Saturday, November 22, 2008

What to do?

Well, it's been knitting failure all around. But Boy E has been using his winter hats (both store-bought and hand-knit) as "homes" for his toys. All three boys want me to make "homes" now. I better get creative!

Oh, and I'm destashing, too!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Knitting Failure

Flashback: Thursday, November 12. I am happily knitting away on Petra (on US 10.5's) while the children are at school. Happily, I said. That is, until Mom, who is also knitting Petra, looks over and says, “Wow, your fabric is really dense.” I am off gauge by a stitch. I rip out the whole thing, eight inches worth--and let us not underestimate how long it takes me, the mother of three 4-year-olds and one 3-year-old to knit eight inches of anything, even in bulky! I start over on US 11's. Then, on Saturday, after knitting about 10 rows in Mom's company, I have a feeling--a feeling!--and ask Mom to measure. It's off again, about two inches too big. Now I'm pissed. I rip out again. I swatch on both US 10.5's and 11's. I can't get gauge on either. But would you believe it: some companies actually make US 10.75's. And I'm in luck, I can get 10.75 in Addi Lace needles, and Angelika got them to me in two days! On Monday! From Oregon! (And I didn't even pick expedited shipping!)

So after this problem, I had a bit of a finish-itis attack. I picked up Robot and started sewing. I just have to get my safety eyes (already on the way) and I can sew up the head, and then give it to Boy E who laid claim to it. After staking his claim, he helped Boy M leaf through Jess Hutchinson's book to find another toy for me to make for him.

In the meantime, on Saturday night, I came home to find my Lucky Lurker Club package waiting at the front door. I opened it, and it was beautiful yarn (as always)

with a pattern for a beret (note: the iPhone did not do a good job with the color). I've been wanting to knit a beret--I even ordered Grumperina's pattern and have it sitting in my to-do pile--but couldn't justify casting on one more project. So in light of the Petra failure, I swatched and cast on Saturday night. I'm having a good time with it, just have to get up my nerve to swatch again for Petra.

ETA 11/19: Swatched Petra on 10.75's on 11/19 and got gauge. Am working up the nerve to cast on.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Getting Back on Track

Well, outside the blog, I'm pretty much on track. I guess that's how blogging fell by the wayside. Plus entire summer days spent outside with the kids. Plus tennis elbow (due to knitting, a concept that the doctor found hard to accept) kept the summer knitting to a minimum. And to try to catch up on four months' worth, it's just too much even for bullets. Kids are fine, I'm fine, knitting's good...and I'll just pick up here.

Stitches East

Always a good time, traveling with Mom and my sisters. Excellent shopping even though we missed some of our regulars: Blue Moon Fiber Arts, The Skein Attraction. We LOVE cocoknits--I'm working on Petra right now.

(This is the first 8 inches of Petra that I ripped out this afternoon because my gauge is off by one stitch).

We also had a great time with our new friends Wendy and Amy of Woolworks. I bought yarn for the most gorgeous scarf designed by Amy and I swear, I'll be lucky if I can make it--the laceweight mohair is killing me. That stuff is sooo slippery and if I try to take out any stitches or rip back, it knots up, and I keep having to break the yarn and start over. I will NOT be defeated, though I don't know that I'll have enough yarn left to knit the thing!

I invested in several pairs of the Signature Needles: 7" straights in US 6 and US 7, stiletto points, for knitting the lacy scarves I bought from Woolworks, and 6" sock needles in 2.25mm and 2.75 mm. They are beautiful (although maybe a little slippery for the mohair)! Cathy and the women there were just delightful, and we spent a lot of time with them (Thursday night, Friday morning, Saturday morning) figuring out our purchases and buying more.

It was totally cool meeting Miss Babs and Jennifer. I had promised to come by with my Waterfall socks from the Woolgirl sock club, but couldn't wear them because my Dansko clogs were too big plus the suede was running onto my socks and I didn't want to ruin handmade socks.

