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May 2006 Archives

May 3, 2006

Poor Pirate Fit

hat hat

May 3, 2006 – 2:31 Beachside

Wow. Where did the week go. It zipped by. Just zipped. Crazy, Crazy, Crazy. (And yes, those all deserve capital “C’s”!) So, picture above. That’s been sitting in my camera for days to show. Notice anything?

The astute among you will immediately realize that the picture of the boy wearing the hat is the wrong boy. It’s my boy, yes. But the hat I wrote about initially, and the hat for which Matthew picked out colors, is being worn above by younger – and much smaller headed – brother Spencer. And it barely even fits him. Talk about frustrating!

After blogging about the hat after our return from LEGOLand, I quickly realized that the hat wasn’t going to fit Matthew – and that it might not even fit Spencer. I did go ahead and make it another repeat taller. That was the right move. But overall, the darn thing is just too small. And, yes, the bottom rolls, which doesn’t drive me crazy on him as much as it does when I see the hat lying around the house and pick it up and obsessively try and “uncurl” the bottom.

“What went wrong,” you ask? Or, are you not asking. Are you just tsking and muttering “gauge, gauge, gauge” in your head. Well, yes, it was a gauge thing. But, it’s strange. I know I checked early on and thought the gauge was on track. Clearly, it’s not. For me, that the row height was also significantly off was the biggest surprise. That never happens to me. I knit continental, and my row height is always wrong. This may be the first time ever that I was off even up and down and not just side to side.

Despite the fit, and despite the fact that I think my fair isle doesn’t look as “even” as I’d like, we all like the hat. Which means even M. has come around and is singing the “I want one (in pink and green, no less) tune. So, I’ve been digging around in stash. (I’m sort of committed to using stash on these hats. Not sure why.) I don’t have a ton of sport weight yarn, but I’ve come up with enough skeins that we have a number of options. (I did consider trying one in worsted weight to see if that solves the sizing issue for us, but instead I’m going to try sport again and use a 5 instead of a 3 and see if that relaxes things.)

Matthew went back and forth between navy and kiwi green, purple and kiwi green, and navy and the bright blue. (I do have more of the purple and bright blue, but despite the fact that we often dress them in matching shirts, I’m pushing for different colored hats just so it’s easy at-a-glance to see whose is whose.) He’s finally settled on purple and kiwi green, which he says will be “really scary.” The colors are great.

I’m ready to get started, but, of course, I can’t lay my hands on a circular size 5. Every other size, yes. Size 5. Nope. Sigh. It’s always something. I did cast on already because, after some debate with M., I decided to take her advice and do a hem on the hat to eliminate the roll – she suggested a ribbed option would detract from the overall look and design of the hat, and I think she’s right. So, I did the hem on a 4, and I’m ready now to switch onto 5’s to get started and see if the sizing will shape up this time.

Not being able to quickly “find” a needle I want and know I have is so frustrating – and such a waste of time. Making a needle organizer for my circulars is definitely on my list for this year. If I could figure out a design that would really work well for circulars, it would be nice. I keep them all in an accordion-style binder right now, but that ends up just being a mess. They’re all clumped in a few pockets rather than nicely separated. Maybe I should just take time and separate them (and label the pockets). Good idea, I know. Maybe while my Mom is here (in a few weeks). We’ve got plans to watch a bunch of Gilmore Girls and 7th Heaven episodes I’ve been DVR-ing (she doesn’t get the WB), so maybe I can spend some non-knitting time organizing the needle mess.

In the interim, if we can squeeze it in this afternoon, I’m going to run by and try and grab a needle this afternoon before we pick big brother up and before we head out for our “night out” – our monthly ritual when M. has to go the monthly “general meeting” at the preschool. We have fun. She sits in a 4+ hour meeting.

I’ve also got to run by Kinko’s and pick up copies of the special graduation issue of the school newsletter (which gets distributed tonight). I spent a lot of time on it this month. Admittedly, since I picked up the role of newsletter editor and designer for the school mid-year, I’ve spent a “lot” of time once a month working to get the next issue out. The graduation issue is a big one though – it’s physically “bigger” as well as “bigger” in terms of its content. I worked really hard to do the special graduation pages justice, including pastiches of photos of all the kids to accompany the more yearbook style photos of the kids. Again, too, one of my essays ran in this issue, this one on the “fairies” that my boys have learned to love and chase when they spot them (bits of light) bouncing on the walls – and my reaction to both Finding Neverland and Disney’s Peter Pan. So, that special issue comes out tonight.

