Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween, everybody!


What a difference this year has been from last, when I spent two months getting Gus's costume ready. That was kind of fun, but a little stressful. This year he wants to be Bart Simpson, which entails an orange t-shirt and blue shorts, which I'm sure he has someplace [please note too-casual attitude. This will come back to bite me later, I'm sure...]

I bought him yellow hair spray and yellow make-up, because Bart's hair and skin are yellow. I have my doubts about making his hair stand up straight, but I still have hairspray from last year's Beast Boy hairdo. I also bought him a cheap skateboard as a prop, which I showed him with very stern admonitions about it being a prop only. He agreed to this with big-eyed earnestness. About ten seconds later I heard a big crash from the dining room and bellowed, "What did I say about that skateboard?!!" Fortunately, neither he nor the dining room was any worse for wear.

10 am update:

Here's my wee jungle animal at school. This is the last year that each grade does its own costumes at school. How nice it is to let the teachers do all the work:

Here is his beloved teacher Sandy:

Matthew was thrilled that she had a Wakefield jersey; he felt that that was a particularly discerning choice. He loves ancient and still-effective Tim Wakefield.

10 pm:

Ahh - all the kerfluffle is over. Here's Gus, in all his yellow-skinned and not-quite-yellow [the hairspray came out green - what's up with that??]-haired glory, surveying the haul [he and his father must have covered a 16-square-mile radius]:

This was the lowest-maintenance Halloween costume in the history of Halloween. I didn't even have to fuss too much with his skin and hair because he was too impatient to go and didn't really care how he looked.

God bless low-maintenance boys.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Red Sox won the World Series! Not quite as epic as '04, but still satisfying for the two rabid Sox fans that live with me and also the one that teaches my son. In their honor, I present to you closer Jonathan Papelbon doing an Irish jig in his underwear and shower shoes after they won the pennant (I don't know if he did one last night, but I'm guessing yes.) The funniest thing about this (it makes me crack up every time I see it) is how SERIOUS his expression is.

The sad thing is that now The Dark Time has begun.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Putting a Dent in the Apples:

Those ding-dang Linvilla apples have been hanging over my head for weeks now and I wasn't having it anymore. I had collected many many recipes for apple-related items, but just didn't have the oomph to gather all the ingredients to make any of them. So, I figured I'd make something that didn't require any more ingredients! Applesauce!!

Here are many many many of the apples [please note you are looking at 50% of my kitchen counter space.] In my usual Dolt Genius fashion I realized after I was done that it would have been easier to peel the apples first and then core them. Ahhhhhhh......well, live and learn.

Then I threw them in a pot with some water and let them cook until they were soft. Then we unearthed the food mill that was a last-year's Christmas present to Matthew and had been gathering dust on a shelf for the last 10 months. I knew this was the recommended tool for making applesauce, but I had never used one before. Well, hallelujah and glory be! A food mill is exactly right for this!! Gus loved milling. [You are looking at the other 50% of counter space in my kitchen - that pull-out shelf.]

A dash of cinnamon from the Spice Master and:

Voila! The best applesauce I've ever tasted. I called one of my friends, all excited about my master chef skills and she said, dampeningly, "Oh, yeah, I don't even buy jarred applesauce anymore." Well.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Arghhhhh!!!!! #$%*(#% MOEBIUS:

2nd try (and boring sock progress shot):

I worked a half inch back and forth before I joined. Didn't want to keep twisting the same 216 ding-dang stitches over and over. This is Lisa Knits Cable Vest. I'm teaching a class in February. This is the sample.


My lavender buds from Labyrinth Hill arrived like the day after I ordered them. From Washington state. Yikes. Love that Etsy!! I stuffed the little heart and crocheted a chain hanger-thingy. It smells divine.

Here's what happened with Gus's wonky cable sweater. I dropped the stitches down to the wonky cable:


Then I re-twisted them and started picking the stitches back up. It involved knitting each ladder into the stitches,

then putting the worked stitches back on the left hand needle, so, and working the next ladder:

It was an interesting experience. I never tried anything like it before, and I must say it was not as difficult as I thought it would be. However, after all that I think the cable still looks wonky. Not as wonky, but still wonky.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Remember when I was having a tough time knitting something other than Momogus Knits stuff? Well, I got over that QUICK! Here's what I've been knitting lately:

Mitred Heart Sachet from Interweave Knits (in many iterations, though it struck my fancy from their daily email):

