Wednesday, March 28, 2007

guilt alleviated

Well, I feel better. I have finished socks for both boys, and begun socks for Baby Sister. Actually, I've begun them a couple of times, but the first time they came out too small - and I swatched, too! It seemed kind of ridiculous to knit a swatch for baby socks (it was not all that much different in size from the sock itself), but I'm using knitty's universal toe-up sock pattern in the interest of learning new things and trying toe-up socks, and a swatch is required. Here are Big Brother's socks:

They were nice and quick since he likes ankle socks, which was nice.

I don't know if it's related to the sock knitting, but the kids were all extra-sweet yesterday. Baby Sister said "mama" (!) and was all kissy and affectionate. When I got home from work, Little Brother was playing in the front yard, and he hopped in the passenger seat before I could even get out of the car, and told me all about his day and how great Tuesdays are because he has gym. (So different from my perspective when I was in school, btw.) Big Brother had me teach him to make friendship bracelets and then worked on them for hours, occasionally saying things like, "I really like making things." and "Friendship bracelets are really cool." And I know what you are thinking - yes, he has tried knitting, but he gave it up in frustration. Both boys finger-knit, but he might be ready to try the needles again soon.

So pretty soon I can knit something for myself without feeling bad about it! Just in time, becasue these are looking pretty good . . .

Saturday, March 24, 2007

green with envy

So how much did I want to be Representing in NYC with the Yarn Harlot, Guido, Kimberly, and all the other fantastic knitters on Thursday? It sounded so fun, and from what I've been reading, everybody had a great time. Grrr . . . darn kids and their needing to be picked up from school!! I did at least KIP, at the dentist's office. And I finished Little Brother's socks. I hate to say it, but they are pretty awful. Green and scratchy . . . the damn things are so stiff they stand up by themselves:
As predicted, however, Little Brother is quite pleased with them, so all is well.

Yeah, that last one doesn't really show the socks all that well, but he leaped on to the couch and said, "Mom, take a picture of my butt! I mean my socks!", waggling his little rear in the air. Well, what would you have done? And if you look closely, you can see more of the heinous green acrylic underneath him, running from his hand, because he's finger-knitting with it. We also discovered something else about that yarn when he wore the socks to school on Friday - it makes his feet smell really, really bad. Man, this stuff just gets better and better.

Another discovery I have made, although I'm sure I'm not the first: it's criminal how most people learn to knit. To explain, I, like many, was taught to knit on cheap needles, with cheap yarn. I mean, I loved it and all, because it's knitting, but today my four sets! of brand-new! addi turbos! that I totally scored on ebay! came in and I started Big Brother's socks, using black wool yarn, on them. It was like a religious experience, and I'm not even religious. I know it's a little daunting to drop more than the least amount of money possible on something you've never tried before, and it must be difficult for a knitter to pull something fabulous from the stash to teach somebody, but it's so much nicer. It seems like a lot of people start off buying crappy yarn from Michael's at first, then eventually discover the joy of the LYS. It seems so wasteful, right? Does the crap just get shoved to the bottom of the stash? Because then what happens is your six-year-old pulls it out and demands socks from it. Or maybe this is just a natural progression that is essential, in its way, to the learning-to-knit experience. I don't know.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I'm a machine, baby

I feel like I've been knitting like a fiend this week. The tea rose is knitted, blocked, and waiting for its straps. I'm debating whether I want them to be halter straps that tie, as in the pattern, or if I want to attach them somewhere. Pictures coming soon, when the decision is made.

Some time after finishing the halter, as well as the first pedicure sock, I cast on for the turtleneck shrug from Scarf Style, using my soft and lovely Inca Alpaca. I got through a few inches:

then I started feeling kind of guilty about knitting so much for myself. So I picked up some pink variegated cotton yarn I had sitting around, ball-band-less, naked, and I made a little tank top for Baby Sister.

It pooled kind of weird at the bottom, but settled into stripes as I decreased. The effect kind of reminds me of tree rings. Pink tree rings, from a Truffula tree, perhaps. The Lorax would know.

Then I finished the pedicure socks!

I made these from an almost-full skein of Wool-ease in a red tweed, leftover from the mitered square blocks I made a little while ago. I didn't want to use anything really nice for my first socks, in case I completely screwed them up. The only change I made from the pattern was that I knit for three inches before beginning the heel, instead of the five inches, because I didn't want to run out of yarn. And I only had about five yards left, so it was a good thing. Upon seeing them, both boys demanded socks of their own, so I sent them to my little, but growing, pile of stash. Little Brother picked out the most awful green acrylic craptastic yarn I had. It was given to me by my father-in-law, passed on from a lady he knew who used it to make hideous crocheted Christmas stockings. Cue the Psycho music:

Yikes. So I started his socks, and I am now a bit past the heel, a couple of inches away from the toe, which I still don't know how to do. I can't bring myself to take pictures - it is a scratchy green nightmare. But I know he will love it. Crazy kid.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Some say you aren't really a knitter until you have knit socks. I don't know if that's true, but if it is, pass me that Official Knitter badge!

