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?

Friday, September 07, 2007


I've never been one to be trendy. Don't get me wrong--I'm not 'too cool' for it or anything, but back in adolescence, when it seemed to matter, I just didn't have the sense for it. It's not that I looked like a freak, but I've always been pretty boring, style-wise. I did once own Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, in the 5th grade, and I wore them almost every day. See, I really wanted to do it, but couldn't quite pull it off right.

Likewise, I'm not usually one to get excited about the 'it' thing that everyone is knitting. Usually it seems too involved for my tired eyes or costs a lot. It's not that I don't *admire* all the projects, but I know my limits.

But this time, hah, this time....well, here it is.

Saartje's Booties with ties
FO: Saartje's Booties
Yarn: Joslyn's Fiber Farm Sheep's Gift
Recipient: Friend's baby girl
Mods: i-cord ties instead of straps, ala Tangelled Angel and Yarnbird. I liked the idea of ties. I think they'll stay on the baby's feet better. My son didn't care, but my daughter was pulling things off her feet from a young age. Plus, aren't they just cute!? I didn't know if I had tiny buttons, either, and buttons for babies worry me...what if they pull them off and ingest them?

People around me a procreating at an ever-increasing rate! A niece and a nephew are scheduled to make their appearances this year. Yes, I know I'm in my 30s--prime child-bearing years. However, just in case that Wallaby photo from last post was confusing, let me clear up. We have an 'M' and we have an 'N'. We will not be having an 'O'. Or an 'L', for that matter. Love my kids (we are so lucky), but I did not enjoy pregnancy. Most days, two children is more than enough for us.

knitters virtual vacation swap

ALSO...I was the happy recipient of my Knitters Virtual Vacation Swap last week! On the very day of M's surgery, my GIANT package arrived and I feel so blessed. Sonya really made me feel like we were on vacation in Southern Indiana! She took all kinds of photos of the local tourist spots and put them into a scrapbook. And then she sent all kinds of fun things, including souvenir Louisville Slugger baseball bats (they are 1 mile from Louisville, KY), a 'Looavul' hat, some very fun alpaca/cotton yarn, red hots, and on and on! She made me a drink cozy! She filled a huge box! (can I use more exclamation points?!) Thank you so much, Sonya. On the day I needed a package the very most, you came through and I really appreciate it.

knitters virtual vacation swap

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Back in the Saddle & Best Ever

Carousel, one day after surgery
Taken yesterday at Henry Vilas Zoo

Thanks for all the well wishes. M's surgery went well, although it seemed to take for fricking ever. I guess it was about 30 minutes in all, but every minute seemed like three. Ever have an experience like that? She was not herself when she came out of the anesthesia, but regained composure (after smacking a slushy drink all down my shirt-chilly!) after about 10 minutes. Those minutes were long, too.

However, yesterday, a day after the surgery, she seemed back to herself. She's getting used to having the wrap on her hand. We need to keep it on and dry until her return appointment to have the stitches removed. Any suggestions about how to keep a toddler's wound dressing clean and dry? I didn't think so. We snagged some more wrap supplies before we left. We should find out on Wednesday what exactly it was they cut off her wrist.

No time for a long post today, but Mandy asked for "Best Ever" knits and here is mine:
Pregnant Wonderful Wallaby
This is a Wonderful Wallaby knit from Elann Naturelle 8/8, a cotton/acrylic blend. I wear it constantly when the weather is chilly and it was roomy enough to accommodate a pregnancy, too. It makes me feel cozy and it ushers in Fall, which I adore. It's plain, simple, but I don't know what I'd do without it.