Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hockey Tradition

There is something to be said for tradition. Ever since the 2002/2003 season for the Minnesota Wild, when they made it to the post season playoffs, I've been knitting socks. Not just any old socks but special "lucky" hockey socks. The beginning of the hockey season is always the signal to start a new pair of socks.

So, even though there are countless WIPs/UFOs hanging around my knitting stash, the need to finish the first official hockey socks of the season has forced me to; 1) break my official yarn fast to buy some Dream in Color Smooshy sock yarn in Visual Purple; 2) somehow get my sock mojo flowing.

This as yet unnamed pattern is another Widdershins remix by moi, using a lacy crossover stitch pattern from a stitch dictionary I have hanging around the house.

In hockey news, Hockeyman has served out the end of his suspension and played in his first hockey scrimmage last week. The team has 3 wins/0 losses so far. So hopes are high for a very successful season.

Just think how well things will go when I've finished the "lucky" hockey socks. At least as far as keeping my feet warm at the rink.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Alas, another brief encounter

We're off and running for another fun filled evening of kids' events but a quick post to show that some knitting is getting done around here.

The finished balaclava for Hockeyman was a rousing hit. I started the project with some leftover Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. It was clear early on it would not be enough. Unfortunately, they didn't have the same yarn in stock but a quick label check resulted in three classic camo shades of Classic Yarns Cashsoft DK, which had the almost identical fiber content. The ribbing around the face is a bit loose but the cap has not been washed and blocked yet, so I'm hoping a little soap and agitation will tighten that up nicely.

The leftovers are slated for some fingerless gloves for HM. And as you can see by the bareness of the trees in the background, these winter wear items are not going to be ready any too soon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Feather & Fan

Busy day ahead but I had to make a quick post to answer a question about the newest sweater on the needles.

I chose a very simple Feather and Fan lace pattern and am making a simple sheath type sweater. The swatch turned out quite lovely and I'm hoping that once the sweater is off the somewhat short needle, the lace will block out and make a stunning holiday sweater.

This is a 16 stitch repeat. I am knitting this in the round, so if you choose to knit flat, I've noted the need to purl on the even rounds.

After casting on number of stitches needed and working 4 rows of garter stitch:

Round 1: *Yo, K1, Yo, K1, Yo, SSK, SSK, (Slip 2 stitches together knitwise, K1, P2sso), K2tog, K2tog, Yo, K1, Yo, K1, Yo, K1.* Repeat between *.
Round 2: Knit (Purl for flat knitting)
Round 3: Knit
Round 4: Knit (Purl for flat knitting)

That's all there is to the lace pattern. I'll keep you posted on this sweaters ability to keep the mojo home at nights.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Late Breaking News Report

This is Less Messy reporting to you from the Twin Cities. We have an unsubstantiated report that a missing mojo, gone for several weeks, as recently been spotted. While we cannot confirm that it has indeed returned home, evidence suggests that is in in the vicinity and may soon be reunited with it's worried owner. Stay tuned for further reports.

I can't say for sure that the mojo is back but I did spend several hours during school this morning starting this little beauty. I've wanted a dressy lace sweater for quite awhile and I've been letting this luscious yarn from my birthday last year simmer until I was ready to cast on.

So far, so good. I'm itching to sign off here and get my hands back on it, so all signs look good for the soon return of the missing mojo.

And if this doesn't work, I ordered some Dream in Color sock yarn today. Maybe a little package in the mail is all I need to signal poor mojo to come back in from the cold.

Oh, and yes, that is SUNLIGHT you see glinting off the stitch markers. It is a glorious fall day in Minnesota. If the new yarn doesn't lure mojo home, maybe the return to dry and sunny weather will.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

You can take the girl out of the theater but . . .

but you just can't take the drama queen out of the girl.

We had a fun time at the first cast meeting for Beauty and the Beast this afternoon. This show promises to be a lot of fun to put together, with some awesome people cast in the lead roles. There was a lot of comedic moments, as each cast member introduced themselves and had a picture taken for posterity. What amazed me was the fact that the moment I stepped on stage, I automatically searched out the hot spot in the lights - like a sunflower turning to the sun. It's like the last 20 years just didn't take place because I was right back in drama geek mode.

