14 December 2006

I'm Fetching

I've been knitting up a zillion and one Fetchings for winterhols gifts... for the teachers at preschool, for my kids, for my mother-in-law.

Everyone's favorite color is a variation on the red theme, except mine (which I haven't started yet). All are Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran.

By the third one, I figured out how to cable without a cable needle. I learned one technique from the fabulous Grumperina, but the one from Wendyknits was much easier for me to manipulate... my stitches turn out much more uniform. And being easier to manipulate means Wendy's method is faster for me to work. Christmas is coming, so I >heart< fast.

Oh. Mine? Teal.

04 November 2006

There has been much knitting of late...

...but little posting. This could have something to do with the fact that I have a full time job, a contract job, am on the board at my kids' preschool, am researching and touring kindergartens for next year, have a house to (hah) clean, and oh yeah, two girls and a husband to take care of. Oh, and let's not forget the Halloween costumage (the girls went as Dora the Explorer, both of them, so obviously Daddy had to be Boots the Monkey Buddy and Mommy was Backpack).

Knitting has been keeping me sane... I am so thankful that I taught myself to knit just this time last year. My skills have improved to the point of low-intermediate knitter-ness, and I can now knit continental, and can knit to gauge almost all the time.

In the last few months I've made two kid-size shrugs which will be auctioned off next March at the preschool fundraiser, as well as a gorgeous boatneck sweater for the baby (on that one, the stitches are so uniform it looks machine knit, if I do say so myself). I've been working the My So Called Scarf in Malabrigo merino, which is to-die-for soft; this is for an internet friend (acquaintance?) who is making me a beaded something-or-other and I want to surprise her. Oh, and lately I've been knitting various colors of Knitty's Fetching for winter gifts. Cabling, go me!

The Suss Cousins wrap cardigan is still going, ever so slowly, but I did finally get to the bind-off/cast-on which forms the first armscye, and am now plodding along the back. The work is much faster using metal circular needles, but the ones I have are hell on my hands. So I'm using the Denises instead, and it's not as fast (mohair against plastic) but at least my hands don't kill afterward. I'm still not sure I'm going to like the finished project, so my plan is to finish it by February and be able to auction it off if I decide I look like Violet Beauregard in it.

Someday I'm going to knit the Simple Knitted Bodice, which has the v-neck and the empire line that makes short, round girls like me look slightly less round and slightly less torso-impaired, but it will have to wait until I can figure out a yarn that substitutes nicely for the Tilli Tomas silk. So far the ones I've seen look best made up in the Tilli Tomas, but maybe there is something less costly out there that I haven't yet seen.

So no photos as of yet but maybe someday I will get to that item on my to do list. I'm sure it's on there somewhere.

20 August 2006

How I Knew It Would Turn Out:

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Mohair.You are a warm and fuzzy type who works well with others, doing your share without being too weighty. You can be stubborn and absolutely refuse to change your position once it is set, but that's okay since you are good at covering up your mistakes.

Take this quiz!

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17 July 2006

Just Annoyed

I'm making shrugs very similar to the pink ones that I made for my girls... these are to be auctioned off at next year's preschool fundraiser. In my head, these were one-skein wonders, but my memory has failed me because in reality, these definitely require two skeins.

So back to JoAnn's I went this morning, to buy another skein of each color, and in the space of three weeks since I bought the first yarn, they have changed it around so, for the same price as the 3 oz skein, you're now buying a 2.5 oz skein.

This makes me grumpy.

09 July 2006

Progress and FO!

I have finished the front (which may turn out to be the back, as the pieces are identical, and there is a tiny, visible-only-to-me mistake near the bottom edge) of the KAL sweater... it's turning out gorgeous, if I do say so myself, but even though I am knitting to gauge, it's going to be huge on the intended wearer. I think most 2-year-olds must be a lot bigger than mine. I suppose I should just be thankful my girls got the tall, skinny-supermodel genes from their daddy's side of the family. We're all short-rounds on my side.

And when I needed a crochet hook in order to bind off, I had to search through all my project bags to find the one with the right size. It was in with the Kittyville hat I started for my older daughter at the end of April. It was all loose ends and only needed one more ear to be completely finished. So before I bound off the first piece of the sweater, I finished the Kittyville hat. Go me! (And apologies for the blurred out face... I know it's a little creepy looking, but better safe than sorry. Hope you understand.)

