Thursday, February 28, 2008

Don't hate me because it's warm outside

Don't hate me. But it is supposed to be 86 degrees today. 86! While much of the nation is still bitterly cold, some parts covered with snow, I am cheating Mother Nature. And The Greatest is filling the swimming pool. But don't feel sad. Its not all good news. You can take heart in the thought that when you are finally basking in the nice warm sun I will be huddled in my house with the shades drawn and an electric bill so high I'll contemplate selling Sweet Pea to pay it, desparately trying to keep cool because going outside will feel like entering the fourth ring of hell. Experience has taught me that in life there is always a downside. But for the moment there is still enough Middle-American in me to feel slightly naughty having such nice weather in February. I feel gidy and slightly sad at the thought that another winter has passed without the hint of snow. I feel awe at the thought that it is February and winter has passed. I got a sunburn yesterday sitting outside reading to the children. See, there is always a downside.

Another downside to all the fabulous weather is I don't feel like knitting. I feel like walking with the kids while they ride their bikes. I feel like taking a nap with the breeze blowing the freshly washed curtains in my bedroom. I might try being a southern belle. I feel like drinking lemonade and fanning myself like a true southern belle. Or do southern belles drink mint juleps? I should find out what a mint julup is just in case. And just for good measure, I'd better learn to bat my eyelashes and blush now that I'm thinking about it. Becoming a southern belle is starting to sound like a lot of work. Maybe I should just become a gritty southwestern babe. Do I need to learn to chew tabacco and spit for that? See there's so much I want to do. But playing with wool? Not so much. It's a good thing a have a back-log of finished knits to show off. On deck today? Grandma's Stole!


Pattern: Print O' The Wave Stole

Yarn: Patons Beehive Fingering 3-ply, 100% wool

Needles: Size 4 Addi Lace

Modifications: None, I even knit the two sides separately and grafted them in the middle. I'm so proud.


Review: Another win! The fact that this was a Christmas present and she opened a box with a half-knit shawl does detract a little from the memory. A happy Grandma on Christmas morning with her shawl would have been nicer. But in my defense I was hideously pregnant and the edging took an eternity to knit. I just couldn't get it done by Christmas morning. But that is my issue, not yours. The fact of the matter is the shawl is done. It is gorgeous. It is thin and lacey and delicate, all the things a lace stole should be. And Grandma is happy, wrapped in love. That is what matters.


And just so you don't send a lynch mob after me. Today's Baby Sweetness: Got Milk?


Monday, February 25, 2008

The Infamous Grey Hat


Pattern: The Love Child of We Call Them Pirates and Domiknitrix's Skull Chart

Yarn: Knit Picks's Telemark, 1 skein Snow Leopard, One Skein Black
Elann's Devon, 1 skein Pumpkin, for the liner

Needles: 2 Size 3 Addi Turbos

Modifications: Where do I begin with this hat. There was no pattern for this hat. I was merely instructed to knit a grey hat with a large black skull. I was excited to knit this (because how cool is that skull?!!!!) until I realized this would not be fun stranded knitting. This would mean intarsia. I would need to knit the skull in intarsia. And I am sooooo bad at intarsia. I'm sure I'd be better at intarsia now that I've got more knitting experience under my belt. But still. Intarsia is one of those knitting techniquest that makes me want to drink. But the teenage boy wanted a grey hat with a huge black skull so a grey hat with a big black skull he shall get!

So the hat would need to be knit with intarsia using one large ball of grey yarn, four small balls of grey yarn, and three small balls of black yarn. And maybe some stranded knitting for the teeth. That's a lot of string to dangle around. And it would need to be knit back and forth on straight needles instead of in the round, then seamed. Plus it would need a liner, so the liner would need to be knit first, then attatched like a knit in hem. Only that would make it harder to seam. So I would have to knit the liner, knit the hat/skull with eight pieces of yarn dangling, then seam hat and liner (praying a seam in a hat isn't too uncomfortable to wear), then sew the top of the liner in place.

