Monday, December 31, 2007

Just. All. Wrong.

Independently, all of these things are good. But together, they just don't work.

Case #1

A. Rowan All Seasons Cotton
B. Desire to knit a child's top-down sweater with contrasting-c0lor raglan sleeves in the round

A+B=No. No. No.

The sad part is, this is my second attempt at this. I was sure I had figured it out this time. I could have continued this way, but I would have ended up with twice as many tangles and ends to weave in. Ugh.

Wrong. So Wrong.

Case #2

A. Thrifted, chunky buttons of unknown origin and unknown composition
B. New sweater, blocked and dry

A+B=No. No. No.

Lovely Buttons.

No. No. No.

The buttons, unfortunately, make it look on the 'granny' side of style. Also unfortunately, I have no other buttons in the house. And tomorrow is New Years.

Let's hope for better button mojo in the new year, shall we? I'm looking for either some dark purple or black buttons for this thing, and until then I will wear it without buttons. Buttons be damned.

Thank you for all of your kind comments and emails about our preschool 'situation'. It does help to hear from people who have been there, teachers and friends. Thankfully he's none the wiser about the whole situation and, I'm sure, will return to preschool in a week very cheerfully. I hope I can say the same for myself.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sneak Peek

It hasn't blocked yet, but I couldn't wait to post this. I finished knitting the Elderberry Jacket last night and weaved the ends in this morning. After getting frustrated with Imogen, I pulled this baby out of the knitting trunk and realized I might be able to get it done in 2007.

Elderberry Elegance

I'm going to give it a bath this morning, block it and let it dry and then put on the buttons. It has been very good for me, emotionally, to finish up this sweater. I really want to wear it. You see, it's supposed to be in the single digits the next few days and I could use a squishy warm sweater to cozy up in.

Also some things have been going on at my son's preschool that I could have never dreamed up. He's apparently become his teachers' target for therapy. This, the second time they have suggested a second therapy for a separate thing, we took him to a skilled practitioner who indeed said, no, your son does not need said therapy. He needs understanding teachers. The truth is, as you might have imagined, he does not fit neatly into the little boxes that the majority of kids do, but that does not always warrant a diagnosis. Yeah he's different. He learned to read by himself a year ago when he was 4; I'd say that's different.

The hardest part for me has been, yet again, wondering if I am an attentive, loving, proactive parent or in denial. When our son was very young, he was exhibiting some abnormal communicative development, and while everyone around me was saying "No, no, he'll be fine..." I pushed to get him into the Birth-To-Three program. I never regretted it. His speech and other communication skills are now advanced for his age. Yes, that may have happened naturally, but I didn't want to find out. Now, having the teachers, out-of-the-blue, say that he needs therapy, and feeling inadequate, like I didn't spot something I should have, that has been emotionally draining.

So yeah, I need this sweater. In more ways than one.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

That's a Wrap

I don't have FO photos of the Reader's Wrap, but it has been finished for more than a week. I'll take some photos of it on my mom. Unfortunately, we won't be getting together until New Year's Day, but it's with good reason. My youngest sister just had a little boy and my parents are spending a few weeks there helping out with her oldest, who is 2.5.

So free I felt after that wrap was done! I cast on a sock, and finished it:
New Sock
I guess I really can't call it a "Finished Object," however, until I finish the other sock. It's made from Duet Sock Yarn (A
Swell Yarn Shop) and the colorway is "Chantilly Lace". Acquired in a swap on Ravelry. I had no idea it would stripe! I do like it. I had been planning these as a Christmas gift to myself, but in my usual manner, I became distracted.

I started an Imogen jacket with the Araucania Nature Wool Chunky from my abandoned Egg Jacket, but in my rush I cast on the wrong size. It's quite an interesting pattern, knit from side to side, but that means instead of looking at the chest measurement for the size you want to make, you need to look at the length first. You can basically make it any width you want (just as if you were knitting "regularly" you could make another sweater any length you want). So I blindly cast on for a 'large' as the chest measurement looked right for me. However, that would make it 31" long, which is longer than I'd like. I'm actually going to cast on for the 'small' size, which sounds incredibly ridiculous, given that I'm 5'10", but it's 25" long and I think that will be perfect for me.

