Sunday, July 30, 2006

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Better than I thought it would! I fell in love with the pattern for How Does Your Garden Grow? at first sight, then had a hard time getting the pdf file to open on my computer...then had to order special green wool just for it...then got totally mystified by the 9 stitch I cord...

I wound up doing 5 stitch I cord with two strands of wool, but by then I'd lost some of my motivation and the "I've got to have one of these" feeling got replaced by "Did I just waste five bucks on wool?" So it sat in my knitting basket for a couple of months and I started to hate it. You'd think that I could look at the picture and figure out that there were 30some leaves, which would mean 60some ends to weave in, and decide maybe this wasn't something I'd enjoy knitting. But I never do that. I fall in love with a potential project and stress over the details later.

Once I finally pulled it out and started the leaves, it went quickly. Even the ends weren't that bad, because they gave me something more entertaining to focus on than the movie Bill was watching on the Spike Network last night. Some thing about flying Chinese warriors with badly dubbed dialogue. Yuck.

My version has less leaves than the pattern calls for. Because I'm short and thought that a less symmetrical arrangement of leaves would look better on me. And because I was sick of knitting leaves and not at all sure that felting was going to make it look any less hideous. The leaves were all distorted and had holes in them from the yarn over increases. The roses were loosely stitched spirals that couldn't possibly hold together in the washing machine.

I should've taken a picture before felting it, but I really didn't think there'd be enough improvement to justify one. Ten minutes in a pillowcase, sloshing around in hot water with a pair of old jeans and I love it just as much as the one in the picture on the pattern. Yippee!

Friday, July 28, 2006

It was too hot to knit. For me, it turned out to be too hot to function at all and I spent a couple of days sitting on the couch hoping for it to cool down enough that my string of miserable headaches would finally come to an end. That's harder than it sounds when you're holding a small baby and hoping not to puke on him.

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But I'm much better now. Better enough that the kids and I met my mom in Albany this afternoon to look for quilts. Someone had sent me an email that they had 150 quilts on display in historic buildings downtown and that's really all the excuse I need to load the kids into the car and take off.

The quilts were incredible. There's a cute little quilt store in town that I'd somehow never heard of -- and they had Australian quilting magazines. I didn't know there was such a thing, or that I'd love them so much if there was, but there is and they're full of chickens and scarecrows and country stuff I've got to make for my house. And the older ones were 50% off, making them much cheaper than the plain old quilting magazines at the grocery store, let alone the Japanese ones I did know I wanted but am too cheap to buy.

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And this came in the mail yesterday. Twelve THOUSAND yards of quilting thread. I could do a lot with this...

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

It's HOT!

It might actually be too hot to knit, but if I'm going to spend the day sitting under the ceiling fans and trying to move as little as possible, I might as well do something constructive.

The mobius vest, which I cast on a few days ago, is done. It could have been a bit bigger, but Heath is happy and was even wearing it for a while. The garter stitch was soothing, which I needed this week. And it used up two of the three skeins of Red Heart Grande that I bought on clearance a while back, which is another plus. Buying that yarn somehow made sense at the time. I'm not sure quite why, because it wasn't even that cheap. I think a matching hat -- or maybe hats for both Heath and Quinn -- will use up the last of it.

I found the Traveler socks, which I hadn't picked up since before we left on vacation, finished the first one last night, and got halfway through the second one this morning. Why were these buried in the bottom of my knitting box? They're cute. They're coming out the right size. And they're working up super fast.

And there's the Mystery Stole, which has totally sucked me in. I'm barely keeping up with one repeat of each clue, even though I'd love to have the whole thing done at the end of the six weeks. Can't blame that on the kids -- it's me and my inability to go that long without switching projects. If I spent all of my knitting time on the stole, I could probably keep up, but I don't have (or maybe I don't want?) that kind of discipline.

