No, really…I’m still here!

I know, I know. I said I’d write at least 250 words each day, and I haven’t even come close for the past two months, even if I count my Facebook comments. The truth is, I’ve been really, really busy, both at home and at work. And it seems the busier I am at work, the harder it is for me to refocus my attention once I’m at home, which in turn makes it nearly impossible for me to accomplish anything more than doing the dishes, taking a shower, and going to bed.

Oh, and knit. But surely you didn’t think I’d let a little thing like life get in the way of my knitting, did you?

So far this year, I’ve finished the Turkish socks (which were supposed to be a Christmas gift), but I wasn’t pleased with how they turned out. Which meant I had to knit an extra pair just to close out my knitting for Christmas 2010. It just so happened that my mom bought me a great book (“Think Outside the Sox”) and a bunch of Stroll yarn from Knit Picks for my birthday, with which I was able to knit …



Drip Candle Socks from “Think Outside the Sox”, in a variety of Stroll Handpainted yarns

I also knit a sweater for my college roommate, Dara’s, brand-new baby girl. I either made it too big, or too yellow, because I don’t have a photo of Miss L modeling her sweater yet. In fact, I don’t even have a photo of the finished sweater, because I sent it out as soon as I’d sewn in the last end. But I do have this



Spirited Jacket by Justine Turner (Ravelry Link) in yellow (obviously) Cascade 220 Superwash Sport

which was taken just after blocking, but before anything was sewn together. As a note, this is a really pretty sweater, but Ms. Turner was not joking when she states in the pattern that (I’m paraphrasing here) extreme amounts of concentration and focus are required. Still, if you’re reliably able to count to 4, and can do basic math, I encourage you to try this pattern out. I, apparently, still have some math issues left to resolve.

I really meant to bring you all up to date with what’s been on my needles since you last heard from me, but it’s already 11:29, and I’m sleepy. Look for a post tomorrow (or later today, depending on which time zone you’re hanging out in) with a shawl, a sock, and another baby sweater, all in the midst of being made!!

Good night!

So Long, 2010!

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! 2010 has been a lovely year, filled with surprises…

 

Welcome Penny!

Our family continues to thrive. Sami graduated from 8th grade; Jojo got even lovelier (I didn’t think this was possible), and Max became a big brother and is taking his new responsibilities very seriously. I knit Christmas gifts for my family back in Wisconsin, and received this in response:

From left, there is Aunt Jean (unfortunate recipient of my first knitted gift), my grandma, someone who has joined the family since I was home last so I don’t know his name, my cousin Stacey, Aunt Chris, Aunt Ruth, cousin Caleb and cousin Sarah. Front and center is Stacey’s son, Trevor.

Of the sock-wanters pictured above only Caleb is out of luck, as his mom has often told me of his Brobdingnagian
feet. OK, maybe he’s not totally out of luck, but it might take until Christmas 2012 to get his finished. All told, in 2010 I knit 6 pair of socks, 4 hats, 4 sweaters, 3 pair of mittens plus a pair of wrist warmers/fingerless mitts, and a whack
(to borrow a quantity from my favorite knitter, the YarnHarlot) of scarves. I learned to knit entrelac, and practiced my stranded knitting. I was a successful participant in the knitting Olympics, and Sami got a sweater out of it that she wears all the time. I bought a bunch of knitting books, some of which I’ve still not knit anything from as I’m still reading the patterns in awe and trying to build up my fortitude so I can try something like the beautiful sweaters designed by Alice Starmore.

This year has been fantastic. My family is healthy and happy, my house and job are both still here and, although not perfect, they’re both serving me well. Some may think I’m being blindly optimistic, but I prefer to think of it as appreciating what I have. I think I’ve had a wonderful 2010, and wish you all an abundance of greatness in the year to come.

 

The end is in sight…

You know, blogging would be much easier if I could just sit down and write. My problem is I don’t think about doing it until I’m the only adult in a house full of little kids. Ok, so two little kids doesn’t quite fill my house, but they certainly fill my day!

I was going to tell you about how the mittens I mentioned in my last couple of posts didn’t quite make me happy, due to the non-stretchy cast on I’d used. And how, after Helena recommended using a tubular cast on, I re-knit them. And how the resulting cast on edge, while being nice and stretchy, didn’t look quite right, but I didn’t realize this until I was half done with the second mitten and running out of time to finish my Christmas knitting, so I just let it go. And how, when I started the second pair, I actually looked up “tubular cast on” online, rather than using the directions I had for a cardigan that had the same cast on, and found out that I’d used directions for knitting flat (no purls) instead of directions for knitting in the round (I used a combination of directions, found here and here). The second pair of mittens has a more correct edge, although I sort of like how the first pair looks.

Screwed up tubular cast on

Proper tubular cast on

I was also going to tell you about staying up until almost 2:00am working on the blue scarf, because I was so close to being finished and all of the children were in bed so I could actually concentrate. And how, once finished, the scarf was only five feet long, which is fine for a California scarf (where warmth is secondary to looking cool), but falls short for a Wisconsin scarf (where it will be wrapped multiple times around the wearers neck to trap as much warm air as possible, and make the wearer look like they might have whiplash).

And I was going to beg someone – anyone – to explain to me how to pick up stitches for a mitten thumb properly, because I started the second thumb for the Ruba’iyat Mittens five or six times, each time either making or imagining a different mistake.

But it has taken me so long to sit down at my computer and do more than just jot down random, poorly strung together thoughts that I don’t remember exactly what I was trying to say. So instead, I leave you with this. Only one sock left to go, and my Christmas knitting will be complete.

