Thursday, December 11, 2008

Knitted Christmas Stocking

Last year, before the Bean was born, I decided to make him/her a stocking for Christmas. I was going to design it and it was going to be colorful Fair Isle with a corrugated rib cuff. I got as far as the cuff before I put it down. I couldn't quite figure out what I wanted to do, so I put it down. When M. came, there wasn't a whole lot of time for silly things like knitting, and since she was going to be not quite a month and a half old at Christmas, I didn't think she'd notice.

Skip forward to this fall. I started thinking about the stocking again. This time, however, I decided to make the Scandinavian Stocking with no variations (other than yarn substitution and color). To do a really nice Fair Isle from scratch would be much easier with some sort of knitting design software, to fool about with the colors. I could knit swatches, yes, but, no, not going to happen.

So, I started knitting and I thought a bit about yarn dominance. What that means is thinking about which color pops in two-color knitting. What you want is for the pattern to show up sharply against the background color, and it's just a matter of which yarn comes from below (since one will when you are knitting with two colors). This site has a great description and even has pictures. Since I hadn't checked out that site for a while, I had gotten which yarn would be dominant mixed up in my head. The great thing is, after only a couple rows I could tell my pattern didn't look great, so I came down to the computer to check, and sure enough, my pattern color was coming over the top of the background color (the wrong way). So, I ripped the couple rounds I did (without taking pictures) and worked them again, and what do you know ... it looks so much better. It was worth a few ripped rows to see the theory in action in my own work.

She still won't have a stocking this year, but I don't think she'll notice.

Checked out the new Knitty and was impressed, there were four patterns that I immediately put in my Ravelry queue. That doesn't even include the sock patterns, which I like, but who are we kidding.

I've finished knitting the Aethelwyne mittens for M., but now I can't find my needles to sew in the ends. Silly, I know, but as soon as I can get them sewn in, I can dye them with the lemon-lime Kool-Aid I bought.

I started a pair of Knucks for myself because as I was sitting at the computer, I realized I was cold, specifically my hands. A picture will come when there is something worth showing. I have finished the fingers and joined them. The next time I make a pair (I am enjoying them) I'm going to do the joining on two circular needles instead of two double points... it's rather akward.

Oh, and here's a fun thing, I won a contest on La's blog and got the prize in the mail on Saturday. What a way to perk up a day! Not only did she send a skein of her Dizzy Blonde yarn, which is deliciously soft and beautiful, but all sorts of other goodies! Yummy lavender rosemary soap, bath fizzies, a Dizzy Blonde tape measure, and a pretty card! And last but not least, a zombie sheep! Not only are the eyes a little odd, but it has a thing in it that is supposed to sound like a sheep "baa-ing" and is really creepy and I LOVE it! M. was a little creeped out at first, but as you can see, she has overcome her aversion to the zombie.
In other M. news, her signing is just improving by leaps and bounds! Just this morning she signed "banana". And she's walking amazingly well, even in the new size 5 (which is a little big) snowboots she has. The cutest thing (ok, they are all the cutest) is that she will give air kisses... making a little fish face and smacking. I melt.

UPDATE: I found my darning needles!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

LP Cover Meme

Saw this on Melissa's blog and thought it was too fun to pass up. To make the cover you need photo editing software... Or just list your results. The photo came from ~buzzybee~'s photos on Flicker.

Step 1
The name of the article is the name of your band.

Step 2

The last four words of the last quote is the name of your album.

Step 3
The third image, from left to right, is your cover art.

Fun, eh? I might decide to have many bands and albums.

Ok, so here's the Ninja Bean:And here is her showing voting pride:
In knitting news, I'm making progress on the Beaded Shawl in the latest Vogue Knitting and on my dad's sweater. No pictures of either because unblocked lace is a mess, and the sweater hasn't changed except there is more of it to see. I also finished a scarf for my mom I started years ago. There was a limited amount of yarn (I dyed it at a fiber fair a couple years ago), so it's a short scarf that you'd wear under a coat. I'm hoping a wash will soften it, otherwise my mom might want to line one side of it, because it's not really soft (and considering she finds cashmere itchy...).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Really, a year?

