Friday, May 11, 2007


I frogged it. I had good reason. Somehow, I'd dropped a stitch between the pink and the bone. Okay, it was just one, I could have picked it up, but I'd noticed a couple of other things along the way. My issues with this sweater so far:

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

And in other news.....

I finally have a job description for what I do. I tried to help Noah get dressed. "MINE!", he shouted as he clutched his Thomas underwear. Right, 'cause I wanted to wear it today.... So I left him to duke it out with the tighty whities while I changed Catie-the-Unchangeable. As I wedged a foot under each armpit to keep her from flopping over while I tried to change her diaper from under my own knees, Noah started demanding help with the underwear. I can see why. To be fair, it was winning.... I told him, "You had your chance to have Mommy help a minute ago. Now Mommy's taking care of Catie. Of course when I finish with her, I'll help you. It's what I do." Then, in the form of prattling all moms use to drive home points and develop young children's minds, I asked, "What does Mommy do all day, every day?"

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.

BSJ #2, In progress

So, I tried planning out stripes for this BSJ. I wrote out what stripes I'm doing for what rows, and I'll see how it pans out. I'll either like it or I won't. But I already know the recipient, and I'll just hope that she likes it! ;) I wish I'd chosen a lighter yarn, already, for the "neutral" stripe, but I like it the way it is. I'll chalk it up to something to remember for the future. But this is what I have now, and what I can afford, so it is what it is. :shrug:

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.....

Day 1:

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Yarn Love

I've always loved yarn. The softer, the better. I love to pace the yarn aisles at the craft store, savoring the feels of the different fibers, anticipating which will make the softest socks, sweater, etc. But I'm relatively new to the world of knitting. I taught myself a few years ago, from one of those $2 leaflets from Wal-Mart, and extensive use of Google. I made a multitude of projects in the cheapest yarn I could find, with free online patterns. And throughout, I've developed a way of knitting that I'm comfortable and happy with, a nice even stitch, and a beautiful finished product. So now, I'm ready to move on.

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!


So, now you know about me and my family, and why I need a creative outlet.... :)

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.

What am I doing?!?

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!

Here's me:

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!)