Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Knitting Olympics deadline came and went....

And I'm still not finished my sweater. I have the two front button bands done, the second sleeve 3/4 done, with just the neckline band to do. I was just starting to get sick of it, and as Laura commented,
"If I were forced to work on the same thing for 16 days,I would become filled with hate and resentment toward it, thus filling the knitted item with all sorts of Bad JuJu."

Couldn't have said it better myself. So, I switched from the Oh-My-God-I'm-Not-Going-to-Finish-This-in-Time mode to the more Zen, Enjoy-the-Process mode. So, I haven't been rushing it. I'm just happy that I did as well as I did, because I didn't solely devote the sixteen days to knitting...not when I have a three year old at home.

Speaking of which, O had her first Parent and Child gymnastics class. I really had no idea what to expect, but dang! they have those little things doing some (I think) major stuff. This is a class for two and three year olds, and they walk on the balance beam doing kicks, then walk sideways, then backwards, do an assisted flip on the little uneven bar, forward rolls, jump on the little springboard....wow....just amazing. O wasn't really into it until that flip on the bar (she lives to be upside down)...after that, she was pretty cool with it. Oh yeah...and for the Parent part of it...I got worried when I saw the other moms in workout gear...but no flips for us...just hand-holding.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Brilliant! Brilliant!

I feel like I'm in a Guinness ad....That's all I can say for steeked sweaters and the nifty way they are finished inside. So neat and tidy....love it....Mouse over the pics for the explanations....

All sewn and cut and looking ratty... Sleeve sewn in, wrong side view. Still have to sew down facing.
Right side view...getting there...Went out and got the buttons last night...couldn't find exactly the same ones that I found online, but these will do.

Ok...back to knitting...

Friday, February 24, 2006

What's that up ahead? Oh yeah...the wall that I may be hitting...

There comes a point in every project when you just can't stand to look at it anymore. This is why I do multiple projects at once. I like change. I thought today I would get the first sleeve done, and a good part of the second one. Ha. Nope. So....what did I do instead? I decided to trace out a pattern for a sweater coat. Then, of course, there's my favourite girl O to entertain, so we played many games of 'The Elephant that Escaped from the Zoo and is Being Chased by the Police Car'. Which means that O stomps around the center of the house making elephant sounds, while I chase her, making police car sounds. She made up this game. It's one of her favourites. (She has a really vivid imagination.) And then I talked to my Mom on the phone for about an hour. And then, of course, I had to see what kind of ceiling fans Home Depot had on their website while O was sleeping. Oh yeah, then I had to call and get some information on gymnastics classes for TMO, to get her out of the house more.

I should not have checked that Olympics countdown...I really thought that I had until tomorrow night, but I have tons of time...and there's nothing like a going down to the wire for a die-hard procrastinator like me.

Ok...time to bite the bullet and finish that first sleeve...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A funny thing happened on the way to my posting...

So last night, I had a new posting mostly written...and then something happened to pull me away from it, and as I usually do, I just left it. Didn't save it. And then, unbeknownst to me, a security update had to be done, with a rebooting of the computer.

Yup, my posting was gone. By then, I was too lazy tired to re-do it. So, I'll have to try and piece it together.

I'm pretty well three-quarters of the way done on the first sleeve. The sleeves are so itty bitty, almost like doing socks. But, now I know that if I wanted to do some fancy colour-stranded socks, I can.

I was unsure of how much time I actually have left to get my Knitting Olympics sweater done, so I checked out Yarn Harlot's blog, and lo and behold, she has a timer counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the official stop time. I have more time than I thought! Whoo hoo! I may actually get the gold!

I got a little surprise in the mail over the weekend. A few weeks ago, Laura had a contest on her blog, and I won me some Colour Your Own Sock Yarn from Knitpicks. I'm undecided on dyeing it with either Kool Aid (easy and non-toxic), or real-deal Procion dyes (better colour range). She also had the cutest little notecard enclosed, with a handwritten note. Ok...picture time...
Knitbloggers rule!
So, thanks Laura!! Knitbloggers Rule!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Have I ever mentioned I hate DPNs

Plus, whenever I see the acronym, I always think of Depends. I don't know why. My brain makes weird connections sometimes.

So now I'm on to the itty bitty sleeves, which are about the size of socks. I've had trouble with the sleeves (read: lots of unknitting and various bad words, muttered inaudibly so that Daughter With the Mind Like a Sponge does not pick up a new, interesting vocabulary.)

Anyways, for whatever reason, I had an off day. So, we went out to shop. I wanted to pick up another size 4 needle, and another size 5 needle, so that I could try that two-circ method for doing small circumferences. I may be a sock knitter yet...it is so much better than those nasty DPNs.

