Things to do with the lights off

Our neighbors used to live in North Dakota. They often join us (since we also came from a place where ‘snow’ is more than a spelling word) in mocking the inability of Texans to deal with temperature dips. Like last winter, when it hit the freeze point and Target selling out of space heaters was on the news? Hilarious. Less amusing is the general reaction to something we call “rain.” Rain brings car accidents (a good thunderstorm a few months ago filled repair shops in town to capacity), the streets flood, and we get something else fun – power outages! Yesterday brought intermittent rain showers and – literally – as many power outages. We lost power for two hours during the shower in the morning, half an hour for sprinkles around mid-day, and then it went off again during some rain at 3. And didn’t come back on for five hours. It wasn’t even raining for the last three hours of the outage, I assume repair crews were simply overwhelmed by emergencies caused by the ‘severe weather.’ (Please. It didn’t even get dark outside while it was raining, never even offered thunder or lightning, and while you would have gotten wet if you went out during the showers, my neighbors took their dog out multiple times during the day without getting anything like soaked. Argh.)

So, what is there to do in a gradually warming/humidifying house, with my husband and my son sleeping and no electricity? I did work on the babyghan for a while – but as it turns out, without background music /television/ conversation, working on wide swaths of double-crochet is fabulously boring. Who knew? I did take the opportunity to take those yarn pictures I promised (and compose this blog entry in my head. Turns out I was VERY bored.) so I can show you the yarn overload.

null I went to Garden Ridge a few weeks ago, and found a bunch of Lion Brand Magic Stripes sock yarn for $3 a ball. Not being familiar with its usual retail price, I was not sure if it or much of the other yarn there was a good deal, plus I wasn’t terribly interested in making socks, didn’t need more yarn, etc. So I left, with no yarn purchased. I went back the other day and found the yarn aisle almost exactly as I had left it – half-filled, disarranged, several ball bands ripped or removed, skeins tangled and mixed together randomly (this is not the best Garden Ridge I’ve ever seen). It seemed, in fact, as though no one had touched the yarn in the weeks I had been gone. (Weird…) Anyway, as you can see, this time I bought every ball that was there that still had its ball band (I could have had 2 more bandless balls of the blue, but they seemed a little violated) which included 2 blue-ish, 3 purple-ish, and one brown-ish. (I’m still not too crazy on the colors for socks, but I found this pattern for a self-striping baby sweater which I am absolutely going to make with the blue skeins.)

Next up is the cotton:

null I bought 12 (Yes. 12. I told you, I went a little crazy) skeins of Lily Sugar ‘n Cream in that lovely blue ombre, and another 8 in navy for $1 a skein, which is a reasonably good buy. In fact, I bought all I could find there in those two colors. I blame this on my long and fruitless search for large amounts of locally available cotton yarn in two particular shades of blue (um, not these shades. Won’t work). I like them, though, and while I have plans for the navy, does anyone have non-kitchen suggestions for 24 oz. of worsted weight blue ombre cotton?

As if that weren’t bad enough, I recently bought and have not yet touched over a pound of white cotton, and four 12-oz skeins of simply soft brites in a lovely blue. Yeah, four. It’s for a sweater I’m planning but won’t start for months, and rather than have too little, I certainly bought too much. 😯 At least it’s a nice color, right?



So anyway, that is why I’ve begun stashbusting. As far as that goes, I’ve got a bit of a problem. I ran out of the blue Soft Baby – see?

bigger little star

The blanket is not as big as I would like, which raises the question: use another color, buy more, or keep it smallish? Buying more yarn is pretty much the opposite of stashbusting, but we like to do things right, right? I’ve just about decided to buy another skein and put it all into the blanket: each sucessive round takes more and more yarn, and I had nearly a full skein of blue when I started, so I think that a whole other skein will bring it out to the size I’d like and still leave me with that nice empty spot in the drawer. For now, though, I need another project.

That reminds me – one other thing I did during the power outages yesterday – I finished Chaco, shown here on a recliner for size comparison.

Chaco (1)

I sewed the eyes on (poor Chaco has been waiting blind for days, that was all that had to be done), but you’ll have to wait a few days for my usual ‘wildlife outdoors’ photo, everything outside is gloomy and wet. Chaco is a puppet, inspired by the fabulous toys at Folkmanis, where they make the most amazing puppets I’ve ever seen. Chaco sits approximately 11″ tall, not including the tail, and covers most of the forearm when worn. His mouth is moveable, although that’s all that is, and he’s stuffed and lined, which means he can do double-duty as a stuffed animal when not in use as a puppet. Here are some more shots:


Chaco (2)

For those of you still reading (wait, there are people still reading?) the Chaco were a tribe of Native Americans indigenous to Paraguay. They built complex stone edifices with solar and lunar significance, even though they had no written language and relied on oral histories to pass on the knowledge needed to build such complex structures – for more than 25 generations. (Wow!) Probably no one else cares, but it seems like a good name for a talking parrot, and I wanted people to know where the name came from.

That was ridiculously long. Thank you for investing the time to read it.


  1. Leigh says:

    During the winter, I caught a little bit of Texas weather news. Something to the effect of, “See that? When the rain actually *freezes* when it hits your rainshield, that’s called *freezing rain!* It might look neat, but it’s not neat to drive in, folks!” I thought that was so funny.

    I’m really liking the baby blankie you’re making — whether you decide to make it bigger or not, it’s really cute.

    And speaking of cute, I love your little parrot! His beak is just darling. I don’t know that I’ve seen a crocheted puppet before.

  2. Julie says:

    Chaco is adorable!

    This would only take care of about 4 oz. of the Sugar & Cream… but have you seen the Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono in the Mason-Dixon ladies’ book? It is heartbreakingly cute. I’ve made one, and it is dead easy and really sweet! Ann & Kay call for Peaches & Creme for it, but I used Sugar & Cream and it was fine. (Although I see you have Peaches & Creme too!)

  3. vicki says:

    i have to tell you that parrot is one of the cutest birds i have ever ever seen. thank you sooooooo much for sharing him with us. i hope you are going to share the pattern with us, either as a freebie, or even as a for sale, i am sure that everyone would want to buy it, if it was not to expensive. i know i would lol

  4. Cath says:

    Super parrot, he’s lovely. Love the baby blanket, think another colour to cordinate would look fine. I like bigger blankets I can wrap round lil’one on cold nights, nice to be snuggly.
    Love the colours of the yarn you bought, dont get those brands here unfortunately, look nice to work with.

  5. Lisa says:

    I LOVE Chaco the parrot! 😛 You’ve done a great job with it. It looks very professional. I would also buy the pattern if it isn’t too expensive.

  6. berni says:

    Wow your parrot rocks!! HOw did you manage with your little one….some design tips would be wonderful on your blog too!!! now that I am crocheting again i see so many things I’d like to make but cannot find a pattern…Chaco is great but your son is gorgeous…a pattern would be great…:cool:

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