Thursday, February 16, 2006

I Wannabe a Joiner

The eagle-eyed regular readers (Hi, all of my lovely sisters) of this here blog will notice two buttons now residing on the left side of the page. I have officially joined my first knitalong, and am checking every day to see if I have been accepted yet into the Knitting Blogs webring.

There are many knitalongs that look pretty interesting, but my meager skills and lack of stash space prevent me from joining all of them. I had to jump on the Scarf Style knitalong because Oren bought me the book for Hanukkah and I love just about all of the designs in there. I'm working on the Misty Garden pattern now, but will definitely do another. Maybe my first lace project??

I resisted joining the Knitting Olympics, thinking that I would be working on my sweater in class, which didn't match up with the Olympic deadline. Now I wish I would have because the class was canceled. But I'll be one of the cheerleaders. Go Team!

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Journey Begins

The stash rides the Metro.

[Cue: Slowly growing, progressively louder Olympic music chords]

We stand here on the edge of the Abyss. Before us stretches the unknown void; beside us only our trusty stash. Bulky and hand-dyed, the stash stands ready; and you know that working together, no sweater pattern can outwit us. The famous rallying cry echoes in our ears:

"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." -- Winston Churchill

Colinette, you have met your match. I will knit Annie as my first sweater; canceled knitting class be damned. I will knit my first sweater -- the Warmest Spoil Me Sweater of Buttery Goodness in the Whole Wide World (TM) -- BY MYSELF.

It's only fitting, since I am also a Knitting Guru, according to this online quiz. Nifty, considering tomorrow is my 3 month Knitiversary.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Because It Is There

George Mallory -- by some mountaineers' estimation the first to summit Mt. Everest -- testily replied to reporters' questions when asked why climb the world's tallest mountain, "Because it is there."

I have found the Mt. Everest of knitting.

And I must -- one day -- climb the mountain.

Until then, I am in awe of Ted and K. standing at the Gates of Hell and apparently proceeding apace. Instead of being in Base Camp waiting for them to summit and return with the story, it's more like I'm watching their progress on the Discovery Channel from the safety of my couch. But consider me a Princess cheerleader!

Then there is Grumperina, my knitting idol, who not only knit the lace, but modified the pattern and made massive corrections to the design to turn out a shawl that is absotively, posilutely beautimous.

My Feather and Fan scarf/stole is on hold, waiting for the #114 Manos del Uruguay to show up again at the LYS. I'd say I'm about 1/2 way there with the one skein and will be able to finish up with another. Since it's such a heavy yarn, I hesitate to say it's "lace" but it is a lace stitch, just worked in heavier wool. Deadline is next Saturday, Feb. 18, for an 86th birthday party. The desired accompaniment is an antique or unusual scarf clip. Ideas on where to find one?

I'm a third of the way through Elizabeth's baby blanket, too. And I am very proud to have resisted casting on for any other project. I am stuck on the idea of Fuzzy Feet to use up some Lamb's Pride Worsted in my stash. I found some grey beads that match a Rowan Cashsoft DK that will go toward my first hat project -- Grumperina's Odessa. I have another Multi-Directional Scarf that I want to knit in a Berroco yarn I already have. And I'd love to find a pattern for a kid's sweater knit in the round on some Debbie Bliss yarn that Stitch DC had on sale. Mad props to me for focusing on stash-busting!

Speaking of sales, Happy 1st Anniversary, Stitch DC! I took my first knit stitch on November 14, 2005, at the Stitch DC Capitol Hill store. The Georgetown store had a sale today that the fam and I stopped at after a nice hike near the Dumbarton Oaks. Quite the workout with a 17-lb. kid on the back and 8 inches of snow on the ground.

One of the sale items I couldn't resist was Folk Socks by Nancy Bush. Another Everest -- the Norwegian stocking pattern. And hubby dear picked up some yarn today and said he would wear socks in this yarn in the Slate colorway. Well, all-rightey then.