04 July 2006

Happy Freaking Camper

Today, I scored. My most excellent husband came through for me and got me exactly what was on my birthday wish list. Did I mention it was my birthday??? I won't bore you with the non-knitting details, because I know that what will interest you most is that I am now the proud owner of a set of brand-new Denise Interchangeable Needles.

And I suppose this next part makes me a bad person, because even though I have several items in various states of progress already (Kittyville hat, Suss Cousins' mohair wrap, and the sweater I'm making my daughter for a KAL), I simply had to try out my new present. So I cast on for a kids' hat, using whatever was handy at my Mom's house (which turned out to be Caron One Pound 100% Acrylic No Dye Lot yarn--sigh).

Yarn snobbery aside, these needles are just amazing. I'm a better knitter already... I tried the trick where the right needle is sized to the appropriate gauge, but the left needle is the smallest of the bunch, and I can knit so fast. My stitches are uniform and beautiful. No photos to share--I would have to put down my knitting in order to get the camera!

I am so happy right now. I wish I could bottle this feeling. (And be able to apply it liberally the next time I realize I dropped a stitch about 43 rows ago.)

12 May 2006

Melty Lovey Feeling

So there hasn't been much knitting going on of late (having a full-time job, a part-time job, a birthday party to plan and hold, and teaching preschool are all getting in the way of Erica's Favorite Pastime).

But the other night, my husband was away on a business trip and my big girl, who just turned 4 this week, helped me put the little one down to bed. I told my oldest that we would have a short, 20-minute mommy time since I had been too busy to play with her earlier in the day. I figured we'd read a book or two, and maybe color a bit. When I got back from saying goodnight to the baby, J. had a plan. (She's very articulate.) She told me, “Mommy, I want to knit. And I want you to knit, too. We should get some yarn, and we will sit on the couch and we will knit and we will do it together”.

For the rest of my life, I’m going to get googley with love every time I remember this moment.

28 April 2006

Depeche Mode and Knitting

Went and saw Depeche Mode at Shoreline tonight. I never imagined being 40 at a rock concert. These days, though, I'm in good company... I'm guessing the Rolling Stones felt the same way, like, 20 years ago. Speaking of the Stones, I overheard a kid saying, "How old are these guys?" and the first thought that popped in to my head was "Younger than Mick and Keith. Older than Britney."

About 10 years ago I went to a Jimmy Buffett concert at Shoreline. I had seen him several times as a child on winter vacation in Key West, and then one day years later, someone at work had extra lawn tickets, so I decided spur-of-the moment to go. Bad move. I was expecting the fans to skew much older than me, as Jimmy Buffet's longevity rivals, well, Keith's, but I was one of the oldest people there. There were kids who couldn't have been sophomores in high school! I don't remember much of the concert, but I do remember this: one of these little embryos proceeded to drink most of a pint of her much older boyfriend's sloe gin and then dance wildly on top of everyone nearby until she puked and passed out on the lawn. The boyfriend and the rest of her group just Let. Her. Be. At that moment I swore two things: if I ever had children, they would never attend a rock concert unchaperoned, and I would never again sit on the lawn in general seating.

Earlier this week came the offer I couldn't refuse: lawn seats for Depeche Mode. This is the one group I always wanted to see in college, but was too chicken to go alone. (Most of what passed for friends back then were into Rush and Yes.) And this time I was not disappointed! [Large-scale concerts have changed a bit in the intervening years, however. Several years ago, there was a Super Bowl ad depicting a major football game like--wait for it--the Super Bowl, and a power failure happens. Pitch black playing field. Crowd goes silent. One by one, the spectators open up their cool Ericsson cell phones with the icy blue glow. And enough people have them that the players can see the field again, and they do that "ready, break" thing that football players do. Ericsson to the rescue! Game on! And tonight's concert was the same way... so many people had glowy cell phones that I was giggling remembering that commercial. Oh, and during the slow song where old folks like me would have held up their lighters, everyone held up his glowing cell phone. The times they are a-changing!]

