Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mission: Possible

I had a crisis of confidence, and I wasn't sure I would make it out of the first round. But my Sock Wars target has met her maker!

Alas, poor Stinky Socks.

Sorry about the poor lighting, but the weaving in of ends kept me up past midnight. And really the socks aren't two different sizes, it was just the angle the Cap'n was shooting from. But I think Stinky Socks will like her final blow. She had a great e-death scene!

Haven't heard yet from my assassin, and had a bad scare this afternoon when the postman knocked on the door, but it was a package for Slim. I expect my death blow any minute.

Need to get some sleep. Unfortunately we're traveling this weekend, so the posts will be light.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

No Doom and Gloom Here

Our internet was down for a day, and the whole time I went around saying, "I'm not dead yet! I feel much better."

I still have not heard from my Sock Wars assassin, but my target has been sweet enough to leave me emails and a blog comment. Go check out her blog and ogle her pretty sock yarn.

I'm up to the heel of my second Sock of Doom and I hope to have it done and in the mail tomorrow. Cashsoft is nice and soft, and very cushy, but I WILL NEVER knit another sock from it. The gauge is right, but my tension is really wonky and is giving me fits at the heels. Not to mention I made a mistake at the gusset last night and had to rip back four rounds, and the sock would have ended up thrown across the room behind the TV in a fit of pique, but the Cap'n saved it. The yarn splits terribly and I had to pick up each loop individually with a crochet hook and put it back on the needles. What a PITA.

(But P.S.: Isn' t the Cap'n awesome? He sat with me after he got home from work and helped me get the last few uncooperative loops back on the needles and the Socks of Doom moving again. He rocks.)

We've got a sick kiddo in the house, so we'll have to see if a Post Office visit is in my future. Last night he had a 103.7 fever and he's still out of it today. The doctor this morning did not think he had an ear infection, but said it might still come out. I think he's picked up a virus or something from the other germy kids at the park. Whatcha gonna do. He's made it 15 months incredibly healthy, so I'm grateful. But I will be glad when my happy little boy is back.

I have had a ROCKIN' 30th birthday. The Cap'n has a ball winder on order for me, and brought home Loop-d-Loop by Teva Durham. It's one of those books where easily half of the designs would look ridiculous on me, but yet I want to knit almost ALL of them. The photos are gorgeous and I am kvelling over the Fair Isle pullover knit on the bias.

Cap'n's family sent me a gift card that I used for Debbie Bliss Celtic Knits, as well as one of these. (?) I also got a gift card to buy some prego clothes for later when I get huge, too. And I still have gift cards to Barnes and Nobles and Knit Happens to use.

OK, so now is reader poll time: What yarn would you buy if you didn't have to worry about price? I am very, very tempted by some silky Alchemy yarns, but then isn't this the perfect opportunity to justify some cashmere of my very own? Decisions, decisions.

FYI, we are now decorating with yarn. I'm not going to say it's because we're out of yarn storage under the couch.

I'm just sayin'.

Thank you, Rie, for my wonderful birthday yarn!! I love it. (FYI for readers, the pink/green/cream is a superwash self-striping and the blue/green/purple is rayon. I already have a plan in mind for that one!)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

When is a WIP not a WIP?

Answer 1: When it is not on the needles

That there, folks, is one big pile o' knittin' a'waitin' for blockin'. The sweater is off the needles (for now) and is about to be spray blocked. Carrie has thrown down the gauntlet to finishing the sweater and no amount of taunting will throw me off track! Haha! (How did she deduce my vulnerability to a race?)

Blocking, however, will kill me. Why, oh why, did I not have the good sense of some *people* (ahem, again, Carrie) and block each piece as I finished it??? Ask me how long it will take extra bulky alpaca/wool to dry, go ahead! I DON'T KNOW!! But I'm guessing near forever.

Nevermind. Onward and upward. Now that it's actually starting to look like a sweater, I want to wear it already. And did I mention it's fall?

Answer 2: When it is about to be pulled off the needles and completely frogged

Last time it appeared on "As the Needles Turned," the Bamboo tank top was being looked forward to as a fun summer piece to actually be worn in the summer. May I refer you to a calendar? It's September. And the tank top hasn't changed much since this photo in July.

