Thursday, December 30, 2004


How did I wind up knitting twelve hats this year? I guess it makes sense, since most are for the baby, but that's still a lot of hats. Especially since I've got at least a dozen more hat patterns printed out and for Christmas I got yarn to make the Cross Country Chullo from the new issue of Knitty. That one shouldn't count, though, because it's more of an excuse to play with color and learn something new than a hat I expect to wear. And most of the rest are baby hats. Some for Quinn, and some for the special care nursery.

I also knitted four scarves, a sweater and two jackets for the baby, a cute little dress that will wind up on Alex's favorite baby doll, a baby blanket, a couple of pairs of booties, five scarves, a little red summer top for me, three bags, four sweaters for the big kids...about 35 finished knitting projects at all.

I'm going to attempt some bigger, more complex projects in 2005. And socks. I've turned a heel by blindly following the pattern, and grown comfortable with my dpns. The next step should be making something that actually fits the foot it's intended for.

Yarn and patterns for quite a few exciting projects are ready and waiting for me to cast on, and I'm coveting the yarn for a couple more.

Can't wait to get started!


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

When I read a post last year from a knitter who planned to rip out ever project that she hadn't finished by the end of the year, I was horrified. How could anyone knit happily with that kind of deadline looming ahead? My memory's not that great - maybe she planned to leave a project or two on the needles. But reading her scary plan conjured up images of dismal Novembers and Decembers, where you couldn't start anything new because it might not be finished by the time the clock struck midnight.

Now I'm thinking it might not be such a bad idea to make some of my WIPs disappear. Like the cabled baby hat I was fighting with last night. It's almost done. What's left to do isn't difficult, just annoying. But in just a couple of minutes I could make it all disappear back into a neat ball of yarn. I wouldn't have to sew the seams, or worry about whether or not it's actually going to look cute on Quinn's little head. It could just go away. So could the cardigan and shawl I started while I was on bedrest and in the hospital. I don't feel like working on them at all lately.

If I did frog the shawl and cardigan, I'd still have the yarn and I'd still have invested the money in them, so I'd have lingering guilt. Guess I'll hang onto them both until I either feel like finishing, or find something more exciting to do with the yarn.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Today, I'm mourning a Christmas present that could have been. I wasn't going to knit anything for my sister this year. Well, I was going to try the ear muff thingies from Knitty, but made the mistake of showing my mom the pattern first and letting her convince me they were dumb and then I just went out and bought a decorative thing and promised myself I'd have time to do something really good next year. Last year, I made her a Booga Bag, which she liked.

So I went over to Mom's yesterday, and she had the scarf I knitted last year lying on the counter. Stacey saw her wearing it when they went out the day before and asked if I'd knitted it. She's apparently expecting a knitted present -- and excited about it. ACK! How many days do I have left?!

I cast on a scarf for her this morning, using the same pattern I used for Mom's, but if I would've known even a couple of days sooner, I could've done something better -- like an Irish Hiking Scarf with matching wrist warmers. I'm actually fighting the urge to go buy some yarn and try to pull it off in the 2 1/2 days I've got left.

THIS is what happens when you pay attention to stupid posts from people who say giving knitted gifts is selfish. And ask other family members if they think a particular project is a good idea. I'm really glad Stace wants something knitted. I'm going to do the best I can with the yarn I've got and the little time I have left and, next year, I won't let other people convince me not to follow my instincts.


Friday, December 10, 2004

I'm not done!

I've been reading the year end inventory posts on the knitlist, and all I can think is that the year isn't over yet -- I've got time to finish lots more! I've still got Christmas presents to knit, and Quinn's little head is getting bigger so he needs more hats, and I really desperately want a pair of wrist warmers like these or the long fingerless gloves here. I could finish at least two or three more things, I'm sure of it!

Mom's Christmas Scarf is done. The ends are woven in and it's washed and blocked and looks a lot better than I thought it would. Quinn's Baby Born jacket is done, and not nearly as cute as I'd hoped. The yarn is way too bulky for something that tiny. But it was a learning experience. Now I know that I can manage real, shaped sleeves and armholes, and that 2 stitches to the inch is not a good choice for a newborn. No matter how cute the jacket looked in the pattern photo.


