Tying up Some Loose Ends

What a spectacular day this has been. Thanks to a storm that started out up by Alaska, we had cool temperatures and overcast skies – a rare occurrence in San Diego – this morning. And right about the time that the evening commute was getting ready to start, an angry and persistent mist/shower started up. No doubt the 11:00 news will tout this as the “storm of the century” (as they do every time it rains).

Max, Penny and I ventured out just before lunch to pick up some essentials, and to take advantage of the temperature change to stock up on “winter clothes” for Miss P. She made an impressive haul, and might get a chance to wear one or two of the outfits before this storm moves on and leaves us with our regular warm October weather.

Upon returning home and putting Penny down for her nap, I made good use of the nearly quiet house to finish up two projects that were recently off the needles but not quite done.

First up is Jojo’s Entrelac Scarf. I started this last December, and brought it with me for the Christmas Eve festivities at my in-law’s house. In the confusion that often accompanies leaving at the end of a party, especially one where gifts have been exchanged, I left the scarf sitting on the back of the couch. My mother-in-law, who is an impressive knitter and crocheter, was intrigued by the design and attempted to reverse engineer it. She eventually gave in, and proceeded to hold the scarf hostage until I had an opportunity to sit down with her and show her how it was done.

Needless to say it was many months before I finally got the scarf back, and I had moved on to more emergent knitting deadlines. So the scarf was placed unceremoniously into the-basket-that-holds-projects-that-I-started-but-will-likely-never-finish. And there it stayed until last week, when Alex cleaned up both our living room and our bedroom and the basket ended up sitting in the middle of the bed, begging to be dealt with.

I salvaged several of the projects, and all of the yarn, and decided it was time to finish Jojo’s scarf. And finish it I did. Look, I have proof!

Next up is the “Cardigan for Merry,” which is not for Merry, but is instead for Penny. The cables on this sweater nearly killed me, but now, looking at the finished product, they were totally worth it. I have to remove the buttons and turn them 90 degrees, because the top one hits her right under her little chin. I may also adjust the spacing a bit, but that would necessitate moving the loops as well, so that might not happen. Any way, I’m very pleased that she’ll be able to wear it tomorrow (since it will probably still be chilly).


So, now that those two are off my list, I should probably get back to the mittens…

Oh My

I’m still here, and to anyone who has visited hoping to find a new post over the past few weeks, I am truly sorry. I keep meaning to sit down and write something – anything, really – but then life (or a game on Facebook) intervenes, and I forget all about posting.

After the trauma of the first Lotus Blossom mitten, I decided to take a break from my barely started Christmas knitting to work on a project that I’d been thinking about for a while. I even started it once, but made a mistake early on and set it aside in frustration. I picked it up again a few weeks ago, and it’s been happy knitting ever since! I’m making a sweater for Penny, from the “A Cardigan for Merry” pattern from annypurls.

The front of the “Cardigan for Merry” (everything else is just flat blue pieces), knit on size 3 needles with Wool of the Andes Sport Sapphire Heather

All of the initial parts are done (fronts, back and sleeves), and the only thing left to do is knit the hood and sew the seams. This is a great pattern, but there’s one little weird thing that is bothering me, almost to the point where I’m considering frogging the 10 rows of hood I’ve finished so far so I can fix it.

The weird thing is this: the stitches left after decreasing for the armholes on the fronts and back are left live so they can be used for the hood. But the three stitches left at the top of each sleeve are bound off, only to be picked up when the hood is knit. This results in a weird little seam thing at the top of the sleeves. I’m sure it’s no big deal, but it does look strange, and it would have been easier to leave the sleeve stitches live as well.

The cables for this sweater are from Kate Gilbert’s “A Cardigan for Arwen“, and are reversible…very cool

But then again, Anny has designed many great sweaters, and maybe that little seam is there for a reason. Ok, I’m over it – it’s not bothering me any more. Back to my needles I go!

Empty Needles? Where?

As has become my habit, the completion of a challenging project (in this case, Crichton) brought about the casting on of several more, without thought or regard to anything I have already started.