Saturday was a year.

She started out like this:
And now she's walking and signing and "talking".

Oh, and the birthday sweater? It got finished and blocked and she wore it and looked adorable.

(In the next post we'll go back and see her Halloween costume and what she wore to vote).

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Did I say something about a prize Monday? Yes? Well, ok, so it's Thursday and I PM'd Amy that she won. Guess her liking purple affected the random number generator.

Ok, not feeling very blog chatty, but wanted to give you that update and to thank everyone for their birthday wishes. Had a very nice weekend. Here are pictures.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stay until the end, there will be a prize

Holy moly! It's almost my birthday and I think this might be my first post in October. Where did the time go?

Ok, so quick recap:
Went to Yarn Con with Jen (it didn't rain!) and her youngest and had a great time. Got a great print from Franklin (um, it's not on his Etsy site, but it's cool). Also got a couple of skeins of Sophie's Toes for Helena in Crimson for M's birthday (more on that later). Got a couple things for my Rubbernecker swap-ee.

Got great things from my Rubbernecker swapper (not the same person to whom I sent stuff). Don't believe me, check out all the goodies on the right. That beautiful Fiddlesticks pattern is just right for the laceweight she sent, but I need to find the perfect scarf pattern for the Peace Fleece sock yarn (because I just don't love doing socks).

What else? M is almost walking, she loves holding onto my (or anyone's) fingers and walking around. She can do "Touchdown" and loves to clap and point at things. For a while she seemed to forsake waving for clapping, but will now do both. She is also wearing hats again, which is good since it's getting colder here.

Ok, so this is (at least in theory) a knitting blog, right? And I think I mentioned above something about M's birthday sweater. Well, I bought Sophie's Toes to make it because, YUM! In doing so, however, I disregarded the yarn requirements of the pattern (Helena) which specifically stated DK weight... Sophie's Toes, being sock yarn (get it?) is fingering weight, so instead of 5.5 stitches per inch I was getting 7. Even if I had done the pattern in its largest size, it would have fit M now, and I want it to be a bit big so she can grow into it. So, after trying to work out the maths, D suggested that maybe I should just go get yarn that worked. So, without further ado, I headed up to Wool and Co. to get DK weight yarn. I looked at Jojoland Rhythm, but in the end, picked Artyarns Ultramerino 6 because it was a hot pink that was just too pretty to pass up (pictures later). The sweater is now coming along very nicely. And I'm thinking the Sophie's Toes might have to become the beaded shawl in the Fall 2008 Vogue Knitting.

I also made M. an earflap hat. I don't know what the yarn is, but it is soft. I didn't love it in the skein, but when it was wound into a ball, it got lots prettier... weird. Anyway, there is no pattern, I made it up as I went, lots of ripping on the crocheted part to get it how I wanted. I used a crochet cast-on where you crochet over a knitting needle; then I knit up a few rows. After I had given the edge a little room, I went back down and crocheted the bottom; then went back to the top to finish knitting. I think it turned out pretty cute and alternates between looking like an old-time football helmet and a dwarf battle helmet. Got some fleece to line it and a ribbon to sew to the earflaps so she keeps it on better. Haven't done that yet, though.

Started another earflap hat for her in Malabrigo... but I'm thinking I might start over with a different pattern because I don't feel like working worsted Malabrigo on size 4 needles. Will probably line that one, too.

I started knitting a small blanket from yarn left over from a baby project I started years ago (twice) but hated. I thought I just hated making baby pants, but now that I'm working the blanket, I realize I hate the yarn. Today, I decided, the heck with it, and I will be rescuing my needles from splitty, squeaky ass-crylic hell and throwing away the yarn.

Wow, I should really go to bed, but first, the prize. Since I'm turning 30 this Friday (technically tomorrow, now) I will give away some yarn. How about two skeins of Cascade Sassy Stripes sock yarn. That'll get you a cute kicky pair of socks. Or, if you like cotton, I have cotton yarn you can have, nice cotton, just cotton doesn't like me knitting with it. Your choice. Winner decided by random number pull. On Monday. I know it's not that exciting, but, a little free yarn never hurt, right?

