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September 2004 Archives

September 2, 2004

Mail from Down Under

Got another postcard in the mail the other day from my Secret Pal 2. I was working in the basement on the never-ending dollhouse project, so the mail carrier handed me the mail directly. As a result, I read it and laid it and the rest of the mail down in a stack next to where I was working and forgot to bring it all up until today. So, thanks SP2! In the note, she says she also has pink Birks. Talk about irony. I mean, tons of us wear Birks. But not tons of us have those cool limited issue pink suede ones!



Well, no photos to show. I offloaded over a hundred today, but most of them were of the dollhouse project, interruputed by a series of 25 or so of the boys on the floor with "Lasso" a cute stuffed horse (that we thought was a giraffe until we took the tag off and saw the name). So, no shots still of the finished rainbow hats or the progress on the Koigu gauntlets (one finished), or the second making waves sock. I am getting some knitting done, and doing lots of knit-thinking. I just haven't had a ton of time to blog it. I have, however, been checking in each day on some of the major blogs I read, so I know what's going on with many of you even if I haven't left a comment. My list of "to-blog" things is mounting with each day, so hopefully I'll be back in the groove soon!

In the meantime, I leave you with a few pictures from last week's trip to the circus. The first two are of a "Zedonk" (cross between a zebra and a donkey). They are really cute and have beautiful markings. The second is of the elephant. I was so struck by the elephants. They didn't look 'sad' the way the ones at the zoo always do. M. says it's because the ones at the zoo are old! Maybe. At any rate, I took a few of this elephant and finally caught him as he swung his ears forward. Very cool.




Sock Spotlight

Oh, and I forgot... My Making Waves sock progress photo is currently being highlighted on the Six Sox Knitalong site. I'm pretty flattered. I go out periodically and ooh and ahh over all the socks in progress and see this and that yarn that I think is so beautiful. Generally, I think everyone else is using such great yarn and leave the site feeling like mine is only so-so. Yes, a bad case of the grass is always greener. It's a feeling that's probably exacerbated by the second-sock phenomenon (you know, the I-don't-want-to-make-another syndrome). So, it was ironic to get a message earlier this week asking if it'd be okay to spotlight my sock for a week or so. Cool, huh?

September 7, 2004

Dollhouse complete

A picture is worth a thousand words, or so the saying goes. I'm not sure the 'right' thousand words are conjured up by the following (selected) thumbnail gallery of the dollhouse transformation without saying that by yesterday all we wanted was to get it "out" of our garage!

So, a picture is almost worth a thousands words. And two weeks of endless labor are worth five hours of co-op credit. But, there were plenty of oohs and ahhs when we dropped it off at the school today. I guess that's worth something, too.

Here's a peek at the start-to-finish process.

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A few things to help annotate the gallery, in case you're coming up short on the thousand words…

1) The windows had no moldings but were caked in some form of white tape that, through time, had gotten sticky to the touch on the outside.
2) Pictures were stuck on the exterior and on the interior roof.
3) Floors had nasty carpet and, in one room, nasty tile.
4) Layers and layers of wallpaper had begun to fall down inside.
5) The house was red to mirror the school, which is a traditional, straight-out-of-a-book little red schoolhouse. But the director begged us to not bring it back red.
6) We spent a lot of time deciding on colors and painting and repainting until it felt right. As you can see from one picture, I went down a Lily Pulitzer pink and lime path but it just wasn't right. Plus, we didn't want it to be pink, really, since it's a dollhouse that gets lots of use from both boys and girls. Ironically, throughout the whole process, Matthew kept saying, "I think you should use pink now." No matter what other color I was working with, he'd say he wanted pink. Pretty funny.
7) M. mitered all new moldings for the exterior and interior windows. The frame, however, wasn't exactly straight. Hence, the new windows are a bit askew. I would sit in the basement contemplating the color and exterior paint job and feel overwhelmed by the Picasso-esque (or simply cubist) quality of the new jams.
8) M. installed all new laminate floorings in five of the rooms. One room boasts a new, freshly-stained wood floor.
9) The dining room has coordinating papers and even a new chair rail.
10) M. cut up an old kitchen rug to make small area rugs for each of the rooms.
11) Until the last day, I was still tempted to go buy lumber and start from scratch!
12) M. hand-sewed curtains for all the rooms the last night and then glued them in on their new wooden dowels this morning before delivery to the school.
13) We have three sewing machines.
14) At Matthew's urging, I painted light purple triangles all over one of the windows on the outside. Then I sat back and thought about the significance of that. A fresh coat of lime washed over those triangles! (Ultimately, red went over the lime, too.)
15) We just happened to have wavy molding in the basement that we bought once before in preparation for a project for our own house and never used. It was a perfect touch for the dollhouse - and helped hide some really uneven and bumpy edges of the frame.

