Sunday, February 25, 2007

Look at my swallowtail!

Blocking is absolute magic. I've heard that countless times in books and on blogs and on lists, and I've seen bunches of before and after photos, but I still wasn't prepared for this --

blog 045


I am seriously in love with this shawl and its little pointy scallops. The only problem is, now that it's done I've got this weird sense of loss because I won't have it to play with anymore.

The details, in case anyone wants them -- I used 2 skeins of burgundy Knitpicks Gloss and an ancient nylon circular that I grabbed out of the knitting bag because it looked like it was a good size.

I love, love, love this yarn and will be buying more of it as soon as I possibly can. (Still 217 more days of knitting from my stash, but I'd be willing to cheat for this yummy stuff!) I do wish it came in more colors, because I have a feeling I'm going to knit a ton of projects with it.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Does anyone know how long it takes a virus to work its way through a six person household? Since Leif came down with his fever on the 12th there have been fevers, and chills, and coughing, and sleepless nights. There was a child who work up from her nap wearing a new outfit inside out over the clothes she'd gone to sleep in and insisted that someone came in and put it on her while she was sleeping. And the mommy who woke up at 3am really ticked off that someone had unravelled her arms and reknit them in scratchy green wool. Kinda scary -- especially since the fevers we did have weren't particularly high ones. And Quinn didn't even start to show any symptoms until yesterday, so there's no end in sight.

I am so ready for us to be healthy again!

During a lull in our symptoms, we did dart into the library to pick up the books I've had reserved, so I've got One Skein Wonders, the 2nd Barbara Walker Treasury (for that string of purls stitch), Knitorama, Knitting With Balls, The Knitting Way, Just Wraps, Simply Baby, and the March Whoduknit book to play with while we finish recuperating.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I'm weakening. First it was the idea that I should get some pretty lace for Valentine's Day, which of course means pretty stuff to knit pretty lace with. I'd hoped that Bill would volunteer to buy me some, but of course that didn't happen. He did get me something really neat that I wasn't expecting, but no yarn. And I can't blame him because he doesn't know that I'm not buying myself yarn now and probably assumes that if I want something that desperately I'll buy it myself.

I spent drooled over the Knitpicks catalog, but had enough restraint and self control not to order anything right now. Birthday yarn is allowed, so if I wait another month and a half, I can get my yarn without breaking the rules.

And now Joann's has Keepsake Calico on sale. I'd really like to go out and buy some pretty new fabric, especially since I've got a stack of quilting books from the library full of quilts I want to make. But I've got pretty fabric upstairs and I actually found quite a few yards of absolutely fantastic stuff I had never laid eyes on before when I was picking out colors for the Dresden Plates (it was in a box from a garage sale that I thought was full of scraps but actually had quite a few big cuts of actual quilt shop stuff. I can make quilts with what I've got.

There's a whole list of reasons I could use to justify buying myself some goodies, but if I start to cheat now, I'll keep cheating. And I'm very proud of myself for sticking with the Knit from Your Stash thing this long. It's been One Month, Two Weeks, and Four Days since I bought ANY Yarn or Fabric!!!! I've got a countdown on my computer and the number of days left until I can buy yarn and fabric is steadily shrinking. I can almost see myself making it the whole way through!

I did three more rows on my Swallowtail Shawl last night. The lily of the valley border isn't nearly as complicated as I thought it would be, but I have to concentrate more than I did on the budding lace section. So no knitting when the kids are in the room. That's going to slow down my progress quite a bit.

swallowtail


This is SO fun! I'm already making mental lists of the triangular shawl patterns I own and matching them up with yarn. But I can't forget all of those glorious rectangles in Victorian Lace Today.... Now do you see why I've got such a need to order more laceweight?

I also have a sudden, overwhelming need to learn how to do hairpin lace. This is incredible. I think I might actually have one of the frame thingies that belonged to my Great Grandma Walters. If I don't, Mom or Grandma must. And there's a free tutorial. So I could learn to do the hairpin lace, lose some more weight, and be all ready to buy the pattern and some yarn in September.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Well, darn!

Today was supposed to start off a three day flurry of activity that I didn't look forward to. Karate for Alex today....a new play group for the littlest ones tomorrow....science fair on Saturday...and grocery shopping and trips to the post office and I don't know what all else. It wasn't going to leave any time for me to work on my Swallowtail Shawl until I don't know when.

