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!!