Also had to buy new shoes.

And O found a pair of sunglasses...pink (of course), with sparkles (naturally), and they're the same cat's eye shape that my glasses are. Except, of course, mine are Chanel, and hers are Dora the Explorer.

So...I steeked...

You know...I have this weird way of doing things...I just plunge right in and do something, and then check to see if it was right. So I sewed, and cut, and then realized that I may have sewed around the wrong stitches. It'll work out. I'll make it work. I just have to stop thinking that the Sweater Police are going to get me for making my own changes.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The body is DONE!!!

I am really happy with how this has turned out, freak-outs about measurements and all...The upper sunflower repeat is a little tight, because that was knitted back and forth, and I tended to pull the stranded yarns a bit tighter than knitting in the round. Hopefully, it won't make a big difference in fit, because it isn't as stretchy as the body part. Oh well, it's all part of the learning process.

I had to photograph the sweater with O's latest creation. D went to Costco this weekend, and picked up a gardening set for her, complete with shovel, rake, gardening gloves, and a stepping-stone kit. She's like a magpie...loves anything that sparkles.

So, back to the sweater...I only have the sleeves to do...lots of time to finish...

Sunday, February 19, 2006

My social life is cutting into my knitting time...

Our new neighbourhood is extremely social...it's so nice to have neighbours that actually hang out together. Friday night, my next door neighbour invited some of the other moms from the cul-de-sac out to see 'Firewall'...not a bad show, although it is kind of depressing to see Harrison Ford age....(I still think of him as Han Solo). Anyways, the movie is set in Seattle, which is cool, and without giving out a spoiler, there is one scene near the end that just killed me...Harrison's trying to locate his family, and on the GPS doodad it shows the location...which is about 10 minutes away from our town...(which is kind of out in deep suburbia)...needless to say, the audience cracked up. I think there may have been some applause. One of those situations where you have to have been there. Too funny. We're still giggling about it.

Yesterday, we all braved the cold and let the kids play outside. O was sad that her little friend Emma had gone inside right before we got out there. She scanned the other kids out there, and not finding her friend, she started calling out 'EEEEMMMMMMMAAAAAA' doing her best Stanley Kowalski.

Hopefully, I'll be able to get the body part done today, so I can post some pics.

Friday, February 17, 2006

I must be on something...

I think I am just plain nuts. Before I proceeded to rip out a few days' worth of work, I measured one more time. On a flat surface. Making sure it wasn't stretched. Funny how those two things really make a difference.

All is good. Freak out session is over. I calculated that I'll be able to do one more sunflower repeat.


I am allergic to housework

Yeah, I know, a lot of people say that. I truly am allergic to dusting, since I am allergic to dust. And since I haven't really tackled the living room since we moved in for a while, my allergies have really given me a beating today. O was very concerned for me, in my sneezing wheeziness, as I rifled through the bottom bathroom cabinet for my antihistimines...'Mommy....are you okay? You taking medicine.' Awww...she's so sweet.

On the Knitting Olympics note, I am cursing my measuring skills. Or, I should say, my inaccurate measuring. Or, more specifically, the coordinating of sweater measurements to pattern measurements. As in, I knitted for about 2 cm (about 3/4") too much before I started the armholes. I know...it doesn't sound like much, but as I'm nearing the neck shaping, it's making a difference in how many pattern lines I have left.



Thursday, February 16, 2006

Eight days and counting...

And I still haven't done any work on my sweater yet. I've been otherwise busy with other things. Like dusting.

Hmmm....maybe buying end tables in a dark finish was not the brightest idea.

Still not done the body part...

I ran into some snags where I wasn't really paying attention and had to unknit about 5 rounds. I forgot the armhole shaping. On a different note, I bought Eunny's argyle vest pattern, and it really helped me with the armhole shaping. I love this vest. I want to make it out of baby pink and chocolate brown. But, that's another project. And I have a lot of yarn waiting to be turned into other things. I never did get that FIFO concept in my accounting classes (first in/first out).

Monday, February 13, 2006

Progress report

You know, when I chose this project for the Knitting Olympics, I thought it would be a real struggle. When I first started knitting, I made a Debbie Bliss intarsia cardi for O. I hated that sweater. I love the design (roses out of varying shades of blue on a white background), but I hated the process. I thought that Fair Isle would be like that, but I am really enjoying it. It's the knit stitch in the round (my favourite), but it has enough going on with the colour changes to keep you from being bored. Now I want to do more. I Googled 'steeking' the other night, and I found Eunny's blog. Laura has mentioned her, and I finally checked out her site....all I can say is WOW....her FOs are amazing, and she has a pattern for an argyle sweater that I. Must. Knit. And she has some pretty amazing info on steeking.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

One inch more

I did about an inch more. So now I have one pattern repeat of sunflowers, and I'm starting the carrot pattern.

