Thursday, January 29, 2009

works in progress

Reese got a magic kit for Christmas this year, and he's been doing a lot of practicing. He's got some good tricks, too - there's one he does with a pair of dice that's very cool. The part that's really a work in progress is his magician's patter. For example, he has this trick that consists of pulling a yellow rope out of an egg. Not much to it, so it's kind of all in the presentation. His first attempt was to hold up the egg, forcefully declare, "This has no openings in it!" then pull out the rope. Um.

We suggested he might add more drama by saying he has an ordinary egg, and oh my gosh! what's this? etc. etc. So he held up the egg and said, "I have an egg!" Then, pulling out the rope, "WITH A ROPE IN IT!"

Which is our new catchphrase. Even Jane can be heard walking around the house muttering "I have an egg with a rope in it!" to herself.

As for my own works in progress, I finished the February baby sweater:

So fun to knit. pattern: EZ's February baby sweater, from the Knitter's Almanac. yarn: Dream in Color Classy. needles: size 6 Addi Turbos. mods: None really. I screwed up on the first repeat of the lace pattern, and forgot to keep the border in garter stitch. Once I noticed, I was too chicken to drop the border stitches down because I had a buttonhole in there too, so I just kept making the same mistake. It's a design element now.

So now that that's done, I am officially Working On Sam's Cobblestone. But at this point, the rows are still really long, and I've got most of the sweater hanging off the needles as I work, and
I just can't do a lot of it without wanting to either fall asleep or bury the thing under the 5-foot snow pile in the front yard. So I've also . . . cast on a sock. Don't judge.

Besides all the knitting, another reason I've been sort of blog-absent is playing around with shop stuff. I've been spending some time (time when I should probably be sleeping, mostly) working on things like getting my pictures to look better, reading up on stuff in the Etsy forums, and, of course, making things. And I've got a little prototype to show you:

So what the hell is the picture on that? It's a ray diagram. I've been messing around with some embroidery, but I wanted to do something a little different, that would reflect a little more of me. I hit upon this idea of doing glasses cases with pictures on them of the ray diagrams that show how the lenses work. This one is a converging lens, used to correct farsightedness.

I've also done one with a diverging lens, for nearsightedness. What do you think - too geeky? I thought it would be fun to keep my glasses in a case that shows how the lenses work, but then I'm kind of a nerd.
Well. I don't even know anymore what the time stamp on this post will be, but it's actually about 12:30 on Friday night. I keep getting pulled away, pulled in every direction. Both Jane and Sam have had bouts of fever and barfing (that part was just Sam, thank goodness), I've had to pinch-hit and go into work two nights this week, and I have still not found out how to get the laundry to do itself. And life goes on . . .

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

and the winner is . . .


Sending off an email to ask which yarn you'd like . . .

Friday, January 16, 2009

The gifts, they do not stop. Also, a salamander pattern, sort of.

Remember the on-the-needles stuff I showed you?

Well, I haven't touched any of it, and not (entirely) because I am lazy. Following close on the heels of Christmas is more gift-giving, in the form of birthdays and new babies. Plus there was still some Christmas stuff I hadn't finished yet . . .

First, here's a salamander I made for Jess' Magic Boy.

You know how sometimes the Yarn Harlot talks about projects that make you feel clever? This was one of those projects. I started with a picture of a salamander that's found in this area,

then amused myself trying to figure out how to do each part - How do I get the shape of the head? How do I make a curvy body? How do I do the little legs and toes? I did absolutely no counting while I made this, but in lieu of a pattern I can give you the "pithy" directions:

