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Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

I have to say, learning to KIP (knit in public) was fairly hard for me. I wasn’t ashamed- I’m a very proud knitter. I just don’t like being looked at. Stared at. Oogled. Whichever.

Having once been an advocate of breastfeeding (I still am an avocate, I just don’t have a baby to feed anymore), it may be hard to believe I am that anxious about KIP. I nursed in public, (NIP) with blankets and such, but NIP doesn’t actually get many stares. Dirty looks, yes, but not stares- if someone stares at that, it makes them some kinda pervert, I think.
But KIP gets looks. At first, that made me really nervous- I started to be concious of how fast I was knitting, or if I looked like a newbie. I’d make mistakes because I was so caught up in doing it right.
But recently, I’ve noticed it doesn’t matter anymore. I just do it.  And I almost enjoy the looks.  Occassionally someone will ask something: mostly people that are a bit off, sometimes drunk or kinda crazy.  I no longer mind (if fact, if you have to have a conversation with a crazy person, it helps to have a harmless topic ready at your fingertips).

Mostly I knit socks- if I have to make a long bus trip, I’ll start a simple sock the night before to take with me. Sometimes its too crowded to pull out the knitting- if you start knitting on the bus with a bunch of people still standing up, I think it kinda makes them jealous. Which could be a good thing, if you’re that kinda person. I’m not.

But I have to tell you, one day I was punished for my bold KIP. I was on a bus that was semi-busy. You know, a handful of people still standing. I had a seat, of course (I dare anyone to knit while STANDING on a bus!) so I pulled out my sock. I’m happily knitting along, and come to the end of a dp needle. I go to switch needles, and ‘pling!’ the loose needle flies up in the air, above a few heads and lands at the feet of some of these poor souls that were standing. Beet red, I had to literally crawl on the bus floor and ask a few people to move. I got back to me seat and put the rest of the knitting away, and pretended to be asleep for the rest of the trip.
It didn’t scar me though, as is evidenced by my continued KIP. I’m just very, very careful now, and only do it on the bus when I have a couple seats to myself. And I’m currently reconsidering the whole idea of dp needles being the best projects for KIP.

Now for some finished projects. First, my elephant hat. 

Not as soft or warm as I’d like, and frankly I need to loosen up when I knit with color, but still, I’m happy.  I think it looks better on me than my daughter (but don’t tell her that, please).  I’m making myself a new one anyhow- I want something sinfully soft.

Next, the cowl and fingerless gloves i’ve made for my sister for xmas:

I’m very proud of these.  I LOVE the yarn, which is so soft, I can’t bear to throw out the meter or so I have left.  I hope she likes them too. 

Finally, the socks I made for my husbands stepgrandmother (how complicated family relations are now!).

Nothing fancy, but I’m proud of them.  I love toe up socks now, and the Knitty formula I’m using, so much so that I don’t want to use anything else.  Really, not a very productive attitude.

Well, that’s it for now.  I’m off this afternoon for a yarn orgy! I’m going to Romni yarns, which has the most yarn I have ever seen!  I only have a $100 to spend (really, I shouldn’t spend it but its for xmas presents!) but I hope to come home with lots of goodies!  I’ll be dying to write about it… if I can pull myself away from actually knitting!

 

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I spend way too much time on the web, and I frequently come across blogs that are a ghosttown.  Wind whistling and tumbleweeds tumbling and all.  So why I am I so ashamed that I am the owner of such a blog?

I could argue that I have neglected it because I have self-esteem issues: “Why would anyone want to listen to me?”  Maybe that is responsible for 10%.  Give another 20-25% to just plain feeling like I have a boring life. I certainly ain’t some devil-may-care thrillseeker, or living the life of luxury and the envy of all.

But mostly it is that my children have sucked out all my braincells, which simply can’t be regrown.  It has left me to be the most forgetful person.  I always forget where I left my keys, I have no idea when my own mother’s birthday is, and I quite often call my eldest daughter George, which is her father’s name (usually when she’s being gross or a smartass.) Its not my fault.  It really isn’t.  Children simply cause early dementia.

