Wednesday, December 28, 2005

On Vacay

The blog has been quiet while the boys and I traveled down to Ocracoke for the week before Christmas/Hanukkah, and now I am up in Indiana with the family. 4 FOs. Yay me!!!!

The grand total:
1. Rowan Biggy Print seed stitch keyhole scarf for Sarah.
2. Rowan Ribbon Twist K2,P2 ribbed scarf for Mike.
3. Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky in Pumpkin for Rachel, using the pattern on the ball.
4. Lion Brand Mystery keyhole scarf for Mom.

Mom got the whole kit and caboodle wrapped up in her present, because I wasn't finished with hers when I got here. So I just fringed it last night, and now it's about 50 degrees and way too warm to wear it.

I will try to get a FO family photo for my next post.

The trip to Ocracoke was relaxing and productive. I finished Rachel's scarf and started Mom's. Ocracoke is where Oren and I got married two years ago, the weekend before Hurricane Isabel struck.

The trip to Indiana has been busy, busy -- with trips to visit family and friends and make all the rounds before we fly back to D.C. on Friday. If I can, I will post more photos. I tried to find an LYS here, but so far Hobby Lobby has been my closest yarn stop.

Yesterday, my cousin Carolyn and I took a Mom's Day Out and went yarn shopping. I found a set of six needles half off because they were candy cane-striped and some yarn to practice crocheting on.

I'm also trying to teach my sister Rachel how to knit, which makes me nervous because of my Unfinished Post about the great Saga of the Twisted Stitches. I know I still have to write about that, but I need to do more research first. I also have not yet been home to receive my Annie Modesitt knitting book, which I think will help me figure out my knitting.

I just hope I can teach Rachel what I know and then she can take a class to get really good at it. She's already picked up more in one evening than I did in a week.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Well, the Snowflake Illusion scarf has turned into a swatch of nearly indeterminate pattern. What happened...

I decided to use Brown Sheep Company Lamb's Pride Worsted in Creme and Prairie Fire, which calls for Size 8 needles to get gauge. The pattern did not specify yarn, but the designer said she also used Size 8 needles. The yarn inspiration came from the Alien Illusion scarf in Stitch 'n' Bitch.

Problem #1: Gauge was supposed to be 4-1/2 sts per inch, but mine was 5 per inch. Doesn't sound like a lot, but the yarn is pretty thin, so I think it may have made the pattern too loose. The Alien Illusion designer used Size 7 needles to get gauge, so I think when I try this again, I'll get smaller needles.

Problem (OK, maybe only to Oren) #2: The online pattern, as Oren noticed when he finally looked at it, calls for an eight-sided snowflake. According to Basic Chemistry as he remembers it, unusual snowflakes can be 12-sided, but the majority are only six-sided. Don't ask me to tell you how; I last took chemistry in 1991. Look it up here.

Oren's solution: Draw me a six-sided snowflake pattern. Handy having a handy husband.

So off we go...

And what we arrive at is the snowflake pictured above, which actually turns up better in the photo than it does in real life.

Problem #3: Per the warning in SnB, one side of the swatch pulled up tighter than the other, leading to one edge that curled up and was shorter than the other. Hence the peppermill yarn weight in the photo.

The BIG PICTURE problem (#4, but who's keeping count?): I twist my stitches. Every. Single. One. Gasps of horror out there in blogland...

Twisted stitches will be blog post dos on this topic because there are larger issues with this.

Me, with larger issues??? Ha.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Two Down, Two to Go

Hooray, Hooray! Let's give a cheer...
Finished Object Number Two is here!

Oren is modeling the scarf I made for my stepdad, Mike. Forgive the flash, but otherwise it would just be a blurry white blotch on a blurry black background lit by a blurry orange light.

This was the scarf made from Rowan Ribbon Twist in Ripple on Size 19 Addi Turbos. I CO 16 stitches and did the whole 6'2" in K2,P2. Ohmygod. By a certain point, I wanted to tear out my hair, and I did commit knitting infidelity (see previous post), but now, it's finished.

Unfortunately, it has received 1 negative review. Oren says it's itchy. Hmmm. Not quite sure what to do about that. We'll see what Mike says at Christmas.

