March 08, 2011

Wooly Love and Kitties

I've done my best to get semi-attractive pictures of the beautiful wee things I've finished before they get sent off to the beautiful wee baby who needs them. You know Oregon has had a lot of gray days when the weatherman gets excited and tells you that "today will have enough sunshine that the buildings cast shadows!" Seriously. He said that. And we have had sunshine and I do get to enjoy it. From the window at work. That isn't really all that bad but it means the sweaters and I seem to only be together when it is gray and raining again.

First up is the Baby Tulip. This was knit from left over yarn I had and I love it. I love the saturated colors. I'm a big fan of bright, vibrant colors for babies. I'm excited the babies are here and light colors don't capture my excitement. This is such a fun sweater to knit. I don't know why I enjoy it so much but I've done a few of these and they make me happy every time. Yarn details here and pattern/yarn details on Ravelry.

This isn't the best picture but it captures the colors most accurately. I adore the vibrant violet at the collar and wish I had more of it in the sweater.

The next one is the little shrug. I'm very pleased with how this turned out. This was left over sock yarn and I think it made such a pretty shrug. Pattern and yarn details here and on Ravelry. I'm enchanted enough I may try to knit another one with the left over yarn for a future baby. I modified this a bit to make longer sleeves. The baby lives in a cooler climate so her Spring will probably need more sleeves. I apologize for the photo quality. I have had three different photo shoots trying to get a decent picture of this one. Shrugs are kind of hard to take pictures of anyway since they are mostly sleeve and back.

Life has all been about kitty drama lately. Suki started acting funny Saturday and then had some neuro "episodes" that night that scared the crap out of me. She was twitching and falling over. Not quite seizure-ish but enough that I thought it could be a possibility. I'm blessed with the most wonderful vet and veterinary hospital so I know she is in really good hands if not the best hands available. We spent most of Sunday at the vet and when we got back she was so perked up (all they could do was give her some fluids so I don't know why she was feeling so much better) that she started talking non-stop. This is all in a very perky, happy, talky, Suki-of-old tone. She has told me when she is going to eat, when she is going to walk down the hall, when she is going to cuddle up with me, when I should be petting her, and my favorite...she announced herself while she was going to use the litter box. I could just hear her telling me from the other room, "I'm PEEing!" I am responding to all her talking (Which is really what she loves and why she is talking so much. She adores to talk.) so I told her that was fine. But now I can't help thinking, "I'm PEEing!" when I walk in the bathroom. I'm wondering what the other ladies would do if I announced this from my bathroom stall here at work.

Happy Mardi Gras everyone!

March 01, 2011

Smell My Fingers!

The Baby Tulip has been completed and is blocking (I'll get better pictures when it is dry and I can get it by the Ott light.). I love it so much I keep petting it whenever I walk by. The colors got even more vibrant when they got their bath and the wool wash I used has a lovely cedar smell to it. I kept walking around smelling my fingers (which I know is terribly attractive) and telling the dogs, "Smell my hands! They smell so good!" The dogs were unimpressed.

I had intended to make baby bell bottoms to go with Tulip in either the lime or lavender colorway but even as a solid color the outfit just turned into baby disco. It was too much. So I grabbed a skein left over from a pair of socks (the Quill Lace socks) which had a lot of yarn left on it. I thought I might have enough to make a baby shrug. I think baby shrugs are a great idea for just covering up shoulders and arms for a bit of warmth. Plus I knew this colorway would be so pretty for a little girl! I'm not a huge fan of traditional baby colors and believe sage to be perfect for baby girls. But I also think lime green and purple are the perfect combo for any baby items.

In this case I'm right. The shrug is lovely and I have more than enough yarn to make longer sleeves. It is a nice, simple pattern that has been easy for me to customize. I'm using the wrong weight yarn and wanted the longer sleeves but simply making a size up has worked for sizing (Sometimes doing this just makes the sweater a funny shape. Ask me how I know.) and I made a long rib cuff to "shape" the sleeves. I just need to finish the second sleeve and it will be ready for it's smelly-good bath.

I haven't used up the yarn either which is sorta disconcerting. Well, if I'm going to have to find the magic never-ending skein of yarn, this is a good one to never end. I have a ton of the yarn I used for Tulip left over too. I love all this yarn but I'm kind of tired of it too. I should look into swapping with someone.

We have had so much rain that my back yard is flooded. I mean the dogs went splashing through this morning and came back happy as clams with black feet and ankles. The worst of this is that Oscar is so short, his belly is all wet and muddy too. All of this happens just as I'm getting ready to leave for work and can't do anything about it so it is a testament to my fortitude that I just turn a blind eye to what they have just done to the carpet and kitchen floor and walk out of the house. I tell myself that it will be easier to clean when it has dried but it makes my eye twitch a little. Why that gets my panties in a bunch but I can ignore a sink full of dishes for a week, I'll never know. I'm an enigma.

