Friday, November 30, 2007

Yesterday, I left the kids at home with their daddy and went to church to play with the quilt group. There were gorgeous scrappy quilts and grownups who are just as excited about fabric as I am. And there was cheesecake. Sadly, they only meet once a month, and won't get together again until the end of January.

I'm just itching to get out my scrap bins and rotary cutter and start slicing up fabric to make a quilt like the one Barb did, but I was barely awake enough to get Bill's lunch together this morning and should probably avoid sharp objects until I get some more caffeine into me. The kids weren't up yet, so I pulled out Garter Stitch Stripes, decided I really can't live with the color combination I'd started with, and cast on a new version.

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These colors are so much better! I had my heart absolutely set on the pumpkin orange until I started knitting and realized how garish it was going to look. It didn't look any better after sitting in my knitting basket for two weeks, so I slid it off the needles and cast on with some calmer colors. I still want the pumpkin, though. Maybe there are some other colors that would make it less frightening.

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The Quickie Cowl is all sewn up and ready to go out in the cold, but this one isn't for me. Neither is the pink one, which Alex took off with before I could get a picture. I'll get my own, as soon as I can come up with a skein of Softee Chunky in a color I like. Which might be another week, because I don't think Walmart has it in brown and Michaels had to move their store out into the middle of nowhere.

The stitch pattern is so easy and this works up so quickly that I could see myself whipping out a dozen of them. I probably won't, but it's easy to imagine.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

There was an absolutely terrifying moment Sunday night when, after convincing myself that I really did want to start working on my Mystery Stole again, I pulled out the stuff and the pattern wasn't there. I had the portion of Clue #1 I was working on, but not the page to tell me what the symbols meant. And I was sure that the files had been deleted from the Yahoogroup when the pattern went on sale.

Thought the PDF files would still be on my computer, but the second one wasn't because I printed it out on that library trip from Hell.
Connected to the internet and logged into the Mystery Stole Yahoogroup even thought I absolutely knew the files weren't there any more, and guess what? I must've hallucinated that post where she said she was taking them down.

It was all way more dramatic than it sounds now, because I was sitting in the dark and hoping the computer noises didn't wake up Leif. And even though I knew I could just buy the pattern, I knew the odds of my working up the enthusiasm again after waiting to get the pattern weren't all that great, and that it would probably go the way of my first two Mystery Stoles.

But the patterns were there and I made it through the first clue and well into the second before realizing that I'd better stop for the night before I really messed things up.



I love this lace. I love the color of the yarn I'm using and the fact that it held up after I tinked the same row at least three times before finally deciding that one missing YO wasn't going to kill me.

I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to do some more work on it becase this is the kind of project that I can't do with anyone else in the room, but I know I won't have to talk myself into it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm all excited about the quick and easy one skein projects this weekend. 101 Designer One Skein Wonders found its way home from the library with me last week, and there are about a dozen things in there I want to make.

I cast on for the Essentials Mini-Purse, but now that the cute leafy part is done, I'm not 100% sure if I want to finish it or not. Thirty-six inches of I-cord and a lining seems like a lot of work for something I don't know if I'd ever use...
but the lining would be good practice, and Alex would probably take it of my hands, and it really is cute...

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Then I was playing around on Ravelry and found the Quickie Cowl. I started it last night, using some Bernat Softee Chunky. A couple of hours later, it was almost as long as the pattern called for. I spent this afternoon making it longer and now I've got a few more rows to go and a seam to sew up, then I'll run it through the wash and see if it softens up like the other projects I've made with this yarn.

If all comes out well, it may be a Christmas present for my mother. And if there seems to be enough of the pink Softee Chunky left over, I may start a second one for Alex.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Today would have been my first Black Friday in years without a baby in my arms, but Bill was scheduled to work and not even the promise of crazy ladies at Joann's or 99 cent snuggle flannel (with a 20% off the entire purchase coupon to make it even cheaper!) was exciting enough for me to want to leave the house before dawn with four kids in tow.

I've still got snuggle flannel from previous sales, and after that yarn sale at Michael's last week, I'm all set with the cheap acrylic for a while. Even if there were better yarn deals out there today, I don't really need any of it.

So I've been hanging around the house and adding stuff to my Ravelry Queue and printing patterns and digging around for yarn.

And I spent a couple of hours on my Bigfoot Shawl --



There's a lot more to it now than there was when I took the picture. I think I might be at the point where I can enjoy the knitting instead of holding my breath and hoping I'll wind up with the right number of stitches at the end of each row.