Puzzle Blast News
I also have to pick up additional copies of the inaugural issue of Puzzle Blast. The May issue is out! Yeah. It’s very exciting. (Those of you who checked out the free sample issue might be interested in knowing that in addition to subscribing, it’s also possible to purchase individual issues. So, if you want to just “give it a try” without committing to the cost of a full year, a single-issue option is now available.) It would be nice if the realities of the “cost” of printing and mailing wasn’t what it is. And, yes, I’ve considered just making the whole thing downloadable, but right now, it’s not where I want the newsletter to be. There’s something compelling about a printed booklet format – that arrives in the mail. We do enough visiting sites and printing things. I don’t want that to be the way Puzzle Blast works. At any rate, Issue 1.1 is in the mail to subscribers, which means a project that I first talked about with M and my Mom over dinner at Max’s Opera Café last September has finally come to fruition. I was ready to launch last fall, but there was always “something else” that I felt I had to have in place first. But, finally Issue 1 is out there, and the subscriber list is small but growing. It’s a good start!

(Update: We did manage to run, and I mean run, into ImagiKnit and grab a needle. They didn't have any Addi metal circulars, which is my preference. So, I decided to go with bamboo. I ended up deciding to try a pair of Addi bamboos. They cost almost $5 more than the other bamboo brands they had. I felt a bit like I was being suckered, but I gave in to my affinity for the Addi brand -- even though the metal join sort of puts me off (at first glance) and makes me worry that it will be catch-free. Crazy, huh, the way we get about certain brands. Here's to hoping I get gauge!)

May 4, 2006

Major Oops!

All has become clear. In a flash of understanding and chagrin late last night as I looked at the pattern again after pausing on the second hat to contemplate the gauge and the too-loose weave of the fabric, I realized that my fatal mistake was in reading the yarn requirements line and assuming that Dale Hauk is a sport weight yarn. It doesn't really say. It calls for Dale Hauk and some sport weight yarn for the lining. Gven the gauge and the use of size 3's, my brain just read it all, lumped it together, and thought it all made sense for a sport or DK. Mistakenly assuming the hat was sport was where I got totally off track with hat #1. It all makes sense now. I'm frustrated, but at least I understand now why I ran into such sizing problems when no one else seemed to! It's back to the stash bins. But, I am sure I have similar colors - even more chocies - in worsted than I did when thinking I needed something lighter weight. Yes, I realize it was a very dumb mistake. I paid for it though. Wow.

May 15, 2006

Still Around

I'm out surfing, doing other things, and thought I really needed to just check in here quickly and briefly. I'm feeling guilty about my blog. It's suffering right now. Other creative pursuits are moving ahead, taking up a lot of time and energy, and all at the expense of Threaded Thoughts. It's not over. It's just slow-moving right now. Puzzle Blast is hot, and that's great. I'm working (a lot) on ramping up to put out my first podcast (which I'll announce when the first episode is up) [and, no, it's not a knitting podcast; there are plenty of good ones of those!], Gramma's coming to visit (which means some modicum of cleaning has to happen), unexpected heatwave in the city wiped up out for a day (we in SF are really wusses when it comes to heat; anything above 70 or below 60, and we tend to complain - though, personally, I like it chilly), several essays are under works (and reworks), and so it goes. Just a lot going on, and my knitting is feeling sort of stagnant.

The Pirates Hat really got me down. I recast on with the right weight yarn, but I've still go the pirate blues. It's very dense knitting (as those of you who've made it know) to knit worsted at 6 stitches per inch on 3's, and on the short circulars, it just keeps wanting to pop off the needles, which drives me crazy. Progress has been negligible. I'm sure things will get back in gear when Gramma arrives. She's good for my knitting soul - I just "do" more when she's around - partly, I guess, because I spend less time at my computer when she's here - so more knitting time is available!

M. was in a bit of an "I want to knit" mode over the weekend. I came home from my daily trip to the beach with the sleeping "2," to discover that she'd "found" the sweater she wants me to make for her this Christmas. Given that both of the options she picked out as she looked through some Mission Falls books (she was, actually, looking for something to make out of some Rowan Calmer she has) are both heavily cabled. Both are very pretty. It's good that she's giving me advance notice, I suppose!

I'll be back soon - or in and out some until then.

Happy knitting.