First, I started in on “A Cardigan for Merry,” for which I purchased some Wool of the Andes – Sport Weight. I love cables, but the ones for this sweater (designed by Kate Gilbert originally for her “Arwen” sweater) are kicking my butt. The cables cross on every right side row, which makes my knitting super tight. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to alleviate and or cheer up my tense, angry cables, I welcome them, especially since, just three inches into the pattern I’ve set it aside in favor of some non-finger breaking, non-squint inducing knitting.

A Cardigan for Merry by annypurls, using size 3 needles and Wool of the Andes Sport from KnitPicks

Which brings me to the next project that leapt onto my needles while I had my back turned. “Rock Island” is back, this time on the size six needles the pattern requested, and my progress has been swift. I re-cast on on Tuesday evening, and when I counted last night, I had 42 of the 71 edge lace repeats completed. I promise I won’t go on and on again about what a genius Mr. Flood is, but this edge piece is so much fun to knit, I might just keep going, and end up with a very skinny scarf. Each repeat is eight rows and takes about five minutes to complete. This is important to someone who often only gets to knit in five minute intervals! Only slightly more than half done, and without blocking, the edge piece is already nearly four feet long, which bodes well for the finished dimensions.

While I was taking these photos, Max brought his knitting into the bedroom and asked that I take pictures of him and his yarn, too. And so, I present to you Sir Max and his knitting…

See you later, and have a fun and safe Memorial Day Weekend!

Unprecedented Focus

Ok, so I’ve not been doing very well on my “write every day” New Year’s Resolution, but I have a really great excuse. I’ve been knitting on a sweater…

Spirited Jacket by Justine Turner, all knit and washed and drying, just waiting to be assembled…

and although it is naught but a wee baby sweater, it took a full two weeks and a significant amount of concentration to finish. The pattern is deceptively simple – nothing but knits and purls make up the design. However, keeping track of where I was within those knits and purls was sometimes more than my poor brain could handle. The sweater, once sewn together, will be lovely, but I can’t see myself ever ever knitting this again. I’d rather do cables.

I used Cascade 220 Superwash Sport yarn, and I have to tell you that I love it. It’s soft and springy and soft, and it doesn’t need to be hand washed (a big plus for the mom of the intended recipient).  I think I might make a blanket for this same little person out of some of the other beautiful colors that Clever Knits had. Just not using this stitch pattern.

Now, I’m off to work on some other project (I have several in the works), and Max is requesting the computer so he can play Mickey Mouse Road Rally. Have a good day!

C’mon out, Penny!

Last night I finished turning this

into this

Cable and Lace Cardigan, Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn, Size 0 Needles, and a crazy amount of time

That’s a dime sitting in the neckline for size comparison, because I’ve never completed a project on size 0 needles and will likely never attempt it again. The stitches are lovely, if I do say so myself, but holy crap! Those needles are TINY!!

Now that Penny has a hat and a sweater, she can come any time. I’m in the midst of my 37th week, and her movements have become less fluttery and more mean. It seems she has some sort of particular beef with my bladder and my lungs/rib cage, as that’s where the majority of her kicks seem to be aimed. Also (and Alex is very amused by this), she spends a lot of time just pushing OUT with her little elbows/knees/feet, so I look like I have some sort of stomach-centered alien infestation. Amusing to look at, not so much to experience.

Max is still a little confused by Penny. He says hi to her, and blows raspberries on my belly for her, but the other day he said, “My Penny hurts,” and pointed to his stomach. I told him that he didn’t have a Penny, but he disagreed. I tried explaining that Penny is a baby who is in my belly for now, and he said, “No baby in belly!” and stomped away, apparently offended that I thought he could be fooled so easily. Oh well, I guess reality will catch up with him by the end of the month.

We had a bit more summer early on this week (temperatures in the high 90s), but it’s gone back to close to normal now. In fact, on Thursday, we had thunderstorms (a rarity here in coastal-ish Southern California). I was enthralled to the point of pulling into a parking lot so I could just stop and enjoy the sound of the rain and thunder and the light show as well without endangering myself or others. I’m happy to say I was joined there by many other San Diegans (mostly because that means that I’m at least no weirder than the rest of the community).