The director gave us a few hints as to the direction he is hoping to take the show. There are going to be a few twists because, to quote Director Robert, "This won't be the Disney version. This will be the Chaska Valley Family Theater version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast." The ideas that were floating around were all fantastic and funny as all get out. All I can say is, if you're in the Twin Cities February 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23 or 24, come see the show. You won't be disappointed. I've added the link to my list of links and will keep everyone posted on more details as opening night gets closer.

On the missing mojo front . . . it's still missing. But not for a lack of sincere searching on my part. I've started yet another hat for myself, started swatching with the Knit Picks Shimmer yarn that I've had marinating in my stash for the past year and I've bought 3 new knitting magazines this week. All to no avail. I just don't feel like knitting right now. I sat through the Beauty and the Beast DVD and 2 musicals on TCM yesterday without knitting a stitch. I'm just in a holding pattern at the moment. And I've decided (with some sage counsel from some of you) that this is okay - even if the holiday knitting season is upon us. This year may be the Year of the Purchased Gifts. So be it.

Maybe I'll go do some vocal exercises. Mah, mah, maaaaaaah!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The sun will come out . . .

I awakened to the beautiful sound of the weatherman's voice this morning, ". . . change in the weather pattern. It will be sunny today, with a high near 70 degrees . . ."

Ahhhhh! That's so much better.

More sunshiny news - DancingDiva and I auditioned for a local production of Beauty and the Beast. The cast list came out last night and both of us are in the cast, DD as a dancing plate and myself as a crony/villager. While I'm not surprised DD made it (she was asked, along with her dance team, to audition by the choreographer), I was a little surprised to see my name on the cast list, instead of on a list of stagehands, with a nice typewritten note saying that my audition was such that they are proud and happy to announce my placement behind the scenes.

I haven't auditioned for a musical theater production since college umpteen years ago. While I was an all out drama geek in high school and college, the necessity of earning a living, marriage and raising kids kind of took center stage for awhile. I've sung in worship groups for years but even that has been on the back burner for the past 9 years. So auditioning for this production was kind of a fluke.

Because this theater group caters to families, the audition notices stated that preference would be given to people who auditioned as families. Now, since there is no way anyone else in the family would audition (Peeps wanted to but she was too young), I was elected. And, after some careful thought, I figured it would be a great encouragement to DD to see me audition along side her anyway, so I was game.

DD and I were early, so we picked up our applications and filled them out and picked up our numbers before most people had begun to arrive. We happened to be numbers 2 and 3 on the list. Our group of 10 was taken into the singing portion of the audition first. After a couple run throughs of the music, we took turns singing sections into a recording devise. While I was certainly okay, I deliberately didn't make a huge effort to shine in the vocal audition. It might have intimidated DD more, so I just sang the song as nicely as possible and moved on to the next audition.

Following the singing was the acting. The Producer and Director were there and they put us through a few acting exercises before handing out copies of the script. Given that our group was short a few men, I actually was asked to read for the Beast. WHAT A HOOT! I took my role seriously and growled and paced and snarled my way through the audition. Frankly, although I was reading a rather scary part, it must have been a scream to see a rather heavy-set middle-aged woman stalking about, pretending to be a Beast. I walked out chuckling and laughing all the way to the dance audition.

Yup - I had to dance. You thought I was laughing before . . . The Choreographer, who happens to be one of DD's dance instructors, taught all 10 of us a short dance routine. After a few practice runs, we performed it in groups of 3 or 4 to music. The Assistant to the Choreographer is a good friend of ours and she had a twinkle in her eye as my turn to audition arrived. To make matters even more ludicrous, DD was in my line and she nailed the routine next to my bumbling attempts to step, together, step, touch, kick ball change, chaine' turn . . . The contrast between us must have been hilarious, especially when you notice how alike DD and I are facially.

While DD shined as the best (only) true dancer in our dance audition group, what encouraged her the most was to see me fumble my way through the dance audition. It gave her confidence that her rather timid vocal audition wasn't so poor after all, at least when you compare it to my total incompetence in dance. We talked extensively about the fact that there are few people who excel at all three disciplines. There will always be weak areas for most musical theater performers.