The whole process made my head hurt, so I took all the yarn and stuffed it in the bottom of my knitting bag. Over the next few months I would periodically take the project out, feel faint, and promptly stuff it back in the knitting bag. I finally reached the point where my guilt over not knitting the hat was more painful the the thought of actually knitting the hat. So I pulled it out and looked it over. I reviewed my graph, my gauge measurements, my little pattern diagram. I might have died a little inside and I cast on. And I immediately frogged it. Then I cast on again. Repeat this process three more times when I had an epiphany (althought it might have been a small stroke). No need for intarsia! Knit a grey hat in the round then sew the skull on using duplicate knit. I still had to sew the liner in place when I was all done, but there was no uncomfortable seam and the skull is uber-cool! I was done in a matter of days.


Review: This is my favorite hat ever! The Greatest has already requested one, only he would like The Punisher Skull on his hat. And I guess he's been talking about it at work because he came home the other day and informed me that I will need to knit Punisher hats for his entire squad. Knitpicks has discontinued their Telemark in Snow Leopard, so I guess I'd better order some more now before they're gone.

Thank Goodness for Spell Check


See this sweet face. So tiny. So innocent. So evil. The Tiny Terrorist has declared full on war. I'm not sure what I have done to make her so angry. Am I not eating enough chocolate? Am I not using the right diapers? Or does she merely hate the comfy sleepers I insist on dressing her in because they look so, well, comfy? I can not determine the reason, but I do know I have done something to incur her wrath. And her method of torture? Extreme sleep deprivation. I know I have mentioned this before, but she really stepped it up last night, waking every fifteen to twenty minutes. She was so gassy. I didn't think baked potatoes could cause such gas in a breastfed infant. I know that soon this will all be a foggy memory, but in the meantime I wish I could write coherent sentences and remember how to spell words like incur.

There has been knitting. I have been unusually productive. The Greatest is working the nights and weekends shift. I know as a cop there is more going on during the nights and weekends, so he is very happy. I'm an very tired. He is always working or sleeping. And I now have the added duty of trying to keep the children quiet while he is sleeping. A Herculean task. I'd dare say it is against the laws of the universe for my son to use an indoor voice. I'm pretty sure they forgot to include a quiet setting on him. I wonder if it is too late to return him as broken. It's a good thing The Greatest is a heavy sleeper. I'm burning the candle at both ends between nights with the Terrorist and days with my other children and it was starting to show. So during his last few days off The Greatest did everything while I got to sit and knit and nurse the baby. He did dishes, vacuumed the floor, fed the children. It was heaven. I swear I need to get myself a full-time "House Husband." Note to self *Buy lottery ticket so I can afford a House Husband, and possibly have money to bribe the Terrorist.* I knit only small things so I have lots of knitting to show off, but I must first finish unveiling the Pirate hats. Someday my blogging will catch up to my real life and I will show things as I knit them instead of weeks after the fact. Now without further ado: We Call Them Pirates!


Pattern: We Call Them Pirates

Yarn: Knit Picks Telemark, 1 skein Snow Leopard
Elann Devon, 2 skeins pumpkin, held double stranded

Needles: 2 Size 3 circular needles (Addi Turbos to be specific)

Modifications: I knit the liner first and used it as a knitted in hem rather than knitting it after the fact and sewing it in place. So much easier this way.


Review: I love this pattern. It is so much fun to knit. Have I mentioned how much I'm loving stranded knitting right now? And it is always well received. I'm sure this won't be the last pirate hat I knit. I've already been asked to knit more. And for you knitting perverts, here's the inside.


Can you see the grey skulls? Pretty cool isn't it!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Parade of Skulls Begins

Can you believe I had the nerve to post the other day without including a baby picture? The nerve. As if anyone is here to see my knitting. I know you're only here for the baby.