Leftover Koigu bits. This was the fussiest thing I've ever made - tiny mitred squares on #1 needles - and it was awesome! It was so much fun I'm going to teach a class on it at the Tangled Web in January. I wasn't quite sure where to get lavender bits to stuff it, but I tracked some down on etsy. [Don't get me started on etsy - that's a whole post unto itself!!] When it arrives I will stuff it and make a little I-cord hanger-thing.*

New sock:

This is Trekking in a nice orangey, pinky, browny colorway. 56 stitches on #2 (I should do 64 stitches on a #1, but I'm lazy), Magic Loop, Momogus Knits Toe-Up Sock pattern.**

Ruffle Scarf:

Be Sweet Mohair Boucle and Rowan KidSilk Haze, crocheted on a J hook, pattern memorized from who-knows-where. We joke at the Web that our motto is "Everything's Better With A Strand of KidSilk Haze!" And it's true. We throw it into any project we can. I've made a million of these over the last two or three years. This is one project that I prefer to crochet rather than knit because if you knit it you end up with 1200 stitches after all the increase rows and it takes three miserable days to bind off. This is a prospective holiday gift that I've been mulling over. I have to decide when it's done if it's worthy.***

Fingerless Gloves:

Dive Autumno yarn on #7 needles. This yarn is soft and wonderful to work with. These are a gift for a friend who's been helpful and nice. It's another Momogus Knits pattern, but like the socks it's a pattern that's been in my head forever so it doesn't really count.****

Finally, here is the sweater I started for Gus last week:

Do you notice the one wonky-looking cable right in the middle? I'm usually one to knit through all but the most egregious boo-boos, but that cable is really bothering me. Here's what I'm going to attempt to do: drop the cable stitches down to that bad cable, twist them correctly and then bring them back up. I think I saw that Yarn Harlot do this on her blog once, but it was so long ago I don't know how to find it. I think I understand the concept and I'm not that far along, so I'm just going to wing it. Stay tuned.

*yarn severed by kittens at one point of project.
**yarn severed by marauding kittens at one point of project
***yarn severed by not-so-cute-anymore kittens at one point of project
****yarn severed by &$%#(@*%^#@) kittens at one point of project
All my projects are now stored in plastic bags so that they remain intact. %^#&$*# kittens....

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Last week I went to Modell's and bought Gus a portable basketball hoop-thingy for the driveway. (The staff at the Willow Grove Modell's is sterling - really nice and helpful, btw). Anyway, when I took it out of the box, I couldn't find any of the hardware or directions or the net. After some phone calls with Modell's, Matthew finally discovered the hardware and the net stuffed up into one of the poles. Huh? Like, of course that's where I would think to look!

Well, that problem solved, Matthew and I went to work yesterday to put the thing together. Here is the box.

Please note the words "Easy To Assemble" and "No Tools Required". We discovered that directions were definitely in order and they were not included, so I called the number on the box and they said they'd email me the directions. Which they never did. Fortunately, Matthew found a pdf online and printed all THIRTY-SIX pages out. Easy to assemble, eh?

Also "No Tools Required" should apparently be amended to read "By No Tools Required We Mean No Tools Required Other Than a 36-Piece Socket Wrench Set and Pliers and a Measuring Tape and a Sawhorse and a Piece of Wood and a Mallet and a Second Person With the Strength of Hercules"

We finally got the whole ding-dang thing together and when Gus came home he was thrilled and insisted on playing even though he had just finished school and an hour and a half of school sports. So that made it worth it.

End of rant.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I get into a frenzy of posting and think, oh what a good blogger I am. And then I seem to rest on my laurels and get lazy and not post for a week.

In an effort to put a dent in the thousands of apples from last week's Linvilla expedition, I made an apple cake. Here's a picture, with what's left:

Good effort, eh? Well, the recipe for the cake called for two apples. Yep, that sure put a dent in all those apples!!! And of course, I felt like I had done such a monumental thing that I haven't attended to the apples since. [sense a pattern in my life here??]

On the knitting front, I've been finalizing a bunch of Momogus Knits patterns. I swore after they were all done I'd knit something UN-Momogus Knits-y, so of course I started this, a sweater for Gus:

Yeah, that would be the Momogus Knits Cabled Child's Pullover. Oh well. I'll start something else soon....

We chased a train this weekend.

