Friday, June 24, 2016

Homemade Friday: Cicely Shawl

Oh man. These may be some of the worst photos I've taken of myself, and I've taken a lot. (How can I share everything I make with the world without taking selfies?!) (I have a hate/tolerate relationship with taking photos of myself. It's a never-ending sort-of crises.)

Anyway. Sick. I'm so sick. I'm so sick I keep forgetting to drink my coffee because my head is too clogged up so there's not enough room for things like 'thinking.' I have a sinus infection, but am stubbornly refusing to go to the doctor because only wusses go to the doctor, plus I am home all day with my kids and they're only barely tolerable when I'm sick because I have zero energy to do anything other than the basic care, and taking them with me to the doctor sounds like a particularly Ramsey-esque form of torture. (That means super awful, in case you don't watch Game of Thrones.)

I've been self-medicating with a thyme syrup my sister helped me make, and echinacea she also helped me make and it's easing my symptoms. Although I'm almost ready to resort to the greatest medicine of all - a hot toddy. Because even if it doesn't help you feel better, the bourbon buzz means you don't care.

But you didn't come here to listen to me talk about being sick. All of that was just to give you an excuse for why I look so awful in these photos. It's because I'm too sick to try to make them any better.

I started this sweater months and months ago. It's from Taproot, which is one of my favorite magazines. Actually it's the only magazine I read - no advertisements, lots of handwork ideas and fascinating stories. I'd been wanting a shawl, probably because I've been watching too much Outlander:

It just seems cozy and practical. Shoulders covered, arms free. And I wanted something not too frilly and lacy, though I love both of those things normally. The Cicely Shawl pattern worked.

I don't make a lot of shawls, in fact it's been more than 10 years since I made a triangle one. So I didn't fully understand the mechanics of them. With this particular pattern the bottom edge is knit first, then stitches are picked up around the edges and the triangle is formed through a series of decreases.

I got bored really early, but it should have been enough to keep me going. The pattern was interesting. I dunno. Didn't want to do it. Which probably directly resulted in the fact that I made it too small. I wanted a large shawl that I could wrap around myself. I didn't get that.

As I knit the edge, I held it up and realized that it was ridiculously long already, way before I got to the number of repeats needed for the size I wanted. I just assumed my gauge was off, because it's always off, but not usually quite as bad as that. So I figured if I made the smaller size, with my larger gauge it would be the right size.

Here is where people who make shawls regularly are laughing at me, because I was so very wrong. I didn't take into account that the edge was going to become a triangle, not a straight line. So even though it actually was seemingly long enough for me, once it became a shawl it wouldn't be. (Does this make any sense? If not, see above paragraph about being sick.)

Even after I realized my mistake, I knew that I wasn't going to rip it all back and redo it, because that would take too much time. I'd just deal with it, then make another shawl at a later date.

I did much of the knitting for this on our trip to Savannah. The first day of driving was looooonnngg and this kept me entertained. (How do people who don't do handwork handle long car rides? I can't stand to just sit there and do nothing!)

Chris bought me this for Christmas a few years ago. It doesn't get used nearly enough.

I finished it right before we got to our hotel, then blocked it once we were back from vacation. I've worn it every day since, even for just a little bit in the morning. It's ridiculously hot in Kentucky this time of year, but once the air kicks on in the morning the house gets chilly. Normal people would just turn the air off, but I like to pretend that it's almost fall and that it's not going to be hot as balls outside.

The shawl ended up being not quite what I wanted, but still pretty and functional. Plus I can always give it to Adele when I make myself a new one.

Pattern: Cicely Shawl, from Taproot Issue 15: Folk.
Yarn: Knit Picks Galileo in Pearl

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Motherhood & More: Trip allows time to recapture the old, discover the new*

As parents, many times we put our lives on hold to make sure our children have everything they need. They always are fed first or clothed first. Their needs always are met before anyone else’s.

But sometimes, we have to do things for ourselves.

In the spirit of that, my husband and I took a trip — a no-kids, only-have-to-worry-about what-we-want, no-complaining-allowed trip. And it was glorious.

