Bigger in Texas

The need to get out of Chicago sent us on a crazy road trip.  There were plenty of people who could not understand why we would spend 40 hours driving to Texas for only 48 hours of enjoyment when in Texas.  For us, the pleasure was as much in the trip itself than solely in the destination.  A road trip means we are not where we were, and there is something stretching out before us that could turn in to anything if we let it.  It is countless hours (really, it was about 38) stuck in a car with a few individuals, and hopefully those individuals are ones you really enjoy spending time with (they were) so that, together, you might experience something fantastic (and we did).

There are people who travel for the purpose of saying they have been somewhere.  We call them tourists.  I have been to this country and seen this monument and wasn’t that great.  There are people who travel for the destination specifically.  I travel for the journey.  I travel for the wisdom and stories it gives me.  Many people would think of 40 hours in a car as the worst thing they could possibly do.  But I found out that, somewhere in Arkansas, the Queen of those delicious dairy treats had a king:

Granted, it was less spectacular than Dairy Queen, and it was closed at 6:40 am when we stopped for gas, but it was amusing nonetheless.

Also, thanks to Madlibs, Odin coined the phrase of endearment: Cream of my Wheat, which he will never live down.

Even so, the simple fact that I was not in Chicago and I was not living this routine, were enough for me.  This was a break from my reality.  It was a reminder that there are so many amazing things out there – so many wonderful people (and how many of those wonderful people are my friends and are living those crazy nomadic lives I kind of envy).  Today, I went back to work.  I woke up before dawn and dealt with the tasks and the people and I came home and I worked on holiday knitting and thought about our next trip away (to spend Christmas in Virginia).

The driving portion of the trip took roughly 20 hours each way.  There were three adults, so the driving was pretty much endless.  I slept through most of it, and then took my turn driving.  I ended just outside of Texarkana, which is at the Texas border.  I swapped seats and started knitting.  The only knitting, it turned out, I was going to do on the trip.  This is how long it takes to get from Texarkana to Todd Mission:

The purpose of this particular road trip, besides being a road trip, was to travel to the Texas Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission, which I understand is somewhere near Houston.  For the entire time we have been together, Odin has told me that TRF is a different fair altogether.  It is one of the largest in the US, with it’s own special politics and history.  There is a permanent town that sprouted nearby specifically inhabited by the rennie folk.  That is where we stayed.

We arrived early evening on Friday, but did not have the tickets to get in to the festival at that time.  The weather was perfect, too – a breezy 75* F and sunny.  The rest of the weekend was cold and wet.  We waited for everyone to get done working and spent time exploring Toon Town, with Odin telling us stories about who lived where and where he worked and what he did as a child, when he was also a part time resident of the area.


Saturday, it just rained and rained.  It was supposed to let up in the early afternoon, which I suppose it did.  But the puddles of mud and rivers that continued to run down the lanes was a little disheartening.  Sunday was sunny, but cold.  We were all determined to have a good time, however.



And now I am home.  This doesn’t seem quite real anymore, even though at the time it seemed like the only way to actually exist happily.  I miss my friends that travel the road and wish I could see them more often.  However, 4 days constantly surrounded by people, with very little sleep, took it’s toll on me.  I definitely enjoyed having an afternoon to myself in my own home.

Things I Am Thankful For…

  1. My family – without whose craziness I would not be the person I am today.
  2. My daughter – who is a bubbly ray of sunshine at all times of day, is growing up to say the darnedest things, and who is constantly surprising.  I am thoroughly enjoying watching her grow up; if a little bittersweet that I am becoming less and less of a direct role in shaping that growth.
  3. Odin, because it’s so hard to find someone as crazy, serious, and ambitious as I am; who uses reason and logic but can understand (or try to) the need for art and performance and chaos.
  4. Coffee, for waking the world up, giving me a job, and teaching me so much about other cultures, geography, science, and myself.  It was a happenstance that I entered the coffee industry, but I have enjoyed the experiences I had.  In 10 days, I will be leaving the coffee industry for more stable employment, which I feel is necessary at this stage in my life and will be fraught with it’s own challenges and opportunities.
  5. Crafters.  I wanted to say Knitters, but I stopped myself.  Most individuals in the crafting world, while crafting is mostly a solitary activity, enjoy the community that builds around us.  Upon moving to the Chicagoland area, my first goal was to find a knit night or craft night because I knew that, while it may be difficult to make friends on the street, or at work, or by chance, here was a community already established and waiting with open arms to welcome more in.  All I had to do was sit down with my sewing or knitting and I would instantly be part of the group.  And likewise, when I travel, I know that I have friends-to-be in every yarn store.  The phrase “That’s so nice, did you make that?” instantly inspires conversation and even friendships – and I can’t tell you how many people I have met and am still in contact with for whom that phrase was the ice breaker.
  6. Our cat, for being the comic relief in our family.