In other yarny news, my good friend Mandy (whom I'm insanely jealous of because she lives in NC where it's mild right now) sent this beautiful skein of handspun merino! Drool! I need to find an appropriate pattern for this...possibly a hat, as suggested.
Mandy's Gift
Thanks Mandy. I love it.

And we've embarked on another home improvement project. Our downstairs half bathroom is the only place in the house that still harbors wallpaper. And hoo. Get ready for this ugliness...(shield your eyes--you've been warned)

Hideous Wallpaper
To top it off, the countertop is wall-to-wall, fake plastic marble swirl and the cabinet is yellow.

Half-bathroom remodel
So we're stripping the wallpaper, taking off the countertop, determining if there's tile underneath the cabinet (probably not) possibly tiling under and putting in a pedestal sink or maybe leaving the cabinet, painting it and getting a new countertop with sink. We'll see how it shakes out. We've got a week.

Oh, and we're planning a family vacation to Jamaica.

Goodbye 2007! We will think of you fondly, but are excited about the prospects of 2008.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Enough Already!

We have damn near 22 inches of snow on the ground. That's quite a bit for here in the first part of fact someone was reminding me today that we had no snow for Christmas last year. I got very cozy with the snowblower yesterday and the kids played outside for awhile, too.
Snow kids
In fact I do like snow. It's driving in it that I really don't like. I believe that Grandma & Grandpa are getting the kids new, sturdy sleds this year for Christmas, and we will put them to good use. We tossed our old sleds because the pink plastic was cracking and breaking.

It's almost done! Wow, that Reader's Wrap is a fast project. Or maybe it's because I haven't knit on anything else since I started it. Usually I'm bouncing around all different projects. It's motivating to see how much I can get done when I stick with one project, actually.
Reader's Wrap
I had a difficult time photographing the color. It's Blueberry Borscht Peace Fleece and it's more of a dark periwinkle with raspberry flecks. I have about 2 more inches to knit then I'll add the second pocket and do 8 rows of seed stitch, bind off, weave in ends, sew down pockets (how?), block and wrap. Whew. Here's another shot in the sunlight...
Reader's Wrap
I'm about five posts away from my 100th post! I'd like to have a contest of some sort (with yarny goods to give away), so if you'd like to suggest a nifty one, I sure would be happy to consider it. Thanks.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


No, not a reference to "Saved by the Bell". But rather an about-face on a knitting project that I've been waffling on for months. I started knitting a Cabled Donegal Tweed Vest in August with the idea that I'd give the finished project to my mom for Christmas. The last time I knit her something for Christmas, it was a bulky wool sweater and she rarely wears it because it's too hot for her. So I thought this would be perfect. So I thought. Over the ensuing months, I keep checking out the pattern, eyeing the ribbing. Thinking about my mom...I don't think the deep ribbing on the waist and armholes is a good choice to flatter her body. Plus I realized, too late, that I had only knit the back and half of one front and I didn't think I could get it done in 20 days.

In comes the part with the ball winder.

I ripped it completely out last night.

And I cast on for a Reader's Wrap. I'm slightly altering the pattern by doing seed stitch on the borders instead of double seed stitch and I'm making the pockets ala EZ instead of sewing them on the outside. But I think this should be a pretty quick knit with no seaming. My kinda project.

Irish Hiking Scarf, sorta

Oh, I finished an Irish Hiking Scarf for my newest sister-in-law. This was my first Irish Hiking Scarf, and due to the aforementioned time constraint (I also have to ship this to NJ), I doubled Cascade 220 and only knit two cable repeats instead of three and got what I think is a *great* chunky scarf. In four days. This is what actually led me to the Reader's Wrap--I was thinking of knitting four cable repeats and making a 'personal afghan' of sorts for my mom, when I browsed Ravelry and found the Reader's Wrap. I'm loving this idea. I hope the execution lives up to my expectations!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

It's a Good Thing

I can be a bit of a homebody when the mood strikes. This morning the boy had soccer, and after that I had to run to the LYS for some black Cascade 220, but we are buckling down, enjoying hot chocolate and each other's company. For the weather outside is frightful. And the knits inside--so delightful.
Weather Map - Snow/Sleet/Ice

Friday, November 30, 2007

Little Girl Knitting

As it's officially 'crunch' time here, I've been working on finishing knits. The first one is for my niece for her late-December birthday. You may remember I made one for her brother for his October birthday. I used the same yarn, Cascade Eco-Wool, but dyed it with Kool-Aid. And turned it into this:
Abbie's Birthday Sweater - finished
Pattern: Children's Neckdown Pullover #9730, Knitting Pure & Simple
Size: 2-4 (generous for a petite 5yo girl)
Yarn: Cascade Eco-Wool, tan, 1 skein!

