Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hexipuffing Without Fear

Last night was craft night. But all my yarn was in the freezer. I debated pulling out a skein of sock yarn that I was relatively certain was clean, and starting the mate to a sock I found buried in my project bag during my house-wide wool inspection. But it felt like a risk move. 

Luckily a friend came to the rescue. Her sister-in-law entered the cloister recently, leaving behind an entire room full of yarn, beautiful lace shawls, and knitted monsters. The boys and I went over to visit, and I left with my arms full of yarn.

Isn't that beautiful sight? I also filled a large basket! 

I still miss my yarn, and am sad at the thought of losing part of it. But I'm very grateful for this generosity, and the timing was such a blessing. 

There were also a few hexipuffs in the box. I adopted them. :)

Anyway, right now that box is in a plastic storage bin with cedar blocks for company. I took some out for craft night last night, stuffed it and my hexipuff materials into a Ziploc bag, and whipped up a few puffs of my own. The Ziploc is maybe paranoia. Better safe than sorry, right?

I think I am okay with knitting in my own house now. Maybe. As long as the yarn never leaves my lap. 

I am thinking, though, that this yarn will not all be devoted to hexipuffs. The colors all together are a lovely sight, and there is so much of some of them ... maybe a pair of stripey, scrappy knee socks? Wouldn't that be fun?

Friday, October 10, 2014


Unfortunately I think I can say we have a moth infestation. I found eggs in some of my stash, larvae cases on a shawl, more cases and holes in some sweaters.

I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed right now. All of my yarn is in the freezer. Sweaters are going to be going to my mom's freezer. I'm going to have to take a trip to the laundromat and clean out my closet (which is where Gregory naps) very thoroughly, and will be steaming all handknits in the microwave. And vacuuming very thoroughly.

Typing it all out like that makes it sound somewhat doable, right?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

And we're under attack ...

What would be the opposite of a yarn along post? Probably something like this.

That's my husband's scarf that I didn't finish in time for Christmas last year. It's been sitting at the bottom of the basket for months. During naptime this afternoon, I pulled it out and put it back on the needles. I found my place on the chart. I turned on my podcast. I knit a row. I shook the whole thing out onto the couch beside me.

A piece of the end came off in my hand.

I blinked. I held it up. I saw holes. I saw ... mealy stuff. Maybe that milk I'd spilled on it and wiped off--not super thoroughly--shortly before I set the thing aside for the summer?

A worm poked its head out at me. The same shade of blue as the yarn. The beautiful Brooklyn Tweed yarn.

I dropped the scarf. Jumped off the couch. Maybe indulged in a little shriek before venting my horror on Facebook. 

Slowly I did what I needed to, working up the courage for each step. Shoved all the yarn in the basket into the freezer; wait five minutes. Take out all the papers that were in the basket and throw them out in a ziploc bag; wait five minutes. Shove the scarf into a plastic bag and then into the freezer. Wait again. Examine the basket, notice moth bodies in the bottom, set it outside to deal with later. Vacuum, put the vacuum bag into a ziploc and throw it out. 

I vacillated about the scarf itself. The actual damage was all within the first foot of the scarf. The remaining yard or so was hole-free. As it sat in my freezer while I looked at the stash on my shelf, I decided to just throw it all out. Better safe than sorry.

But when I unfurled it onto the deck ... it was a hard decision to make. I cut off the damaged part ... and noticed that the rest of the scarf was peppered with moth corpses. That answered my question.

still in disgrace

 I plan on washing the basket with hot soapy water and letting it sit awhile to make sure nothing else hatches. Because I really, really love this basket. And I'd really, really like to still use it for knitting projects. But I welcome any words of advice or warning.

I will probably throw out the yarn in the freezer, except for a skein I need for a sweater (should I just order another??) and half a skein of Tosh Sock, which I guess I'll have to wash.

And I will look through my entire stash. I am fairly certain it's safe, as it was in another room entirely (and had no milk spilled on it), but I need to check. But not until my husband comes home. And not without a glass of wine.

In the meantime I'll just sit here jumping a mile whenever I imagine I see a flutter in the corner of my vision. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Liebster Award

My friend Christine tagged me for a Liebster Award! She came up with some pretty cool questions, I think. :) 

1. What's one thing you do really well?

As anyone who's read more than two posts on my blog will know, I am a little obsessed with knitting. And I think I do pretty well! I'd like to knit sweaters, which means getting a handle on gauge--something I ignore whenever possible. Not a very "good knitter" thing to do.

