Sunday, April 30, 2006

Married to a Knitter - An Observation/Survival Guide

This post goes out to all the husbands out there, all my homies with wives, spouses, partners and significant others who knit. Let me here the fella's holla "HO!"

There are pros and cons to being the husband of a knitter. This post will strive to be fair and balanced, just like Fox News (heh...).

PRO #1 - Socks

It turns out I like home-knitted socks. The first pair Teresa knitted my were all blue and varigated, with a funky kinda pattern that I liked. I may risk offending some of you knitters out there by not knowing the same of the pattern or the details. Truth is, to me it's not important. I don't have to know the specific ingredients to creme brulee to know that I like it. Here's the sock:

Pretty neat, huh. Got them just in time for winter and let me tell you, my toes were toasty!

There was a minor issue with the first pair in that the cuff was a bit too tight, making it hard to fit my somewhat big feet in them. (Hey, fella's? Know what they say about men with big feet. Ha ha ha!.... Alright, enough of that kind of humour. The wife's watching)

Notice the hole in the sock. Occupational hazard I'm afraid. But this picture was put in to make a point about homemade knitting. I truly do love it, and will wear my socks until they fall apart. Maybe that's a bit, unthoughtful, considering how much work you knitters put into your art, your creations. But I'm not trying to be insensitive here. All I'm saying is, whatever you knit with love, we will we will wear out of love. As you folks with significant other's know, sometimes love will put holes in things. That's why relationships are sometimes so challenging. Thank god you knitter's are skilled at mending...

My next pair of socks were made of black wool, a colour I requested so that I could wear them with my faux Doc Marten's to the office. Beats white gym sock every time!

Again, you will note that they are a bit linty, and looking quite worn. See my comments above.

Remember... PRO # 1 is Socks.

CON #1 - Those weird knitting blog conversations.

Who the heck is the "Yarn Harlot" and how did she become the topic of everyday conversation in our house?

Actually, I briefly met the Yarn Harlot at a book signing at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival last year (baaaa....) , and she was a nice and very gracious person. And although I have yet to read her blog or her books (I will, I promise), I will stipulate that she is funny and reasonably well spoken.

Ditto Queer Joe.

But lately conversations around the abode have begun as follows: "Guess what Stephanie posted last week?" or "Did you know what the 'Harlot' said about that?" or "You know, if you want to know more about that subject, you should check out the 'Yarn Harlot' site."

Ditto Queer Joe...

The other thing that may happen is that Teresa, in all innocent and honest excitement, will begin to describe something "really funny" that some knitting blogger and another posted on their site, but I've got to admit with some chagrin, that the way Teresa describes it, it kinda doesn't sound funny. It's because of lack of context and it's the bane of the funny person. Eddie Murphy describes this phenomenon on his marvelous first concert film "Delirious". For those of you who have watched that film, remeber that bit he goes into describing how he and his brother had to bathe together as kids....

*singing* "G.I. Joe is swimmin' in the wateeerrrr.... An' then a big, brown shark caaaame!"

Yeah, remember...? Go ahead and laugh... I'll wait....


Okay, right after that bit, Eddie goes in one of his most the funniest adlibs, where he warns the audience not to try to tell his jokes at the office, 'cause they'll just mess it up. The reason? Lack of context, pure and simple.

Just like those weird knitting blog conversations.

PRO # 2 - Hats

Ever since I was born, God has seen fit to bless me with a big round head. In fact when I was born, I was seven pounds and 10 ounces, and at least 50% of that was head. My body had to sort of grow to fit my head.

Ironically, although I could have used a method to hide, disguise or some what distract people from the size of my head, the shape of my head prevented the use of hats (unless it was winter, thank God for touques). I just have a weird shaped head that does not look good in hats. But, I love hats!

Welcome to my hell.

My wife asks me why I watch the Godfather, over and over again. We'll not only is it a great movie, and a useful primer for how to conduct yourself in the business and political world (it was Saddam Hussein's favourite movie... natch), it was also a pretty good hat movie. Check out the scene with Brando, as Vito, as he walks over to the orange stand, just before Sollozzo's punks pop five caps in his "Sicillian hide". That's a good hat scene. Another scene, Sollozzo and Bruno Tataglia in the bar, just before Luca Brasi get's to "sleep with the fishes". Or, the ultimate hat scene when Michael greets Kay at the schoolyard after three years of hiding. Sharp suit and even sharper hat! I wish I could wear a fedora like Pachino. Last time I tried a fedora on in a hat store, I looked like a lollipop wearing a flying saucer.