So in celebration, I've cast on for this project. This is the scarf I want to make for Mom for Christmas. We'll see how it's my first pattern, and the yarn and needles are a lot different than my previous projects.

I selected Brown Sheep Company Lamb's Pride Worsted in Creme and Prairie Fire and picked up some Size 8 Addi Turbos. First off, the yarn is much thinner and so are the needles. I've been cheating with big, fat yarn and big, fat needles to get my first two FOs complete. I picked this yarn because it's the same recommended for the Alien Illusion Scarf in Stitch 'n' Bitch.

Eek. A small crisis of knitting confidence. Can I do this???

I've still got Rachel's scarf on the needles, and I'm really enjoying the pattern. I think it's only going to be 4 or 5 foot long, because it's so wide, it doesn't need to wrap around the neck twice.

T-minus 13 days til the trip to Indiana. C'mon fingers, let's do your stuff!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Knitting Projects

That's the class I just signed up for at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. The class description says to pick a challenging project and to get through with the teacher's support. So...

I think I want to make a sweater. I haven't really started searching for patterns yet, but this is the first one that I stumbled across that I really like. Once I get the scarves done for Christmas/Hanukkah, I'm going to get my materials. I'll look for patterns over Christmas break.

I also signed up the kiddo for a Sing and Sign class. I've been using the Signing Smart with Babies and Toddlers book to try to start Malcolm on some signs. He seems to really pay attention to my hands when I sign, and I think I've picked up a couple of signs that he's given, but I think a class will help us. Plus we'll start meeting some other kids and moms.

I'm off to Springwater today to get one more ball of the Berroco Foliage in Asters. I got two balls, but then I found this pattern for a Multi-Directional Scarf on another knitblog. Thanks, Shetha! Shetha is the designer of the Alien Illusion scarf that I want to make Oren for Hanukkah. I've been checking out her blog for links to other knitters. I'm loving the whole online community that's out there.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Money. It's a Drag.

I'll see you a "sonofabitch" and raise you a "goddamn."

I freakin' hate dealing with money and budgets and stupid, goddamn expenses. It makes me want to curse like a Southeast Asian frigate sailor drugged and stuffed through a hole in the floor in the back of a bar who wakes up to find himself on a slow boat to China to work in the salt mines. (Thank you, Tom Waits, for that inspiration.)

We are preparing our papers to talk to a financial advisor, and I'm going to get Quicken for my computer. We're getting things in order -- I JUST HATE IT. I have a mindblock against math, to put it mildly.

Frankly, it makes me want to buy yarn. Lots of other bloggers seem to be talking about this kind of yarn. I like the really bright color combinations. And how about some of this so that I can learn to make socks. And how about some of this because I'm digging the hand-painted vibe.

And THIS because it's the most expensive thing I could find in my short search.

Wow. I feel better just threatening to buy more yarn.

And this, this and this.


You think I got money problems now? Ha.

Knitting Infidelity

Mr. Knitting Project, meet Mr. New Knitting Project.

The ole K2P2 ribbing was starting to drive me batty, so I decided to start working on my sister Rachel's orange scarf. I'm still going to finish Mike's -- it really is getting there -- but I needed a pattern break.

Rachel's is Lion Brand Wook-Ease Thick and Quick in Pumpkin 133. I'm using my first pair of straight needles, some Takumi Bamboo in Size 13. I really like how they feel and how the pattern is coming together. I actually like how the needles stick out from my arms, though they probably will be more difficult to handle in close quarters, like if I'm knitting in the car on the way to someplace.

The pattern for Rachel's scarf called for six rows of ribbing and then started the following pattern:
Row 1: Knit on RS
Row 2: K2, p to last 2 sts, K2
Row 3-4: Repeat Rows 1-2
Row 5: Purl
Row 6: Knit

It creates 4 rows of Stockinette st on the RS and 2 rows of Reverse Stockinette (purls). And it's R-E-E-A-A-L-L-L-L-Y-Y W-I-I-I-I-D-E. So I think it will be one that just wraps around the neck once and crosses the chest.

And I've still not started Mom's Snowflake Illusion scarf yet. Maybe I can get Mike's done this weekend, and then I'll be halfway through the Indiana projects.


