Monday, July 13, 2009

Pictoral Proof...

...that summer is progressing apace.

After math of pitting 2 1/2 gallons of sour cherries from my friend Jennie's tree.

Aren't they gorgeous though? Went straight into the freezer to await their turn as pie.

Baby present. SO beautiful and drapey. 2 hanks of parakeet sock yarn from The March Hare.

More berry bounty! 3 gallons of strawberries met the same fate as the cherries. Add 5 quarts of rhubarb to the mix in the freezer and there a long tasty winter ahead of us!

...and the baby just keeps growing and growing and growing.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Summer break. 3 kids home full time. Soccer. Baseball. Swimming lessons. Unseasonable HOT-and-STEAMY-ness. Sprinkler. Kiddie pool. Constant demand for snacks. Library. TV ban.

That's pretty much the picture around here right now. I myself am variously sinking and swimming. It depends on the day. Or the minute. Or how long it's been since I've spoken with someone older than 8.

The garden:

The monkeys:

The water-loving puppy: (yes, I'm sure he's a bulldog...he's just a gangly, adolescent one.)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Home to heartbreak

Back from wonderful trip to Maryland Sheep and Wool with my wonderful friend JenniethePotter where we hooked up with more wonderful old friends Amy and Heather and I met even more wonderful new friends Gretchen and Aisha and Lara.

Wish I could wax rhapsodic about the trip, but a lot of the wonderful came to a crashing halt when my husband had to put our older dog to sleep after a bizarre and very rapid illness. (stomach acid in lungs = very, very bad.) And I was still in Maryland. Yeah. For those keeping track, this was bang on 1 year and 1 month after Willy had to be put down while we were vacationing as a family in Florida. Don't even know what to think about it all. Anger. Pain. Hurt. Huge vortex of all 3 surrounded by a cloud of SAD.

Oh sweet Emma. I miss you. Miss you. Miss you.

Monday, April 27, 2009

...yeah I know. But I'm here now!

OK, so there was yet another blogging black hole...but good reasons this time!

#1: My neighbor returned my copy of The Time Traveler's of my favorite books ever and one I had no clue I had loaned to her. Of course I immediately sat down and cracked it open. Proceeded to read ravenously until it was done. Oops.

#2: Sock Madness. Busy, busy, busy knitting.

#3: Gus.

Sun on ceramic = gooood in puppy land.

Emma has come to terms with him...but he still startles her at times.

Boy and dog.

Girl and dog.

Crocheter and dog.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Is there anything cuter?

I think not. Meet my newest baby.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Payin' it forward!

First, general commentary on what's been what with me lately:

Rabbit hole of the moment: The first round of Sock Madness 3 coinciding with 3 consecutive weeks of spring break for the small people.

Brag: I had another article published, this time in the Spring 2009 Interweave Crochet. This time around I had the extreme pleasure of profiling designer extraordinaire Julia Vancosin. Spastic joy of chatting up a multi-craftual, multi-lingual grown-up aside, this process also stretched some very underutilized brain matter and opened my eyes to some horizons toward which I was definitely not looking. Loved the process. Hope to do more.

Just Sayin': Spent the last 3 days with my oral-surgeon of a sister in Milwaukee. She had some enlarged lymph nodes removed from her neck. This is the 4th time she has had this done. I have some general thoughts for you. 1) If someone takes an unexpectedly large thing from your loved ones neck, upon telling you it is much larger than it looked on the MRI they should be able to tell you immediately whether or not it is cancerous. I know that is likely a hugely unreasonable stance. Just sayin'. 2) When someone has a big ass surgical incision in their neck you should take all precautions humanly possible to avoid their upchucking. Do not believe them when they contend that being queasy after surgery is normal...make them switch pain meds thus hopefully stopping all stomach unrest ASAP. The alternative is horrific to watch someone go through, much less almost passing out because that someone is someone you love terrbily. Sometimes being a righteous bitch is justified. Just sayin'. 3) Jing in Milwaukee's Historic 3rd Ward rocks the Chinese food world and their combo fried rice has magical healing powers. (Their Singapore noodles and crab rangoons, while not magical, are quite tasty.) Just sayin'.