What are you thankful for?

Randomly on a Tuesday

  • I got a migraine this afternoon.
  • Migraines really really suck.
  • I couldn’t even knit, the pain was so bad.
  • And then it slowly went away, except for dull throbbing ever time I change levels or turn quickly.
  • I ripped back the mittens.
  • Maybe that was what triggered the migraine.
  • I started over, and I am much happier with the result.
  • I’m at the thumb now.
  • Pictures another time.
  • The migraine makes me lazy.
  • We’re putting plastic on the windows.
  • It helps keep the cold out.
  • I almost want to stuff my wool into the window and door cracks to further stop the breeze.
  • We are packing for Texas.
  • Or rather, trying to pack.
  • It’s going to be 75* F
  • That’s going to feel amazing.
  • Ellette is pretending to be a chimp and groom Odin.
  • Odin is telling her about this chimp he actually knows who would go around grooming humans.
  • He’s weird.
  • I think that’s why I want to keep him.
  • I’m getting sick of knitting on tiny needles.
  • Why did I decide all of my holiday knitting was going to take place on tiny needles?
  • I hope I don’t get a migraine during the trip.
  • Ellette doesn’t have school tomorrow.
  • When I get off work, she, my roommate and I are going downtown for a festival.
  • My roommate is awesome for babysitting.
  • I think we are going to keep her.
  • Hopefully, you’ll get a better update tomorrow.
  • I need to sleep off the remnants of the migraine.

To Rip or Not to Rip

One of my current works in progress is a bit nit picky and requires use of a technique that is totally new to me.  Well, it doesn’t exactly require the use, but it does aid in the speedy production of said project. Mainly, this lovely set of mittens by Spillyjane.  (This is the Rav link)

Yesterday, I was able to quietly meditate with yarn and pattern for a couple of hours, and completed a little over an inch of the work.

I laid it on my lap to admire how the pattern was moving, and I saw it.  Glaring at me.  I showed it to Odin, and he insisted it was all in my head, but I couldn’t get over it.  And really, I should have seen it coming.  My tension has changed.  In the beginning, I was first learning how to knit with two hands.  I know, sounds complicated.  Once you get the hang of it, it is remarkably easy and efficient.  My problem is that in the hour or so I had been working on the mitten, I had gotten used to the technique and my tension tightened.

I want to think I can steam block the finished mitten and the stitch variation will be less noticeable.  Apparently, no one else  can see it.  I think they are just being nice.

I keep working on it anyway, hoping that the errors will magically disappear and desperately searching for an alternative.  Do you have a suggestion?

Do I rip?  Or do I deal with it?

This Little Thing Called the Holidays

This is my first year knitting for the holidays.  I have never been big into this time of year, although I do appreciate the way everyone I care about tends to gather in one place.  The craze for gift giving, however, has never been my cup of tea.  At least, not in my adult life.  I would rather share experiences together than anything else, but possessions aren’t really my thing, either.

This year, however, is a bit different for me.  Odin’s family has taken me in, and the past couple of years we have traveled to Virginia to spend the winter holidays with them, and they have always made an effort to include me (even when I was being a little emotional and unreasonable about one or two things).  Last winter, I finished a pair of mittens while at their house, and went off by myself to photograph them.  When I arrived inside again, Odin’s mom looked appreciatively at the mittens and mentioned how much she would like a pair.  She is an extraordinary woman, and I am not about to divulge the details of the lives of Odin’s family, but I have several reasons to be grateful to this woman, especially considering she gave birth to the man I love.

I mentioned to Odin the idea of going in on presents for his mom, sister, and nieces this year.  He purchases the yarn and helps me pick out the pattern, and I make the items.  He agreed it was a good idea, and together we spent many hours searching Ravelry and then the yarn store for the perfect materials.

