Sunday, September 30, 2007

Project mojo update

Well, I ran into a little trouble on the Waterfall socks, but nothing I would consider to be another full-out departure of the mojo. I had trouble figuring out the last two short rows turning the heel. So I emailed Jen at Woolgirl, and she was ever so helpful, as it took two emails to figure out the problem. Or mostly figure it out--I pretty much just fudged it. But after I turned the heel and knit half the gusset, I realized I knit the heel two rows less than the pattern called for, and I felt I needed those two rows. So I worked my way backwards, and along the way, dropped a yarn over somewhere in the instep and ended up having to rip back to the almost-beginning, specifically, the five rows of stockinette that precede the start of the pattern on the cuff. But I didn't feel that bad about it, I mean, it's sportweight, so it knits quickly, and the pattern isn't that hard, and I'm enjoying it. So now I'm working my way down the instep; I think I'm about halfway to the toe. And I'm LOVING the yarn! Unfortunately, I have no pictures. Today's excuse is that I have a new computer--I've gone iMac--and I have to figure out how to download pictures into iPhoto in a way that makes sense, as opposed to the way I did it the first time, which produced an album of 300 or so photos.

Next project: the Tulip Cardigan. I'm working the applied i-cord trim on the sweater. I'm just about to negotiate the turn from the left front to the bottom, and I need to be clear in the head because I think there's casting on and slipping stitches involved, which doesn't seem that complicated during the day, but this project has become a strictly after-11 p.m. project (the only time I have to give it undivided attention), and I'm definitely not clear in the head at that time. Fortunately, I haven't made too many mistakes so far, but most of them happen as I start to fall asleep over the needles. But I've got to get going: there's another baby due in November that I have to knit for. And we don't know what it is, so I'll likely have to knit two sweaters. I'm jonesing to cast on the Wee-one Welcome Set sweater--I have boy and girl colors in Cider Moon--but I have so much else on the needles, I don't feel like I can justify it.

The Popover Mitts and the Mac & Me Lobster Claws fingerless mitts are both on the to-do list; I even joined the Fingerless Mitts for Fall knitalong. But I can't bring myself to start them. I have to find my place on the Popover Mitts (and I had found some errors in the pattern last fall when I started them), although I'd like to have them done by Stitches East, since I bought them last year at Stitches East. And unfortunately, I have to rip out the finished (or nearly-finished) Lobster Claw because I knit it wrong from the beginning. If I recall correctly, the first 5 or so rows should be knit flat and then joined, and I started off working in the round, which I would ignore, except the ruffle is knit flat and closes with a button, and I think it would be hard to pick up the stitches for the ruffle if the mitt is joined in the round. I haven't had the heart to rip it out yet, but I'm getting ready, especially because I know it knits up really quickly. I just hate to totally frog something.

The Summer Solstice socks are languishing. The project bag just sits and looks at me every time I get into bed. I'll be back!

The Decadent Fibers baby blanket saw some knitting time last week, but it's back in the ongoing project basket. Baby sweaters move more quickly.

And I've just about committed to totally frogging my Scarlet Fleece sock. It's a big deal--I've never totally frogged a project. I find the idea scary--I'm assertively abandoning a project--and intimidating--it's been dormant on the needles since March or so, and the yarn will be all crimped. Will I have to wash it?

I'm also going to frog the Perchance to Knit Irises sock. I need to switch needles, I'm sure I'll have to re-swatch, and I'm just not in the mood. But I'll just cut off the inch or so of ribbing and throw it back in the back with the yarn, to be used if only I run low on yarn.

The Morehouse Farm sweater still needs its sleeve, and it's almost cool enough to knit. It will be a quick knit, too--I've just got to get to it.

So, I think I got most of what's on the needles. (No, I'm not counting the Mountain Colors Cardigan that I bought approximately 10 years ago that's sitting in the attic, or the Babette crochet blanket, also in the attic). Goodness, is that 9 projects?! I definitely have to finish a Waterfall sock so that I can justify casting on the Wee-one sweater! And I have to finish one set of fingerless mitts before Stitches East. Even though I want to cast on for fingerless mitts in Halloween colorways! I think I have a problem.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Baby Knitting--lots of FOs!

Here's the moses basket we (really, Mom) put together for my sister-in-law, whose shower was last Sunday:

(yes, the first picture is blurry)

The edging and most of the contents were not knitted by me so I can't really lay claim to all those FOs.

