Thursday, February 26, 2009

Knitting with Cotton

When I first started knitting, I was pregnant with my first child (19 years ago). I thought it would be nice to knit a baby blanket. I had grown up with a grandmother and a father (yes, that's right, a father) who crocheted. Since I was born in the last half of the 1960s, I was a young child in the 70s. Who remembers ponchos? Macrame? Crocheted bikinis? Daisy afghans? (Still have that one, by the way.) I had this large swing that was made out of macrame and had a homemade clown sitting on it. It hung from the ceiling in the corner of my room on my sister's side. Now, who remembers the movie Poltergeist? Are you following me here? Never in the history of the world has a clown been removed from a child's bedroom faster. I still have nightmares.

Anyhoo, where was I? Oh yes, so because I grew up around crocheting, I didn't particularly like the look of the baby blanket if it was crocheted. To me (in my ultimate 20ish wisdom) knitting looked so much more professional. We had, at that time, gotten through the craft era of the 70's, through the fashion atrocities of the 80's (enough said on that era) and were just squeeking into the 90's when this thought occurred to me. I want to KNIT! I headed off to the nearest craft store and bought a book on knitting along with some yarn. Initially I got stuck and sheepishly walked into a yarn store in Southern California. The wonderful clerks helped me and I was on my way. How was the blanket? Don't know. Never finished it. In fact, I didn't pick up needles again until about 2 years ago. This was after we moved to Utah and I was experiencing my first winter when I realized that reading books (or watching TV) whilst stuffing one's face whilst watching the snow fall outside was not terribly healthy. People don't get depressed because of the winter, they get depressed because in the spring they step on the scale and see the results of all the noshing! I never packed on the freshman 15, I packed on the Utah 20!

Needless to say, I was such a novice back then about this whole knitting thing. I was satisfied with any old yarn and if the project looked reasonably simple and elegant, I was game. It wasn't until I found this Filtura Di Crosa Baby pom pom yarn by Tahki that I started to realize that yarn really mattered when it came to one's projects. This was the crossroads of my knitting existence. And I crossed over, I mean I really crossed over. Living on the planet Yarn Obsession is fun! Stash is a blast! Have you seen the Kleenex commercial where the woman touches everything, until she gets to the tissue and suddenly .... it's FEEEEEEL. Oh yes, the feel of the yarn is essential. It makes you excited to see the final project.

However, knitting with cotton is something different. If you don't have a consistent tension, it ends up looking all wompy (or is it wonky?). I know that's not a Webster's word, but you know what I mean. Here is an example of my first attempt to knit with cotton. Truly humiliating. But, I have finally gotten the hang of it, and yesterday I finished the Gumdrop Sweater for my next door neighbor's little girl. Here it is. I will post pictures of her in it, though. I promise. So since spring and summer are just around the corner, pick up some cotton, or maybe some bamboo/cotton mix. There is so much out there, I just don't have enough time to see it all! And ladies .... use good yarn. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chewy The Bulldog

For Christmas my husband bought a six month old, English Bulldog. He is the cutest ugly dog you've ever seen. (See photo. Am I right?) Now, when you go to name a dog, you either go with a name that fits, or something a little ironic, right? For instance, we had a teeny, tiny little yorkie mix that we named "Duke". Whenever I hear that name, it reminds me of the cartoon "Marmaduke", you know the big huge Great Dane. Well, my husband and the kids and I debated over names for this bulldog. We all wanted one that fit. The original breeder had named him Scooterbug. What!?!?!? You have got to be kidding! I wanted Bubba or some name like that. Well, Chewy stuck. My husband says if we are Hispanic, we need a dog with a Hispanic name. But, truth be told, it really is short for Chewbacca, that "thing" from Star Wars.

Now that we've had him for a while, I have come up with a few other names, that I think might have been more appropriate. How about Stinky, or maybe Smelly, or Snort, Snore, or Fartboy! Although I have never loved a dog more, let me tell you, he can clear a room in 5 seconds or less! And, mind you, this is not an occasional problem, it is a regular and reoccurring nightmare! I believe that whoever can come up with the technology that will allow us to have "smell-o-vision" will be the wealthiest man in the world. Then, maybe, you would understand. Words cannot express the pungency of this dog's bowel odor. Let's just say that sometimes I think my hair will melt. I plug my nose, but then I'm afraid to breathe through my mouth, for fear of tasting it.

But, how does Chewy, relate to knitting? He doesn't, really, except that he spends every waking hour of his life following me around. He even sleeps (snores) at my feet while I am on the computer, or knitting in my favorite chair. Did I tell you he even has flatulence in his sleep? Oh, yes, one more thing ... he LOVES my yarn. I catch him with it in his mouth all the time. If I step away and leave my project on the chair, I will come back and he will have it in his mouth, "gumming" it to death. Do you know what it's like to knit a project with wet, and sometimes slimy, yarn? Uggggghhh!!! Well, lucky for him, he's cute. So I guess I'll keep him.

Knitting with Tom Brady

"Excuse me? Did I hear you right?" you are saying. And, my dear readers, the answer is a resounding "Yes!" I was knitting with Tom Brady - THE Tom Brady. You know, that dashingly handsome man on the football field and magazine covers. But, how is this possible? Not only did it happen, but, may I add that I was knitting, too! Do I have you salivating for the details? Well ... let me tell you ...

In October I took a trip to California with my four children. We stayed in a cute little house in Venice Beach. Tom had just had the surgery for his knee (for all you football fans, you remember he got hurt the first game of the season and the injury took him out for the rest of the season). Anyhoo, my husband is his ... umm ... well, for lack of a better word ... therapist. He was working with Tom and the surgeon on his rehab. So, I went along with my husband to the house where he was recovering, and climbed up on the bed to look at some architectural renderings on the house he's building. At the time I was knitting that sweater you see on the "Projects" post, below, and I was showing it to him. He had my husband pull a hat out of his closet, to show me his favorite one. I told him I would knit him a hat for next winter. It will be something out of cashmere & wool with a strand of mohair to go with it. SOFT!!!

So before we left, I had to help my husband position pillows, prop up Tommy's knee and tuck him in for the night. And that, my dear and faithful readers, is how I ended up knitting with Tom Brady.