Alex took Max to the Air Show at Mirimar MCAS this morning, which would usually mean that I’m getting caught up on my house work. But not this year. I have a few chores to address, but then I’m just going to chill and enjoy the quiet.

Have a lovely weekend!

One pumpkin done, one on the way

Well, if everything goes as planned and on schedule (HA!), Penny should be here in about 5 weeks. We’re all very excited, although Max still doesn’t seem to understand what a “Penny” is. The other night, when I was putting him to bed, he asked me to rub his “penny,” and lifted his shirt so I could pat his belly. I’m confident, however, that he’ll do fine once she’s here, since he really does like babies a lot… at least, he likes them in the wild, as we pass them in the store and leave them there with their own families.

I’ve started doing the Non-Stress Tests (NST) due to my “Advanced Maternal Age” (that still kinda ticks me off – I’m not a youngster, but I’m not old, either), and at the end of yesterday’s test, the very lovely nurse gave me a couple new pics of our little pumpkin.

Isn’t that cool? While she was doing the ultrasound, we watched Penny rubbing her eyes and swatting at her cheeks. It was especially cool because I could feel her movements and see them at the same time.

On a similar topic, whilst at Starbucks on Tuesday, as I sat selfishly knitting on a pair of socks for myself, a lady asked if I’d made a lot of things for the baby. I was rather ashamed to admit that, while Penny has received several very lovely handmade gifts from friends and relatives, I’d yet to knit a single thing for her. So the next day Max and I ventured forth to Clever Knits to pick up supplies and ideas; fortunately both are always in ready supply. We came away a skein each of orange and green Cascade Heritage sock yarn, and a plan for a pumpkin hat for Miss Penny to wear home from the hospital.

Here it is, as modeled by a ball of Cascade 220. I’ll make the leaves if/when Max takes a nap this afternoon, and get another picture for tomorrow.

Next to be added to my needles will be this:

The smallest size is for a 6 month old, but I think that if I do it with the green sock yarn and smaller needles, I should end up with something that she can wear a bit sooner. We’ll see. I may have to go pick up some tiny onesies again to use as a size guide. I thought about just bringing my tape measure to Target with me and measuring some random babies, but I’m shy, and that would almost certainly be an awkward exchange that could possibly end with in the Security office being held until a psych evaluation can be done. And I’m pretty sure they don’t let suspected crazies play with yarn and knitting needles, so this would be a doubly tragic scenario. I’ll just stick to the onesies.

Finally, I apologize for being so long between posts. Now that school has started again, Sami & Jojo have commandeered the kitchen table for doing their homework, and since that’s where I usually set up to take my pictures and write, I’ve had a tough time getting to it. I know.  That’s a really lame excuse. But it’s the only one I’ve got, and I’m going to stick with it.

See you all soon!

Results

This past weekend, for some reason, I was uncharacteristically efficient and focused on finishing “stuff”. First, I give you the final result of my knitting break on Sunday:

The skein on top is what I plied on Sunday, and the one on the bottom is from several forevers ago. The funny thing is that they both came from the same chunks of wool, and from the same dye session. I’m surprised that the colors are so drastically different.

The other thing I finished is (another) pair of socks. The cool part about this pair is that I actually knit them one right after the other, and the pair was done between Friday evening and Monday afternoon. But I have to confess that they’re knit with really thick sock yarn on size 4 needles, so if it had taken me any longer than 3 days to finish I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it…

Brigid socks, knit with Trekking 6 Fach & size 4 needles

These socks are super-squishy, and are actually not a Christmas gift, but instead just a “Hey, I’m glad I know you,” kinda gift. I hope she likes them.

With all (ok, I know it’s only two, but still…) these finished projects, I just had to start something new.

Baby Sweater on Two Needles (by Elizabeth Zimmerman, from “Knitter’s Almanac”), knit with yarn that I spun myself on size 4 needles

This is for Penny, whose arrival is fast approaching. When I started this last night, I was confident I had plenty of yarn. Now I’m not so sure. Luckily, I have another bag of the off white top just waiting for an empty spindle. And speaking of Miss Penny, if you want to know what’s going on there, my husband is diligently keeping track of her here.