Out of 220 people who auditioned, they cast about 100 performers. So DD and I are very proud to have been included. And also a little humbled. I happened to know a few of the other people who auditioned and didn't get parts. I know that some of them are far better singers and actors than I am.

My best guess is that the Director and Producer liked my chuzpah. Or saw some comedic potential in my goofy portrayal of the Beast and dance abilities. Anyway, it should be a grand adventure.

Who knows, maybe my drama geek mojo is on the rise.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sewing Room Friday

Okay, folks! Hold onto your hats. Yet another opportunity for me to come clean (you'll note the irony of this phrase shortly, I'm sure) about my real life and personality.

In an effort to become more of a joiner and to find some external motivation to (a) clean up my sewing room and, (b) find the mojo necessary to finish up some quilting UFO's that have been languishing in the depths of my sewing lair, I've elected to participate in Sewing Room Friday, a little idea cooked up over at Wee Bit Wonky.

I promised to photograph my sewing room on Friday's, with no extra cleaning or preparation, beyond what takes place in the ordinary course of life. While I fully desired to get into the sewing room and set up my sewing machine and do a little quilting this week, that did not happen. I'm still hoping for a few hours this weekend to actually do some quilting but it remains to be seen if the dream actually does become a reality or not.

So, without further ado, here is the state of my sewing room, as of 6 am this morning.

You will notice that the sewing machine is not actually set up on the sewing table. Highly visible are some drips of a mystery substance down the face of the sewing machine cover. Best guess - coffee. Coned yarn, which has tumbled off the top of the table sits undisturbed on the floor and various bits of unidentified stuff appears on the edges of the photo.

Here is a shot of the current "Top of the Quilting UFO List," a master bedroom quilt I'm paper-piecing for my bedroom, sitting on my giant ironing surface. Also visible are signs that other crafters have been working in my little sewing corner. A bag of cheap craft felt and the case of embroidery thread were used by Dancing Diva for a school project. An empty cone that Peeps was using as a trumpet one day, along with a handmade bracelet made by the same 6 yo also adorn my ironing table, along with an unholy amount of clutter and junk.

This shameful shot is of the top of the actual sewing table. The crate contains Peeps' and Bubba's ragtime quilts and the stack of magazines are awaiting refiling on the bookshelf. The green fabric is a little outfit for Peeps that somehow got dumped out of the crate it was once neatly stacked in.

Obviously, I'm not looking for a miracle. I have little faith in my ability to reform myself in the neatness arena. I'm a Grade A, Certified (certifiable?) creative genius/talented artist/total slob.

But maybe if a few people mock me about my slovenly habits, maybe I can at least get this little corner cleaned up and reorganized.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Just for fun!

Your Vocabulary Score: A-

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.
How's Your Vocabulary?

Ran across this over at Ginger's blog. How do you rate?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Has anyone seen my knitting mojo?

I just don't know what is wrong with me. After all the years of dedicated knitting, I've suddenly lost my mojo. In the past, there have been dry spells in the sock knitting department or times when sweaters just couldn't seem to get my creative juices flowing. I've been obsessed with one pattern (remember the Christmas 2006 slipperfest - 13 pairs for Pete's sake) for weeks on ends. I've had periods with 3 to 4 pairs of socks on the needles at once.

While I still fawn over Dickinson and fondle the completed back on a regular basis, I can't seem to find the motivation to continue knitting up the front. The complexities of the Diamond Motif Sweater still has me intrigued and the back was finished a little while back and the front is on the needles, it's not enough to keep me settled in and knitting for any length of time. And don't even get me started about the Red Dwarf socks that have been on the needles since our vacation in August. Thrummed mittens pair #4 sit in the bag in the car, lost and alone, while the companion balaclava is wondering why it's been abandoned.

I don't know if it is the change in temperature in Minnesota or the gloomy, rainy weather that seems to dominate this time of year. Or could it be the frantic pace our lives seem to be racing along, with no sign of relief in the near future. Perhaps it is the percolating of the long lost quilting mojo attempting to re-assert it's dominance in my heart.

I'm not sure why my motivation has departed but if you happen to see a rather forlorn little knitting mojo wandering around the neighborhood, would you please send it home? I really miss it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

No FO's and Nothing New to Say

I've been wondering what on earth to blog about the past few days. While a little bit of knitting has happened, it is certainly nothing photo worthy, much less decent blog fodder, worthy of more than "still knitting on (fill in the blank) and (fill in the blank).