16) At the last minute, immediately prior to starting the polyurethane layer, I decided the bag of small wooden hearts I'd bought on our first shopping excursion for the dollhouse renovation would work great on the wavy molding which I'd left plainer than I'd originally planned.
17) The two longish red hearts on the back added a nice touch to the space between the windows.
18) This project had us in the garage/basement a lot, with the garage door open - so we saw the neighbors more as they came in and out, and Matthew got the chance to make friends with the little girl next door. The lack of a "front porch" really hit home when we realized how many people we saw just by being "out there" so much.
19) It's hard doing a project like this with an infant! Other than oh-so-brief interludes where he was in the basically-unused stroller, one of us held him while the other worked.

Comments overheard from the 3 ½ year old during the renovation:

1) Those are beautiful stars, Mama.
2) Did you see Mama's beautiful stars and dots and hearts and flowers?
3) Come look at what Mama painted.
4) That is a beautiful room Mamadu!
5) I like the beautiful paper, Mamadu.
6) Can I help?
7) Can I paint?
8) Can I use the hammer?
9) Can I use the pliers?
10) I think the boys are gonna like it.
11) I'm going to tell the boys at school that this is the dollhouse I helped my mommies make.



September 9, 2004

Ripping Waves

I've got so much newly acquired (in the last few months) sock yarn that I've been itching to cast on new socks just to see one of the wonderful new yarns (mostly self-patterning) take effect on the needles. I'm particularly interested I seeing how the several colors of Regia Jubilee work up. And, in the endless stack of things cluttering my all-in-one printer, I periodically (like today when I wax xeroxing my estimated taxes stub) spy the copy of the "Circle of Friendship" socks pattern I purchased this summer from the Carodan Farm Store.

But, my Making Waves sock #2 for the Six Sox Knitalong is still on my needles. So, I've been good and when a sock mood strikes, I've picked it up.

Unfortunately, last night when I picked it up while playing with the kids in the floor, I somehow made a bit of a boo-boo. When I finished a row on my two circulars, I had an extra loop of yarn on the needle. Sometimes that seems to happen to me occasionally at the end of a row when working with the two circulars. I always notice it when I get to the end of the row again the next time around. When I just drop off that extra, things are fine (it's not an extra stitch, just somehow I've gotten the yarn looped around the needle). This time, however, when I noticed it and dropped it, things didn't just revert to normal, but I didn't know that right away. A few rows later I could see a bit of a hole where the extra wrap had been. All the stitches were there, but somehow I'd created a problem - and one that I didn't feel I could overlook or ignore.

Today, while waiting for the time to come to take Matthew to preschool, I patiently dropped all the stitches off the needles and then ripped back the 4 rows so that I was before the problem. It turned out that the problem had occurred at the start of one of the cabling rows in the Making Waves design, and I think that's what caused the problem to require frogging. Because the cable involves the first four stitches of the round, the extra loop ended up creating too much of a stretch between the real last stitch of one row and first stitch of the next.

Whatever. It all came out. It all went, painstakingly, back on (even though I used like a half dozen needles to pick all the stitches up again!). And, now things are back to normal.

While I was picking the stitches back up, I put Spencer in the floor in front of me (since he's very grabby now). Within seconds, I felt a tug on the yarn and looked down to see that he'd grabbed the yarn coming from the skein and wound it around in his hand and was experimentally tugging. He had a great time tugging the yarn and every once in a while sneaking it into his mouth while I was getting the stitches back on the needles. It was funny to see - and funny to realize both of my kids have grown up with so much yarn (and fabric) in their lives. It's all part of having a creative mom, I guess.

I do love it that Matthew always thinks to compliment us on whatever we're knitting. His first question though is always "is that for me?"

At any rate, hopefully the socks will move alone now. I feel like my knitting is really at the mercy of the little one's sleeping schedule (or lack of one). I can only hope that things settle a little more once a tooth finally pops through!