Monday, September 22, 2008

A trip down the Fox

On Saturday, we went on a Knitting Cruisette up and down the Fox River with Wool and Company. If you'd like pictures, go see Lynette; I brought my camera, but forgot to take any pictures. Anyway, it was postponed from the previous Sunday because of the torrential rains we had. The river was still high, but it was a beautiful sunny and warm day; perfect day to be out on the river. And, it was M.'s first boat trip! She seemed to enjoy herself, although she wouldn't keep her sun hat on... she used to be good about it.

In knitting news, I am still working on my dad's birthday sweater. The back now has progressed beyond the first skein, so that is new progress. I'll take it up to the arm holes, then work on the front. Since I'm adjusting the pattern so much (making set-in sleeves where there were drop-shoulders) I think it's best if I do both sides at the same time.

In non-knitting news, please click on the dragon eggs in my sidebar... little guys need some love.

And, since it's been lovely out, here's a picture of M. on the swings at the park:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Time flies

I happened to get a very nice comment on my last post today. Knifty Red gave me an award:

Isn't that sweet? It really made my day so much better! So, here are the rules:
  1. Post the award on your blog (done)
  2. Add a link to the person who gave you the award (done, go check out her blog!)
  3. Nominate 4 others and leave comments on their blogs so they can pass it on.
So, here are my nominations:

KnitterSue is a prolific knitter Down Under with a couple of lovely children. Also a complete sweetheart.

Dyed in the Wool is a knitter and designer who battles M.E. and still produces beautiful things and is fun to read!

djennerosity is a knitter and spinner who I actually know in person and is a kick to hang out with (also fun are her adorable daughters). I love her posts.

Licensed2Knit is a knitter and sewer and I love reading her posts because I don't get to see her as much as I used to.

Now, I know I promised you Stitches fun. Well, it's been a while, so here is a short summary:
  • Shirtless men handed out little samples of SWTC and temporary tattoos.
  • Wool and Co. had a lovely booth, and were nice enough to let me sit in the corner to nurse M.
  • Webs had a huge booth with lots of goodies.
  • Toni from The Fold was there with a lot of goodies.
  • I got a free skein of Malabrigo's new sock yarn that will be available in the US in October, just for the asking.
  • Habu also had so many cool things.
  • I went with Jen and so it rained, of course. Just to warn you all, we will be going to Yarn Con on October 4, so it will rain then. It will be inside, though, so no worries.
We had a very nice time. Going to yarn events with Jen is guaranteed to be fun.

Speaking of rain, however, it can stop any time it would like. We've had a really rainy weekend... 6" in the Chicagoland area, which is a record for one day.

In M. news, she's practicing standing by standing up without support for a few And she's figured out how to get back down the steps into the family room on her own. And she's started pointing at the pictures of herself that come up on the screen saver. M. has also realized that if she holds something in her mouth, she can still bring it with her, but can crawl more easily than whenseconds at a time. it is in her hand... she looks a bit like Fido! She also loves to push the lid off the storage ottoman to rip out the diapers. As soon as I put them back in and put the lid on, she's back at them pulling them out and shaking them around!

We had a nice time at Wool and Co. this Friday. You can see her hanging out with the wonderfully funny Carol, who held her for a while so I could get some knitting in. She's been teething, but Jen and Nan were also able to calm her down.

Alrighty, that's all for now. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

M. Likes Broccoli!

I gave M. broccoli last night for the first time. I had steamed some and gave her little bits and not only did she try it, but she liked it and had seconds! I was truly amazed ... I only eat broccoli because I know I should because it is good for me. She also had some corn and brown rice. This morning it was Cheerios and cherries. I am so lucky that so far she is a very good eater.

