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June 2004 Archives

June 2, 2004

Catching Up

Too Cute! I stopped in at Quixotic Musings yesterday and saw baby Claire in the newly finished and adorable berry hat. I just love it. Pre-pregnancy, I thought I'd make all kinds of hats like that. But, there have been no berries in this house, and with two boys, cool and soft skull caps are more in keeping with what's generally on our needles when it comes to head coverage.

angel hat

Here's a picture of a hat my partner cranked out over the weekend using Lorna's Laces Angel. (Spencer didn't want to be photographed here, so it's not an award-winning shot, but you get the gist of the hat.) It's a basic little hat, but it's perfect for the yarn which is just the softest thing I've ever felt. She bought it on a whim a few weeks back when she ran into a local yarn store while I sat in the car with two sleeping boys.

angel yarn

She picked up the purple variegated shown in the hat as well as the more carnivalesque one shown here. That's the one I'm going to use, though I'm hoping to spin my own hat pattern for this one. I rolled the ball the other day, and it's just heavenly to the touch. I dream of a sweater for me out of something this soft and wonderful!

The End of an Eros

So, I finally pulled my first Eros scarf out from under the coffee table and spent a few hours finishing it up. It's a bit too long. I thought I was supposed to just keep knitting until I was almost out of yarn, and it just kept gettting longer and longer and longer. It's okay, however. It gives me the option to wrap it around the neck an extra time, or be more coy and leave it longer.

eros scarf

I actually don't think I've ever worn a scarf that's not a typical winter scarf, so this was an unusual project for me. My partner bought the Eros (in bright pink) for me a week or so after the baby arrived when she and my mom when yarn store shopping. It was a nice treat - because I've heard so many people talk about Eros scarves. And I loved making the scarf. I used the pattern off of ChicKnits site. The ruffled edges are wonderful.

Too late, I realized I didn't do the glamour photo that I should have - like I see in other blogs. You know the type, where I don't look at the camera. Instead, you get a good profile, nonchalant, shot. What we have here is the typical send to Grandma shot of mom and son. Tomorrow when, hopefully, I get to photograph a completed Oriole vest, I'll try the more designer-esque kind of shot!

June 3, 2004

Charlotte Poncho

Wow, I stopped in at SavannahChic Knits today and found a link to SequinK's Ponchofication of Charlotte. It's a very cool adaptation of the Charlotte's Web shawl. Since I've been putting off giving into Charlotte's Web (though I think it's probably inevitable that I have to make it because I love the colors so much) because I'm not a shawl wearer intrinsically, I had thought it would be an awesome poncho. The reality is though that it'll be at least another year before I'm done Bjorning the baby around, so a poncho isn't practical to knit right now. Still, it was exciting seeing SequinK's finished project!

I also found the Charlotte's Web shawl she finished really beautiful. It's a great combination of colors.

I didn't get Oriole (vest) finished last night as I'd hoped. Having a baby with reflux often makes knitting really tough - lots of throwing up, near constant holding, and so on. I did manage to pick up the neck stitches this morning, so hopefully today heralds the end of this project.

Cool Pink Poncho

What a cool pink poncho showcased in the 6/1 entry on the Stitch Marker blog.

June 4, 2004

Fun with Ogres

We haven't made it to Shrek 2 yet, mostly because we can't figure out for sure how to get the baby to sleep through it so that we both (my partner and I) can go with our 3-year old. Neither of us wants to be the one "not" to go. We are huge Shrek fans, so we're chomping at the bit to get there and see it "at the theatre," as Matthew says. (My partner works at HP, and HP had a lot to do with the technology behind the production of Shrek 2, so it's doubly bad and sad that we haven't gotten to see it. I fear we'll have the same problems getting to see Harry Potter. Sigh. At least I can live vicariously through other blogs and have fun with all the allusions I know I'll someday have a chance to catch.)

In the meantime, Shrek M&M's (which I first became aware of after reading a Shrek-ish post on ChicKnits) have become a household favorite and a nightime destressor for me (on nights I don't fall asleep trying to get the two kids to sleep). Yes, my Atkins is suffering mightily because of them. They're fun, they're Ogre-sized, and they are in super colors - colors that I think would translate well to a sweater even! Plus, I am just four months post-pregnancy (and nursing), so I guess I deserve an M&M (or a 100) now and then.

Just yesterday, I saw the photo of the Shrek watch from Cheerios on the Boogaj site (scroll down past the awesome new backpack bag to see the watch). Okay, a box or two of Cheerios is now on my "to buy" list!

