Friday, October 31, 2008

October Roundup

Stop the presses! I'm doing an October Roundup and it's still October! Next thing you know I'll be blogging more than once a week. (Don't hold your breath, though, we're knee deep into Christmas at my workplace. At least Halloween is over, so we won't be celebrating both holidays at once like we've been since mid-July.)

Anyway, back to the roundup.

1. First, I finished a wool toddler sweater, my first "official" guernsey. This will be gifted somewhere still to be decided. CIC is full up at the moment, so I'll have to decide where else it should go.

2. Next, I finished the Shimmer shrug for me--with some acrylic yarn to take the wear and tear at work. (I'm really regretting not using Cascade 220, but that's the way it goes. I'm not doing it over again.)

3. The Hew shrug was made for DD#2, again in acrylic, but this time she asked for it. Knowing that wool instantly bothers her, I was fine with it. Especially since it only took 1.5 skeins.

4. Baby Jaquard afghan for brandnew Dillon in Hawaii. Even a baby born on a tropical isle needs a blankie!

That was pretty productive, even if I do say so myself. :)

Made it!

It's still October and I've finished the baby blanket. It did start going faster as the rows got shorter. Of course, that's the way things work--but it didn't seem any quicker for quite a while. Sitting through two hours of basketball tryouts twice this week (for DD#2) helped me knit way quicker--it was as nervewracking for the parents as it was for the kids (and we all know that nervousness=knitting quickness). OK, maybe it was more nervewracking for the girls, since we weren't the ones being judged, but it sure seemed just as bad. (DD made the first level of cuts from 32 girls to 17 and will know the end results on Sat. Either way there will bound to be mixed feelings as she has enough friends trying out that they can't all make it. But it would be nice.)

The points didn't end up the same color so it's not totally symetrical, but that's fine since I wasn't aiming for that anyway.

Ta-da! Big stripes to small stripes and back to big again.

3 skeins Bernat Baby Jaquards, 346 yds each, "I'm a Big Boy" colorway. hehe.
Size 8 needles, knitting a normal washcloth pattern until 200 stitches wide and then back down. This makes a soft and squishy blanket.

I like it!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rounding the corner and getting tired of it already

The title says it all. I've rounded the corner of the baby blanket and have started decreases. The stripes still have a charming amount of color and haven't disappeared into a mish-mosh.

However, I'm getting really bored. I'm trying to muscle through it by Oct. 31 to count it as an Oct. project, but it's going to be tough. I figure that I did the first half in one week so I should be able to do the second in one week. (Even though I lost a whole day having an "I think I'm going to die" virus. I actually told DH to just "shoot me" when he asked if he could do anything for me. The next day I called him up and thanked him for not listening to me. That's a sign of a good DH--they know when to just ignore you.)

My next big project is another big mass of garter stitch, so there's no relief in sight.

Maybe I'll cast on for a sock.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More garter

Over the weekend I started a new baby afghan. This is the same as before: just like a garter stitch dishcloth only larger. This time, though, I'm using Bernat Baby Jaquard on size 8 needles. See how the stripes are getting smaller as the width gets wider?

As long as they don't disappear altogether, I think it's going to be quite interesting.

I'm making this blog post short tonight ('cause I'm cooking dinner and all), but as I loaded up the blanket picture I noticed that I never loaded up a couple of others.

So here they are.

Here is the yarn I bought when I took my son as a companion to the yarn store. (Just call me crazy). I bought this yarn to make a wedge scarf. Actually two wedge scarves as it seems to have almost double the yardage.

This is Schaefer Yarn Nancy and the color is called Julia Child. Interesting, huh? It comes with a little bio about Ms. Child and notes that her kitchen is on display at the Smithsonian. I've actually seen it there, although not for as long as I'd like, due to the "come on, mom" children, and all.

I need about 360 yards for the scarf and this skein has 600 yards, so I figured that I could split it and make two. Here it is with the high tech gadget called "the pencil" holding my place as I count the number of strands.

The next thing I did was wind up half the strands in a ball and mark the center of the two halves. Then I proceeded to knit the scarf using more than half the yarn, so this was all for nothing. Pictures later. (I know, promises, promises.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Here's a couple of more pictures of DD#2's finished Hew sweater. I bleary-eyed took these pics at 6am right before she caught the school bus. She was way more awake than I was.

A ciyoke (Oops--one position over on the keyboard makes a funny looking word)
A couple of things that seemed to take forever:
The ties. They are cast on the long way, and somehow that seems to take so much longer than the short way.
The neckline is picked up at one tie and knit up and around until the other one. It makes a really pretty finish with no sewing, but seems to take awhile. Maybe I was just being impatient.


