Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What a nice three-day weekend! I hope yours was as well. We went to Brandywine Battlefield and lovely Kennett Square on Saturday, groomed the house on Sunday (I cleaned stuff out of the gutters that was otherworldly, and not in a good way. Some of it splashed on me and I screamed like I had been burnt. Matthew thought I had fallen off the ladder.) Then yesterday, we went over to my dad's house for a little picnic, and then Gus had a playdate with his friend Joel.

I had been wracking my brains about what to make for a teacher present for Gus's teacher, Sandy. We all adored her this year, but I wasn't quite sure what was a good gift. I wanted to get her a Barnes and Noble gift card. I was thinking I'd knit her a bookmark to go with the giftcard. How hard could that be? A little lace panel, a little cable panel perhaps?

Well! I pulled out all of Barbara Walker and all of the Harmony Guides and tried 16 million different stitches. 16 million, I tell you!! And NONE of them worked! None looked right. I was getting so frustrated.

And then a miracle occurred! Sandy is a devout Red Sox fan.....why not make her a bookmark of...... red socks!!! Ta-da!!!

(that's a quarter for scale)

I started with a toe-up sock, bound off all but 2 stitches at the cuff, did 8" of 2-stitch I-cord, cast on 10 more stitches and did another sock cuff-down on the other end. Yee haw! The heels were problematic, since there weren't enough stitches to do true short rows. I just decreased down to 2 stitches, then increased back up to 6 stitches to make an hourglass shape, then sewed the sides together later.

The top of the socks on the logo looks like corrugated ribbing, but that was too fussy even for me.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Felting Frenzy!!!

I felted three things yesterday. First, Knitting Basket by Lucia Tedesco (Ravelry pattern). Lamb's Pride Worsted (more stash-busting!!)

The handles kind of wonkily curved in on themselves and felted together, which is not horrible but not quite as cool looking as in the pattern picture. I dried it with a plate on the bottom to shape it. I give this project a B+.

The second project I felted was my first try for the Fake Isle Hat. I used Noro and followed the pattern pretty much without modification. It came out way too big, even for my giant Welsh blockhead. I was going to felt it a little so that it would fit me, but then I decided I would felt it a lot and make it a bowl. So I did.

Before, big old hat:

After, little good bowl!:

My last felting project is something I want to teach as a class at the Tangled Web. Hold on to your britches!! Voila!!! Hedgehoggy Goodness!!!

I brought this into the store and we tested customers on it. If they screamed with delight and had an anyeurism (the proper reaction) we would move on to something else. If they were lukewarm, we would declare (in private) that they must be dead inside not to appreciate its incredibly high level of cuteosity.

This was a Fiber Trends pattern (I've also made the Koala and Eddie Roosevelt, which was Gus's Christmas present); I love their one-piecey fussiness. More Lamb's Pride Worsted, more stash-busting.

Happy Memorial Day, all! Drive safe and eat a lot of Rice Krispie treats!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

You know, if Blogger would let me upload pictures without so many problems, I could post more frequently. Hrmph. I have good pictures to show you! But I can't!

So anyway, why is Lisa still on "Top Chef"??? She is so extra-super-mega-negative, and is very distressing to me. I hated to see Dale go. I read someplace that three women make the finals, which means Lisa is still in it. Argh. Though that means that Spike goes, which is fine. But at this point, I think I even prefer Spike to Lisa! What's up with that??

Ryan Howard hit 2 home runs last night. He said he is trying to see the ball longer, which is exactly what he needs. Perhaps he is coming out of his horrific slump. Wily old Jamie Moyer got the win, which I love. Because even though he is considered older than old, he is still younger than me! Go Souderton's Jamie Moyer, go!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Yesterday as we were all sitting around in our pajamas, vegging out, Gus came over to me and said, "Hey, could you teach me how to knit?"


So, extremely casually, I said, "Yeah, sure." and I picked up the knitting I was working on and showed him how to do a knit stitch. He then asked for his own yarn, so we went to the yarn cabinet and he picked out some yarn. Then he wanted to know what project he could knit [my heart's about to explode at this point] and I said he could make a scarf for Eddie Roosevelt bear (the bear I made for him for Christmas). Like most kids, he picked it up pretty quickly. Unfortunately, I don't have any straight needles, so he had to deal with a twisty circular, but he was still game and stuck to it.

We were going down the shore yesterday to visit my in-laws, so I figured he would drop the knitting. But as we were getting ready to leave he said, "Don't forget my knitting! It's the most important part of a road trip!" [will he say this in college? methinks no], so he brought along his knitting and knit in the car:

He would take periodic breaks to play with his creepy Ben 10 and Skeletor monsters, and then would go back to his knitting. While we were at my in-laws, he was watching tv in the den and yelled up that I needed to come down and knit with him while we watched tv. EXTRA SUPER DOUBLE-GULP.

Here he is on the trip home. Look! He even started a second color!

I don't know if he'll pick up the needles again, but that was red letter day for me in every way.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I'm in a little bit of a slump, bloggy-wise, so I will resort to some cultural musings.

First, I am up to Book 10, "The Far Side of the World" in my Patrick O'Brian-athon. Though I love these books more and more, I'm uneasy that I'm up in double digits now. There are 20 (plus an unfinished smidge) books, so now I am on the downside of the slope and am starting to feel panicky that this series will end for me soon. I read an interview in "Vanity Fair" last month in which David Mamet named O'Brian as one of his favorite writers. I'm with you, Dave!!

Second, Jayson Werth had 3 home runs yesterday and 8 runs batted in as the Phillies stomped the Blue Jays. A truly mighty performance. Weirdly, Scott Rolen is on the Blue Jays. Unweirdly, he got booed every time he touched the ball yesterday. That's right, Scotty - we have lonnnnnnggg memories.

