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.