Hew from canaryknits
Size 34
1.5 skeins of Red Heart Designer Sport, 3815 Dutch Blue
size 6 needles, I believe
No modifications

She loves it!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Life moves on

We've lost two sixteen year old things this week.

First, (well, actually second, but I'll talk about it first), our car. We bought this car 6 years ago and since then put on about 100,000 miles. Last Friday it was in the shop where they fixed a couple of problems, last Monday and Tuesday it was at a different shop (where it broke down near a mall) where the fixers (or breakers--it's hard to tell) told us many different things. We said to never mind, and brought it back home. Wednesday and Thursday and Friday (if you're keeping up--that's today) it was in another shop. They fixed a problem then said that no, that wasn't the problem, it's the engine.

At this point, we said that we give up, let's get another car.

And that's what we did today.

Knowing all our Buick's problems, the car dealership still took it as a trade-in. They asked us if we could drive it there and we said, sure, it should make it that far, being only about 4 miles away and all.

It made it approximately 200 yards--just approaching an intersection.

The engine shut off, so we pushed it out of the intersection and got it towed.

Our new car looks very similar to the old one (that's the old one in the above picture), and once we get past the shock of fixing it and fixing it, and of course paying for it and then getting rid of it, I think we'll like the new one. (Next week I'll be standing on the street corner throwing money to all the passersby. It'll have the same effect and might make me happier.)

In other sad news, we also lost our dog. He would have been 16 in just a couple of weeks and we've had him since he was a puppy. His health started declining rapidly over the last month, and especially in the last week. On Wednesday we decided that he had suffered long enough and he made one last trip to the vet.

Here he is doing a couple of his favorite things:

Getting in the way

and sleeping on the pillows.

We're going to miss him around here.

Monday, October 13, 2008


As promised, here's my finished Shimmer shrug as modeled by me. (DH just came into the room so I showed him this picture. He commented that I cut off part of my head to which I replied, "That's because I hadn't dyed my hair yet and I had a nice section of grey roots that I didn't want to show." Cropping is a wonderful tool.)

My sleeves were 3/4 length---that is, until I washed them and then they became short, long sleeves. I used 2 1/2 skeins of Red Heart Soft in black which....grows when it gets washed.

Or maybe the back got stretched out. Either way, it wasn't quite what I wanted. But it was fun to do, especially the back.

I have to wear this with a black shirt, so the diamonds probably get lost. But I know that they're there. I've worn it several times to work and am really liking it. If I had to do it over, though, I'd use Cascade 220.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Otters and Hew

Today we went to a local museum for a free, fun day. The main attraction for my kids has always been the otters.

DS#2 insisted he didn't remember anything about the museum, including the otters (which made me feel like a bad mom. "You mean you haven't gone for a long enough time that you've forgotten ever being there? You used to beg me to go see the otters.")

DS#2 was okay with posing in this picture:

However, he refused to pose behind this picture. (What a nice blackmail picture that would make. Right, Diane?)

The whole point of taking my camera was really to get a pic of DD#2 in her finished Hew shrug, which I thought I totally had forgot to do. However, this picture does show a pretty nice view. (I'll provide more pictures later....)

(We're at the top of a lighthouse in a really cramped area, and that's my friend who went with us. I was backed up as far as I could go to take the picture from that far away.)

The sweater was finished last night and DD#2 wore it today and is really happy with it. Me too!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Reporting in....

I have some misc. things to report.

1. Leaving out an ingredient, even 1/4 cup of shortening, can drastically change the outcome of a cookie. On the left: a very flat molasses crinkle. On the right, the way it should look. (It tasted much better, also. The first one was way too crisp in a not-quite-right way.)

(The only reason I made these twice is that I was mailing them to DS#1, otherwise I would not have bothered.)

2. DS#2 is still alive and well, despite his attempt to make me crazy (see previous post.) Not only does he enjoy puddle jumping, but apparently it runs in the family. DS#1 told me that yesterday he went to a football game where it poured, and I mean poured. He got so wet that by the time he left he was running across the parking lot and JUMPING THROUGH PUDDLES! All I have to say is that they must've inherited that from their father and not from me.

3. Speaking of DS#2, I voluntarily took him to a yarn shop over the weekend. I even begged him to keep me company on the trip. (Well, not totally begged, but asked nicely. Some bribing might have been involved.) While I was paying for my yarn (more on that some other time), I mentioned that it was totally my fault since I talked him into coming. No puddle jumping was involved, but some quarters were rolled the whole way across the store floor. (I was the only customer, so I figured if this was all that he was doing it would be okay.) The saleslady even invited me back with my finished item without suggesting to leave my son at home, so it must not have been too bad.