Alas, Teresa my dear, knit me a hat as one of her first projects. Since I am aware of what I looked like in a brimmed hat, I asked her to knit me a watch cap.

It was workable. I wore it without any self-concousness.

But then Teresa knit me a "Jayne" hat! Here's a picture of me taking a picture of me wearing the Jayne hat:

Being somewhat a fan of the TV show Firefly, and thus somewhat of a nerd, it is my favorite hat. There are many different patterns of Jayne's hats out in the 'verse (or the blogoshphere), and I would like to get a couple more (Hint, hint Sarah....)

CON #2 - Coercion

Sometimes it's subtle, and sometimes it's worthy of a scene in The Godfather, but Teresa is trying to coerce me into knitting. Or at least spin yarn for her to knit.

It's not going to happen.

I have agreed to raise sheep and/or alpaca if she really wants wool that badly. I don't know if our new backyard can support a sheep/alpaca farm, and I'm sure that I would have to grease some palms at city hall to get the required permits. But I am not going to knit...

... or spin...

... or macrame...

... or cross stitch...

... or crochet... (I have tried crochet at one point in my youth, but like Prez Clinton, I didn't inhale...)

PRO #3 - Slipper's

Over the past year, Teresa has knit me two pairs of slippers, bless her heart.

For some reason we didn't take pictures of them. But they are felted, and warm and very, very comfortable. It's like a walking foot massage.

Love 'em!

CON #3

There is no Con #3. In fact there are no cons to having a wife who knits. Only pro's. Even the con's are pro's. Knitting is love, pure and simple. It is creation and sweat and counting and cramped fingers and sometimes you got to pull all the yarn out and start over again, and sometimes it's just right the first time.

It's remarkably a lot like marriage.

Cheers folks. I am outta here!

Friday, April 28, 2006


Yesterday, I drove from NJ to Norwich (9+ hours) picked up a certified cheque (and signed some papers) drove another hours to my lawyers office and signed massive amounts of paper. I am not sure what I signed away - I think my first born was involved - but today at another lawyer's office I was given a set of keys. Yes I am a house owner.
My husband and I drove over to our house, and went inside. There is misc crap still everywhere. Oh I hope they are not done and will be back.
Looked around some more - Nintendo Game Cube is still in the boys room. Yeah I think they will be back.So while we were discussing where to arrange furniture and still marveling that this is our house, the previous owner came back. She was told that she had until 6pm to be out. But I have the keys - I did want her to take all the garbage and other miscellany stuff (maybe leave the gamecube and the lawnmower), which I didnt' see happening if I was rude. Also we are moving in until next week (well some stuff this week) so there was no real point to being rude. So my husband and I left (he had to go back to work).
I did a few errands, planted the daylillies that Jenni gave to me. There are tonnes of lily of the valley around the yard that are just starting to come up, and I will be bringing some of those back to Jenni.

Friday, April 21, 2006

How 29 Peeps met an untimely end...

I've got no idea why Easter is celebrated with chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, let alone Peeps marshmallow (and I use the term loosely) animals. Did Jesus have a pet bunny who was with him to the very end? Was this bunny miraculously able to lay eggs? I (clearly) don't know squat about religion.

Nevertheless, when I spied a recipe on NPR's Kitchen Window for a Peeps pie, I couldn't resist. I don't like pie or marshmallow, but it seemed appropriately festive (see bunnies and beans, above).

Ingredient number 1: 30 peeps, of your color and animal choice. Try not to terrify the Peeps as the are removed from their warm, womb-like packaging and placed into the sterile metal bowl.

Now do the unthinkable.

Place your charming little peeps over boiling water and try to ignore their peepy screams (do birds scream?). Note the weaker ones give up the ghost first (literally - they turn white).

Stir the pot continuously until, well, until all you have are eyes staring back at you. Try not to be alarmed. Eventually the eyes melt too.

Your end product is a gooey mess that you should mix with whipped cream and chocolate chunks. However, it's also good form to let any surviving peeps know how lucky they were.

Scrape the peep mess into a pie crust (resist urge to taste - it's horrid) and refrigerate overnight (or until the peep decoration stops screaming/is frozen). Serve to a house packed with children under the age of 10 (preferably not your own) and watch the sugar high commence.