This was supposed to be for Alex, but I'm loving the colors so much it might stay mine. She got the Rose Garden Shawl, so it's not like the poor kid is deprived.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I don't think it's worth bothering with a detailed autopsy. I can figure out a lot of the reasons this little sweater went so wrong (should've added some sleeve shaping, the gauge could be looser), but others (why does the top bulge out like a mushroom?!) are beyond me. And I don't think it matters because I plan to lose this thing as soon as possible.



Poor little guy -- I've knit him two sweaters in a row that absolutely don't work. So much for quickly whipping out a couple of nice sweaters for the boys to wear to church...

Monday, November 19, 2007

I had a minor tragedy yesterday afternoon. While I was slogging away on the yoke of the baby Cobblestone, there was a sad little snap as one of my Denise cables left this world. A dozen or so stitches immediately escaped, but none of them laddered down and I got them all onto a new cable, so it's all okay now. I've just got to mail the broken one in to get it replaced.

The Flickering Flames skirt (which for some reason I keep typing as the candle flame skirt)is as done as it's going to get anytime soon. I still need to replace the ribbon at the waist with some elastic and sew a slip for her to wear under it, but that's not knitting.

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Pattern- Luna Flickering Flames Skirt

Yarn-
(this is exactly what the label on the bag read!)
Sale Yarn!
Factory Surplus
Tangled Skeins
100% miscellaneous odd lots of undetermined fiber content

Needles- Denise size 9 and 11

This doesn't have the shaping called for in the pattern because I jumped in without figuring out how much yarn I actually had. So I went up bunch of needle sizes instead of increasing, and it came out okay.

I've got three new projects on my needles to play with -- hope no more of my cables break!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I found the second skein of yarn! Today was a lot warmer than it's been, so after we got back from grocery shopping I dug around some more in the sewing room and found the yarn I need to finish Quinn's Baby Cobblestone. And the IK issue with the pattern for the striped garter stitch sweater, the one that I've been so annoyed about losing.

So I can either work on the Cobblestone yoke or swatch garter stitch tonight. I finished Alex's lace skirt last night, but apparently left it in the van so I can't take pictures until Bill gets back home with it.

After not spending a lot of time online lately, I've been browsing blogs and Ravelry and finding all kinds of neat stuff:

How did I not know that there's a free pattern online for a felted skull? Probably because it's in crochet, which I don't know how to do yet.

This hat by Kathleen at Dakota Dreams is gorgeous, and she's got another one with elephants, and a tam with pumpkins...

Pat is knitting gorgeous new mittens and I've printed out the pattern, even though I can't make heads or tails of it yet.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sure, go ahead and start the sweater even though you only know where the first skein of yarn is. The other one will turn up before you need it.

Sounded like a good idea that the time, but now I'm almost out of yarn and the second skein isn't in the bags of nice cheap acrylic or anyplace else I can think of. I could stripe the yoke with the leftover yarn from Heath's Weasley Sweater, but I don't really want stripes. I could go to Michael's to buy another skein of the same color, but I've really got no business going back and buying more yarn after Wednesday's little adventure.

At least I've got some options, I just don't like any of them. And I'm anxious to finish the yoke and see if it fits, especially after all of the math I did (with the help of the JWS Top Down Yoked Percentage Sweater, but it was still math!) to figure out the decreases.

I didn't expect to make it this far this quickly. I was sure I'd trip over that skein of yarn long before I needed to go looking for it.

Now I need it, and the odds of tripping over it are very slim because the sewing room is really cold and really dark and I don't expect to spend much time up there until the weather warms up.

Maybe I'll keep knitting and hope there actually is enough yarn in the first skein.

Show and Tell Friday



Apparently, one of the perks of owning an antique store is that people show up and offer you some really neat junk they don't want anymore. And the perk of being the granddaughter of an antique store owner is that I get some of the stuff Grandma doesn't want, or the stuff she's pretty sure I'll want.

We've got an eighty-seven year old farmhouse that we're decorating, so it all works out very well.



The latest treasure is a wooden carpet sweeper. I didn't know they made them out of wood, but to be honest I never gave much thought to when they started making carpet sweepers or what they used when they did. And, to make things even cooler, she tells me it works better than the new one they have at the store.

Why she didn't keep it instead of the new one, I'm not sure, but I'm glad to have it. Especially if it will work in the sewing room, because I hate hauling the real vacuum cleaner outside and across the porch and up the stairs.

Go by Kelli's House for more Show and Tell Friday links.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Yesterday, despite the fact that I was up before dawn moving chicks from the incubator into their big-chickie home on the front porch and running a bunch of errands I really didn't want to do, was a pretty terrific day.

