Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tales of a mother's life

It feels like forever since I've posted. Life has been a whirlwind!

DD broke her arm over Memorial Day weekend! Here she is with GraMawMaw in her cast and makeshift sling (they didn't have one small enough at the emergency room). Crawling out of her pack-and-play at naptime is not a skill she's mastered, obviously. And being a tough mom is not a skill I've yet mastered, either. My immediate reaction after seeing her bent arm was to bury my face in my hands and turn away in horror. Of course, a second later and I was marching through the house to take her to the hospital. But I'm still a bit aghast at my reaction. I gotta get tougher.

I was able to start the second baby kimono over the weekend. I made good progress in the two hours before DD broke her arm, and I've made good progress now that I'm back on the train.

Which reminds me - I made EXCELLENT progress on MIL's linen handtowel last week while stuck on the train for 3 hours. Yup, I was a mere 1/4 mile from the station when the train stopped, along with all the other commuter trains on the Amtrak line from NY to DC. Happily I had my knitting with me (and plenty of progress to make). The handtowel is now done and waiting to be blocked.

I just can't decide if I want to knit the second towel using the same pattern or if I want to try a different one. Opinions?

And finally, Happy Birthday to me. I'm a whopping 33 and having the time of my life.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I found a great knit for the yarn that resulted in the disastrous One Singular Sensation (not the yarn's fault, of course). This is Tempting II from Knitty. It calls for a slightly stretchy yarn, so the merino is perfect for it. I had thought about using the delicious papaya-colored Debbie Bliss I have, but it's 100% cotton and the pattern specifically states cotton won't work for this snug and hugging pullover. Given I had just about enough merino yarn for a cardi, I should have plenty for this.

The pattern calls for size 7 24' circular needle which I don't have. My addi 6 24' circ gave me gauge so I'm using those. I love the Addis (these are bamboo ones). They're terrific. I thought about making one size up just in case the gauge is wrong, but it's a stretchy sweater and I went with the smallest size. The torso's about 12" long now, so I'll start the shoulders and neck sections soon.

I still don't have pics to show, but I'll post them soon!

Topics not allowed on the blog (w*rk) is intervening in my life at the moment, so knitting is slow going. It's all part of the ebb and flow, I suppose.

Monday, May 22, 2006

a little slow going

Happy May 22. I can't believe the month is 2/3 complete!

I've been knitting like mad, but I don't have any pics to show. My lace handtowel for MIL is coming along nicely despite dropping a YO st this morning on the train. I'm sure I shaved off a year of my life because of the panic, but I recovered with no mistakes! I can't believe it. I was petrified I'd have to rip the entire thing, which I've only been knitting for hours and hours and hours on end.

I'm also making good progress on Tempting II. I'm almost complete with the torso and am about ready to start the sleeves. I do want to post a pic, though, because some of my st aren't straight. I'm wondering if blocking will help or if they're just sloppy (and permanent) flaws. Sometimes a single st will be much larger than the others, and sometimes several st in a column going up the sweater will have taken a sharp curve. It's as if there were a lane change. I didn't K2tog or decrease - all the st just move on over. I'll have to post a pic tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


An FO to show. It's not a great pic of me, but the cami is great. This is the Honeymoon Companion Cami (my title), which is smaller and trimmer than the Honeymoon Cami. I added the seed stitch border along the bottom (instead of a rib) but also added the border along the V-shaping. That stumped me for weeks as I figured out different kinds of decreases that kept the pattern. I abandoned the decrease instructions in the pattern and did a simple k2tog on the very edge, which worked well with the seed st. I do like that the pic shows I need to wear a dark bra underneath. It's a nice preview before its public debut.

In class last night I used my LYS's spinner to turn one hank into a skein. It was so easy and so quick - especially compared with draping the hank over my knees and fending off DH's foot. I'm rethinking buying one. I vowed not to, but if I use hanks a lot, I can justify the investment.