But rather than dwell, I’ll just carry on, like nothing ever happened...

I have been knitting like crazy, since the family and I moved in June to be closer to a variety of yarn stores.  Well, we didn’t move purely for the yarn shops, but it is a definite plus.  I have already given creative yarns more money than was available in our tight family budget.  But what beauty I have gotten from it!!

ditasscarf3This was my only my second time doing lace.  It was really not as hard as I thought, and I have to say blocking is the best thing.  Not just for knitting either. 

Its made of alpaca, which is so soft you’ll never want to go back.  The lucky recipiant will be my father’s wife, and it is the first thing checked off my xmas list.

Next up, the scarf for my father:

dad's scarf2Modeled by my charming, albeit sassy, 9 year old, who insists, and I do mean insists, on modelling everything.  I will never knit pasties or a thong.

I really enjoyed this pattern, and I think my father will really like it, being that he’s a scientist and all.  The only thing cooler would have been bugs, since he’s an entomologist.  Oh, or maybe like a sound wave or something, since he studies bioacoustics (bug songs)… Since starting this, I have had so many ideas for my father, while I struggle to come up with something, anything suitable for others.  Ain’t that always the way?

One note though- this is pure wool, which is more fun to knit than acrylic, but it was not nearly as soft as the alpaca.  Every once in awhile I had to pick up something soft for awhile for a while and fondle it.  Not knit with it, just fondle it.  Try it sometime.

I planned well after the scarf though, and got to do something super, super soft.  This is a cashmere, merino and silk mix:

wendisscarfThe picture is a bit blurry (It ain’t easy to keep a kid still, even when they volunteer.  Another reason I don’t let the 3yo model stuff) but this really turned out well.  I wish the internet had touch-o-vision.

Now, the risk one runs by doing holiday gifts early, is that other gift giving occasions may arises that necessitate the sacrifice of a holiday gift.  This went to my sister for her 50th birthday.  She seemed to be very pleased, so it was worth the sacrifice.  However, I had to remove one of my checkmarks. 

And then there is this:

rileysfishhat2I am so proud of this, and at the same time I’m kicking myself for not getting a picture of it on my grandnephew’s head.  Hopefully my niece will think of it.  But it is such a fun and quick pattern, and turned out so well.  Again, not xmas- Riley had just turned 2.

I have also finished a hat for me (An elephant hat!) and a pair of socks for my husband’s grandmother, and a scarf for another sister for xmas.  All of these pictures should be forthcoming.

Well, I don’t know how interesting this post was, but at least I did it.  Now I have to give up the laptop to amuse the children.  I like to act like I resent it just a little, but I don’t, because while she uses the laptop, I am ‘forced’ to knit….HA!

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Let’s just say I’m giving it another go.

Frankly, Life got so crazy that I never had any time to knit.  I go through phases like that.  But then I realized I was depressed and that maybe part of that was because I had given up everything (read: knitting) to take care of my 3 kids (2 beautiful little girls and a big, hairy, lazy husband!). 

I’ve decided I need to knit.  It keeps me sane.  All work/servitude and no knitting make Mama something-something.

Perhaps Christmas is the cause.  In the past year (or so) I have pulled out the needles a few times to work on the master’s swatches, but frankly, they are boring, and I’m tooooooo critical of myself.  And then I make up some other excuse to quit, like I can’t find the right tags for them (happened upon them last week, so there goes that one.)

But with the holiday I realized my youngest still doesn’t have a personalized stocking.  I crossstitched one for the eldest before her first Christmas, in Winnie the Pooh, and she hates it.  Apparently, Tigger is NOT cool enough for an 8 year old.  So I’ve started to make them stockings.

I had the eldest pick out colors for them.  I’m relieved she didn’t go the red/white/green route- Too much of that is simply too much.  She chose pinks and purples for her sister, and a variety of ‘cat-friendly’ colors for herself.  Apparently hers has to contain an orange cat image. 