Here's a picture of the finished first sock. I tried to take pictures of the wonderful EOP (eye of partridge) heel a while back, but the lighting didn't work out. So I'll reshoot those when the second sock is finished. It was my first exposure to the EOP, and I really enjoyed it and think it's a beautiful heel. I do have a bit of a fit problem, however, right above my heel, which was partly why I took the photos - trying to show where the sock "bags" a bit. I'm hoping some devout sock makers out there can help me figure out how to remedy this on future socks. For the second Making Waves, of course, I'm mirroring the first.


(Update: actually, my blog-friend Christy at Rainbow Chills made the Circle of Friendship socks recently. I noticed it when she posted about it because I'd just gotten the pattern. So, I thought about it today when typing my post but just now went and tracked down the reference. You can see her finished socks, which were for a lucky secret pal, here.)

September 10, 2004

Beep Beep

I finished the two prototype Love Bug Vests forever ago and never have gotten a chance to show them off. Today, I their image names jumped out at me in the graphics directory. So, beep, beep. Today's the day.

vestAs you can see from the photos, the vest is designed to appeal to a little one's love of cars - and love of pockets for small treasures.

Generally, I'm not an intarsia person, but these vests do feature a "spot" of intarsia on the front. Part of my goal was simplicity of design (and knitting). As a result, the vests are worked in the round up to the armholes. Then, the front and back are worked separately, and the intarsia car is worked on the front. It's a small chart and quick to work, so the intarsia isn't that big of a deal.

The optional pockets add a touch of whimsy to the design with their bright stripes and are attached as simple patch pockets after the vest is complete.

The vests are worked up in bulky weight cotton Pronto, which comes in a number of colors. But, other similarly gagued yarns would work as well. vestThe nice thing about Pronto, other than its easy wear-and-care and soft hand is that it works up so quickly. These vests are seriously quick to make, making them easy, fun, and rewarding to knit.

Matthew has a history of not wearing things we knit for him - other than hats, which he loves. In part, it is because he hates things being pulled over his head, and, while we made a number of memorable and adorable cardigans for him as a baby, we've made not so many since as he's gotten older.

Nevertheless, this vest was a hit from the beginning. He was excited about it and interested in it even when I was first sketching out various possibilities for the stripes, car placement, pockets, etc. And, the whole time I was making the vest, he was ready to wear it.

When it was finally done, he was right there waiting to put it on. And, more than once, he's pulled it out of the closet and asked to wear it.

That, alone, is a hallmark of success for the design!

vest vest
vest vest

September 13, 2004

Sad Sock Story

Well... I blogged last week about my "second" Making Waves sock and how I'd had to drop all the stitches, backtrack, and pick everything up again to try and alleviate a small hole problem. I thought things were fine after that, but by Friday morning, it was obvious that

                                         in sockland

I am careful.

I keep good notes.

I, lover of small journals (especially ones made by M.) and ink pens (especially Sensa pens with their new gel inks), record every row with my own system of hash marks.

But, despite my good record and best intentions, I could tell something was wrong.

It looked like the 8-row section was too elongated. But, it was hard to tell - and impossible to count - because of the cabling pattern (2 rows out of 8 are cabled). So, I thought maybe that the next cabling row would make things look right as the next "twist" in the wave happened.

It didn't.

I tried to count rows.

I tried to figure out how I'd gotten off track or where.

I showed it to M. and said, "Does anything look wrong here to you."

She spotted that the section looked too long.

My only choice… to rip.

I did.

But, that wasn't the end of it.

I didn't have the beginning of the row (BOR) marked, so when I dropped everything off the needles and started ripping out rows (careful to count how many I was taking out!), I lost my visual on the BOR. I also was having trouble orienting myself as to which row was which. Getting to one or other of the cable rows seemed the only thing to do (because then I'd know I was on row 3 or 7 of the repeat). But, I also had to carefully watch the stitches fall off to figure out whether the cable was in front (row 7) or in back (row 3).

About 20 (ripped) rows later, I was putting things back on the needle. And, by count, it did appear that maybe I'd had two to many rows of plain stockinette in the repeat. I guess I got going and whizzed around the rows without registering them and marking them in my notes.

Problems didn't end there.

That night when I picked the sock up again, things still weren't right.

It was clear a few rows later.

I think the BOR was wrong.

I finally started dropping rows again.

I was in tears - all over a sock.

I was in tears because I was convinced I was just going to have to start the whole thing over (and before ripping the first time, I was 7 rows from starting the heel). And, with each row I ripped, I just kept thinking of all the other projects I wanted to be knitting.