Third, I am deeply immersed in "Top Chef" Chicago. I will spare you my tiresome opinions about the contestants, but I will say that I want Richard or Stephanie to win. The end.

Is it uncool to like John Mayer? [never mind, I already know the answer!] But he always writes very movingly and lovingly about his parents which makes me like him. His song "Stop This Train" makes me weepy every time I hear it.

I'd like to end this post on something a little more cutting-edge than John Mayer, but I can't think of anything else to write about. 

Monday, May 12, 2008

It's All Part of the Package

I kept Gus home from school on Friday because he was coughing so much. By Saturday, Matthew said we should take him to the hospital because he thought he was having an asthma attack. Gus has shown no signs of asthma before, but Matthew has had it since he was a kid so he knows what to look for.

We took Gus to the hospital on Saturday and yep, he was having an asthma attack. We went home after treatment, but he had a bad night, and so we went back on Sunday where they treated him again. Being at that hospital always brings back a lot of sad memories, so I was in a pretty shaky state of mind watching my baby looking tiny in a hospital bed hooked up to monitors with doctors and nurses fussing after him. When he was feeling more comfortable, the nurse who was treating him suddenly turned to me, smiled wryly and said, "Happy Mother's Day!" Of course I'm already on the brink of tears but I managed a watery smile, and she said, "It's all part of the package, eh?"  Ooof. You said it, lady.

He slept comfortably last night, after asking if the steroids he was taking for the asthma would help him hit a home run in his next Cork Sox game. Ha ha - that's the other part of the package.

On the bright side, knitting-wise, spending so much time in the hospital allowed me to knit a lot. Here's what I worked on - First, this is one of the prettiest (if not THE prettiest) thing that I've ever knit:

It's not even blocked yet, and it's so pleasing!! This is the Beaded Lace Scarf from Heartstrings. laceweight in pink/red/orange combo and chartreuse beads from Bumblebeads. This is an insanely fun knit - easily-memorized lace pattern and you place beads on every wrong side row. If this were all I could knit for the rest of my life I'd be happy. Nuff said.

This second project is another prospective Tangled Web class for the fall. This is the Reversible Cable Scarf by Ruthie Nussbaum.

I've always wanted to do a Reversible Cable scarf and I like the subtle, wavy quality of this pattern.  I'm also working on a Felted Knitting Basket that I'm going to try as a class this fall, but it's just a shapeless green blob right now so I'll spare you.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

This morning I sent Gus upstairs to get ready for school while I puttered around downstairs. It usually takes him a matter of a minute or two to get dressed and brush his teeth, but I found this morning I had time to clean the dishes; I fed the cats, I straightened up the living room, I put a snack in his backpack, I endorsed a check, I organized my planner.... finally, I realized that a lot of time had gone by. So I shouted up the stairs, "Hey, are you dressed yet?"

And he appeared at the top of the stairs, still in his pajamas, and said calmly, "Oh, no, not yet. I'm still trying to see if I can lick my elbow..."

Huh. I see. How can you argue with that?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Good morning and happy Cinqo de Mayo to everyone. O frabjous day - Blogger fixed whatever was wrong with it and here is the post that's been percolating for a week:

Ooooh! Finished Objects! Finished Objects!

First, the Paisley Shawl from Folk Style.

I was carried away by the beauty of friend Neeta's version of this, even though she made some cautionary noises about the knitting of it when I first saw it. I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca (bought at Purl by the Sea in Montauk, NY). Neeta had used Ultra Alpaca Light, which is the weight that it called for, but I forgot that. This turned out to be a serendipitous mistake.

Back in January, I had an email conversation with Kate Gilbert, the designer of the shawl, about a different project. In the course of our conversation I mentioned that I had bought Folk Style solely for this pattern and she emailed back, "Oh I hated that Paisley Shawl!" Wow. I never found out why, but now I think I know. Because the paisley eyelet blobs are irregular in shape, there's no symmetry or rhythm to the knitting. I spent hours - HOURS I TELL YOU - counting the stupid little spaces in the graph on every row. Ugh. I finally got so sick of it that I just bound it off where I was. Because I used a heavier weight yarn, though, it turned out to be the size it was supposed to be. Fine. Done and DONE.

Next I finished the Marianas Pullover from Valley Yarns.

This was a stash-buster; 5-yr-old Jaeger Chamonix that had been lurking forever. It's a great yarn - very soft and smoochy - but I think if I were to make this sweater again (which I would in a heartbeat) I'd use a stiffer yarn. It's a great shape and a quick knit (love those top-downs), but it's a little floppy in this soft yarn. Modifications: I made the ribbing much deeper on the cuffs and I used garter rib on the body. Next time I'd use the garter rib on the collar to make it lay flatter. Great pattern though.

Finally, this is the Calla Lily Bag from Knitter's Book of Yarn (awesome book). This pattern had me completely kerfluffled, but I finally figured it out and here it is:

More stash-busting! Red and orange Cascade Pastaza. I think I'll teach this as a class this fall.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Hrmph. Blogger is experiencing technical difficulties with uploading photos, so I can't post my brilliant post about all the many beauteous finished objects that I have lying around. Oh the color! The stitches! The finished object-y goodness of them all! But alas, we'll all have to wait.

In the meantime, the young and valiant Sixers finally lost to the Pistons, but it was great to watch them develop as a team this year. I'm looking forward to next season with more anticipation than I have in years. 

The Phillies have been chugging along, led last night by Adam Eaton - yes, I said Adam Eaton, and Ryan Howard, whom I hope is emerging from his funk. I haven't thought of switching the flag in days!

That's all for now. Have a beautiful weekend!