I would've jumped at any dumb excuse to stay home, but then I got an email notification from the library that, after a month of waiting very impatiently for them to finish processing it (whatever that means), One Skein Wonders is finally waiting on the reserve shelf for me. Not ten minutes later, Alex complained that she felt weird. Not sick, just weird. So I stuck the thermometer in her mouth -- 101.something.

We're not going to karate today. Or playgroup tomorrow. And I don't feel like making sure they finish their science fair stuff just in case no one has a fever and we can actually go. And now I'm cranky about being stuck at home because I really want to get a look at that book.

I reserved One Skein Wonders on one of the kids' library cards, just in case I don't get there before they put it back into circulation. Someone has dibs on it before I'll get a second try, but that's the best damage control I can do. I'm supposed to have two weeks to get there and pick it up, so it should all work out fine. But sometimes they pull the books early.

I reserved Barbara Walker's 2nd Treasure of Stitches, because it's got the String of Purls stitch that Norma is doing so many fantastic things with. I love the log cabin square, enough to consider frogging my own log cabin and doing something like this instead. The hat's cute too.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Actually finding all of my WIPs started to seem like a good idea, so I've pulled out the pink lace scarf, untangled the Alterknits wrap from the Victorian Lace Today Scarf, which was hiding under the Central Park Hoodie, and tried to figure out exactly what I was doing with it all before it got set aside.

  • The Central Park Hoodie needs to be frogged and restarted due to my ominous fears about the gauge.
  • The Alterknits Wrap had lost couple of stitches at the hands of my darling baby, but is okay now.
  • The pink lace scarf is just fine. I even managed a couple of repeats on it while supervising my kids at gym day yesterday.
  • Frozen Lake is on top of the computer monitor, waiting for me to frog and restart it for the third time because I've totally lost my place.
  • The Log Cabin Blanket is still hiding in its laundry basket, waiting for its fate to be decided.
  • I have no clue where the mystery stole is, but since I do know where the pattern and my notes are, I'm not panicked yet.
  • The Honeymoon Cami hasn't surfaced yet, but I'm pretty sure it's in my knitting basket, along with the flowered lace socks.


swallowtail

And, best of all, the beginnings of a Victorian Lace Today scarf has been happily transformed into the beginnings of a Swallowtail Shawl. I actually think I can do this! I was worried about whether or not two skeins of Knitpicks Gloss would be enough, but I did a Google search and the first blog entry I found was about one that a woman had knit in the same color I'm using, with two skeins. So it can be done. And if I do run out, buying another skein won't kill me. It won't even break my Knit From Your Stash rules.

Thanks for the compliments on my Dresden Plates. I'm starting to have delusions about making a whole bunch for a bed size quilt, but I'd better make sure I can applique the ones I've got down onto the background fabric first.

And I'll post an update on Leif when I know what's going on.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I have been Alisoned. There was a padded envelope in my mailbox yesterday, with an alpaca scarf in it. I had it out of the envelope and around my neck before I even got a glimpse of the stitch pattern, and it kept me going for the rest of the day. I don't even know how to start to describe how good that scarf is still making me feel. I've suddenly got a security blanket. Which is good, because I'm starting to get scared.

I had my fingers buried in the edge of it while I took the phone call from the nurse who told me they'd found some abnormalities in Leif's bloodwork and I'd have to wait for the letter from the doctor to find out what they were. If I hadn't have been driving, I might've been able to demand more details, but I don't talk and drive and was honestly too horrfied to come up with any decent questions. I don't even know what they were testing for, except lead. He doesn't have any of that.

The littlest ones settled down early tonight, so I've had more time than usual to play.

I used to love sewing, but haven't done much of it in recent years. My old sewing machine was stuck where I couldn't get at it and now that I've got a fancy new machine, I'm scared to death of it. We aren't the best of friends, not yet at least. Something went badly wrong with it before the holidays and I had to take it in for a checkup. It's been back since shortly before Christmas, but I didn't have the time or nerve to play with it before today. I only plugged it in today because the warranty period on the repairs (that wasn't really a repair because they couldn't find anything wrong) is running out fast.