4. I have finished my grammar refresher course and passed the final exam with a grade of 97. Now, the challenge is to put all that refreshing into something useful, like some better constructed sentences. (That last sentence itself seems poorly constructed, but I don't know what to do about it. So I'll move on.)

To answer Kathy's question, parentheses are using in sentences as an "oh, by the way, this is a side fact but not the main one". I am queen of the parentheses! (But you already knew that!)

5. I'm in the midst of a new project and just successfully cast on 100 stitches on the first try! See the fuzzy, squashed stitches below:

I usually cast on about what I think is enough, without counting them, and then I like to see how close I got. Casting on exactly 100 is doing really well, for me.

This is part of a project that I'm making for DD#2. (I almost wrote DS#2. While he almost made me crazy, that still is not enough reason to make him wear a girl's shrug. I draw the line right there.)

This shrug has cap sleeves and is knit from the top down. I'm using another acrylic yarn (two times in a row!), Red Heart designer sport. The body part was done and now I'm casting on for the ties (200 stitches on one side, then 100 on the other!) There will be garter ribbing going around the neckline and then I'll be done.

Except, you know that I will have gotten the sizing wrong and will have to cast on all those stitches again. I'm sure that's what I'll be knitting tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Puddles and seams, and a sweater or two.

I bet you're thinking, "Oh, look! She didn't lose her camera, or have her computer stolen, or forget how to type after all!" ("And she's still taking her grammar course as evidenced by the proper use of punctuation inside quotes in the last sentence. But her continual use of conjunctions at the beginning of sentences still needs work.")

We have that whole "let's celebrate Christmas in September" thing going on at work, plus the kids are using the computer more and more at home (and when it's to do homework, I feel guilty about kicking them off.). Also, my "falling asleep on the couch" is hampering my knitting.

Anyway, those are my excuses of the week for not blogging. Take them or leave them. (Please, take them. Then I can get some new ones instead of using the same ones over and over.)

Today, I took the teal guernsey sweater to DD#2's field hockey practice. All of a sudden, everyone went outside while I was left indoors, sewing.

"One more seam and I'll be there," I called.

In the meantime, I was left alone with the eerie silence and a not-so-pleasant sweaty smell of many athletes after a hard workout. (I'll blame that, not on the girls, but on some previous mens' practice. Soccer. Soccer can take the blame.)

The seam was sewn, and I joined the team outdoors.

See those clouds? They became a 15 minute crazy rainstorm that rained cats and dogs and got DS#2 grounded for the night. (HELLO! YOU'RE ELEVEN AND YOU'RE JUMPING IN PUDDLES WITH YOUR ONLY GOOD PAIR OF SNEAKERS!!!!!!! Way to instantly make your mom crazy, son.)

Moving on...

The guernsey is done. I did a sewn bindoff. That's the first time I've done one for the neckline, and only the second time ever.

Can I just say.... What took me so long? It's great! And stretchy! And easy! And looks better than a regular bindoff!

Sewing all those seams provided a reminder of why I like to knit in the round. TO AVOID SEWING ALL THOSE SEAMS!

Specs: Guernsey Guys from "the Best of Knitter's Arans and Celtics", size toddler 4.
Used size 6 and 7 circs using Too Teal Paton's Classic Merino Wool, 5 balls.

Fun knit, but next time I'll do it in the round. Also, it looks much larger than a size 4.

With the wonder of blogging, I can pretend that I totally finished the guernsey sweater before beginning the below sweater, but it's just not true.

After sewing the neckline, but before sewing all those seams, I actually made a whole sweater for me. It's Shimmer from Knitty, which is really a shrug and not a sweater, so it's a much faster knit. (Why is it that I never bookmark my patterns and only discover that when I go to link them?)

I wanted a shrug for work, so it had to be black to go over a black shirt. (Is that boring, or what?)

I wanted 3/4 length sleeves to not get quite so hot quite so fast (plus, less knitting was involved.) The sleeves have a slight flare on the cuff. Not too ruffly, but enough.

The back has a pretty lace stitch to add interest.

The result is a cute little shrug that will be perfect for work (I hope).

I'll try to get pictures of Shimmer on me sometime soon, but for now, here's the specs:

Shimmer from Knitty, size large.
Used 3 balls of Red Heart soft (I know, it's acrylic, but it needs to be washed often to get rid of all the Christmas glitter from work.), size 7 and 8 circs.
Changes: To make the sleeves 3/4 length, I cast on using the XL measurements and increased until I got to the L number of stitches.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end. You've found out that jumping in puddles makes me crazy, sewing seams needs to be avoided at all costs, but sewing a neck bindoff is definitely worth while. Now I must go to sleep on the couch.