February 21, 2011

The First Step is Admitting I Have a Problem

The February project is done and gifted so I have the rest of the month to do as I wish which has made me drunk with the possibilities. I have proceeded to knit beautiful baby things for the new baby girl. I wanted to do a wee sweater and had a bunch of colorful superwash yarn left over from the Baby Shane blanket (which I realized I never posted a picture of or even shared any project details about. I shall rectify that!) so I thought I'd do another Baby Tulip.

I do not know why this pattern is so entertaining. It must be the change in color which reveals a really simple side to me. You know, the side that likes shiny objects and pretty rocks. Yup. I've been so entertained by this little sweater that weekend chores have kind of gotten "forgotten." But who needs clean clothes and groceries, right? I haven't been able to stop working on it and watched all the episodes of Downton Abbey while knitting it yesterday. My idea of heaven. If you don't have Netflix and can't stream the episodes, it looks like you can watch some episodes online for a little while.

We have had a gorgeous three-day weekend here in Oregon which has been needed. Springs are wet for us (are we officially Spring yet or still Winter?) and even I am ready for the rain to stop about now. I really need to win the lottery so I can spend time outdoors puttering around in the yard and cleaning out my garage. Looking out my window I can see buds starting on my rose bushes but I haven't pruned them yet so I may need to just cut this short and run outside to prune like crazy. I get a lot more roses when I prune.

That is, if I can stop knitting long enough to do anything else.

August 22, 2009

Knitting Catch Up

I realized that I didn't share a couple of projects that turned out nicely. Can't have that!

I knit another Noro Scarf for a friend who wanted it in more boy colors. So I went with colors I consider very Pacific Northwest. He says I got the colors right. I just love how it turned out.

I have been wanting to try a hemlock ring blanket and a co-worker is having a little girl so I lept at the chance to knit one for her. The pattern is fancy and I didn't really want a fancy blanket. So I tried to offset it with the bold, childish color choices.

This is left over Lion Brand Microspun which I hate to knit with but makes up a nice final product. The colors are periwinkle and gold. I love the colors and I love the pattern but I'm not a big fan of the two together.

I need to start thinking about Christmas. I'm really trying to save money and I'd love to be debt-free at some point so the strategizing must begin.

I'm leaning towards dishcloths. I have a friend who makes soap. Maybe we can swap goods.

August 08, 2007

Comfort Knitting

Baby Tulip sweater

To a knitter, this is like mac n' cheese, french fries, oversized flannel shirts or a soft, heavy blankie. The colors are rich and saturated, the yarn is soft, but not too soft, and enough stretch so that the stitches glide easily across the needles. The pattern is easy but has just a tidbit of change so that it entertains but still lets me slide into the zone.

This is just what I needed.

The last time I bought a home I had to have a drink. A Black & Tan. This is far more satisfying.

Mom and I found the kit in a yarn store. I didn't say a word to her about its popularity right now and she doesn't read any stuff online but she went straight for it and wouldn't let go. You know this is a good pattern and yarn if it is selling itself like that. I had to basically trick her to get it and, while she is overseas and helpless to retaliate, I've begun knitting it.

Oh wait, what did I say a little further up? The last time I bought a what?

Yep, that is right, by happenstance, poor planning, no real preparation, and blind, dumb luck. I'm a homeowner again.

I won't be eating for a couple months (to my friends that read this blog, casseroles are the best housewarming gifts for the girl who has everything except money!) and I'm still so sure that it isn't happening yet that I haven't done anything to prepare for a move. No one even knows it has happened because I'm deeply in denial.

This doesn't mean I'm not happy about the prospect of getting out of my one bedroom apartment. That was the whole point of being in a one bedroom apartment. But I go a little psychotic when I have to do a big purchase item like this. I throw myself into research but take very little action. I drive all the professionals I'm dealing with crazy because I want to understand everything and I ask inappropriate questions. Not THAT kind of inappropriate question. More like I ask the electrician about plumbing stuff and vice versa.

I become intolerable. Even I can't stand myself.

So now you know why I've resorted to comfort knitting. It may be the only thing that has kept me from late-night crying phone calls to Denmark (where Mom is) and from locking myself in my one bedroom apartment and refusing to come out.

Tomorrow marks two weeks to M-day (moving day). There may not be enough Tulip Baby Sweater kits in Oregon.