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

I was so close to having a wonderful new project to start.

There are lots of things in the new issue of Knitty that I'm drooling over. Especially Tempting. It's got ribs, it's knit in the round, I understand how to join the pieces together, and it's absolutely darling.

I found some inexpensive yarn online in a color I love, not that I should really order any new stuff after that splurge a few days ago. Then I realized that there might be enough of that black kid mohair mom found, the other day. There is -- almost to the yard -- and I can get the right gauge. It's soft and luscious, but a little stiff...Maybe it'll soften up after washing. There isn't enough black to wash a swatch, but I could try one of the other colors and see what it does. At this point, I'm ignoring that little inner voice that warms me I may be trying to make the impossible work. If there isn't quite enough black, I can add a narrow band of teal to the top. Or I can check my measurements and probably subtract a little from the length, since I'm short...

That was when I looked at the picture and the bare shoulders finally registered. I'd have to buy a strapless bra because I hate the one I have. I'm pretty sure they don't make strapless nursing bras. If this do, I don't want one.

This project is going to have to wait at least a year. Darn!


Friday, December 03, 2004

I've been in one of those "I want new yarn to play with" moods. It's not that I need the yarn...having new goodies is just so fun! Mom and the kids and I have been planning a trip up to Fabric Depot for their monthly 30% off sale for months, but things kept happening to make us cancel. Today was our last chance until at least April, and I've been on pins and needles waiting for something to mess up this trip.

We had a near miss when dh totally destroyed a tire on his way to work and I wound up standing by the side of the road at 5:45am with a screaming baby, waiting for him to put on the spare so I could drive it home and he could take the Durango to work.

But the day got better. :-) Mom showed up with thrift store treasure -- 1100 yards of kid mohair (mostly black along with gold and teal and some other yummy colors) that were part of a vest kit. The ten year old invoice for $76 was still in the box, which she paid $2.50 for. And she had 960 yards of wine colored wool, a skein of nice red acrylic/wool blend, and a ton of old acrylic -- some of it too icky even for me, but it was in the $2 bag with the wool. Heath can cut it up.

And I think Fabric Depot has just about every Lion Brand yarn there is -- including the black Wool-ease for the Knit One tank which I can't get here in town. I found couple of yarns I hadn't tried before (Red Heart Hokey Pokey and TLC Wiggles) to make baby sweaters and some really nice looking cotton to make a shawl for Mom. (I can't do it by Christmas, but maybe for Mother's day!) It was so hard to be good and remind myself that they do this every month.

Then we stopped at the Pendleton Mill End store, where they've got Encore and Canadiana in a zillion different colors.

I'm overwhelmed with yarn today, and thoroughly enjoying it. :-)


Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I need a knitted clock.

I finally got my hands on a copy of Knit 1, and now I want a knitted clock to hang here in my little alcove. It's got to be red, but not the same red as the sock yarn I already have -- that'd be far too easy!

I also want to knit the black k1 tank and one of those huge hoodies -- but not with Homespun, because that wouldn't be nice to knit or to wear. Alex's hooded sweater had a purpose after all! I was able to learn that I don't like knitting with Homespun and don't like the way it looks after it's been worn a few times without investing in a big project for myself. There has to be some other wonderful fluffy stuff out there that I can substitute. And hopefully afford.

When I was in the hospital, I got the idea of knitting a ribbed baby gown. I've got a very clear picture of it in my mind, and think I've figured out how the construction would work.

I pulled out the pieces of baby sweater I finished knitting a couple of months ago, then couldn't assemble because the leftover yarn is in a safe but forgotten place. I was just going to hold it up to Quinn and guess at how it would fit, but the pieces had really long yarn tails. Long enough to manage all of the seams! And it fits great, so I've got the measurements for my baby gown. What I don't have is enough skeins of the same color.

This morning my little guy is wearing his cute little sweater that fits better than most of his store bought stuff. I feel like a very good mommy.


