One Crazy Fiber Lady

The ramblings of a fiber-affected single mother of twins who makes a living as a code monkey

One Crazy Fiber Lady

Entries Tagged as 'Lace'

Upsie Downsie

September 29th, 2005 · 7 Comments

In what is continuing to be an excellent week for lunch, I had a great one yesterday.  I had lunch with two wonderful knitting/spinning/blogging buddies, Laurie and Cassie.  We met first at Purl, moving next door to the fabulous tart place.  I can never remember the name of the place, though Laurie had purchased their recipe book earlier at The Strand.  Good deal there.  She generously treated for lunch.  After much talking combined with hearty laughter, we moved back to Purl for what knitting bloggers do best, yarn shopping.  Laurie came out with far more than I did, including two beautiful skeins of a cashmere/silk blend in a wonderful color.  I can’t wait to see the wrap she makes with it.  I couldn’t leave empty handed and returned to the office with this:

CashsoftFour skeins of Rowan Cashsoft, each in a different color and a US10 Addi Turbo.  I’m planning on knitting a Shetland Scarf for each of my kids’ daycare teachers as their holiday present.  Last year it was the booga bags, this year scarves.  I did cast on for the first one this morning during my ride in.  The lace pattern that I’m using is the New Shell pattern.  This is part of the Shetland Lace Workshop over at EZasPi.  I might, well probably will, use a different lace motif for each of the scarves.  I’m guessing it would be pretty boring after the 4th.  The yarn is just dreamy and I dare those ladies not to like them.  I think I picked some pretty user friendly colors too.  I had a fabulous time with Laurie and Cassie.  I hated leaving them to go back to the office, but I had to.  I look forward to seeing them at Rhinebeck!  Thank you ladies for a great break in the day.

Twist1bJust in case you think I threw Twist aside for the new temptresses, I have not.  I finished the back this morning on the train, before casting on for the scarf (on the PATH).  I just measured it again and am a touch concerned.  I am coming up a .5" shorter then what it measured while on the train.  I might just undo the shoulder shaping and add the couple of rows.  Or, I could hold the darn thing to my body, see if the sleeve opening is going to be deep enough and if it is, remember to modify the sleeve cap to account for the half inch difference in the opening depth.  Hmm which to do.  Yup, undo, add the 3 rows and redo.  I’ll never remember the sleeve adjustment (or will screw up the basic math) when sleeve time comes and will be faced with sleeves that don’t fit the opening. I’ll wad up the sweater parts, shove it in a bag and burry it deep in the sad closet of UFO’s.  I know what I’m doing during lunch today. 

For another chapter in the adventures of childrearing, my youngin’s managed to throw me another curveball this morning.  On top of being up 45 minutes before they normally are, they got out of their respective beds and played in their room.  I was half dressed when the noises changed and they started calling out for mama.  I decided shoot caution to the wind, let em out of their room and see what happened.  Therein lay the problem.  While they can’t open the door yet, they were able to futz with the lock and locked me out.  I don’t have those nice push button locks, I have the twisty kind and hadn’t really had to face those yet from the wrong side.  Blind luck had me opening the thing on the first test of the bathroom door before approaching there.  Beginner’s luck indeed.  I wasn’t so lucky when newly confident I tried their door, all the while listening to Alex tell me "opie" from the other side of the door.  6:45 this morning, I wound up unscrewing the doorknob and removing it entirely!  While I had the thing apart, I studied the mechanism and could unlock it with a screwdriver.  All the same, I remounted it with the lock on the outside so we don’t have to deal with this again. 

That’s how my day is running.  I think I’m going to be bold and give (S) a call tonight.  I’ll use the old "wanted to thank you again for lunch" entry point.  Can’t hurt right?

I need some input here.  I think the categories section is looking out of control.  Would anyone mind if I pared it down a tad?  There are projects there that are long completed, long ignored and link to what will be permanent UFO’s, etc.  I’m considering combining to a handful or a tad more.  Family / Beading / Spinning / Knitting – Adult / Knitting – Kids / Knitting – Gifts / Knitting – Lace / SEX .  Good idea?  Bad idea?  Should Knitting – Socks be a category too? Yes, I know its my blog and I could do whatever I want to it but I do value your opinion.

Knit on.

Tags: Adult · Family · Gifts · Lace

Once bitten

August 29th, 2005 · 8 Comments

A storm named Katrina has my thoughts directed south.  My father’s brother and his wife live in New Orleans.  My very pregnant cousin (their younger daughter) and her husband live there as well.  I got word this morning that the women headed off to Atlanta to stay with my other cousin.  I believe the menfolk are watching the homesteads.  A quiet prayer for them and for all those other in the path of this storm is needed and appreciated.

While I have no pictures, I did finally add the new socks to the WIP list.  While waiting for Elaine to arrive on Tuesday, I cast on using the Opal Rainforest in Fish.  I’m making the leg a bit shorter than normal, but short’s a relative thing.  For a change the ribbing is a 2×2 and I’m using the short row heel instead of the flap thing I normally do.  The more I knit a short row heel, the more I like it.  I hit the toe shaping this morning during my commute it so the first sock is almost done.  Hopefully the first time I post a picture of them, they won’t be FO’s!