I'm well into the lace pattern for MIL. I love the variety of the knitting after doing St st forever.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Grumperina is making me rethink ironing, steaming, blocking, and my dry cleaner. As if I have time to add this to my to-do list when really, all I want to do is knit.

in the trenches

Happy May 16th. It's rainy and dreary here today, but this pic of my favorite green sweater makes me think of sun and crisp air.I decided to weather the knitting funk by focusing on one project, knitting as much or as little as I want, and leaving it at that with no expectations. So, I made progress on MIL's lace handtowel, and I like how it's turning out. In fact I like knitting lace a lot and am now looking at some new projects for my sister:

These are from Hilton Lace Pillowcase ( I've also seen patterns like this in books, but god forbid I ever buy the book or remember which book I looked at. In my defense, there are a ton out there!

I decided that I'll piece together the baby kimono in tonight's knitting class. My Honeymoon Companion is now finished and blocked (kinda, more in a sec), so I'll show that. As for blocking a sweater, does it count to soak the sweater and let it dry on a sweater mesh thingy? I usually take everything to the cleaners and let them steam it, but a tank? I can't see myself shelling out the bucks for that. The cami is made from yarn like dishcloth cotton, so it should wash well. Maybe I'll just stick it in the washer & dryer and leave it at that. It's a weekend casual cami, after all, not a silk special thing.

And I have an admission: I finally threw away the Red Heart yarn I bought years and years ago. It was taking up a huge part of my stash, and in our teeny apartment we just don't have the room. I thought about knitting it for afghans or baby gifts, but I DETEST that yarn and didn't want it in sight. I could have given it away, but I DETEST that yarn and can't imagine thrusting it on someone else.

Does that make me a bad knitter??

Monday, May 15, 2006

in a funk

I'm in a knitting funk, and I don't know why. I have my suspicions: I can't knit as often as I want to, I haven't had time to sit and stitch together the baby kimono (and I really want that FO!), my Honeymoon companion cami is done but not blocked and seems a bit flabby on me, and I just can't decide what to knit next. I ripped and restarted MIL's linen handtowels using a different lace pattern than the first. It just wasn't as pretty as the pic. DH picked this pattern and he generally has bad knitting taste, so hopefully I'll like it. It's too complicated a pattern for subway knitting, so that's funking me out, too.

I did have a divine mother's day and even got some green pics for project spectrum. I'll have to post tomorrow.

Friday, May 12, 2006

casting on

Happy May 12!
While waiting to piece together the baby kimono (weekend finishing work), and while waiting to finish the Honeymoon companion (nighttime knitting), I started the linen handtowels for my MIL today. I'm using Euroflax, which I've never used before. It's like twine, but it knits easily and I like its stiffness. I don't like the pattern in Mason-Dixon knitting (chevron and moss), so I'm going to look around for a different lace pattern. I think my MIL will really like (and use) the handtowels, and I look forward to knitting the lace pattern (my first).

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

in pieces

Here are some pictures (sorry for the bad picture quality) of the baby kimono, in progress. It's still in pieces and unblocked, but I wanted to show this almost-FO. The original kimono from Mason-Dixon Knitting looks much more squat and square than mine. I'm hoping this isn't a problem fit-wise, and maybe post-blocking mine will look more like the picture.

I didn't make many modifications to this pattern. I added an eyelet border along the bottom edge and wrists using garter sts & YOs. I think it turned out really nicely and I like the effect much better than the seed st. It matches the eyelet border along the front edges, adding a more finished feel.

I also knit the two front sides at the same time using circular needles and two separate skeins. This worked out really well for getting both sides to be the exact same length with little thinking. It didn't work out so well in terms of twisted, tangled yarn, but so it goes. Luckily it was only two skeins.

I plan to add some ribbon and possibly a bow if I can tie it right. We shall see.

Don't they know??

Don't conference organizers know that they're supposed to build in sufficient do-nothing time so that the knitters of the world can make progress on their UFOs? Obviously the organizers of this conference hadn't heard one whit about that, as I made NO progress on my two projects that I had planned to FINISH by the end of the conference. It was non-stop, and I'm so relieved to be home to slow down that I can barely stand it.

Thank goodness for Project Spectrum. I have a battery of green pics to populate those days when I have no knitting pics. I'm a bad knitter. This, by the way, is lettuce if you couldn't tell. Yup, lettuce. I love the stuff.

I did bind off the baby kimono this morning during my half-morning comp-time recovery at home. It needs to be stitched and blocked, but otherwise it's done. I'm still working diligently on the Honeymoon Companion. I may have to abandon the seed stitch neck border, as after 5 rounds of different techniques, I still can't seem to get it right. One last try on a swatch, and it if doesn't work, it's a normal V-neck shaping with no border.