Next up were matching mittens for my darling daughter. I made her Ear Cozies a few months back when I was procrastinating on Sockapalooza socks. (Funny how that works, as I'm now procrastinating on the vest I need to finish for my Mom.) I made mittens from this pattern last year for the kids and really enjoy it. Quick, easy and accurate sizing, oh and it's free.
Ear Cozies and Matching Mittens
Pattern: Children's or Adult's Mittens by Sandy's Needle Nook (pdf)
Yarn: Plymouth Outback (1 skein!)

The only way I modified these mittens were to put longer cuffs on them to help keep them on under her coat. It's difficult to see in the photo above, because in the real world, I always put her mittens on before her coat to try to take advantage of the long cuffs.
Peek A Boo
long cuffs

This, unfortunately, was only dress rehearsal for the mittens. My kids are passing around a fever/cough virus, and it's her turn so she stayed home today from preschool. Not that she minds very much. She wore the mittens all morning while watching "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas."
Hooray for a matched set

This latest knit is especially timely given our forecast for tomorrow: Winter Storm Warning with 3-6 inches of snow predicted and 1 inch of ice pellets thrown in for good measure. As well as freezing rain on Sunday. This calls for a trip to the grocery, stat!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Plowing Through The Season

How did it get to be that time again? That time between Thanksgiving and Christmas that many knitters look forward to and dread at the same time. That time when it seems there are more recipients for handknitted items than hours in the day. The time we spend thinking about our family and our blessed friends.

Thankfully I checked one project off the list. And with a few days to spare! My older sister's birthday is only a week away.

Carrie's Socks
FO: Carrie's Birthday Socks
Pattern: Short-row toes and heals from "Simple Socks: Plain & Fancy" by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. P1, K4, Cable on the K4 every six rows.
Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Special (not a good yarn to cable without a cable needle, incidentally. Rather splitty.)

One down, a few to go.

For the past few years, we've gotten our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. Usually the weather isn't too frightful and the crowds not too large and there are plenty of good trees to be found. This year we wavered, because Thanksgiving was early and we're always aware of a tree drying out and becoming hazardous by Christmas. But we did it anyway. I love that we're continuing this tradition from my childhood, although I swear we used to drive an hour each way to get our trees when I was growing up, and then they were stuffed into the car with us in the back seat, creating a claustrophobic situation like none other I've experienced. I'm thankful we have a great tree farm within 15 minutes from our house.

Christmas Tree
Him, wearing handknit mittens and her wearing handknit mittens and hat.
Yes, we had just enough snow before Thanksgiving to make things beautiful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


When I was pregnant with each of my children, I often wondered if they would have any distinctive traits from my husband or me, or possibly others in our families. Our son was born with very little hair, which he promptly lost and didn't grow back for a long time. He didn't need a haircut until he was almost 2 years old. His hair was so light--he definitely resembles me as a child. However, it has become apparent that he's got his father's and grandfather's ability to memorize and learn. He started reading at age 4, and we found out quite accidentally last night that he has memorized 80% of US State capitals. He even knew the capital of South Dakota. Do you? Without cheating? Yeah, he's 5. It's a little scary.

Me, at 3 Me, 3 Boy, at 3 Him, 3

Our daughter, on the other hand, is so sweet and mild-tempered and sleeps so well; she's so much like her father, and definitely has his eyes.

Her and Him

But now I'm wondering...I'm really wondering...if our daughter is going to grow up to be Amy Detjen. I'm serious. She's all about wanting to learn how to knit lately (she's 2!) and just look at the shoes she chose at the Midwest's Largest Shoe Store* yesterday.