I discovered I love fair isle!  it makes such a thick, tidy piece without much effort.  And I’m really enjoying the bright colors.  And so far, knock on wood, it hasn’t become boring. 

It is a touch too big, but the kids won’t complain about that.  More room for the loot!!

So here is a picture of the stocking so far.  I really, really wish I could take beautiful pictures like I see on other blogs, but I don’t have the gift (or perhaps the camera).

The Fair Isle pattern on Kesara's stocking

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Okay, so I went into our lys yesterday, which isn’t really a yarn store at all, but rather a quilting store that ‘tolerates’ knitters by offering them a cramped, disorganized, ugly stash of yarn at the back of the store. I hate this store.  Perhaps hate is too strong a word- I’m not one prone to hate anyone or anything, but I seriously think the people that work in this store could use a little lesson in general manners.  Yesterday was particularly bad.  The main room is no bigger than the average size kitchen, and in the middle, taking up most of the space, is the table they use to cut fabric, and all the quilting customers sit around it. Yesterday they not only seemed to have recieved a delivery they had yet to put away, they also had invited every quilter in town, and a dog.  Yes, a dog.  Just in case it wasn’t crowded enough.  I had to say excuse me twice to get to the back of the store, and step over 2 boxes, and 1 dog.  (I am a dog lover, really I am- they could have kept the dog and tossed out a couple quilters, and that would have worked for me.)

So I get to the hideous yarn room, which is smaller than most bathrooms, and as usual all the cubbies are over packed, with many, many mixed colors and even mixed brands of yarn.  I know exactly what I’m looking for- yarn for my swatches for level 1, and I know I want Paton’s classic wool- but it takes me a few minutes to find even the worsted weight section.  Meanwhile the oh-so-helpful attendant comes over and asks if I need help, but she’s only asking because I’m in her way, so she asks with a somewhat nasty tone to her voice.  I tell her I am looking for a worsted weight Paton’s wool.  She snarkily (is that a word?) says that Paton’s sells many different wool yarns.  Uh, no, they don’t… they only sell one with 100% wool and a couple that have a wool blend, but they certainly don’t have either of those here- they try to only sell the expensive stuff at this place, since (and this is just my theory) they know that anyone desperate enough to come there for yarn will probably be willing to pay the big bucks.

She asks me what this is for, so I tell her, and of course she acts like I’m crazy, just stareing blankly.  I didn’t expect she would know what I was talking about, but I’ve worked in a yarn shop before, and if someone had told me about the Masters then, I would have been curious to know about it.  I wonder if they even know what Ravelry is?

She tells me how there are other wool yarns that can be exchanged with Paton’s, and I tell her I want the Paton’s because I know it well, and like how it knits, and really, no two yarns are exactly alike- I want to work with something I know I’ll get the result I can predict.

She leaves after that, and I find the Patons, jammed in with another yarn.  There are maybe 10 colors in the one cubby, and I can’t see a single pair that match of a light color, so I have to start pulling out balls in search.  I couldn’t even find a light beige with more than one ball!  In the end, the choice of color was made for me- its a kinda ugly yellow called ‘maize’.  I can live with it, but it reminds me a bit of creamed corn.

3 balls and 30 bucks later, I’m out of there, relieved to be away.  She didn’t even want to give me my receipt- but if I got the stuff home and decided the color was too offensive, I intended to come back.

If I only had a car, I would have gone somewhere else….

But, on the positive side, I have completed 2 swatches, blocked. They probably won’t be the final product, but I’m pretty happy with them so far.  This is the seed stitch swatch:

Seed stitch swatch try1

And this is the garter stitch with double ribbing:

Garter stitch swatch try1

 I’m not too impressed with my ribbing, but I’m working on it.  I may be a bit too particular.  I’m presently knitting the single rib and stockinette swatch, and I think my single ribbing is even uglier, but I’ve got some new ideas to try.

Just for the record, I don’t like garter stitch.  Its just not as nice as stockinette, and it grows way too slow.  Just my personal opinion.

