Sunday, April 29, 2007


I finally got the desktop running - I still have to call Dell because I can only boot from a floppy but the computer is at least useable. I just took a look at the Etsy shop on this monitor and I am definitely going to redo all of the pictures - I can't beleive how dark everything looks. No more editing pics on a screen with the brightness turned way up.

Same promises as always - more verbose post to come...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Drum roll please...

The Knitty Keen Etsy Shop is now open for business!

Right now there are only a few yarns, but I'll be adding more stock over the weekend.

A more verbose post is in the works, just not at 5am.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Michael-eye view

Michael got a hold of our digital camera the other day while John and I were still upstairs. Here is his artistic vision...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Well that was a mouthful

We just got the written report from Michael's IEP evaluation. It looks like we'll have no problem getting into the type of program that we want - not that we've looked at any of them yet.

After the evaluation, I felt great as I usually do. I felt like my concerns were really addresses and I got the validation that I so often need that I'm not blowing things out of proportion or seeing something that isn't there. Getting a written report outlining all of your child's deficits is an entirely different kettle of fish. I agree with *almost* all of it (the not showing distress when a parent leaves is a crock, because the huge meltdown and repeated requests for mommy that happened on Sunday when I went out with S blows that out of the water). While their observation of these deficits are going to get us the help we need, it feels like they completely gloss over what he can do.

I need more time to digest things before I can write coherently about it.

Dyeing to see it!

Yes, I'm going to work that pun for all it's worth. I finally got around to taking decent pics of the yarns I dyed last week. I'm planning on doing a few more this afternoon so I can get the store stocked this weekend. Here's what's come out of the dye pot...

100% Merino Wool, DK Weight
Kettle Dyed
I really like the way this one came out. It was supposed to be a Morning Glory colorway, but I had way too much water in the pot so everything blended so nicely. The yarn is so soft and it's hard not to stop petting it.

Morning Glory
100% Merino Wool, DK Weight
Kettle Dyed
This was my first attempt at recreating a color way. I like it, but not as much as my first morning glory skein so I'll be messing a bit more with this.

Rouge et Blanc
100% Peruvian Wool, Worsted Weight
Hand Painted
When in doubt for a color name, go with a different language. This was a, "Let's see what happens," skein. I painted 75% of it with a dark, rusty red and at the ends it eases into pink tones before the cream. I'm looking forward to doing variations of this with different colors to see how it turns out.

Tropical Garden
100% Peruvian Wool, Worsted Weight
Hand Painted
I love the way the colors move on this skein - from a bright green to orange, yellow, medium green, dark blue-green and back again. I haven't looked at any pictures, but in my mind's eye it reminds me of a Bird of Paradise flower, or at least what it should look like. This one's a keeper.

Wood Sorrel
100% Peruvian Wool, Worsted Weight
Hand Painted
This is my first attempt at mixing to make a specific colorway and I am very pleased with the results. I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show a while back and saw some purple wood sorrel and instantly fell in love with the colors. I'm planning on doing this colorway on some Merino/Silk fingering and some Peace Fleece tonight.

That's all for now folks, I have dyes to mix! Thanks for looking!

Cross-posted on Knitty Keen

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My time would be better spent...

...if I went upstairs and just reloaded the bios on our desktop rather than scrolling through a free fonts site to find the font I used for the Knitty Keen logos.

The motherboard came last Thursday and I decided to tackle it on Friday night. I've never done anything this complicated before and I am never doing it again - we will just go without until I can pay someone to do it. I thought everything was going well but again I couldn't get the video card seated properly and the new board didn't have an integrated one so I couldn't test it out. Our friend came over on Saturday morning to take a look at things and that is when we realized that I fucked up with the CPU. Thankfully, he was able to get the pins unbent and found out that our case was bent which was why the graphics card didn't fit in. Things seemed to be going smoothly but there seems to be a problem with the bios. he gave me instructions on what to so and if they don't work I have to call Dell. You can now see why I am dragging my feet about this. I HATE being the family IT person - it sucks. That is just the tip of the list 'cause I'm in a bit of a mood right now.

