Thursday, December 6, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
The Mystery Stole 3, aka Swan Lake Stole, has been completed, blocked, and worn. This was my first lace knitting project, and I'm thrilled to have been a part of such a wonderful group of ladies, and to get to test drive a beautiful pattern. Thanks to Melanie for this experience -- I'm looking forward to joining again!
Here is the completed work of wearable art:
Also, this weekend, I finished "matching" sweater vests for the kids. They are made from the same pattern, and use the same white yarn and teal yarn.
Noah's also uses a navy blue yarn for a more "manly" solid stripe.
Catie's has a more fun little-girl stripey pattern that was fun to do, but, oh my, the ends to weave in!
Friday, August 17, 2007
Today, I couldn't find the condoms, after the third trip in a row looking for them. And, well, by this point, we're not just running low -- we NEED more! And of course I love my little Peas, but two in the pod is plenty for now.... I found a lady who worked there, straightening diaper boxes, and asked her where the condoms were. And that was the start of my most embarrassing errand ever. Lady 1 said "Oh, I don't know. Lemme ask someone else." We traveled through the store, while she stopped every person who worked there, or who just happened to be wearing a blue shirt, where the condoms were. Only she didn't just ask. She basically introduced me to everyone.
Lady 1: "Hey, Joey! This lady here needs bulk condoms."
Joey: "I don't know where they are...."
Lady 1: "I didn't think you would! I just wanted to show you!"
(Insert laughter here.)
Finally, Lady 1 introduced me to Slimy Stock Guy. Slimy Stock Guy, who of course knows about every move the condoms make, informed me that they'd been moved to the "cage" (and you could tell he enjoyed saying "cage" and "condoms" in the same sentence....) behind customer service. I got all the other staples... milk, bread... and got into line for Scene II of the Errand from Hell.
As I checked out, I explained to Lady 2 that I'd need condoms from the cage. At least she had the decency to look slightly embarrassed on my behalf. But only after she'd asked me to repeat myself because she hadn't heard me the first time. Unfortunately, she didn't have the keys to the cage, and had to get Lady 3 in on the action. So, we sat and waited. Lest we worry that Lady 3 might have been lonely, she met up with Burly Guy, and he walked with her while she explained that she was getting a big box of condoms for that lady over there. And pointed. I would have waved so he could tell for sure it was me, but Lady 2 had already started her check-out lane light blinking, so it was obvious.
Lady 3 and Burly Guy brought the condoms back over to Lady 2, who finished ringing me up (checking me out? All the options sound vaguely dirty at this point...). Finally, I was on my way, with the older lady behind me in line shouting "CONDOMS!" to answer her even older, partially Deaf husband as to why it was taking so long.
I came home and told my husband what a mortifying trip it was, and how embarrassed it made me. So of course, I had to blog about it, first thing. But I can't help but wonder if, 40 condoms from now, we're going to be more serious about considering Pea#3.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Clue 2, completed, with helpful three-year-old hands included....
And Clue 3 completed. My stole has officially out-grown toddler hands, so I bit the bullet and invested in pins. I'll need them for blocking anyway.... I'm just so thrilled with this, and can't wait to delve into Clue 4. Thanks, again, Melanie for this fabulous treat!
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I also have young kids, and I just can't have a dish of beads out, even just while I'm working -- something inevitably comes up, and disaster results. So, without further ado, I'll share my method for beading. I'm not naive enough to believe that I'm the first to do this, or even the first to chronicle, but I did develop the idea through my own thought processes, and as the solution to my own specific problems (I don't mean to detract from any tutorials already out there, depicting the same method!)
The needle is strung with cotton thread, and knotted at the end. I string several beads on to begin with, generally enough to complete a chart, so I don't need to go back to "recharge" from the bead dish several times while I'm working. This eliminates the worry of my kids (or dog... or cat.... or husband) knocking over the beads. They are nicely contained! (Click on the photos to see them larger.
