Wednesday, March 23, 2005

This and that

Finished the bear sweater. The fun part about doing this project didn't matter what size it was, it was BOUND to fit SOME bear in DD#2's closet. This is a Build-a-bear named Brownie. It fits Brownie just like I like sweaters to be--nice and sloppy.

Dyed some more yarn for some soaker pants. Used Wilton's icing colors, and at one time (well, three times) I actually stuck my hand in the dye to squish it around. You'd think after a year of dyeing that I'd buy a pair of rubber gloves. Nope. And I'm continually surprised--"hey, that just dyed my hand!"---Like it didn't the last 49 times I did that.

DD#1's on a cupcake baking binge. Using more Wilton's for the monster's fur.

I've also made 2 custom soakers, but like always, I forget to take a picture of them together until one is in the mail.

Still slogging away at my CIC shawl. Now, I know I'm being a wimp, but there's so many stitches now for one row! At last count there were 320. Yes, I counted them. Just to see if I could justify being a wimp. Which I can't. Especially when reports are coming in that people have made more than one! I'm such a wimp.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Climbing the walls....

Literally--Climbing the walls!!! I have to thank my good friend Lori for Jesse learning this skill. Umm....thanks, Lori! (Or to be exact, thanks Lori's kids!) He hasn't broken anything yet, so I guess it's okay.

Not only can he climb the walls, he also does hallways, but tends to upset DD#1 whose bedroom is on the other side of the wall.

And he didn't just climb it, but actually stood there while I went downstairs, got the camera, and came back up.

I felt like I was climbing the walls a bit myself today. Went to the state capitol on DD#2's field trip. There were all these warnings: no cameras! no phones! no backpacks! lunches in clear bags! So....I didn't chance it and took no knitting. But 90 min. in bus staring out the window just seemed like wasted time. (Okay, 90 min. on the way up, but not much on the way back since I took a nap.)

I've only knit a couple of rows since I came home, so not much to show.

However, I did get this nice Thank You Card from my Bohemian Chemo Cap recipient. She's quite crafty herself--I'm thinking there was some embossing going on, and maybe some handmade paper. Very nice!

She said that the cap was by far the softest cap that she owns. Yeah!

In other news, I've been on a book buying spree this week. Normally I buy nothing--just check them out of the library for free. I make good use of the internet, there's such a wealth of patterns and knowhow out there. But this time, I couldn't resist.

I have checked out a copy of this book 3 times since Christmas, and renewed it several times to boot. Yes, this is a picture of the Celtic braid blue(no, purple) scarf that I plan to make.

Finally I gave up and bought it from my LYS. Another good friend (also named Ruth!) picked up 2 books for me at the library used book sale. And I've ordered 2 books online.

Somebody stop me!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Kiss me......I'm Irish???

As parents, it's our job to teach and train our children in all sorts of areas: religion, family, values, manners, sports teams preferences... Sometimes, we just drop the ball.

Elisa (DD#1) and I were talking about St. Patrick's Day a week or so ago. She was talking about her friend who's Irish, and wearing green, and what to do to celebrate today.

So I told her, "You know, you're Irish."

"I am? I never knew that!"

How does she not know that? How have I missed telling her that vital piece of information?

"Yes", I tell her, "my grandmother's father came over from Ireland as a young man."

"Oh, I thought I was more than that."

What can I say? I'm.....well....I'm just white. She gets all her interesting genes from her father. She has such fun being half Puerto Rican that I guess she never heard about the Irish part of her. It's cool to have a dad who's first language is Spanish. She's even been to Puerto Rico twice. (Let me tell you how my high school friends teased me when they heard I was marrying a Spanish-speaking man. "We TOLD you to take Spanish. But had to take French!!!)

She occasionally surprises me like that--when I realize that she has no way of knowing something unless I told her. What else have I forgotten to say? That a direct ancestor came over on the Mayflower? That direct ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI and WWII?

Usually when this happens I find myself telling her things....and telling.....and telling.

"I know, mom, you've told me that 5 times."

I have, however, made sure to share with her my love of crafts. Elisa (on the left) and her friend decorated shirts for St. Patrick's Day. Paint, glitter, and homemade stencils were all used.

She also got my love of baking desserts. These cupcakes were shared at school.

And, let me just say that I have tons of Wilton's icing colors, and have used them extensively for dyeing wool, but this may be the first time we actually used them for baking!

