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March 30, 2007
amateur dramatics

Two school plays this week: Zoe's class did a short rendition of "The Myth of Medusa" where she was a narrator 1 of 8. They all did a fine job. Note pink toga. Even transported back millenia, some things don't change.

And yesterday was the dress rehearsal for the kindergarten production of "The Grouchy Ladybug", featuring Ella as Grouchy. The performance is this afternoon. It's a musical. It features small children missing teeth with amusing things on their heads. How can this not be sure to please?

Friendly Ladybug, Leaf and Grouchy Ladybug.

Rhinoceros and Elephant.

If you are not up on your Eric Carle, that's the Clock, Yellowjacket, Stag Beetle, Praying Mantis, Sparrow, Lobster, Skunk, Boa Constrictor, Hyena, Gorilla, Rhinoceros, Elephant and half of Whale (the other half of Whale had a dentist appointment).

06:11 AM
March 23, 2007

The preview of Interweave Crochet's spring issue is up! Have a look!

06:31 AM
March 20, 2007
500: the birds and the bees

It's spring here. Totally and undeniably spring. Actually we're well into spring. Things are in bloom and I wake to the sound of birds chirping, almost to the point of parody. In the back yard, I am enormously pleased that a hummingbird is nesting in the same tree as last year. She's already raised two babies that flew out in late January and now there seems to be action again. These are ruby throated hummingbirds. While marvelous, they are pretty common around here. So the other day I was very excited when I saw a very tiny, tiny bird hovering around my lavender. The bird was no larger than one head of lavender. How exciting! How rare! Wonderful! I went out and managed to capture it on film. Later, we broke out the bird book and tried to identify it. Turns out, it's not a hummingbird at all, but a sphinx moth. Not a tiny bird but a big bug. Funny how perceptions of the same thing change.

the book
I'm getting my Knitting Patterns for Dummies ducks in a row for next week's 3rd quarter deadline. I'm handing in Chapters 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and all the scrap art for the remainder of the book. This translates to a lot of swatching. Chart drawing, and trying to get files in the correct format at the right size. By my count, I have three swatches left to knit.

the bugs, the beasts and the charismatic megafauna
I'm also making costumes for Ella's kindergarten production of Eric Carle's The Grouchy Ladybug. Ella will be playing the title role! So mark your calendars for March 30th and think grouchy thoughts. I love Eric Carle, but I have to say, while a ladybug costume is pretty straightforward, stag beetle, hyena, and a whale costume large enough for two kindergarteners are less run-of-the-mill costume wise!

the birthday

Finally, The Domestic Sphere has reasons to celebrate. This post is number 500. Also, next week, the 25th of March will mark the 5th anniversary of this weblog. Happy birthday, blog!

09:50 AM
March 8, 2007
It's pink in there

Johnny Cash once said of his closet, "It's dark in there." Zoe's laundry basket? It's pink in there. Zoe has chosen to wear pink almost exclusively for hmm, somewhere around three years? Maybe more. Sometime in first grade I think, we started moving to pink. She's not particularly vocal about it, but it is her uniform, and the not-pink items just don't really get worn. I will say that it has made clothes and getting dressed a non-issue...

Once at a friend's house she got wet and had to borrow clothes. A blue sweatshirt? Leo and I couldn't stop staring at her.

On to knitting news. I'm working on the mini stitch dictionary portion of Knitting Patterns for Dummies. It's a whole different ball of wax from writing patterns and is going pretty smoothly. Lots of swatch knitting, which is strangely satisfying.

Anyway, I was trying to come up with some "multiple of 8, plus 3" lace patterns. One of the sweater patterns calls for this stitch count, and I love the one I used, but since I'm including a couple of lace patterns in the front of the book, I want to have them be easy substitutes for the one in the pattern. So, multiple of 8, plus 3.

I've been looking through stitch dictionaries and even done some web searches based solely on that stitch count. Found a lace I thought was good (these all need to be pretty short and simple. I want plain wrong side rows and not more than about 10 rows to the repeat.). I couldn't see it clearly in the picture. Swatched it. Didn't like it. Came to think it was a typo and what would happen if Row 4 were shifted over 1 stitch? Swatched that. What if I changed these 2 decreases to a single double decrease? Then there was too much "blank space" between the lacy bits. I tried a couple of things and decided the best was to throw a purl in there. That would give more attention to the vertical thing that was happening and pull in that space a bit, like a very mild rib. Now I'm getting somewhere! This is on today's swatch list.

So this morning, I plug some other variation of "mult of 8 sts, plus 3" into google. And found the exact lace pattern that I had just made up! And it does look good.

05:54 AM
March 3, 2007
It's not easy being green, part 1

I've been thinking recently about shopping and the big sooty footprint we leave on the planet. We, as Americans, particularly, buy a lot of stuff we don't really need -- and we love a good bargain on it too! When you think about what the production of the stuff you wear does to the planet, and, for the most part, how the workers who make your 2 for $10 t-shirts are treated, well, it all boils down to an unpretty picture. But this is hardly news.

Most of my clothes I get secondhand. Honestly not so much through any sort of politically correct choice, but because I seem to find things I like better there and I enjoy the sport of it, the treasure hunt. And because the prices are so good, you can afford to be more daring. Or keep something for a couple of months and then give it the "from the thriftshop you were taken, and to the thriftshop ye shall return" trip to the backdoor.

And secondhand shopping IS recycling. And even if something was manufactured in a sweat shop, your dollars are not supporting the practice, rather they are usually supporting some sort of rehabilitation program or care for sick children. I don't think anyone can make the argument that more firsthand things are made to support the lively secondhand trade. Rather, the more things are re-used, the fewer things need to be produced and the fewer things end up in the landfill.

Some people are squeamish about wearing something used. There are always lines. Whether it's someone else's shoes, or anything that can't be machine washed. So what about these things? I've been thinking that I should really be voting with my wallet more conscientiously when it comes to these purchases. American Apparel has a pretty full line of t-shirts and underwear, pajamas and tights. And lots of nice cotton basics for kids. This is something else I end up buying new. Not all of American Apparel is organic, or perfect for the planet, but it seems like a more positive choice.

07:35 AM