Start at the head, with the Eastern cast-on (or Judy's Magic Cast-on from knitty). Increase like you would for a sock toe, 2 stitches at each side every other round, stopping when the head looks big enough. Knit a few rounds until the head looks long enough, then do some decreases for the neck and increases to widen it back up for the body. At this point, if you're knitting this via Magic Loop, move the stitches around so that instead of having the top of the salamander on one needle and the bottom on the other, you have each side of the salamander on a needle. That way, as you knit the body, you can do some short-rows on one side, then the other, to get the S-shaped curve. (I also was stuffing it a little at a time as I went, and it was starting to look rather obscene hanging off my needles. I ignored my husband's raised eyebrows and knit on.) Decrease a little at a time for the tail; the last inch or so is I-cord. For each arm, pick up 8 stitches (in two sets of four, across from each other) at appropriate spots and knit a little tube (I didn't bother to stuff these). For the hand, knit back-and-forth on just 4 of the stitches for a couple of rows, increasing to 6 stitches on the first row. Do a little picot hem-turning to make three little toes, then do a couple more rows. Decrease back to 4 stitches and graft these 4 to the other 4 arm-stitches. Embroider some spots and add little seed-bead eyes. Ta-da!

Another gift I made is a Thermis for my sister's birthday. I used this handspun (lots of stuff in that post; keep scrolling), and the only mods I made to the pattern were to use both fewer stitches and fewer repeats of the thermal pattern to accomodate the thicker yarn. It came out a nice size.

I don't want to give it away.

And last but not least, I'm making EZ's February baby sweater for my sister-in-law's baby shower next month. I was very happy to find out she's having a girl so I could do the lace! Not that another BSJ wouldn't have been fun, too . . .

That gorgeous yarn is Dream in Color Classy. It's superwash, and the color is just amazing.

I'm sorry to say J's birthday will be going un-knitted-for this year. But he's really not a knitwear guy, and anything he might wear I've already made for him. I'll replace stuff as it wears out, but for his birthday I'd rather get something he'll use. I guess that's just what happens when you pick your husband before you learn how to knit. :)

The baby sweater is the last immediate gift I'll have to knit for a while, unless there's something I'm forgetting. Knowing me, that is entirely possible, but with any luck I'll be polishing off that Cobblestone soon. Or maybe even spending some time with my poor neglected wheel. Imagine that!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

funny kid stuff

File under: Sam is just like me.
So Sam and I were hanging out, just chatting about his day (Did I mention the awesomeness of the new hours? I'm not sure when I'll get over it.). He can be a silly kid sometimes, and at one point he jumped on me. You know, like, expecting me to catch him. But he's ten now, and though he's small for his age, he's not that small, and . . . yeah. I dropped him on his ass. Looked like it hurt, too: he kind of curled up and rolled on his side. So I bent down to rub his back, apologizing profusely, but I could not help the fact that I was laughing, really hard. I know - bring on the Mother of the Year Award. So there I was, rubbing his back while trying to hide my face and stifle my giggles, when I heard him snort. He was laughing just as hard as I was, and trying just as hard to cover it up.

File under: Soul of a poet.
I found Reese sitting by himself the other day, just looking out the window. I asked him what he was doing, and in typical Master of the Obvious fashion, he said, "Looking out the window." So Iasked him what he was looking at, and he said, "Oh, just how pretty everything is. Like that pink light in the east." His quiet moments are few and far between, but they're pretty sweet.

File under: What the hell are they doing at that preschool??

It's cinnamon. In case you were wondering.

Oh - and don't forget about the contest!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


My first post was two years ago today - wow. I've said it before, so pardon my repetition, but I've started and abandoned many a diary in my day. And though sometimes this blog sort of looks like I've abandoned it, I at least think about posting every day. That kind of boggles my mind, still.

At this point I'm going a break a policy? tradition? I've been using here on the blog, the kid pseudonyms. In two years I've never had so much a comment that was a little off, and honestly, what's the point of giving your kids one syllable, easy-to-type names if you're not going to use them? So without further ado, Big Brother's name is Sam, Little Brother's name is Reese, and Baby Sister's name is Jane. Hi kids!

One of my sad attempts at a Christmas card picture.