Oriole Eo Eo Eo Eo

(Read that title sort of as if you're yodeling!)

Yes, I want to shout and dance and announce that the Oriole vest is finally finished. I think it feels like such a big deal partly because I haven't finished that many things for myself other than accessories, partly because it's the biggest fair isle project I've finished (something to cheer about even if it is a really simple repetitive pattern and a cropped one at that!), and partly because it feels like an accomplishment to have started and finished this with a baby in the house. As you can see from the photo below, I've done a lot of knitting while holding a sleeping baby late at night.

So, finally the vest is done. Am I thrilled to be done? Yes. Am I thrilled with the vest? Well, not really. It was a cropped vest to begin with. But it is seriously short. The shortness added to the overall fit make it a little boxier than I was hoping for. But, still, it's really adorable. I spent a lot of time pondering the measurements before beginning, but I think I had to actually see a finished object that short to realize it's too short for me.

sleeping baby
Even though I loved the colors I ended up with (yes, the third time I cast it on), there were so many problems with the pattern (which only increased as I got to the finishing) that the vest was a frustrating project overall. And, picking up around the armholes and neck was a real chore for some unexplainable reason. I think I picked up the armholes three times each, and still wasn't thrilled with what I had on the needles each time.

But, it's finished. It's adorable. And, if I try it with a different shirt than I had on this morning and jeans (rather than pink velour sweats!), maybe it will have the look I was hoping for.

Now, if I can just finish the Cascade Skye cardigan I'm working on in the next three weeks, I'll have made my goal of finishing both by my birthday!

June 8, 2004

Scarves and Galleries

I am working on a little-boy design using Pronto, and I was out checking the Berroco site to make sure the colors I'm using are still in circulation. From the front page, I was accosted by enticements to check out "scarves" on their site in the Scarf Central section. If you're into scarves, like giving scarves, like working with fun and funky yarns, or just like to feast your eyes occasionally on some digitally rendered fiber color, it's well worth a visit.

Scarf Central has, not surprisingly, links to free scarf patterns that use Berroco yarns. But the main page is a smorgasbord of swatches showing different Berroco yarns used in combination. So, you get to see a closeup of how the two yarns knit up together. Clicking through on any swatch takes you to additional info on the swatch (e.g., needle size) and shows you alternate color combinations of the yarns. It's a visual treat and a good resource.

Maybe it's just me, but I like seeing this kind of repository. I know dye lots vary for Koigu, so that one skein of KPPM might look different than another, but still, I would love to see a repository of all the color combinations the guys at ThreadBear have offered for Charlotte's Web. Since the sets (which use wonderful and creative names) don't list individual colors by number, it wouldn't (really) take away from them in terms of business. But it would give someone considering starting (another) Charlotte a visual look at what kinds of combinations work. Then, someone could write them and say, "hey, I'd like to make something in purples and reds with a touch of lime similar to the way XXX!X looks."

Of course, I'd like to see a repository of "finished" Charolotte images, too. I love the gallery of finished Kureyon bags at BoogaJ.

Maybe it points to my intrinsic love of clutter that I respond so strongly to these galleries, who knows. I like to think, instead, it points to my love of color and variety!

June 9, 2004

Nothing Easy

Well, both boys are actually asleep Ė and neither is in my arms. So I could be knitting. But, I donít have anything that I can easily just sit and mindlessly knit while I sit here and watch them Ė theyíve both crashed out on my bed, so I canít leave them. I need to measure on the Cascade Skye cardigan. Iím working on the right front, and I think that when I laid it down last, I was at a point where I needed to measure. I might be at the decrease point already. (That's most likely why I laid it down! - because I couldn't easily measure it at that moment.) Then, Iím also working on the little boy design I mentioned before. Itís one Iím hoping to complete in time to pass on for consideration at Knitty. Itís going well Ė and quickly (which is sometimes part of the goal for a knitting mom). But, again, I need to be able to do a few rows and measureÖ Still, I might run and grab that and bring it in here to work on while they snooze. (I didn't.)

At first, I thought Iíd sit here and blog and read blogs Ė which I spend too much time doing these days Ė time which I should be spending writing and taking advantage of the non-income-bearing days Iím having. But, alas, I end up spending too much time with blog-related endeavors. Unfortunately, my wireless connection is misbehaving (as usual), so I can't get logged in/on. Instead, I'm just going to do some journaling and type up this blog entry so I can post it later.