World-view shattering realization: After 3 days in my sister's apartment with little to do but make sure she continued to breathe, provide a variety of fluids and document consumption of pain meds, I question the need for yarn when in the presence of Wii. The crazy obsessive joy of Wii-ing could have disastrous implications for my stash.

Hope on the horizon: Puppy. Stay tuned.

On to the fun and games!

[What follows is totally ganked from Heather's blog.]

The first five (cinq) (cinco) (5) people to respond to this post will get something made by me.
This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully:

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. (No refunds... no exchanges!!!!)
2. What I create will be just for you, with love from me.
3. It'll be done this year (2009).
4. I will not give you any clue what it's going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It may be weird or beautiful. I may even create something totally unbelievable and surprise you!! Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!
5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange...or awesome...or lovely...or offensive!
6. In return, all you need to do is post this text into a note/post of your own and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to it.
7. Send your mailing address if you don't live close to me! Feel free to email your mailing addy to crochetcompulsive at gmail dot com.

IMPORTANT: This offer is null and void if I do not see you post your own note to pay this forward...and believe me, I'll look. I don't have a real job and I get bored easily so I have all the time in the world to stalk your ass!

So. Who's playing?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Of sauce making and time flying

Today, I've a tale of sauce and socks.

So it's no secret that I've been a bit unsettled. A bit restless. A bit lost. The beginning of the year pretty much always does that to me. I always make big plans to start something new and shiny and fantastic...and my life always finds a way to shut it down. Or at least that's how it seems. Truth being that I have a way of convincing myself that if I can only get more organized, more regimented, more controlled I can somehow manage to be perfect. Lose the weight. Turn the house into Pottery Barn. Banish dust bunnies for all time. Perhaps master karate or re-master yoga. Pick up a PhD or 2. Be a Super Hero of a Mom and Rock Star volunteer, yet still have time for all of the yarn play, baking from scratch and obsessive reading I can handle.

Yeah right.

What life has a way of doing is bringing me back to reality. I have this regular, recurring date with facing my limitations in an often stark manner. And it always, always pisses me totally and completely off. Because somehow the propaganda gets me. I should be able to have it all. I should be able to do it all. And that's a lie. Life is compromise. Give and take. A series of trade-offs.

And for some reason I need an annual reminder. OK, perhaps bi-annual.

So that's where I've been.

Now, where do the sauce and socks come in?

The sauce is a sop. It's my grandmother's recipe. (or non-recipe really as the making of it was distilled into my synapses at a very early age) As is the lasagna. The Italian Wedding soup. Pasta i Fagioli. Garlic bread. Carbonara. Alfredo. The tiny fried dough balls drizzled in honey and topped with sprinkles. (they have a name I cannot recall...) The things I turn to when I'm down. Yes, for me self-love = serious cooking. (hence the need to lose the weight...) The results are spectacular and bring much praise. Making these dishes, I shine. And eventually that turns me around. The house may be a cluttered mish-mash, I may be well padded, things may fall through my mental cracks well more often that I am comfortable with...but I make some truly fine Italian nosh.

So, there's been a bit of cookery going down.

Now for the socks. The socks, they've been living in a quite dark corner for almost a year now, stuffed there to keep me from thinking of them...and the things bound to them. They were started for round 2 of Sock Madness last year. They're a quite ingenious and inventive pattern...fully reversable, exactly the same inside and out.

The pattern came out whilst we were in Florida on vacation last year, a fact I thought would most likely knock me out of play. Traveling with 3 kids under 7 generally does not translate to much free time. And I was right. I might have made it had not one of our dogs needed to be put down the day after we left. Talk about guilt. I was a wreck. My husband got deathly ill. We powered through the week, me pouring all of my stress into these socks so I could hold it together and take care of everyone when we were not in a place to fall apart. By the time we got home the kids were sick as well. Really, really, really sick. And I spent many late, sleepless nights surrounded by a huge void in my home and knocking off row after row of these socks. By the time they recovered, I of course got it and was sicker than I ever remember being. By the time it was all over, I couldn't even look at the socks without being overcome with yuck. So away they went. And I promptly forgot about them. Convienent, no?

Having decided to tackle Sock Madness again this year, a few weeks ago I started pulling things out - reclaiming needles, unearthing sock yarn. And I found the socks. And I cried. And cried. And totally freaked out the other dog by hugging her a bit too much and a bit too often. The grief I hadn't had time for last year had to play itself out, so I let it. And I started working on the socks again...and finished them. But I didn't want them. At all.