I perused some old projects, perhaps to reflect the removal from storage certain warm hand-knitted garments that have logged a significant amount of wearing time over the past few frigid days. But is it really fair to re-blog on long-finished objects?

Hmmm. Nope, I got nothin' new to say.

So, in the eventuality that I may experience such a post less situation, I've tucked away a few meme's I've seen floating through the blog sphere. Unfortunately, I've neglected to note on the memes where I found them. Thus, this one must remain anonymous for now. Anyway, here is . . .

The Name Game

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car),
Buddy Villager

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie),
Chocolate Chunky Peanut Butter

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name),
L. Moo

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal),
Celedon Cat

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born),
Dee Riverside

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first),

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink),
The Periwinkle Smoothie

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers),
Billy Alvin

9. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy),
Lemon Dark Chocolate

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ),
Ruth Alvin

And a few more…

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter),
Kruse Kalamazoo

12. SPY NAME/BOND GIRL: (your favorite season/holiday, flower).
Autumn Rose

13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)
Honey Crisp Sweatsie

14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree),
Cinnamon Cereal Sugar Maple

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”),
The Anything Fiber Arts Snowstorm Tour

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Thou shalt not covet . . .

Does that commandment apply to knitting magazines? 'Cause this little promo caught my eye and I have a serious case of the Jones . . . Guess I'll be stalking the LYS in the next couple weeks.

Now, for your knitting pleasure . . . Well, if you can call a poor photo in low light pleasurable. This incredibly amateur photo is of Dancing Diva's knitted hat, made from three colors of scraps from other mittens and hats.

Now that my yarn collection was getting pretty low, the striping on this hat had to be a bit more creative to make sure I had enough of each color left to finish. I did, but not by much.

Now I just have to finish the thrummed mittens for Hockeyboy and find some yarn to make a coordinating balaclava for him. Being a great outdoors man, he's been asking for something with a bit more coverage than a normal stocking cap.

And once the great winter wear marathon has come to an official end, then it will be the holiday gift knitting marathon season. Oy, my head is already spinning!

Maybe that new Holiday Knits magazine from IK will be just in time!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Another Monday

After last week, you'd better believe that I'm greeting this Monday with a bit more joy and significantly less blues than most Mondays seem to warrant.

The start of this weeks signals a return to a "regular" schedule. No more try outs, no more "first" anything, definitely more routine and regularity.

While we still have a few blips on our calendar, (Bubba is getting some teeth pulled, for orthodontic purposes; DancingDiva has extra rehearsals; I have an Awana convention on the weekend . . .) it's going to feel far more normal than usual.

Now, for the regularly (or not) scheduled knitting content of today's show blog. In the snippets of time over the past week, I knit a little here and knit a little there and worked up this little topper for Bubba. Again, the mitten leftovers and a full skein of a coordinating color were used to make a coordinating hat. The ability to get a little knitting done is another sign that life is returning to normal.

To celebrate a return to normalcy, I picked up a copy of Crazy Aunt Purls new book and read it over the weekend. Now, I'm not a literary critic, by any means. I'm generally not in agreement with most book reviewers. Books they hate, I love and vice versa. Same with movies - if it wins an Academy Award for best picture, I avoid it like the plague! And keep in mind that the book was read late at night, after an incredibly stressful week. And remember that most professional critics have the opposite opinion from mine and it's probably because I lack literary taste or something. All I'm saying is take what I say with a grain of salt and check the book out for yourself. You are more than welcome to disagree completely with my assessment because I have a history of being not quite in step with those in the know.

But I have to admit I was not as impressed with Laurie's book as I thought I would be. While I have perused her blog from time to time and enjoy her sense of humor, the book seemed like a bit too much of her writing style. It was as if she took some of her blog entries and edited out the extraneous material and distilled just the clever colloquialisms, sarcasm and wit into a book. Instead of those piquant touches of Southern charm and humor in the midst of her more down to earth writing, it became just too overwhelmingly "witty". It just seems to work too hard at being clever and humorous in every line.

