“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” - Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Knitty Gritty - Short and Chic Cardi

So I saw this link on Facebook from Lion brand yarn about making sweaters that flatter your shape. Makes sense, all the work you put into it you darn sure want it to look good on you in the end! One of the suggestions for my body type was the Short and Chic Cardi. I had to have it! It knits up quickly and is real easy to do. I was putting all this info on my project page on Ravelry when I realized it was a lot of directions so I'd better put it in a bigger place! I will be editing this post as I go along to add in directions for any other modifications I make so that my fellow ravelers can find everything in one place.

I'm using Caron Simply Soft in the soft pink colorway double stranded to achieve gauge the US 10 1/2 needles. I cast on 4 extra sts (a mulitple of 4 to maintain the ribbing) to ensure my sweater could button over my 46" bust. I know this is a close fitting sweater with negative ease, but 7 1/2 inches of negative ease seemed to me to be stretching it (pun intended). By adding four more sts I hope to gain a couple of inches.The right front went relatively easily except for the issue of the buttonholes. First of all I added a fourth buttonhole to address the concern of the gap between the first and second buttons bulging as noted by another raveler.

Here's what I did:
After row 3 (labeled "next (inc) row") where you are instructed to "work even as established for 3 rows", is where I made this modification. I BO 3 sts on the last even row and then CO 3 sts on the following row. In hind sight I probably would have made the buttonhole a row or two sooner (started BO sts on first or second even worked row then CO sts on the second or third even row) as it's not as evenly spaced as I would like.

Then there's the matter of the size of the buttonholes. When the instructions are followed in the ribbing the buttonholes are neat and properly sized. However when you follow the directions in St st you end up with a gapping hole . If you think it looks huge laying flat just imagine the size if it when the weight on the garment pulls on it... so I attempted to correct this by only BO 2 sts for the next buttonhole while this is better it is still too large under the weight of the sweater when held against the body.

My Suggestion:
BO only 1 st for the buttonholes worked in St st. So instead of working the row to the last 7 sts work it to the last 5 sts BO 1 st for the buttonhole then work as est to the end of the row. Doing it this way will ensure your buttons all line up when worn. You may or may not want to reduce the size of the buttonholes in the ribbing by one st. I did not.

I finished up the back and had an extra stitch. Do I care? No. It's in the back and will be under the collar :P On to the dreaded left front where I'm supposed to be "reversing shaping". I think I'm actually doing it right! Ha! Mind you I have only worked the left front to the 7 (in my case) repeats of the raglan dec row/work one row even pattern. But I'm pretty sure the last 5 rows are correct.

Here's what I'm doing:

**Row 1 (RS):** Rejoin yarn, BO 2 sts, K to last 5 sts, sk2p, p2
**Row 2 (WS):** K2, be sure to bring your yarn forward then slip 1 pw, p1, PSSO (pass slipped stitch over). P to last 5 sts, Slip 1 pw, p2tog, psso, p2

**Work one row even**

Rep last 2 rows once more - 11(12, 13, 14) sts remain

**Next (raglan dec) Row (WS):** K2, p to last 4 sts, slip one pw, p1, psso, p2

**Work one row even**

Rep last 2 rows 4 (5, 6, 7) times more - 6 sts remain

**Work 2 rows even**

**Next Row:** K2, bring the yarn forward and slip 1 pw, p1, psso, p2

**Work one row even**

**Last Row:** K2tog, bring the yarn forward and slip 1pw, p2tog, psso - 2 sts remain. Bind off.

Doing this drops two rows, but it's the only way I got the thing to turn out looking like the opposite side. You could add them back in by knitting 2 rows even before "Row 2" but I didn't I figured I'll deal with it later if it's a problem, since I had ripped and knitted it 8 times trying everything I could conjure without success. The fronts are the same size etc that's what matters right?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Merely Me - Getting Ones Groove Back

I have developed several little catergories in which I place my blogs. Always (ok almost always)prefacing the actual title of my post with it's designated category. Those of you who adore organization as I do have already noticed. Today I have invented Merely Me as a place to put blogs that are about who I am. You may have picked up that the other categories tend to what I do.