(Early) This morning while sipping coffee and holding an early riser, I looked through my ďLittle Box of ScarvesĒ (again). I looked through it when it arrived the other day, and liked the collection but wasnít bowled over. Today, upon second look, I think I liked the collection even more and could see myself making more of those scarves than I originally thought.

I guess I really need to make a list of what Iím hoping to make by yearís end - and then try to stick to it (somewhat).

I bought a bunch of yarn at a yarn sale a few weeks ago, none of it earmarked for anything specific, even though I sat down and made a list of yarn requirements for a few projects I was thinking of. Basically, I bought a bunch of yarns good for hats and scarves, and one set of fancy fibers and wool for a felted bag. But, no sweater yarn.

Iím still thinking that maybe my Philosopherís Wool cardigan would be a good thing to work on. I had it out a while back and was amazed at how much of it I actually have finished. Now, thatís not a good thing really because I need to take it all out, I think, and start over as I was making it really BIG to start with and now realize thatís not really what I want (or need). My partner agrees that as painful as it will be to frog it, itís probably the best idea. Iíll definitely post photos of it before I do.

The other thing I started before (and would frog and restart) that Iím considering picking up is a tweed stitch cardigan from Sally Melville (the name of her first book is escaping me at the moment). I have to start over because, again, I was making it too big (enlarging the pattern even), which I wouldnít do this time. But I looked at it recently, and itís SO pretty, that itís a tempting project to pick back up.

But, itís not a project that would be easy to do working with a baby in my arms. The Philosopherís Wool would probably be easier, though itís not really mindless either.

The other thing Iím tempted by is making a Kersti cardigan. I like the one in the current issue of Vogue, but my partner says I wonít like it because itís oversized. Having worn oversized for most of my life, Iím really drawn to it in the photo, but I know sheís right, Iíve been moving away from that. Still, I really like it. I havenít seen Kersti in person still, however. Iím hoping to soon. Otherwise, Iím just going to have to order some blindly from ThreadBear soon.

Iíve also got two shades of purple Manos put aside for a cardigan. Iíve got some Collinette sitting with them (itís either Apollo or Zanziba) that I was going to try and integrate (probably as banding) because I donít have quite enough for a sweater out of just the Manos. (Who knows what I was thinking when I bought it a few years back at Straw into Gold in Berkeley.)

And, of course, there is so much yarn in the basement...

June 14, 2004

Small Things

Well, we hit another local yarn store sale over the weekend. Not a huge sale (and you had to really look to find anything on sale), but it's still a great store, and we hadn't stopped in there in a while. The place was packed. We did tandem shoppingÖ one of us sat in the car with sleeping boys while the other shopped. So it worked out okay. I probably end up buying less that way!
(In other words, I talk myself out of a lot of things when alone; she talks me into a lot of things when we're together!)

I don't know when I turned into an "accessories" knitter, but it seems that's where I am right now. Probably it's a logical conclusion with two little boys in the house. Maybe the reality is that unlike when I was just a young childless knitter and could start a dozen sweaters at a time, the realities of life and motherhood have caught up with me, and having a few sweaters on the needles is fine - but beyond that, accessories seem like good, managable, and doable projects.

new purchasesSo, I (again) picked up a number of yarns (shown at right) that will end up being hats and scarves most likely. All in all, I just wasn't ready to commit to a full scale project purchase yet. It was more fun to buy one or two skeins of a bunch of things instead of 10-12 of a single yarn.

The red fuzzy yarn is MicroChic, and it feels great. I was contemplating buying Esprit in red because I like the feel of Esprit and thought it would make a wonderful holiday season scarf (thinking ahead!), but they had a sample scarf made from MicroChic, and it was adorable and felt luscious. Buying yarn to make two scarves in the same color didn't make sense at that moment, so I went with the MicroChic to try something new.

I did finally get to see Kersti in person, and it's wonderful. They didn't have a huge variety at the store though, so I didn't buy any. I like a few of the colors Rob blogged about recently better than anything I saw in person. But at least now I've gotten to see and feel the yarn. Of course, KPPM is still addictive to me. I picked up a skein of it in a medium-to-dark lime along with some Berroco Fizz that I'm hoping to use together. I couldn't resist a skein of the Fizz in a pink, too. (My obsession with pink has not disappeared post-pregnancy!)

