Friday, July 27, 2007

More MS3

I know, I know, it's a shock. I got Clue 2 done, and before I got in gear and uploaded the pic, I got Clue 3 done! Glory be, I might catch up, yet. I've got Clue 4 printed off and ready to go, but I anticipate a bit of a slow-down over the weekend. You know, kids and all. This whole family thing sure gets in the way of a girl's knitting.... ;)

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

Happy, Happy Birthday, Baby!

Noah at a few minutes old, born at 9:20 am, July 20, 2004.

Noah at 9:20 am, July 20, 2005

Noah at 9:20 am, July 20, 2006.

And my brand-new 3 year old! Noah at 9:20 am, July 20, 2007.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What 3 year old *doesn't* love.....

Elmo! Check back this weekend for pics of the party, and how Elmo is taking over the world, starting with this group of toddlers....

Close-up of the cake:

And of the cupcakes:

We'll see you again when Noah's 3!

Clue 1

I did it! I finished it. It will not win.... Mystery Stole 3 has not seen the last of me!

(And, see the little hand on the left? That little helping hand will be 3 tomorrow! Happy birthday, Noah!)

Beading w/ Needle Tutorial

As I slowly enter the world of knitting blogs, I am jumping into my first "tutorial". I am currently working on the Mystery Stole 3 (Thanks again, Melanie! It's FABULOUS!), and I started doing the beads with the crochet hook method. My main problems with this were that the holes in the beads are irregular -- probably 1/3 of the beads were unusable with that method. I probably could have used them by going down yet another size in crochet hook, but I was already having trouble getting the full stitch on the hook, without splitting the yarn.

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

Shake your groove thang

Apparently, my kids have learned to break dance. I'm not entirely sure where they learned this skill. My son started busting out dance moves like I'd never seen before, I asked him if he was break-dancing, he assured me he was, and my daughter copied him. So, without further ado, the Dynamic Dancing Duo. (As you'll see, they don't need music -- they just dance to the laughter of their fans.....)

File under: WHAT was I thinking?!?

The story so far: I received a group email from M., a member of my local knitting circle who obviously hates my family and doesn't want me to spend any more time focused on them than I absolutely have to. And her tool to make me abandon them, for all intents and purposes is a mystery. To be exact, Mystery Stole 3. I got a late start. I started on the Monday after Clue 2 was released. Relentlessly, I finished Clue 1 by the Friday when Clue 3 was released. (Confused yet? I know I am....) I knitted every spare minute, even taking my kids for daily Happy Meals at the McD's with the "good playplace" so they could happily play for an hour without me having to talk to them.

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.

My options:
  • 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!"
(Can you guess which option I'm taking?)

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

Happy July!

I think I'll celebrate with socks! I bought some Opal sock yarn from a craft store in Rock Springs, WY on Tuesday. I love the feel, and was really excited to make something for myself! I can't remember the last time I did.

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...)