Here's the story of the basket edging. My mom saw it in the Mason-Dixon Knitting book (she's hooked on their Log Cabin blanket) and wanted each of us (my mom, my two sisters and me) to knit a section (for this basket, there are 4 sections). I measured each section, and Mom and I cast on one evening in early summer. But I kept screwing up the pattern. And I wasn't big on the yarn (linen). And, most significantly, I was in the throes of finishing the Milestone Birthday Afghan (it was right before my mom was going away and I realized I had to block every afghan square in her basement while she was on vacation). So I dropped out, and my mom knit the whole thing, although she tried to lean on me to do a section, and I couldn't tell her why I was dodging it, so I looked like I was dodging it because of a little pattern problem (mine) and not loving the yarn, neither of which is an acceptable excuse for knitters like us, because there was nothing wrong with the pattern, and the yarn was only a little annoying and not truly offensive. If anyone's curious about the process of the edging, I'll have Mom guest blog about it (I'm sure she's fainting as she reads this).

Here's the guide to the contents (unfortunately, some of the knitted gifts are wrapped):

Starting at the left, the variegated purple hat and sweater are from the Knitting at Knoon's Wee-One Welcome Set, knit by me in Cider Moon Glacier in Titania. (By the way, I love this pattern and the yarn and will shortly be casting on again in Cider Moon Glacier for another baby). The hot pink hat with the tulle topping is from Itty Bitty Hats and was knit by my sister Stephanie. The chartreuse roll is a cashmere scarf with dyed beaver trim knitted by Mom for the mom-to-be from String. The moss-colored hat with the button is Larissa from Stitch Marker's Meathead hat. The folded knitting in pink to the left of the Meathead Hat is an Alchemy silk blanket knit by Mom. To the left of that blanket is a Lucky Wang baby kimono in a cherry blossom print (obviously not knit by me, lol). The black flower print roll behind that is a changing pad that I bought at Tippy Toes in Princeton, NJ. The vintage print package behind the Meathead Hat and silk blanket contains a blanket knitted by my sister Elizabeth that is fabulous in lavender--I can ask if she has a picture. Mom also knitted baby socks, and I'll ask her to fill me in the the rest of the wrapped contents--I remember an EZ baby surprise jacket in a deep red-pink, and a ballet pink garter baby kimono with a pretty ribbon tie.

I'll try to get links posted later on--the boys are no longer napping (ack! ack! ack!)--and my days are long and very full. There are two good things about no boy naps: (1) they fall asleep fairly quickly without shouting for me to attend to various and sundry needs designed to get me in their room and/or one or more boys out of bed for the first 1-2 hours of bedtime; and (2) quiet play in the house during their former nap time gives me some knitting time (but only for straightforward projects, but who's complaining).

And about that mojo: it's on the way back.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Who needs a new project?

I'm not sure that I've mentioned it, but I also stitch (needlepoint). I started about 5 years ago, more or less. I made a significant investment in equipment and tools (frame stands, laying tools, etc.) and canvases and thread. I have a needlepoint stash, for sure. However, needlepoint is seriously time-consuming (a cabled afghan has nothing on a needlepoint canvas) and requires me, at least, to have a large block of time to sit and work. I'm determined to stitch tallis bags for all my boys by the time they have their Bar Mitzvahs, so I started one about a year and a half ago (I have all three canvases). I haven't made much progress, but I figure I can allot 4 years per bag. Then I'll have to turbo through Baby Girl's in a year, but they'll be in school full time by then, right?

So, anyway, about a year or so ago, I got a yen to learn to quilt. Of course, Mom (my partner in crime) was interested too. We'd talk about it periodically, usually while knitting or on the way to a yarn crawl. Then, a month or so ago, we were checking out the sewing classes at Purl Soho because also part of that 'learn to quilt' conversation was learning to sew backings on knitted blankets. I must say, we were put off by the hand cutting (my mother swears she can't do it) and hand sewing, but we thought we could be candidates for the basic sewing class so we could learn some things that would be useful in our knitting finishing. (I haven't used a machine since my 8th grade home ec class). But we thought about asking for a private class because, you know, our schedule is a little crazy, what with the 4 toddlers and all, and I'd need to make some hard-core set-in-stone child-care arrangements to attend a multiple-session class, plus traffic to NYC is unreliable--it could take 35 minutes (Saturday, early morning, summer), 45 minutes (Saturday, early morning, January-June, September, October), 2+ hours (any day, time, season). And we spent an afternoon researching sewing machines on the web (with my dad, as accustomed to our follies as he is, rolling his eyes).