Img_0399 I didn’t do a massive amount of knitting this weekend, but I did transfer Birchington to the new, longer Addis.  While knitting onto the new needle, I took advantage of having the extra space and took a picture of the progress.  I love shots like these with the lace clear in the front and that indistinct sac in the back.  I’m planning on doing some 8 inches of the quatrefoil pattern and then moving onto the next.  I like how it is coming out so far.  I’m aiming for this thing to be a 50" square, give or take. I saw in my referrer statistics that someone googled "Birchington Shawl Pattern".  Is there an interest in my putting a pattern together?  Other than a couple of rows on this I did no other knitting and definitely no spinning.  Eris?  Nope.  Girlfriends Swing Coat.  Nope.  Nada.  Three rounds on Birchington all weekend?  Yup.  No, the kids did actually sleep, but I was distracted.  By what you ask? 

By this…

Img_0401 I’ve been bitten by the beading bug.  Hard.  While grabbing a couple of other magazines on Friday during my errands, I hit upon the August/September issue of Beadwork Magazine.  Sitting on the couch Friday night I flipped through my new magazines, and hit this one last.  I was captivated by the whole issue.  When I finally hit page 56 and "Stony Spirals" I lost my mind and will.  I spent the rest of the evening trying to find a local bead store as I had to make it.  Now.  Couldn’t wait for stinkin mail order.  Hell, I couldn’t wait to get back into the city and head to one uptown from the office…(though tempting now …:)  After lunch on Saturday, the twins and I headed to Beads by Blanche in Bergenfield, pretty dangerously close to home.  While not as big as some of the places I visited with Elaine last week, it had a pretty decent selection, even if there was limited stroller parking.  I wasn’t overwhelmed as I had the pattern in the magazine with the requirements listed.  A starting place and roadmap to keep the wandering eyes on course.  A quick chat with the owner confirmed I gathered all the requirements.  Yay me.  She recommended a couple of add-ons, a pair of scissors, a fuzzy matt thing that would keep the beads from scattering to the four winds and a nifty tweezer/scoup double ended dohickey.  The picture shows the results of three hours at the kitchen table after the twins went to bed.  I worked on the second half during nap and bedtime last night.  Wearing it now :) Maybe a picture of it tonight, along with the sock. The pattern is a sprial rope and I did a pretty darn good job for my first threading project, if I do say so myself.

I spent the remainder of last night digging through the magazine (and another Bead mag I bought a while ago) looking for projects I could do with the supplies I had on hand.  I found something and will probably work on that.  It should keep me until my order from AuntiesBeads.com arrives – which I hope will be before the long weekend!  Just what I needed.  It at least is another hobby that involves thread of some kind so it does fit nicely with the rest.  Any guesses as to how long it will be before I start knitting with the beads?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Craft on!

Tags: Beading · Lace

Sum-Sum-Summertime

July 11th, 2005 · 3 Comments

Have I mentioned before how much I love summer?  It stands repeating.  I love summer!  I love going barefoot.  I love not wearing a jacket.  I love the water.  This weekend was spectacular (apologies to those in the hurricane zone) after that tropical depression passed here Friday night dumping loads of rain and colder temperatures, Saturday dawned bright and warm with promises of a beautiful day.  Bvdeck9The twins and I headed for my parents’ boat docked in upstate New York on the Hudson River.  The River is just a gorgeous place and someday I’ll get some pictures that do it justice.  In the meantime, this picture is one I found on the ‘net taken from the back deck of the restaurant at the marina looking out at Haverstraw Bay, a point where the river expands to 3 miles across.  My nephews were still with my parents and my sister and BIL met us all at the boat.  We spent the day sitting in the sun, nibbling and taking turns with the new JetSki that my parents purchased during the off season.  My sister, BIL and I wound up taking the Power Squadron’s Basic Boating Safety Course so that we could legally drive the JetSki.  Fortunately my parents are both accredited teachers so they could admin the course and then proctor the test.  We all passed with flying colors so now I have a boating license.  Woo.

The twins did wonderfully on the boat, slept very well on Saturday night and showed Grandma and Grandpa how nicely the can climb steps and just about everything else they encounter.  The last trip to the boat, my techie geek in training son managed to reprogram the radio so that the left side speakers no longer worked.  This time the folks turned off the power to the bridge radio :)  Other than a quick 30 minute for Kat, 15 minute for Alex nap on Saturday during the drive up, they didn’t nap at all.  This did make for some tired and cranky babies.  Alex started to nod off at dinner on Saturday night.  He’s never done it before and it was the funniest thing.  He didn’t stop eating, though I was pretty sure I’d have a kid asleep with his face in his spaghetti.  Dad gave him some lemonade and he perked right up.  They did sleep well that night! As did I.