May 17, 2006

Handwarmers... Sort of

Everything is coming along. Mom is flying in this evening (after like 5 hours of delays getting in and out of Chicago on her way here). Equipment I needed for the podcast is en route (yeah!). I have to say I got bogged down for days in trying to figure out what to order. The range of musical/audio equipment is huge, and if you don't know what you're looking for/needing, it seems a bit like a quagmire with pricepoints ranging from thirty bucks to several hundred for each component. Site creation is also underway. It's very exciting.

In the midst of all this, Mrs. Beeton's Wristwarmers (Knitty, Winter 05) are very much on my radar. I checked them out a while back when Brenda mentioned them on Cast-On. For some reason, they resurfaced in my knitting brain the other day, and I took another look at the pattern. I love the way they look under the cuffs of the jacket - like extra knitted cuffs. I don't know that I'm up for beading them, but I think other than that, I have to have them. Has anyone reading this already made them? Experience? Conclusion? I'd love to hear your story.

Okay, and here's one for anyone with strong math sense (when it comes to knitting). If I want to make a pattern, and it calls for 8 skeins of yarn, and I'm using 8 different colorways (which I plan to blend together similar to the way Charlotte's Web works), is it logical that, assuming I have a good sense of how many rows (vertical) I'll be working, I can divide the number of rows (for front and back) by 8 and work out an arrangement of the 8 colors and STILL end up with basically enough of all 8 colors to do a similar arrangement on the sleeves?

That works, right? I'm just trying to make sure that I'm not overlooking something obvious here. (Yes, I do realize that the portions of front and back after the armhole decreases will require less yarn, so I'll have more of those colors left over for the sleeves than I'll have of the others. But otherwise, it'll work, right? And I will sitll have ENOUGH of the first few colors to do the same number of rows of those colors on front and back even if I don't have much left for sleeves, right?) This is one of those things that would sort of really be scre%!d if I got halfway through the front, for example, and realized it totally won't work or that I totally won't have enough of the colors for the back. Any advice appreciated... assuming you've followed what I've said here and what I'm trying to do!

May 28, 2006

Bits and Pieces (1)

Things… pictures should come… just not today….

  • I did cast on (pun for the podcast fans) my first Mrs. Beeton's over a week ago. I even did the beaded cast on edge, which was a first. Adding the beads into the knitting wasn't nearly as hard as I'd expected, and the results were totally worth it. Mom was here, and I thought I'd start them. She was going to start the Branching Out lace scarf, and I pulled out my Knit Picks shimmer, which has been languishing, hanging around since last year, tentatively earmarked for a Branching Out, but once I grabbed it, I realized it really fit the bill for the Mrs. Beeton's (filling the fingering weight slot – though I guess it's a bit thinner being lace weight). An oddball of bright pink Koigu was in sight, too, and it seemed a perfect and fated match. So, I got started. What fun! The Mrs. Beeton's were a delight to make. I loved watching the first section take shape with the almost wedge-like shapes of the bell cuff. I got hung up for a day or so trying to determine what beads (from the house) would work for the next beaded section. I ended up with beads that are too large. I like the look, but with the little one around, I worry they are not long for this world. I also, in my rush to get the first one finished late one night after the little one had finally crashed, didn't do the cast off the way it's written. I haven't ever done the cabled cast on, which the directions call for, and I just didn't have it in me that night to go look it up, and I really wanted to get the first finished (probably because I was jealous that Gramma and M had gotten to knit on and off all evening), so I just did a regular bind off – losing what is most likely a ruffled bind off edge in the pattern. I've debated about going back and redoing it, but I think I'm okay with it for this first pair, which was sort of a "test the pattern" pair in my head. I got caught up working on another project, so the first mitten is still mateless.

  • We made several yarn store trips while Mom was here. She and M actually even made one without me, and all of us ended up with more yarn than we needed given the sizes of our existing stashes. I, of course, showed more restraint than they did, but I've got a clear list of things I want/need to make (a list made in January), and I've got the yarn already for most of it. So, I saw many things I oohed and ahhed over, but I just felt overwhelmed with the number of projects already on my plate (or supposed to be on my plate).

  • I did succumb to some Lorna's Shepherd in a wonderful grey/lavender colorway for a Multi-Directional scarf – something mindless that will be fun to make at some point as a breather from the bigger projects soon to be underway. I haven't made the Multi-D before, but the one Mom made me last year I really love.