Purple Shoes, ala Amy

They're cute, but they're quite purple! Ah well, it wouldn't be all bad, now would it? A prolific, outspoken, funny, kind knitter in the house. With purple shoes.

*Yes, this is the same shoe store that got the Badgers in big trouble a few years ago.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

FO - Socks again!

My lovely Sugarplum Socks are off the needles and actually I've worn them twice. Twice! They are quite warm.

FO Sugarplum Socks
FO: Sugarplum Socks
Pattern: Toe-up from Simple Socks Plain & Fancy with a K3P1 rib, short-row toes and heels
Yarn: Farmhouse Yarns Not Just For Socks in Sugarplums & Butterscotch
Needle Size: 2

I mailed my younger sister's socks for her Nov 19th birthday and started my older sister's birthday socks for her Dec 1st birthday. I decided to use some Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch that I got in a trade on Ravelry. It has some nice color changes, will look great with jeans and I can do a little cabling, too.

Carrie's Birthday Sock

This is just a K4, P1 rib with the a cable thrown in on the K4s every 6 rows. I turned the heel today, thankfully. It's a little slower-going than the other socks, but I think I have enough time. This yarn should hold up to my sister's inevitable washing/drying in machinery. I think her husband does the laundry, so we can't blame her!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Veterans Day

This probably sounds stupid, but I thought I'd write it anyway because it makes me angry.

My dad is a United States Vietnam War Veteran. For as long as I have been an adult, I've sent him a Veterans Day card in the mail. I appreciate his service, more so now that I'm a mother of two young children. When my dad went, he left voluntarily to be a doctor in the War and he had a wife and a 1-year-old daughter at the time.

So last year, I went to two Walgreens stores to find Veterans Day cards. Neither had one, and I ended up fuming to the person working there, writing an email to the Walgreens website and finally bought a "Thank You" card and wrote something in it to my dad about the injustice of not being able to find a Veterans Day card at Walgreens.

So this year, I was down on State Street this morning and decided, heck, to go to the Veterans Museum because I figured...they would DEFINITELY have Veterans Day cards and probably good ones, too.

You'd think so, wouldn't you? You'd really think so, right? You'd be wrong. They don't have Veterans Day cards in the gift shop. They said "go to Walgreens."

Finally found one today at Hallmark . I almost did what my husband said to do, "buy two or three of them at least, so you don't have to hunt them down every year." But there was only one suitable one. There was a Vietnam-War-specific card, and it actually referenced the fact that the Vietnam War was controversial for many years. Who wants to send that to a Vietnam War vet? THEY KNOW. Anyway, I thought writing this might help get this off my chest. I still can't believe the Veterans Museum doesn't have Veterans Day cards.

If you know a vet, acknowledge him or her Sunday, Nov. 11.

ETA: Go look at Hallmark's website. Go look. Not a mention of Veterans Day on the home page. What the heck, people?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fall, Unadulterated

This past summer, I spent a few hours cultivating a small garden behind our house. I planted what I could get my hands on, including a few varieties of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, basil and pumpkins. The pumpkin seeds came from my mother, who is a Master Gardener, and had used a few of the seeds four or five years ago. I doubted they would come up, but two of them did and promptly took over the garden. I had no idea pumpkin vines would spread everywhere. Eventually I got two pumpkins out of them. One of them sprouted over the garden fence, so I couldn't save it from being scratched and bitted by squirrels and rabbits. The other plumped up in our garden to a respectable size. About a month ago, I brought it into our house. It was an eating pumpkin, but I wasn't quite sure how to turn it into a pie. Until I read this.

So yesterday, I baked this:
fall pie

And then I knit a little bit on these:
fall socks

And not to be outdone, the kids had great fun, too.

I hope you also had a (mostly) perfect fall weekend.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Just a quick FO to post (brag) about. These are for my younger sister's birthday. I'm so grateful my sisters both have birthdays during colder months. Oh, and that they enjoy handknits, too.

Sister Socks
Pattern: Toe-Up from Simple Socks by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts using Garter Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch
Yarn: Interlacements Toasty Toes

I also cast on for my second for-me pair of socks...I know I've got a lot on the needles, but I couldn't resist this yarn. It's Farmhouse Yarn's Bo Peep "Not Just for Socks". The colorway is "Sugarplums & Butterscotch". Delicious. Scored from The Sow's Ear in Verona, WI. This is also a sportweight yarn, and knit so tightly it can stand up on it's own. I think this will be a good sock for February.

