Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Of Pumpkins and Witches

I haven't ever thought about the connection between what I'm knitting and the state of mind I'm in before, but the events of this past weekend made it obvious to me that it's all more interconnected than I'm aware of.

Saturday morning was beautiful here. Bright and sunny, and not too hot because of a rather stiff breeze from the southwest. We all got up and out nice and early to the park where F was taking part in his first soccer practice. It was all very cute. I hung out under a tree with A, while F learned about dribbling, and more importantly, how to conduct a victory dance after a goal.

Feeling flushed with success at our ability to enjoy a weekend day without too much stress, I suggested we head off to the pumpkin patch we'd seen out in the country about a month earlier. True to form, once we'd made the decision to go, the day started to unravel.

A started to bawl inconsolably in the car, and I kept making my arm go numb by twisting round to shush her. We arrived at the pumpkin place and F said, "Oh, it's a field of pumpkins." We still haven't figured out what he thought a pumpkin patch was, but it must have been super-duper by listening to the tone of disappointment in his voice.

We got out the car and headed to the barn to look at all the stuff for sale. After a brief tour, during which time F began to work up another head of enthusiasm, having decided that a field of pumpkins wasn't too boring after all, we headed out back where there was a corn maze and other things that a three-year old might enjoy.

PHUTT!! That's the sound the corn cannon was making. Now, if you're from where I'm from, pumpkin patches and their attendant activities are WAY outside your frame of reference. Which is kind of unfortunate, given that F has never been a fan of loud(ish) noises. We usually prepare him beforehand when we think something is going to be outside his volume comfort zone, but,heck, what do I know about corn cannons and the like, so no preparation took place this time.

At this point the afternoon took on comedic proportions. F took off running across the fields like a plague of hell-bats were after him. R had to sprint to catch him up. I could hear the yowling back at the barn, "IT'S TOO LOUD!! IT"S TOO LOUD!!" Each time the corn cannon went off, F would scream (which was much louder than the noise he was upset about in the first place). R had to carry him back to the car, but F was wearing a baseball cap, and after a particularly terrifying PHUTT! he buried his face into R's neck and managed to jab the bill of the cap straight into R's right eye. Thinking I was going to diffuse the situation, I offered to get F a snow cone. When I brought it back to him, I realized I'd been given change for a five instead of a ten. No receipt. So not really worth arguing the toss about it. Feeling a bit miffed, I put the snow cone down on the picnic table we'd got. For the first time in ten minutes, F stopped wailing, and I saw the glimmer of a smile. PHUTT! "AAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!". Snow cone goes everywhere. At this point we cut our losses and left.

We managed to buy one pumpkin. And some Indian corn. When we got home, F asked in a small quiet voice, "Where will you and Daddy get your pumpkins?". I replied, "Maybe we'll go back again next weekend, we'll probably have a better time another day".

In a fit of Autumn spirit, I started another project in a suitably Autumn shade.

On Sunday afternoon, R was hanging out washing to dry. "Come here," he said, "the light's a funny colour. There must be a dust storm in the desert." I looked out the window, and opened it, although I knew what I was going to smell before I did it. "That's smoke, " I said. We got on the internet, and sure enough there was a fire in the county. "I don't like that we can smell it this far away," I said, but R told me not to be silly.

By Monday, when R was turned away from his office in the morning, we knew that things were unusual, even for this fire-prone part of the West. We spent much of Monday glued to the tv and radio getting more and more worried as the fire got closer and closer. We packed the essentials and placed them behind the front door ready for a quick getaway.

Thankfully none of this was needed. The fire hit those to the northeast, with other fires in the southeast and further north yet. We're fine, and so is everyone we know. Many, many other people are not.

Throughout all this tense time, I found that I didn't want to knit the jacket I started on Saturday. I wound up some skeins of Koigu I've had hanging around forever, and I started a February Baby Sweater. It seemed to have just the right combination of mindless knitting, with a bit of mindfulness to mitigate against my anxiety. It took me two days to realise that I was knitting with fire-coloured wool.

The pumpkin patch was right where the fire started. We won't be getting pumpkins there this year. In the grand scheme of things it's a terribly petty thing. I can't believe that so many people have lost so much. The devastation is quite staggering. It reminds me that life can change utterly in an instant and there are times when it can never be the same again.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Again, long time, no blog.

Part of the reason is that I've been trying to get my Ravelry account up and running. The other part of the reason is that I've had a few knitting deadlines to reach, which has become infinitely harder since the wee one joined our happy little family.

Anyway here's something...

Kate Gilbert's Peapod jacket from Knitting Daily done in cheapo Plymouth Encore DK (which I've found washes really well) for a friend's one year old.

This was a bit of a Nordic Saga of a knit. I started it when the in-laws were here. I even did a swatch for gauge, which I don't always do. Well, none of the measurements were working out, but instead of starting again, I thought I could fudge my way through it. Which didn't work particularly well, but I've never let that stop me. By the time I put it all together it was some sort of Frankenstein's monster knit. It was at this point that I discovered I was using the wrong needle size. Oops.

So I knit the stupid thing again, and managed to have it finished in time for the birthday party with about two minutes to spare.

It worked out well, so well in fact, that I've now started a third one, this time in Knitpicks Shine, and it's working out pretty nicely.

I'm off to watch Kitchen Nightmares. I love Gordon Ramsey.

Friday, October 5, 2007


My in-laws were here for the entire month of September, which really dented my ability to sneak off and knit/blog. As I explained to my 3 year old, they have 'standards' which means that they would look dimly on my lack of commitment to 24/7 parenting.

And now I've just received my Ravelry invitation, so I've been spending the past few hours messing around with that.

I've got lots of WIPs to blog about, including one that I need to finish for next weekend, so I'll do my best to keep up.