Did I knit?  You betcha.  Nice thing about being on the boat, with my folks and my sister and her family was that there were plenty of hands to help with the twins.  What did I knit?  Oh the DDD Shawl (or Birchington as I’ve been thinking about it recently) for starters.  I started it twice in as many days.  Friday night, after getting home from work, I looked at what I had done with the white mohair/nylon blend and was happy.  I had picked up the edge stitches and futzed around with a couple of lace patterns.  I did some surfing online, searching through the collection of lace books and came up with a bunch of different motifs.  I started one but wasn’t overly happy about it.  But part of the discontent was the fabric itself.  While the kid mohair was heavenly cushy, it just didn’t seem "right" for a shetland style shawl, which is really what this was turning into.  I figured that since this was a really a rework of Stonington, that I should use a more traditional yarn, and really, I should use the yarn I was using for Stonington.  I frogged Stonington and reclaimed the Handpainted.com laceweight in the Bergamota and recast on my design after the twins went to bed.  By Saturday evening, I was a quarter of the way through what I’ve set for the center square.  There’s a but.  NO surprise, eh?  The but is that the yarn bled terribly.  Everytime I worked with it, it looked like I had been eating those darn red pistachio nuts, except it wasn’t just my finger tips, it was wherever I had touched the yarn.  I got tired of pink fingernails, wrists, back of hand (yarn runs a corkscrew around index finger, around hand, then wrist.. yes odd) and just having to deal with this mess.  I’ll wash the yarn at some point and see if I can get it to quit shedding dye on me.

You counting?  That’s two Birchingtons started and discarded.  Yup.  Nothing new here.  Okay so last night I pulled out a few more yarns as contenders to replace the Kid Mohair and the Handpainted Yarn laceweight.  Good thing I have a serious stash.  I found a bunch of skeins of Nandia Cashmere/Silk Laceweight.  I have two skeins in each of White, Royal Blue and a Lt. Grey (which doesn’t appear on the site right now) that I bought last year.  I hope like hell I have enough of one color and haven’t just made a huge mistake.  Anyway, I selected the light grey and started that.  As of this morning, I’m a 1/4 of the way through the base square, still giving thought as to the lace for the sides.  The fern pattern would fit beautifully in the trapezoidal side sections as they would both increase at the same rate but I think that would be a bit much of that pattern for even me.  I could do strips of it, set of with something much simpler, maybe Cats Paw or Strawberries.  Or do I go with a theme of lace patterns as this is Fern, I use the Pine Cone, Pine Tree, and other outdoor related motif. 

Ddd_sw1bChoices choices.  I do like how the yarn is knitting up and it isn’t a solid color.  It is a pearl grey with some darker colors interspersed.  It is making for a nice effect.  This picture was taken this morning on the train and you can see the color variations pretty well.  I’m very pleased with how it is progressing and I do think the third times the charm in this case… well as long as I don’t run out of yarn.  I think if I make it lacy enough, the more holes the less yarn necessary right, I should be able to squeek it out with the two skeins.  I guess I could do the center in this and then the sides in the white. Now that wouldn’t be bad, would it?  I’ll reassess this when I get through with the center and see if I’ve dipped into the second skein.  Never easy is it?  I do have to admit that I’m very much enjoying this challenge and designing it myself.

I might be posting a bit less this week and I have a decent sized project and a deadline to contend with.  I’ll leave you with my goofball son and his antics this morning in the car as we headed for grandma’s daycare center.

Craft on.

Alex_shoes

 

Tags: Family · Lace

Crazy is in the eye of the beholder

July 8th, 2005 · 8 Comments

Just a quick post.  I’m tired today.  I stayed up far too late last night living up to my blog  name and email address moniker.  I guess I chose it wisely.

Ddd1a_1
(picture is actually bigger than this for a change – I’m just so proud)

I finished this last night well past my bedtime.  I was up late enough to actually watch Robot Chicken on the Cartoon Network rather than catching it on ReplayTV for the first time.  I’m tired.  I doubt I’m going to have a really good night sleep until this little obsession is done.  Fellowship of the Lace anyone?

I’m pretty sure that this is big enough to form the center of the shawl.  I’m now on the prowl for good stitch patterns for the borders.  Rather than the traditional Shetland method of picking up and working each side one at a time, I’m going to do it as one.  Longer rows, but far less chance of getting bored and moving onto another project.  I compared this to the center two rounds of one of my Kerry Blue Shawls this morning while waiting for the train (yeah the shawl is folded up and stored in the door pocket of my car). 

Believe it or not, this will be the first piece I’ve designed myself.  Before blogging, I was so stuck on following patterns that I would never have dreamt of doing this, nor even replacing the hood on Alexander’s sweater.  So blogging has been good for broadening my horizons.  This challenge of Elaine’s has me pushing that boundary even further and for that I thank her, even while calling her evil for tossing a shiny pebble (My Preciousss) in front of me.  So thank you Elaine.

Craft on.

Tags: Lace

Challenged

July 7th, 2005 · 7 Comments

I was happily chugging away on my Birch Take 3 when what happens?  Elaine posts a challenge on the EZasPi group.  Why would she post a challenge?  Well, a number of us are seriously contemplating frogging our Stonington’s completely and reallocating the yarn for something different, myself included.  Poor Stonington is sitting there, languishing, in my "On the Needles" project list since 4/19.  Like the sad, untouched sock, if it isn’t being worked on, its better served being ripped.  Now add in the fact that a couple of us were now discussing Birch and Kiri patterns and comparing Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze and Madil Kid Seta.  Elaine, the evil one, posted this:

..here’s a scandinavian-design-knitted-with-fingering-weight gauntlett
dropped for you.
Birch knits from the large diagnal to the point. Kiri is the same
pattern knitted from the point to the diagnal. I double dog dare one of
you to knit both together into a large square and then pick up the
stitches around the edge and knit a border in the style of a Shetland
hap shawl.
Basically, this would wind up as a much more ‘interesting’ Stonington.
Anyone want to take up my DOUBLE DOG DARE?