I am now fearing the whole steeking process.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Hey...Fair Isle isn't as hard as I thought...

So, I've been working along on my Knitting Olympics project, and really, Fair Isle knitting isn't that bad. It's one of those things that looks waaaay harder than it is. This sweater is going to be so cute...it's so bright, and the Safran yarn is a joy to work with. It has a really tight twist, so it isn't splitty at all. I may have to make myself a sweater out of it later.

I may end up lining the sweater with a cotton knit fabric, to cover up all the stranded bits.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Knitting Olympics!!!

So...here's what my day has been so far.

6:30 am: Trainer comes into room....'Mommy!!! Wake up! Wake up! Let's go!' Roll over...check clock. It's. Six. Thirty. Bribe child with treat of laying in Mommy and Daddy's bed in exchange for a more reasonable wake up call.

8:00 am: Get out of bed. Breakfast of champions...Life cereal and 1% milk for me, Cheerios with whole milk for O.

9:30 am: Decide to find yarn/pattern/needles.

10:00 am: Read pattern. Read pattern again. Mutter something about monkey on crack determining measurements.

10:15 am: Decide to do a swatch.

10:30 am: Remember Joann's has big Simplicity pattern sale. Shower, dress, dress child, grab snacks/purse/bunny/coffee.

11:00 am: Leave house.

11:30 am: Arrive at store. Shop.

12:30 pm: Lunch of champions...Lunchables and juice for O, Diet Pepsi and Almond Joy bar for me.

1:00 pm: Drive home. O falls asleep in car.

1:30 pm: Arrive home. Thirty minutes to spare before two o'clock kickoff.

2:00 pm: Knitknitknit.

Will have more updates on progress later.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Knitting Olympics start tomorrow...

I am so psyched...I don't even care if I don't finish. This is my first knit-along...and it's kind of neat to be in a collective group all working towards the same goal.

I've neglected my green sweater a bit this week. I've been doing some adjustments to a pattern for a wrap dress. I have some major tweaks that I have to do to patterns to get them to fit just so. That's why I sew...if I wanted to have it fit just so-so....I'd buy it. So for most of this week, I've been working on adjusting the tissue pattern. It's got a lot of wacky pieces, so for the first day, it was a lot of just looking at it and muttering under my breath. I have a combination of narrow shoulders coupled with a broad back and I have to do a full bust adjustment. So it means starting out with a smaller pattern to get the shoulder fit, and adding to it to get the right size. Oh yeah...and I have a pesky swayback problem.

Really, it sounds worse than it is...

I know...you're probably thinking, "Sure, Quasimodo...;)"

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Our regularly scheduled knitting will be interrupted by the rare appearance of the sun...

Yeah...we've actually had that rare winter occurance in the Pacific Northwest...days without rain. So, we've been taking advantage of it by actually going outside to play. We live in a cul-de-sac of ten houses, and about half of them are young families. After about four o'clock, the kids are outside, riding bikes and scooters, drawing on the sidewalks with chalk, and taking the little ones for rides in their wagons. Next door to us is a little girl who is all of two weeks older than O. We got O a wagon with the money her one set of grandparents sent her for Christmas, and she wanted her new little friend Emma to ride in it with her. They looked so cute together....Emma is the dark-haired version of O. They look like they could be sisters.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I love trying new things...

I read an interesting article in Interweave Knits on how to do sleeve cap shaping using short rows. I already tackled that with the left front and back pieces so that I could join the live stitches in a three needle bind-off (my personal favourite for joining shoulder seams), so I thought I'd give it a shot for the sleeves. I lovelovelove it! I hate that stepped look that doing the bind-offs at each end of the sleeves, and this gives a nice, graceful curve. So...here's how I did it. I knit the sleeve to the required length. You were supposed to start the shaping having the right side facing and binding off the first three stitches. I knit across and back to this point. I guess I could have started on the last WS row of the un-decreased part, but I wanted to err on the side of caution and have sleeves that were perhaps a titch too long than too short. So, when I came back (on the WS) to the starting point, I knit to the last three stitches and wrapped and turned. Then went back and forth, following the pattern, knitting up to the number of stitches to be bound off, and wrapping and turning. When I got to the end, I knit (well, actually ribbed...when I've been saying 'knit', I've been following the ribbing pattern)across the left hand decreased section, picking up all the wraps. Then I turned my work, knit across the these 17 stitches, binding them off. Then I knit across the remaining stitches, picking up the wraps on the right hand side. The I bound off the remaining stitches.