Once we read about the hand-cutting and -sewing, we gave up the quilting idea (besides, do we need another stash?!), but still talk about sewing blanket backing (mostly my mom). But then, this morning, I was reading Knit and Tonic and a quilt hit me smack between the eyes.

Here's the email I sent to my mom:
Check this out at knit and tonic:

and it only took her 4 hours! We could do 4 hours! Together, it would probably take two hours!

We need that sewing class and a machine, I think.

Let me know.


I think I'm in trouble.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mojo, is that you?

I feel rotten. I'm running a fever somewhere between 100 and 100.7F. All the little hairs on my body hurt. I'm freezing (for now). I can't believe I have to use up the boys' last school day until next week by going to the doctor tomorrow.

On the knitting front, I'm just cooking along on the Woolgirl Sock Club sock. Here it is:

It's Miss Babs yarn in Waterfall, an exclusive club colorway; the pattern is also called Waterfall, and I believe it was written by Miss Babs, too. The yarn is 100% merino sportweight and is a dream to knit with!

I've made pretty fast progress: I got gauge right away on US 3 (3.25 mm) and just turned the heel. But I have to rip it out because my stitch count is off, I think. That's what I get for breaking my cardinal rule of heels: turn the heel in one sitting while doing nothing else (other than mindless tv in the background). I got cocky (perhaps deluded by fever) and turned the heel while booking flight reservations and car (huge SUV) rental for our first family vacation. I must have been distracted by things like the car rental agent telling me that the computer didn't allow her to enter more than three car seat rentals for the SUV (we, of course, need 4, for the 3 3-year-olds and our one 2-year-old), but she went to a supervisor and got it taken care of. But I have to call the actual rental location to confirm. Nice.

I used the occasion of this new project to break out a new project bag from Piddleloop. I'm a Piddleloop junkie and coveted this bag for a very long time. And then my mom bought it for me, and Jen stuffed it full of extra goodies and treats--way cool!

See the fish? They have names! Like Robert, Swimmy, Bjorn--who could resist! The inside is lined in an orange water droplet print. And my accessories pouch has the fish bagged, but still with names. And Jen threw in another bag with fabric that looks like rippling water, with stitch markers and other things. She totally gets me!

By the way, the stitch marker in use is also the zipper pull for the bag; the stitch marker is made by zer0 and was included in the bag by Jen. The club included a beautiful coordinating stitch marker made by Sereknity for the sock club, which I used until I started the lace pattern; when I knit in the round, I like to have a stitch marker that I can actually hook into the first stitch of the round.

I'm also super excited about this arrival:

It's Crown Mountain Farms Sock Hop yarn. Handspun. I read about this stuff on some blogs a few months ago and was really interested in trying it out. But I always missed the boat--that stuff goes in the blink of an eye! I finally made it last month, and it's here! I'm not touching it until the mojo is solidly back--no messing up the handspun! But it's amazing. The color, the plies, I just want to look at it.

I think that's the fever talking. I'm now hot hot hot (nothing like alternating chills and hot flashes) and am going to sign off and climb into bed with my Waterfall sock. I hope I didn't ramble too much or sound crazy!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mojo, oh mojo, where can you be?

I wrote this Sept. 16 and am not sure why it didn't post--I'm sure it's that mojo thing.

I've lost my knitting mojo. Sad but true. As of Wednesday night, every project on the needles had a problem, and I wasn't feeling like knitting/fixing any of them.

I'm still mulling over the issue with the Summer Solstice socks.

I picked up my Scarlet Fleece socks (remember them from the winter? Check here) to fix the garter stitch toe that was too wide. When I tried on the sock to determine how far to rip down, I realized the whole instep was too wide. Ugh, I don't have the heart to rip the sock yet.

I haven't gone back to the Decadent Fibers blanket yet, just not feeling it.

It's been too hot to do the second sleeve of the Morehouse roll-neck sweater, but today just might be the day to do it if I get to it--it's 52 degrees F this a.m.!

I fixed the problem in the Dream in Color Tulip Cardigan (knitting increase rows while falling asleep is a problem) but it's not flowing on the needles for me right now.

I signed up for the Fingerless Mitts For Fall Knitalong because I have two pair to finish from last year--a Mac & Me pattern in Lobster Pot Cashmere (but I have to rip out the one mitt I finished, I think), and Rosie's Yarns pop-top mittens in alpaca--but I'm not in the mood, and certainly not in the mood to rip out the Mac & Me mitt because it's almost done, even though it knits quickly.