And if that weren’t enough, she follows it up with a prize of 6 handmade austrian crystal stitchmarkers for the first posted picture of a finished shawl.  Since I’m just loving Birch and truly crazy, I chose to ignore all the current WIPS and take up the challenge.  Since I don’t have enough of the KSH in Blushes (currently being used for Birchx3) nor of the Moss Kid Seta to finish essentially a double Birch, I had choices to make.  As this is a race, it would have to be stash yarn, as mixing the KS and the KSH was not an option, yuppy flashbacks and all that, nor could I waste valuable knitting time waiting for a package.  Thank goodness I have a decent stash, which includes no less than 3 4 cones of Kid Mohair from Silk City in White, Brown, Pink and this melange of colors that I did try for the Pi shawl and rejected as being too busy.  Now the Brown and the Pink have both been used to make shawls while the white has been sitting unused for I would suspect years as I can’t for the life of me remember when I bought it, probably during my last full blown lace phase of 1999.  I pulled the three cones of solid colors out of the twins room (all coned yarn still lives there) as I put them down last night and began swatching.  Conveniently, my last purchase from Knitpicks had arrived and my brandy new Addi Natura was in the package. 

I started swatching with the white…

Ddd_sw1I started with a known quantity, Birch, as I’ve already cast that bugger on three times and swatched two other for it so the pattern is well established in my head.  The Silk City mohair is a good substitute for the KSH as it is the same grist, maybe a bit fuzzier and has nylon in place of the silk (from what my googling was able to return as the label is a bit sparse on the cone).  In short order I finished my swatch and dutifully took a picture for you all.  I was very happy at how the lace appeared in the yarn and as I’m lacking in a white shawl, I’m content with the yarn choice.  You can see from the bottom edge of the cone, with the remote thrown in for scale, that I don’t have to worry about running out of yarn.  After taking this picture, I went to the cast on edge and picked up the stitches to work a second Birch in the other direction to form a square.  I didn’t like the look of it and pulled it out.

Take two.

Kiri_sw1_1I then pulled out the printed copy of the Kiri pattern that I dutifully made at the office before leaving.  For some reason I had it in my head that Kiri worked from Point up to the shoulders.  If this was the case, I could Kiri up and then Birch down, modifying for that strip down the middle of Kiri.  Yeah.  Not so fast.  My little picture with Baron posing with the "swatch" kind of shows that it doesn’t have a point that I expected.  No I didn’t blow the pattern.  I checked that and started again.  Its more insidious than that and pretty obvious if you read the intro to the damn thing.  It is worked from the shoulder down but in shetland shawl style where it grows wider and forms a triangle with the cast on stitches forming the center of the shoulder edge.  Much the same way as my icelandic shawl was knitted.  While a beautiful shawl and way more satisfying than casting on 299 stitches this too wouldn’t work to create something Stonington style.

What’s a crazy fiber lady to do?  Take three…

DddchartDraft her own version where it starts in one corner and works it way to the center and back down to the corner.  I spent some time with my knitting grid paper, a pencil, eraser (wish I had a better one) and generated my own chart.  It is based on a bit of Kiri and a bit of Birch.  I need to swatch it but it looks good on paper and all stitches are accounted for.  Swatching is in the cards for this afternoon’s commute home.

On a more serious note, I was deeply saddened by the events this morning in London.  My heart goes out to those injured and condolences to those lost.  I won’t go into the misguided politics of extremists who believe that their message is being heard by acts such as these.  I won’t pretend that I was less than happy to be a mass commuter today.  So I shall leave it with a tear and a plea for a more peaceful world that I can raise my children in.

Craft on.

Tags: Lace

Charmed

July 6th, 2005 · 10 Comments

I trust that everyone has noticed that TypePad has been having some issues.  I found out the hard way when I hit the Post button.  It took forever and I never got the confirmation page, just an error page that a gateway blah blah blah.  For some odd reason I actually took the source HTML and copied it to Notepad.  That was something I did regularly back in the Blogger days but not since moving to TypePad.  Some little geeky voice in the back of my head told me to do it.  I was glad that I had after the error page popped up and backing up didn’t appear to be doing anything.  I tried posting it again.  After some delay, I refreshed my blog and voila there it was.  Then I got the comment email notification from Cate and was quite surprised that the post was up twice now.  Ugh.  I managed to delete one of those posts.  I also noticed the delays within the system when posting comments to other blogs.  Nancy fell to the effects of the "upgrade" at TypePad too.  I’ve got the thing configured so that comments are mailed to me.  They changed those darn things as well.  Instead of the Email of the commenter being used, it is now Typepad@typepad.com in the From field.  This is causing havoc in Gmail as it is an aggregator.  I loved gmail, until this morning when I read Katy’s, Nancy’s and Deb’s comments all aggregated into one thread.  Makes answering a tad difficult and just totally wrecks my filing system so you might notice in future replies that I’ve gone back to my old email addy.  Feh.  One thing I do like about their upgrade is that they doubled the drive space and bandwidth.  That’s nice.