Sugarplum Sock

Monday, October 29, 2007

Nah Nah Nah Nah, Nah Nah Nah Nah...

Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye.

Here's what I was so excited about last week.
N's Hat

Casting away previous excuses ("too tired..wah wah wah"), I followed a chart! And I was so excited.

Now, not so much. I tried it on my son, and the fit is terrible. You see, this pattern, the "Norwegian Star Cap" from "Hat's On" by Charlene Schurch, has you do a knitted cast-on, knit a hem, then knit a picot edge (my first!), and then motor on up the chart to the top of the hat. I switched it to a provisional cast-on because I thought it wouldn't show as much from the front when it was tacked down because there would be less bulk. I think I had the right instincts, but trying to cast on exactly 112 stitches provisionally is difficult, and I think I hit about 118. So I decreased a few and it was no big deal, or so I thought.

I tried the hat on my son and it flares out at the brim. Not the desired look in a cap. So I think I will knit it again, this time like Elizabeth Zimmerman's "Very Warm Hat" by using long-tail cast-on, starting immediately on the chart, and then later picking up the cast-on and knitting the inside facing under it. Maybe I'll line the whole thing. Or maybe, once again, I'm insane. All my posts are ending that way lately, aren't they? So much verbage for such a little hat.

Here is the top-down jacket:
Beaverslide top-down jacket

I have about 3 inches of the other sleeve done, too, so hopefully this will be a finished object before the snow flies.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Cleaning House

As previously mentioned, we are in the first stages of thinking about our upcoming move in the spring/summer next year. We have visited the place we think we might want to live, although we're waffling back and forth on that.

Now, it's time to visit our house. The one we will need to put on the market in possibly a mere four months.

An objective eye is always the sellers' best friend when it comes to selling a house. You know what I mean. It's important to detach oneself from sentimental decorating choices and get real.

That leads me to this.

Hideous or Kitschy?

Don't laugh. This is in our garage. It is not our fault. It was there when we bought the house. And, well, it's in the garage. The spooky thing is that sometimes when you turn on the light in the garage, the fan turns. Sometimes it doesn't.

So, I am inclined to leave it. It's in the garage, after all, and neither my husband nor I really want to deal with tearing it out and covering up the resulting hole. Good idea...or not? Maybe it's worth a kajillion dollars and I could list it on craigslist. Or maybe I'm just insane.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Notes on Beaverslide

I first encountered Beaverslide yarn when Leanne used to sell it on eBay. She packaged it in auctions of four or five skeins, sometimes of different colors as a sampler. I bought some 90% wool/10% mohair in Bluebird to make a sweater for my younger sister for Christmas. It would match her eyes. It was among my first sweaters, and it was an ambitious Christmas--I had three sweaters on the needles for my sisters and my mom, and then...well, I got pregnant. I didn't finish a single thing on time. I was so nauseated and tired, it took all my energy to get to and from work. It turned out I didn't have enough Beaverslide yarn to finish my sister's sweater, and that's when I first encountered Leanne's excellent customer service. Of course she had more of the same dyelot--she holds a few back for this very reason. They all got their sweaters in the next few months...

Next, I bought some more 90/10 in Glacier Heather directly from Leanne to make my first Wonderful Wallaby for our infant son. I was pleased--it matched his eyes.
Beaverslide Wallaby

However, sensitive that others might not want baby things in wool, I didn't use it again for awhile. I didn't have much time to knit, either. By the time I got back to it, Beaverslide had been reviewed in Knitter's Review and had become very popular--or, at least popular enough that the auctions disappeared from eBay.

Not too long ago, I bought my first McTaggert Tweed. I was intrigued with the colors and when I received it, the texture was amazing. Almost like a boucle, very soft and, for lack of a more technical term, squishy. (The doesn't match my eyes. Thank God.)