So,we came home and got all our loot out. What did I start? Good question. Did I start anything with what I'd just bought. No. Instead, I got out the pink Touch Me yarn I bought a few weeks ago and cast on a few stitches and worked up some seed stitch to see how it looks. I love the yarn. (And the soft muted pink of it matches the pink suede Birks I recently picked up!) The Touch Me yarn has an amazingly beautiful hand to it. Not sure about the seed stitch in it. I think I want to try a few other things before I decide. I'm thinking it's so soft it would make a great pocket scarf because your hands would just feel wonderful in it. So, I want to pick something nice (read interesting) for the pocket stitch.

In the time I deliberated, my partner cast on and finished a great hat out of a super cool variegated skein of Tahki Baby. (We're designing a set of hats out of this and similar yarns. Her newest one turned out so cute. I tried to thank her for making it for me, but it didn't work.) Ah, well, I was also juggling the baby - who has decided that sleeping isn't really something he ever needs to do! (Having finally given in, he's now snoozing in my lap as I sit at my computer.)

drseuss scarfI was still debating about what to work on the next day, and I spied the long pink and purple scarf that I've dubbed the Dr. Seuss scarf (not sure why, but every time I look at it, that's what I think) peeking out of a basket under the table. I started this pre-pregnancy (the baby is now four months), so it's been sitting around forever! It had gotten yanked off the needles recently (by a little boy), so I'd ripped it out to a stripe end and picked the stitches back up. Seeing it in danger of getting yanked off again, I decided maybe it is time to finish it.

It's pretty long already, but not long enough when you wrap it around your neck. So, it needs more length. I'm at a point where I need to start new balls of yarn in each color, so what I decided to do is first make a hat to coordinate using the two colors, and then I can just go ahead and use what's left to finish the scarf.

plush hatSo, I cast on for the hat basing the sizing on a hat I made last year out of Plush (see the light purple hat at right). The Esprit hat ended up being a really quick project. Unfortunately, the Esprit has much less stretch in the cast on row than the Plush did, so it's really snug there. I realized this about half way through, but I went ahead and finished it. I think I learned an important lesson - maybe using the long-tail cast on for hats isn't the best approach since it has less give?

Today I'm hoping to do the finishing work on the little-boy project and get the pattern typed up - as well as work on plotting the additional sizes.

THEN, maybe I can get something new from the recent purchases cast on.

(Update: I decided I can't stand the fit of the Esprit hat. I'm going to have to rip it out and give it another try. Sigh! But, if I won't wear it as is, then it's silly to leave it as is. I'm a huge ripper. My mom and partner are always amazed that it doesn't really phase me at all to constantly rip things out and start over.)

Food for Thought

I read a couple of blog posts over the weekend that really struck me and that you should check outÖ

  • Sharlene of Mommio Knits! on the creative drive.
  • Sharon of Knitknacks on the proliferation of knit blog rings.

    (By the way, if you missed her great entry written after watching the National Spelling Bee, check it out.)

  • June 17, 2004

    Lego Fun

    Well, I should post a photo of the progress on the Cascade Skye cardigan. Feeling newly committed to the goal of trying to finish it up by my birthday next week, I've picked it up again and am speeding up the right front now. That way I won't have to constantly sneak guilty glances at the cardigan sitting in a Vera Bradley bag by my chair when I cast on something new to celebrate the start of a new (age) year. After all, the cardigan was sort of a hallmark for me during my pregnancy, so I feel like it's important to see it to completion (before the baby starts walking!).

    Still, no photos.

    Despite the great sounding name I've given it, it's really not photo-worthy in pieces. The sleeves are striped, but the fronts are just solid purple Cascade. Pretty boring from a blog photo standpoint. If you've seen it on one day, it won't look much different on another!

    Instead, I'll post two photos representative of some computer fun I've been having this morning with my three year old. (We're a tech-heavy house, and he's a precociously tech savvy little boy.)


    These are from the Mini-Mizer application I stumbled across in an old entry from the Mommio Knits! blog.

    In this house, we love Legos - despite the fact that they end up constantly underfoot (something we know we have to be on the watch for since the four-month old will soon be on the move), so the Mini-Mizer proved to be great fun for us, and Matthew and I spent a back-and-forth morning creating Lego-like people (while my mind was spinning with the zillion ways I could print these out and use them creatively in ways Matthew will love offline).

    With so many digital viruses, adware, malware, and worse floating around on the web, it's refreshing to find an application like this - innocent, innocuous, and free.