KidsetaAlso in the nice category is that I arrived home to a package.  The crack yarn dealer that Denise mentioned in a comment last week sent the gorgeous Kid Seta yarn I ordered.  What a gorgeous yarn it is.  I quickly pulled out my Kidsilk Haze to compare the two, as I know some of you are waiting for me to do, and honestly, I can’t tell the differencd.  They are of similar fuzziness, sheen, grist, etc.  I compared the weight of the two of them are they are essentially identical.  As an aside, the pinkish/rose of Blushes and this green held together gave me preppy flashbacks of my early teen years.  I would go out on a limb and offer this up as a substitute for the Rowan Kidsilk Haze.   I’m feeling very weak in the knees… she’s got a sale on Cascade 220.  Ohm.  Ohm.

Birch1dThis is what Birch looked like when I started the "me" portion of last night.  You can see the difference between the stockinette based lace and the garter version. To my eyes, I’m much happier with the stockinette as it looks right.  The one thing I wasn’t happy about was knitting with my "wrong" hand (right).  While workable, it is frustratingly slow, though it does pick up as the project progresses, but not to the speed of the "right" hand (left).  Cate unwittingly struck on the answer for me in her comment yesterday.  She was substituting the ssk for the k2tog-tbl.  While I’ve substituted whole pattern pieces, I’ve never thought to replace stitches in lace.  Why?  No clue.  I’ve been reading the knittedlace list long enough to know that there are multiple ways of achieving the same desired effect but never really thought about messing with the pattern until Cate mentioned it.  So what to do about it?  My initial thought was to spend my commute home ripping out Birch.  Crazy?  I never claimed to be sane.  Discretion got the better of me for a change and before pulling the needles out again and losing what was an actual workable bit.  Not to mention that I was now doubly loathe to casting on 299 stitches.  Again.

Birch_swatch_1

I pulled out the Retro Red Kroy Sock yarn that has been living in my bag untouched since the last week when I ripped the sock, ready to be cast on again.  I grabbed the size 1 needles and cast on 29 stitches and began futzing around with different stitch combinations and my natural left handed eastern uncrossed knitting method trying to find the right look and feel that would match one row that I did as called for (started with two rows of garter stitch so the first pattern row had the stitches mounted in the traditional direction).  Would you believe that even with my backwards mounting of stitches, a K2tog-tbl looks identical to a K2tog-tbl when they are mounted correctly?  I was further dumbfounded to find that if I k2tog the way y’all would do it, but technically through the front loops, it looks the same as the traditional manner.  SWEET.  I was really and truly gobsmacked (to borrow a really cool phrase).  All that nonsense in moving stitches about, learning to knit with the other hand (while a good skill to know) were not really necessary! I could really follow the pattern as is.  My stitches slant in the correct direction (though backwards from a righty knitter).  K2tog goes to the left and a k2tog-tbl (or a ssk) goes to the right. After finding this, I pulled the sock needles out of the swatch, which didn’t last even long enough for a photo, and while on the train, shared Birch’s 7US with the sock yarn would produce.  This time I cast on another repeats worth of stitches and made it as far as you can see in the picture above.  Cool huh?  Birch1eWas good enough for me.

Once again, Birch was reduced to an empty circular needle, a small ball of yarn and a completely unfroggable cast on edge.  I can live with it.  It still frogs very nicely for what Cate correctly calls a fancy-pants yarn.  Birch1fWish I had a nice fancy-pants needle to go with that fancy-pants instead of a Treasure Island purchased Clover bamboo.  Could be worse I guess.  I pulled out a gross load of jump rings and set about casting back on again.  I couldn’t find the bag with all those nice little o-rings I bought at the hardware store a week or two ago, but having played with beads recently I gave some jump rings a shot.  Works nice for initial rows and I have a boatload of them.  I placed a marker every 20 stitches of cast on, changing the type of jump ring every five rings, making counting far easier.  I knit 2 rows of garter and then started the first pattern row.  Having those nicely spaced rings worked perfectly as I had far less real estate to survey should I screw up a repeat somewhere.  By bedtime I had finished the first two rows.  This morning’s commute saw to more rows go down.  I removed the jump rings on the train this morning as they were starting to get tangled in the yarn and cause more trouble than they are worth.  Not to mention that by this time, I can more than read this pattern.  Thanks Cate!  Let’s just hope that the third time’s the charm cause I’d had for that fancy-pants yarn and fancy-pants pattern to be wasted, especially considering I already have the yarn for a second Birch. ;)

Craft on!

Tags: Lace · Stash Enhancement

Back from Beyond

July 5th, 2005 · 11 Comments

Despite the well wishes and prayers from you, thank you all, the little monkey girl was feeling pretty low.  By the time I got home from work on Tuesday night, she was downright miserable and running a 103F fever.  Eyes were gunky, nose sniffly and a cough had developed as well.  I gave her some tylenol for the fever and a cough/decongestant for the rest and the warm humidifier let her sleep pretty well.  My generous monkey girl shared this nice illness with monkey boy and her mama.  By Wednesday night I was running 103F.  Alex never got that high but he was pretty darn miserable as well.  Add to that some really cruddy sleeping, well not sleeping and crying habits that had started and we were all pretty miserable.  I can’t say that I enjoyed dealing with two screaming babies at 1AM while I ran 103F. We’re all pretty much better now, but there is a touch of congestion lasting about. 