Before picking Mom up at 11, so she could watch the babies in the lobby while I took Heath in to the eye doctor, I made it to the grocery store, the post office, the library, and bought a pair of shoes. We spent the whole day at a dead run until I got all of the kids tucked in and immediately went to bed myself where I laid awake for hours thinking about yarn and waiting for morning so I could play with some of it.

The Michaels ad in the Sunday paper promised that all of their yarn was 25-50% off. It all of my will power not to drive up to town Sunday morning, because I was so sure they'd be sold out of all of the decent stuff. They never have any decent sale yarn left when I make it up mid-week, but they were re-stocking when I got there.

Cotton Ease, which I've been lusting after since they released those new colors a while back, was 40% off. Bernat Camouflage was 30% off. I stuck to my budget, but it would've been easy to buy a whole lot more.

My box of goodies from Knitpicks, which I didn't get to open until this morning because I didn't want anyone else seeing how much yarn came into the house with me last night, came. The Campfire Shadows and the Maple Leaf Shimmer are even prettier than they are in the pictures.

And I had Lace Style reserved at the library.

So now the Campfire is screaming that it wants to be Icarus, the Deep Woods I already had in my stash wants to be Kiri, and the Maple Leaf wants to be something rectangular...that Red Heart Strata I bought a while back wants to be playground mittens and a Sideways Shortrow Watch Cap...

I love the new yarn. And the yarn I already had in my stash.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I need to knit some sexy underwear for my neck. Today is going to be a long one, so I'm especially glad I stumbled across some fun patterns to be excited about while I'm doing what's got to get done.

Bella Paquita takes my breath away, and it's a free pattern. Wonder if I could manage to knit that...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I can do this. It's "just" a 52 stitch panel of cables with ribbing on either side. There's a chart to follow, and I've got my little magnetic chart board. And I really want this sweater!

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It's time to quit hiding from it and do some knitting. I ran out and bought the yarn a couple of years ago, then chickened out and never cast on. I dug out the pattern a few months ago, then chickened out and never cast on. I finally cast on and got the first row wrong, then let it sit for a couple more weeks....

I don't know why I'm so afraid of this thing.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I've got new projects to show off, Ravelry is letting me update my projects, and it's almost bed time for the little guys -- yippee!

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Pattern: Knitting Needle Knitting Bag
Needles: Denise size 9
Yarn: Brown Sheep Thick and Thin Special Heather, 2 skeins

I've knit quite a few bags already and never use any of them, but despite its slightly dangerous construction (someone has already ripped out a needle handle once) I seriously love my Knitting Needle Knitting Bag. It's a great shape, stretches out to an even nicer shape when it's full of yarn, and flops open wide so it should be easy to get at whatever's stored inside.

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I burned myself out on berry stitch doing that pineapple hat last year, and didn't like the way it looked with this yarn, so I wound up doing seed stitch instead. It wasn't much easier on my hands, but the effect is worth it. Somewhere in my house or sewing room, if I didn't stupidly give them away, is a pair of well-worn wooden needles that I'll glue in place once I find them.

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Pat wanted to see the fire helmet on a head, so here it is! It's very, very big, but since it's for two boys who happily wear the mixing bowl that I used to block it, I'm thinking it'll work out just fine.

Pattern: St. Elmo's Firefighter Hat from New Knits on the Block
Yarn: unidentified pale blue wool for the body, unidentified yellow acrylic, Knitpicks Merino Style for the badge

I really did get that shade of red with two packs of Cherry Kool Aid, which was all I had in the kitchen cupboard. I thought I'd planned to break out the red food coloring, but I don't think it could've got any redder.

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It was supposed to be for Quinn, who likes hats, but Leif is the one with firefighter jammies, so he got to be my model. Turns out they both like the hat, but I'm not a nice enough mommy to make a second one.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

It's sad. For the third day in a row, Ravelry won't let me do anything that requires clicking on a button. I can't add people to my friends, or get into my messages (especially sad since there actually was one for once) or add projects to my queue...

sigh It's happened before, but it's always worked again the next day. And I'm sure it'll work again soon, I just hate not being able to do things right now, when I actually have a chance to sit here and use the computer.

And what if it won't let me add my new yarn when it gets here?! It's not like I could keep the invoice and enter it later, or anything rational like that...

Knitpicks has lace weight on clearance, in colors that I've been coveting since they were first released. So, after a week or so of resisting temptation, I've got three skeins of Campfire Shadows and two skeins of Maple Leaf Shimmer on the way, along with enough worsted weight wool for six pairs of socks.