The reason why I'm trying to hold back with new projects is that -- cross fingers -- my knitting class starts tomorrow. My gauge swatches are ready and one big mistake has already been discovered and planned for.

When one asks for one's bust measurement, one must actually measure the, ahem, bust across the -- cough -- bust line, not automatically assume that one's, ehr, bra size, is the correct number to base one's hand-knit sweater on, mustn't one?

Um. Ehr. Yeah. Well.

Knit on.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Today's Randomness

So I've been thinking a lot today about approaching this blog post as I would have written a feature story. (In a short past life, I was a reporter for a small community newspaper.)

What is my theme? What's the nutgraph of today's activities? A short chronology:

1. Early rising with the kiddo after late turning in with husband. We stayed up to watch "The Hunting of the President." Some of the production (photo montages in particular) was annoying at first, but it was thought provoking and scary, as far as what people with money are capable of buying and having done for them.

2. Dog walking

3. Folding 7 loads of laundry. A personal family best for number of loads at one time.

4. Feeding kid homemade sweet potatoes and mangoes.

5. Getting car insurance on the Orange-mobile.

6. Lunch

7. Goodbye to hubby as he heads off to work

8. An hour of screaming by baby who is waaaaay overdue for nap

9. Reading some blogs and emails while baby finally naps

10. Dog walking and grocery shopping

11. Dinner

12. Trying unsuccessfully to load Microsoft Money

To the present trying to figure out what the purpose of today was. I think I'm having a bit of an existential crisis. Too much running through my head and I can't get my hands around expressing it. Maybe I'll knit for a while and come back when I can make more sense.

The nutgraph for this post: The baby's crying again, and sleep deprived people don't make much sense. Oh well.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Knock, Knock

(As promised...)

Q: Who's there?

A: Orange.

Q: Orange who?

A: Orange you glad you have a new orange car?!?!?!?

Okay, I planned to get the salesman to take a picture of us in front of our new 2004 Mazda3 5-door hatchback, but until Oren gets home from work with the car, the website picture will have to do.

Honestly, it's not as orange as the picture above makes it look. Mazda says it is "copper red." I swear. Really. Maybe.'s orange.

After doing a ton of research, we settled on the Mazda3 wagon as the right marriage of performance, reliability and features we needed. With a moonroof and 6-CD changer option, of course. Then it was just a matter of finding the right one. When we saw one online in Bethesda listed for under the NADA Guide's trade in value, we jumped. And scored! Whoo-hoo!

It's got only 30,000 miles and is still under factory warranty. It's very clean and, best of all, it moves like a sportscar. Zoom, zoom, indeed.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Well Looky Here

A day later update on the Original UFO:

The Feather and Fan pattern is coming out better than I expected, which you can't tell from this horrible photo taken with all the available lights in the living room pointed at the couch in the dark of night.

I know, I know, the scarf is ginormous wide -- 10in to be exact. But it is moving so fast. The yarns are really soft to work with, and I've memorized the pattern repeat.

I'm anxious that I won't have enough of the Manos, but I think I'll have plenty of the Kidsilk Haze. I'm going to try to haul ass on this project so I can give it to Sonia for her birthday celebration in two weekends. She's an incredibly tiny German lady, so I'm hoping even if it seems short, she can drape it around her neck once and it will still look good.

Cross your fingers that I'll be able to finish this knock, knock joke in a good way tomorrow:

A: Knock, knock.

Q: Who's there?

A: Orange.

Q: Orange who?

A: ????

Monday, February 06, 2006


It was the first thing I ever knitted. The scarf that we made in class. Truth be told, it's some beautiful yarn -- a Manos del Uruguay in the 114 Maroon colorway mixed with two shades of Rowan Kidsilk Haze.

It was good practice, but frustrating. The teacher taught us the single cast on and told us to practice throughout the week with the handout she gave us. Unfortunately, when I ripped out to try to practice, the cast on method on the handout was totally different (long tail cast on). I almost tore my hair out.