In knitting news (that's right, I do remember that this is a KNITTING blog....), I've been practicing reading while knitting. I've read of people who do this, and while it seems impossible, it was worth trying. Doing a basic "knit in the round" goes quite well, actually. I use my knitting machine weight (why not, it's accessible) to hold my book open. I'm knitting a soaker from handspun Corrie wool that's "spun-in-the-grease". I tend to knit from the loose skein, rather than winding it into a ball. Yep, basically lazy. (we won't even TALK about swatching!) Knitting this wool with the extra lanolin on bamboo needles is REALLY giving my hands a workout. There's such a drag on the needles--it's take way more strength that normal to move the stitches along. I'm very happy with the result, though, so it's worth the extra effort.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Soaker: Leghole adjustment

About 4 months ago, I had a customer who loved her baby's soaker, but the leg holes were getting a bit tight. She asked me if I could make them larger, which I did.

I debated about removing the leg cuffs and undoing part of the side seam. While that would make the leg cuffs larger, that might seem to make the rise smaller. So, I decided to add rows to the crotch area that would also add a bit to the rise. (It had already been worn for a couple of months, and you know how fast babies grow!) This meant taking the soaker apart to then add the rows. Here's some pictures, with what I did.

This is before doing any work. It's Fisherman's wool, dyed yellow with Wilton's icing colors.

I decided to rip off the leg cuffs (which are knit on last). Carefully picked out all the yarn to save as much as I could. (I usually end up with inches leftover, so this step was necessary.)

I threaded my 16" circ. needles thru one row, catching one loop for each stitch. Then, I skipped a row and threaded the green yarn thru every stitch the same way. I checked to make sure that the stitches didn't go up or down a row by counting how many down from the top.

Then, I cut the yarn in the middle of the in-between row. I didn't cut at the end of the row because I wanted enough leftover ends to weave in at the end.

Here's a picture of it all apart.

Next, I loaded the row held by the green yarn onto the other end of the circs. and knit 6 more rows, using leg cuff yarn. This will give the leg cuff about an inch more room.

The two sides were then grafted together using the Kitchner stitch. I didn't take any pics of the process, because that's always a tense time at my house--will it be invisible? Not too bad, in this case. If you look closely, the yarn itself has a different texture, but that will resolve itself when washed.

Then I reknit the leg cuffs. Of course, I no longer had enough yellow, so I dyed blue yarn to coordinate with the matching top. (Again, no picture, but it's a cute celestial print.)

The end result was loved by customer and baby alike!

The baby of the family

Come on, now. Have you ever seen a cuter baby than this? I mean, really. How cute is he? (I realize that if you've had 3 children, that you've seen 3 babies who are cuter, and I have 3 that are just as cute. But still. Cute is cute.)

Well, this little baby turned 8 years old yesterday. It happened in the blink of an eye. 8 years old. But always the baby of the family. Just like me.

He's had a hard life with 3 older siblings telling him what to do. And picking on him. And doing things that he's too little to do yet. But he's also tougher than first-borns his own age. He has to be, just out of self-preservation.

I tell him that being the baby has its advantages. Lots of toys to play with. Older siblings to drive you places. And the very big fact that his parents are so worn out from the 1st three, that we're more apt to say, "sure, go ahead, whatever."

Hence, his birthday party sleepover yesterday. Six boys spent the night, how crazy am I? DD#2 says "how come I didn't have a sleepover when I was 8?" Umm....I dunno. Because. That's the best I answer I can give.

But really, it went quite well. No fights. Or missing mom (or dad). Or injuries. Therefore, a success!

(Note to self: insert 8 yr. old pic here when DD#1 brings the camera home. When she comes home. If she comes home. )

(Note to DD#1: It's safe to come home--they're all gone!)

A bit different, huh? Jesse's in his favorite pose. Why he does this, I don't know. Instead of a regular cake, he opted for cupcakes decorated with gummy worms. It was a challenge to get all 8 candles on one cupcake, but we did it.

To update on the stolen (by me) needles, DD#2 did notice them missing in less than 24 hours. I apologized, and assured her that she can have them back whenever she wants them. Only, that's no longer true.

Because one's missing!!!! I can't believe it. For more than (insert your guess) years, I've known where they were. That's what I get for bragging about them yesterday. Hopefully it will turn up soon. I'm pretty sure that it's not in the most obvious place (under the couch cushions), because I turned the couch upside down yesterday in a effort to clean. Much quicker than vacuuming all the nooks and crannies. Just one quick dump, then vacuum the floor. And maybe eat the old M&Ms. (Not saying I DID, just saying that it's easier.)