I have to admit, I got a little discouraged. I reached 12 repeats out of 14 on the lace border then measured it to realize, duh, I haven't got gauge. I knit so tight, I know that whatever the pattern calls for, I automatically should go up a size. But for this one, because I'm stubborn, I started in with a US4. So it's to the frog pond for the bamboo to be knit up next spring when I'm closer to being a normal size again.

Answer 3: When it is on the needles but you disavow all knowledge of said project and only work on the not-a-WIP when you are alone and not around *someone* keeping track of your WIPs with a goal of reducing WIPs


In other WIP-y news, Slim got a gold star at the pediatrician's office. He weighs a grand total of 21 pounds, 4 ounces. For those of you counting, that's still in the 5th percentile. But he's about 31 inches, which is exactly average for height. So Slim keeps his nickname.

Still not walking, but the doc said she thought he would be sometime in the next few weeks. There's nothing apparently developmentally wrong with him, he just doesn't care to walk. I told her, he can crawl over to his bookshelf and sit for 10-15 minutes just flipping through his books and "reading." If I ask him to bring me the fish book, he brings me "One Fish, Two Fish." If I ask him to bring me the dog book, he brings me "Go, Dog, Go."
So I'm not worried. He'll get around to walking one day.

Baby 2 is also still growing swimmingly. I go in next week for another appointment with the midwives.

But now for a new WIP! The Sock Wars pattern just landed in my inbox.

Death to Stinky Feet!

Knit or die!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Excitement! Must Share...

Number One:

I get a call this a.m. from my mom and stepfather, who are visiting friends in Germany:

"You would not BELIEVE the yarn store we found."

Eek! I think I'm getting sock yarn. I don't even know what brands are popular in Germany, so I hope it's one that you can't find over here. Love it. Neither of them knit, but I took my mom to visit my LYS when she was here, so she knows what I like.

Number Two:

I am finally licensed to drive in D.C.

We won't go into the trauma I've had over this, but suffice it to say, I'm keeping my maiden name for now. Until I can change my passport, then update my Social Security card, then hop three times on one foot, then jump over the car I'm planning to drive, then run around the block backward, then...well, you get the idea. Let's just say job creation in D.C. starts with bureaucracy.

Now off to Slim's 15-month appointment. I had a dream he only gained one pound, so let's hope I'm wrong.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Finally! Gauge!

Sock Wars, look out!

I finally got gauge on a US7 set of Brittany needles. The pattern called for US5s, but I got the same gauge with 5s and 6s. I didn't even know that was possible...

I called the swatch done when I ran into a KNOT in the freakin' Rowan Cashsoft. Now that would have really peeved me if I was in the middle of my assassination and ran into a KNOT. Grrr.

So I still have exactly the same amount to finish with my sweater. Sigh. And I just remembered today that I have to block it. Duh. This is going to take a little longer than I have.

And I won't be able to get to SnB at Eastern Market this week, unfortunately. Well, it's not too bad, actually. I want to go knit, but instead, I'll Stitch and Pitch (OK, a little late for this season). Cap'n's work gave him two tickets to the Nationals vs. the Braves right around the corner from us, so that's where we're headed Wednesday evening.

The sweater is NOT going with me. Any suggestions?

I'm proud to say I only have three WIPs: the sweater, the never-ending baby blanket and the Magic Loop socks. I'm going to bet it'll be the socks...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

One Down, One to Go

I promised myself I wouldn't blog again until I had an FO to show you. Luckily, that didn't take too long.

"Tripping the Welt Fantastic" Socks
Yarn: Heirloom Jigsaw 4ply (75% wool, 25% nylon), color 29
Needles: Boye US2, 2.75mmm (set of 4)
Pattern: Sensational Knitted Socks
From: Yarns Unlimited, Bloomington, IN
Started: May-ish?
Finished: Sept. 14

This was my first self-striping yarn, so I got excited and cast on for it right away on the first needles I could find while I was still in Indiana visiting family. And that's how I discovered that I (heart!) 5 dpns. Knitting with only 4 dpns was a real pain.

Gauge? I'm sorry? What? I cast on 60 stitches, and should have gone up to 66. These go on my Size 10W feet, but the YOs are r-e-a-l-l-y stretched out. Carrie just made some the exact same size for her much smaller feet, so mine are going to have to be gifts.