Those are old Reading Railroad engines at the end of the train. They were supposed to be pulling the train in a spectacular photogenic matter, but they were broken, I guess. It was interesting to see all the foamers [nutso train watchers] gathered in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere.

It was a gorgeous day anyway. It seems like fall weather is finally here, though I see it's supposed to go up to 80 in a couple of days. No worries, though.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Gus had off from school yesterday, so along with his friend Sam and Sam's mom Sabina, we headed off to Linvilla Orchards in Media to do some fall apple-picking. What could be more autumnal? You'd think in mid-October that it would be a great fall activity, eh? Well, we had a great time, but as the temperature hovered around 90 degrees, it was a little on the Saharan side.

Here's Gus picking:

They picked for a while, and then discovered that windfalls are great for hurling.

After apple-picking, the boys decided they wanted to do the Corn Mazes:

We did the first (easy) one, and then they insisted that they wanted to do the second (difficult) one. It was hot as Hades in the Corn Maze and at one point Gus fell behind us. I had a teensy moment of panic and started calling, "Gus!" No answer. "Gus!" No answer. (panic rising) "Gus, where are you???!!" Finally, from far away came his little voice, morose and sepulchral: "I'm digging my own grave...."

BWA HA HA HA HA HA!!! I found him sprawled out on the ground, whining about how hot he was. After being urged on by good sport Sam, he did eventually finish up. Here he is, triumphant and done:

Now, what to do with 20 pounds of apples????

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Friday, October 05, 2007

Apparently, the Phillies can lose without me messing with their mojo. So I'm going all out today. Here is what's on my car now:

Here is what I'm wearing to work:

Cross yer fingers!

I added the extra 2" of ribbing to Gus's Hoody, so it fits him in a cool way now, but when he tried it on I noticed he was trying to put his hands in the (non-existent) pockets. So I said, hey, I'm going to add some pockets for you! Because I can! I think!

I picked up stitches along the top of the ribbing from the side seam to the front border. Then I started knitting, decreasing on every row just inside the garter stitch border on the outside edge. I wasn't sure if it was going to work or not, but it did. At the end I sorta kinda grafted one stitch from the Hoody to a live stitch from the needle. I'm actually not quite sure what you would call it, but it worked. Here it is with one pocket done:

Please send some Phillies-specific good vibes out to Colorado tonight.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

First of all, let me apologize to all my fellow Phillies fans. This:

is the reason the Phillies lost yesterday. I had this magnet in the trunk of my car, where I had tossed it at some point this season when I was juggling things [car magnets, caps, flags, neighbor's car, etc] to improve the Phillies' mojo. I thought I would show my support for the team by putting it on my car on Monday and then take it off on Wednesday before the game because I didn't want to mess with the mojo. But of course I forgot to take it off. And they lost. I have removed it, and if they lose today it is on their heads, not mine. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

Remember Gus's Hoody Vest that I thought was too short? Well, I decided that I definitely wanted to make it longer.

For those of you out there that are unaware of this technique - read on! This hoody was knit from the bottom up, so in order to make it longer, I need to cut it, unravel to a clean (stockinette) row, put the stitches back on a needle and then do the ribbing back down again. Unlike top-down garments, you can't undo the bottom edge and keep going. For one thing, it is incredibly fussy and time-consuming to undo a cast-on edge, and for another thing there is a definite demarcation line because your stitches are going in the other direction. So if you unravel, as I did, it's advisable to start ribbing or a different stitch pattern from the stockinette of the body so your eye will be fooled. So here's what I did.

I cut the ribbing as close to the cast-on edge as I could.

You want to cut well below where you want to begin again, because it takes a couple of rows to get a completely clean, without-cut-bits, row.

I unraveled back to the stockinette (note pile of cut-up bits):

I put the stitches back on a needle (note gin and tonic at hand to fortify nerves if necessary):

I worked 2" of ribbing (which added an inch to the length, which was what I wanted) and bound off again.

Though it seems crazy and scary and nerve-wracking to cut your knitting like this, it's actually fun and not hard once you know what you have to do. It works for too-short sleeves too. Plus you feel like a certified Brilliant Super-Genius!

Monday, October 01, 2007

I finished these Momogus Knits Fingerless Gloves the other day, for dear 16-yr-old next-door neighbor, Cara, who handfed the week-old Smokee-less kittens until foster families could be found for them.

She's a great kid. I wish I could pay her college tuition.

In other knitting news, I started this.....Oh wait, who am I kidding? WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO