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August 2005 Archives

August 1, 2005

Yikes! Time Flies

How can it be a week already since I posted? I think that the week has been taken up by the emergence of half a bottom molar probably suffices as answer enough for most moms out there even if other knitters and bloggers find it a poor or paltry excuse. In addition, I've been busy on another small coding project that I've been squeezing in. So, my poor MovableType blog has suffered. Today, in fact, I've been working on setting up a TypePad blog for someone. I have to admit, it's fun tinkering with colors and features that way. I tend to be more nuts and bolts about such things, which is why MT is a better choice for me. But, there are some TypePad features that I'd really like to have. Oh dear, motherhood is turning me into a GUI person. I used to be the person that created GUIs. Now I'm one of the people coming to like GUIs. Uh-oh. It feels gooey to suddenly feel warm and fuzzy about a GUI.

I have been knitting (despite the hand, which basically is 'the same). I don't have a picture to show right now (baby is crashed in my arms), but I'll get one up soon. I've been zipping along with the first sleeve of my Ribby Cardi. I am using the darker of the greens for the sleeves although in my head, I still see the sweater with the darker body and lighter sleeves. I've been convinced this (darker sleeves) is the better way to go. At any rate, I love, love, love the yarn. It comes in small, skinny, almost scrawny looking center-pull skeins. I worried initially that it wasn't thick enough despite the stated gauge. (I did do a swatch, too, to be sure.) But, it's working up amazing. It's super soft, very "cushy," and just oh-so-nice.

I am doing the sleeves separately. Like many of you, I prefer to knit them together, but I was afraid the added weight on the needles wouldn't be the smartest approach for my fingers if it wasn't necessary. So, one at a time it is.

August 5, 2005

Darned Bugs

I guess I should feel lucky that the bugs in this case are viral and not the heady ones that others at the preschool have been circulating for the last few weeks. We live in fear, serious fear, of those bugs. I sleep with a boy's head on each side of me. The idea of "those" bugs has riddled my dreams more than once lately. Probably because I was so preoccupied with the thought of "those" bugs, summer viruses caught me unprepared.

The older one caught it first, and even though he's older, it's still hard to get a clear story on what really hurts. The barking cough sounded bad, for sure, and there were random fevers. He wasn't willing to eat much, and his normally sensitive nature was even more volatile and tear-ridden than usual. But even more telling was when he virtually fell asleep in the middle of dinner.

Watching as the little one grabbed his brother's left-behind juice cup from the floor one night, I felt like I was in slow motion as I tried to prevent the certain spread of germs. Part of me was arguing that "he'd already been exposed, surely," but part of me feared the worst. That part was right.

Soon, they both had it. In addition to the now two bursting molars, the little one was coughing, cranky, non-sleeping, sneezing in my face periodically, and crying to be held and walked non-stop.

You know where this is going, right? Yep. That'd be me with the seriously sore throat now. For a few days, it just felt a little "off," but in the middle of the night last night, I woke up not with an itchy head but to find myself unable to swallow.

Darned bugs.

I did finish the first sleeve of the Ribby Cardi earlier this week. I am concerned about how much yarn it took. I used the Ribby Cardi's yardage estimation for a yarn of this weight, and I ordered a bit extra. But, of the five skeins I bought for the sleeves and trim, I had to start the third for the sleeve. That concerns me. So, I went ahead and started the front hoping to get a sense as to whether or not I'm going to have enough in that color so that I can order more if I need to (and hope dye lots don't vary greatly in the Knit Picks Andean Silk).

I'm still loving the yarn, and I love the color of the lettuce that I've started for the front. I did have to wince one time on the sleeve when I glanced down to realize I was knitting on a 7 (the right size) and a 6 (the size in my bag from the cast on). I have convinced myself that I only just then made that mistake when I picked up the second needle at that knitting sitting, so it was only for two rows or so. I could be wrong, but I refuse to let myself ponder the possibility.

These lapses have increased this year. I've become notorious for driving off with juice or milk cups on the top of my roof. Then I drove off with leftover chicken nuggets (which for once I thought we'd bring home) on the roof. Then, one night at preschool pickup, I drove off with a fresh and still-damp art project on the hood of the car. It wasn't until I got home that I realized the very cool embroidery-hoop-framed painting he'd done was missing. We drove back and found it there right in the middle of the road where it had no doubt landed during my U-turn to head home. Then, just last weekend, we mysteriously ran dangerously low on both toilet paper and paper towels. I vaguely remembered buying them on a previous Costco run, but neither Megan nor I could find them in the basement. Since they are Costco-sized packages, they would seem hard to miss, so I assumed I was just imagining that I'd picked them up. I bundled up the baby, and we headed out for more. They're still in my trunk, but the next day when I was in the basement milling around, I looked up to spot unopened packages of both sitting on the shelves amidst bags and bags of BrambleBug fleece. And neither of us had spotted them before I bought more!