It was sad.

But I did finally get things on the needles right again, found the right BOR, and over the weekend finished up the leg and got started on the EOP heel.

So, what did I work on in my 30 minutes of free time last night? Charlotte, of course!

September 14, 2004

Blog crawling....

I was out looking around yesterday afternoon while the baby slept in my arms…

      Beautiful markers Sharlene received as a RAOK.

      Beautiful Sophie bag in a great bold Kureyon colorway at She Who Knits

      Sharon's great colorway for the Any Which Way Shawl.

      Christy's really cool, really pink sock at Rainbow Chills.

      Some Christmas hats and a funny Klaralund

      And, Steph, new Ph.D. holder at And She Knits, Too (congrats!), also finished Klarlund in a great red colorway.

(My curiosity is really piqued by this sweater, but I really can't buy more yarn right now - and my to-make list is far too long already! I was trying to make a more practical list, but it's still too long and doesn't even tap the stash I have.)

Word Games

I just finished reading the DaVinci Code, and I feel like I'm coming up from under a heavy blanket in which time and reality have been suspended. It was hard to know where to draw the line between what's historically real in the book and what Brown has drawn upon in creating the tapestry of symbolism, art, religion, and cryptography that form the backbone of the mystery at the center of the book.

I hate to admit that I'd never heard of PHI before. It's a fascinating and mind-boggling principle, especially as delineated in the book, and especially as the number plays out in the natural world around us. I haven't yet, but did find myself tempted to drag out a tape measure. (I've got several! It's sort of a new [and very practical, especially when it comes to knitting] collection of mine.) and measure some of the anatomical examples noted in the book. I'm also feeling like I need a crash course in art history (or, even better, a whirlwind trip to the Louvre!). And if I didn't spend so much time knitting (and blogging and reading blogs and making lists of things to do), maybe I could spend more time playing cool word games. I remember when I was younger and spent a lot of time with a GAMES magazine doing just that. But, admittedly, not to the degree of the deceased art curator in the book.

Let's see…







Okay, that took a long time and only feels so-so successful. I can only imagine how long it would take to make an anagram of major artistic masterpieces!

(Hey, give it a shot. What's a good anagram for your blog's name?)

So, back to my reading experience...

In the beginning, I worried about not knowing where to draw the line between reality and fiction. But, as I got further and further into the book, I decided I didn't really want to know where the line appears. The answers, I'm sure, were just a click away from me, but I like savoring the experience of the book as a whole without knowing what's historically accurate and what's not.

The only thing I do feel compelled to do at some point is take a closer look at "The Last Supper."

I just did. Wow.

September 16, 2004

An ode to charlotte

If I get a chance, I may just have to write one, an "ode" that is.

I am just loving knitting Charlotte. And, despite it being lace and having a delicacy and an intricacy to it, it's a surprisingly easy project to pick up and knit "whenever" (which I have found critical this year being mom to an infant again). In part, the 8-stitch lace pattern that repeats across makes it easy to keep track of, as do the many, many markers designating the beginning of each block. In addition, each wrong-side row is simply a purl row. So, all in all, I'm finding it easy to work on, a lot of fun, and sort of addictive. It sort of flies by. I start knitting a row and thinking... okay, I'll make it to the center marker. Then I get there and head for the end. Then I think, well, I might as well go on and purl back. The rows just start slipping by, in sort of the same mesmerizing way that circular rows on a sock do.

There's just something about it.

(Unless you are my mom, you can click the image at right to see it in progress.)
don't click

After dropping Matthew off at preschool this afternoon, I ran to a LYS with Spencer to pick up a couple of packs of markers (if you remember, I've been on a goose hunt for markers around the house) and a longer circular needle to switch it onto. Close to $30 later, for just one pair of needles and two packs of plastic ring markers, we were headed back home.

I was good. I didn't even touch another yarn or look twice at anything other than the Koigu (just in case something jumped out at me since I'm hopelessly addicted to the great colors).

I'm getting ready to start working with the fourth of the five colors, now, and this new colorway is, by far, my favorite of the five. It's going to really make the whole thing pop, I think. It's a skein, ironically, I bought for myself for socks right before deciding on this color palette for the Charlotte. I wasn't able to find another one, so my sock yarn got shifted to the web project. I think it's perfect there.