I put the needle through the stitch to be beaded and then put the needle through the hole of the first bead. Now, I hold both the "needle end" and the "bead end" of the string, and push the first bead over the needle. Now it's on the "loop" of the string that is connected to the loop of the stitch.
Now, I use the loop of string to pull the stitch off the needle. I push the bead onto the stitch. And now, just place the stitch back on the needle, being careful not to twist the stitch.
Now, just put the needle back through the stitch, being careful not to split the yarn. When you pull the needle out the other side of the stitch, the needle and string (and beads!) come free of the stitch, and you are ready to knit the stitch as usual.
And, my first attempt at a video.... It's not great, and I was nervous (what can I say, I'm a dork!), but anyway, here it is, for anyone interested.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Now, this is my first foray into lace, or using a chart, so I've come a long way, I feel. I decided to exclude the optional beads because I'm not a bead person, generally. But friends (including the evil M.) tried to tempt me. "The beads just add a little extra sparkle! They just add to it. Look, you barely notice them! You can do it." But I was strong. I wasn't beading (uhh, I mean, bending...) to peer pressure!
Sunday night, I finished Clue 2. "Wow," I said to myself! "Maybe I can finish Clue 3 by Friday and be caught up!" (Don't worry.... I talk to myself regularly.) I proudly took my stole up to show my hubby. "Hold this corner, Honey, to stretch it out, so you can really see the pattern!" He said something about it. Or he didn't. I don't know -- everything was a blur. I can't remember anything else about that moment except... that's when I saw it... The Mistake!
The Mistake is probably not as bad as I'm making it out in my head. Maybe it's not so noticeable. Except that it is. At least to knitters. And let's be real. All of us MS3 knitters are going to happily accept compliments from every non-knitter who cares to make one. (And, oh, they will -- it's gorgeous!) But the compliments we will bask in are those of other knitters. The ones who will scramble across the mall to catch up with us and ask where we got the pattern. If we made it ourselves or if it was given to us. And this group of random knitters out there are the same people who will notice The Mistake.
- Frog back to the row after The Mistake and use the tail of the stole to wipe away my tears.
- Frog completely and start fresh, now that I've learned the techniques a bit better, and just be happy in the knowledge that MS3 Attempt 2 will be better than Attempt 1 could ever have been.
- Start fresh with beads, and proudly proclaim, "I meant to do that!"
So, Attempt 2 is all for me, but the beads are dedicated to M. The picture chronicle of the MS3 so far:
Stretching out Attempt 1 with Noah's help. The Mistake is visible.
Closer-up of The Mistake. Even non-knitters can probably pick it out at this distance.....
Attempt 2. If you click to see it a little larger, you can see the beads. I'm using gold colored glass beads. The yarn, by the way, is Jaggerspun Zephyr in Sable. Oh, I'm in love! :swoon:
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Pattern: My own approximation of a figure-8 cast-on, and this toe-up sock pattern
(I cast on 20 stitches, and used 56 stitches around.)
Materials: Size 4 bamboo dpns; Opal sock yarn in Ultramarin II colorway
Started: June 26, 2007
Finished: July 1, 2007
Recipient: They're mine! Allllll mine! (No wonder my toddlers say that all the time.... it is kind of fun...)
Monday, June 25, 2007
Pattern: EZ's Baby Surprise Jacket
Materials: Size 5 circ. needles; Lion Brand Microspun in Royal Blue and Lime
Started: June 17, 2007
Finished: June 24, 2007 (except for buttons)
Recipient: Zak and April's new baby boy, expected in September!
Monday, June 18, 2007
I run over the dirt, dark with water I realize, and through the grass back to the walkway. I feel lighter, freer, like a weight has been taken from me!
And then, slowly, I realize why.
My shoes stayed stuck in the mud. I waded back to them, and pulled them out of the muck, walked in my socks to a bench, turned my socks inside out, and put the shoes back on. Back to my jog, a little dirtier, but no worse for wear. So much for my nice clean new shoes....