Now of course I have much catching up to do.  I can’t believe its been a week since my last post, not to mention how many posts from others I have to read…my bloglines is reading 203.  Ugh.  I’m never going to catch up.

BambooSince so many have commented about the bamboo yarn, I’m going to give a quick review.  Nancy was right, it is more like knitting with cotton than with wool.  There is no give, no stretch in the yarn so it is a bit harder on the hands than a good wool.  In that respect it is definitely closer to its plant fiber cotton buddy.  Unlike cotton though it has marvellous drape and gorgeous sheen that really reminds me of a good silk.  It is far lighter in weight than cotton too. 

Camsock1bSee, I finally got a good closeup picture of the yarn!  Curious how I managed that? Well, the frustration I was having with my digital camera, a nice functional Sony DSC-P72 that I bought shortly before landing in the hospital for my extended bedrest, finally got the better of me.  I Camsock1cspent some time comparing the available digital cameras, consulted with a few folk and wound up buying this on Wednesday.  It’s a Canon PowerShot SD400 Digital Elph.  Nice little camera that in its macro mode can focus down to 2cm.  Oh boy.  5 megapixels so it can handle taking nice scenary shots and fast enough that I can catch the fast moving twins.  I’m very content with it and the beautiful photos it took.  I used the new camera to take a nice closeup of the sock that I was knitting for it while lying on the couch on Thursday feeling very miserable.  I borrowed an iPod pattern, some of the leftover Happy Trails sock yarn, and just made it a bit smaller for Elphie.  It really is the perfect camera for a dedicated blogger ;)  It fits so nicely in my bag, even my quickie outting purse, that I have little excuse for not having it.  I have oodles of photos that are jockeying right now for posting position.

I did do some knitting, other than Elphie’s sock, and worked on Birch a little on Thursday after my doctor’s appointment.  (Yes I was feeling bad enough to go to the doctor.)  After getting to the third repeat, I realized it wasn’t the needles or my technique that was causing my Birch to not look like the others out there.  It was the fact that I was doing the garter based version, while I’m guessing most others worked the stockinette version.  See I chose the garter because of my goofy knitting technique which mounts the stitches backwards on the needle.  While for a straight stockinette that doesn’t pose much of a problem.  Birch1bI’ve just adjusted my way of thinking about knits and purls to approach them from the leading edge of the stitch rather than through the front/back/etc.  Now it does pose a problem with lace and where a K2Tog is different from a SSK.  SSK is easy for me as I don’t have to slip anything.  The stitches are already aligned properly for that.  Its the K2Tog that I have to slip slip and then k2tog.  The pattern in Birch has a k2tog and a k2togTBL, both of which would have had me slipping stitches all over the place and I really didn’t want to do that so I jumped on the whole garter thing.  I really didn’t like how it was coming out though.  Birch1cI pulled the needles out and took that picture.  The Kidsilk Haze was a bit of a pain to frog, but as you can see, I did manage it.  I was hesitant to do this as I was really loathe to cast on 299 stitches again.  I sucked it up though and while the weekend is a big haze as to when I did what, I’m pretty sure I cast on Friday night while sitting with my rented dvds and went to it.  I saw Open Water and Bridget Jones:  Edge of Reason on Friday.  The first wasn’t really a good lace knitting movie as much of it was visual, they were both very good in totally different ways.  Birch has once again taken up residence in my purse as I picked up a size 7 Clover circular needle this weekend.  What am I doing differently with this attempt?  I’m knitting right handed English so my stitches are correct and I don’t have to slip all over.  I fought to develop the right handed knitting last year so that I could make this, pretty much for the same reason.  While my right handed speed is no where near my left handed version, it does work and I’m through one repeat of the pattern now.  Surprisingly there are no pictures of the second go ’round yet.

While I didn’t knit a stitch Sunday and Monday, I was certainly not idle.  No way a mom with twin toddlers could be idle, eh? :)  The weather was spectacular this weekend, and because I had had a change of plans after releasing the mother’s helper, I took the twins to the pool singlehanded.  While scary much in the same way as going to Maryland was scary, we came through it with flyer colors.  Here are a few shots of the pool, the twins, the twins and the pool…

Pool3Pool4Pool5I think the monkeys enjoyed it.  I know I did.  Once we got past the velcro stage where Kat had to maintain full body contact and cried "mama" the whol time.  Thankfully she did disengage and let herself have some fun.  You can see the nicely fenced off baby section of the pool.  Even at its deepest it is still perfect for the twins as it is about their waist.  I also introduced them to the joys of a Good Humor Ice Cream Sandwich when the snack bar near the baby area opened.  No pictures as I was busy enough trying to juggle twins, sandwiches and money.  We did have a scary moment when Alex didn’t realize there was no back to the picnic bench and nearly went over head first.  No harm no foul.