Oh, and there's a dropped stitch on about row 10, which I didn't notice until now because the ladders were pretending to be yo's. I'm not ripping out that many rows. I wouldn't rip out that many rows even if the mistake was so blatant that it had flashing neon lights around it. I'm going to tack it in place so it doesn't run down any further, and let it keep on pretending to be a bunch of eyelets.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Shape of a Mother

I think it's supposed to be good news that the Durango didn't get totalled Sunday when the brakes failed and it went across the highway and into the ditch. (The real good news is that Bill was the only one in it and no other cars happened to be on the highway at that particular moment so it wasn't anywhere near as bad as it could have been.) Now we get to wait three weeks for it it to be fixed so we can trade it in for something that won't try to kill us. While we're waiting, we're down to the 20 year old Honda that won't fit the whole family. So I'll be spending most of my time at home. Hopefully that means I'll have lots of time to knit.

pics 007 Today's post on Knit and Tonic inspired me to pull out the cute little red top I knitted ages ago and only wore once before I got pregnant. I was thinking I'd wear it when I take Alex to karate this afternoon, then I tried it on and discovered that, while it stretches nicely to accommodate my latest bra size, that makes it a tiny smidge shorter than I'd like.

I was reading through some more knitting blogs, debating whether to use the left over yarn to add some kind of edging, or just shove the top back into the box it came from until my tummy gets flatter, and found The Shape of a Mother. I'll be wearing my top today.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Vintage Puppy Dogs?

Brownsville was having its annual city-wide garage sale today, which the kids and I stumbled across by accident. I got a big stack of unused math and reading workbooks, clothes for the babies, some really nice magnets for the fridge...and yarn.

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Fifty cents for seven skeins of baby yarn and a pattern book from 1947.

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This cute little guy was sitting in a shallow cardboard box under a table in a woman's garage. She was talking to someone else about how she knew some of the things she was selling were worth money, but she had no idea how to price any of it. There were more dogs underneath the top one that hadn't been appliqued to the background squares yet.

They've got to be old. I haven't come across anything like them at any of the estate sales I've been searching. I was trying to figure out how much would be too much, sure they were worth more than I wanted to pay, when she asked if I'd pay a quarter. I thought garage sale deals like that were a thing of the past!

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The dog has twelve little buddies and also came with the cardboard template the original quilter had made. There are some other little bits I can't figure out - petals, maybe? I wish I'd asked the lady if she knew who started this project so I could add her name to the quilt label if I ever am able to assemble them into a finished quilt. She might even have been able to guess at their age.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I was determined to finish Clue 1 of the Mystery Stole by tonight at the very latest so I could get started on Clue 2. I thought that if I didn't spend any time writing blog entries, I might get it done. Then my head got all stuffy and I didn't trust myself to count right. And this happened:


Mom came over and we experimented with freezer paper applique and I figured out how to put the right foot on my sewing machine for free motion quilting. This piece of fabric is going to be a tote bag. I bought the pattern and fabric after seeing the bag at the monthly Craft Warehouse quilting thing. Another one of those projects that was a huge splurge at the time. And I was doing really well until the directions told me to quilt it. I probably could've managed straight lines, but I wanted undulating curves around the houses and trees and was scared to death that I'd ruin my wonderful fabric if I tried it by machine and knew that hand quilting it would take forever -- not that I knew how to do that either.

Do you see those wonderful undulating curves? I really hope the rest of the fabric and the pattern that tells me how to finish this thing are where I think they are.

Needless to say, I didn't get Clue #1 finished in time.

I've got this need to knit, felt, quilt, embroider, take a bleach-pen to, freezer paper stencil, or whatever else I've just seen on a blog or the dangerous DIY network, absolutely EVERYTHING! I'm in love with my mystery stole (suspicious that my gauge is gonna make it way too small, but loving that undulating lace pattern), finally getting something done on How Does Your Garden Grow?, went out yesterday to dig through the bins at the Goodwill outlet for t-shirts to cut up so I can knot the loops together and knit a rug like they did in Mason Dixon knitting, just printed a bunch of stuff I found on Knitting Pattern Central...

How could I not want to knit a Cabled Hobo Bag, or the Gratuitous Cables Shrug -- cabling as though there's no tomorrow! -- or the Lace Wings Fixation Socks. I've even got a single skein of blue Fixation. And the two skeins of Wool-Ease that shrug calls for.