I knit it tight and small. At only 3-1/2 inches wide, it was going to be incredibly small for a scarf. And only after my fourth scarf did I realize that I was twisting all my stitches. Yech.

Maybe I associated all the typical beginner frustrations with this scarf. It sat all by its lonesome tucked away while I speed knitted the four scarves I made for Christmas presents. Instead of becoming Mom's present -- a mom always rates the first try -- it languished while I finished the Noro scarf, started a baby blanket and planned my first sweater.

So today, after finding out my knitting class was postponed for a week (boohoohoo), I decided to rip it, rip it good.

May I insert a note here to say that ripping out mohair is a gigantic pain in the ass?

Now I'm a few repeats into Jo Sharp's Misty Garden pattern in Scarf Style. I'm not sure yet if it's working out. Since the Manos is a lot thicker than the mohair that the pattern calls for, the scarf is coming out about 10in wide. And I'm not sure if the Feather and Fan pattern is really showing up. But we'll keep at it for a while and see how it goes.

(Love speaking in the royal "we," don't we?)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Watching the Word Clouds Go By

Everything's Going Swimmingly

Bye, bye, Honda. You've been a wonderful car. All I wanted was a car with air conditioning and a CD player to drive back and forth to work. You came along and I thought you were a little on the expensive side, considering your 92,000 miles, but you won me over with your little hatchback bubble butt.

We had a lot of good trips, and I could always count on you to get me back and forth to work reliably. But then the munchkin came along and your odometer kept turning over and over. We needed four doors and air conditioning in the same car...and preferably something with less than 150,000 miles.

So you've found a new home, and I'm sure you'll be happy. He seems like a nice guy who keeps his cars clean. Have a good life. We'll miss you.

Selling your car = $3500
Selling your car and wearing your pre-pregnancy jeans = Priceless

On top of that, Malcolm had his first swim "lesson" yesterday. He was the youngest by a year in our Parent and Child swim class. But as soon as he got in the baby pool, he splashed around and had the best time. Oren says you could tell the baby had fun because of how loud he screamed when we had to get dressed and leave. Malcolm also fell asleep as soon as we started walking home.

Knitting summary: 2 repeats out of 9 done on Elizabeth's baby blanket; sweater class starting tomorrow!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

One Weird Day

How is it that after a day of Malcolm's first swim lesson and selling my car, the only thing we can talk about is the weirdo who came and camped out at our house?

Just to get it off my chest...

So Oren got a guy lined up to sell my Honda to this morning. And after that, we decided to take a ride around some neighborhoods to look at houses. While we're riding around, we get a call from a guy who says he's driven in from Pennsylvania to look at the car. It's the brother of a guy who called about the car last weekend and said he would come look at it and never did.

Not 5 minutes after looking at the car, he tells Oren, "I don't feel good, I'm having a bad reaction to some medicine. I'm dizzy and I need to lay down." So Oren, being a good sport and having benefited from the kindness of strangers before, says sure.

Sure, for 10-15 minutes. But for two hours? Two hours he lays in the bedroom of our 550-sf apartment while we hang out with the kid and the dog in the living room. This strange dude we've never met before who comes to drive my car and doesn't and instead camps out in our apartment.

And then ASKS TO STAY THE NIGHT. He says, "I trust you guys. I just need to rest for 8-9 hours until I feel better." Oren says the options are: 1. We take you to a hospital so you can be observed by professionals or 2. We'll get you a hotel room so you can rest and leave in the morning. You CANNOT stay in our apartment. Did I mention it's only 550 square feet?

After much dithering on his part -- maybe I'll drive, maybe I can just stay here with you -- we drive him to a hotel on the way to sell the car to the guy in the morning who wanted to buy it. We buy the hotel room, Oren gives him $20 for dinner and a Metro card to get back to our neighborhood tomorrow so he can pick up his car.

The kicker: He says, "Well, can you just come get me in the morning?" Umm, NO.