I love knitting lace and knit shawls for myself and my bridesmaids for my wedding. (Although I let myself be bossed by the photographer and my bridesmaids wore their shawls draped down so you couldn't see the design, because it "looked better." Sigh.)

wedding shawl

2. What's your favorite blog post you've written? 

I feel like it was an accomplishment just getting the twins' birth story written! And it's been my most popular post over time. My favorite kinds of posts are those that reflect on something I've been mulling over in relation to my life, like this one ... it takes a little more effort to write those posts, and I feel like if I don't capture them freshly my thoughts feel stale when I try to write them. So I don't finish those posts as often as I'd like, lately. They languish in notes or draft folders. 

3. What is one blog post or article by another writer that has stuck with you for a long time? 

Oh goodness, that's a tough question for me. I find that the posts on this blog always resonate, especially for where I'm at right now in life. And this post meant a lot too.

4. Are you a "cat person" or a "dog person"?

Definitely a dog person. I have met some cats that I like as individuals, and I think they are lovely creatures aesthetically. But as a species, I find that they simply don't love you the same way dogs do.

scholarly schnauzer

Also, cats shed. I grew up with a miniature schnauzer, who didn't. Keith wants a big dog who can run around outside with him and the boys, but they shed too, plus I find them to be kind of dopey. (He said, I love them because they're like the dog in Up. I said, I DON'T like them because they're like the dog in Up!)

I *do* like Doug, I just don't want him living in my house.

 Terriers--including schnauzers--are smart as tacks with a whole lot of personality, and I like that. 

Now that I've probably insulted all pet owners except those who have schnauzers ... let's move on. ;) 

5. How well do you get along with your siblings?

With my paternal grandparents

I was sometimes I bossy older sister, he was sometimes an annoying younger brother ... but we were always good friends and played together a lot. 

We don't get to hang out much lately because he's busy with work and school but everyone's happy when we get to see Uncle Anthony! :) 

6. Do you subscribe to any publications? 

I recently renewed my subscriptions to One Story and Image Journal. I have a free subscription to Dappled Things since I am an editor there, but would definitely pay for it otherwise. We also get Interweave Knits, Bon Appetit, and The Atlantic

7. If your house was on fire, and you had time to grab ONE object to save (assume all other people and pets are already out safely), what would it be?

This is a hard one! In the past I would have said my laptop, as it was home to all my writing, but that laptop is now broken and truthfully I'm not sure. Maybe our image of Our Lady of Guadalupe? If I had to escape through the windows of our house I would grab the curtains my great-grandmother embroidered. 

8. Are there any kids' toys that you suspect you might enjoy playing with as much as/more than the kids? 

I love Calico Critters! They remind me of toys I had growing up called Furry Families; they lived in things like shoes and teapots and jelly jars. And I would love dressing up American Girl dolls, but seeing as we have no girls (yet?), we'll see if that comes to pass!

9. What kind of candy will you be handing out for Halloween?

We don't have any trick-or-treaters on our road, which makes me sad. :( Last year I bought Nerds and M&Ms because I like to eat those. Maybe I'll stock up again this year ... just in case. ;)

10. Have you ever seen or experienced something you suspect was supernatural? 

I posted once about my miraculous experience with Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

I've had several experiences with my guardian angel ... one of the life-saving variety, one where my angel covered my ears to preserve my innocence (seriously), and one where he embraced me when I was at one of the loneliest points of my life. The last was on the feast of the Guardian Angels ... such a beautiful, beautiful feast day! 

I've had some moments when I knew I had to pray for people and had it confirmed later ... and I've also had some profound experiences of the Holy Spirit and Jesus in the Eucharist. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


It's that time of year ... I am knitting my birthday socks. And once again I am cutting it pretty close. Hoping to finish the first sock today so that I can have three days to knit the second!

The pattern is Cadence, which I've admired for a long time and am enjoying immensely; the yarn is Madeline Tosh in a lovely, rich color called Oxblood; the book is Home by Marilynne Robinson. Her latest is coming out on Tuesday, and I thought I'd get caught up.