We also spent time with and bought a lot of yarn (all four of us!) from Katie and Sharon of Yarn Love and Three Irish Girls. Their colorways are too gorgeous! This is Fresh Celery in Yarn Love's worsted and roving (maybe Maiden?) for thrummed mittens:

My sister, embryo1 on ravelry, loved the Maiden colorway so much, she bought it in sock yarn one day and in worsted (for mittens) the next, and didn't realize it until she got back to the room and reviewed her purchases! We all had a good laugh over it, especially when my other sister, borntoknit on ravelry, nixed certain attempted purchases of mine because I always buy the same colors these days.

This year, my purchases were mainly sweaters, a big departure for me. I'm knitting Petra in a chocolate brown Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Super Chunky right now.

In the pipeline are Loppem in Berroco Palace; a Filati sweater; and Tang in Malabrigo (which reminds me, I need to order a sweater stone). I did buy a few more skeins of sock yarn. I also bought a tabletop swift (handmade by Knitting Notions (all my surfaces have beveled edges so the swifts and ballwinders pop off in the midst of winding and wreak havoc) and a new ball winder. We set it up in our room and loved it! New policy: we bring a swift and ball winder to Stitches.

Stitches East Accommodations

We stayed at the new Hilton and here's our report card:

Convenience: A (nothing like being connected to the convention center. We still have vivid memories of 2007's bitter wind as we struggled back to the hotel with all our bags).

Rooms: A (modern, clean)

Service: D (My sister and I had to tag team the front desk and work our way two managers up the chain to get the connecting rooms that we booked but were not booked properly nor confirmed properly by Hilton staff at central booking and the hotel, then had snarky comment from second manager. Not to mention the line of 20 people behind us shooting daggers with their eyes. Terrible breakfast Day 1; ok breakfast day 2. Room service couldn't get our dinner order right. Redeeming note: our new best friend, Assistant Director of Food & Beverage who came to our room after room service fiasco and listened to all our complaints, whether food-related or not, and took good care of us).

All in all, it was a delightful trip. Next knitting adventure: Yarnings on December 6 to meet Debbie Bliss!

FO report:

1. Valentine's socks from my Woolgirl sock kit from January. I ran out of yarn and when the 1/2 skein arrived, I threw it in my project bag and left it. But I've been motivated to finish things (!) and finished them up yesterday. The color is actually more vibrant than the picture indicates:

2. Clapotis. That thing has been on the needles for two years, only to be forgotten on the blocking board when we left for Stitches East. Here it is on the blocking board:

3. Muno. To replace Boy E's broken Muno. I finished this about 10:30 p.m. at night and woke him up to give it to him. He was hardly awake yet so delighted, it was charming!

4. Second Koigu Kersti garter stitch scarf:


1. Ombre scarf in Rowan Colourscape chunky:
This is totally mindless although I ended up a stitch off and ripped out until I realized that was stupid--it's a stockinette stitch scarf with an increase at the beginning of the row and a decrease at the end.

2. Blue Sky Alpacas Eyelet Cardigan. All I need to do is set in the sleeves. This is a picture of the seamed side:

After I cast on and knit a few inches, I found modifications on Ravelry and decided not to rip out, but I probably should have done it. The pattern does not match at the shoulder or side seams, but since people won't likely be looking down at my shoulders or under my arms, it won't be much of a problem. I know it and will just ignore it.

On a final, non-knitting note, thanks to Lici for tipping us off to this clock to keep the kids in bed (or at least their room) until a decent hour that falls anytime after 6:30 a.m. (yes, I've been up with them at 5 a.m.). It arrived today, and they are all fascinated--too bad I can't figure out to program it with three four-year-olds climbing all over me to play with it and one three-year-old pleading for one for her room. That's the next order of business.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Killing time

Or blog space. I'm just too tired: it's hot, we had a great time at the pool and our barbecue and just got the kids to bed (at 8:30p). I've made no knitting progress, so here it goes:

Your Linguistic Profile:

40% Yankee

35% General American English

20% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

It makes sense, considering I'm from the Northeast and lived in the South for 7 years (college + law school). Good night!

p.s. The Dark Knight rocks!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The drive to finish

I got the urge to cast on something new today. Why, I'm not sure. I have plenty of UFO's to finish. I was leaning toward the February Lady Sweater, probably because I have always wanted to make the baby sweater. Then Mom steered me toward Zephyrstyle's Juliet. While we were trying to determine if Mom's stash had enough of any bulky or worsted (to use doubled) yarn to make Juliet, I tried to download the pattern and had a problem with the website. I then flirted with the idea of making a run to a LYS, at which point, I got the bright idea to perhaps finish the Blue Sky Eyelet Cardigan before starting another adult sweater. The back was already finished, so I finished the right front after dinner and just cast on for the left front.
[picture to be added when blogger permits--if you're on ravelry, check here.
The cotton is a dream to work with, and the pattern is easily remembered, too. I forgot how much fun this was to knit!