Monday, November 29, 2004

Never did make it to the LYS...

The morning after my last entry, I woke up with contractions and headed for the birthing center. After a heavily medicated two night hospital stay, a week of heavily medicated bedrest at home, another hospital stay, and one last day at home, I finally had the baby. It's been quite a learning experience: Magnesium Sulfate isn't as bad as everyone led me to expect, at least not for me. Terbutaline is the most miserable stuff on the planet. C-sections are not easier to recover from than natural childbirth...

And don't go to the hospital without knitting!

Quinn was in the special care nursery for 18 days, and once I was discharged from the hospital myself, I spent endless hours in a room upstairs, waiting for it to be time to go down and try to feed him. I knew everything I needed wasn't in my knitting bag, and I wasn't even sure exactly where in the house the bag was, so I couldn't get my husband to bring it to me. He did bring me the Michael's ad from the Sunday paper, though.

I'd sit there in the special care nursery, trying to figure out the construction of the little knit hat that my baby was wearing and wishing I could make him something myself. From our little alcove, I had a perfect view of a big basket of knitted hats.

A couple of days later, Mom went shopping and got me three skeins of Woolease in gorgeous colors and a new set of Lion Brand DPNs which I was surprised to discover are a lot easier to knit with than my bamboo set. I've gotta get more of those! I made him a hat that afternoon, but without a pattern, it left a lot to be desired. Everyone made fun of that hat! But what do you expect from a new mommy with no pattern or measuring tape?

One of the nurses did offer to let me borrow some hats and try to figure out a pattern from them, but I called my daughter and had her pull together my notebook of patterns that I'd printed off the web and my WIPs. Pretty soon, I had yarn piled all over my hospital room. And it really did help me feel better. I made a waffle stitch hat for the baby, then cast on the Cathedral Window Shawl and got more than half of it finished before I decided that I needed to frog back and figure out how to make my windows on the second half look the same as the ones I'd started out with. It was a good start, and I love what I've got done so far.

So does Mom, who'd like one just like it for Christmas. And thinks my sister would too. If there were more days left til Christmas, or more hours in the day, or I had a little more energy, I'd love to make them shawls. But it'll have to wait until next year. And it'll have to be a different pattern, because I can't imagine doing this one three times.


Sunday, October 10, 2004

I've done it again -- finished just about everything on my needles. All that's left is the narrow top piece of the cabled baby hat, and that won't take long at all. What I should have done a long time ago (because then I wouldn't have to do it now!)is cast on for one of the two sock yarn baby hats I have planned. Or the cardigan. Anything that'll take forever and be simple enough to haul around with me.

My Knot a Knitted Paper (acrylic in my case ) Bag is done, and came out a lot deeper than I expected it to be. It should make a great diaper and knitting bag.
And, even though I avoided it at every opportunity, I finished the Hallowig in plenty of time for Alex to wear to the birthday party.

None of the new projects I tried to start this week was any fun. The patterns and yarn are put away and there's no evidence that they ever existed. I need to start something new, but the only things I desperately want to knit are the ones I can't do until the kids are quiet, or would have to buy new yarn for. And, even though I'm only on partial bedrest now, the LYSs are all closed. :-(


Monday, October 04, 2004

I love stitch markers! After placing them between every repeat on the Petal Baby Hat, I finished it without any more trouble at all. And gave myself confidence to start over on the Cathedral Window Shawl. But not until after I finish Alex's Hallowig, which she needs in time to wear for a "rock star birthday party" this Saturday. I'm still not entirely sure what a rock star birthday party *is*, other than an excuse to knit something with hot pink acrylic.

My only problem with the stitch markers is that I lose them so easily. One will pop off off the needle and either go flying toward the toybox or fall into my lap and under a couch cushion. As pregnant as I am, standing up to find them is more effort than it's worth. I finally got my hands on a package of those tiny rubber bands -- hope they work!


Sunday, September 26, 2004

I've now cast on for the petal baby hat FOUR times. The first time, I got twelve rows done before realizing that I'd made big mistakes in the first pattern row. The second time, I had an entire repeat of the pattern done before the kids came storming in for the fifteenth or twentieth time and I lost my place. The third time, I wound up with too many stitches cast on.