On other fronts, much dyeing has been done, The BSJ is just waiting to have ends woven in and buttons sewn on, and I am going a little more insane each passing day (well, maybe not that last part). A big crafts update is in the works. We have to call Elwynn tomorrow to find out what is going on with Michaels IEP evaluation and get on the ball with picking a school. We have to make the appointment with the developmental ped, genetics, and audiology to boot. I'm still not sure on the genetics appointment, but my stomach sinks a bit every time I read a thread about a metabolic disease causing a kid's problems and here I am a year and a half into it without ruling these things out.

I guess I'll go play with the desktop now...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Monday, April 09, 2007

Feeling the EZ love

I cast on again for EZ's Baby Surprise Jacket and it's really flying this time. I found two great resources for working the pattern. the first is an article on Knit Wiki all about the BSJ with great instructions on altering the pattern. The second is Baby Surprise Notes - which is a nice expansion on EZ's instructions.

I'm really starting to like EZ. Her patterns take a bit to get used to since that aren't written out, but once I got into the groove, I'm definitely feeling the love. I bought a copy of her Knitter's Almanac and I just ordered Knitting Without Tears. I have three skeins of Lion Cotton Ease that I am going to turn into either a BSJ jacket with a color for Michael or a Tom-ten. I may even break my own rule and knit up a BSJ for the planned for Baby #2's hope chest because it is that much fun to make.

So yes, S - you will be getting this on Sunday. I'll post picks later.

On other fronts, Michael is taking a lovely nap, one that he initiated himself. I am going to take advantage of this quiet to do some dyeing and of course work a bit more on the BSJ. On the decluttering front, I am tackling shoes and the back-bedroom closet. After Michael gets up, we are finally going to start my seedlings - I think he'll have a blast filling my little peat-pots with seed starter. I was planning on putting my pansies out front, but the nighttime temps are supposed to be in the mid 20's so it's another week before that can happen.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

This is what my child looked like this morning...

This is what he looks like now.
But wait, it gets better...

This is what the back of his head looks like. The only thing missing is a tonsure.

We are supposed to go to my mom's in a few hours for Easter dinner. I've already called and told her that I cut his hair and that it will look better in a few weeks. Truthfully, it doesn't look all that bad - I had the same haircut when I was 18. It's just not something you expect to see on an almost three year-old, it's freaky seeing the back of his skull. A fun bit of family trivia - when I had that haircut at 18, my mom refused to look at me for almost a week. I wonder what her reaction to her grandson sporting it will be?

All in all, he did beautifully. Not only did he put up with all the fussing, but he tolerated the electric trimmer which I really wasn't expecting.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

All Geeked Out

I wrapped the sandwiches I made for John's lunch in wax paper (and very nicely, if I do say so myself). I also talked to him about making lunch bags out of some cotton and PUL I have upstairs although that is just another project to add to the ever growing pile.

I'm going to do some more decluttering upstairs today - I'm plannning on at least 25 things.

I am so absurdly pleased with myself for wrapping the sandwiches in waxed paper.

Friday, April 06, 2007

My Most Humble Apologies

I was working up an Elegant Egg when I realized I made a glaring mistake in the pattern. I've fixed it and have uploaded a corrected version.

Cross Posted on Knitty Keen

MacGyver's got nothing on me

I picked up an inkjet printer at Staples this afternoon. Of course I had Michael in the stroller, already packed tight with groceries from BJ's. I ended up using my scarf and a couple of those plastic links to tie it to the back of the stroller. John couldn't even figure out how to untie it.