August 10, 2005

A Ribby in Green


In truth, the greens are richer and deeper than shown here. The dark green is darker. The light green has more chartreuse/lime in it. I'm not sure if my camera is just on its way out, or if it was a lighting issue, but the colors look washed out in this photo (as well as the other five I took despite the fact that I moved the stack around the room trying to correct the problem). We live in the fogband of SF. I drive the 1.2 miles to preschool, and it's sunny and warmer. If I drive the 1.5 miles the other way to the grocery, it's always at least 10 degrees warmer. Micro-climates are cool, but it can make dressing hard - unless you are staying home, and sometimes we get strange light in our treehouse-like house, especially when fog is billowing around the big (room-length) window in the living room.

But, I love the fog and the cool weather, so I'm willing to cope with a weak photo now and again.

Still, you get a sense here of what's going on with the Ribby Cardi. I finished the left front the other night. I got on a roll, and while I held sleeping Spencer, I watched an entire Netflix DVD of Gilmore Girls and sat and knit happily in the living room. I'm a little skeptical of the raglan point and being able to actually put it all together neatly when done. But, so many of you have made this that I'm sure it must work, so I'm following blindly along. It's nice easy and fast knitting. I can't wait to see it finished.

Lilly P Socks

ll pink-green

Lilly P socks for me, indeed, in the exclusive Knit Happens colorway of Lorna's Laces sock yarn, thanks to my Secret Pal 5. I debated for a while about which socks to make. The one problem I have with the zillion sock patterns out there is with gauge. I do swatch for sweaters, but I find myself unwilling to swatch for socks, and yet every sock seems to have a differnt gauge. It always frustrates me to find a pattern I want to make but discover it's at a gauge that doesn't seem right for me even in the same weight yarn. That's what happened with the Dublin Bay socks. At first I was perplexed by the number of stitches cast on until I realized the pattern calls for a much tighter gauge than I typically get. Since I feel like my history with handknit socks is that mine tend to be a bit on the "too big" side, I kept looking. I finally settled on the Cable Rib Socks by Erica Alexander in the Spring 2005 issue of Interweave Knits. They're a basic ribbed sock but with an elongated cable down each side. They're worked in a solid in the magazine, but I decided they'd be a good choice for this variegated since there's only a little cabling.

The cables down the side, in fact, are very subtle. Still, these are going to be pretty socks. The yarn is almost striping, but not totally. When you take in the whole sock, there are bits of zigzags of lime that break up the striped effect. It's very pretty. Very garden-inspired. I've kept these in a bag by my chair, and I pick them up now and again and do a chunk. The repeat is 10 rows long, with only one of those 10 involving a cable, so it's a very easy pattern to work on.

They are going to go perfectly with my very cool, impossible to resist, new pink Mary Jane Birkenstocks.

August 15, 2005

Ribby Progress and Holiday Thoughts

Thereís not a whole lot to report on this end. Iím feeling like I have a lot on the needles, and a number of projects lined up just waiting to get started. I did finish the right front of my Ribby Cardi over the weekend. I was feeling really proud about my progress until I realized that Iím actually only halfway done (Iíve finished the fronts and one sleeve). Then it felt like there was so much more to do. A classic glass half empty scenario! But, on my ďto doĒ list over the weekend, I had slated finish the front and then work 10 rows on my Clapotis and 10 rows on my sock. Yes, I have a Clapotis on the needles that I havenít fessed up to. I started another one while my mom was here. Iím using a Rayon Chenille I bought years ago on Ebay from Barbara Lundy Stone (Iíve checked, and she doesnít seem to be selling there anymore). Itís a beautiful ball of yarn. Originally, I thought it would be cool to have a silky rayon Clapotis. It's been a long time since I bought it, and I didnít recognize that it was a chenille until I started working with it. I thought it was a silky rayon, but it's clear that it's a chenille when you're using it. Iím a little concerned that the stitches wonít ďdropĒ well in chenille, but I am not far enough along to tell yet. Itís a thin yarn, so Iím working it on a size 5 needle. Iím hoping it ends up more scarf-like than my first one did. I am toying with making it smaller than the pattern calls for (doing less of section 2), but I canít decide for sure. So, I did my 10 rows (maybe a few more) on it, and then I cast on for the back of my Ribby Cardi. (Sorry, the socks didnít get their 10 rows! Trust me, thatís not the only thing on my list I didnít do.)