We have been married for 10 years this past April — a long time, right? And in that entire time, we’ve never had a trip together that lasted longer than a day or two. We actually never had a honeymoon because of work commitments.
So we were long overdue. I actually wasn’t convinced we’d really get to go until we were more than half way to our destination. I am an optimist at heart, obviously.

But go we did. We went to Savannah, then Tybee Island in Georgia. It was hot and muggy and gorgeous and fantastic. We had actual conversations that weren’t interrupted by arguing children in need of a referee. We ate in restaurants without having to make sure there was a kids’ menu, because heaven forbid they eat something other than a burger or chicken nuggets.

We drank grown-up drinks at 3 in the afternoon.

We were together. Just us.

I took three midday naps.

I remembered what it was like to spend days with just my husband and we were able to be us again, not Mama and Daddy.

I walked miles each day without listening to one person with tiny legs complain about their feet.

I didn’t have to brush anyone’s hair but mine, or help anyone dress, or argue about the importance of clean underwear.

I didn’t have to follow a tiny tyrant’s schedule that includes more than frequent bathroom breaks.

And yet.

I didn’t get to show the kids the ocean or force them to try new foods under threat of lost screen time. I didn’t get to swim with them or people watch with them or stay in a hotel with them, which obviously is the best part of any trip away from home.

I didn’t get to stay up too late with them, watching a movie they probably shouldn’t be watching or share the history of a gorgeous old town.

I think it’s good for our kids to see us as separate from them, not just Mama and Daddy, or “The Ones Who Make Us Do Things We Don’t Want To Do.”

They need to see us as who we are as individuals, who we were before them. But it’s hard when you can’t quite remember who that is. Taking a few days to just be me, to just be us, let me have a bit of that back. And I was able to see how different of a person I am now, eight years later.

And maybe it let my kids miss me a bit and appreciate me just a little bit more.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on June 22, 2016.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Nobody steal my True Detective romantic comedy idea

So I had this dream last night.

I know, I know. Dreams are ultimate blog no-nos (though really, why? Brains are all kinds of messed up and it's neat to see what they come up with when we're not looking.)

Dream blog posts after a loooooooooong blogging absence are especially bad I'm told.*

But I can't help it. I have to share. I've been dosing myself with expired codeine cough syrup on account of all the coughing I do once I try to sleep. And by 'dosing' I mean following the directions specifically because I am terrified of imaginary authority figures who already are disappointed at me for using expired cough syrup.

I don't think the cough syrup is responsible for my dream, but it might be, is what I'm saying.

The dream was a cross between The Mindy Project and True Detective, which as an obvious path to travel if you're my subconscious on cough syrup.

I wasn't actually involved in the story, just watching like it was a television show, which means maybe I watch too much tv? (I don't. I really don't. I wish I had more time because there are entirely too many shows I want to watch. Outlander, Orphan Black I'm looking at you.)

So Mindy was dating Colin Farrell - who was a tough, sort-of-dirty cop but really wanted to be a good guy (maybe like the character he played in True Detective - the season with all the characters whose names I couldn't remember.)

The porn 'stache of my dreams, apparently.
Colin killed a really bad guy who had zero chance of being arrested (kinda like Dexter, but in a less creepy, serial killer way.) After killing said bad guy, he took a ring from him, then went to Mindy and asked her to marry him using the ring. She said yes and was super thrilled because FINALLY HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

The next morning cops showed up, asking about the dead guy. Colin was all set to get away with killing him, but Mindy started talking about how awesome Colin was, and how he'd just proposed. She showed them the ring. They arrested Colin. And it was very noir-like and dramatic, but also still silly because ROMANTIC COMEDY. Mindy is just so unlucky in love! Haha! Something is always in the way of her finding true love! Total slapstick, amirite?

So maybe the cough syrup worked? I mean, I still coughed but was distracted by the dream. So maybe it's a metaphysical remedy?

In other news, here's a picture of me wearing red lipstick.

I took some photos of myself (the cool people call those 'selfies') because I was procrastinating on my to-do list. Who wants to write web site copy when you can take a fake-smiling photo of yourself sans all makeup but bright red lipstick? (Me. I do. It's a fantastic job that I want to keep.) Plus it was new lipstick and I couldn't tell if I liked it or not.

I do like it. The end.

(I apologize for this post. I have no excuse.)

*Google told me one time.