Friday, June 8, 2007
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Elmo! You can click to see him bigger, of course. I submitted this on the Lion brand website. They published my pic, but not the corresponding pattern, and I've had numerous requests for it, so I'll submit it here.
14" Round Pillow Form
1 skein Homespun in Candy Apple
2 skeins Boa in Phoenix
Chunky weight yarns in white, black and orange -- scrap amounts work great!
Knifty Knitter X-Large loom
Crochet hook for facial features
Hold 1 strand of Homespun with 1 strand of Boa and cast on the loom. Continue holding both strands together while making the tube until you have used up both skeins of Boa. Bind off and gather the tube, and insert pillow form. Gathering will be on the edge of the pillow form. Gather and close the other end, as well. This will give the pillow a slightly oval appearance. (Of course, you could just stop here, and create fashion dorm-room type pillows in tons of shades, as well.)
Now you have to get creative. I used a K hook and various chunky yarns to make the facial features. The mouth was the hardest, the nose was the easiest. I didn't keep specific notes, but I'll do my best to give you an idea of what I did.
Mouth: I crocheted a chain that was about the length I wanted, from the "smile line" that extends past one side of the mouth, and along the bottom of the mouth. I then single-crocheted back and forth, and decreased a stitch here and there, until I ended with a more-or-less straight line across the top. I then chained a few more stitches to make the smile line on the opposite side of the mouth. When I sewed it on to the face, I also sewed the extra little lines at the top of the smile lines, to anchor the smile and finish the look.
Eyes: I crocheted a ring, and crocheted a few stitches (3? 4?) in the ring, in black. I switched to white, and continued around the ring, increasing as necessary to make it lay flat.
Nose: I crocheted an orange chain of 4 or 5 stitches, and then crocheted around it to make an oval, increasing at the ends as necessary.
Thanks for looking, and feel free to comment on what worked for you, or what you did differently!
Please do not post this pattern on other sites, but feel free to link to it. Make as many as you'd like for yourself, gifts, and for charity, but please do not use this pattern for profit.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
I made this sweet little sweater in about a week of on-again/off-again knitting. I used a size 3 circular needle, and Lion Brand's Microspun in Purple, Lily White, and Lime. The picture doesn't do the colors justice. In person, it really pops. I used shank style buttons sewn 2 back-to-back at each corner. Either side can be put on top and buttoned, and have the other button show symmetrically. I LOVE this sweater. I really wish I'd had this when Catie was teeny tiny. I hope to eventually get a picture of a sweet baby girl in it!
Pattern: EZ's Baby Surplice Jacket
Materials: Size 3 circ. needles; Lion Brand Microspun in Purple, Lily White, and Lime
Started: May 28, 2007
Finished: June 17, 2007
Recipient: I wish I knew.....
Both pairs of socks are in Lion Brand's Magic Stripes. Noah's socks are in Denim stripe. Catie's are the Bright Spring pattern. Both were made on size 3 dpns. Noah's have a 3k,2p rib with 50 stitches, and Catie's have a 1k,1p rib with 36 stitches.
So, anyway, I'm on non-vacation, since I don't get to forget about cleaning and laundry, but I'm trying to take as much time as possible to knit. That's not nearly as much as I'd like because every time I sit down with the needles, a Catie mysteriously appears in my lap. Apparently, she wants to knit. Today, I got some Foamie beads for the kids, and gave them yarn with plastic needles. Noah took it very seriously, but Catie got bored quickly, and began chewing the beads like gum..... Whatever. I got to knit for 42 minutes.
Friday, May 11, 2007
1. The dropped stitch.
2. Somehow on one stitch, I only picked up 2 of the 4 strands, resulting in an ugly stitch.
3. 2 rows in, the bone had an ugly join in the yarn, and it made for an ugly bump in the fabric.
So, it was the trifecta. I live by a 3-strikes, you're out rule. If I'm not too far in. Once I get to a certain point in the work, I can sometimes live with whatever the issues are. In this case, I already wasn't in love with the neutral color, so the other specific issues on top of that before I was 25 rows in, well, it got frogged. So, I'm changing the color rotation while I'm at it. I love the blue, so I want it to feature more strongly. And the pink will be the next color, and then the neutral will be just an accent instead of a main color, and I'll get a lighter color for it.