On a complete side note - I just overheard on the news that we are supposed to have SNOW tomorrow? I guess it's a good thing I haven't gotten my act together enough to put my pansies in the planter's out front yet.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

What a nice day

John was home today so I got to take the afternoon off, and a very much needed afternoon it was. I can't remember the last time I listened to one of my mixes on John's i-Pod with the volume cranked up almost to the point of being uncomfortable and just knit. I'm disappointed that I didn't make the trek up to Chestnut Hill to participate in the rally, but my mental health pretty much demanded that I do what I did this afternoon - besides the fact that I didn't get out the door until just before noon.

I've completely thrown myself into Easter knitting. I wasn't even planning on doing anything this year since I am not actively practicing my religion and I really object to the secularization of Easter. That mouthful out, Michael has been having a ball playing with the plastic eggs I got for sizing and the chicken egg covers so he'll be getting a basket after all. I'm very excited about these egg covers - they are just so cool. It's too late this year, but I'm planning on doing up a pattern for next year, most definitely for sale and trust me it will be worth it.

Here's my handy-work:

Chicken egg-cover, version 1.1

Chicken Egg-cover, version 1.1
Lions Brand Fisherman's Wool and Cascade 220
US Size 6 Needles

This is version two of the chicken egg cover. I worked it on size 6 needles instead of the insane 3mm ones. I also played around with the shaping and stitch counts.

Chicken egg-cover, version 1.2
Chicken Egg-cover, version 1.2
Malabrigo worsted-weight in Citrus and Manos
US Size 6 Needles

Chicken Egg-cover, version 1.2
Hand-dyed Fisherman’s Wool and Cascade 220
US Size 6 Needles

This is the third version of the egg-cover and the ones I'm most happy with. I changed the shaping in the body and I'm very pleased. I don't like the eyes on the Malabrigo one, I'm not sure if I'm anal enough to redo them - I seriously doubt Michael will care and at this point I don't think I really care. Oh, and yes, I freely admit I dropped the $11 on a skein of Malabrigo just for egg covers and knit eggs. The remainder of the skein will go into the hope chest - baby number two is going to have a lot of super-soft soakers (and maybe S's baby too if she's super nice).

Basket egg-cover
Basket egg-cover
Cascade 220 and Hand-dyed Fisherman's
US Size 6 Needles

I showed this to someone this afternoon and she could not stop talking about how cute it was. Personally, I'm all about the chickens, but this is way cute. I am very pleased with how it came out. I tried two new-to-me methods for doing applied i-cord and both are way easier than the way I've been doing it. I have another one on the needles right now with different colors and I'll probably be doing one up in the Malabrigo too since I'm looking for any excuse I can to use this stuff.

I'll be dyeing this weekend. The Etsy store won't be stocked for at least another week, but I'll probably be activating the link on my MDC signature to the Knitty Keen Blog so I can drum up some more interest.

Anyone reading this - if you knit and are interested in doing some testing, please drop me a line at knittykeen at gmail dot com. I'll be needing some patterns tested by the end of the month.

Off to bed...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Grumble, grumble, grumble

Aside from not having access to files that I need to get things going for the Knitty Keen Etsy shop, it turns out that I don't have the font I used for all of the graphics on this machine. The problem is that I have no idea if it's from a fonts CD or if it's one that I downloaded. Keeping my fingers crossed that it's on the CD - that will cut my work in half, otherwise I'm looking at some late nights recreating the graphics. I also just realized that I don't have access to a printer since our laser printer uses a paralell port and the laptop only has USB's. This could not have happened at a more inconvenient time.

Yes - I will back up my files from now on - I have learned my lesson.

Anyway, I'm hoping I can find the motherboard we need for the desktop on Friday so that machine will be up and working by the end of next week.

Just to let you know...

That I just uploaded a new pattern on Knitty Keen for the eggs pictured below. Take a look - you know you want to make them...

Elegant Eggs

Childbirth in America

Sarah wrote:

Interesting. I'd also be interested in learning the incidence of malpractice suits brought in Europe vs. America and whether there is a difference between how European and American women view, and seek treatment for, their own bodies.