I even thought I could get my mojo back with this cool Frankenstein hat from See Jayne Knit that arrived on Friday. You know, bulky-ish yarn, larger needles...but I couldn't get gauge! Of course, my sister reminded me that I shouldn't knit a gauge swatch in the middle of the night. Silly me--but it's the only time I have to knit!

But Woolgirl sock kit came

Friday, September 7, 2007

Summer Solstice waning

I've knit about 1/3 the length of the instep,

and I'm still worrying about this heel:

I think the heel is too narrow, but it's hard to tell--I can't figure out if the heel is too narrow while it's still on the needles, and I don't know that I want to put the stitches on waste yarn, or just rip it out and find another heel that will be more comfortable.

And on a marginally related note: that blob that ate my knitting corner in January is back! And I'm trying to get it out!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

FO Pictures!

Here's the milestone birthday afghan in as much of its glory as I am able to capture:

How I wish I could take better pictures! Maybe a photography class is in my future, say, when all four are in school full time. That would be 2011. I'm not wishing the kids' early years away, but goodness knows, I can't make that kind of commitment yet!

Back to the blanket. You may notice it does not have a border. I've run into border trouble as mentioned in my previous post. Of course, my mom understood and offered to help. Can you believe the woman told me today about a possible border other than the one I've knit? I think she meant Ann's garter stitch border, but my brain fogged as soon as she mentioned it. I mean, I only knit enough of the border to sew to one long side of the blanket and the first corner, but still--it's cabled and took a long time! And to switch to what, 18 rows of garter stitch on each side?! But I'm not complaining, really--she'll even help knit it (I think)!

That pink thing in the square in the lower right hand corner of the blanket: it's a felt heart embroidered by my sister with our initials (the three daughters) and, I think, the year. It's awesome--she did a great job! (Note to self as per sister: in future, be sure to embroider wording before sewing heart to blanket).

And a final note: you see how the blanket seems to grow wider as it gets closer to you? It's not an optical illusion--that's how we were able to finesse the different gauges of the different knitters, all of whom purportedly had the same gauge in their gauge swatches. Go figure! Ahh, that's the beauty of a handmade item, right?!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Secret Project Revealed!

Bet you thought I'd have pictures! Soon, soon! But I'll tell you all about it: it's a sampler afghan made out of Hunt Valley Cashmere. Gorgeous! Just gorgeous! My two sisters and I knit it for my mother's milestone birthday. I can't believe it slipped under the radar!

My mother bought the yarn 4 or 5 years ago at Stitches East, and even knit 5 squares (it has 20 squares). When we hatched our plot to knit a blanket for my mother, and my youngest sister was caught looking in books for afghan patterns, my sister said she was knitting an afghan for herself, so my mom offered her the yarn and completed squares. I mean, who turns down a jump start on a project in cashmere. Not to mention I saw the completed blanket at Stitches East and it was to die for.

It is not a FO, but an almost FO. We don't have a border. I started the cable border from the Great American Aran Afghan pattern, and it is fabulous, but our dimensions don't fit the Aran Afghan dimensions due to variations among different knitters (shocker). I have to tinker with it, plus it knits more slowly than I expected. I need a knitting consult, and after youngest sister consulted with me, we both agreed we needed the expert: Mom. The problem with knitting a gift for your knitting consultant is that you can't consult/troubleshoot with the knitting consultant. So now that we gave her the afghan, Mom is going to help us with the border.

Other news:

1. Baby Girl is TWO! We had a fabulous birthday party (family only) and she loves her gifts...just about as much as her brothers love them! Fortunately, she now says "[My] turn!" You gotta assert yourself in my house!

2. Boy M had his first encounter with bees. He must be sweet like honey because four bees stung him. Not fun, but he is ok. I now carry Benadryl melt-aways in my purse and diaper bags (as per the pediatrician). Because I need more to carry with me.

3. We took the triplets to the shore (the beach for those of you not from NJ) for the day and we had the most glorious time on the beach and at the aquarium. They just loved it, and behaved beautifully and obeyed us (nothing is as terrifying as being outnumbered by children who are misbehaving near large bodies of water or swimming pools, and fortunately, they didn't).

3. I'm plugging away on the Summer Solstice socks and just finished the gusset on my first sock. When you see the afghan, you'll understand how it sucked up my summer (my sisters did 5-6 squares, I knit 4, but because one sister doesn't crochet, or seam crochet, I did most of her share of the crochet borders on the individual squares, redid the crochet on the squares knitted by my mom, half the seaming, sewed the halves together and wove in all those ends (roughly 2-2.5 hours worth) from all the seams.

4. Preschool starts on Tuesday! Yay!