Jenni and Teresa

Monday, April 17, 2006

This is for the birds

When I came into the lab on Saturday, a male mallard duck was just sitting in the parking lot. Hanging out. I grabbed my camera phone and took a picture, however it looked great on the screen, not so much on my computer. For some reason when I sent the message to myself it reduced the image size. Anyway here is the crappiest photo ever

I have gotten to the heel on the Trekking socks. I am using Judy Gibsons generic toe up pattern, and am having a difficult time with the heel. It just doesnt' look right. Part of my issue I think is the working number of stitches that I have is 104, her chart only goes to 80 so using ratios and patterns (I actually enjoy math) I know how many sts should go in each blank. However I am confused as to the set up for the heel. I am going to give it one more try this evening and hope that it works. If it doesn't work out, then I will rip back all of the gusset increases, knit 5 cm more, and do a short-row hourglass heel.
I have done a toe up- heelflap sock before - however that pattern must be in Canada since I can't find it in any of my paperwork here. Being spread between two countries is not fun.

I haven't been knitting (or blogging) as much as I would like since several things are going on with my thesis that is taking up more of my time energy than I would like.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Weekend Activities

The only thing worth blogging about is meeting the Stephanie aka Yarn Harlot on Saturday at her book signing in Doylestown. This was the second time meeting her, but the first time that I heard her give a talk. Last year I met her at MSW festival, where she met everyone on the grass and was less formal. This time however she told us about her adventures since she has become a world famous author (my words - she maintains she is a normal person).
In true knitterly fashion, there was several people knitting on projects in the bookstore (including me), and there was several different techniques in progress. In knitting socks, there was magic loop, 2 circs and dpns. Two people were knitting Conway from Knitting on the Road, using different techniques it was great. I know you both have blogs and I forgot to write the blog names down. So if you are reading this - and please let me know in the comments.
I use to live much closer to Doylestown, but I never went - I didn't know it had such a great downtown. I use to go to Peddlers Village (about 10 min away) all the time, but never made it to Doylestown. If you are in the Bucks County area - visit this town. It is worth it. As much as I am extolling the virtues of Doylestown, I didnt' walk around much. It was raining/sleeting the entire time I was there. But from what I did explore (from the parking lot, bookstore, yarnstore). It is an enjoyable town.

Samus - seamed the sleeves, and put one half in to the sweater (basted and partly seamed). Worked some more on the applied I-cord.

Broken rib socks - I really need to photograph these. I started the gusset increases - and for my notes later - at 6" from the toe. I realized after I got home on Saturday from the bookstore that I lost a needle. I think when I put the knitting back in my bag to get the books out to be signed. With the price of gas and time, I don't think it is worth driving back to pick it up.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Spring snow

We have a visiting scientist in our lab till June from Nigeria, she came two weeks ago, and said she has never seen snow and was hoping to see some. Well the fates have agreed and today it is snowing. The snow that falls in the spring after the ground has worked is called Poor Man's Fertilizer. This may be a New England/Canada thing though - as Norma will attest that attourneys from Pennsylvania have never heard this term.

Spring arrival

The weekend was beautiful here, and as a result there is very little knitting content for the day. Spring has definitely arrived although we need rain.

I started the applied I-cord on Samus. I sped through knitting the body, but everything else seems to be taking a long time. I guess knitting the sleeves over and over doesn’t help. The sleeves since I know you are interested are done, blocked and the finish length looks good. I don’t know if it is because I did not weave in any ends and just left them long just in case they needed to be ripped again. I try not to tempt fate. There is enough other stuff going on I don’t need to bring that to my knitting.

I did complete something though. I made these - Short Toed Socklets for wearing with my thongs. Now some people think these things should not be knitted. However, seeing as I have a very large blister on the top of my foot from wearing my thongs for a short walk, I figure I have a good case to wear these. I do not want an ugly mark on the top of my foot all summer. This will allow me to wear my sandals without being in pain. I made them from Sockotta with needle size 2.5 mm (US 1.5). I am thinking the cotton in the yarn will make them more tolerable during the warm days then wool. Although my feet are always cold (unlike Grumperina), I do like wearing as little as possible on them.

My portable project has become my husbands broken rib socks. I was going to do a waffle rib, but didn’t like the pattern when I started. I think these are going to take some time. I looked at the Trekking Yarn, and thought that I needed tiny needles so I picked up my 1.75 mm (US00) and started knitting the toe. When I had enough of the toe done to figure out the gauge I was shocked to find out I am knitting at 44 sts/ 10cm that is 11 sts per inch for those who are poor at math. Part of me is saying – “You are insane, other people who have used Trekking don’t knit at this tension” the other part “I love the resulting fabric”. I am going with the resulting fabric bit.