Time lapse of 5 minutes: Found needle NEXT to knitting bag. Who would've thought to look NEXT to the bag? I mean, IN the bag, yes, NEXT to the bag, obviously NOT.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Who's the thief?

When last we looked, DD#2 was happily knitting away on her project. (Blanket.... doll blanket.... square?) (As a side note, her friend's name is StephANIE. Not Steph. STEPHANIE..... Sorry Stephanie! I knew that. Really, I did. Just saving some typing, which I've now negated by typing StephANIE a bunch of times.) Well, in the middle of the night, her sz. 8 needles have disappeared, and a misc. sz. 7 needle has taken its place. Now, at this point, she hasn't even noticed, but I'm bracing myself for a "M---O----M---!!!!!! I need my needles back!!!"

What could I do? They are my most favorite needles. They were my first pair of needles. I made my first pair of mittens on them in 6th grade. (Fluorescent green, I think they were.) I mean, you know, they have memories!

Now, I have no idea how I haven't lost one, or two, since then, but I haven't. They are metal. And they are short. Perfect for the project I started.

See? a set of long needles would just be TOO long. Right? Does that justify being a needle stealer? I'll let you know what DD says when she finds out.

This, by the way, is a teddy bear sweater. I did a couple of sweaters in college with cables, but none since then, so am trying them again. I even made a short cable needle with an end of a dowel rod which you can see on the Irish moss stitches on the right. I know, my ribbing is stretched out. That's to accomodate the bear's big tummy. (Hey, good excuse, huh?) Here's the pattern.

I bought more yarn today. AC Moore has 25% off all yarn this week, so I stocked up on Arauncania Nature Wool (plus a basket...) I have a rule that all the yarn I have must fit into this big plastic container. I'd better start knitting very fast, before I notice that I broke that rule a long time ago!

Monday, March 07, 2005


One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you guess which thing is not like the others,
Now it's time to play our game,
It's time to play our game.
(Do they still sing that on Sesame Street?)

If you guessed the purple ball in the middle, you guessed right. Or, as I like to call it, the light blue ball.

I plan to make the Celtic Braid scarf from "Knitting on the Edge" by Nicky Epstein. In light blue. Hence, my light blue yarn. Only, it's purple. I don't even have the excuse that I bought it online, and my monitor colors were off. Because....I bought it in person.

Yep, I'm now worried about my color recognition, because I seriously thought I was coming home with blue yarn. Maybe not the baby blue that I was picturing, and I definitely thought it had a purple edge, but hey, it's still blue....... right??? Wrong. It's totally purple.

This is the second time in recent history I've done this. Last time I was shopping with a good friend--looking for brown pants. Found some perfect ones, but they seemed to be all matched with maroon tops. It wasn't until my friend said, "umm, Ruth, you know those pants really are maroon, right?" that I realized what I was looking at. Definitely maroon.

So that leaves me to ask this question, does my brain keep a color in mind, and color whatever I see? Do I have a pre-conceived color predjudice?

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Girl power

I'm not the only one at my house who knits! Here's DD#2 Dani (left) and her friend Steph knitting away in her room. I taught Dani and she taught Steph--with practically no help from me!

If you look closely, you'll see that the bear actually has on a cape--knit by Dani with the leftover Paton's Bohemian. Perfect size for SuperBeary!

I've been testing the numbers for my soaker pattern. Not very interesting, so no pictures...

Thursday, March 03, 2005


You'd think that if I titled this post "Brown!", that I'd show you some brown yarn, right? Nope, it's purple. And blue. It's my CIC shawl that with some newly dyed blue yarn. I figured I needed more yarn, and I'd never be able to dye some to match the purple, so aimed for coordinating. Dyed it first with purple to get the variegated effect, then over-dyed with blue. Hoping to get done with this soon--but it's taking forever to get one row done!

Here's some brown. I've been exiting my purple phase and entering a brown phase. The bottom yarn is my first handspun skein. I know--its just like a baby that only its mother loves, but it's beautiful to me! The top left is yarn from and is a gorgeous brown and pink mix. The other multi-colored yarn is hand-dyed Fisherman's wool in shades of green, brown, and orange. (I was really aiming for a brown/green mix, but the orange just snuck in there!)

Here are pics of how they knit up. Both are for test soakers that are flying to their destinations.

And this thrift store find,

has become this...
plus a front section in the trash. Should've thought: zipper=sewn edge. Had to rip it all apart to find out. I'm not loving the process, but I'll keep working on it for a bit longer. Maybe it can be another dyeing experiment.