Linking up with Ginny's yarn along.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


The angle of the light has changed.

It must happen gradually, but every year around this time it seems to happen all of a sudden. One day I'm sitting in the chair by the window with a book, and then I look up and the late morning sun is falling across the books and floorboards in a new way, lighting up a beauty otherwise easily missed.

I've been in something of a funk the past week. Due in no small part, I'm sure, to the whole sleep situation around here. (Last night various babies woke up approximately 9:30,11:30, 12:00, 1:30, 2:30, 4:30, and after that I don't remember. That was particularly bad but if you cut out two or three of those wakings you have my average night. So maybe this post isn't going to make any sense. I am drinking lots of tea. I blather on about sleep too much on my blog. Sorry.)

So yes, tired. But also just discontent. I would look at a room I'd just cleaned and straightened, everything in its place and all in order, which usually brings such a feeling of satisfaction. And I'd think, This is as good as it gets?! For whatever reason home felt shabby and not good enough.

Truly, this is not how I usually feel. I love our home. But the to-do list in my head was wearing me out with its constant, insistent pressure. I felt dull, like any beauty I encountered would just sort of roll off my back with a shrug and a "meh."

I know myself well enough to know that I'd probably get like this no matter my situation in life. If it wasn't motherhood it would be the daily grind of any job. Our sense of beauty is something that has to be tended to, and I haven't been doing a good job of that lately; and life is largely comprised of mundane moments anyway.

But at that light an ache blossomed in me, a familiar autumnal longing. I felt a little more alive, a little more myself. And the mundane was a little more lovely once again, in that angle of the light.

I think I try to wax poetic about the fall too often, but I always feel that this time of year is so full of hope and grace.

And we are picking apples tomorrow*, so I am very excited.

*I keep thinking today is Friday. We are, in fact, picking apples this weekend. :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Too much paint!

1. Our dining room is no longer pink!

We definitely have more work to do, but oh, what a difference!Hopefully we'll get the new light installed sometime next week, then we'll work on finding new sconces. But we have our dining room back! No more plastic sheeting on the table, no more furniture pushed into the living room, and no more pink! The new color is called Martinique Morn. We're pretty happy with it.

2. I still want to paint a navy/indigo blue sideboard or china cabinet for this room, but Keith thinks if I put a big blue something in here that we'll be limited to palette of blue and green for the whole room because other colors won't go. I'm not sure that I agree ... what do you think?

3. Taking down wallpaper is addictive. I am repressing the urge to get wallpaper out of ALL THE ROOMS. (Blue checked in the twins's room. Dogs in Michael's room. Yellow in the kitchen. Varied shades of pink in the bathrooms). It's near-instant gratification, second only to putting that first coat of paint on a wall. (Least satisfying, to me at least, is that coat of primer. So anti-climactic!)

4. But ... it's also a lot of work. I think we could've knocked this out in a weekend, except we're limited to working while the kids are asleep. It took us a week and a half. When it comes time to paint the kitchen, we might just hire someone else. Our kitchen is HUGE, and there are a lot of nooks and crannies to get wallpaper off/paint on. It would take us at least a month.

5. Speaking of the kitchen. We really do need to redecorate the whole thing eventually, but where do you start? Cabinets? Floor?

Probably the floor, right? It's a bit Dr. Seussical for our tastes. But more importantly, when the previous owner built it in the old garage (which is why our ktichen's so big), she didn't put down any subflooring over the concrete. Which means the kitchen floor is hard, REALLY cold in the winter, and now there's a big crack down the middle of it. But that is a really big project--and definitely not DIY. So we can't just "redo" the floor without it being a huge thing.

And yet if we start to work on other parts of the kitchen first, that floor is still going be there. In a very not-passive way.

BUT. My mother-in-law pointed out that you can pain laminate and tile ... which might be a good temporary solution. It sounds like a lot of work in its own right though ... does anyone have experience with how well painted floors hold up in high-traffic areas?

6. Anyway, when buying paint for the dining room, I brought home a few chips of deep teal. I think I'm going to pain our kitchen block teal and stain the top. Which will make our pink-and-yellow-kitchen even more colorful. ;) But happy colors for the coming winter sounds okay to me.

7. Okay, I think that's enough of that. :) Head over to Jen's for more quick takes!