Ok, so you'd like to know about my Olympic fail? Here goes:

For my dad's birthday, I decided to make Alice Starmore's Na Craga for him. We picked out the yarn (Cascade 220) before I found the right pattern, though, so the gauge wasn't the same. Also, the sweater, as designed, is drop shouldered and baggy, not the look my dad goes for... he's 5'8", baggy just isn't good. So, I figured with that in mind, I would just start knitting the smallest size and work up to the arm holes (where I was going to make a modified drop sleeve) and then see how that fit him when I went to visit in August. So, I worked on the sweater for a while. I started thinking, at some point, that it might be a little small. So, with a new ball of yarn, I started knitting again, but the next size up. I finished that skein of yarn and took both the pieces to California.

Oh, I started at the very beginning with a sleeve, but the increases were too rapid in the pattern, so instead of dealing with it, I decided to wait to do the sleeves until the front and back were done.

Apparently, I think my dad is about the size of a 16 year old boy. Maybe I think he's 18. Anyway, the point is that both the smaller and medium sized "swatches" I did were too small. By a lot. Ugh. So, I did some figuring and some calculating based on these pieces I did. I decided I would just add more side panel repeats since they were not so dense and would be more flattering than adding more cable-y repeats. Figured out what I should be casting on and started knitting, ripping out the medium size as I knit.

I should point out that somewhere in there the Ravelympics sign ups happened and I signed up for WIP (Work in Progress) Wrestling for Team Rubberneckers. The rules stated that for other projects the only thing you could knit of your item before the opening ceremonies was a gauge swatch. It was around the time of the opening ceremonies that I discovered that what I had knit really was just a gauge swatch, and the WIP Wrestling wasn't really where I belonged, but that was ok, I would plow forward.

So, I knit and knit the new size. As I was knitting, I took a look at it and thought, gee, it's kind of big. But, considering I had thought the other size was just fine and it was too small, I thought I just had a skewed idea of size; I continued knitting. When I almost finished that first skein (again), I still thought it might be a little big, so I got out the tape measure and lo and behold, it was too big. In my calculations, I had forgotten that the side panels that had fewer stitches to the inch, which is precisely why they were less dense. I needed to drop a repeat on each side. Grrr.

Once again, I casted on and knit; this time there was enough of the skein left that I could do a couple repeats of the ribbing before taking the old panel off the needles and ripping back. There was a little more fussing and such, but now, well after the Olympics are over, I'm on my way to a sweater of the right size.

The Na Craga is a drop saddle shoulder, which, as I have mentioned was not ideal. I had planned on doing a modified-drop saddle, however, in Ann Budd's book of sweater patterns, her saddle shoulder is worked on a set in sleeve! It is perfect, and the side panels will be easy to make work with a set in sleeve.

Sorry, I don't even know if that made sense. Here's a picture of the Bean to make up for it:

And Happy Birthday, Dad!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Yarn Stores in California

I know I'm behind on posts, because after this one, I've got to post about Stitches Midwest. Also, I've been back from California for a week and a half.

We got out to my parents' on a Saturday, and the next Saturday, M. and I went with my mom on her usual trip to the Farmers' Market. We met up with friends my mom meets there most Saturdays and headed to La Bou for breakfast and chatting. When I mentioned yarn shops, one of them said to go to Babetta's Yarn and Gifts, that it was really nice. So, of course I had to go.

My mom and I went on a Monday afternoon and noticed a sign that announced that Babetta's coffee shop would be coming soon. A coffee shop in the same corner shops that had been there for many years had recently closed and she was getting the permitting required to help fill the void, not just for knitters, but everyone, which I thought was not only a good business idea, but very nice. Anyway, the store: SO MUCH YARN!!! Now, as I have mentioned, Wool and Company is my favorite LYS. They have a really large selection, which is only one of the reasons I like it so much. Babetta's has more. Lots. They have more room and just tons of yarn, and even fiber to make yarn. And books. And did I mention the yarn? Babetta herself is such a kind person, if I lived near there, it would be my LYS of choice. The only criticism I had, and it is minor, is that is was a bit disheveled; although I have to say, that considering she is trying to make room for a coffee shop, it wasn't bad. There is yarn everywhere, and a nice seating area for you to peruse the books or sit and knit. I only ended up getting a little fiber, though. I got this beautiful blue mix of wool, silk, alpaca, Angelina and who knows what else, hand carded by a woman in Nebraska (I couldn't get a picture that showed the depth of the color). But, it is not for me. I also got this cultivated silk... look at that sheen. So pretty.