It works just fine!

dresdenplates


Alex and I got a bag of fabric scraps for Christmas and I'd pulled together a bunch of colors that I thought would work for this little Dresden Plate quilt. I thought I'd cut and stitch a few of the 80 little wedges, but I wound up making all four of the plates and only stopped then because the muslin I need for the background is out in the sewing room and I've already braved the dark and cold once tonight.

I'm loving this project. I got sick of using the rotary cutter to do such little strips and decided to trace around my little cardboard template with a ball point pen instead. Some of the fabric I used (most of it, probably) isn't the greatest quality, but I'm trying to make a car seat quilt, not an heirloom. Mostly what I'm doing is playing around and enjoying myself.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

baby 003


Pattern: Lion Brand Hooded Baby Poncho
Yarn: 1 1/2 skeins Caron Simply Soft, Embroidery Print
Needles: size 8 bamboo circulars

I definitely like it better now that it's done. I left off the pocket -- partly because I don't think it'd show up against the wild colors and partly because I was ready to be done. The hood could be a bit deeper, but you know I'd rather knit another one from start to finish than rip out and fix this one.

As I was weaving in the ends, I remembered two different yarns in my stash that I could've used instead. Oh well, the embroidery print is mostly gone, and it was supposed to be baby stuff. I can make a bigger poncho for Quinn with the goldish-brown cotton if I really want to. Maybe I should swatch and see if that yarn can handle cables well.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Still working on the baby poncho, thinking it really would look better in a solid color, but I've got better plans for my solids and the yarn I want isn't even available locally. So even if I wasn't doing the knit from your stash thing, I wouldn't be able to get any without paying postage.

I'm just being fickle, the way I am with a lot of my knitting projects. It doesn't matter what the project or yarn is, I'll keep thinking that maybe I should've used different yarn, or maybe this yarn really should be something else. I've even been tempted to rip out some very successful finished projects so I can use the yarn for something else.

If all goes well and the kids and camera cooperate, I think I'll be able to finish the poncho tonight and post some pictures tomorrow.

Monday, February 05, 2007

I took a picture of the baby poncho's completed front, but it looked even uglier on my screen than it does in real life, so I'm not going to show it off until I can put it on the baby. If it fits the baby. I made a few changes to the pattern and I've got my fingers crossed that the neck opening will actually stretch enough to fit over his head.... if not, I maybe I can find someone littler to give it to.

While I'm knitting away on this poncho, I'm mentally planning the baby poncho I really want to knit. It's brown or maybe green, It's got cables along the bottom, and a hood with cables along the edge, and probably not a pocket because I don't think it'll need one with the cables. And I never would've thought of it if I wasn't working on this one and picking apart all of the things I wish were different.

That huge percentage of knitters they say insist on using the exact yarn and color the pattern calls for... I'm obviously not one of them!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

mitts


They're supposed to be the Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang, but I couldn't figure out how to do the tubular cast on and cut a few other corners along the way. They're a bit too snug, a bit too scratchy, and the colors don't contrast well enough, but I'm still proud of them. They're my first real attempt at color work, so please pretend you didn't notice the glitch where I knit the wrong rows in the wrong place. The kids moved my magnetic strip and I thought I'd found the right spot in the chart.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Yarn and fabric buying apparently does not cause bad luck. I'd been starting to wonder after one too many shopping trips was cancelled because the check engine light came on for no reason, or I spiked an unexplained fever, or I went into pre-term labor (yes, that really did happen more than once!), or other stupid things.

But I haven't bought any yarn or fabric at all for 35 days, and the washing machine died, the baby got sick and we spent a couple of hours at the HMO making sure it was just a cold and not a kidney infection, the rest of us got sick, the washing machine died again three loads after we spent $82 having it fixed, the computer got a virus, I've had headaches just about every day, the baby suddenly needs to see a pediatric neurologist, and I got into an accident in the new car yesterday.

At least the knitting slump I've been in seems to be turning around. I picked up my Endpaper Mitts last night, hoping to get a few rounds done, and wound up knitting until 2am, anxious to see if I had enough blue yarn to finish the ribbing without looking for the second skein. I did (although I didn't actually get them finished until a couple of minutes ago), and they fit, and I'll take pictures tomorrow when I have someone else to hold the camera.

And I finally started that hooded baby poncho I was so excited about a while back. I'm not sure my yarn is the perfect color, but it's from my stash and was originally supposed to be a hooded baby sweater.
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