I've been knitting with it now for the past two or three weeks, working on a top-down jacket, and have only found it more interesting. My swatch with size 9 needles gave me 3.5 stitches to the inch before washing, and it was a struggle to get 4 sts to the inch with size 8 needles. That was not fun knitting. This yarn wants to be knit at a chunky weight, in my opinion. Besides that, when I did get 4 sts to the inch, after a solid wet block, the yarn relaxed back to 3.5 stitches to the inch. The row gauge changed ever-so-slightly as well--it actually shrunk a little bit.
Another endearing thing about Beaverslide McTaggert Tweed.... I had to completely change how I knit. Well, that might be overstating things. But previously, to get even tension, I would always wind the yarn around my pinky finger.
I got so much drag knitting this way with the McTaggert Tweed. I don't know if it's that I have dry hands, but the yarn was catching on my skin and it was very difficult to knit this way. Not fast. Not at all. So, as I wanted to finish this sweater in 2007, I decided to play around with things a little...
So here's how I do it now. Remarkably faster with this yarn and the tension might be a little off, but I keep telling myself what Meg Swansen said about blocking wool; that it's just magic.

The other thing to keep in mind about this yarn, in my experience, is that it breaks much more easily than other 100% wool yarns I've encountered. I haven't used it for cabling, but it doesn't take much tension to snap it.

Well, I love most yarn. But there's something special about Beaverslide McTaggert Tweed, and no one paid me to say that nor gave me any yarn to say that either. (but I'd be open to free yarn! Oh Leanne? Just kidding!)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Hi there. Since I put that "Blogging without Obligation" button on my blog, it seems I've turned into a blog slacker. Anyway, with good reason.

See, we're moving to Boston. We currently live in Wisconsin, and have lived here for seven years. It is home for me. But, for reasons that will go unexplained right now on the blog, it's better for us financially to move to Boston. We are planning to do that next spring/summer. Which is coming up faster than one might think.

So this past weekend, my husband, our daughter and I went to Boston to check out neighborhoods and preschools. (Our son had a *great* weekend with grandma and grandpa.) Preschools, as some people know, start enrolling almost a year before, so I knew we needed to get that in line pretty quickly.

I will spare you the gory details, but our trip was mostly crap. I got lost a million times, despite having a GPS in the rental car. M came down with a fever, and our plane was delayed for 3+ hours at Logan on the way back. Previously, my worst flying experience had been an unexpected overnight stay in O'Hare way back in 1996 or 97. That was before children. This was worse--having a dehydrated, feverish, angry toddler in an airport for most of an afternoon was something I hope never to repeat again.

We were fortunate to meet Devon for lunch on Friday, while M was still perky and feeling well, and that was the highlight of the trip for us! Devon is such a sweetheart--she brought a coloring book and crayons for M. It was so nice to meet her in person and determine that she really is as genuine and goodhearted as one thinks she is.

Thankfully, I had some time to knit on the plane. I worked on the Top-Down Jacket:
Elderberry Top-Down Jacket

I still plan to post an indepth review of the Beaverslide McTaggert Tweed, because this is the most interesting yarn I've worked with yet. It has some different properties, in my opinion. I think it's working up nicely and I'm excited about the project still, which is a feat after all of this stockinette.

There's also my niece's sweater:
Abbie's Top-Down Roll neck sweater
Which will be done for her 12/28 birthday. This is the yarn I dyed with Kool-aid.

I also thought I'd post about an upcoming project. After finishing the Donegal Vest for Christmas for my mom, I'd like to tackle this for myself:
Snowshoe Aran Pullover Sweater
It's a Top-Down Aran Sweater! The construction is mesmerizing and I'm really excited to 'graduate' to this sweater after knitting a few top-down things lately. Seaming just intimidates me and I'm thrilled about the idea of making a more complicated sweater. Of course, that is, if everyone stays fairly well in our house. (knock on wood)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Goodies from Camp

Here is Meg Swansen, reading from "The Opinionated Knitter" at the behest of Amy Detjen. Everyone was silent and in awe. Please excuse my camera--it is old and doesn't take very good (or very long) videos.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Can't Believe It

This is going to sound insane, because to me it doesn't even make sense. So, as I mentioned before, I attended Meg Swansen's mini-camp last weekend. I learned a plethora of things, and was exposed to extremely intricate, gorgeous knitwear. I bought the Saddle Shoulder Aran Cardigan 'pattern' and the Adult Suprise Jacket, too, and sufficient yarn to knit any of it. Along with "Hat's On!" (at t the enablement of Dee, who also 'sold' about six other "Hat's On!" books to the group) and "Meg Swansen's Knitting".