And good news: I'm now downloading Juliet directly!

Here's the bittersweet news: I think the cardinal family has moved out.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The best of summer

It's mid-July (almost) and summer is hitting its stride. I love dusk, when the fireflies come out. Usually, they make their appearance in early June, but this year, I didn't see them until the end of June and I had started to worry (you know, the bee collapse, frogs are disappearing). There's something magical about the flickering glow through the yard, amongst the bushes, up in the treeline. It's even more magical now that the boys are old enough to understand and appreciate how amazing it is. I've had them up late chasing fireflies twice: the first time was a Sunday evening after they came home from their first baseball game (minor league) with their father; the second time was a drizzly July 4th evening while their father and I were talking to the police and getting a report regarding the damage to his car (someone backed into his car, damaging the hood and grille).

We got a bit into the magic of fireworks, too: when we opened the door to the two police officers on July 4th, Boy E said, "Ooh, look at the fireworks!" One of the neighbors was setting off fireworks in his yard, which is illegal here. One of the police officers muttered, "I don't want to hear it." That's life in a small town! While the police officers were doing their best to ignore the fireworks and to avoid having to bust the neighbor, Boy E kept exclaiming each time one went up. Then the other police officer looked over and said, "Oh man, a roman candle!" Fortunately, we were able to "distract" them. But I have to laugh--they were trying their darndest to avoid having to go over and the neighbor, unknowingly, kept escalating the situation!

I also have a new treat this summer: I have been noticing a cardinal pair spending a lot of the time in the shrub (pretty much a tree) in front of my study window. My desk is under this window, so I spend a lot of time eyeing these birds. Yesterday, I realized there must be a nest, and was able to find it, shielded by a few leaves. Today, I watched as the fledglings shakily jumped to the edge of the nest and surveyed their surroundings. What a treat for me! I hope they stick around...maybe I should fill my birdfeeder.

On the knitting front, I once again cast on the Koigu Daydreams blanket (check out my previous troubles here. This round is on ravelry here. I've used ugrzanna's correction and knitabull's correction, and some math and rewriting of my own, and I think I'm getting somewhere. I'm about 10 rows in on the large center triangle and I finally have 4 points showing up--it should be a triangle when sewn...although that may be an ambitious prediction at 10 rows in.

I'm also working on my second Koigu Kersti garter stitch scarf. It's perfect mindless knitting, and great for working on when I'm waiting for the camp bus. I took pictures of the yarn yesterday with my iPhone, and I think I couldn't keep the iPhone steady enough, but it's a picture:

Oh, and I'm nowhere on Summer of Socks. So be it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's 9 a.m. and here's what I've accomplished

1. disciplined biting son at 6:30 a.m. and dealt with resulting hysteria;

2. disciplined son (not biting son) for waking up baby sister;

3. informed baby sister she is not coming out of crib yet and to stop screaming;

4. read 1/2 of discipline book to figure out what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it;

5. got myself washed and dressed (at 7:20 a.m.);

6. got sons ready for camp (use bathroom, put on sneakers, put lunches and water shoes in backpack, spray sunscreen;

7. play games with children and wave at garbage truck until camp bus comes;

8. bring in our and neighbor's garbage cans;

9. speak with contractor about parents' roof leak and get referral for my slate roof repair;

10. eat breakfast;

11. consult with sister-in-law (early childhood development specialist) about discipline;

12. watch the cardinal parents feed their young in the nest in the tree outside my study window.

Gee. that doesn't seem like seemed much busier when I was doing it!

Anyway, last night, I finished crocheting Muno (of Yo Gabba Gabba fame) from this pattern:

I just need to embroider Muno's eye, mouth and teeth.