Sunday, March 25, 2012

Return of the Blogger



I got an email the other day from the nice people at Handwoven. They have some sort of online groupie thing and they send me helpful emails now and then (if by "now and then" you understand me to mean "with never-ending persistence") full of lovely product ads and clever hints for effective loom use which usually involve buying more products. The most recent one--which I did not delete unopened upon receipt--had to do with proper loom maintenance. I have a second-hand loom that was first assembled in the mid-eighties, so I figure loom maintenance is something I might want to pay attention to. Eventually. So I get the email, and as I'm looking at it and wondering whether my loom is properly maintained, I happen to casually glance at my loom and notice that it is, in fact, not being properly maintained at all.

Here was my first clue:

Can you see it? Take a close look at the bolt at the top center of the picture. Notice anything missing? I did. The bolt is missing the wing-nut that keeps this part of the loom from disassembling itself during use. Oops, wait a second. The bolt at the center left of the picture is missing its nut too.

How unexpected. A closer inspection is called for, I think. So I inspect more closely, and instead of finding that a few nuts have worked their way loose and fallen on the floor, I find this state of affairs on the other side:

and this on both ends of the reed:

Altogether, I am missing 8 nuts and half a dozen washers. This is when it occurs to me that this is not question of maintenance, but out and out sabotage.

Being a suspicious person, the only thing I can think of is that someone (and I think I know who, based on age, emotional development, and recent practices) has expressed his dissatisfaction with my parenting practices by engaging in low down dirty behavior. But I don't want to jump to conclusions, so I compile my list of possible suspects (my children and my cleaning lady, although I can't imagine why the cleaning lady would have run away with my loom hardware) and begin to ask questions.

No one will admit to anything. All (except the cleaning lady, since I didn't bother to question her) adopt expressions of wide-eyed innocence and proclaim their utter lack of familiarity with any missing loom parts. So El Husbando decides to help out, but his questioning, although less openly accusatory, yields no better results than mine. The good cop/bad cop bit has failed us. The incident is progressing from amusingly bizarre to thoroughly annoying and it's time to go hard core. I decide to employ Guilt. While the children are seated at the table enjoying the nutritious and satisfying meal I have prepared, I let loose with a torrent of commentary about how I cook and clean and drive them places and read them stories and all I get in return is betrayal in the form of craft vandalism and it makes me feel just terrible. With the emotional groundwork in place, El Husbando adds the final touch by offering a general amnesty. Just to make sure everyone understands the terms, he states very clearly that we know that someone is lying to us, we believe we know who the culprit is, but we are offering this one golden opportunity for the guilty party to remedy the situation by anonymously returning the stolen goods to El Husbando's desk.

Five minutes later, a child whose name has been changed to Thorbert Smedley as a punishment demonstrates his complete lack of understanding of the term 'anonymously' when he returns to the kitchen with a sheepish smile on his face and assures us that the hardware in question is now sitting on EH's desk. He took it and he is very sorry to have inconvenienced me.

Now that he has confessed, I just have to ask him why he did it. Was he mad at me?

"No," he says. "You know that woodworking thing I wanted to start? Well, I just kind of thought that these might be . . . you know . . . useful."

Flabbergasted as I am by his meandering logic, I suppose I have to agree. "Useful?" I want to scream at him. "Of course they're useful. You can tell, because I WAS ALREADY USING THEM!"


Did I post this already? I can't remember and I'm too lazy to check. This is Matty's new sweater.

The pattern is Abernathy and the yarn was Berocco Vintage, although I goofed by ordering worsted when the project called for DK. Extra silly, because Vintage comes in DK, so there was no need to use the wrong yarn. No biggie, though. The sweater is written in sizes mostly related to the toddler set, and I wanted to make a sweater for Matty that would last through next year if possible. So, with my fatter yarn, I was able to follow a size 6 pattern and get what should mostly be a size 8 sweater. I put a little extra length in the sleeves and body and the result is something long and skinny, kind of like Matty. Who now insists that he be called Matthew, by the way, even by his Mommy.

In other craft news, I have been continuing with my knitting schedule. Did I mention this? In December I got all organize-y and made a list of a whole bunch of projects I wanted to do and then divided them up into portions that could, in an ideal world, be completed each month. I met my January and February goals with no problems, but this is not an ideal world and March is proof of that. I was supposed to have finished Isa's socks, knit a colorwork chullo from a kit, and knit a skein's worth of yarn on my Ugly Afghan. I did the afghan at the beginning of the month and I'm almost to the heel turn on the second sock, but there is no way I'm going to get that hat done before Saturday, and at least one of my April projects is time sensitive, so I can't use April to catch up on March's leftovers. Ah, well. I'm still pleased with my progress, and even more pleased that only one of the projects planned for this year will call for the purchase of additional yarn. Yay me.

Winter here, like so many other places, was unusually warm and snow free. We were a little freaked by this, but we've decided to just accept the weather weirdness and get on with life. All the sunshine and warm temps, though, have got us thinking garden and here is the result of all that summery thinking:

Three whole trays of seeds planted, and it's only March 24. We've started a gardening notebook too. Nate helped, since he is my sous-gardener. This is monumental progress for us. Last year we never got farther than bringing the seed starting trays in from the garage. They sat on the laundry room counter for 8 weeks, until we decided we probably weren't going to start our own seeds and put them back where they came from. Most of the stuff we started today should be ready for planting in mid to late May, although we are experimenting with lettuces too, so we'll have to dig the new garden (we plan to put blueberries in the old garden, which won't work too well if we've already got it planted full of other stuff) in the next few weeks. This is, of course, a terrible plan, doomed to failure from its inception. As payback for the mild winter, I'm sure we'll get six feet of snow in April, especially as I've been indiscreet enough to start gardening, but there you have it. We're also hoping to put some fruit trees in, but let's not get carried away.

And that's about all for today. There's actually a whole bunch of other stuff to catch up on, but I've been plugging away at this post for far too long and I'd like to go knit now since I have come to loathe the evil green socks and the only way I can be free of them is to finish them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Just In Case You Were Wondering

I have not evaporated.  I am still here, but my month of vacation is now being followed by four months of a whole lot of work.  I thought I might post a lot during vacation, but it turns out that there are only so many times you can write "I sat on the couch and knit while watching Doctor Who/Downton Abbey/Doc Martin" before you start to feel one-dimensional, so I gave it a miss.  Then I thought I might post once vacation was over and I started doing things again, but that didn't work out either.  First I got sick, which wasn't worth writing about at all.  Then on the other days my butt has hurt so much from spending the day at my computer (working, for once) that I couldn't stand to stay here one minute longer than was strictly necessary.  Also, there's still that pesky dinner thing everyone seems to want every damn day.  No escape today, either.  It's 7:22 p.m., and if I don't get cooking soon then everyone will end up eating crackers for dinner, which would make me look like a bad parent.  And I would hate for everyone to miss Taco Tuesday.  Off we go!