So what do I feel like knitting?

A top-down stockinette stitch jacket.

Wah? Shouldn't I be attempting all these wild and fun things I learned? Shouldn't I be taking advantage of all of that?

Yes, probably. But as I say to myself time and again--there will be time for that. I am a comfort knitter right now. I have, at most, one and a half hours per day to knit, and I'm usually tired, too. While I adore cables and fair isle, I just can't bring myself to do it right now.

What a boring blog. (sshhh! Don't tell anyone!)

Hey, pink or purple for the jacket?

Beaverslide McTaggert Tweed in Elderberry Beaverslide McTaggert Tweed in Snowberry

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rock Stars

I've been home for two days and it may seem over the top to some people to say that my knitting life has changed forever, but that's how it feels.

I spent last Thursday through Sunday at Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp. There was an overflow waiting list from the summer camp, so Schoolhouse Press decided to have a mini-camp in Marshfield, WI, in September and I jumped at the chance. There were only about 20 of us, so it was intimate and amazing. I don't know how I can sum up in one post. I've been struggling to think of what to write about the experience, actually.

Meg is a truly very genuine person, completely lovely and a very good teacher. Amy Detjen, who assisted Meg, is very funny, boisterious and talented. Joyce Williams is amazing. Really, I think it took everything we had to not stare at them the whole time with our jaws on the floor. They showed us some amazing knitwear:
Swoon Oh the gorgeousness
We shopped.
We laughed.
Meg & the cake hat
We knitted.
Astrid's Garter Rib Toe-Up Socks
Above all, it was a much-needed escape for me. I hadn't ever been away from my kids for more than two days. We truly missed each other, and I think that was the best part about the whole experience. Although it doesn't hurt that I learned how to do a crocheted steek, too. More on camp when it digests in my brain.

Edited to add...some of my photos will be disappearing from my blog because of this. I am outraged to think someone would steal photos of children and do this. So I will be careful from now on how I photograph my children for public consumption, unfortunately. Sign the petition and do what you can to help.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Whew & FO

So what was that last post about? I didn't want complain outright, but I felt extremely tired and cranky after that day and started to reflect upon the why of it. And the numbers stood out in my head, especially after that second milk-spill incident. Ah toddlers.

And I have forgotten to mention the results of our daughter's surgery. They removed a lesion from her wrist--it was determined to be the result of a bug bite. We are so thankful that it was nothing serious. This was one crazy bug bite reaction, had been there for more than a month and it looked infected, scabbed, was 2cm wide and antibiotics did not take care of it. Wouldn't you know, the day after Labor Day she woke up with her right eye swollen shut. As she is only still two years old, we are learning how her body reacts to different things. Obviously she has issues with bug bites.

FO first socks for ME
FO: Toe-up socks using Simple Socks by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, 3x1 rib
Yarn: Interlacements Toasty Toes

Now, onto better things! I finished my first socks for *me* this weekend. So proud. I know, they're a little manly. They're big (size 11) and dark, but they will be cherished this winter here in Wisconsin. Remember this?

Next on the needles are socks for a dear friend. It's her birthday October 4th and she deserves it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Today, By The Numbers

One 2-year-old girl
One 5-year-old boy
One traveling husband
One crazy mama

Three bowls of cereal eaten
Two cups of juice consumed
One mug of strong tea chugged
Two phone calls
One doctor's office visit averted
Two parks visited
Three beef sticks eaten
Two fruit cups slurped
Two impressive milk-spilling displays
One nap
Four shoes tied and untied three times
Two clothing changes
One poopy accident

(Take a breath)
Cookie Monster

Two knock-down, drag-out tantrums
178 times spent saying "I miss Papa."
178 times replying "Believe me, so do I."
$26.95 spent at a grocery store
Two bags of chocolate chips bought
48 chocolate chip cookies baked
12 consumed
One movie watched
Three fish sticks eaten
One quarter-pound of french fries munched
Four ounces of ketchup consumed
Two loads of laundry washed & dried
Three emails written
Three rooms cleaned of toys
Six diapers changed
One blog post crafted in my head
Four books read
Two lullabies sung
20 stitches knitted before 7pm

How does your day look?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Questions...and Answers

So, because I have nothing to show today but I felt like writing, here are some answers to recently asked questions. And may I say that including your email address when you leave a comment on a blog may be a good idea (especially if you don't have a blog for me to comment on)...because then I could write back to you personally. But then, on the other hand, I wouldn't have blog content for today. So whatever.