I am narrowing in on a few of the items for my holiday knitting. I think I know one thing for sure I want to make for my mom. I went ahead and ordered some yarn that Iíll need for it. If the colors are all I hope they will be, Iíll probably get started on it sooner rather than later. Itís a project Iíd like for myself, too, but I think it will be perfect for her, so Iím hoping it turns out well.

I had a couple of ideas of things to make for M., but her style has changed a lot over the last year, so I was trying to feel her out a bit recently and see what direction I should take. She knows Iím making something. She, Mom, and I added an extra set of gifts to our holiday exchange last year (so that weíd have some extras to parcel out in the pre-Christmas days), and the rule was that at least one of them had to be made. (This year, Iíve altered that to be that one has to either be made or be ďto makeĒ since last year there was a bit of struggling on, ahem, Momís part, with the handmade rule. Besides, we all love to get stuff to do!)

At any rate, I was contemplating a few ideas for M., mostly in the scarf genre, and yes, a Harry Potter scarf was in the running since sheís talked many times in the past about wanting one. I also was considering ďfinishingĒ her Clapotis. She started one in a wonderful cream silk and merino, but sheís only done like 10 rows (and had to redo those more than once) and just isnít really into making it herself. But when I asked what she might like me to make, her response was, ďIíd love it if you wanted to make me that cable sweater from the front of that British magazine.Ē

And she was serious.

Itís taken me at least two weeks to report that here on my blog because it took a while for me to pick up my jaw. I could see asking for a particular scarf, or a particular sock, or a hat, or even a felted bag, iPod cover, handwarmers, or something else accessory-like, even a shawl or wrap or stole. But a full sweater. A full cabled sweater. Yikes.

And, it bears noting that there is no precedent for the request. I've never made her a sweater before.

My own ďMust HaveĒ is still on my needles. My Ribby Cardi is in progress. I donít have a closet full of finished sweaters of my own.

But, I am considering it. Iíve looked over the pattern, and because it uses a bulky yarn and relatively big needles, it could be a fairly quick knit despite the cables. We have the yarn, too. Itís Rowan Chunky in a beautiful pink from her stash. Itís one of the first yarns she ever bought, I think, from a wonderful man at a store that used to be in Union Square but that I think isnít there any longer. We ďthinkĒ we have enough of the yarn. So, as a project, it seems doable even though Iím worried itís a big undertaking for a gift. Iíve been sort of itching to swatch the yarn and give it a go Ė or at least decide for sure if itís a project I want (or am willing!) to commit to. But, Iím trying to be good. I feel strongly that I need to finish my Ribby Cardi and maybe even my Must Have before I get something else big started. (Other than lace. I'm for sure ready to start something new, but I haven't honed in on what yet.) Besides, it is quickly approaching time to wear those sweaters. Heck, I had on a sweater and coat today, and Matthew wore a knit hat to school. Sorry to those of you enduring heat!

My biggest concern about it and the Ribby Cardi is the process of putting in the zipper. Iíve never done that before. I am a little afraid of the process. From what Iíve read, it works best to do it by hand, and Iím having trouble believing I can get a zipper in by hand that will be really secure.

August 17, 2005

"Decadent"-ly Spoiled Again

rowanrowan cotton
My Secret Pal has struck again, stealthily, without my expecting it. A package arrived. Since I think SP5 ends on August 31, I figured this might be my final mailing, and I was excited to open it up and find out who my pal is. Instead, I opened to find Rowan 37 (Spring 2005) and four skeins of Rowan Handknit Cotton in a great, rich, royal purple called Decadent. I saw that there was a card inside, too, and I assumed it would have my Pal's name and blog URL. But, I didn't open it right away. I wanted to prolong the suspense just a little. So, I thumbed through the Rowan. It's been a while since I've bought a Rowan even though it's a magazine I love. I find I often flip back through the ones I have, so I was excited to again be holding it with its familiar weight and size. In flipping through, a purse with a cabled strap and a pretty cabled buckle tab closure caught my attention. When I opened the card from my pal, I was surprised to find instructions to turn to a specific page in the Rowan to look at a "cute little buckle bag." It was for the same bag that I'd spotted that she sent me the magazine and the cotton. Cool! It's an awesome looking little bag, and I think it will be much fun to make. Pluse, I love the color she sent! Thanks Secret Pal. I'm looking forward to finding out who you are!

August 19, 2005

In Sock Yarn, No Less

Wow. I just saw the Yarn Harlot's photos of this lace shawl by Sivia Harding. Isn't it beautiful! And it uses just one 100 gram skein of sock yarn. Can you believe it? I bet it would be a great Koigu pattern, too.