I started knitting.

This was the hardest, and so I started on it first.  This is the only one I couldn’t find a pattern for, and had to make one up on the fly.  I have the left hand finished and have started on the right, but I am trying to reverse the stitch pattern and finding it a little tedious.  There is no chance of me writing this out for you, as it is far too fiddly for my tastes.  The intended recipient, however, will love it. (But, she’s a teenager, and one can never be certain of that.)

This is still waiting to be started – the gifts for Odin’s mom.  They will be fairly easy (read: words to fall by).  I am going to work on them on our trip to Texas next weekend.

This is the other present’ in progress.  This is a slow going one because it requires so much concentration.  It is not one I am going to take with me places.  Pretty much, I sit at the table with the graph in front of me, focusing intently on making even stitches.  The yarn (Knit Picks Palette) is a lot thinner than I would think of using for mittens, but the colors are so perfect for the recipient.

I also have a scarf for Odin’s other niece and I want to make socks for Odin, but when the yarn arrived, I realized that I had made a huge error in yardage.  I am going to purchase other yarn from me LYS and use this stuff for something else.  I also can’t decide what to do for Ellette.  Any suggestions?

Besides all that, I have something to offer all of you – in case you are still looking for projects for presents.  I have uploaded two more patterns to Etsy and my Ravelry store.

The Keyhole Cowl:

Available on Etsy here and on Ravelry here


And, the Zigamorph Scarf:

Available on Etsy here and Ravelry here

Also up this week, Holiday preparations and then a road trip to Texas to visit friends which is promising so far to be a spectacular experience!

Knitted Things for your Amusement

I have a ton of things to say, but today I am going to focus on one.  Because my holiday knitting is a bit intricate and on tiny needles (I know, I’m crazy), I have been addicted to knitting pixie hats for my travel knitting.  These do the trick completely.  They are on big needles with a chunky yarn and are so free form it makes me giggle.  Now, my living room is littered with various sizes and so many colors you would think a parade of clowns with too much alcohol in their system threw up all over.  I have finally listed them on Etsy so that everyone else may have their pick.  If you are a non-knitter or a knitter in need of some fiber assistance, check these out:

I have been making baby sized hats from the remnants bin.  The top is Nashua Handknits (can’t remember the color) and the bottom is Cascade 128 Superwash.  They are both incredibly soft and entirely adorable.  To find them in my Etsy shop, look here and here.

I seem to be making up for kid’s sized hats than anything.  I suppose it is fitting, after all.  Kids would go nuts over them (and mine does!).  These are very bright – I especially like the blue one – and perfect for keeping spirits up in the middle of winter.  They are available here, here, and here.


And, of course, I have made some adult ones.  For some reason, it is so much easier and natural to make the kid sized one.  I am currently working on a beautiful black and gray one in an adult size.  (There are also some kids ones that just need finishing).  These two hats are available here and here.


I will try to remember to tell you when new things are being added to the shop, but remember to keep on eye on it for new arrivals!


No Reason

I can not, for the life of me, explain why I have fallen out of the blogosphere recently.  I keep looking at my computer and listing off all of the things I want to tell you about – like my new sweater, or that I finally finished the socks for Ellette that I’ve been working on since March and how Ellette loves them so much she can’t understand why she can’t wear them everyday.  I want to show you the start of my holiday knitting and walk you through my plans for the next 6 weeks (yikes!).  I want to show you the fresh top hats that just popped off the craft table this week and the progress made on knitting patterns.  Tons of things to talk about.

So, why haven’t I been online?

I have been jumping from project to project, be that knitting or housework or sewing or child care, and I have been both exhausted and bored.  I come home from work and have the perfect opportunity to enjoy my craft, and instead I stare at the slippers on the needles with disdain and the mittens I am designing with utter loathing.  All I can think is “This isn’t what I want to do!!” and then I go into a funk and stomp through the house looking for something more suited to my mood.  And, because I have been jumping between projects and dissatisfied each time, I have not felt that it is really worth blogging about.

I feel like this coming week is going to be different, and the new projects will be making themselves known.

We also have an impending road trip I am terribly excited about, which will give me at least 20 hours of solid knitting and crafting time, which you will then hear about.

Basically, I am sorry for not being around the past week or so and promise to be around more in the weeks coming up, and urging you to stay tuned!

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