I hadn't realized it but I have been going around neglecting the "who I am" aspect of myself for quite a long time. It came and smacked me off the forehead on Saturday, and part of Sunday now that I think of it ( I guess it did more that just smack me, it beat me good and proper), that I have allowed my "station in life" to become all I am and to dictate everything about me. That is to say that there is more to who I am than being a wife and a mother and I had tossed it all in the back of the closet and abandoned it. So no one knows much about me beyond my husband, my home, my hobby and my kids. Even worse, I had become as ignorant of myself as the rest of the world.

So I've decided to rediscover myself and I'll try to share what I find along the way. I'm going to find that person I used to be before I pigeon-holed myself and I'm going to embrace her! The rest of y'all don't have to embrace her becasue if I recall correctly, she really doesn't care, and being different is her life's work.

What have I found so far? Well not a whole bunch...I blew the dust off my book of Tennyson, and revisited Shakespeare's sonnets, at least the ones that were my favorites. Funny how the last time I had read 105 in my heart it spoke of someone who now is long gone, and today I see my husband in those verses. I am a lover of literature, the classics and have always been an English/grammar freak. I love words! I reminded myself how much I love, love, love to dance and that I'm actually pretty good at it. Nevermind that it's fun! Imagine that...You don't even need company...I really want to rediscover music... It's an unequaled pleasure.

I've realized that it's alright (and from what I'm told entirely possible in my case) to look and feel beautiful in spite of having carried and given birth to a sports team worth of children. Apparently I've still got it... even if I'm not entirely comfortable having it! From what I understand this "it" is not going away anytime soon, and I can't hide it so I just need to embrace the "it" I've got. This embracing is supposed to be healthy for me...we'll see. So I'm no longer neglecting my physical appearance. I'm trying to do stuff with my hair and I've shaved my legs as needed this week. While I used to say that I'm married and have no one to impress, that fact of the matter is I do. I have to impress myself. I'm not being narcissistic, God knows I'm the last person to be in love with myself. But my point is that unless you feel good about yourself and the way you percieve others view you, you will always be lacking an inner something...and inner something that when present is actually outwardly visible in a way. And when it's not present, it's absence can be felt by others, just ask my husband. He thinks the embracing of my "it" is a good thing...especially if it leads to more embracing for him.

I'm also finding that it's ok to show my less than girly side. Just ask my momma my girly side is more than sufficient. The me I used to know never cared if people thought I was weird or not, and the me now shouldn't either. Aside from the obvious frustration of the over all situation, I enjoyed working on the truck with my husband. I liked getting dirty, drinking Smirnoffs, and taking swim breaks to cool off. I abhor when people talk down to me cuz I'm a girl and they think I don't know what I'm talking about! I can bake a pie, make some curtains, clean the house and do a brake job and a tune-up (among other things). I know how to use power tools too...and it's fun! I stopped doing stuff like that because someone told me it was unfeminine, or man's work or something like that. Why should guys get to have all the fun? They have some of the coolest toys...nevermind that I have things that need to be done and if I can do something myself I'm the kind of person who likes to do it. Why should I be ashamed?

So from here on out I'm doing me. Yes I have kids, and am a terrific mom and wife according to the latest poll, but there is more to me than that. I'm a homemaker, but I've dabbled in interior design and studied the construction of furniture throughout history. I like to knit and crochet and quilt my little heart out, but I'm also tech savvy. I troubleshoot my own computer, I know how to compare specs on digital devices and I can find an awesome deal to boot. I don't watch rated R movies but I do like a good movie... in all honestly I'd rather read a book.

I'm sure the person who helped me to see that I've been stereotyping myself, denying myself of my identity, never intended to do so. But I consider myself indebted. Thanks to you, I'm bringing me back!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name...