1. Sue asked: "I have never used Joslyn's yarn...did you like it?"

Yes, I do like it. I have a few skeins of Sheep's Gift -- it's more of a sportweight-- in my stash and recently acquired 1.5 more from a trade on Ravelry. The .5 skein threw me for a loop...I had planned to make adult socks with it but couldn't. So that's when I decided to use it for booties. A niece is due any day now and I should make another pair. The only 'problem' with the yarn is that it's not superwash. Which I don't mind, but it might not be the best yarn for booties. But it's darn cute, isn't it?

2. Wendy asked: "Love your wallaby - i have a few questions about it: for the sleeves and bottom, how many stitches did you cast on (as many as the pattern called for in the size you made, or as many as you would eventually increase to?) also, did you start with the smaller needles and switch?"

Thanks Wendy! I remember this process well. I wanted a Wallaby without ribbing, so I swatched with the yarn (a cotton/acrylic blend). I knew that I wanted to machine wash and dry the finished sweater, much like a sweatshirt, so I measured the finished swatch, washed and dried it, and measured again. Then I did a little math and figured out how much it shrunk (about 15% lengthwise!) Then I decided how wide I wanted the sweater to be (I think it has 6" of ease--it's roomy), and multiplied my stitch gauge (ex 4.5sts per inch...46 inches would require 207 stitches) and I cast-on for that. I did not increase; just ran straight up until I hit the armholes. I measured another sweater to get that measurement, keeping in mind that my swatch shrunk quite a bit lengthwise, so I had to get that percentage correct. It took some math, but I think it worked out well. I did not switch needle sizes, either. You might want to decrease a little if you don't want the big sweatshirt-tube look, but that happens to be what I was going for at the time.

Thanks for reading and asking!

And no, I haven't forgotten. We were fortunate that none of our East-Coast-living family and friends were directly affected, but we mourn the collective loss.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Throw Down

There's apparently a battle on, and I'm going to win it. You see, I happened to have lied when I said that the Sockapalooza socks were the second ones I had knitted. Technically, they were the first because my first pair never got finished and I frogged them awhile ago. I didn't really take to the "two socks on two circulars" method...maybe I didn't give it a chance, but I bent my size 0 Addis and that made me a little miffed.

Anyway, I think the sock gods are punishing me for lying. A little while ago, Aija, all-knowing Sock Pr0n proprietress, advocated for the book "Simple Socks: Plain & Fancy" by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. So I filed that away, bought the book when I saw someone was destashing it, and then asked my friend Mandy what kind of dpns she was using, and then scored some of them in a trade on Ravelry.

So I had the book, the needles and plenty of sock yarn (hah!), so I took out a huge hank of Interlacements Toasty Toes -- a sportweight to try to lessen the frustration this first time out. And I read through PGR's book no less than three times. I finally was ready to try. This is what I got:

Sock Toe

Gah. Then I had the gall to post it on Ravelry forums, asking what the heck I did wrong. I'll tell ya what I did wrong! I left only 6 stitches at the toe. I don't know about you, but my toes are wider than 1 inch. Anyway, frogged.

The next try does not have a photo because it happened late at night and I couldn't bring myself to document it. Suffice to say that it wasn't good. Way too big.

Now, I know what you're thinking. This sounds familiar, doesn't it? Like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, kinda, eh? Well, we're not done yet.

Third time a charm?
Round 3...Sock 3, Jen 0
No. Most decidedly not. Too wide *again*. That was 26 stitches on each side and 10 for the toe.

I am nothing if not persistent, though. I cast on again during naptime with 24 for each side and 10 for the toe. Can I just say...I really have this short-row toe down cold! Invisible cast-on, bang. Short-row toe, no problem. Pretty cool what messing up does for your skills, right?