Just man up and say you are a picky eater. And, this is all I have to about that!) and a total anti-vegetarian. Seriously? I'm not even sure that if we went to a restaurant that we could find someplace that could feed everyone. Initially, before this e-mail went out, I planned to make the good ole stand-by cheesy-chicken crescent rolls. In light of the list, this knocks out the no gluten people, the no wheat people, the no dairy people, and the vegetarian and it might knock out the sorta-vegetarian, so basically I'd need to make like three crescent rolls ... Boo would be happy because he would get a lot of leftovers but it wouldn't be very holiday spiritish. Someone jokingly suggested that we each just bring our own meal and I was like FOR REALS YO! I like me some meat and cheese. Wrap in a bread product and hot-friggin-damn! Can you say cheesy pigs in a blanket? But again, not in that holiday spirit.

Having been on a no-sugar lo-carb diet when I was pregnant, I understand how much it sucks to go to a party and not be able to eat anything ... also, don't want to be a Screw-Everybody-Scrooge so I've racked my brain and I think I have a food everyone can eat ... duh duh duh! Babies! It's really just a modest proposal I came up with. Ha! Just kidding. Though my kid is pretty tasty. She kind of tastes like chicken which would knock out the veggie head!

No seriously, my food idea? Beans! Now, I can't re-fry the beans and smother them in cheese, or veggies, or sour cream, which actually makes the prep very easy. Buy can of beans. Open can of beans. Dump can of beans in disposable holiday dish and bring to party. Done!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Willful Blindness

Sent husband into guest room to look at stocking, still can't look myself. His take: it doesn't look awful. It's just not super white. It looks like an heirloom (actually, he said old, but I assume he was going for a good old and not a bad one). Maybe I will look tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Seriously?

I just wet blocked LB's stocking, v. 2. This was a huge mistake. Let me re-phrase that, WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST DO? The pretty white snow dripping into the foot? Pink. The crisp white background framing the black letters of her name? Gray. Turns out the colors bled ... and stuck. No amount of rinsing seems to help. If you can guess the number of times I yelled fuck in my laundry room, I'll give you a dollar. I decided wine might make everything better. But we don't have any. I then decided to pin it out on the guest room bed (i.e., my blocking board) and hope that sometime tonight the yarn fairies come out and rescue the stocking. Maybe by putting my folly out here on the internet, karma will come wafting in the window and blow out the bad color? Gah! It's not that this is a particularly difficult knit, or that it is all that time consuming, and maybe the third time would be the charm, but you know what the second time was really kinda nice. Hell and damn.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Off

We bought our Christmas tree yesterday. We, well me, the decision maker, wanted a tall skinny tree. We went to a new place where they were very helpful in trying to find the perfect tall skinny tree. They showed me a dozen trees, even holding some up side-by-side. So how is it that I left the housing seeking Gisele B├╝ndchenhen but came home with Danny DeVito?