  • M. picked out and bought yarn for the sweater she wants me to make her for Christmas. (I guess the knitting itself is the gift. Sort of strange approach.) She's narrowed it down to 2 Mission Falls patterns or a Mission Falls shrug, which is very pretty but I think will be too bulky for her. Probably one of the sweaters. I just have to check the gauge on the swatch I knit with M and Gramma while sipping coffee at Starbucks during our one childless afternoon last week. Bless the occasional baby sitter.

  • I did take the plunge and start the Koigu sweater – actually it's a Kim Hargreaves pattern from an old Rowan mag, but I'm making it out of 8 colors of Koigu. When I pulled the colors out a few weeks ago, intending to do a pink/red one, I ended up thinking I liked my lavender/purple skeins better for this. But, when I got them out again last week, the pink/reds were really speaking to me. I've started, with the left front. I'd rather work both fronts together, but that would leave me guessing where to position my button holes since I'm working the button band as I go along (because of the multiple colors). So, left front it is. Going strong.

  • The recent episode of Cast-On talks about the Duulan project (spearheaded by Mossy Cottage Knits). Knitting again for it this year is also on my list. I'd better get started.

  • Equipment for my own podcast finally arrived. (Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!) I seem to only be missing one critical element (a way to actually connect my microphone to the desk stand I bought – they don't FIT together, so I'm stumped). Still, we've been tinkering around with recording and trying to understand the mixer. But, fates are working against me a bit. I've sort of lost my voice this week and sound really hoarse. So, instead of jumping right into it, I'm hoping to have a full voice again in a few days.

  • PuzzleBlast has moved (for now) to a downloadable model, with subscriptions available for $12.95 per year. It was a hard decision to move to this model, but the realities of print/postage really put a crimp in the production costs, making it hard to bring it in at a good, appealing, "doable" price point.

  • Doesn't this look like a cute book of knitted toys? Looks like she's all sold out, but if you like to knit these kinds of things, watch for her next batch.

  • This is something I'm sure to mention on my podcast, but for those of you with techy kids, particularly older ones, you might check out Apple's summer in-store "camps," one of which is on podcasting. Very cool.

  • Mom bought me a Timbuk2 messenger bag as an early birthday present, and I love it. I'd wanted to customize one in pink and green, but the customization options have changed, and you can't customize the extra-small size either, which is the size I decided I liked when I stopped in at a local See Jane Run store. So, I ended up with peacock and silver, and I love it. It's perfect. It's got great compartments. I was able to throw my little bag of memory sticks (which I tend to carry with me), the book I'm reviewing for my podcast, my Palm (and my old Palm to let the boys play at dinner), my wallet, a diaper, wipes, and more, and I still felt like I had a ton of room and everything was accessible. I just love it. Thanks Mom! (She bought a tote, too, and I have to say it's amazingly cute/cool and held everything she wanted to carry on the plane trip home.)

    (Note: I went extra-small because I want it as a daily bag – not a backpack replacement; I carry a super overly-stuffed backpack with me on my daily forays to the beach to work while the little one naps. If you're considering one, definitely go look at the sizes in person to get a sense of what hangs right on you and for what purpose.)

  • I've been having some strange urge to read the entire Anne of Green Gables series again. Hearing that, Mom picked up an illustrated edition of the first book at the bookstore the other night. How very cool. I'm looking forward to reading it, as soon as I finish Knitting: A Novel, which she brought with her for me to read. I was also tempted to pick up Cornelia Funke's books (Dragon Rider or Inkheart). Anyone who loves fantasy/SF and even young adult fantasy/SF read it and have opinions?

  • We built the pirate ship from the Klutz book over the last few days. What a wonderful project! (We'll have to get the castle book, too.) The directions were sometimes a bit hard to "see," but they do totally work – just look carefully – and the cards go together easily and easy enough for little fingers. Excellent Klutz title.

  • We finally got all caught up and did a Gilmore Girls blitz, watching a bunch of episodes leading up to the finale. Somehow our DVR didn't catch the last minute of the finale though… she wakes up and Christopher walks in… and our episode ends. Hmmmm.

  • Mom came toting a Kakuro (also called Cross Sums) magazine. It didn't take long until we found Top Kakuro for our Palms. If you're a Sudoku fan, check out Kakuro, too.

  • And, she brought news of PathPix, a cool maze-like game where you reveal pictures by drawing lines of specific lengths to fill in the grid of the screen. It's very cool - for everyone.

  • Christy's Roomba ate her Tivo cord. Yikes! Go on, send her a little love.

  • And Sharlene's cat


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