Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Load 'Em Up and Head 'Em On Out

We are preparing to set sail for the beach.

Things To Do:

Get family cooking dinner

so I can get projects to good stopping points (here is the second 5-Hour Baby Sweater [give or take 10 hours] with larger sleeves)

Pack yarn to take with me (Knit Picks Shine Worsted) :

And add a sample for people who ask "what are you knitting" (my first mitered square for a blanket-to-be for a nephew-to-be):

Dance around with knitted objects out of sheer joy to be "head"ing to the beach!

All done - we must be ready to go!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

It's All Gotta Go!

I had THE best time yesterday making use of Freecycle! I realized yesterday morning that it wasn't already 98 degrees by 9:00 a.m., so I scurried up the ladder to the attic to do a bit of therapeutic purging while the cool weather held. Whenever I get stymied by the lack of space in my house, I just start tossing. Watching an episode of Small Space, Big Style on HGTV just pushed me over the edge. Really - if someone can live in 430 sq. feet of space, I should be able to figure out where to put MY stuff!

So what does one do with unused skis in June - Freecycle! I was able to part with a pair of skis and poles (with their own bag), a pair of ski boots (with their own holder), 2 Elvis VHS tapes, a Fisher Price hockey/pool table, cookie cutters, a cookie press, a coffee maker, and a pair of 20 lb. hand weights (I told my sweetheart that he needed to put them away or I would - so there!). I think I started posting around 10 a.m. and everything was claimed and removed from my porch by 3:00 p.m. Woohoo! I wish losing weight were this easy!

And now I have an empty porch again. A faded door mat and pulverized sidewalk chalk never looked so good!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

5-Hour Baby Sweater

My friend, Amy, wowed me with this sweater and was nice enough to pass along the pattern. It is called the 5-Hour Baby Sweater, but that is not a guarantee. Or really even a promise. Or even very likely in my case.

It took me about 11 hours of knitting to complete what my favorite newborn baby model is sporting below (unblocked with loose ends a plenty):

The front without closures.

Detail of the back.

The south side of a north bound baby.

This pattern is fun - once you figure out what is going on (maybe the 5-hours refers to the length of time you need to spend noodling over the directions). The pattern instructions are one row per line (mostly) and you start at the neck and knit down, so the only finishing is the underarm seams. Nice!

I used Karabella Aurora 8 from Unraveled's last sale. The pattern calls for 4 oz. of worsted weight yarn using #10.5 needles. No gauge or dimensions are given. Hard core! I went down to #7s to get a nice feel on the yoke section and really liked the feel of the sweater in the st st part. I bought 4 balls of 50 g (1.75 oz.) 90 m 98 yd. yarn to have enough if the pattern was way off. I used only 2 skeins - with hopefully enough left for the modification I have planned.

If you notice, the underarms are unseamed. I think the arms are WAY too tight. I like that they are a little short, but if I can't get Big Baby's little stuffed sausage arms into it easily, no one will want to shove a squawling infant in it either. I'm planning on giving it to my nephew-to-be in California and since my brother will be a first time parent, he may appreciate my enlarging the sleeves. I'm planning to pick up stitches along the length of the arm and knit 4-6 rows of garter stitch to make a sort of sleeve gusset (and to avoid a seam). I'll let you know if it works.

Also - Amy - what about closures? There are no buttonholes in the pattern. Should I add some in my next attempt? Use snaps and buttons? Rubber bands? Help!

And hey - if it doesn't fit, it is so cute it will make a great little sweater to use as a nursery room decoration.

This project definitely falls into the to-be-continued category.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Summer of Socks

I thought I had missed the boat, but the Summer of Socks officially starts today. Oh, and so does summer. Explains why all the bathing suits are going on clearance and the trucks filled with back to school supplies have their back up alarms are beeping at the Target loading docks. No wonder I can't keep straight what season we are in!

Here is my sock project list:

1. Pink Lemonade socks - 2 at a time on 2 circs - simple pattern from Knit Picks - for ME! (or maybe my daughter is the #2 pattern strikes my fancy)

2. Smores socks - dpns - kids' pattern from a friend (thanks Mary!) - for my son

3. Jawoll Superwash denim-y socks - maybe 2 circulars - using a Sensational Socks that he'll pick - for my husband

4. Cascade Fixation - dpns - footie pattern from Cascade's site - for me

The order is going to be pretty random. I'd like to try #4 first because the heel treatment is similar to #1 and because I can wear cotton footies now - and because footie should equal quick.