Oh, and anyone want to give me a refrigerator and washer/dryer for some old National Geographics and an acrylic yarn stash?

July 12, 2007

Suprise! I have skills

There seems to be quite a bit of blogging about Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket so I thought I would pipe in with my own learning experience.

The BSJ is really a cool piece of architecture. But it is difficult for the likes of me because I'm very dependant on patterns. Actually, patterns are a big part of why I like knitting. They are like crosswords to me. Can I figure it out? What do I get when I follow these instructions?

So, while I truly see why working some Elizabeth Zimmerman patterns is such a growing experience for a knitter, I stumbled, and I'm sure it won't be the only time.

Here is my first adventure in Zimmerman-land. Her pattern calls for the knitter to pay attention to where the shaping is happening and I made the mistake of trying to mathematically determine where that shaping went. I discovered pretty quickly (maybe not quickly enough) that it put me far off track.

Exhibit A:

bsj problem found

Nice line of decreases jumps over. I'm so disgusted that I did this I decide I want to try to "fix" it rather than rip. Something about learning, blah blah blah.

So I put the knitting on either side of the problem area on needles and I unraveled the bit that needed to be fixed. Yep, right there I unraveled right in the middle of a project.

bsj problem unraveled

I knit up this middle bit. Several times. As I "learned."

 bsj problem reknit

Then we had to have a lie-down. This learning stuff is traumatic.

Sapph napping

When we looked at our work we were quite shocked to see...mistake gone. And you can't see where it was. What? Would this be...skill? I've heard about this in other people but I never knew I could get me some of those skill-thingies.

where is the problem

But my friends, that is what we are looking at here. Some mad knitting skillz!

knitting skillz

Thank you EZ.

September 26, 2006

Knitting Content

A little flurry of activity for work as the semester begins. I'm doing contract work for a local university for their online program and all of the instructors waited until the last minute to give us their information to get online. I had to laugh as one particularly late instructor had handouts for her students about time management and planning ahead. Typical. Even as a student I saw the clear double standard when instructors would be rigid about deadlines but hand back your graded work weeks after their deadline.

Ah, venting done.

I have been doing quite a bit of knitting. My hand work always picks up when I do more technical computer work. So, I'm stuck online all day building web pages hence I need a significant amount of time in the evening to do non-technical work. Shall we take a peek at what has come off the needles?

I forgot to share this little pretty. A lace hairband/headband. After the crushing disappointment of Sonnet I could only tackle little projects. So when I saw this pattern on the Interweave Knits website (subscriber area) I thought it would be great to try it in my left over Elann Esprit which is really elastic.


I omitted one pattern repeat because I thought it would be too long and I wanted the headband to stretch a little. I think it is still a little long and it probably would be better with another repeat eliminated. It also is quite wide so it just bunches up in may hair and you can't see the pretty lace. But it does hold the hair back! And it was kind of fun to make.

I also finished this little project which was really fun to do!

navy cardigan

Knitting purists, brace yourself. The pattern is off the Lion Brand site and the yarn is a Lion Brand yarn. It is called Cashmere Blend and it is comparable to Debbie Bliss' Cashmerino.

Now I love Cashmerino with a white hot passion but this cashmere blend comes pretty darn close. It is almost as soft and is really lovely to knit with. However, I am very disappointed in the limited colors.

I am hearing from other people around the country that the Cashmere Blend actually costs a little more than Cashmerino but in my neck of the woods it is about $1 less (note that in the two links I provide above the Cashmerino is a wee bit less.). I have to give props to Lion Brand for contending with such a fine fiber!

So I enjoyed the fiber (in a blue black that really is beautiful and kind of hard to see while knitting!) and the pattern was really cool. All in one piece and you start with the collar! I love not having to pick up stitches for the band and collar. I'll do this pattern again because it was a lot of fun. It isn't one of Lion Brand's free patterns though.

We need to take a moment to bask in my fabulous seams. I am always sharing my failures but I actually do things right sometimes.

fab seams

You can barely see them! Once in a while I rock.

Another small victory to share is my completion and mailing of my Sock War socks. Fueled by a bizarre diet of sushi and hot fudge sundaes, I knit my fingers to little nubs Sunday and Monday so that I could put off my demise as long as possible.

first sock war socks

I was being a bit lax about it this weekend and then I checked the blog of my assassin. To my horror (and delight because she is making me a pair of socks) I found her to be an accomplished and talented knitter. One of those who crank out the pieces that make the rest of us say, "oooo, I want to do that" and ends with us weeping on the floor clutching the knitting to our chests in despair. And then resorting to knitting headbands.

She is in an entirely different league than me.