Hey she's my cute sweet baby too. And she is very proud to have lost another tooth, on Valentine's Day no less (because a tooth lost on Valentine's Day is extra special don't you know). She asked her Dad last night if her missing tooth made her smile extra cute. Not really, but her enthusiasm is extra cute. I thought I blogged when she lost her second tooth. But I can't find it, so I must have remained silent with shame. When Pork Chop lost her second tooth it took the Tooth Fairy FOUR DAYS to show up. When the Tooth Fairy finally did show she left an astounding FIVE DOLLARS. It must have been a guilt gift, because I know we've always sworn our children wouldn't get more than a dollar from the Tooth Fairy. Five is just ridiculous. We are the greatest parents ever. And to add to the fun...The Tooth Fairy didn't show last night either. We told Pork Chop the Tooth Fairy must take Valentine's Day off. We are bad, bad parents. This morning Pork Chop filled her special tooth bag with the Tooth, a Valentine for the Tooth Fairy and a Sucker for the Tooth Fairy. That lady had better get her act together and show up tonight.

Enough of the bad parenting. I'm a great Santa, I'm just an especially bad Tooth Fairy. Which really is a shame. I like the Tooth Fairy's costume so much better. I've always wanted wings. Oh well. On to the knitting. I must confess. It is fun to have finished knits to show on the blog again. Makes me feel like a real Knitter with a capital K.

When I was knitting the hats for my friend I wanted to make each one different. The older children requested very specific hats, in specific colors. But the youngest merely wanted a hat with skulls like all the big boys. I wanted him to have a skull hat, but one that was uniquely his. Not just a smaller version of one of the other hats. Fellow Blogger to the resque!

Janelle at bioengiknitter created a pirate hat perfect for a tiny head.


Pattern: Pirate Hat

Yarn: Knitpicks Telemark, 1 skein black, 1 skein grey
Malibrigo, 1 skein for lining

Needles: 2 size 3 circular needles

Modifications: This hat is the hybrid of the We Call Them Pirates hat and the Jack Sparrow's Favorite Socks pattern. I didn't make an modifications beyond Janelle's modifications.


Review: Guess what? I love this hat! So does Meaty. As does Pork Chop. Linned with yummy Malibrigo left over from this hat it is just perfect for a pint-size pirate. I might have to make a few more in the near future. I'm thinking black with pink skulls for Pork Chop. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Princess Hat

Way back in the fall of last year I promised a friend I would knit her children some hats. She has teenage boys, and they wanted hats with skulls. Her toddler son needed a hat with skulls as well, so he could be a big boy. But her young daughter? She thought skulls were "yucky." So a princess hat was in order. Something with pink of course. I was unsure of what pattern to use. I debated hats with flowers, or ruffles, or ribbons. But they didn't seem right. Then I was on ravelry (big surprise) and I discovered the knitted tams from Knitty. I decided that knit in black with pink design it would be perfect for the stylish princess.


Pattern: Three Tams, Tam C

Yarn: 1 skein Knitpicks Telemark, black
1 skein Malabrigo, varigated pink

Needles: 2 size 3 circular needles

Modifications: I used size three needles to make a child size hat. I blocked the hat on a child's plate instead of a dinner plate.

Review: I am beyond pleased with this hat. It was great fun to knit. I love stranded knitting almost as much as I love lace knitting. And stranded knitting seems to go so quickly. It only took a few nights to knit. I love how the black background makes the pink pop!


I wish I had blocked it a little more aggressively. Maybe on a desert plate instead of a child's plate. But it's all good and I love how it turned out. I hear the Princess likes it too. So all is well in the land.

Mission Possible Check-In

With almost a month and a half of 2008 over and 12 tasks to complete let's see how I'm doing with Mission Possible.

1. Dad's Aran Sweater - no change

2. Sheldon x 4 - One down, three to go


All the knitting is done for this project. There's just some seaming and stuffing to do. I've already finished Meaty's turtle. Bird is so jealous she asks me everyday if I've finished HER turtle yet. There's a lot of pressure to get these done.

3. Grandma's Christmas Shawl - no change

4. Evil - no change

5. Hats x 4 - DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I did this one! They're knit, blocked, mailed and on the heads of the recipients! I'm extremely happy with the way they turned out and I'll blog them later, as Sweet Pea permits.

6. Hemlock Blanket - Soaking


I won't tell you how many days it's been sitting in that bowl of water.

