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April 27, 2005

Right on Target

Some kind of cosmic alignment has occurred.

According to Ann at Mason Dixon Knitting, Target -- which I was pretty certain could not possibly get any better -- now carries knitting kits. As it turns out, I recently saw that the Target on-line store sold the Suss Baby Blanket and Hat Knit Kit, but I had no idea they had the sort of selection that Ann reports after doing recon at her local Target.

If the reports are true, Target (never a safe place for my wallet) has just reached new levels of peril.

Posted by shannon at 9:52 AM | For related posts: Knit Gringa, Knit!

April 22, 2005

Unexpected Boomerang


Originally uploaded by ShannonC.

This picture landed in my inbox a few days ago, a boomerang that I tossed out years ago and didn't expect to see again! The blanket and the hat were knit for Henry, Jason's nephew, about two years ago -- right before he was born (see this entry). Both are now being used by Sydney, Henry's baby sister.

It's funny, I have no record of the hat on this site; in fact, I had totally forgotten that I made it until I saw it in this picture. Looking at it now, I doubt Henry's parents put it on him much. It's a bit girl-y and Henry's peach fuzz hair, big blue eyes and long eyelashes were confusing enough when he was an infant.

I was thrilled to see that the blanket and hat were handed down to Syd. Even though it's still a bit big on her, the girliness of the hat suits her just fine. She is, after all, the prettiest baby I have the pleasure to know.

Posted by shannon at 11:52 AM | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

April 20, 2005

Grump-elstiltskin

Top Five Reasons I Will Soon Be Emerging from My Brief Fit of Grumpiness*

Reason 1: By sheer luck, I happened to be the first person to comment on Amy's offer to sell the yarn and pattern for the Copacabana tank. It arrived Monday - what says spring more than this?


Thank you, Amy!
Originally uploaded by ShannonC.

Reason 2: It's not pretty, I know. But of the four attempts to do intarsia on this T-shirt, this was far and away the best I could do. Yes I know it's puckering some, but I'm hoping for a minor blocking miracle. I'm now frantically knitting the sleeves. Why frantic? Because I'm perilously close to running out of yarn. *gulp*

Originally uploaded by ShannonC.

Reason 3: Noting improves your mood like a good yarn-buying experience -- which I recently had with Yarnware. I've used them before -- their prices are good and their service prompt. Last week I decided to buy T. (best buddy and fledgling knitter) this afghan kit for her birthday. She's expecting a baby in September, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to graduate her from knitting dishcloths and scarves. Yarnware doesn't have a gift option, which is fine since it probably keeps overhead down. As I was checking out via PayPal, I added a comment at the last minute that it would be great if they would remove the invoice from T's package, and just send it to me instead. Not only did her package arrive on her birthday (I had told her it would be a few days late), but I got the invoice in the mail yesterday. So thanks, Yarnware!

Reason 4: Despite the fact that booking our honeymoon flights was a less-than-ideal experience from a website user perspective, the fact remains: we booked our honeymoon flights. (If you read Jason's post about the Air France site, I should add that this is not the first time I've had trouble with my passport number. My passport was stolen in Ecuador, and I had it replaced at the US Embassy in Quito. Despite the fact that this happened in 1999, the replacement was circa 1970s -- complete with a passport number that doesn't seem to match current-passport number format. The picture is bad, too.)

Reason 5: I mentioned a few days ago that I've been familiarizing myself with Flickr and its various bells and whistles. So you can imagine my excitment when Anil generously gifted me with a one-year FlickrPro account. No limits on storage, bandwidth or photosets -- yeehaw! Thanks, Anil.

*Onset of spring allergies = grumpiness, accompanied by attempts to enucleate myself because my eyes itch so badly!

Posted by shannon at 11:56 AM | Comments (3) | For related posts: Fixin' Vixen in a T-Shirt, Lola

April 18, 2005

Hello, Good-bye

Even though I fear that saying so will instantly bring on a freak April blizzard, I can no longer restrain myself: spring has arrived in Boston. Mercifully, gloriously, FINALLY -- we have survived another winter!

Past springs have seen increased activity here at Casa Gringa, and I'm hoping that I can get back in the swing of things this year as well. Let me start by introducing you to two projects I've been working on without bothering to blog about.