In other news, i think I have a busy day ahead of me.  I have to get the week of homeschooling planned out today, plus prepare for the interview I have to do on Tuesday.  And tomorrow is hubby’s b-day, and even though he didn’t do anything for mine, he’s expecting us to do it up for him.  He even said he wanted an mp3 player.  Not just any one, but a specific one.  Okay, I’m a bit resentful…

I really, really, really don’t want to do this interview.  I think the fellow I’m interviewing thinks I’m a professional or something, which I’m not.  And I frankly have no idea what to ask.  I have to write about his research (he’s a university professor) and I think I can do that just fine, but I’m too shy and insecure to actually ask him all these questions.  I don’t want to be a journalist or anything, but I had to take it because we need the money.  Badly.  I wish hubby would go do something he hates for money, so he could buy his own stinking mp3 player…. but I’M NOT BITTER!! (she says, through clenched teeth).

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Here it is, the finished touch of whimsy scarf:

atouchofwhimsy scarf

I’m very pleased with it.  Not only was it my first time knitting lace, it was also my first time using wool… I will never go back!  I love wool- I love the way it feels to knit, I love the way it looks, and I even love the way it smells- even after I wet it for blocking.  I will never feel the same way about acrylic- I was helping my daughter with her first project, using acrylic, and it actually made my skin crawl to here the little ‘creak’ of the yarn as it passed over the needles.  Creeeeeepy!

My dear friend Susan will be the recipient of this effort.  It didn’t really take long to decide- originally it was meant for my stepmother, but that was back when I thought I could finish it for xmas- haha! Right!  A few other people were on the short list, but right now I need someone to be very appreciative, and I think Susan will. 

So now on to the Masters!  While my scarf blocked yesterday, I pulled out a ball of yarn and my instructions for level 1, and started reading/knitting.  Really, it was like that- I’d read for a bit, I’d knit for a bit, then I’d check the web for advice.  I tested out the first 5 or so swatches- none done to specifications, but just to see how hard the knitting would be.  And I’m pleased to say I still feel confident- sorta.  I like my seed stitch, which I had heard was really hard, and I even like how the increase swatch looks, but I found that the more concious I am of potential problem areas, the more I overcompensate and create problems.  In stupid spots too, like stockinette stitch. And my ribbing.  But now I’m not sure if I’m just seeing problems that aren’t there… what do you think:

fooling around with Master’s swatches

Again, remember they aren’t to size specifications- I have no intention of sending them in.  And they aren’t blocked.  I’m thinking of blocking them today, to see if that changes them at all, if I can get them away from the girls- apparently Barbie needed a seedstitch blankie.

It is AMAZING how much I have learned already.  One thing that seriously surprised me is that I discovered I had been twisting all my stitches!  It was an easy fix, but an embarassing mistake.  Imagine if I had sent in all my swatches like that, and had them all sent back to me! total humiliation!  In my defense, they still looked good, I think.  I’m a very tight knitter usual, so perhaps that helped.  Also in my defense, my mother taught me to knit, and when I ask her stuff now, she has no idea what I’m talking about.  I mean, she is a very practical knitter- if it works, do it.  There is nothing wrong with that, but as a result I thought I was a good knitter even before I knew about doing swatches, blocking, and now twisted stitches.

My biggest concern about doing the Masters is my organizational skills- I don’t have any.  I try, I really do.  Everyone asks if my girls are on a schedule, and other than going to bed at the same time every night, I can’t really say they are.  And my house looks like there is a place for everything, but most things have a place ‘jammed in under the sink’ or the like.  It works for me, most of the time.

 Look at that- 2 posts in a row!  Holey crap!