Try #4 has the correct number of stitches cast on, the first three knit rows done, and is waiting for everyone to go to bed tonight so I can tackle it again.

Normally, I wouldn't have this much patience for any project, let alone a baby hat, but since I was put on bedrest at the beginning of the month, I've got more knitting time than I know what to do with.

Over the first couple of weeks, I knitted:

a pair of baby socks
the Bow Wow sweater from Minnowknits
a second spiral rib baby hat
a pair of cabled baby booties from one of the Vogue knitting on the go books

And none of those were projects I'd already started! This week, everything I cast on seems to be jinxed. In addition to the baby hat, I've started a cardigan for myself twice -- not counting the nice big gague swatch I did before starting . The first time I realized that it was going to be way too big. The second time, I messed up
the stockinette stitch. Don't ask how, because I can't figure it out.

Hopefully, tonight's knitting will go better!


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The problem with knitting for the kids is that I tend to want them tucked in bed before my late night knitting time starts. So there I am at almost midnight with something that needs to be held up to a little body, and no little body to hold it up to. I've told my husband a couple of times that they can't go to bed yet because I'm going to need them soon. Luckily, Alex wasn't quite asleep yet when I slipped in to have her check the newly finished neckline of her pink sweater.

No it's done, it fits, Alex likes it, and I don't have to deal with it anymore except in the laundry. I'm very happy about that. It actually does look better on her than it did at 10:30 last night when I finished the seams and wove in the last of the ends. I don't think I'll be using Bernat Softee Chunky again unless there's a miracle and the stitches even out it goes through the wash. I'm blaming the lumpy-bumpy stockinette on the yarn because nothing else I've knit looks anywhere near this bad.

Bet she wants to wear it to the next knitting guild meeting. Or the LYS.


Friday, August 13, 2004

My stitching confession?

Not that I leave messy backs or tie knots or don't worry much about whether or not every last little bit of color is in the spot the chart indicates (at least not if I'm working on a section of grass or mud or sky.) Since I don't try to hide any of those questionable little habits, it wouldn't be much of a confession.

My deep dark secret is that I hate starting new projects. I love planning them and shopping for patterns and yarn, charts and floss, fabric... anything bright and pretty and fiber-y.

But I have a hard time actually starting new projects. With cross-stitch, it takes so long to grid the fabric and get all the right colors of floss in one place. I'm too scared that I'll make a mistake on the grid and doom the entire project (and stitching without a grid is just out of the question, so please don't suggest that!) With knitting, there's the hurdle of casting on and doing those first couple of rows (not to mention swatching.) Most of my projects never get past that point.

We won't even talk about the fabric and sewing machine and whatever it is they're supposed to combine and create.

It's abnormal. Everyone else has lots of things on the needles and scroll frames, and I never seem to get more than a handful of things going. I want lots of projects, because hate that awful lost feeling that comes right after finishing something big and not knowing what's next.

Last night, I cast on for a spiral rib baby hat and did just enough rows to be sure that I'll be able to keep going later, then cast on for the Cathedral Window Shawl. That one's not going as well. I've frogged row 7 of the lace pattern twice and still can't get it right. But I can always go work on the baby hat, or the pink sweater, or the Knot a Knitted Paper Bag!

Now I've just got to make sure I start something else before I finish them.


Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I keep wondering about these mythical people who don't knit during the summer.  The owner of the LYS down the street talks about them every year, promising she'll get new inventory as soon as the weather cools down and people start knitting again.

Do these people really exist? How could anyone stop knitting for an entire season? I just realized how much guilt free knitting time I can gain while the weather's nice.  The kids need to get outside to play, and they have to be supervised while they're out there. The park has lots of good stuff to play on -- and benches where I can sit and knit -- if it's not too hot to move.  Running around with the kids would be better for all of us, but since that's not an option for me this summer, I'll use the time to knit.