Must find a way to duck into Michaels or A.C. Moore today, or I'll just be depressed until I can get there. I can't finish my first 19 rows without it.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Noah bit his lip, a sure sign of deep thought. Or pooping. Fortunately, it was the former. "Mommy he'p Cay-cay. Mommy he'p No-o too. 'Hank, Mom!" Well, it just don't get better than that, does it? And true to form, and my new job description, I did in fact help him get his underwear on. And he even let me he'p, this time.
By my calculations, the BSJ is 114 rows of knitting. So, I'm aiming for a week for the jacket. 6 days, 19 rows each, and the 7th day will be devoted to seaming and buttons. Without further ado.....
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
I recently joined a knitting circle that meets locally at a bookstore, and fell in love with some of the beautiful colors the ladies were using, the incredible finished products. "What? That pattern is only in a book? Not free online?" "How's that? You dyed that yarn yourself, so I can't just go buy it somewhere?" A whole new world has opened in front of me, and that world contains the "MD Sheep and Wool Festival".
I first heard about this phenomenon from the aforementioned knitting circle. The first mention didn't do much to catch my interest. What can I say? Up until now, when I wanted nice yarn, I went to Michaels instead of Wal-Mart. Like I said, I'm new to all this. And then, a friend showed me a bizarre compilation of yarn, still on the needle, with this funky wave to it.
"What is that?" I innocently ask.
The friend replied, "A baby surprise."
"I'm sure he'll be surprised. I won't tell him. But can you tell me what it is?"
"It's a baby sweater."
"Oh cool! So what's the pattern you're using?"
"It's a baby surprise."
"Okay! I swear I won't tell him! What's the pattern?"
"It's a baby surprise sweater."
"Who's on first?"
Okay, really, we got it figured out after that. Then I asked her for the pattern. She told me the book she got it from, Elizabeth Zimmerman's The Opinionated Knitter. The pattern is the Baby Surprise Jacket, and boy, was it. I ordered it on Sat. night, received it on Tuesday, and had a finished blob of my very own by the next Sunday. But wouldn't you know it, that blob did indeed become a jacket, and I am officially hooked.
I have several more in mind, with various striping patterns, as experiments. And thus was born a renewed desire to blog. I had to share my magical blob! Surprise!
Pattern: EZ's Baby Surprise Jacket
Materials: Size 6 circ. needles; Bernat Sweet Stripes in Splash, border in Bernat Baby Coordinates in Sky.
Started: May 1, 2007
Finished: May 7, 2007 (except for buttons)
Recipient: It's a surprise! (no, really, I don't want to put it here until it's been given, but I do have an intended for it!)
In other news, the Sheep and Yarn Festival. Well, the ladies talked me into wanting to go. Brandon, Mom, and the kids had other plans for Sunday, but they fell through, so I had company for the festival! I don't think the kids had a thrilling time, but they liked seeing the sheep, alpacas, llamas, and bunnies. Brandon was way more interested in the spinning than I thought he'd be (or maybe he was just faking it for my enjoyment.... ;) ). I wasn't as tempted as I thought I'd be. While the handspun, hand-dyed yarns were striking, I'm a softie, and insist that my yarn is, also. Many of the handspuns were too rough for my taste, and I wasn't even tempted. I knew I wanted to get a special yarn for Catie, to make her a sweater, though, and I did find just the thing.
I went into analysis paralysis, though. There were gorgeous soft yarns of every imaginable hand-dyed color at Tess' Designer Yarns. I am still quite budgeted, so I couldn't buy everything I wanted, but I refused to leave empty handed -- I would have regretted it forever. So I settled on Superwash Merino in a brilliant purple and turquoise. There were softer yarns available, but they were out of my price range. This was wonderfully soft, though, and I feel that all the yarns were a marvelous quality -- this is just what I could afford! I plan to go back to her for more, though, when I can. I fell in love!