Clear as mud, eh?

Sorry for the crappy picture quality. We're cameraless for the moment, but I had to share how cool this sleeve was....so I threw it in the scanner. I tweaked the colour a bit in Digital Image Suite, so it wouldn't be as dark.


I have to wind another skein of Naturgarn into a ball so I can finish off Sleeve #1. I don't have an umbrella swift, or a ball winder.

I sit on the floor, legs outstretched at shoulder width. I use my feet to hold the yarn, and wrap it by hand.

I call it 'exercise'....

Monday, February 06, 2006

Nothing new on the knitting front, so I think I'll borrow an idea from another blog...

I have my daily list of reads. Laura's post today was quite interesting. It linked to another post regarding knit blogs, and how some can be intentionally/unintentionally exclusionary. Laura brought up an interesting point about blogging and what it becomes for the larger audience. It got me thinking about why I write my own blog.

I read a lot of blogs for quite a while before I started my own. I'm always rather late on the whole bandwagon thing. (Like ponchos...by the time I got the whole 'me when I was four' and 'Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' out of my head, they were passe'.)

But I digress....

Anyways...it got me thinking back to why I started my own blog. Why I dragged my little soap box out amongst hundreds of others and proceeded to speak.

I missed writing. I went to University for a number of years, and in that time, I wrote a lot of papers. In my final year of my Art History degree, I was writing about four papers a week. Even though at that time, it was the bane of my existence, when it was over, I went into writing withdrawal. I missed sitting down with my coffee and just thinking. And after I had O, I noticed it even more.

While I was making breakfast for O today, I was thinking about a book that I read a few years ago...Lucy R. Lippard's Lure of the Local. In a series of essays, she talks about people's sense of place in the world, and how we define it. A blog is your own little place in the larger community of bloggers. A virtual window into your life, or what you represent as your life.

I want my little blog to be entertaining. Maybe even tempt somebody into trying something new...not to be afraid of doing something for the first time.

Hmm...have to think about this idea a little more. Haven't had enough coffee today...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

On to the sleeves now!

I decided to give myself a break from cable pattern reading and do the sleeves on my green sweater. I did the three-needle bind off on the one shoulder seam...I'd post a picture, but we don't have a camera right now. Our new camera was kind of defective, so it's going back, and a new one is on the way. Oh well....

So, anyways...I'm almost done the one sleeve...I started it Friday morning, and I've been working at it off and on...it's a 3x3 rib, so it's a fast knit.

In other news....I won me some yarn! Laura of Affiknitty had a little contest, and I won some dyeable sock yarn from Knitpicks. Woo hoo for me!!! I've been checking out books from the library on dyeing your own yarn, and I even went out and got me some Kool-Aid....now I have no excuses...

Friday, February 03, 2006

You know you're in the Pacific Northwest when...

I was doing the rounds this morning, opening up the blinds on the windows, when TMO pointed excitedly out the bedroom window:

"Mommy! What's that??!!??"

"That, sweetie, is the sun."

Almost done the left side!!!

Yay!!! I just have to do the three-needle bind off! I read the Interweave articles on changing shoulder shaping from stepped bind-off to short rows, so I tried that with this sweater. I really don't like sewn together shoulder seams...they're so bulky. I'd much rather do the three-needle bind off. I'll do that tomorrow, while O and I watch another exciting episode of the Doodlebops.

Dinner went well last night. O and I spent the entire day getting everything ready...I like everything all prepared...measured out in little ramekins, or Gladware containers, so I can just concentrate on cooking. So, here was the menu:


Crudites platter

Main Course

Salad of mixed baby greens with white wine vinaigrette
Crescent rolls
Salmon with orange and pecans (this was a new recipe...and I think I'll be making it again...it was soooo good)
Brown rice
Sauteed green beans


Sugar cookies and cream puffs (Mary brought the cream puffs)

The best thing about entertaining? Besides the fact that it reminds me that I can still cook....leftovers!!!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Not much knitting going to be done today...

I have a busy day ahead...a chair that was supposed to be delivered yesterday is arriving today, so any plans to go out are toast...but that's ok...tonight we're having a dinner party for six, so later today, I'm going to be knee-deep in salmon fillets. My human alarm clock woke me up at 7:30, and I'm actually not tired...my insomnia is taking a vacation, and I fell asleep early last night.

Yesterday, O and I did the grocery shopping for our dinner. I really like going grocery shopping with her. We talk about what we see, what things smell like, how they feel...and she loves to help pick out vegetables to put in bags. Of course, it took about an hour and a half to get all the things on our list, but it's so nice.

All part of enjoying the process...

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