September 20, 2004

Charlottes a 'coming

Since picking up Charlotte's Web again last week, I've been really obsessed with it - and mesmerized by it at the same time. I'm amazed at how quickly the rows have flown by. Sometimes, I'll look down in shock and realize that my last lifeline was more than 10 rows back. I haven't had to use any of the lifeline's yet. But I like the feeling they give me. Thinking about not having thI know with the lace it could mean having to start over. Feeling cautious and not wanting to tempt too many fates, periodically, I take time to thread a new lifeline just in case.

In a flash of optimism, I had hoped I might actually finish Charlotte over the weekend. It turned out that I didn't get as much knitting done as I was thinking I might.

The hours just melt into each other, the days floating away, the boys growing up before my eyes. I feel the sands of some giant invisible hour glass slipping through my fingers, and the only way I can keep track of them is with the zillions of digital photos I take - and the many notes, lists, and journals I keep. (I've fallen off of my journaling and writing a bit since having Spencer, but I'm feeling keenly the absence of a writter testament to these months already.) These records - visual and written - are my inroads to memory, my ties with personal history and a past that it seems I can never really "remember" no matter how many times the thought that "I want to forever remember what x feels/looks/smells like right now" flashes through my brain. I look even now at Spencer and know that I've already forgotten how he looked those first few days. I see him now. I know him now. I love him minute by minute and day by day. Yet the way he was yesterday gradually dissolves. The more I try to cling to the texture and resonance of moments, try to force them into the mold of memory, the more quickly they seem to disappear just out of reach.

September 22, 2004

New Knitter

I met up with two other mom's last night - two wannabe knitters. Or so they told me more than a year ago when we met the first time (to knit; our kids used to play frequently), and I showed them the basics of knit and purl and got them both started on scarves in yarns I'd gifted them with for their birthdays. They didn't "totally" get the hang of it that first night. We met once more to knit, and it was like starting over. It still hadn't clicked for either of them. One of them was really interested, just having trouble (constantly ending up with extra stitches and so on), and the other, I thought, just didn't really like it. She's a great friend, and it would be super if she was a knitter. But I didn't really think it was ever going to happen.

So, we got together again last night (a meeting we planned almost three weeks ago before we knew it would be the finale night for both Big Brother and Amazing Race).

It was my first night with neither child in tow since Spencer's birth, so it felt sort of strange, and I was worried most of the time about how he was doing and how M. was coping. The older one had a breakdown as I was trying to leave because he didn't want me to go. So, I was feeling lots of guilt and doing lots of clock-watching while we were supposed to be having a 'girls night out' of sorts. All in all, I was only gone right around 2 hours. But, I guess it's something.

I took a batch of wonderful (and easy) pretzel/Rollo/pecan creations my mom had suggested I try. She said everywhere she took them people loved them. She was right. Despite the fact that two of us are supposed to be on Atkins and one of us on Weight Watchers, they were a hit - and easy to snack on even while knitting.

Snacks aside...

Before getting them both re-cast on and showing them the basics again, I tried to show them my Charlotte. I guess it's grown more than I thought because as I tried to spread it out on the (long) needle to show them, I watched in horror as part of one side fell off the needle. My heart skipped a beat. Just after I was bragging yesterday about not needing the life lines so far... They, of course, didn't really understand why it would be a big deal that some of those stitches were falling off, but I was envisioning disaster. Luckily, not too much had slipped off the end. I got it picked back up and even found all the yarnovers that had dropped. A marker had fallen out, too, so they watched in utter confusion as I searched for the small plastic ring. That really threw them - that I'd need markers to keep track of things seemed way too complicated to them. It was pretty funny.

So, we got started. I worked first with the one who had done farily well the previous times. (We actually got started while the other was whipping up fresh whipped cream to have with strawberries.) Once I thought she was okay, I switched to the other. I went ahead and cast on for her and did the first row to get her off the needle and then showed her the knit stitch again after explaining that this time she was just going to knit and work on a garter scarf so that all she had to do was focus on the knit stitch. (I think part of our problem the first time was being too ambitious!)

She watched. She got started. She seemed to have the right idea.

She got messed up.

So, I fixed it again and then watched as she started trying to knit continental (which is how I knit). I'd showed them both ways the first night oh so long ago, and both seemed to want to do it that way. Last night, I'd specifically showed her the other way thinking it would be less complicated (even though I find it harder!). So, I stopped her and showed her again how to use just the right hand.

By golly, she got it.

Immediately, she was chanting "through, around, back through, and off" as she rhythmically worked her way across the row, needles clicking confidently.