WinterKnits.jpg

Pinky Socks: When I finally decided that I can want to make the socks after all, I immediately became enamored of self-patterning socks. After I finished these little numbers, I started surfing around for new options. I stumbled upon Sweet Georgia's gorgeous pink, red, and orange-y socks and had to have them, stat. It took some sleuthing, but I finally found the yarn: it's Regia Jubilee 4-ply and the colorway is India. (It's hard to find -- the place I bought it no longer carries the colorway!) And Georgia wasn't kidding about being able to make at least three socks from a skein; I'm planning to make a matching pair for a baby or toddler with my extra.

Jason's Zip-Up Raglan: During the Wild & Woolly sale in January, I picked up a big bag of Smart Superwash in Navy Tweed. I didn't have a particular pattern in mind, but I did know that it would be a sweater and that it would be for Jason. It turns out that if you knit two strands of Smart together on US10s, you get the exact gauge called for in Men's Zip-Up Raglan in Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Zip-up sweaters are Jason's favorite kind, so it was a perfect match.

So now that I've introduced you to those two lovely projects, I'm taking them away. Yep, just like that. These woolly, heavy, cold-weather projects are going on the back burner while I enjoy spring and summer. Bring on the cotton!

Posted by shannon at 1:46 PM | Comments (1) | For related posts: For Jason, For Me!, Socks, Zippy

April 13, 2005

Slow Learner

One of the perks of living with a tech geek is that I hear about new gadgets, gizmos and services a little bit before it hits the maistream. I've learned that if Jason talks excitedly about something, chances are I'll be using it and loving it within a few months. So it was with digital music players, text messaging, Wi-Fi, aggregators, and -- most recently -- Flickr.

After a few weeks of hearing about Flickr, I finally spent some time getting to know it. When I learned I could subscribe to different tags on Bloglines, I went a little crazy and signed up for a whole bunch. They fall roughly into three categories:

For the memories: St. Andrew's, Ecuador, Quito

For ideas and inspiration: knitting, yarn

For honeymoon dreaming: Seville, Granada, Andalucia, Alhambra

So, what strikes your fancy?

Posted by shannon at 12:04 PM | Comments (1) | For related posts: La Gringa Habla

April 11, 2005

The Goldilocks Option

TShirt01.jpg
Spring colors make me happy. Unless my gauge sucks.

Once I had made my peace with the color variation in my recycled Calmer, I made fast progress on the T-Shirt back. I should mention here that when I swatched for this, I was way loose - as I almost always am. The pattern calls for US8s but my swatch was still loose using 7s. So I stuck with the 7s, but cast on for one size down to compensate for my loosey-goosey knitting.

Calmer is one of my all-time favorite yarns, but it sure is tricky when it comes to gauge. I started getting the ominous, low-level "this doesn't feel quite right..." feeling about halfway up the back. I surpressed it until after the armhole decreases, when the uneasy feeling went from low-level to undeniable. Something was definitely amiss.

When I'm really serious about getting accurate measurements (which, as this tale will tell, I should be more often), I use the blocking board. I toted my unfinished back to my study, and pinned the widest part of the bust to the blocking board. This is what I found:

TShirt02.jpg
It's 16.5 inches across the back, which would make for a 33 inch bustline.
Did I mention that I have a size 36 bust?

So, evidently my gauge wasn't as loosey-goosey as I thought. In fact, for the first time in my knitting career, I was knitting too tightly.

TShirt03.jpg
Gauge for the pattern is 19 stiches over 4 inches. The stitch
markers are 19 stitches apart. The blocking pins are 4
inches apart. You see the problem.

Reminder: Back when I thought my gauge was too loose, I (over-)adjusted by going down a pattern size and a needle size. This meant that I had to decide whether I should (1) go up to the US8s called for in the pattern, (2) go up a pattern size or (3) both. Never wanting to be accused of doing something half-way, I went with the third option (both) and got to work.

That was totally wrong, of course -- it was coming out much too big. At this point, I was so frustrated and angry that I banished the T-Shirt for the next two days while I cranked out two baby hats over the weekend.

By the time I got back to the T-shirt on Sunday night, I was feeling much better. And as any reader of Goldilocks will tell you, after "too small" and "too big" comes "just right". In this case, I'm hoping that "just right" means the bigger needles and the smaller pattern size.

Posted by shannon at 5:17 PM | Comments (4) | For related posts: Fixin' Vixen in a T-Shirt

The coming storm of baby knitting: Bakers (done!), S&J (done and done!), S&R (done!)

Posted by shannon at 4:18 PM | For related posts: Finished Projects