Of course the house isn't spotless -- I was at the park all day, making sure the kids got plenty of exercise! :-)



Wednesday, March 17, 2004

My fingers are all tangled up this morning! :-( Nothing I try is coming out right. Not the technique for starting socks from the toe up -- the stitches and needles are so tiny they boggle my brain and my fingers. Not the supposedly easy baby sock that starts from the top down -- I don't even know what the problem is there, since on my last attempt, I managed to get all the way down to the heel before the needles slid out and I gave up. Today, I can't even get the ribbing to work right for the first three rounds.

I know that there are lots of things I can fill my knitting future with even if I never ever figure out the mystery of socks, but it doesn't make me feel much better. I want to knit socks, darnit!

And if I can't knit socks, I want to knit the euroflax shawl that dh found in a LYS up in Portland on Monday. I've been curious about the linen ever since I saw the dishcloth patterns in Knitter's Stash, but never saw any in person. Now that I've seen some, I really really want it -- and since dh found and liked the shawl, he's willing to buy it! But they only had one lonely skein left in the LYS and the stores here in town don't carry it.

I will get past this. I got past the point where I was sure I'd never do anything but garter stitch. I got past the awful purple sweaters that didn't fit my son and made a pretty red tank top that actually fits on my body. I figured out how to do the cables on my scarf and Alex's hat.

Today just isn't the day for socks.


Friday, March 05, 2004

I've got this sudden, out-of-the-blue, urge to knit baby things. Booties, hats, sweaters, whatever. Someone else apparently has that same urge, because I couldn't find a single baby knitting book at the library. Then I Googled for patterns until my brain was numb, and never found anything close to what I had in mind, before I realized that there was probably something in the box of old Workbasket magazines I got at a garage sale last summer. So after going through them and tearing out everything I might possibly want to knit, I'm swimming in patterns. Lots of different baby sweaters -- including one that's exactly what I wanted! Socks & mittens & hats. Shells, and sweaters, and car coats! A cabled shrug that I must knit to wear on my body right this second... Now I've got to figure out which of these projects I can knit with the yarn I've already got. Definitely some baby stuff...and a pair of mittens...and the cute little pillbox hat...

As for my yarn diet, I've finished the little red tank, which fits like a dream and looks really cute except for the side seams. And the shoulder shawl. And the cabled hat. (I made cables that twist mostly the way they're supposed to and sort of almost understood what I was doing -- yippee!) And the cutest little pair of booties made with Red Heart Teri. Five projects -- but I also went to Walmart and brought home a bunch of new yarn, so now I've decided to do five more projects to make up for it. Then I get to shop!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

For a while now, I've been struggling to come up with a reasonable stash building strategy. For my knitting at least -- the cross stitching and needlepoint stuff has already spread far beyond the cute little dresser that was its first home, and I'm perfectly okay with that. But this brand new yarn addiction could very easily overwhelm me, my budget, and the space I've got to store it in!

I'm not a one project at a time kinda gal and never plan to be one. Having future projects lined up makes me happy. Having floss and fabric and yarn and whatever to sort through and plan with is even better. A week or so ago, I went through all last summer's garage sale finds and even the yarn I later regretted buying is telling me exactly what it wants to become. I can make an afghan (or a big sweater), and a bog jacket for the critter, and a mobius vest, and a Sigma Tank and a shapely tank, and baby socks....

I like knowing that whatever the future holds, I'll probably have yarn and floss and stuff to keep my hands busy. Unless the house burns down, and that's just NOT allowed to happen! :-P

I don't think I have anywhere near too much yarn, but if I keep buying it at the rate I'm wanting it, I'll hit that point quickly. The idea of Lint hugely appeals to me. I've promised myself that I won't even look at yarn sites until I've finished at least five projects -- to balance the six projects worth of yarn I'd just bought from Elann. I get to use the new yarn, or some of the yarn I already have, and they all have to be reasonably sized projects. Dishcloths don't count.