As most of you know I have refered to my husband as "Ricky" for the past 10 1/2 years. His family has called him "Ricky" since he was knee-high to a grasshopper, and since I met them before I met him it's what stuck. Interestingly when left to themselves (without me around using the name "Ricky") most other people who spend enough time with him to warrant a nickname call him "Rich". By now you may have guessed (if you didn't already know) my hubby's name is Richard. That's how he introduces himself to everyone he meets. Why? Because that's his "real" name.

It's kind of funny when I think about it... All of my girl friends call him "Ricky" and most of their husbands call him Richard and a few call him "Rich". I sometimes wonder if I had met him before his family would I have called him by his full name? Or perhaps shortened it up to "Rich" as most non-relatives do? I have no idea.

What I do know is that my husband hates being called "Ricky"...hates it! How could I have not known? He told me last week he thinks it's "lame" and "ridiculous". I feel kind of bad for letting such a basic fact go unnoticed. He doesn't mind "Rich" too much, but "Ricky", "Rick", "Richie", and "Dick" are out of the question.

So naturally I have to fix this. I mean I influence what other people know him as... I have turned perfectly good Richard users into "Ricky" users on more than a few occassions! So I'm gonna work on calling him Richard. I'm not sure I can do "Rich" so we'll start with the basics and then if I get too annoyed calling him by his full name I'll hack off the "ard". Sounds fair enough.

Now the rest of you, all I'm really asking from you is to not make a face or think I've gone snobby when you hear me saying Richard. You can feel free to be supportive and try using his full name or if you must shorten it, "Rich", but you don't have to. I know some of you are thinking "I've called him "Ricky" as long as I've known him I'm not about to start calling him something else just cause he's being picky". I can assure you he has always felt this way.

I know it may seem like it's just a name, and for flowers such as roses that may be true. Roses don't have feelings or preferences or a sense of identity. My husband does. As his wife I feel it's important that I help him be identified in a way that fits his preferences and personality, his personality as *he* sees it not as everyone else sees it. So here I go!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

True Blogging

This weekend I learned that... I don't have as much time as I used to think... independance can end with blood and bandaids... "best friends" isn't always mutual... whoever said "keep your friends close and your enemies closer" must be insane... sometimes compromise is one-sided, and that's ok... my side doesn't always have to be the one to compromise, and that's ok too...everyone is human and is allowed make mistakes including me...it's easier to forgive other people for thier mistakes than it is to forgive myself for mine... I'm sick of acting and feeling like an old lady... I don't know anyone else with the guts and heart to raise 6 kids so therefore I don't know anyone with the right to judge my abilities as a mother...and finally, SIX may be "alot of" or "too many" kids for most people, but not for me! SIX is just right for *me*. I don't go telling everyone that they should have babies, or making them feel like freaks for having "so few" children, so how dare anyone make me feel bad for having "so many"?

I found that when I turn my focus inward to the people who deserve my attention the most, I don't have time to be at everyone's beck and call. I don't have time to help everyone or do for everyone. I don't have time to stop what I'm doing and dress the kids and load them up and go to visit people who can't even manage to pop in as they pass by my house on the interstate or take a different route to their destination to come see me and my family. I used to feel that these other people were so important that I would readily inconveinence my family and myself for them. But I really just don't have time. I have a full schedule, so full that even alot of my hobbies are on hold right now.

Independance feels good at the moment but all to often it smacks us in the face with the reality that we need other people and we are not as tough as we thought. Samuel thought he was big stuff getting himself a banana. But it turns out he couldn't open it. He thought he had the answer and decided to cut it open with a knife. Independance can end with blood and bandaids. A quick reality check that he needed some help, as do we all.

It is possible for a person to be our best friend and us to not be thiers. We elect how much of ourselves to give to any given relationship, but there's not guarantee that everyone will chose to give as much of themselves as we do. Even while we may think they do, it may be revealed that we were mistaken. We may even discover that our real best friends are people who bear other titles in our world, such as husband, or mother or aunt. Best friends undercover.