7. Darling - no change

8. Socks for Meaty - I pulled the yarn out of storage for these

9. Forget Me Knot Socks x 4 - no change

10. Blue Sweater for Bird - no change

11. River Rock Scarf - no change

12. Socks for me - no change

So I've finished one task, I'm well on my way to finishing two more (Sheldons, and the Hemlock Blanket). Not to shabby considering this is my year to get nothing done. To celebrate I cast on for a sweater the other night (notice this sweater is no where on my mission possible list *shrug*).


I cast on for my current post-pregnancy/monster nursing boobs size. This might be a mistake. I won't be this size forever, but I don't know how long I'll be this size. Theoretically I could lose the weight before I finish this pattern giving me 14 inches of positive ease in a sweater meant to have 8-10 inches of positive ease. It will be huge. But if I finish before I lose the weight I'll have a sweater that is depressingly too tight, like everything else in my closet. So do I frog and knit a smaller size even if it means the sweater could be too tight for a while. Or soldier on with the larger size even if it means the sweater could be entirely too big by the time I finish?

And in today's dose of baby sweetness: BABY KISSES!


Monday, February 11, 2008

Good-bye 2008

I've read that you can kiss a year of your life good-bye when you have a baby. For an entire year you will not accomplish much, especially during the first six months. Your hobbies (and house) will collect dust. You will see your friends less often. You will look back at the end of the year and not be able to recall how you spent it.

At first I thought this was silly. I've had three children prior to this baby. Three years of my life can not be gone. I did things. I'm sure I did things. Then I tried to remember how I spent the first year of Pork Chop's life. It's a bit blurry. Then I thought of the first year of Meaty's life. Hmmmm...another fuzzy period. Bird? You guessed it. I don't remember much. I'm so glad I took pictures.

In light of this new evidence I've decided to stop fighting this phenomen. Instead I will embrace. I will blog as much as I can when I get the chance. Probably not daily like I would like. But when I can I will. I will knit as much as I can when I can. I will clean when I can. I will make dinner daily because I have to (the kids get awfully whinny when I fail to feed them at regular intervals). But laundry? I'll get to it when I can.

Part of embracing the phenomenon means I will no longer allow myself to feel guilty over the things I don't get done. If I accept the nothing as inevitable there's no reason to feel guilty. I'll just do my best. I won't feel guilty about knitting I don't get done, or blog posts that never get written. 2008 will be the year I got nothing done. And that is alright.

And because I don't think I'm allowed to post any more if I don't include a sweet baby picture...


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Why Ravelry is a Bad Bad Thing

I'm not big on Elizabeth Zimmerman. There. I said it. You now know some of the darker aspects of my soul. I do not worship at the alter of E.Z. Sure, I read Knitting Without Tears. But it didn't change my life, or my knitting. She's got some ideas about knitting. Some good, some not as good. I have never felt the need to knit a pattern of hers. Until I got on ravelry.

Ravelry, for my non-knitting reader (Hi Dad), is a knitting resource website. Sure there are message boards there, but I barely have time to type things here. When do I have time to type things there? No, I use Ravelry as more of a pattern resource. You type in a pattern and you can see all the versions the users have made of that pattern. You can see all the different yarns they used. You can click on the yarn and see all the different patterns people have knit with that yarn. Since the only thing I can do during the endless hours I spend nursing is move a mouse it is very easy for me to spend hours in Ravelry. Look at that pretty sweater *click* Look someone made it in blue with cotton *click* Look that cotton also makes the cutest baby sweater *click* Look that sweater looks even better in handpainted wool with butterfly buttons *click* Look that handpainted wool comes in a "Chocolate Cherry" colorway *click* Look that Chocolate Cherry looks great as socks *click*

You can see how I lose hours of my life just surfing, drooling over the hand knits. This becomes a very bad thing when I get fixated on a pattern. I find patterns I never knew existed and suddenly MUST.KNIT.NOW! Last fall it was the February Baby Sweater.

I wanted this sweater. I NEEDED this sweater for my impending infant (similar to impending doom but cuter). I looked at this sweater every day. I looked at all the versions of this sweater EVERY.DAY. It became an obsession. I knew my green Kool-aid yarn was destined to be THIS.SWEATER. All I lacked was the pattern.