Now, I just have to figure out how to get these monstrous 570 yd. hanks under control. It's so luscious, I'm sure I'll have a great time playing with it!
My mom taught me to crochet when I was a kid. I think I learned when I was about 7 or 8 and have done it ever since. However, I learned a few things about crocheting, and while I still prefer it for certain tasks, knitting has become preferable to me for a few reasons.
1. Prettier finished fabric. Okay, this is utterly subjective, and if you disagree, well, I don't care. When you're using a bulky fuzzy yarn, you can't even see the stitch, really, but when you are using a smoother yarn that shows the stitch, there's just something so satisfying about those perfect little "V"s in straight rows, nestled in their perfect little columns. Yes, I'm obsessed.
2. Takes longer. I see this as a huge plus, provided I'm not strapped for time on a deadline. I am not creating things to sell, where I need to churn out as much as I can in order to make money. No, for me, yarn purchases are solely money-out. So, if a project takes me longer to complete, that's longer before I have to buy more yarn. Voila, less money spent.
3. Less yarn. If you crochet a 10" x 10" square, and then knit a 10" x 10" square, you'll see the knitted version uses significantly less yarn. So, this is another facet of knitting being more cost-effective for me.
4. Brandon likes it. Let's see, it makes me happier to look at the WIP, the FO, and the receipts, and it keeps me happy for longer. Of course he likes it, even if he doesn't care one bit what I'm making. (And, well, he usually doesn't. ;) )
So, once in a while, I do still contribute a bit of crocheting to my little world of crafts, but mostly I'm a KnitTwit at this point.
Okay, I've attempted this blogging thing before. It never quite sticks for me. Possibly because I'm busy. What?, you say. We're all busy!
Well, sure. But *you* being busy affects me not-in-the-least. My being busy means I lose interest in projects easily. But I have lots that I'd like to write about, just for me to look back on in future years. Things I make and do that I'd like to record in words and photos. So, I guess, we're off!
I look like I'm concentrating really hard on something. That something is taking a photo of myself without it being incredibly obvious. And here, you learn my main gripe about life, the universe, and everything. I hate my hair. Really incredibly hate it. Except on the days it behaves. Then, I just harbor a mild dislike of it. But since that is maybe 6 days a year, it's safe to say I hate it. I like it better shorter, but I'm making myself grow it long enough to get it into a nice ponytail. If I can pull it back quickly and easily, and I still hate it, it gets cut again.
Now, my non-gripes. Everything else about my life pretty much rocks, except the stuff that doesn't. I am a stay-at-home wife and mom. It's not enough for me to say I'm a SAH mom because I try to stay my husband's girlfriend, and try to find fun ways in every day life to *trampishly throw myself at him. Hush. He likes it. A lot. Brandon works from home, so we have a lot of together time. That can get difficult for making life fun, sometimes, when the kids are annoying, and we're constantly stepping on each other's toes. Fortunately, we seem to not get to that point often. And when we do, I (return to *).
We are house-sharing with my mom right now. My parents are still together, but my dad is living in a different house, trying to fix it up right now, and just comes out for regular visits every 2 months or so, when he stays for a few weeks. So, usually it's just my mom. We have a top half and a bottom half to the house, and my family has the run of the top half. Mom has the run of the bottom half, and we share the kitchen and laundry room. It actually works pretty well. I'm too paranoid to leave my kids with a sitter, so now we have a built-in one who knows all our routines, can put the kids in their own beds, and go to sleep herself.
And that brings us to the wee ones. Who are not quite so wee anymore. Noah is going to be three in July. He is speaking quite a bit now, as opposed to signing, which he used to use exclusively. He topped out at about 100 signs, and still uses them sometimes, as we also sign with his sister, Catie. Catie is speaking quite a bit already, though. She'll be 18 months at the end of June. (They're 17 months apart. It was crazy back in the beginning, but now that they can both walk, talk, and play together, it's absolute insanity!)