"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer"? This person cannot possibly have any real friends! First of all who would want to be friends with someone so deceitful and two faced. Second, he couldn't possibly have time to give to the friends if he's busy buttering up his enemies. Third, what friends would put up with playing second fiddle to people this guy doesn't even like? Fourth, I have found that when you actually get close to people, alot of times you realize you were wrong about them and even if you started off not liking them you end up being friends. That whole expression is just wrong, wrong, wrong on so many levels!

Sometimes a compromise is one-sided. Meaning that sometimes we will be the only one to give and bend to suit another person. There is nothing wrong with that. We can't always expect other people to give and bend and out of love we do all the bending in some instances. But on the flip side of that, we shouldn't always be the one compromising. The people in our life should recognize that there are times when it is easier for them to bend and give than for us to do so. I don't always have to be the one to compromise and I am not a bad person for expecting a mutual give and take. If I'm always the one compromised something is wrong with that relationship. Period. There are no exceptions.

I find it very easy to recognize that people are just people and they're gonna screw up. I learned this the hard way and with alot of prayer I have come to accept that it's not the end of the world or the relationship in question. I'm noticing though that it is difficult for people to accept or get over it when I screw up. I do try extra hard to think of people and their feelings before I act. I am uber kind if I do say so myself. But every now and then I get all human on folks and make a mistake that throws everyone all up in arms. Sorry. That's all I've got...is sorry. It happens. We all mess up. Oddly enough I have a harder time getting over my mistakes than anyone else does. I want so much to say and do right by people that when I make a mistake it eats at me. I can't let it go. I beat myself up for having been... human....go figure...

I AM ONLY 29 YEARS OLD! That is not old. I can still move and shake with the rest of them. Why have I gotten into this mindset that I'm old and everyone else is still so young? What have I done to myself? It's really all in my head. So I'm kicking it out of my head! I am not over the hill... I'm still climbing, far from peaking!

Okay last but not least, if any of you out there have six (or more) kids please raise your hand..........uh huh I thought so. If you did not raise your hand, DO NOT tell me how to raise my kids! Capisce? Y'all might not realize how many people act like they know what we're doing wrong or they know the "right way" to handle our kids. Y'all probably also don't realize when you're being one of those people. Here's something I read and understood and took to the bank. Everyone's parenting style is different. What works for one family might not work for another. Just because you wouldn't do it and they do doesn't make it wrong. It's just a matter of what we're willing to do as individuals. This is why in spite of having a half dozen kids I don't go around dishing out unsolicited parenting advice. So why, oh why, do people feel the need to treat us like we are screwing up our kids?

I love the way people talk about me behind my back, weather it's about something I'm not doing for my kids or my "dirty" house, and then readily say stuff like "better you than me" when they see what my family is like on the inside. They KNOW they couldn't do it and admit they wouldn't WANT to do it but still talk trash like they could do better if they were me?? Ha! I dare you...bring it! But I think you're right, it *is* better that it's me and not you. My personal fave is when people think that somehow their ONE active child compares to or is harder than having SIX busy children. Oh you poor thing... I'm not knocking you're abilities or belittling you because you only have one kid, but come on! Visit reality much? I'm not saying I'm better because I have more kids or that I can handle more than you. The proof is in the pudding there. All I'm saying is the playing field is far from level you do not have what it takes to take on my kids. Only I do.

Here's another little gem. I don't treat people with less kids (or no kids for that matter) like they are weirdos. I don't make anyone feel guilty for not having children or make them feel like they've made a wrong choice by only having 2.5 kids and a dog. So where do people get off judging us for having six kids? Making us feel like having all these kids was the stupidest thing we've ever done? I am through feeling bad. I am through listening to your ill informed opinions and advice...yeah I'm talking to you! If you want to lend a hand or be some kind of real help that's great, get dirty with me. But if all you want to to is stand on the sidelines and coach take a hike! We don't need your pointers.

Alright, I'm hopping down off my soap box now. I'm gonna go take today by the horns!