I really enjoyed the music... couldn't stop dancing (though I did my best not to look like Elaine from Seinfeld). Dave Gahan sported lots of eyeliner and razor stubble. Loved the eyeliner. Not so much the stubble. I want to know how he stays in such great shape!

I bet at this point you're wondering what the heck this all has to do with knitting. Martin Gore sported black nail polish and this great, tight-fitting knitted hat with earflaps and a yarn mohawk.

The minute I saw it, I nearly screamed, "I can knit that! I can totally knit that!"

22 April 2006

FO Time

I finished the first of the two Girlfriend Shrugs... earlier today, I knitted up the last few rows in the optometrist's office while waiting for my eyes to dilate. It was blurry, but I managed to knit, mostly by touch, without missing a stitch. Go me! Also, it was my first time picking up a large number of stitches and knitting in the round. I guessed at how to do the join, but it seemed to work. And knitting in the round is kewl!

Here's the requisite photo showing the awwww cute eyelash yarn I used for the ribbing:

The other one only has the eyelash ribbing to go, and it goes fast. Then it's back to the Wrap-That-Will-Take-Forever.

20 April 2006

I have arrived...

Well, at least that's what I thought, momentarily, when a woman noticed me knitting on the BART train this morning and came over with her knitting to ask me a question. I didn't have the heart to tell her I've only been knitting for 6 months!

I was happily surprised to find I could answer both of her questions, and give her a tip she didn't know about. Does this mean I get a donut?

18 April 2006

Order of Battle

I'm taking a business trip to Austin, Texas next week. I've been to 46 of the 50 states, but not Texas yet. (Well, I have changed planes in Dallas once in 1995, but that hardly counts: I was in the airport the whole time and didn't even breathe real air!)

Given this background, what, do you imagine, was the first thing I did after buying my plane tickets? Did I look online for historical or cultural attractions, museums, local music venues, or exotic dining choices?


I do, however, have a Google map of all the yarn stores within a 20-mile radius of my hotel.

(And in case you're wondering: Alaska, Arkansas, Oregon, and Texas.)

13 April 2006

Miss Manners

Sometimes, it's just a crappy day. You stand in the prominently marked line at JoAnn. "Line starts here!" it says, in large, friendly letters. Sometimes, other people don't always know where to queue, and even though it's not clear whether they're lining up to get fabric cut or just ask a question, they get all frustrated when the cutting table clerk calls you first. So you let the frustrated lady go first, because (a) you were raised in the Midwest, and you can take the girl out of the Midwest, but not so much with taking the Midwest out of the girl, and (b) she has a tiny baby with her, and you're a Mom too and you remember how hard it is to shop within the confines of that delicate sleeping-baby-window. Now even though you were kind to Ms. NewMom, she ignores you and treats you like you cut in line. Despite this [refer to item (a) above], you also let queueing-impaired woman #2 go ahead of you, because she had been lined up behind Ms. NewMom when you stepped in line. And then, #2 doesn't bother to thank you either and all this rudeness makes you want to cry and give up and be a complete bitch 'cause that's, apparently, what is acceptable these days.

And then the cutting table clerk gives you 40% off even though you forgot and left your mailer coupon on the kitchen table, and Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" is playing on the radio on the way home, even though it's raining, and you found really inexpensive washable chunky yarn in the perfect color to make shrugs to match the girls' sleeveless Easter dresses. And things just don't seem quite that bad any more.

27 March 2006

How Lucky Is This?

I just finished up the first hank of the Wrap Cardigan... ended a row with just inches to spare. (This never happens to me.) I may go out and buy a lottery ticket.

Now it's time to figure out if I'm likely to finish this project with the remaining 5 hanks.

25 March 2006

What I'm Doing While I Should Be Working Out

My little noisemakers (umm... I mean, "beautiful daughters") are sleeping at last. I should be (a) working, (b) cleaning the house, (c) doing our taxes, or (d) working off those last 4 pounds, but instead, I am doing something much more satisfying: creating my knitting blog. Having only been knitting since last November, I haven't exactly paid my dues yet, so maybe I don't deserve a blog of my very own... but I'm guessing the Blog Police are busy with other, more significant blogging offenders and I can just slide on by.

More soon. Gotta go tinker with the look-and-feel, and after that, some light reading. Got a whole series of knitting books by the side o' the bed... a little try-before-I-buy, if you will.