Sorry about the sideways picture. . .

These will be the Pedicure socks from knitty. Maybe it's cheating to only have to deal with the heel and not the toe on your first pair of socks, but I really want some socks I can wear with flip-flops. Actually, I've never gotten a pedicure in my life, but I really love flip-flops. This warm-ish weather we've got this week is making me want very much to wear them, but I know it's not really that warm. Hence, the pedicure socks. Honestly, is there any problem knitting can't solve?

I sat by myself on the couch last night, working on these. J was at a friend's house, all the kids were in bed, and there I was, grinning like a loon as I watched the heel emerge. I wonder if this is a common first-sock experience.

Monday, March 12, 2007

girly multigenerational stash enrichment expedition

I am so avoiding the acronym for that title - ew.

My mom, Baby Sister, and I hit the clearance sale at Yarns at Lacewings this weekend. It was so awesome. I know I've mentioned my pathetic yarn budget previously, so this was a dream come true - 50% off soft, beautiful, natural yarns. I picked up four skeins of Inca Alpaca in canyon green, which is kind of a chartreuse, and a skein of Koigu in an orangey-red color simply because it was a $5 skein of Koigu.

Ohh, they are just so lovely. I'm not sure what my plans are for them yet, plus I'm still working on my Tea Rose halter. It's coming along - I'm about halfway through the middle ribbing section.

I love the way the lace pattern looks, although the color is way more orangey in this picture than it actually is. It's really a rich bright pink color. I'm pretty psyched, it looks like I'll have enough left to make a tank top for Baby Sister when I'm done. She does look awfully sweet in pink!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Big Brother!!

He's 9 - I can't believe it. I think he had a great time at his party. I was happy about that, because he's a little shy (can't imagine where he gets that from) and this was the first year he had invited friends to his party. He had three friends over, and though I had planned several games to go with the party's NASCAR theme, they just decided they wanted to play outside, not that I blamed them. It's that special time of year, when the winter weather is loosening its grip and 50 degrees seems like tee-shirt weather. Actually, its a good thing they didn't end up playing the games, especially one in which I made Jell-O with candy wrenches and bolts at the bottom, and they had to get to the candy without using their hands. Fun, right? Well, my sister played the game with the boys after the party, and it turns out that hot liquid Jell-O will liquefy candy wrenches. But since they are preserved in the Jell-O, you won't know they have liquefied, they will look totally normal, until you eat your way down to them and let's just say it gets pretty disgusting. An archeological dig gone horribly wrong. So glad that happened to my sister and not Big Brother's friends.

Anyway, he had fun, loved his NASCAR cake:

and his knitted guitar, and now has more Beatles CD's than Old Friend, who was previously the biggest Beatles fan I knew. My mom definitely scored the favorite gift with an iPod shuffle, though. -sniff- I remember when his favorites were the soap crayons to scribble on the walls in the tub, or the shirt that looked just like Steve's from Blue's Clues . . .

ASAP, I'll get some pictures of him rocking out with his guitar, and put them up.

Happy Birthday, kid!!

Monday, March 5, 2007

ready to go, a change of plans

And now, a knitting post!

The benatar guitar pillow is knit, embroidered, pinned together and ready to be stuffed and seamed. I plan to, as the pattern suggested, crochet the seams. I would have done so last night, but at Old Friend's knitting party to support Project Linus, I somehow ended up being the person who crocheted our knitted squares together into a blanket. I am really not proficient with crochet, and it makes my hands hurt in a way that knitting never does. So, the guitar will wait a couple of days. As you can see, Big Brother has become quite the Beatles fan.
As for other projects, my mercurial nature has struck again. The problem I have is that my yarn budget is pretty small. So when I have nice, soft, not-from-a-chain-craft-store yarn, I want to use it for Just The Right Project. I was using my Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece for the hourglass sweater, but as I thought more about that, and the fact that it's March, and I knit kind of slow, and there are such pretty summery patterns in the new Interweave Knits . . .

I ripped it out and cast on this.

So pretty. This is the Tea Rose Halter. It's a little scary, what with being lace and all. I have knitted one other lace project, the yoga bag from Stitch & Bitch Nation. It came out, well, like my first lace project. But practice makes perfect. I will share progress as progress occurs.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

glorious chaos

The boys have a gymnastics class they go to every Saturday morning. I like this period of time very much - I drop them off, I usually go grab a coffee, then I sit in my car and knit for a while. I feel no guilt because parents are actually not even allowed to watch the class. It's nice.

Today, when I dropped them off and walked back to my car, I noticed a guy in the parking lot wearing a kilt. Huh, I thought, that's kind of interesting. Then I noticed more guys in kilts, and I heard the strains of bagpipes. It turned out that today is the St. Patrick's Day parade in my city, and the junior high school that has the gymnastics class is also the starting point for the parade. Over the hour or so that the kids were in their class, the lot slowly filled up with more bagpipers, Revolutionary War re-enactors, police and fire trucks, horses, cheerleaders, and a marching band. It was so cool - glorious chaos, indeed. Plus, the boys' faces when they came out of the school were priceless.