OK, back to work land. I take comfort in knowing it supports my yarn addiction.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Zoooooooming by

I love Debbie Bliss yarn.

This is a quick post. I'm going to a conference Sunday-Tuesday, and the family is heading down early to visit friends in the area.

I've had to put aside the Honeymoon Companion. I need a block of time to sit down and work on it. I've knit on the train enough to know that when patterns start getting tricky or need attention, train knitting merely results in mistakes. So, I've turned my attention to the Baby Kimono, which is actually a very fun knit.

As promised, here are the yarn specs:
Berroco Touche
Pink (color 7990)
50% Cotton, 50% Rayon
5mm 20st/24rows = 4"

I did rip and reknit this completely because I didn't like the seed stitch border. Actually, I did like it, but I wanted to put in an eyelet-type border using YOs. I started this last night and am already to the neck decreases. I love how fast this goes.

In looking at all of the FOs on the blogs out there, I can't help but wonder how much time people have to knit. I'm either incredibly slow or have zilch time compared with others. Here's my knitting schedule:
About 40 min on the AM train
About 30 min at lunch
About 40 min on the PM train
About 40-60 min at night

Thursday, May 04, 2006

In the throes

This is cut up green pepper, by the way, in case you couldn't tell.

I'm the throes of redesigning the neck shaping for the Honeymoon Companion. I really like the seed st border I put on it, but I didn't get it into a pretty V shape at the bottom. I need to rip about 6 rows before the decreases, begin the V seed border, and then start the decreases a few rows up. No pics to show - this all came about on the train this morning.

The thing that's stumping me is that I LIKE the way the decrease edge looks along the V. However, at the bottom point of the V, I won't be doing any decreases yet, so I don't know how to work in that pretty stitch. I could M1 then decrease, but I think the M1 would show up. I'd only need to M1 until I need the actual shaping to start.

I'll have to find some time to really sit down and study this. I've also made so many modifications that my pattern copy looks like DD scribbled all over it. I need to redo it.

Off to a meeting!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

What I learned in knitting class last night . . . .

Every time I go to my knitting class, I learn something new (which is a good thing, since it's a class). Last night I learned that I'm never buying hanks again. It's skeins for me from here on out. Daria (shown here with her WIP bag to-be-felted) suggested I drape the hank over my feet and wind it that way. Cathy, the instructor (nice action photo, Cathy) said the best solution was to buy a spinner-thingy (I can't remember the correct name for it, but Cathy didn't say "spinner-thingy"). I'm not that much into knitting and spinning yet to invest, so it's skeins for awhile. I'll try the feet thing, or DH, or wrapping the yarn around both arms and winding it that way (like the scottish woman Cathy described), but I'm now on a hank fast.
On other fronts, Sonia learned how to pick up stitches along the neckline of the sweater she's knitting for her daughter. Sonia knitted years ago but put the needles down for awhile. But I'm inspired by her skill - she's proof that once you learn, you never forget. Her knitting is beautiful.
Bonnie is knitting the cutest summer bag with a pretty lavender hued cotton yarn. We all - Cathy included - learned a "wonky" strap pattern that produces a very pretty braided look. CO 4 st, K3, YIF, slip the last stitch as if to P. Turn the knitting around to start the row again, and repeat the pattern. It is "wonky" at first, but after a bit you really get the hang of it. Held with double strands, it makes a nice sturdy strap.
Maria, on the other hand, is knitting winter bags to be felted using Lamb's Pride (I love Lamb's Pride). She's going to become rich and famous selling them to her friends and dazzling her cowboy husband (when she meets him, that is). I'm anxious to try my own felted bag - Maria's and Daria's look so cool.
A couple of ladies aren't shown here: Virginia (who missed last night) and Jenny (who didn't want to be photographed). Jenny's also making a felted bag in lavender. Virginia is making a summer shawl using a pretty YO border.

As for my WIP, here is the Honeymoon Companion. I *think* my preferred length from underarm to hip is about 12.5", so I started the neck and arm decreases much earlier than the pattern called for. I also (drum roll) added a seed stitch border along the neck and arm line. I have no idea if it will be pretty, and I'm willing to rip and reknit if necessary. With the seed stitch border along the bottom, I thought the border along with arms and nec would be pretty. Here's my technique - let me know if it's going to wonky:

Seed st for 3 st, decrease, knit to last 5 st, decrease, seed st last 3 st.