So far I've finished project #1 -- the child's vest from Knitting 20 simple & stylish wearables for beginners for Alex. I knit hers in the fakiest purple I've ever seen by Chunky USA. For once, my gauge was right exactly what it shoulda been and I didn't make any stupid mistakes following the pattern. It fits! The bottom, which I did in a band of garter stitch instead of the black and white checkerboard, rolls a lot, but Alex says she likes it the way it is and it actually fits her body. Unlike her brother's two awful purple sweaters.

Project #2 is a Super Quick Reversible One Skein Wool-Ease Scarf. I'm using a skein of TLC Essentials that I got the day after Thanksgiving because the color -- Falling Leaves -- called to me.

#3 is a shoulder shawl from Knit N Style, in Pines Woolease. I love the way this stuff is knitting up, but I'm scared to death that I'll lose my place and make a mess of it.

and #4 is a cute little red tank top in red Schoeller Stahl Cecil. The back is done and since the front is almost exactly the same, I know I can do the rest. It's just a question of whether or not the yarn will cooperate.

I think project #5 will be the Coronet Hat from Knitty But I keep changing my mind, so until I cast on the stitches, nothing is set in stone. And even then, false starts are easy to rip out. I think that's one of the things I like most about knitting! :-)

Friday, February 06, 2004

The needlework tote is done. Doesn't match the pattern, but it's as finished as it's going to get for now. I didn't have anywhere near the right number of stitches on the long sides (wonder if that's part of the reason I put it aside in the first place?) so I couldn't do the neat handle openings. And I wasn't about to rip the whole thing back down to the bottom to reuse $3 with of yarn I didn't like knitting with. It looks nice, but just about flayed my fingers. So I made a twisted cord strap out of some of the leftover yarn and I'm calling it done. Mostly because I promised myself I'd finish it before I ordered some yarn I want from and I didn't want to spend the time it'd take to knit a long strap.

I've got to get a camera so I can share pictures of some of my projects. The felted soap bar probably wouldn't be very photogenic, but I sure like using it. And now that I know it works, I'm going to use some of my pretty roving to make a nicer ones. Wonder how dh would react if I felted every soap bar in the house? :-)


Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I changed my mind! :-) I did start the needlework tote, but quickly lost interest. It's sitting in a rubbermaid bin next to the couch, and if one of the balls of yarn hadn't fallen out and left a trail of yarn across the floor, I would've completely forgotten about it.

It's not quite my fault -- another project ambushed me without warning. I was leafing through A Passion for Knitting before it went back from the library, and the next thing I knew, I had yarn and needles together and was trying a cabled scarf. I made a cable turn! No clue how it works, but if I blindly follow the directions and keep writing down which row number I'm on, it works. And I'm using up a skein of yarn I bought then lost my original plan for, so it's a win-win situation. Which is also sitting in a plastic tote. A bit too complicated to take to my daughter's karate class, and not quite exciting enough to work on when I've got time to my self. I could finish it quickly, but another idea has possessed me.

Look at this! How to Felt Over Soap I've got some roving a friend traded me that's in pretty pastel colors I didn't know what to do with. I know -- I'm supposed to spin it on my new Christmas present, but dh bought me wool for that and this looks FUN!


Saturday, January 10, 2004

My cross stitch projects are usually big ones -- although I've discovered that "big" is in the eye of the beholder! I love designs by Marty Bell, Thomas Kinkade, Linda Meyers, Graphs by Barbara and Cheryl... it's a huge and ever-expanding list.

Right now, I'm working on The Garden Wall by Graphs by Barbara and Cheryl, Stonehearth Hutch by Thomas Kinkade, and Sanctuary by Marty Bell. I've also been stitching the ornaments in Prairie Schooler's Starry Night leaflet, but I expect to have the last one finished this afternoon.

I'm a very new knitter and just finished my first pair of socks this week. They've got toes and heels (sort of) and a hole to put your foot in, but that's about all of their redeeming qualities -- except for the fact that they are socks and I actually made them! :-) I do still like the color, and they are warm, so it wasn't a total waste of effort, but I wish they'd come out looking a little more like "real" socks. Next project to go on the needles will be the needlework bag from Frugal Knitting Haus If I don't change my mind and start something else first!



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