I looked in all the local bookstores. They must share my opinion of E.Z. because they don't stock her books. I looked at my LYS. Again, no E.Z. I was trying to support the local economy but instead I simply lost precious weeks looking for the book. I was forced to order it from the internet, and being poor and unable to spring for overnight delivery, I was forced to wait another ten days for the book to arrive in my mailbox. TEN DAYS!

But arrive it did. And knit I did (remember, this was last fall when I was merely pregnant and had time to sit and knit. I think of this time as B.T. - Before the Tiny Terrorist). A few days later I was the proud owner of a February Baby Sweater.

I know, you're bored with the background. Quit Rambling, you're thinking. You're ready for the good stuff. I promised cute Baby pictures. Bring on the Baby! So here it is. One cuddly baby in a February Baby Sweater.



Isn't she the sweetest cuddliest baby in her sweater? Don't ask the details. It's been too long since I actually knit this. It was my Kool-aid yarn. Might have been a size 5 needle. Maybe a 4. I don't remember. I do remember being unimpressed with the pattern. Don't get me wrong. The results are worth suffering through it. But I found Elizabeth Zimmerman to have an unusually high opinion of herself and her own cleverness. She needed a tech editor. She doesn't mention the button holes until halfway through the pattern, although they are needed throughout. She also mentions casting on the stitches for the arms, but not at the point in the pattern when one would actually cast on the stitches. Is she merely trying to keep the knitter on their toes? Who knows. But I was unimpressed with her. There. I said it. But again, the results were worth suffering through the pattern.


And in further baby cuteness


This baby adores her brother. I think the feeling is mutual.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Feeling Honored

I love blogging. I really do. I know last year my lack of blogging might suggest otherwise. But last year was a fluke. I love blogging. I love taking pictures for my blog. I love thinking in words with more than one syllable for my blog. I love when something funny happens and I just know it will make the perfect blog post. I'll admit I'm not as good at it as I used to be. If you read the archives some of my old posts are pretty funny. Some are even a bit creative (anyone remember Boyd?). Lately, *shrug*, not so much. I'll blame that on sleep deprivation and hope in six months it gets better.

My very favorite thing about blogging is the fact that people read my blog. People actually pay attention to the things I say (because goodness knows no one around here listens to me). People actually care enough to comment. People actually like my blog enough to come back.

Someone even likes it enough to give me a "You Make My Day Award." Marie Grace of Marie Grace - Yarn Slayer mentioned me amoung the bloggers who make her day. She did mention that lately she's been reading to see the baby. Not my witty word or fabulous knitting *cheeky grin* but the baby. Who can blame her when my latest child is this sweet?


Thank You for thinking of me! I love your blog and all you designs. A well written pattern can be hard to come by and your are always extrodinary. I'm flattered you even know who I am.

As for bloogers who make my day...

Big Booty Knit - She's a bit like February 29th. She only blogs about once every four year. But it's a masterpiece when she does. I miss my knitting buddy.

Here in Topeka - My other knitting buddy. And I love her kids.

She knits shizknits - Her pictures are amazing. My blog is better because of her example.

Shut Up I'm Counting - Freaking Hilarious!

Knit Together.. Wonderfully Made - Her quiet faith inspires me. And the puppy's pretty cute too.

There are so many others I love, but I'm trying not to mention people who've already gotten the award. Sharing the love so to speak. I don't comment as much as I should on the blogs I love, but most days I'm reading while nursing, and it's all I can do to move the mouse, you can forget typing. Sweet Pea is ready to nurse as I type, so I guess I'm done for now. This


will have to wait another day.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Mission Possible

As I mentioned, I've joined the Mission Possible Revolution. The challenge is to choose 12 things in your stash, it can be UFO's or stashed yarn, or fiber for spinning if you do that kind of thing (which I don't...yet). And those 12 chosen items must be completed by Dec 31st 2008. Now completed is a rather loose term. Completed can be finished, or repurposed for another project, or donated, or even set on fire (I love this option). I have quite a few UFO's that are over a year old. So this might just be the kick in the pants I need to finish them. Here's my list

1. Dad's Aran Sweater - When last we saw the sweater it looked like this


It still looks like this. I haven't touched it other than to pack it for the move since last March. I am a bad daughter. MUST FINISH DAD'S SWEATER.