Craft on!

Tags: Family · Lace

Summertime

June 27th, 2005 · 5 Comments

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  It was hot and humid here all weekend, temps well into the 90′s both days.  The monkeys and I spent a goodly amount of time here:

MemorialpoolWhile not a picture I took (as I couldn’t remember to put my camera in the bag either day) it does give you a vague impression of the pool.  My googling skills are being challenged today as I can’t seem to find any specifications on this pool.  It is a rather large, sand bottom pool located near one of the town’s middle schools and borders on the Passaic River.  The baby area is a small slice that is fenced in and came to just about my knees at the very deepest part of it.  It was a perfect depth for the twins.  I could even sit with the level below my shoulders and one of the monkeys could sit in my lap.  I brought sand toys and they alternated between sitting on the curb of the pool and playing in the sand and wading around in the water.  We all got some good fresh air, plenty of sunshine and a little bit of color.  It was a beautiful weekend. 

Best part of the weekend?  MOTHER’S HELPER!  What a fabulous concept that is.  J is a great girl.  She just graduated 8th grade last week and has spent the last year or so working at their daycare center after school so the twins know her pretty well.  J’s mom is their 8-3 teacher at the center and has been since they started at 12 weeks of age.  They live pretty much around the corner from me and mom will drop off J when I ask.  I’m having J babysit on Friday (the daycare center is closed this week for vacation) to cover a half day for me rather than take a full vacation day.  Which reminds me, I need to check if my sister is going to be around so that I can leave her number as an emergency.  Having J with me at the pool was just invaluable.  Kat got a bit upset yesterday and being able to sit with her on the blanket in the shade while J was in the pool with Alex was just priceless.  Love the idea. 

Now for the knitting content.  First up?  BIRCH.  I was into the second repeat of the pattern and while I could read the lace, I just couldn’t see it.  I know with lace there is that leap of faith thing where it looks like nothing more than a glob of yarn.  I’ve just seen so many pictures of Birch in progress on other blogs that actually looked like something that I was sure that I was doing something wrong.  I had been using the 7US Addi turbos and really knitting loosely.  A necessity when knitting lace with those things as the tips just suck for lace.  As a result, the lace was very very loose.  I pulled out my Lantern Moon US6 straights that I bought at the yarn store closing last month and tried those.  The tips were far pointier and now two rows short of a pattern repeat it is really starting to look like I would expect it to.  Only problem is, straights stink for commuting knitting.  I just ordered a set of Addi Naturas online and hope to have them SOON.  I’m sure I can suffer through the straights until the circs arrive. 

Seta470bSpeaking of ordering, thanks to Denise and her link to the Kid Seta, I have some of that on order.  I ordered enough to knit another Birch.  The Kid Seta looks like it would be a good alternative to the Kidsilk Haze.  I ordered a very unusual color for me.  See, I’m embracing my Autumn Colors palette.  Green was never a color I’d select, but with the hazel eyes and the red highlights to my hair, this should be good.  Right?  Regardless, it should make a pretty Birch in a good leafy color. 

23612Fessing up to one last yarn purchase before a new era of austerity (and using up something in stash) is Shine from Knitpicks, in Apricot.  I’m going to use this for the Eyelet Cardi.  I realized this morning that I need a nice light cardi in a non-dark color and this just fits the bill.  I love that color and when it arrives, this moves to the top of the queue.  I ordered a little extra as I plan on full length sleeves.  I’m not a huge fan of the 3/4 length jobbies. 

Well my last new project doesn’t seem to have confused many of you as to what the pattern is.  Just about everyone guessed SoleilKaty was the first so she’s the winner of the angora fuzz.  We don’t have a winner for the yarn yet as it isn’t All Seasons Cotton.  I’ll leave the yarn piece of this "contest" open until Noon on Wednesday when I’ll announce what it is.  I did make a collection of stitch markers just in case someone does get it. :)  I also made myself a row counter bead bracelet.  Not one of the nicest beaded things I’ve ever seen, but should be handy for the shaping instructions I skimmed in Soleil.  I did finish the lace piece of Soleil on the train home Friday night and she’s sat untouched since then.  I was distracted by both Birch and my secret project, which I would rather finish sooner rather than later. 

One last piece of knitting business is that goofy sock, the PGR Dream Sock in Retro Red Kroy.  I’m halfway through the foot of the first sock.  Still.  I just can’t seem to get up the energy to work on it.  Its a perfectly functional sock.  I tried it on this morning on the train (got a odd look from my seatmate) and it fits fine.  I’m just not moved by it.  I’m further concerned that if I’m this less than enthusiastic about the first of the pair, how sad will the second be, not to mention how darn long is it going to take me to make that one!  I could rip it, but then that would be the second ripping of this damn sock.  I do like the Cable & Rib socks in the new IK, but don’t have the pattern with me.  I didn’t take my big bag with me this morning as I had a nasty headache and went with the lightest load possible.  I had Birch (on the straight needles) and the sock.  When I got stuck on the inside of a 3 seater on the train and straight needles became untenable, I unhappily switched to The Sock.  I tried to read my ebook on the Path train rather than continue on The Sock but found that Alexander futzed up my Palm Pilot when he got into my bag yesterday.  It wouldn’t turn on and I had to reset it just now.  I’m going to rip the sock.  I just hope the now splitty Kroy holds out for one more go ’round.  I think I’m just going to do my standard, vanilla plain sock with the good old heel flap and be done with it already.. unless of course I can find a pattern hiding on my desktop.