I'm basically knitting the border and THEN taking the decreases. The thing I have noticed so far is that the decreased edges are visible, and placed right next to the border, they actually widen the seed st border. But because they don't match the seed st, they do look a little odd. I've only knit a few rows for the first shaping, so I'll knit a few more and decide what to do.

I thought about taking the decreases from WITHIN the seed st border, but I wasn't exactly sure how to maintain the seed st AND decrease at the same time.

Finally, here's the baby kimono from Mason-Dixon knitting. This is a lovely fast knit, and I love the yarn (which I promise to post. Really. I promise.)

a brief update

In celebration of May 2, I'm posting this picture: a closeup of my favorite halter top. It's a lovely new spring green with a poke of blue flowers here and there. It was a bit chilly this weekend when I wore it, but I didn't care. I was happy to bring it to the light of the new spring day.

My current knitting thoughts are around the modifications of the Companion Cami. I've done the waist and bust shaping and am now knitting straight until the V-neck & V-arm shaping. The last cami was too long, although I like where the underarms hit. So, my plan is to don the finished cami and measure from the underarm to the point where I want the tank to hit. Then, on the new cami I'm knitting, I'll measure from the bottom up to the point where the arm should start. I just have to recruit DH to help with that.

I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing here, but it seems to make sense in my head at least. I still have to deal with the size around, but that seems much harder to figure out (and a little late given how far I am already). I did fewer increases for the bust than the pattern called for, so we'll see how that works out.

To be continued . . .
PS - thank you Heather for this pattern! I love it - looks just like my spring green halter. It's in my que for an in-season knit.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Monday Musings

Welcome May! In celebration of Project Spectrum, I'm posting this pic and sending a hearty hello to Spriritual Knitter.

I don't know about others out there, but I have roughly 3 sizes of clothes in my closet: 4s, 6s, and 8s. I can't even look at the 4s right now. Some 6s fit like 4s (meaning I can't look at them at all). Others fit like really big 8s. Some 8s fit like perfect 6s (meaning they're towards the back of the closet collecting dust), and yet others fit like large 10s. Further, clothes I got several years ago are sized differently than clothes I bought recently: the 6s I bought several years ago now are labeled 4s and sometimes 2s.

DH also has several sizes of clothes, but all of the 33s fit like 33s, 32s like 32s, and 31s like 31s.

For years I've wondered why clothing sizes vary as much as they do. It's annoying and irritating - even the 2 pairs of size 6 Eddie Bauer jeans I have fit differently. What's with that?

Which now leads me to a larger topic: US sizes in general, namely, knitting needle sizes. I saw on a recent SKC post a note about US sized needles vary from one manufacturer to another but are generally consistent within manufacturers. For example, the Clover size 6 needles I have are NOT the same as the addi size 6.

However, the mm sizes never change because, well, it's based on a standard system. So, long rant short, from now on I'm going by mm size, not US size.

Project Updates
DD's rug: I ran out of yarn a mere 3 ridges after posting the picture of it yesterday. I'm going to shop around online for the yarn I need. It's sugar 'n cream, so it should be easy to find, but it's still a pain to have run out. It does give me a good chance, however, to think about the colors for the rug. I am using Butter Cream Ombre, which is a multi-colored thread (I don't know the technical term for it - variagated in plants). I like the colors a lot and since this rug uses a log cabin design, I have the chance of making different colored blocks. I just need to find the right dusty/pastel colors, and I'll be set.

So, I cast on a new project: the Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono in Mason-Dixon Knitting. I'll post the yarn specs when I get home. The pattern calls for good ole Sugar 'N Cream, which I LOVE for many things. But for this I went with a nicer yarn that has a really pretty shimmer to it. Pics and specs to come.

Honeymoon Cami Companion: so that's not the exact name for it, but it works for me for now. I'm modifying the pattern A LOT given how Honeymoon turned out. Basically I'm shortening the length and reducing the bust increases. I also did a seed stitch border rather than rib.

And, a non-knitty rant: I did 9 WOs last month. A paltry 9. Goal for May: at least 18 WOs. That should be completely do-able if I just get up in the morning and get to it.