2. Sheldon x 3 - These were going to be socking stuffers for my children in 2006. That was two Christmases ago. Meaty still asks where his "yarn turtle" is. I am a bad mother. MUST FINISH TURTLES. And since I've added a child it is now Sheldon x 4.

3. Grandma's Christmas Shawl - This is the one piece of Christmas knitting I didn't get to finish in time last year. The edging on the shawl was never-ending. I actually gave Grandma a present containing a half-knit shawl still on the needles. I am a bad granddaughter. MUST FINISH GRANDMA'S SHAWL. And really all that's left is blocking.

4. EVIL - *shock* *gasp* *horror* I you're an old timer you already know what evil is. A little background can be found here and here. I really should knit the one thing my Husband has asked me to knit for him. I am a bad wife. (Although I fear "complete" in this case might really result in setting on fire)

5. Hats x 4 - One of these hats is the grey hat I mentioned the other day. I told a friend of mine last fall I would knit hats for her children. LAST FALL. I am a bad friend. Although I finally finished the last hat yesterday. They just need blocked, photographed and into the mail they go!

6. Hemlock Blanket - yet another project that is stuck waiting to be blocked. I must block the blanket.

7. Darling - I was knitting this for Bird. It is such a sweet little sweater. All I had left to do was sew on the buttons and embroider the flowers. Then in a fit of "helpfulness" The Greatest did laundry while I was in the hospital with Sweet Pea. I swear the sweater was in the "Don't ever touch this laundry or I will kill you, and I mean it!" pile, with my brand-new-very-expensive-nursing bra. But somehow both were washed and put in the dryer. The nursing bra is none the worse for the experience, the sweater is another story. I wept over the shrunken/felted sweater. Then I realized that while it was no longer a 4T sweater it retained its shape and proportions and is now more of a 12 mos sweater. It will be the perfect little sweater for Sweet Pea this winter. All I have left to do is sew on the buttons and embroider the flowers.

8. Socks for Meaty - He is so happy when I knit for him. I've been meaning to knit him some new "Blue Boy" socks for ages now. I've got some blue Tofusies that would be perfect. I just need to sit and actually do it.

9. Forget Me Knot socks x 2 - I was knitting these socks for the girls so they could have matching hand-knit socks. Plus the pattern is really cute. I knit Pork Chop's socks months ago and she was wearing the. Then one was accidentally felted in the wash (I'd like to blame The Greatest again, but that would be a lie). So I need to knit her a third sock. And knit a pair for Bird. And a pair for Sweet Pea if I have enough yarn left over. See what I get for procrastinating. Forget Me Knot socks x 2 has multiplied into Forget Me Knot socks x 3.

10. Blue Sweater for Bird - I've had some blue yarn in my stash for ages with the intention of knitting a sweater for Bird. Last night we were trolling ravelry and she picked out this sweater, but I'll have to swatch and see if the yarn likes the pattern. If not? We'll keep looking. But she will have a sweater with this blue yarn.

11. River Rock Scarf - Finally something for me. Katrina and I have planned to knit this scarf together for ages now. I've got the yarn all ready to go. She sent me the beads. I just need to send her the yarn so she'll be all ready to go. I *heart* knit-a-longs with Katrina, so this might be my favorite Mission Possible Mission.

12. Socks for me - I'm not sure which sock yarn I'll use, maybe my STR in Nodding Violet, maybe my Knitpicks, maybe my Tofutsies. I'm not sure. I don't know what pattern yet, but I'll bet it's something from New Pathways for Sock Knitter because I'm dying to knit something from that book. But I WILL knit a pair of socks for myself this year.

So there you have it. My Mission Possible list. I can't decide if it is too ambitious with two sweaters, and a third unlisted sweater in my knitting queue. Not to mention my knitting time is severly limited by this little terrorist.


She's so cute. She's my favorite little terrorist. (Why oh why wouldn't she sleep last night?) Heaven forbid she ever team up with Boyd. Together they could ruin me. But despite the obstacles I'm looking forward to the challenge.