Sunday, November 29, 2009

Broke Up Thanksgiving....

... and now I am very tired.
The Fool and Jamie and I packed up on Friday and headed north for the Chicago contra dance community's big weekend dance camp, with lots of jamming and dancing and what-have-you into the wee hours of the night.



Except Jamie and I started coming down with a cold and so our activities were somewhat curtailed.


Look at that expression - that's a kid who wishes his nose wasn't running.

He had a good afternoon on Saturday while I was calling square dances, because it was sunny and warm and he found a pile of sand and a stick to scratch in it with. The Fool and Edward played tunes with a couple friends and kept an eyeball on Jamie, beetling around in the sun, and all was well.
The Fool and I played a set of tunes with our friends Spider and Steve on Friday night, and after the Fool saw us safely to bed last night, he went back for some more tunes and dancing and jamming and passing-of-a-flask.
Spider had a tuba with her that she had bought on behalf of a friend (Spider plays banjo), and at 3 a.m. or so, when I was up nursing Jamie again, I heard a sort of mournful tunely bellow across the camp's empty field, through the dark and the fog. I hadn't woken up enough to sort out the sound, so at first, I thought the Fool was singing in his sleep, but then realized no, Spider had probably just gotten a little bit tipsy and decided to take this tuba outside with the other late-night revelers for a honk.
(Amusingly, the Fool also heard the tuba in his sleep and thought it was Edward singing outside in the field, maybe, or from his bunk bed down the hall.)


The tuba.

It is a good start to the end of the year and the darkest season, although because of my cold, maybe not as much music and dance as I prefer to fortify myself for the winter. We've had a rough year, the Chicago contra community, with death before its time and a long-time fiddler and dancer in hospice right now.


Saturday night band.

In my own life, I received news a few weeks ago of a friend from grad school who died of cancer, a year older than me, two kids and a wife. With all this darkness in my mood, I wanted my spirits lifted a little higher, but instead, I played spectator at the weekend and provided Jamie a good solid lap to cling to.



We're into the holiday rush for sure now. I had to frog a Christmas present for the second time - grr. I will defeat this yarn. I feel better about Christmas this year than I have in years past. I think it's going to be more fun.
And now, I'm going to take my running nose and go see my dripping kid about bedtime.





Baked good photos for Lanae.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving is coming...

... and then Christmas, and that means I have plenty of things that I can do with my copious (ha!) spare time.
So, of course, the thing I think I want most to do right now is take up spinning.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A parade of FOs

A tiny parade.
Susan-in-the-comments had asked about the pillow. Here it is. Couldn't be easier. Get 11x17 pillow form, find fabric, eyeball an appropriate size, fold and stitch. Hem open end, slap some trim on, and there you have it, a pillow.
Note the total lack of a sleeping toddler on top of it. That seems to be its biggest flaw. Every time I haul it out for naptime and explain that people sleep with their heads on pillows, he starts pointing at the pictures and giggling.



Baktus on the piano ... the Fool did really well on Freecycle recently and we have an old piano, converted from a player piano, hanging out in the living room. No pianowarming party yet, unfortunately. We had to get it tuned, and as it has not been tuned in decades, we couldn't get it tuned to concert pitch - it's about a half step flat. Oy. In the spring, the tuner will try to tune it correctly and we'll see.


Janice came by this afternoon with a pile of toys she scored from a neighbor getting rid of them (we have entered the Era of the Duplo Blocks, I guess), and a pizza from Homemade Pizza Company, and we made tea and ate molasses cookies and apples all afternoon, and turned this pile of pinecones into.....



This!



And this! I need a big fat red bow. For the wreath.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Where does the time go?

It's funny; I feel like I have had no time at all over the last two weeks, but I'm not sure what I've been doing. Well, sleeping, for large parts of it. The time change turned Jamie into an early bird, and so now, we all get up together early in the morning and wave goodbye to the Fool as he heads off to work.
Some mornings, when we're especially with-it, the three of us go to a little cafe for a quick breakfast before taking the Fool to the train station, which means I get coffee. Other mornings, I stagger around and make tea and oatmeal and Jamie works on feeding himself.
I've been knitting, too. And sewing.
An old Girl Scout friend, who found me through Ravelry, sent me a nice piece of blue flannel with cars and trucks and trains on it, and suggested I could use it to make something for Jamie. I had it out on my sewing table for a couple months, thinking about what I could do with it. Finally, it hit me.
I found a small pillow form, like you'd use for a rectangular throw pillow, whipped up a pillowcase, put some of the Fool's grandmother's rick-rack around the open edge, and voila, a small pillow for a small person to nap on if he wants. He noticed it the other day, pointed at the pictures on the pillowcase and giggled.
I cast on and finished Baktus in fairly short order for me - less than a month. Ha!
I can see that when I change colors, I pull the stitches of the yarn I'm changing from a bit too tight; the scarf has a funny curl to the two ends that remind me of a manta ray. I think I could fix that with blocking, or I could just see what it looks like on and perhaps, it won't bother me very much.
It was a totally fun knit and entertaining to watch the colors change. I used a Zauberball I got at Stitches Midwest, and the kitchen scale to divide it into two balls of equal weight.
Pat, in the comments, had asked how the Zauberball was to knit with - she'd heard varying reports as to the yarn's consistency and quality.
I didn't find any knots in mine, and while the yarn got a little thick here and there, it wasn't anything I found to be obnoxious. It's two plies, spun together, and sometimes, when I get knitting along, I split the plies, or I'd snag one or two fibers with the wrong needle. It's also not the softest yarn I've ever knit with, either. I'm not sure I'd buy another, not because there was anything glaringly wrong with this one, but because there are a lot of fun, colorful sock yarns out there that I haven't knit with yet.
I'll put up a proper picture later, but this is one I took last night, when I turned away from writing this post to discover Angus on the couch (elements of photo labeled to aid understanding.)



The poor guy has had a bit of a ... cold? something, lately, so he's been trotting around the house like a furry plant sprayer on four feet. It's a little alarming to be woken by Angus standing over your head, spraying cat sneezes everywhere.
Anyway, waffles and coffee are on, and I need to go supervise Jamie's dining efforts. If we don't watch him carefully, he tries to slip the cats food.