My socks were a bit of a challenge for me because I have never knit socks with size 5 needles nor with sock yarn as big as this. But I felt like I scored when I found this Cleckheaton at the beach this weekend. I thought the colors were lovely and neutral enough that they should appeal to most everyone (in case my target was a fella). See, I'm a considerate assassin.

I was so paranoid about sticking to the rules. My sock yarn called for a size 6 needle but I knit it with a 5 and I even though I got gauge I felt like I was cheating the whole time. And I worried that the socks were going to be ugly, etc. Obviously, I can't take this kind of pressure.

Plus, do you see those two wee balls of yarn next to the socks? Those were the end of the skeins when I finished. If my target had my size 10s then I would have been scrambling!

So I'm very sorry to have eliminated my target, but I hope she enjoys the socks!

July 27, 2006

Wraps were popular in the 70s!

Yessirree, my 70s TV star with the same first and last initial is Alan Alda.

alan alda

For understandable reasons, I was in awe of him. And he was exactly as you would expect him to be: unassuming, professional and nice. And he was much better looking in person. Not that he isn't handsome on film but he is handsomer in person.

It isn't as hot as it was but I'm still avoiding the wool. I'm sticking to the cotton socks and this:

hemp baby wrap

A baby wrap from Mason-Dixon Knitting. I'm doing it in hemp. This is the first time I've knit with hemp and I'm not loving it a whole bunch. It feels just like knitting with twine (I think it might actually BE twine, isn't it?). Twine that twists back on itself all the time. You can put it in the washer and dryer and it does soften up with washing (I felt the shop sample) but it is not pleasant now. Great color though, doncha think?

The pattern is fun, knit in one piece and it may actually be an infant sweater that will fit an infant. It seems like whenever I make a sweater for 0-3 months the size is more like 6-12 months. This one is nice and small.

I don't have another gratuitous greyhound photo. It would just be another sleeping one. I'll get some video of Sapphire running in her sleep. You have to see it to believe it!

February 15, 2006

Olympic progress

According to the countdown clock I should be nearly 40% done. I wouldn't exactly say I'm there. I did finish the wrap sweater but instead of going to the intended baby it became a last-minute shower gift for a gal that works in my Grandma's retirement home. Poor kid's husband emptied their bank account, cleaned out the apartment and stole her car leaving her pregnant! What a guy.

The little ladies at the retirement home got together to pool some money and gifts and threw her a shower. I finished up the sweater, made some cleaver baby booties and gave them to Grandma.

I used the booties as an excuse to indulge in some loverly angora. It had to be pretty loverly since I'm allergic to angora. But I suffered through it and had a lot of fun with the pattern. These were the baby booties from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

This probably isn't news to anyone else but I learned a clever new trick. The pattern starts out having me knit a stitch and slip a stitch all the way across. I didn't see anything special in this. I had what looked like a regular little piece of garter stitched square.

double knitting

Then they had me put the knitted stitches on one needle and the slipped stitches on another needle.

split up stitches

And by golly, when you do that the knitting opens up! And inside is the stockinette stitch piece.


It is magic!

OK, that still entertains me to no end.

So yes, I veered off a bit from the plan. But I'm back on track again. Well, we won't mention the felted fish distraction from last night. I swear, I'm back on my Olympic knitting.

Nature is giving me a little helping hand. After something like 34 days of rain straight we had almost a week of sun and lovely weather. Everything began to bud and I even had daffodils open on my front step.

Yesterday while I was walking the dogs in the morning I couldn't figure out how so much lint got on my sweater. See, I get up really early so it was mostly dark while we were walking and I live in a rural area with no street lights so it came as a bit of a surprise when I tried to pick the lint off my sweater and discovered it was snow!

front porch

The horses didn't seem to mind.

snow in the horse field

And it looked like it wanted to accumulate. But it was gone by the time I got home from work.

snow on the back porch

Speaking of work. I start the new job Tuesday and move this weekend. That may impact the Olympic knitting...

January 21, 2006

Courage and sloth

I achieved a new knitting high recently. I didn't share it because it was in the midst of finishing up my master's degree and getting ready for the holidays.

I was knitting up one of my favorite baby wrap sweaters (I've made about three of these) and had even gotten so far as to sew the pieces together, pick up the edge and neck and knit those. When I went to photograph the sweater I discovered a problem.

In checking the pattern I found I had the front at the right length and the back was too long (in case you are curious, there is a bit of difference between 4 cm and 4 in). There was no way I was going to take apart the pieces, rip out the trim and then rip down to the bottom of the back. So I gritted my teeth and went where few knitters have gone before.