I don't trust doctors implicitly but I think there are other factors ar work as well.

I agree with you. I think in general most of Europe views childbirth as a natural process and that many interventions that American's view as routine are things that are pulled out of the bag of tricks until they are truly needed. A lot of these interventions really do save lives - both moms and children. If you post something on a public message board decrying some part of a hospital birth you will instantly be bombarded with a slew of posts saying how intervention X saved the baby's or the mother's life. This is very true, but just as true is the fact that intervention X when used at the wrong point in labor can lead to intervention Y and Z which can easily end up as an emergency c-section.

I'd be interested in finding out about how American women measure up to Western European women in seeking and obtaining health care as well. Based on my limited knowledge, I'd like to think that Europeans are better health consumers simply because most of Europe does not seem to have the same hang-ups Americans have about women's bodies, i.e. the hyper-sexualiztion that exists in this country is not as rampant there. I would also think that malpractice isn't nearly the problem there that it is here because they have much stricter laws, which can be a good and a bad thing.

I think I'm going to withhold full judgement until I actually get a chance to see the film. The trailer smacks a bit too much of Michael Moore's Farenheit 911 for my comfort. While I agree that the message of Moore's film was important, it's a bit too close to propaganda for my taste. I'm hoping that the film will actually show the pros and cons of both the American and Europena model without resorting to turning the European model into a utopia of childbirth where the American model is next door to the Inquisition's torture chamber.

As an interesting side note, in the trailer they have several people talk about how much of a money maker childbirth is for American hospitals. There are extenuating circumstances due to out of control malpractice, but yet another Philadelphia area hospital looks like it's going to close it's maternity ward - Chestnut Hill Hospital. This is a very big blow because they provide OB back-up for many midwives who provide homebirths and a birth center in Huntingdon Valley. If you are local and reading this, there will be a rally and march on the hospital to show support for the maternity department tomorrow, Thursday April 5th. The group will be meeting at 11:30am in front of the Borders at 8701 Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill and walking up to the hospital. I'm going to try my hardest to be there.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Pom poms

just more ways to waste time. I made these with my Clover Pom-pom maker and it's so much fun.

Oh what a body will do... order to avoid what she really needs to do. In my defense, I have re-wound almost all of the yarn I'll be dyeing this week and after I do some cleaning in the kitchen, I'll be mixing some dyes from my stock solutions and get some kettle-dyes yarns done this evening. The truth of the matter is that I am more than a bit overwhelmed and I'm trying hard to break this down into manageable chunks. Now that that is out of the way, onto the pictures...

Chicken Egg Cover

This is a prototype for a knit egg cover for Easter. We all had these growing up made either by my mom or my grandmother. The originals were crocheted, but since I can design better in knit that's what I did. I'll be making version 1.1 this afternoon.


These were inspired by another free pattern on the web but I think there are enough differences between them and the inspiration that I can call them my own. I'll get this together as a quick and dirty download from Knitty Keen later today. Even though Easter is on Sunday, these are such a quick knit that you can easily have a half-dozen done by then.

Monday, April 02, 2007

More food for thought

I just saw this over at The Lactivist and it definitely resonates. I'll be back later for some thoughts.

Lots of stuff...

It looks like the mother board on our desk top is fried, so we are going to be without it for a week or two. I've been scrambling trying to recreate needed files and remembering what needs to get done, going a bit crazier in the process. I'm also feeling the crunch time with Knitty Keen. I bought a signature advertising package from MDC two weeks ago and I have yet to get the blog up to snuff or get my Etsy store stocked. I will definitely be putting the nose to the grindstone this week - I have a lot of yarn to dye (and wind into larger skeins, a skein winder is definitely on the agenda), patterns to write, and stitch markers and needles to make. Whew, I'm tired just writing it all out.

That said, here are some pics to make your day...
Michael Gardening...

and the contents from my Magic Yarn Ball

Be sure to check out Knitty Keen for some new pattern teasers!