That Wednesday we all took a trip up to Grass Valley. Fibers gave out a free bag pattern on Earth Day, and I wanted to see the shop it came from. It's in the downtown of Grass Valley, which is quite cute. The shop itself isn't very big, but it has nice yarn and the woman helping me was really very sweet. She had a hard copy of the pattern and showed me what yarns would be good for it. It is actually three string bag patterns on one page, and the best thing (having been to the Farmers' Market in Naperville) is the bags have two handles. I got some K1C2 2nd-Time Cotton to make at least one of the bags. I have two beige skeins, so I might do a two color thing. I also got four skeins of Frog Tree sport weight alpaca. Loved the color, thought M. needed some sort of sweater/dress out of this yarn. The last purchase was a little itty-bitty hand-dyed, handspun souvenir skein as a goody for someone.

After Fibers, we went to Fabrics on Mill Street, which, in case you are there and do any sort of sewing, is a beautiful open bright shop with great customer service, lots of patterns, and a good selection of fabrics, including fashion fabrics.

Before we went home, we had lunch, but I can't remember the name of the restaurant. We ate outside on the patio, which was great, except for the flies. M. liked my french fries (and my dad's avacado and chicken), and even at the lemon we gave her.
She did make the shivery-body-lemon-face, but continued eating it. Silly girl :)

Oh, and here is the family portrait of the animals that did not come to California with us, but did follow us home:
And I just realized that I still didn't tell you about my Olympic fail. Tomorrow. Really. Then Stitches.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy Flu

Saw it on Rabbitch's site...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Long time no see

I know, I've neglected this poor blog. I have reasons, though. Well, I have a reason: we were on vacation. I didn't want to say anything ahead of time ... nothing like announcing, "Hey, our house will be empty!" Not that there are a lot of thieves reading this, let alone thieves who can tell where I live; but I decided it might be best, anyway.

So, where were we? California! We went out to visit my parents, D. and M. and I all flew first class (thank you for the four trips to Alaska he had to make for work) . First class is the way to go, especially with a child in your lap. D. stayed a week, M. and I stayed almost a week longer, even though I had to fly back with her by myself. Although, she was amazing on the planes. She was happy and hardly noticed the pressure changes.

We pretty much took it easy while we were there, D. was able to relax and even had time to read a couple books. We went to a couple wineries up in the foothills one of the days. The Friday we were there, my mom watched the Bean and D. and I actually went to see a movie! The last movie we saw in the theater was the Harry Potter movie that came out last summer. We went to see The Dark Knight. Very good, creepy, but well done. Violent, but not bloody. I quite enjoyed it.

We also took a trip to the Sacramento Zoo. For a small zoo, it's nice. M. liked the tigers; we were able to see them up close. She also enjoyed the lemurs and monkeys. The orangutan at the zoo is hilarious; it was sitting around for a while, then got up and got a burlap sac of sorts and started playing around with it, as if, "Well, guess it's time for the 11am show." My dad took some pretty great pictures of it. The zoo no longer has elephants (I think they decided the elephants needed more room than they had), but they do have red pandas. The last time D. and I were they they were quite active, this time they were sleeping, but you can see one over her shoulder in the picture below of M. as an intrepid nature photographer.

We also took M. to the beach at Point Reyes. I have no pictures, only video, and not much of that because M. was tired and when trying to crawl in the sand, took a face plant. This did not amuse her and she was annoyed at the sand after that. My dad, on assignment from me, dipped her toes into the Pacific. She wasn't fond of that either, I blame her needing a nap ... and more time at the beach to learn to love it. It was a beautiful day, though, and a lot of people brought their horses to ride around Point Reyes, so she did enjoy seeing the horses. After getting back home, she crawled over to her high chair and stood up holding it for 15 minutes, just happy not to be in her car seat.

Since getting back, she has turned 9 months: 28.5 inches tall, 19 lbs 3 oz, and as of today 2 teeth!

Next installment will include my two yarn store trips and my Ravelry Olympic fail.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday already!?