We're having baby showers for my cousin Elizabeth and my cousin Ernie's wife, Rachel. So I got three balls of TLC Cotton Plus in white (it's really soft) and I thought about using my baby Knifty Knitter loom to whip out two little baby hats and then attach little pom-poms to the top.

Is that knitting infidelity too, to use a Knifty Knitter loom??

Monday, December 05, 2005

Roux-ing the Day

Yeesh, where did the weekend go? I KNOW -- into the most gigantic 10-quart pot of gumbo that has ever been made outside of Louisiana.

Oren's co-worker challenged him to bring in gumbo and chicory coffee so they could get in the mood to talk about New Orleans. Never one to let a cooking project go by, Oren found this recipe to try. I tried to talk him into the New Basics (my cooking Bible) version, but NOOOO. That would be too easy.

10 pounds of chicken
4 pounds of shrimp
1.5 pounds of crabmeat
and 3 pounds of sausage later....

That's some damn good gumbo.

However, that was not the mood yesterday in the middle of the roux. It's just a cup of oil and a cup and a half of flour, but it was the bane of my existence trying to get it to turn "milk chocolate" brown.

To the tune of "Camptown Races"

We roux-ed the day we made this roux
Roux-wah, roux-wah.
This roux we made is really rude,
Oh roux-wah way.

So after 24 hours of cooking, Oren went off to work today with a huge Le Creuset pot full of the stuff, and we still have more than half of a stockpot left.

I'm still in the middle of Mike's scarf, and if I don't finish it soon, I am going to get totally bored with it. Hopefully I'll have a finished picture to post tonight and I can start on the next project, an illusion scarf for Mom.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Mystery Solved

The clues:
1. Frequent night waking (again)
2. Additional crankiness
3. More mucus, saliva, sneezing, coughing

TA-DA!!! First tooth!!!!

That's why baby was wanting to eat thru the night while I was sick last weekend. Today his first little tooth popped through. He is still cranky, but completely the cutest kid EVER.

It's crazy how every one of his little accomplishments at this age give me such a sense of pride. Where did all that calcium come from to make that tooth? ME. Whoo-hoo!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The New Nirvana

The door to yarn heaven is in the middle of an unassuming glass storefront in Alexandria, Va., close to the waterfront. Just inside the Springwater Fiber Workshop hang rows and rows of yarn stretching high above my head. I wanted to touch every single one, and just stare at the colors.

I went there to specifically find this yarn for the Alien Illusion scarf in Limeade and Midnight Green. Then while I was there I decided to get the same yarn in Creme and Prairie Fire to make this snowflake illusion scarf, which I think will be my mom's Christmas present instead of the original knitting class scarf. I got some new Addis in Size 8 to do them both up.

But then I found THIS YARN in Asters (#5980). The shade card doesn't do it justice. It's gorgeous.

That's it.

No more yarn until after Christmas. Maybe someone will get me a gift certificate??

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The De-volution of Woman

Apparently I have devolved/recovered from my Academy days.

I am nerdier than 37% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

I Get a Kick Outta This!

OK. I am insane. I now have a new Holy Grail of knitting.

I really want to knit boots. These were just on TV on "my show." Right after a WaPo Sunday Source feature about hip knits that featured knit boots.

Must. Have. Must. Knit.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Psst, Wanna See My Stash?

I am already starting to collect more yarn than my slow fingers are going to allow me to knit up before the holidays. Today's purchase: some Lion's Brand Wool-Ease in pumpkin orange for a scarf for my sister Rachel. I was going to do this Rowan Biggy Print, but she really likes orange, so I thought she would prefer this.

I already also have this Lion's Brand Mystery in white and black, which I thought about making up for me. Also have some random boucle and fun fur that I was going to try to combine for a scarf, though I'm not sure how it will turn out yet.

And I want to find the materials to make the Stitch 'n' Bitch Alien Illusion scarf (spread 3) for Oren for Hanukkah. Here they are! I think I'm going to go here and get them. I'll take it with me to my mom's at Christmas and work on Oren's scarf.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

To Boob or Not to Boob

There is nothing that I am more proud of now than the fact that my kid can latch right on to the boob and get a nice meal of breastmilk whenever and wherever he wants it. If you had told me 6 months ago that I would have such a sense of accomplishment at something that I once thought was so simple, I would have thought you were high.