Now I just need to crank out a few Leetle Bags and I'm ready to roll!

Monday, June 19, 2006

French Market Bag

A friend passed on this pattern (by Polly Outhwaite) for a square-bottom felted bag, called the French Market Bag. While wrangling the pleater, I felt I needed one in my win column. So I dug out this pattern and the skein and a half of Cascade 220 and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes and got to work on Thursday with some #6 dpns and circulars. I love the start of the bottom - reminds me of the "God's Eyes" we used to make out of bright yarn and popsicle sticks.

Here was the bag by this weekend with a full shot of the bottom. I started using up stash wool when I realized that (1) I was going to need more yarn, (2) I should have checked my gauge, and (3) I had no idea what the bag really looked like, but that I liked the shape, and what shape doesn't like stripes, especially a full bottom?

Here is the bag with a 14" needle for comparison.

Handles done and ready for the fun of felting (does this ever grow old?!).

Post felting - looking rather saggy and dark. It's more fun in person. Really.

Hanging out to enjoy the view.

I liked knitting this bag a lot. Lots of practice with continental knitting, which is finally seeming to go a bit faster than English for me (just the knit stitch, though. The purling is still dicey). I would refrain from stripes in the future - a bit much for this simple bag. The two recommended colors would work much better. Also, I'd do it again with two strands of yarn and slightly longer handles for more usefulness. Maybe even more narrow handles and make more of a decorative basket/bowl out of it rather than carrying things in it. I'm hoping this will make a fun project bag for a friend.

Now - when is that Knit Picks order coming since I have all this room in my yarn drawer?!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


How frustrating! I am working on a smocked swing top for the Sew? I Knit a-long and can't get started. It all started when I started to prepare the pleater and all the needles fell out. "No problem!", I thought. "How hard can it be to put the needles back in? My friend has helped me before. I have an engineering degree - if little old ladies can do this, so can I, for crying out loud!" (Little did I know how much crying out loud would actually take place).

After a call to my friend, I screwed up my courage for the fourth (!) attempt. I was so confident that I discovered my problem, I didn't take her sage advice to thread two and try, I did all 15. "Take that, pleater!" Here's a picture of the pleater on the floor - I am scared to move it or (you guessed it!) the needles will topple out. Again.

All lined up and ready to go (in better light, too!). So confident am I! "Ha, old ladies!"

And I'm pleatin' along and - would you look at that - no thread in my fabric - no pleating - again! Arrrgh!!

And when you get this far into the fabric, I found out that it is impossible to get the fabric out with out getting the needles out. So here they are - reverse "pleated" to the rear - a veritable needle ejector.

And I am back to square one. Again. Or is this square negative 5? Does anyone know any little old ladies that could straighten me out?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

F. O.: Magic Yarn Ball

Ever get ready to do something early, and then forget all about it? I was right on track with my Magic Yarn Ball, then completely forgot to send the ball. Here it is all wound up:

And here it is in its very own little summer pouch:

Hope my swap partner likes it!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Farmer's Market

Had a fine time this morning shopping at the Goochland County Farmer's Market. Maybe it was becasue I went solo, or maybe because it was so cute, but I had fun looking over all the spring veggies for sale. Here's what I came home with:

I got the carrots because the kids selling it were so cute. The squash should be for dinner tomorrow night. The zinnias reminded me that I forgot to plant some for the ultimate summer bouquets. And the honey is for an experiment. I read somewhere that a teaspoon of local honey a day will help desensitize you to pollen allergies. My kids got hit hard this spring, so I'll try anything. I think they'll like the new medicine!

I'm now off to populate the chair in the background, try to start a new knitting project, and hope for Squngee excitement!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Garden Friday

Our "garden" is liking all the sunshine and warm weather - things are getting a bit crazy. They also really need some water, but I was holding out for yesterday's thunderstorm and haven't gotten around to playing with the hose yet today. It's #1 on my afternoon to-do list.

While out in the yard, I took this photo of our newest squirrel teaser - it's the Squirrel Bungee, aka the "Squngee" (really). The idea is for them to jump on the corn and bounce up and down on the covered elastic cord. There is even a bell so you can be alerted when the squirrels are jumping on the corn. Sound hilarious, but we haven't seen the little guys actually eating. They have managed to devour most of two ears of corn with no witnesses. Hopefully, we'll see them soon.