The kids are asleep, there's good stuff on TV tonight, and I'm going to go see what I can get done before they start waking up again!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Knitting With Sunshine


What seems like a long time ago, I ordered a bunch of yarn from Elann with plans to make myself some cute little summer tops. The red yarn got knitted up, but I never had much of a chance to wear the top before I got pregnant again. The yellow yarn and the pink multicolored stuff, along with the rest of the red yarn, have been sitting in my stash and bugging me ever since.

Now that I'm finally done being pregnant for the second time since buying the yarn, I've got a problem. I can't make those tops. I've gained a couple of inches in the bust and don't measured right in the first place *and* I can't remember what magazine the patterns were in or what they were called or looked like... And I can't just go out and buy new yarn for different tops because I'd feel bad about splurging on the old yarn.

So I made a lacy little top for Alex. That yarn was like knitting with sunshine. Too bad I can't order more of it to make something for myself!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Staying Home

I can't remember the last time I got to spend a whole day at home with no place I had to go and nothing much I had to worry about getting done. The kids are fed, the house is mostly picked up, and I know what I'm going to cook for dinner. The big two have been watching a Harry Potter DVD and I've been up in the sewing room with the babies working on this:

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The bookcase was mine when I was little. Yup, I seem to be emotionally attached to everything these days. When Mom and Dad got their new place it was headed for the garage sale and I snagged it for the future playroom -- more because it was a free bookcase than because it had been mine. It even sat in there for more than a month before I decided it would be more useful in the sewing room than a dark empty space that, face it, might never become anything at all. When we do finish the playroom, I'll buy 'em a new book case. Or relocate the one that's in Heath's room.

I got the furniture wrestled into place last week. Today, it was time to refold and stack the fabric. This is probably 2/3 of what I own, if you don't count weirdly shaped scraps or stuff that's destined for specific projects. I swing between being surprised at how much cotton I've actually got and being elated that there's still so much empty space on those shelves. And there's a huge empty space behind it, perfect for storing the boxes of stuff that belongs in the sewing room but I don't really feel like dealing with anytime soon.

Lately, I've been reading back issues of American Patchwork and Quilting from the library and reading the profiles of different quilters in each issue and seeing their rooms full of fabric and finished quilts has me anxious to finally get my own room looking the way I want it to.

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The noisy yarn is enjoying it's new life as a felted box (pattern from Mason Dixon Knitting.) I used two strands and I'm so pleased with the way it looks now that I may leave it unfelted. I'd like to make it just a bit sturdier, but I don't want the felting to destroy the things I like about it. So I'm felting another swatch to help me make up my mind.

And to top it all off, there's a new issue of Knitty with at least half a dozen projects I'm dying to cast on. Yippee!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Baby Kimono

It's a Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono! And a heartbreakingly cute little baby who doesn't want to wear it! But if he can insist on being wide awake at 1am, I can insist on taking his picture. I used 2 skeins of Bernat Softee Chunky and between the larger gauge and just a couple of minor length adjustments, it fits Leif perfectly. The underarm seams could be a LOT better, but it was 1am and it's a quicky baby sweater, not an heirloom.

After that cabled pink sweater I made Alex, I know I said I'd never use this stuff again, but she kept insisting on wearing it and after being washed and dried repeatedly the uneven stitches that made me hate it all started to behave and it softened up and developed this wonderful drapy quality. And it's dirt cheap at WalMart.


And here are the warshrags, the first seven of what I'm sure will be an insane number. The ones on the left match my kitchen, the ones in the middle are nice and Springy, the ones on the right are really really bright

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A Mobius Autopsy

After a careful examination of this miserably felted swatch, it's been determined that the mobius cast on was entirely successful. The lack of felting may be the fault of the loud yarn which still thinks it wants to be a birdhouse, or of too-large needles resulting in a ridiculously loose stitch gauge. The blue gunk can be entirely blamed on the stupid pair of K-mart clearance jeans that fit for a whole half a day after I bought them.

The jeans have been banned from all future felting attempts and the yarn is being given a second chance as a felted box because it just might behave if I used two strands and worked at a tighter gauge and ran it through the wash with a different pair of jeans.


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