Of all the difficulties of pregnancy, labor and childrearing that I mentally prepared for, breastfeeding was not one of them. But Malcolm was 4 months old before I finally thought, "hey, I've gotten this down."

From the first week of engorgement to the [EDS NOTE: Gross description] bloody gashes on my nipples, the 4 doses of anti-yeast treatment and the Gentian Violet/Exorcist baby weekend, breastfeeding has taught me one big lesson: PERSISTENCE aka stubbornness.

To boob became my one quest. I walked around most days in the apartment topless to airdry what the Good Lord gave me and gave up some of my last shreds of dignity to attach myself to the Moo-Cow Machine (the Ameda Egnell Elite), just so he could have breakfast/elevenses/lunch/snack/dinner/late-night snack/midnight munch/Sleepers Awake stuffing.

This story is the best description I've ever seen about my experience. I laughed til I cried (or cried til I laughed?) when I read this.

I could not have made it through without the help of Pat Shelly at the Breastfeeding Center. She made me feel like I could do this. And now I am. Just whip it out, pop him on and BAM! Dinner.

So what's the point of this post?

Oren is reading aloud from "Super Baby Food" by Ruth Yaron. Malcolm is starting his first solid foods, bananas, cereal and avocados.

Time flies when you're having fun.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

My First Scarf!!

Here it is, as modeled by the yucca tree:

Made with Rowan Biggy Print 100% merino wool (100g, 33 yds) 3 balls

Addi Turbo Size 19, 32in circular needles

I bastardized two patterns after the first one I started with wasn't coming out the way I wanted.

CO 9 sts. K1, P1 to create a seed stitch. Around 40 rows (?), I started to make the keyhole with the second ball of yarn. I knit/purled first four stitches of the row, then joined second ball of yarn to finish last five stitches in the row. Stitched about 10 rows with both balls, then rejoined the two sides by knitting with second ball of yarn across whole row. BO in pattern. Fringe.

Pretty cool, huh?

A back story?

I feel like I should give more details about myself than the cheesy blogspot profile lets you enter. But first, today's knit (will try to post photos later):

Rowan Ribbon Twist (70% wool, 25% acrylic, 5% polyamide) in cream, gray and taupe. 3 balls (100g, 66yds) This is some expensive, but beautiful yarn.

Addi Turbo (wow! fast...) Size US19, 32in circular needles

A take-off on a Stitch 'n' Bitch "Ribbed for Her Pleasure" scarf (the pink one in the photo).

CO 16 stitches. K2, P2. Ad nauseum...

So far only about 5inches long, and I want to make it for my stepdad Mike for Christmas. I want it closer to 60 inches long. I am soooooo impatient.

The only reason I've gotten that much done is that Oren took Malcolm and Mia the dog out for a walk in the park and I'm recuperating from a cold on the couch in front of the TV. cough, cough...

And another thing that makes me impatient: breastfeeding in the middle of the night when I'm sick. I love my kid, but it's a hell of a time to hit a growth spurt and wake up every two hours. I'm exhausted. And yet can't stop knitting...

My back story is that I just moved to DC in July with a month-old baby, a husband and a dog into a 550-sf apartment. I'm staying home with the kid for the time being, and got an attack of craftiness. So this month I took a beginning knitting class at Stitch DC here on Capitol Hill and just finished my first project: a keyhole scarf for my sister Sarah for Christmas.

Interestingly, it's not the project that we started in class. That is still a WIP (work in progress). Theoretically, it's a scarf for my mom for Christmas. With 4 sisters, 4 parents, a baby and a husband, Christmas/Hanukkah is coming too fast this year.

Off to cook dinner. I need to find a recipe for the shrimp, scallops and squid that I got the other day at Whole Foods. I want to cook the pasta birds nests that I got too.

Where are the boys?? Last thing I heard was a call 2 hours ago from Oren as he was backtracking looking for Malcolm's hat. Let's hope he hasn't also lost the dog or the baby. Wouldn't surprise me.

testing: k1, p2, k3

This blog is going to be a place for me to vent about mothering and knitting as I try my hand at both for the first time.

Malcolm is 5 mos old and my very first finished knitting project (a keyhole scarf) is just a day old. I like how both turned out.