    Of the two photos above, one probably represents me as I am, and one more closely resembles me on the inside - or maybe the me I hope to become!

    June 23, 2004

    Best Laid Plans

    Hooray! I finished all the pieces for the Cascade Sky Cardigan over the weekend. pod(I had hoped to get it put together by today (my bday), but we've had some medical problems in the house, so we've been a bit off schedule and spending time in a hospital room rather than in a comfortable chair at home. A blue Lego "pod" has proven quite fun in the hospital and good for travel.)

    When I first plotted this cardigan, it was because I wanted to use the Skye. The Slate colorway I purchased a few years back at Stitches West is so pretty - but I only bought 2 hanks at the time. So, I wanted to work with it, and I had a lot of purple Cascade 220 from another Stitches excursion (originally purchased for Jo Sharp's Wattletop).

    skye ballI wasn't sure exactly how far my Skye would go, however, and I wasn't feeling like I wanted to work both sleeves at the same time given the constant stopping/starting of the striping. So I was conservative in plotting the row counts/frequencies for the striping pattern I used for the sleeves. Ultimately, I could have used much more Skye. Towards the very end of the final sleeve, I had to roll the second hank of Skye. Needless to say, I have a lot left. I was struck, again, with how beautiful the yarn and colorway is, however, when rolling the ball. Here's an untouched closeup that hints at the rich play of color within.

    Hopefully more time to catch up - and to finish the cardigan is coming. In spare moments, the Touch Me scarf is an easy thing to work on - and I'm working on two double points now so that the needles are short enough that the project is workable even with sleeping boys sprawled all over me at night.

    June 28, 2004

    A 'Creative' Dilemma

    From "The ancient craft of knitting becomes cool again" (Dawn House, The Salt Lake Tribune)...

    Didn't "love" the article overall, but I did really like this intro section:

      Think of knitting on a higher, intellectual level -- the equivalent of binary arithmetic, which scientists have used to design electronic computers. Like knitting, the binary system has only two symbols, an "0" and "1," which translate into electronic impulses that have helped launch interplanetary probes or paid home utility bills online.

      Knitting's basic stitches are "K" for knit and "P" for purl. These two stitches, along with their endless variations and combinations, can create intricate afghans, dresses, skirts and sweaters or simple mittens, scarfs and hats.

    With my affinity for programming (or maybe just my sometimes Type-A personality), this is a perfect way to think about knitting as something beyond being "crafty."

    I hate the term "crafty."

    It seems derogatory. It seems pejorative. It seems belittling. It seems to turn what I'm doing into something meaningless, trivial, matronly.

    I prefer "creative" or even "artsy" or even "artistic."

    I've been "creative" all my life (and I was artsy for years). I create things in many mediums... fibers, paints, words, technology. By self definition, I'm an artist in many ways even when the reality of my life doesn't always let me feel like I'm living out the role as fully as I'd like.

    Being "creative" is a central core of my life, a fulcrum upon which many threads of my being balance, connect, interweave. As a result, I spend a good bit of time dealing with my own creative angst and the philosophical musings and dilemmas a creative core inspires... how can I work in more time to do creative things? How can I manage the sheer range of creative projects that i want to be doing? How can I recapture the effortless creativity of my youth? How can I ...

    The list goes on.

    What bugs me is when people relegate my knitting (or any of my creative pursuits) to the "crafty" zone. "You're so crafty," other moms tell me.

    I bristle.

    Just the other day, a mom caught sight of a recently finished project of my own design. I'm working on writing up directions for it in little-boy sizes, so it's a project currently close to the surface for me.

    She loved it.

    I was trying to explain some questions/concerns/doubts I have about the design.

    "I can see that," she said. "You're so crafty."

    I bristled.

    It was partly timing. My birthday is always an epitome of philosophical questions and plans and mental lists and frustrations and "what-ifs" regarding my creativity, the path my life is taking, where I am now, and so on. So, maybe the comment just ran smack into my own pre-birthday identity crisis.

    But, I bristled.

    Writing about utility/grid computing takes some creativity even if it's not fiction. People wouldn't look at my writing as crafty.

    Working with HTML/ASP/PHP takes creativity even when you're programming databases, content streams, and navigation flows. People wouldn't look at my Web-related work as crafty.

    Why is knitting "crafty"?

    Why not creative or artistic?

    I know it's a matter of semantics.

    But it seems/feels/is important.


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