So we've done our mitzvah for Shabbat. We put the poor guy up in a hotel room, fed him dinner, let him sleep in our bed and gave him a Metro card.

But stilll...


Friday, February 03, 2006

And Some Final Thoughts

I'm not sure what I'm retired from, but if I am, do I get more time to knit?

My first blocking is complete, on the Noro multi-directional scarf. I'm talking it up like it was more than the slight steaming it was, but the anxiety I had about it beforehand makes it a big deal, OK?

The blocking makes a slight difference, but just noticable enough. I think it looks good, so off it goes in the mail tomorrow to Philly as a thank you gift. Debra told Oren today that she tried to take up knitting after visiting her LYS with me, but didn't get on well with it. I'm hoping that she tries again. The first couple of weeks were hell when I started (yep, yep, back in the good ole days of November 2005), and I still haven't finished the scarf we started in class, but it taught me the value of persistence.

To bed, to bed, said Sleepyhead.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Born to Knit

Ta-da!! And here we have Mom with her new scarf...and shorts. Apparently, now that I am making cold weather goodies (scarves, etc.), I am responsible for global warning. Check out this map and #26. See?

See, that's the thing about Moms, and one of the best things about mine. She will wear, hang, frame, highlight and just generally show off A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G her children make. Just because they made them. Even if she's naturally warm all the time and it's 50 degrees out in January. Love her.

And that completes our showing-off of FOs for the time being. I officially have way more yarn in the stash than I will be able to use in at least the next 6 months unless I suddenly develop flying fingers. I'm going to work on a stash busting spree.

Have I mentioned I need a new tote bag for the Warmest Spoil Me Sweater of Buttery Goodness in the Whole Wide World (TM)? Hmm. Just did. I also think I may make an Ikea run to get my stash organized with some nice yarn boxes. We'll see what hubby can be talked into liking.

I'm blogging while listening to Cast On, the brilliant podcast from Brenda Dayne, an American expat in Wales. Someone else yammering on about knitting? I am THERE.

I can hear my husband muttering under his breath, "You mean I have to listen to someone else go on and on about this?!?!?" Well, no, if I get an IPod for Valentine's Day, I'll definitely get headphones, too. Of course, I'm just thinking of you, honey.

Happy Feast of Brigid!

It's a (silent) poetry reading in Blogland. This is appropriate for a new mother, but it's always rung true for me. My contribution:

Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening
by: Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Baby Steps

I can't get this post to come out the way I want with the pics, so I'm going to split it up by topic. So here goes...

I started a baby blanket to give to my cousin Elizabeth. She knit Malcolm a baby blanket -- his first handknit item -- and I'd like to return the favor before or near her April due date.

It's 32in worth of cast on stitches (140 to be exact) on a Size 8 Addi Turbo 40in needle. I'm using TLC Cotton Plus yarn, which I actually really like for its softness. I know, it's Red Heart, but I'm only a part-time yarn snob. The good thing is the softness, the bad thing is...the stitch definition. You can see all the wonky parts a little too well, as the photo illustrates.

The pattern calls for alternating blocks of garter stitch and stockinette stitch with a garter stitch border. It's from the Fall 2005 Knit It! magazine.

I actually am using Combination Knitting in this project. As you can see in the first block, my knits and purls were different sizes, so there's some rowing out on the stockinette blocks. But then I switched to Combination purling, just remembering to knit into the back of the stitches coming back across the row, and voila! Much more even knitting without twisted stitches. Bless you, Annie Modesitt!

In other baby news, Malcolm got an A+ at his doctor's appointment the other day. He's now 26 and 3/4 inches long and 16 lbs. 11 oz. Percentile-wise, he's small to average, but I have a feeling he'll be catching up soon. He also did very well with his next 5 immunizations. I think Oren was more bothered by the process than Malcolm.

Monday will be Malcolm's first night with a sitter too! My knitting projects class starts then, and as soon as I get some feedback on my gauge swatches, I'll show off photos of my yarn. Oh, and the baby too.