Craft on!

Tags: Family · Lace · Socks

Balance

June 22nd, 2005 · 6 Comments

So as to not turn this into the All Birch All The Time channel, as well as having to get some of the other projects done, I did work on other things, while finishing the first repeat of Birchy goodness.  I’m pretty sure I blew something in one of the patterning rows early on but refuse to tink it.  I can now read the lace pattern, even if it isn’t looking like some others at present.  Cassie did help greatly in supplying a link to a chart.  Woo!  Thanks Cassie!  I know there are others who would love to knit Birch but are put off by the cost of the pattern book and/or the yarn.  I’m still hoping to find something in the Rowan issue other than Birch that I can knit because Rowan #34 isn’t cheap.  There is available a pattern on the internet, Kiri, put together by another blogger based on Birch but worked from the tip up rather than the long edge down.  It is far less daunting to cast on 3 stitches rather than 299.  While the Kidsilk Haze is just dreamy, it is a tad expensive.  I know that Jannette is selling a cheaper alternative to the Rowan:  Plassard PICHENETTE Kid Mohair but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more.

Yes yes, it still is reading like a Birch lovefest, I promise, I’m moving on right now.  To this:

Trellis1c

I finished the first sleeve for Trellis last night.  Here it is reclining on the lovely train seat this morning.  A bit overcast today so no benefit of sunshine.  Add sunshine and this blue yarn looks lilac.  Freaky.  You can see the two finished front pieces nicely attached at the shoulders to the back.  Nice.  The stitch holders are hanging onto the front band stitches for working the shawl collar.  I read ahead and on the good side, I get to knit a strip 11 or so stitches wide.  Yay.  Then I can graft them together in the back.  Not so bad.  Then I can sew the whole works to the body.  Ick.  Oh well.  The light at the end of the tunnel is indeed visible.  I should have this little beastie done shortly.  Oh no.  Buttons.  Sigh.  Good thing the baby isn’t due until September.  We all know how long it took to sew on Alex’s buttons ;)

Need more caffeine, oh and to make a mental note to pick up coffee.  I used the last of my beans this morning.  I can’t begin to imagine how horrible tomorrow morning would be without coffee.

I stopped in the hardware store this morning on my way to the office and picked up some tiny black rubber O-rings.  The nice man gave me a funny look as he pulled out his box of O-rings.  I found a bunch that fit my size 7 needles with room to spare and took 20 (well actually 21 and he threw one in as a bonus in case I counted badly).  For $.10 a piece I have some fab new stitch markers. 

Craft on.

Tags: Kids · Lace

To Birch or Not To Birch…

June 21st, 2005 · 10 Comments

There is no question.  To Birch!  After dinner I went home fully planning to do some work around the house.  When I got to the mailbox and pulled out the small grey airmail bag from the UK all thoughts of laundry, vacuuming and addressing my flylady hot spot went right out of my head.  I got the twins down and went about Birching.  Resistance if futile you know.  I quickly pulled out the pattern book that arrived last week and photocopied the pattern page.  A needle hunt was then commenced.  I saw Stephanie’s post yesterday on her beautifully completed Birch and noted that she used the 4.5 mm needles.  The pattern was specifying 5mm or a US8.  Having spent Sunday fighting with my only free set of 8′s and disliking intensely the new Balene II’s, I figured if it was good for Stephanie, it was pretty darn okay for me.  I had two free sets of Addi Turbos in the 4.5mm and thought that a good omen.  I stayed up far later than I should have and made it through the first 4 rows of Birchy goodness.

Birch1a

Here’s Birch reclining on my desk chair a few moments ago.  I won’t be going anywhere without Birch for the foreseeable future and even changed purses so I could carry it safely with me.  Always.  I don’t think I can truly express my pure joy at the yarn. OH. MY. GOD.  I. LOVE. IT.  There is something almost orgasmic to working with the Kidsilk Haze.  It is purely divine.  The color?!  Gorgeous.  I can see glints of the silk peering out between the fuzzy delight of the mohair.  I could just plotz.

Other projects?  I have other projects?  Oh yeah, I do.  I’m an inch short of finishing the first sleeve for Trellis.  Yay.  It seems my gauge is off a tad but heck, its a baby sweater, big is good, right?  Fits longer that way.  Longer sleeves are just excellent right?  I vaguely remember the sleeves getting too short before the body got too small as the twins outgrew clothes.  I’m not that far off, just a smidge.  No one will notice.

I’m still chugging along on the silly sock.  I added a couple of rows this morning on the train as it was a bit crowded to pull out anything larger.  I find knitting socks to be ideal for knitting while crammed into a four-seater at the end of the car.  The PATH train was a tad more spacious and while I wanted to dive into the sweet pool of birch, I knew I’d miss my stop if I did.  I worked on Trellis instead.  I’m proud of me too. 

Birch.  Birch.  Birch….

Craft on.

Tags: Kids · Lace