Saturday started early... like leaving the house at 6:30am early. I know that is not a time most people would consider leaving on a Saturday, and usually, I would agree, but this was a special occasion. The second annual Midwest Folk & Fiber Fair was the ultimate destination, and we all know, fiber is worth it.

So, we got up and left and got to Jen's just after 7am, picked up Jen and her lovely daughters and headed up to Nan's. At the house of Nan, we had some really yummy sticky buns made by her husband, met Carla and headed over to the fair around 9am.

Now, last year, the fair was held outside at a park. There were three big tents and one small tent with all the vendors. It opened on Friday morning. I guess there was stuff going on inside a park building, but I didn't go to that part. This year, it was held on McHenry County College campus, so it was only open Friday from 6-9pm because the school had classes during the day. This year the vendors were not in one location, but all over, from a gym, to the hallways, to an area outside. I preferred the feel and the set up of the previous year, I also liked being able to go during the day Friday. However, I did have a nice time with my friends... we got to eat lunch with Dee and Kimberly, and saw a lot of other friends, some of whom I met through Ravelry! And, the one bonus, this year they had alpacas, but I forgot my camera, so go to Dee's blog to see pictures. They sounded just like M when she babbles, and when she heard them "talking" she "talked" back!

But, what did I get? I'll tell you this upfront, I got no yarn. I went the fiber route and only got stuff to spin, and earrings. And I took pictures of that! On the right here we have the earring. The woman who made them is super nice, and she makes some really cool jewelry using old knitting needles. Nan got a lovely bracelet. You can find her on Etsy here. I figure I can wear these earrings in a year or two, whenever M stops playing with my ears.

In the same booth, Gale Evans of Gale's Art was selling her fiber. I got three 4oz ... skeins? bundles? whatever of her fiber. She had her normal colorways, and then potluck colors, which are dyed with the leftovers from the regulars. Up first, my two potluck grabs:

Both the potlucks are Corridale Cross rovings. I just think they are so pretty.

I also got this:
This is Black Bluefaced Leicester wool dyed in the Deep Blue Sea Colorway.The colors just look so deep on black wool. Jen got the same colorway over white wool and it's a completely different look... much more like my second potluck "skein".

When we got to the fair, my plan was to look at everything first, then go back to buy my goodies after seeing it all... after all, I had a budget and was trying to be good. Here is what broke that plan:It is 4 oz of a 50/50 silk/wool blend by Creatively Dyed Yarn. The dyer is on Ravelry, but I can't remember her name or anything. I do remember she was really really nice and had lots of really pretty stuff. I just couldn't let anyone else get this while I was still checking out other things.

My last fiber purchase was a Blue Face Leicester top at Miss Babs Hand-dyed Fiber Goods. She had all sorts of beautiful yarns, but when I saw this top, I knew it must be mine. It looks like an iris and is so soft!

The only other thing I got was a Wraps Per Inch gauge at the Weaver's Loft. If I'm going to be spinning all this stuff, I need to know a bit about the finished product, right?

I can't start spinning any of it until I finish up what is on the wheel... it could be a while.

In other news, did I mention the inkle loom my mom sent me? Well, I finally got it out and got a book at the library, and last night, I warped it with EL Cotton Patine. I started weaving, but haven't gotten far and will take out what I've done and start over. I'm going to use my WPI gauge as a beater. I think I'll use it as a bag strap on an as yet to be made bag. It's fun stuff. I've wanted to do this for at least a decade.

Yesterday we had Jen and her great girls over for a tea party. I got out the teacups from my grandmothers and baked scones and cookies. Um, diet? Where did you go? Come back now. Anyway, Jen helped me get started on the head of the doll for M. That's the head stuffing in one of the teacups. It's now at the required 10.5 inches, so, I guess another tea party is in order to work on the rest of the body! I'd better abstain from eating this time. Now, Jen has made many of these Waldorf-style dolls, so her wool heads are firm just with wrapping the wool around. Mine, not so much, so I used needle felting to help achieve proper firmness. You don't want the head to get squished... that's just disturbing.

I know, long post, and where's M?