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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Alex's Halloween dance (with video)

Am I the best mom ever, or what?!  lol.  I rarely have time to volunteer and I like to participate any way I can, so for the last two years I've volunteered as a baker for the Oldham School PTA.  They call me every time there is an activity and ask if I'd be willing to bake something for their concession stand.  This year I found a recipe for these amazing cookie bars, but since I was baking for the school and I couldn't use anything with peanuts, I modified the recipe to make it school friendly.  My family and I actually like this a little better (because they're sweeter, lol).  I replaced the pretzels with Brach's Autumn Mix candy corn, and I used white chocolate chips colored with Wilton's orange icing color gel to drizzle on top.  Thing is, I can't ever get white chocolate chips to melt enough to really drizzle so I ended up having to put it into a piping bag and squeeze it out, making it look like it was drizzled.  It worked out.

Anyway, the cookie bars were for the Oldham School Halloween dance.  Alex wanted to go, and since he's been so good in school and he's been sleeping so well, I decided that it would be safe to let him go have some fun.  We got there a little bit late, what with trying to get him to eat dinner and get dressed, lol.  Admission cost was one canned food item per person.  Reasonable enough.  Dante and I walked him over and he ran into the gym faster than my eyes could track him.  Dante had a few friends from high school who had also been dragged along with younger siblings, so he wasn't too bored.  And one of his friends bought several of my cookie bars!  They were very popular.

Alex found several of his friends too, and they all danced till they were ready to drop.  He jumped right in and had a blast.  By the end of the night, he was so tired and sweaty that he'd sweat his mustache right off, and I was carrying around his gloves and hat.  But as long as he had fun, right?  He played some of the fun games they had set up, and did really well.  He waited his turn in line, didn't get upset if he lost, and gave the ball/bean bag/rings to the next person in line, all without missing a beat.  It was great to see him doing so much better socially.  I even have hope that he'll get through this year's Ward Halloween party without a melt down (assuming we can get a ride up there, lol).  So, enjoy this hilarious video of Alex attempting to line dance.

Friday, October 26, 2012

No Open Knit class on Halloween night

in which I photo-bomb my kid's photo, lol
Don't you just love it when a blog title has absolutely nothing to do with the post??  But I have an excuse in this case, as some people might not actually read the post.  I know I'm guilty of skimming through and just looking at the pictures.  So I put the important part right in the title, lol.  I teach open knit classes at Bella Yarns on Wednesday nights and Friday mornings.  This year Halloween falls on a Wednesday, and I don't have my own car anymore.  You know there's no chance at all that my kids are gonna be cool with an interruption in their trick-or-treat action to come into Warren and pick me up from work.  So class will be canceled on Wednesday, October 31st and I'll pick it back up that Friday morning. 

We're also trying to get ready for a major storm that's supposed to hit the area on Tuesday.  I've located the candles and the radio.  We're going to go get a Coleman camping lantern.  I've gone through the 72-hour kits to make sure we all have medicine, snacks, towels, cash, and other stuff in there.  This year I had to rotate the snacks out of the kits and I hadn't gotten around to replacing them so I did that today.  I got canned goods and Parmalat milk (that can sit out on the shelf until we use it), and several cans of whole grain Spaghetti-O's with meat balls and a full serving of veggies, because Alex probably won't eat anything else that comes out of a can, lol.  So in a nut shell, we're about a prepared as we can get for now.  Aaron got a kick out of watching me go through all the 72-hour kits and loading them with snacks.  He said I was "moming it up like moms do, making care packs", lol. And finally, I printed out all of my assignments for next week, just in case we lose power and internet access for a few days.

And with that, I'm off to take Alex to his school's Halloween party.  He'll be dressing up as Mario.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nola Cloche: secret knitting revealed!

This my friends, is my completed test knit sample for the Nola Cloche, by Hillary Smith Callis aka The Yarniad.  She put out a call for testers and I just had to jump on it because she makes the best accessories!  I love her sweaters too, but I seem to be drawn to the accessories.  Anyway, I tested the chunky version of the pattern (it comes with instructions for chunky and worsted, both in three different sizes).  It was a good way to use up that skein of yarn I took home to swatch with, for a design that died on the drawing table.  I learned a few lessons from that experience, like "never accept a call to design something you would never otherwise design, for a specific group, because if things change for them you'll be left with a partially-done design for something you'd never make in a million years".  I lost a day's work on that one, but it's okay because I found a way to re-purpose the yarn into something usable!

Here you can see the pretty, swirly decreases at the top of the hat.  I think they would stand out really nicely if you selected a yarn with 4 plies.  My yarn is a 2 ply so it didn't pop as much as I hoped.  However, the pretty tonal quality of the yarn made up for the loss of stitch definition.  I used a skein of Misty Alpaca Tonos Chunky in Salmon.  I've used the Tonos line of yarn before in my Julissa sweater and I've enjoyed working with it both times.  I just love how the colors play out, and the half alpaca/wool blend makes it soft and warm.  Believe it or not, I got this hat out of one skein but it was really tight!  I had about a yard left over.