I'm still trying to find something perfect for the two skeins of lace weight Shimmer I have (after finally frogging the Rosebuds and Climbing Roses).

A few scarves have caught my attention lately, too.

First the Kureyon Mistake Rib scarf. It's a pattern that's in Last Minute Gifts, but there's also a free version online, ďChildís Rainbow Striped Scarf. You can see photos here, and here, and here.

Isn't it pretty? I've got some random Kureyon. I've always thought it a bit scratchy feeling, so I've never used it. I even gave some of what I'd bought away. I have a bit left, but I'm not sure I have coordinating colors. I'm thinking I might try one color of it offset by some chenille (solid) from my stash. Wouldn't be quite the same effect, but could be cool. Or, maybe I'll mix the two colorways I have and just see what happens! In poking around, I've been amazed by the way Kureyon works up in terms of color, so I'm itching to give it a try.

Here's another cool Kureyon scarf from SavannahChic.

This scarf caught my eye, too, so much so that I've put in a reserve for Shadow Knitting at the library so I can take a closer look. (I ran into some additional information here.)

Looking around just now, I spotted the Short Row Rib scarf here. (Reminds me of the Multidirectional Scarf. I haven't made one, but my mom made me an awesome one.)

August 30, 2005

The Big Reveal

final package
I've had a lot to report, but just haven't had time to get in here and do it. Matthew's on a two-week break from school, so we've been packing what we can into each day. Plus, we're on another "co-op" mission. Last year at this time, we'd just started at the preschool, and we "renovated" the giant doll house over the break. This year, our task (which we chose to accept) is to make 14 all new super-sized pillows for the "pillow room" (where Matthew's program does show and tell and Spanish, among other things) and make new Roman blinds for the three very large windows in the same room. The pillows are done, but the Roman blinds are definitely sucking up time. I skipped my afternoon at Starbucks today (which is saying a lot since I very much look forward to those few free hours each week now) to stay home and sew seams and attach the stripping for the chords. So, we've had our hands full.

What I haven't had a chance to post is that I know who my Secret Pal 5 was.... drum roll... Vicki at The Knitting Dork (a blog name that just cracks me up, but from looking at what she's made, she's clearly not!).

She spoiled me way, way, way too much. (And I didn't have to read far on her blog to see her admit that!) I hope she was treated well by her Pal!!!

My final package had a wondeful blank book with cool three dimensional beaded, buttoned, and roped embellishments (and handmade paper from Bangladesh), a beautiful hank of Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace in the Valentine colorway, and a bag of decaf. I can't remember if I said I'm a decaff-er or not, but I totally am. People often laugh when they first come in our house and see our matching hers and hers coffee pots - one for regular and one for decaf. You both have to be committed pretty strongly to your coffee to have separate coffee pots.

As I sat looking at what she'd sent me, I really was amazed, because I don't think someone could have sent three things more "me" than what she selected, especially someone that has never met me. It doesn't seem possible just from reading my blog someone could learn so much about me, but I guess it's true. The colorway of Helen's Lace is perfect for me (yes, I mentioned that colorway for my Mom once, but it's a colorway that is very much "me"). I've been wanting to see Helen's Lace forever and haven't run across it in person, so I just can't wait to start something. Of course, I have the feeling I sometimes have when starting a new journal... I don't want to mess it up. Translating the sensation to yarn, my feeling is that I want to find the "perfect" pattern to make with it.

I'd been pondering what to make with my KnitPicks Shimmer, and Jenifer suggested a Kiri. Maybe it would be a good piece for Helen's Lace. It is a beautiful shawl, and my bias is definitely toward triangular shawls. That may be just because I've never worn a square or rectangular one, but I am really drawn to the shape. I'm tempted to order a Fiddlesticks pattern for the Helen's Lace. Or, there are several beautiful pieces (though not triangular) in Lavish Lace, so I'm definitely going to be hemming and hawwing over the next few days as I clear out a few projects on the needles so that I can start a new shawl without feeling the pull of things unfinished.

Thank you so much, Vicki, for making me feel so special and treating me so royally throughout Secret Pal 5. (Thanks are also coming via snail mail. I looked on your blog and never could find your own answers to the Secret Pal questionnaire. Did you do it? I was trying to find something out...)

On my end, I was pal to Mae of Flashin' My Knitties in San Diego. She sort of fell out of blogland for a good bit of the summer, but I hope she got a lot of knitting done!

I'll do a regular "knit" report hopefully tomorrow. I've finished all the pieces of my Ribby Cardi!


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