These are also my first top down socks, and since I had no idea how much yarn I would need, I only did 5 pattern repeats on the leg and foot. Which means I have enough yarn left over to probably make a third sock. Sigh.

Also I don't dig the garter stitch cuff. For some reason I found it to be pure drudgery on the first sock, and that's why SSS set in. It took me forever to cast on for the second sock.

Also, Kitchener stitch. Enough said.

Just kidding. I was so THRILLED (annoyed as shit) at all the OPPORTUNITIES (hellish moments) practicing my Kitchener stitch. Making the forethought heel (the bullseye pattern on the heel is one of the best things about the socks) meant I had to Kitchener the heel and the toe. That's 4, F-O-U-R, grafts. Ugh.

Sorry about the blurry pictures. Would you like to see one of the reasons why?

Slim learned how to nod his head yesterday, and thinks it's hilarious when I say 'yes,yes,yes,yes" really fast. He nods along until he gets all confused and just starts nodding and shaking his head all at once, around and around in a circle.

All that's left before Sock Wars is The Sweater. One sleeve, one collar and making up to go. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

3 Years Later...

Okay, knitting ladies (and gents), I know you'll be jealous. How many of you can say that your non-knitting spouse/partner/s.o. will sit next to you on the couch at the end of a long day of work and discuss the construction of your first sweater? And in such detail that his/her suggestions help you figure out a puzzle you hadn't been able to decipher by yourself?

How many out there have someone who will make yarn color suggestions better than you would have picked out yourself? Who encourages you to hire a babysitter and head out to SnB each week? Who will, without coercion, pick up your sock knitting books and pick out patterns he/she likes? Who BUYS you yarn more than once without any special occasion and without hints?

Who out there can say they are so lucky??


Happy 3rd anniversary, honey!!

(Plus, he's hot.) (And smart.) (And funny.)

In other news, Slim was an absolute angel today and allowed me more than an hour at the Eastern Market SnB. I had to leave when Margaret arrived, but Bryna and Marisa were still there to keep the yarny chat going. I had so much fun, I want to make it a weekly habit.

We also made an outing to Springwater Fiber to get the necessary arsenal for Sock Wars. I bought a 50g ball of Rowan Cashsoft Baby DK in Blue Boy because that was called for in the pattern, but the updated yardage given today is more than in a 50g ball of the Cashsoft. I remembered them having only one other ball of the Blue Boy, so I wanted to get it today before it disappeared.

Okay, I'll admit it, I also acquired a little something else. I couldn't help it! It spoke to me.

Doesn't your yarn whisper to you?

It doesn't?



Monday, September 11, 2006

A Bit of News

I've delurked on a couple of cool blogs and blurted out the big secret, so I thought I'd better share it here before you hear it someplace else...

Baby #2 is on the way.

Slim will have a little brother or sister come March 10. They'll be only 21 months apart. Aaiieeee! Are we insane?

I've been feeling tired, but mostly good. Just like with Slim, I really haven't had any morning sickness and so far I haven't run into the sciatica pain I had last time. Baby #2 has had a good heartbeat and passed his/her nuchal translucency test, so hopefully everything will continue along smoothly.

I've been desperately trying to avoid startitis on a number of baby things, both for new Baby and Slim. I have the Stripz pattern from MinnowKnits that I've been wanting to start for Slim before he grows out of the amount of yarn I bought for it (yikes). Wish I'd read this review first before getting the Manos Cotton Stria that the yarn shop recommended. I also have Miss Bea's Playtime from Rowan with a lot of cute sweaters that I think the babies will look good in.

But baby things will have to wait this fall. Instead I'm am arming up for:

Alright, yes, I am a slow knitter. In fact, this business about comparing SPM (stitches per minute) on some blogs has really annoyed me. But what I lack in speed, I make up for in enthusiasm. Wanna hear my Sock Wars song?

Okay, click here to hear the original version. But here's my version for you to sing along with, if you're a hard core knitter. We're going to "knit right to the wire!"

So I'm armed up with Rowan Cashsoft Baby DK in Blue Boy. I've still gotta swatch it, and I'm going with US6s, knowing my propensity to knit (ahem) tightly. Then I think I'll be ready for D-Day on Sept. 22 (the day before my 30th birthday!).