Finished projects, drying after a wash.

Kind of Cheating

Yay! I finished a Christmas project today! But, I kind of feel like I cheated with this one. Yes, it needed to be done. But, really?

Little Kid Mittens, based on this pattern, using Fiesta Boomerang in Clematis colorway.

Next up is a slightly larger pair, in this lovely yarn…

Fiesta Boomerang, Riviera colorway

I feel like I’m cheating, because these mittens took less than a day each to make, and I should really be finishing some of my other Christmas gifts. However, the mittens are gifts, and just as important as the other items. I think that what I really needed was to work on a project that I could finish both quickly and well in order to abolish the air of procrastination which has permeated both my knitting and my blogging as of late.

Here is the updated Christmas Knitting List:

  1. Thumb for second mitten
  2. Scarf (60% done)
  3. Second Turkish Sock (still not even started)
  4. Two One little kid gifts (I’m making mittens, and I’ll purchase them a toy… they’re really little, and should have toys as well as mittens)

My goal for tomorrow is to finish the second pair of little kid mittens, and do 10 pattern repeats on the scarf. I’ll let you know how that goes!


Just a thumb

My plan almost worked. I finished 10 rows a day on the mittens, but completely neglected the scarf. As of this morning, I’m finished with the hand of the second mitten, and have only the thumb left to do. I’m procrastinating because I don’t like picking up thumb stitches.

So now my Christmas knitting list is as follows:

  1. Thumb for second mitten
  2. Scarf (50% done)
  3. Second Turkish Sock (not even started)
  4. Two little kid gifts (still debating on what to make)

This list is complicated by the fact that my mom knit a really cool scarf, and I want to make one too…

Scarf my mom knit, pattern from Jimmy Beans Wool

…and the fact that I’d really rather be knitting stuff for the kids. I have requests for a couple of hats, and Penny should probably have more than just one sweater, and Max really needs some mittens, and I still have to make Jojo’s entrelac scarf.

I have a lot to do, and I suppose I should get to it.

Have a good day!

Making some progress

I think I’ve finally figured out a way to make some progress on my Christmas knitting. I can knit on the scarf (which is a single color) while I hold onto Penny, and I work on the mittens (which are two colors) during her little mini-naps. My goal is to finish 10 rows on the mittens and 10 repeats on the scarf each day. So far, this seems to be working out. Here are the mittens after two days of knitting:

Even though I’ve made some progress on the scarf, it looks pretty much the same (only longer) as the last photo of it, so I’ll spare you.

Now, an update on my trip to Julian to visit the yarn store there. I have it on good authority that the store is cool, and that they have really neat stuff in there, but that’s all I can tell you. When I got to Julian, I found that many of the shops and restaurants are closed on Tuesdays, and some are closed on Mondays as well. This is very unfortunate, as the entire town is super busy on the weekends and I try to avoid going there on Saturday and Sunday, and shepherding a three year old through the stores while carrying an infant (which is how I’d have to do it on Wednesdays or Fridays) is just too overwhelming to think about. Which leaves me with Thursday. Thursday is do-able, but not this week. I couldn’t justify two trips up the mountain in a single week, and next Thursday is Thanksgiving, so it looks like the very last thing I’ll be doing on my maternity leave is checking out that store (my leave ends on 3 December).

Finally, for anyone coming to the blog for updates on Penny rather than my knitting, she’s doing great. She slept from 9:00 pm until 5:30 this morning, which means that I got my first full night’s sleep in several months. I feel wonderful and ready to play – and knit – my Friday away. The girls are off next week for Thanksgiving, and my sister-in-law is hosting Thanksgiving dinner, so I just have to whip up a few very simple items to share rather than stressing over the house and the turkey and the pies (oh, my!).

I hope you have a lovely day.

Back on Track…mostly

Today, the girls went to school and Alex went to work. Max went to hang out with his grandma & grandpa. And my parents were safely back in Wisconsin. Which left just Penny and me at home. Alone.

I tried to knit while I nursed her, but I felt guilty and set my needles and yarn down so I could chat with her. I tried to knit when she fell asleep. But she woke up just a few minutes after I put her in her crib.

I was beginning to think that I’d have to send photos of the mitten, scarf, and sock to their intended recipients with a note saying they’d have their gifts soon. But then…

After six hours of dozing and waking and eating, my little Penny finally fell asleep for real. I finished another three inches on the scarf, and watched a cop show on TV. And she’s still asleep.  Which gives me hope for the laundry and dishes (although not a lot of hope. I’d rather return to the couch and knit some more).

Since yesterday was the first time in ages that I posted, and I only posted pictures of the lovely Penny & handsome Max, I used up a bit of Miss P’s sleep time to take some photos of the projects I mentioned yesterday. And here they are:

Cabled Rangoli Hat by Desi , using Cascade 220 and size 5 needles

Scarf with the Clarence Border from Weldons, from Victorian Lace Today, using Cascade 220 and size 6 needles.

Ruba’iyat Mittens (Ravelry link) knit with O-Wool Legacy DK using size 2 needles.

I’m sure it didn’t escape your notice that the one mitten that is shown still doesn’t have a thumb. Worse than that, the other mitten that goes with this pair isn’t even started yet. And I’m sure you likewise noticed the abbreviated length of the scarf. Yes, I have a lot of knitting still to do before the end of the month. I therefore am going to say good bye for today, go check on the lovely Penny, and get back to work.

Have a lovely afternoon!