So, when my sister came to town last week I happily gifted them to her. They fit perfectly (as you can see above), better than they fit me actually. She loved them and claimed them as her own.

...and 4 hours later woke me with excrutiating abdominal pain. 7 hours in the ER on every narcotic known to mankind found her being admitted with a kidney stone and apparently intractible pain. 24 hours of that and she was home again. Fine.

Anyone know how to exorcise socks?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

mitts, mitts, mitts!

I knit 3 pair of fair isle fingerless mitts for holiday gifts. 2 for teacher gifts, 1 for my sister. Was running so last minute compounded with lifeless camera batteries led to a lack of documentation. I've only this in progress pair to show. Used 2 skeins of Noro Silk Garden Lite, so they were all very fraternal, but so very stunning. The pattern was Pam Allen's Fresco Fair Isle Mitts from Winter 2008 IK. There was enough left over for some mitts for m'self even. Who knew Noro could be so economical??? Frantic holiday knitting firmly behind me, I started a pair based on Julia Vaconsin's Basic Fingerless Mittens pattern on CrochetMe. As this was fingering vs. her aran weight, I fiddled with the maths a bit. Started with 10 more stitches then worked 3 more reps of the increase at the gusset. And I added stripes. LOVE. THEM.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Seven Deadly Spins SPOILER

If you don't want to know, don't go any further.

You have been warned. I mean it. The goodies are ahead.

Proceed at your own risk. Don't cry to me that your surprise went kaplooey because of this.

I have to show you, I have to show you, I have to show you!!!
This is by far my favorite kit so far.
Sivia Harding pattern. Luscious alpaca/merino/silk blend.
Are you GREEN? Like with ENVY?
The Seven Deadly Spins are almost over, but you can still catch The Six Kingdoms.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Warning: Existential crisis ahead

Quick update on me.

All of my New Year self-improvement gumption ran smack dab into 2 weeks of sick kids, traveling husband and budgetary angst. It was also pointed out to me that when #3 enters kindergarten in 2011 I will also be turning 40. Given, the last kid going off to school is one mighty nice present to be looking forward to, but whoa. That also means I will have dedicated a full decade to kids, cooking, laundry, cleaning and the like. All of my 30s. Gone. This is vastly different than the 2 kid plan that by now would have had me 2 solid years into re-deciding what I wanted to be now that I was all grown up.

So then my head blew up. I'm still picking up the pieces and hoping I can find a way to fit them back together.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Cabin Fever

It was supposed to be joyous mommy kids-back-to-school-week. Instead it was mutant roto-norwalk virus week. (or at least that's what the CDC tells me...) Here's the detrius:

It all started the second the big boy left the state on business of course. There has been much laundry, car upholstery scrubbing, not sleeping and soup making. A bit of a domestic marathon really. And my reward? The contents of this rumpled paper bag:

Yes, he took a tiny detour on his way home to get me my favorite ever burrito. Chorizo from La Bamba in Madison. Yum.

Stuck in a post-holiday house with sick 2nd grader and a traveling husband, what's a mom to do? SPIN apparently:

BFL dyed by Brair Rose Fibers. This is the second filling of my improvised plying bobbin contraption. Already have 3 ounces plied and skeined with more to go:

Hiding under it is freshly balled Handmaiden Sea Silk. My friend Amy is going to be in the state next week and I want to be knitting something she can touch and love. Off to disinfect the universe.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Images from the fray

Flashing back to the holiday crafting crazy for you.

I made 2 of Wooly Wormhead's Mystery Beret's (aka the Meret). Both done in rather on the bulky side handspun as I didn't have the requisite worsted. (and thus discovered I have a gaping hole in my yarn stash. seriously. I have little to no worsted!) I know it's not optimal for the lace, but hey I love them anyway. This is the one for my sister:

It's a wool blended with reclaimed sari silk from Lara at Green Apple Yarn. Sadly, Lara has moved from the glory of Saint Paul and doesn't appear to be selling her stuff right now. Is it something about Conneticut? Shame as she has a very locavore/natural dying bent I miss in the local offerings.

And this is mine:

Worked up in handspun from Aisha Celia. Lovely stuff. It's like a muted rainbow.