So, to celebrate my blogiversary, and because I've never done it before, I'm having a contest. I wish I could think of something creative, but no. Just leave a comment, anything at all, and I'll send somebody some yarny goodness:

Left to right: handspun, a little skein of uber-soft baby alpaca, Araucania Ranco sock yarn, and Berroco Ultra Alpaca. Just let me know which one you'd like. I won't be mad if it's not the handspun :)

If you're not into yarny goodness (weird), I'll figure out something else. I'll pick a winner next Monday. Contest! Fun!

I'll leave you with a picture J's dad found recently of our family when Sam was a baby. We look just ridiculously young, no? It cracks me up.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Friday, January 2, 2009

on the needles in 2009

Hmm. Looks pretty similar to what was on the needles in 2008.

In Bag #1:

Big Brother's Cobblestone, which was supposed to be the first of three sweaters I would make the kids for Christmas. Whoops. It's nearly four inches into the yoke, practically done, for Pete's sake. As the holiday drew closer and I knew there was no way the kids' sweaters were getting done, I put it down in favor of the smaller projects I had to finish. This will be the first thing I pick back up.

In Bag #2:

The Bubble Pullover. I've got just one more pentagon to go, then the sleeves, collar, and the ribbed section at the bottom. Man, those pentagons were getting boring. I remember writing when I first started this sweater that it wouldn't ever get boring. I've been betrayed by the Bubble. Or my own attention span. Whatever.
In Bag #3:

Oh, man, the seamless hybrid. I cast this on in - wait, let me check - holy crap, last January! That's just sad. If I remember correctly, I'm somewhere on the second sleeve. So I need to finish that, join everything together, and hopefully remember what the hell I had planned for the yoke.

And speaking of my short attention span, I've got a couple of new projects going too. The first is, well, another cowl. They're like a disease, I swear.

Pretty, though, isn't it? It's Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande I got for Christmas (thanks, Nancy!). The pattern is this Spiral Cowl, with a couple of mods. Besides changing the gauge, I also substituted a regular hem for the picot hem, and kfb increases for the yarnovers. Both changes make it a little simpler and less lacy (though it is beautiful and not at all fussy as is), which I like better with the bulky yarn.

Lastly, I've also got a mystery project going:

I can't share this one just yet, but I'm putting it in for the sake of completing this public shaming project inventory.

And, well, I know I wasn't going to make any New Year's resolutions, but here goes: These will not still be on the needles in 2010!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

catching up

I was going to write a big long post about our Christmas, all the different festivities we enjoyed, a roundup of the last of the handmade gifts, and maybe a bit of loot-flashing. But here it is New Year's Day and perhaps the ship has sailed on that.

So I will simply say that Christmas was great. It's nice getting to visit with family we don't see often enough. And these past few years have been exciting, watching our families get bigger, what with babies and husbands and boyfriends.

The kids didn't get too spoiled, which is also nice. Although my mom did get the boys a Wii. Without asking permission. Not that that bothers me.
Video games have had a somewhat contentious history in our household (little boys tend to get obsessed with them), but I gotta admit the Wii is cool.

For Baby Sister, this was the year of Fancy Nancy. Before last week I had never heard of her, but now she's all over the house. For some reason, several people in our family saw these stories of the only fancy person in a house full of people who are more understated (that's a fancy word for plain), and thought of Baby Sister. Huh.

* She just came up behind me, and when she saw her picture, she said, "Ooh la la! That's me!" Yes, I think fancy is the right word.

And, oh yeah, somewhere in all the holiday craziness, not to mention the snowstorms, I turned thirty. Despite my children (and Jess) poking fun - Little Brother has been keeping count of how may days I have been an "old fart" - it doesn't feel like an especially big deal. It's hard to mourn the end of your wild, crazy twenties when you were neither wild nor crazy.

I wasn't too much of an old fart to make it 'til midnight last night, though. I haven't made any resolutions - I participated in the spirit of renewal by catching up with the laundry. Exciting! Actually, it kind of was exciting. So I guess that's Little Brother's point proved.

Well, Happy New Year, internet. Thanks for still coming around here in 2009.