She had a few problems, but very few. She had several inches done when I left, and the garter looked great. I was so excited - and so surprised. I shouldn't have been. But I really had given up hope that she'd ever really "like" knitting.

She sent a message late last night to let me know she'd continued to work after we left and had 20 inches done and was thinking "scarves for everyone for Christmas"

Yeah! A new knitter is born.

With one or the other of them having trouble every few minutes, I only got two rows on Charlotte done. But, even that was progress. I felt lucky to manage that much. After all, Sharon's shawl, after all, is taking 1 1/2 to 2 hours per row!

Photos to come soon. I would have done it today, but I've been working on getting some new items loaded on Bramblebug and creating an ad we need to run in our preschool's newsletter. So, while the camera's been in action, I didn't get a chance to get Charlotte laid out and photographed. I will - soon!

September 24, 2004

Splash of Color

I took pictures of these a while ago to share, and an unexpected cleaning expedition the other day brought them again into my periphery. (I wrote this entry the other night on my Palm and just synched today, so that's why explains the tense/timing of the piece.)

These three crystal pieces captivated me this summer with their vibrant color. I bought the vase when mom was here in July. We were shopping at the Pier, and I spotted the small vase in the window. Inside the store, we oohed and aahed over the collection. Mom bought herself a bud vase and treated me to the small vase. I couldn't pass up the taller vase with the colored leaves.

A few weeks later, we were back at the Pier, and my feet were irrevocably drawn into the store again. After spotting the tulip-like dish, I was entranced. I dragged M. from another store to see, and she agreed it was perfect. She didn't seem totally convinced about my plan to use it for knitting odds and ends on the side table next to my rocker. But she did agree to its beauty.

I brought it home and sat it on the entertainment center with the other pieces, temporarily out of the way as we've had random company over the last few weeks. They've been there since. Every time I clean up or move something on top, I pause to marvel at their combined beauty. I pick up one piece or the other, am momentarily surprised by the weight of the crystal, and watch the light play around and through the colored patches. It makes me happy just knowing they are there. Like a child mesmerized by the shifting
colors, shapes, and patterns of a kaleidoscope, I find simple pleasure
in looking at them.

Cleaning up today, however, I was compelled to bring my dish down and, in good craftsman style, put it to use - give function to the beauty (thus making it even more beautiful for those of us who appreciate the beauty of something functional as well as beautiful). I had cleaned off my table, which is usually cluttered with patterns, my knit journal, rogue needles, markers, pens, and other knit paraphernalia. So the relatively uncluttered (or maybe 'straightened' is a better term) table presented me with the perfect opportunity to put the dish into action as part of my creative space and immediate visual landscape.

I brought the dish down and put it on the table.

Almost immediately, Matthew walked in and spotted it. "Mama what is that?" he asked, his voice full of excitement as he instinctively reached for it and its bright colors.

"No." I cried.

He looked at me.

I couldn't help laughing as I explained, "That is mama's dish. It's very pretty, but it's very fragile."

I put lots of emphasis on the last word.

This probably doesn't sound funny to you blog readers, just a practical explanation. But if you take into account that Matthew recently started preschool, and they do show and tell every afternoon, you'll quickly understand. From his first day at school, he's been very clear about the rules of show and tell. If something is "fragile," it means no one can touch it. They can look, but not touch.

Matthew has not taken one object yet that wasn't deemed "fragile." Even the books he's taken (from two favorite maze books to the instruction booklet for a favorite computer game [hey, he chooses his own show and tell items!]) have all been fragile.

We ask him what he's going to say about the object, and he invariably says, "This is my x, and I like it because it is fragile."

So, when he reached for the dish, I knew the perfect way to explain.

Tonight, the dish is sitting here next to me on the table as I work on my making waves sock (which has to be finished by end of month, so is stealing some time from Charlotte). It's not full yet. Not cluttered. Instead, right now, all it is holding is my small straight wooden cable needle.

It's perfect.

Lace on the Brain

I feel like I've been thumbing a lot of catalogs lately. Partly because even though it's not even October, the holiday season mentality has already hit our house, so there's been lots of looking and thinking and pondering and wishing and wanting and list-making going on.