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the tired: Another sleepless night.  I’ve been up since 2ish, and while the offspring is finally back to sleep, there isn’t much point in going to bed myself since I have to get my other daughter up for school in 1/2 and hour.  I’m terribly worried that this is just becoming a habit for Kes….

the good: I’m so excited that I’m finally getting comments and traffic and all that wonderful blog stuff!  Hello to all my new friends!  It certainly makes me want to keep it up.  I think I mostly have Ravelry to thank for all the “referals”. I love Ravelry- its so much fun to roam around at…

Also good: I’ve finished my xmas shopping for the girls.  Whew! Now I only have a small handful to worry about.  Not so good: I had to borrow money from my father to do it. So no xmas gift from Daddy for me this year.  I really don’t mind that- its much more inportant that the girls have a good holiday. But its so depressing, and degrading, to have to ask.  I’m looking for more work, but between you and me, I really hope my hubbie gets “inspired” and decides to look for a better job, since right now I’m paying for everything, and besides he really should make more than minimum wage at his age…. grumble grumble.

I’ve been knitting away at my scarf for my nephew, and I’m really pleased with it so far:

My skull scarf

And the reverse side:

my skull scarf reverse

Since the picture was taken, I’ve finished another skull (sleeplessness has some benefits, I suppose).  I got the chart from somewhere, and I swear I’ll update this as soon as I find the link to it.  I’m very happy with it, but its taking quite awhile.  I still have to make something for my father and his wife- after borrowing money, I don’t want to buy him a gift with it- so it’ll be a busy December.

finally, the bad (although the sleeplessness and the lack of fund isn’t so great). Last night I overdid it on cold medication- I’m such a dolt!  I was desparate, so I took some of my kids nyquil, in an adult size portion, but it didn’t seem to work.  so about an hour later, I popped a couple Dristans.  WARNING: DON’T DO THAT!  I barely made it to the bed.  Seriously, I was knitting away when suddenly the room started to move and blur, and I had to put it down and go lie down.  I hate that feeling- I wasn’t much of a party-er as a teenager, and the few heavy pain pills I’ve had prescribed to me  all had a bad effect, but I didn’t expect the reaction I got.  I mean, when it comes to tylenol and advil, I take them by the handful (i’m exagerating… a bit)

Oh, I’m so tired I’m likely to embarass myself.  I should go hide myself from the world now.  Have a good day!

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I don’t mean like perverted sick (well, maybe my hubby, but that’s not really appropriate here).  I mean coughing, sneezing, sniffing sick.  My poor, poor little girl has it the worst (although i think I’m running a close 2nd, since I’m sick and I have to take care of her at 4 in the AM).  Kesara has this horrible cough, that sounds like a 20 year smokers cough.  And it has been going on so long- and my main excuse for not posting more. Seems like every other night she is up between the precious hours of 2 and 4am- side note: there are  an awful lot of commercials for penis enlarging pills on at that hour; what does that mean exactly?

So I haven’t had much sleep.  And she is so unhappy about it all, that she won’t let me out of her sight.  I’ve had to the doctors, and now she has a puffer to help… Please, to all the fates that be, let her get better so I can get some sleep and so she can got back to being my happy little girl again.

My other daughter is much more determined- she doesn’t want to admit she is sick.  But she has always had an amazing constitution, despite her severe allergic (mental) reaction to vitamins and minerals found in vegetables.

I have managed to do a bit of knitting, but I don’t have a picture yet- I’ll have it tomorrow.  I’m making a double knit skull scarf for my teenage nephew.  He may not ever where it- he is a teenager, after all- but i think he’ll like it anyhow, and my sister will love borrowing it from him.

But I do have a picture- my husband happened upon a sweater I had started YEARS ago for a friends daughter, that I finished up about a year ago and hoped to give to Kes.  But she’s so chubby, it was torture to leave it on her- I’m so sad in some ways, because my friends daughter would have loved it.  It is the singular most expensive project I’ve ever done, since it has 3 different yarns in it- I don’t remember the brand, but one had a lot of stretch, and one was a metalic thread, so they were expensive to begin with.  So now I have this extravagant sweater and no one to give it to.  I made the pattern myself too, although I’ve since lost it (thats so typical of me!).  I hope you like it: 

skinny baby sweater

The thing in the middle is a heart- it looks better in person.

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