I picked up a row of stitches a bit above where the seed stitch trim was supposed to start and then I cut off the extra.

cut off piece

Yep, I took scissors to my knitting and whacked it off! Note loops cut right in half! Go on, look and be horrified and yet impressed at my audacity.

I then carefully ripped up to the row where my needle was and simply started knitting "down" to the seed stitch trim and put it in the correct place.

It worked awesome! I didn't refer to any of my reference books. I just held my breath and did it. You can't even tell where I picked up. You may think you see a line but I assure you, those are regular wonky stitches.


This would be the time I call for Chariots of Fire theme song in the background as I hold my knitting triumphantly over my head except for the fact that when I was finished "fixing" my error I had this:

wide load

Great googly-moogly, if this baby is twice as wide as it is long then I have knit the perfect sweater!

This is the point where I decide to check my gauge. Now in all fairness, I have knit this sweater three times before in yarn that is almost identical. Same manufacturer, same size needles called for, etc. But for some reason, on this project, my gauge was completely off. You are looking at the worlds most complicated swatch.

Epilogue: Our perp reknit all the pieces with a smaller needle getting perfect gauge and perfectly sized pieces. She swears she will block them and sew them together this weekend so that she can get this to the intended baby before he is forced to pass it on to his own baby.

She has not learned her lesson about swatching. She is the worst kind of repeat offender and we don't think she should even blog about this since it glorifies her stupidity. But if we can save one person from sweater rehab then it is all worth it.

December 06, 2005

I have a master's now but obviously not in knitting

I survived. There was some question at one point but I'm here to tell you, you can earn your master's and live to tell about it.

There were some dicey moments on the day of my delivery, such as when I was copying the final thesis onto my jump drive as a backup and the laptop died. Completely died. There was some talk of rebuilding my hard drive. And this is three hours before I have to hand in and present the darn thing. But I assure you...I didn't say darn.

Somehow I managed to print out a recent version of the thesis to hand in, shake off the whole thing for my presentation and then spent the rest of the night on the phone with tech support. We retrieved the thesis and I was able to email it in to my readers early the next morning.

It took a few years off my life. I did capture one of the moments. While on the phone with tech support. This was my life last Thursday:

grad school desk

Note the dead plant, piles of paper and scary screen message.


I may not have completely shaken off the trauma as I spent the weekend knitting baby clothes (I am three babies behind!) I managed to whip out a blue wrap cardigan and while that was blocking I started a white cardi and some merino baby slippers.

baby stuff

I had the blue wrap cardigan sewn together AND knit around the collar before I noticed it wasn't quite right. Can anyone else see something wrong with this picture?

blue wrap cardi

Ugh. Baby halter top?

October 26, 2005

It is a good thing I'm not knitting for Christmas

I've been making a lot of baby stuff and neglecting Christmas knitting. But I kind of decided not to do a lot of Christmas knitting anymore last year. Some of my family members don't appreciate the knitted stuff too much. Still stuck in that, "why did you make me socks, I can buy them at Target?" kind of mindset. That and I think some of them may think it is my way of saving money so the gift is actually my way of being cheap.

If they only knew.

But how could they possible know? These family members haven't been hauled off to yarn stores and seen the cost of yarns and especially the yarn I tend to buy.

Must. have. cashmere. alpaca. merino. blend!

I know some people just aren't aware of the expense and love that goes into making a gift so I'm not going to worry about it. I just focus on knitting for those that do appreciate what goes into this work and give the others something they will like.

Hey, more knitted stuff for me.

Anyway, so I'm getting a little bundle off today to a baby. I like to send more than this. A little kimono sweater and a pumpkin hat. The kimono sweater is a Debbie Bliss pattern I love done out of Cashmerino Aran. Heavenly fabric. The pumpkin hat is a pattern I found free online and done out of Cascade 220.

kimono sweater

pumpkin hat

I did trim the ribbon on the kimono sweater and I wish I had stretched out the pumpkin hat a little so you could see the purl lines running down and making it look more pumpkiny.

I'm did a baby blanket. Just a simple diagonal done in LB Homespun but I just hated the border. In fact I ripped out and re-did the border twice and still hate it. So I pulled some fun colored wool and mohair out of the stash and I'm making the Big Bad Baby Blanket out of Stitch & Bitch. I like this one. It will be a keeper and get sent off to this baby soon I hope. I just have to get that pumpkin hat off NOW!

Then I have two other babies coming in the first couple of weeks of December so they need goodies. And these are both the second child so I feel bad not making anything for the first child (more dinosaurs maybe?)

Maybe I can get to what little Christmas knitting I have in February?