The new Patternworks showed up yesterday, so that also got a quick thumb through. I'm sure I'll browse through it many times more, but I made my first pass-through last night. Every time I look at one, different things jump out at me depending on my mood, what's on my needles, what I know I'm getting ready to make, what yarns have been on my mind, and so on. But I surprised myself last night when it was a couple of lace books that really caught my attention. It must be how well Charlotte is going (and has gone) making my brain turn laceward. I especially took note of the review of Lavish Lace. I hadn't heard of that one yet. (I used to keep up with everything that was already out or on its way out, but I'm definitely behind these days, and with the proliferation of knit books out there, I've found myself disappointed in many of the new releases I'd anxiously awaited.) While I'd like to see the "best of" Shawls and Scarves collection in person, what struck me about Lavish Lace was the emphasis on lace being knit at a variety of gauges and with a variety of yarn weights. Has anyone already seen or bought this book? Any comments on its contents and range? I've got tons of stash, and lots of stuff, actually, that would work for nice lace projects.

Since I had lace on the brain today, I headed over to FiberTrends because I had seen a shawl I loved in an advertisement in an issue of Interweave this summer. It's the Shoalwater Shawl. I'm not sure why it speaks to me, but it made an impression on me – and still did this morning. It's something about when I look at it, I think about where we vacation in Maine (when we get to vacation) and I have a nice romantic moment where I'm standing by the waterside, surrounded by rugged cliffs, as the tide crashes in… and I'm wearing a shawl like that, of course! Now, in reality, in all the times we've been in Maine, I've never worn a shawl. L.L. Bean fleece is more typical. But, maybe not next time. Something changed after having the baby. Hormones definitely got crossed somehow – and have stayed crossed.

At any rate… I can't help it. I love patterns. We always talk about how big our yarn stashes are, but for many of us, our pattern collections are also huge.

I also spent time this morning savoring the latest issue of Bas Bleu. While I am a loyal Amazon.com shopper, and we make very regular trips to the local Borders because Matthew, too, loves books and has adopted a passion for the fine art of book browsing (what more could a mother want to pass on to her child!), Bas Bleu is one catalog I simply adore. The reviews are awesome. The books they spotlight are great, not your run-of-the-mill bestsellers. There are always a ton of books I think, "I'd like to read/see/thumb" through that. Let me say again, the reviews are great. They're smart. Insightful. Poetic. Just dead-on good and well-done.

September 27, 2004

Thinking ahead

So, I've got 12 more rows of Charlotte to do. It's incredibly beautiful, and I can see myself enjoying making it again (and again). I know I want one. And I'm tempted to make one for my son's preschool's annual auction. Since we're not the knock-on-the-door type, we anticipate making a number of things to meet our fundraising quota. I think a Charlotte might be a good idea.

I was reading ahead about the crochet edging last night. At first, I was confused by the three rows of edging, but I think I've got it now. Someone who's done it before... for the first row, you just go on the straight edge, and then rows 2 and 3 are around all three sides? Right? So the two long edges of the triangle are not included in row 1. Right?

I was worried that I might run out of yarn. I cut it close with color #4. But then I realized that color #4 is used for 8 rows (with color number 3), then 16 rows on its own, then 8 rows (with color #5). So, it was used for 32 rows. Color #5 is used for 8 rows (with color #4) and then 16 rows. So, 24 rows in all, plus the cast-off, plus the 3 rows of edging. The rows are longer, so, it's possible I'll be cutting it close. I went out looking to see if I could find other bloggers who had mentioned running out (because I thought I recalled reading that somewhere).

I didn't find the entry I was thinking of, but I did see that Steph at And She Knits, Too recently finished her third Charlotte (and did run out of yarn). It is beautiful. Those are very much the kinds of colors I want to do for my own. (I've mentioned these before, but she also made a wonderful Charlotte poncho, as did my friend over at SequinK.)

And ponchos continue to be everywhere! I was thumbing through the new WoolWorks catalog that came, and there are a ton of ponchos. What a year to be bjorning a baby. There were several sweaters that jumped out at me too.

September 28, 2004

thanks secret pal2

I got a special delivery yesterday from my Secret Pal 2 in Australia. I was excited to see the mailer tube when I came in from picking up Matthew from school last night. After a quick (and incomplete) Pilates workout, I was all set to find out what goodies were inside. Here's a photo of what came out of the tube...


(Oops. I forgot to put the needles in the set-up when I snapped the photo.)