I did like the progression of her personal development through the divorce and the symbolic use of the physical junk in her house to represent the emotional baggage she was shedding as she emerged from the depths of depression. Her stark honesty about the tremendous void she felt in her life was very poignant and compelling. While she showed her knitting hobby as a catalyst for change in her life, it wasn't over done and I think that makes this book more widely appealing than if she'd pushed the knitting further forward. A very smart balance, in my opinion.

Perhaps in a second, more deliberate read through, the subtle sense of her using humor as a shield and a weapon against the darkness will be a bit more evident and my perception of the over use of humor will be modified. I don't know. But for now, I was left just a little disappointed.

If I change my opinion on the second read through, I'll let you know. In the meantime, it's back to the Monday morning routine for me. Yay!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

(Sigh of relief)

It's been an eventful week around Chaos Central. Between hockey tryouts, homeschool coop classes, a fun tour of a pottery center, Awana, a high school football game cut short by a phone call about a puking child at home and the 13th birthday of a certain Dancing Diva, we're just a little pooped around here.

All I can say is I'm glad it's over!

On the homeschool coop front, it was the second class this semester for my Beginning Knitting class. I only have two students this go around, which is very fun and far less stressful that teaching the 6 to 8 I normally get. It was a real blast to help the girls finish their first projects (headbands) and exit the classroom, all wearing our latest creations. These two girls are exceptionally gifted with hand/eye coordination, so I predict that they are going to just take off in their skills by the end of the semester. So much fun!

We spend Thursday afternoon touring the Northern Clay Center. The two older girls are taking a clay class in our homeschool coop and this tour was part of the class package. It was a fascinating place and made me want to take a few classes in pottery making myself. Not that I need another hobby . . . but still, watching an expert throw a pot on the wheel - wheeee! Looks like so much fun.

Our night at Awana was a wild one this week. Our club has grown to over 50 kids in the Truth & Training age group alone. Because of this unprecedented number and space considerations, we've had to revamp our entire system. It is an adventure trying to make everything flow like it should and I'm in for a challenge the next few weeks.

Yes, I mentioned a certain landmark birthday this week. Dancing Diva is officially a teenager (though she's been acting like one for years). As part of her birthday celebration, she was invited by her BFF, who attends a local Lutheran school, to the homecoming/youth group activities at the Lutheran High School, with a sleep over at our house to follow. I was tagged to chaperon this particular outing, since my DH remembers his experiences at H.S. football games and was not reassured by the fact that this was a Christian H.S. Alas, 15 minutes into the first period, word came that Bubba was not well (to quote Hockeyman, "She's throwing up all over the house!!!!") A quick phone call to BFF's parents verified that they indeed didn't want her exposed to a stomach virus. This required a radical shift in plans resulting in a transfer of sleep over location to BFF's house and my somewhat dubious assignment to carpet cleaning duties at home. Ugggh! And it was shaping up to be an exciting football game, too. Oh, well . . .

Are you all on tender hooks by now? Is the thought, "But what about hockey tryouts?" running through your heads? Is the suspense just killing you?

Well . . .


Hockeyman made the B1 team!!!

The level of rejoicing in Chaos Central has been of epic proportions (much to the fluffy knitting companion's obvious alarm and disgust). While Hockeyman was shooting for the A team, after the trials and tribulations of a rather inconsistent try out, he's extremely thrilled to have made B1.

I suspect that the sound of snoring at Chaos Central tonight will alarm both Koda and the neighbors, for it has been pretty quiet around here the past few nights, what with all the sleeplessness around here.

Oh, and on the knitting front - well, there hasn't been too much of that going on. Go figure!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

New Hat for Peeps

It's a wacky week of wild ups and downs and lots of extra homeschooling stuff. So, I'll just check in for a quick post on the latest winter wear FO.

The leftover yarn from Peeps Thrum Mittens, mixed with one of the other colors of sale merino yarn, created a little coordinating hat. I cannot express how soft and NOT itchy this yarn happens to be. I can see many days of snowy enjoyment for Peeps with her new hat and thrummed mittens.

(BTW, no news on the hockey team placement yet. Try outs for Hockeyman are done but the teams won't be posted until late Saturday. Needless to say, it's a little hard knitting with crossed fingers but that's just the way it will be until the teams are announced.)