Since the weather got cold, I've been wearing my Horcrux Socks and my Traveller socks as often as I can. They're warm and cozy. They make my hated tennis shoes fit a little better than regular socks do. And worsted weight socks are fast to knit, at least at the gauge I used for those two pairs. So I'm determined to whip out some more of them to keep my toes warm.

And I've got nice toddler sweaters to knit. The kids and I went to a new church last Sunday and my baby boys were seriously under-dressed. I didn't even know you could under-dress a 21 month old! And I'm not about to buy them little dress shirts with vests and ties. Let alone IRON little bitty dress shirts.

I've decided that the answer is nice, mommy-knit pullovers. Something like Sherwood or this one that I stumbled across on Ravelry. If it turns out, that cobblestone pullover I'm sizing down for Quinn might be okay.

This is why I don't have a real sweater of my own yet. But I'm gonna have warm socks.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It's been that kind of a day.

I told the kids that if they got their schoolwork done and their messes picked up, I'd take them to McDonald's to play in the tubes. Which they sort of did, so I packed the Candleflame Skirt into my knitting bag and realized halfway there that I'd forgotten the pattern. We did have library books in the car, though, so I sat and leafed through The Quilts of Tennessee Images of Domestic Life Prior to 1930 by Bets Ramsey and Merikay Waldvogel and came across this on page 4 --

"The thought and planning required to produce a quilt provides the mind with healthy activity."

Do you think it also applies to knitting? Do you think it matters if I actually make the quilts I'm thinking about, or does it keep my brain healthy to occupy it with colors and shapes that I may never actually cut out and stitch together? Or is it the math part that's healthy, and not the lusting after yarn?

We stopped at the grocery store on the way home to pick up lettuce for the tacos I wound up not making for tonight's dinner, and I managed to find everything we had coupons for and got to the check out line and none of them were ringing up. I'd feel worse if it hadn't taken the cashier so long to figure out that the coupons didn't start until tomorrow. So we've got to go back then. They were good coupons, and it would have cost twice as much to get the stuff today, so I'll wait and endure the grocery store a second time.

It feels like I haven't accomplished much today. I've turned the eggs in the incubator, and pulled together the books that need to go back to the library tomorrow, and called to see when an eye appointment was, and mailed a bill, and thawed the roast, and struggled with fractions, washed dishes and laundry, and turned the eggs again, cleaned red ink from a broken pen out of the carpet... I don't know what should have gotten done that didn't, but I don't feel at all productive.

Maybe I should've sewn together the Knitting Needle Bag, or redone the embroidery on the firefighter hat.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I can felt in the new washing machine! Did you hear my huge sigh of relief at about midnight last night when I was standing barefoot on the front porch and untying a pillowcase to see if the firefighter hat looked any different than it did before I put it in?



I should have taken before and after pictures, but the unfelted hat was so awful looking, I didn't want pictures of it on my blog. It was impossibly huge and it was a nasty shade of baby blue. But two wash cycles and two packs of cherry Kool Aid took care of those problems.

I've been thinking of making this hat since I first saw the pattern, but kept getting hung up over the red wool. Didn't want to use the skein I'd bought for a pair of color work mittens, didn't really want to order new stuff for a project I might never get around to....at least not as much as I wanted to spend the same money on other yarn for projects I might not get around to...

But I've had this pile of old wool that Grandma picked up at one of the auctions. It's in decent enough condition to use, but it's ugly. Especially the dingy blue skeins. I'd been planning to someday dye it and make socks or mittens for the kids, so it sat and sat until the day before yesterday I had the sudden compulsion to cast on for a fire hat.

Wonder if there's enough left for a giant squid?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

We have candy!

We have candy in amounts I wouldn't have imagined possible, especially since I didn't go out and buy any and my littlest two only trick or treated a handful of houses. They rode in the stroller while the big two wound up with enough candy to more than overwhelm the rest of us. And it's mostly chocolate.

I'm looking forward to nibbling on some tonight while I knit, because last night we walked and walked and walked and walked and by the time we made the drive home from our friends' house, I was too tired to do more than sit in front of a scary movie and finish a couple of rows on the Knitting Needle Knitting Bag. I'm getting SO close to having the seed stitch portion done.

I probably could have finished this morning, but I watched Knitty Gritty and got all excited about the felted bunny they were making and wound up casting on for the felted firefighter hat from New Knits on the Block instead of slogging through the seed stitch.

It has short rows, Quinn likes hats, and I need to find out if the new washer is going to play nice and let me felt in it.
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