And finally, here's a fun, sarcastic photo that I took of myself for your viewing pleasure.  I know you've all seen this pose.  The one where a girl gets all dolled up and then takes a photo of herself at a strange angle that somehow manages to allow the camera to look down the front of her shirt while still getting her face in the shot.  The famous one with girls who are bleached too blond and are wearing shiny gloss over dark liner.  You know...The Duck-Face.  Lips pursed way, way out.  Here's my take on the now classic Duck Face.
Nailed it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Momma loves her boys

Alex has been wearing the rainbow-colored socks I knit for him, for 5 straight days o.0  I can't get them off of his feet long enough to even wash them, lol.  So when he asked me for a light-blue pair I figured I should get right on it.  And here's the first of the pair. 

The yarn is Shibui Sock in Sky.  The yardage is small compared to most skeins of sock yarn, but it's okay when you've got small feet.  I don't know if you can see it very well in this webcam shot, but the yarn is tonal and it's really pretty in person. 

I was going to do a plain stockinette sock, but I just can't.  It bores me to death.  So I went for a waffle texture on the leg and decided to go ahead and continue it down the foot.  I always worry that too much texture will bother him when he's wearing shoes, but I'm willing to risk it.  I mean, what's the worst that could happen...they end up sitting in his sock drawer, all unloved, like his Ruby Gloom socks did?  What ever.  Small socks are fast.

I wonder what color he'll ask me for next?

P.S.  Aaron likes the Madeline Tosh Sock in Mare (as do I) so I just got another valid reason to buy more Tosh sock yarn.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Behind the Scenes: Elizabeta photo shoot

 I love looking at beautifully shot knitting patterns, but I love seeing the funny, behind-the-scenes photos a bit more.  So it is with that spirit that I asked my photographer, Annalise to snap some candid shots that I could share with you.  Here you can see that I'm getting my socks on and taking a lot of time to make sure that the vertical lace motifs are lined up just right.  See how pretty that marble building is!  Notice how color coordinated I'm not, lol.  Now, here are some of the prettier pictures, followed by the "what was really going on" shots.


whoops!  my stuff got in the shot, lol.
Where's the light going?..
check out my sweet outfit.  the dress didn't actually fit so I couldn't zip it up the back.

lighting test.  (I'm waring these shoes right now).
look at how sweet that pose is!  that's really my leg.

here's what I was doing above the waist

Oh no! Poutie-baby face, lol.
Beware the ghostly Nun!!

Okay.  she's had enough, lol.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Elizabeta, my 2012 Scarefest contribution

Today my latest Scarefest design went live and I couldn't be more excited!  My friend Annelise called me up yesterday and said "I'm coming over and we're going to go do a photo shoot for your pattern", and I was like "okay", so we did, and what we got was AMAZING.  Good photos really make the difference, ya know?  And I had no idea how we were going to translate this pattern into photos, but she pulled it off.  (Tomorrow I'll have some fun behind-the-scenes photos of the shoot.)

 Anyway, Elizabeta is a lace knee-high sock designed around the 1992 version of Bram Stoker's Dracula.  That movie has an all-star cast and it was beautifully shot.  It's my favorite Dracula movie, and I wanted to do a sock based on it last season but I ran out of time.  As you may recall, I was on a bride kick (Bride of Frankenstein was one of last year's releases).  But it turned out that this design was able to stand on it's own, and I think that the extra year it spent rattling around in my head turned out to be a good thing, because it went in a fun, different and amazing direction.  Plus, look at these incredible photos!

The lace is a simple and delicate pattern, with a short repeat to make it easier to remember.  The back of the calf showcases a crown motif on a field of reverse-stockinette, which flows down through the heel gusset and foot, finishing up on the toe.  It's a pretty little detail and I'm proud of how it turned out.  The pattern worked beautifully with my yarn choice (Dream In Color Smooshy, in Scorched colors) and only took one skein.  I even had enough left over to make several Hexipuffs!!  And since I'm tall and wear a size 10 shoe, I can confidently say that approximately 450 yards is enough yarn to make this pair for almost every female knitter ;)

As usual, this design is exclusive to the Super Sock Scarefest and will be released to the general public after the 2012 round wraps up (roughly mid-November).  Send me an email if you would like a personal reminder when it goes on sale.

And finally, I'd like to give a special thanks to Barb Brown, who's book Knitted Knee-Highs took the mystery out of designing and knitting knee-high socks.  Thanks for sharing your knowledge with the world, and encouraging us to knit more knee-high socks!

For more photos, check out my project page.  And again, tomorrow I'll be posting some fun behind-the-scenes pics and talking about the shoot.