But before now and then, I'm busting my butt to get a couple of other projects finished, since I'm making the optimistic assumption that I might be in Sock Wars til it ends in November. I want to get the second Welt Fantastic sock done so I know I'll make my September Sock-a-Month 2 commitment. I hauled during nap time today and made it through the heel. This is what the couch looked like after:

Kitchener stitch bites. Hard. That's Knitting Know-How, Sensational Knitted Socks, Vogue Knitting, Knitting Vintage Socks, and Stitch and Bitch (from back to front), in case you were wondering.

And I still hate Kitchener stitch. These socks call for two grafts, one at the heel and one at the toe. Mine look particularly like ass. I'm not even going to show you the first sock, but here is the heel of the second.

And here is the Figure 8 cast-on from my last pair of socks.

This is why I dig the toe-up. The Welt Fantastic will be my first top-down pair out of 5 so far. But I know I need to expand my repertoire, so I'm sure I'll just have to kiss up to the Kitchener stitch like everyone else. Besides the Sock Goddess doesn't really do toe-up, so if I want to take on her patterns next, I'll just have to suck it up.

And the other project, you ask? What else is going on in Chez Muthaknitter? "The" Sweater. That's what. If you have recently joined our regularly scheduled programming, it is The Swearer (HAH, Freudian slip!) -- Sweater -- the Cap'n would like to see me in before my belly gets too big to fit into it. Especially considering I started it last January. See archives for prior enthusiasm about it.

I have the beginnings of Finishing Angst (TM), and besides, it's big yarn on big needles, and that makes my hands hurt after awhile. So it goes. Only one sleeve and the collar to go. Then the yummy Annie turtleneck is mine.

Phew. Back to knitting.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Summer in the City

There are many things I like about living in D.C., and just one that I don't.

But what I love is that there are so many cool things to do that are free. On Thursday, Slim and I ventured down to the Kennedy Center to catch a free show at the Millenium Stage. Guess who?

John McCutcheon. (Dad and Karen, I kid you not.)

I was introduced to his hammer dulcimer playing on family vacations, and love his folky music. In an hour show, he played piano, guitar, mandolin, hammer dulcimer, banjo and fiddle. It was awesome!! He does great music for kids and has a new CD out that is a collaboration with poets and authors.

I was going to try to get a photo of Slim and John together, but by the time the concert and CD signing was finishing up, Slim was more than ready to go. He was a perfect angel for the whole show, so I didn't push it.

This is Slim at the fountain outside the Kennedy Center in a pose that I see quite a lot of, particularly lately, but other people who are used to enjoying his lovely moments do not. Mouth open, (imagine screech or grunt here), pointing very determinedly at whatever he wants, many things of which he is not supposed to have.

He's making a lot more word-like sounds, but still not walking. Sigh. I know that I will look back on this time with fondness, remembering how easy it was when he wasn't moving under his own power into many more things he shouldn't be into, but....when is he going to walk?

Soooo other cool things about living in Slim and I went to the Museum of American History to see it before it closes for two years for renovations. We took in the Star Spangled Banner and Slim got the biggest kick out of the America Moves exhibit with trains, cars, trucks and motorcycles. If it's got wheels, it's good.

What don't I like about living in D.C.?

Well, it's been a year, and I still miss NC. I gotta admit it. I miss friends and my job and the whole vibe. I just felt like I was on top of things there, and there are still some days (maybe it's the kid?) where I just struggle to keep up here.

But I'm hoping to meet some cool new knitting friends soon! I went to last Wednesday's first meeting of an SnB at Eastern Market. The Cap'n would love for me to have other people to blather at about yarn....

Speaking of, this is a knitting blog, right? I'm almost done with the leg of the second Welt Fantastic sock, and since I'm trying project monogamy for a while, there's not much else to talk about. Blah. But hopefully I'll have a pic in the next couple of weeks. That'll give me sock for September for the Sock-a-Month KAL. Yay! Unless I start knitting faster, I'm going to have trouble keeping up with my monthly pair of socks commitment.

And the Cap'n has pointed out that cooler weather is coming, and the sweater is still languishing. First sleeve is started, so must get on that...

Haha!! I'm typing this as I listen to Cast-On. I'm rather behind, so I'm only on Episode 28. Knitta Please by Mike Bryant just came on. It's a hardcore gangsta rap song about our craft. It is hilarious!

Knitta Please!