The yarn is Ozyarn's Loopy Lou in the Passion Purple colorway. It's a wonderful feeling mohair boucle, so soft and cushy to the touch, and the colorway is cool and fun. I can't wait to see how it works up. My pal sent three skeins of the yarn, a copy of Ozyarn's möbius cowl pattern (see their site), and the right size needles for the pattern. Isn't that just perfect!

My package also contained a beautiful set of tea, a handmade card, and two packets of "Vegemite" to round out the international flair with which my pal is taking care of me.

Thank you secret pal 2! You're the best, and I'm feeling very spoiled.

second sock done

Yeah! I finally finished the second Making Waves sock for the Six Sox Knitalong. It had to be complete by the end of this month, so I did wait sort of last minute on it, but that's what I love about this knitalong. It's really a motivator for me. If it wasn't for the pseudo-deadline of the knitalong, I probably wouldn't have finished sock #2. Not that it's not beautiful (it is). Not that it wasn't challenging (it was). Not that I'm not proud of having actually finished my first pair of cabled socks (I am). It's just that I'm not really a sock #2 person. Sock #1 thrills me. Sock #2 is harder to get excited about. I already know how the pattern goes. I already know how the colors play out. So, if it wasn't for the sockalong, I'd probably have worked on Charlotte instead, and then finished my gauntlets, and then... there would always have been something else. So, the knitalong is perfect, and I'm finding I really like the sense of structure it adds.

This isn't a great photo, but here they are. The colors are richer in person.


Here's the info...

Pattern: Making Waves (from 6 Sox Knitalong)
Yarn: Lang JaWoll Color
CO: 72 stitches (because it's a cabled pattern)
Needles: 2's for leg and top of foot; worked heel and instep on 1's
Heel: EOP with garter edge (quite beautiful)

It's a wrap.

2-skein Charlotte Adaptation

Just out blog surfing and saw this 2-skein Charlotte-esque Charlotte (see Sept 3 entry). It's not the complete 154 rows, but it's surprising how far she made it with 2 skeins. Turned out pretty, and it's fun to see other approaches at working and adapting the pattern.

Big thanks to Christina at Between the Stitches, too, for emailing with some experienced "been-there-here's-how-it-worked-for-me" info on yarn quantities and edging in response to my post yesterday. If you haven't already been to Christina's site, stop in. Her blog is an invaluable resource for ponchos, too. And it was on her blog that I first caught site of the cute baby poncho that turns out to be from Mission Falls (a favorite designer).

September 30, 2004


4 more rows, and i will be ready to bind off and get a look at charlotte off the needles.

the anticipation!

Philosopher's Wool Socks

Oh, just quickly (before the sleeping one [in my arms] wakes)... We were in Michael's over the weekend picking up more journal embellishments, and while M. was doing her thing, I took a stroll around the knitting aisles. Now, Michael's isn't where I'd shop for yarn. I really probably am too much of a yarn snob. But, I was surprised to see how much better their knitting stash was from what it used to be, when it really seemed much more acrylic and crochet focused. The effects of the knitting boom were clear in the range of yarns, patterns, and supplies they had.

I still didn't buy any yarn. They still don't carry needles I'd use. But, I stumbled over this pattern book:

sock hop

It's called Sock Hop (by Joseph Madl for Philosopher's Wool), and it's got 13 sock patterns designed to go with the Philosopher's Wool sweater patterns. My Philosopher's Wool is still on the needles and sort of doomed because I know it's way too big for me (and I'm no longer liking the way-too-big-for-me look). Still, it's one of my favorite projects - and one of the most beautiful works in progress. I love their designs.

(Okay, I have to admit, in addition to the Color Your Own cardigan I have started, I have the Kilim kit in the closet as well as the yarn for one of the children's sweaters. That was a gift and before we realized that our children would hate wearing sweaters we made - at least right now.)

At any rate, the socks book was a must-have. The designs are beautifully adapted to socks. I'm not really wanting to make heavy socks right now. (I just bought all that sock yarn!) But someday maybe, so, it's mine. If you love Philosopher's Wool - and like to knit socks - you might keep your eye out for it. (It's also available on the PW site.)

got gmail?

Hey knit bloggers. Got gmail? If you've been feeling left out of the loop or suddenly way uncool because you don't have a gmail account, I have a few invites I'm willing to share with regular readers of mine. If you don't know what gmail is, don't admit it. By the way, thanks to Fred'sHouse for my account. He doesn't knit, but his blog is super smart, super savvy, and a great read. Plus, he's always got cool techno, mobile, and ubi-comp scoop. What's not to love?


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