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May 20, 2005

Good Things in Threes

You'll all be happy to know -- 'cause I know you were worried -- that the postal service's package tracking service just informed me that my box o' baby gifts (which includes the most recent Sirdar wrap sweater sweater) was delivered this very afternoon. Good thing, considering that the baby shower for which I knit it is tomorrow!

Speaking of baby showers scheduled for tomorrow, we're heading to New York tonight. Tomorrow is the baby shower for Jason's sister-in-law, for whom I have acquired some of the coolest baby gifts ever. I can't wait to give them to her. I'm hoping that the coolness of the other presents will make up for the fact that there is a very good chance that Mickey (also intended as a shower gift) won't be finished in time. What can I say? Intarsia -- though I've finally got the twisting of the colors down pat -- is just not. my. thing.

In addition to delivering cool baby gifts, I'm also excited to go to New York because we're having dinner at Carne tomorrow night to celebrate my 30th birthday with Jason's family and mine. Carne was where we ate after my graduation and after we got engaged, so it seemed like the right place for this, as well.

Have a great weekend everybody!

An unrelated good thing: Jason was waiting for me to come out of the post office the other day, and he snapped this picture of my LYS from outside. He told me he thought that the symmetry and arrangement of colors was really eye-catching. No kidding; that's how I end up spending so much money on yarn!

Posted by shannon at 5:35 PM | Comments (1) | For related posts: Baby Wrap Sweater, Miscellaneous Small Projects

May 18, 2005

Oh, baby!

People having babies faster than I can knit for them! For my own planning purposes, here's what's currently on my plate (with "due dates"):

  • Sirdar wrap sweater for Taylor (Mail by 5/17) Done! Mailed!
  • Mickey from Rowan Pipsqueaks for Robbie (Finish by 5/21) Finished!
  • Lottie for Ñaña's baby (Finish by 6/3) Finished, with a matching hat!
  • Secret present for Fiona (ASAP, she's already here!)
  • Undecided present for Sheri's baby (start when she's born)

    Now that the the wrap sweater is finished (no picture but trust me - it looks just like the other two, same yarn and everything!) and in the hands of the postal service, all of my energy is focused on Robbie's sweater. I was worried the Rowan 4-ply Cotton would be overly stiff, but I'm finding it remarkably easy to knit with. And it knits up fast for how fine the gauge is -- the back and sleeves are already done! Tonight I'll steel myself and tackle the front with the intarsia star. Wish me luck!

    Posted by shannon at 11:17 AM | Comments (1) | For related posts: Baby Wrap Sweater, Miscellaneous Small Projects

    May 16, 2005

    Fixin' Vixen in a T-Shirt
    Part of the
    fixin' vixen
    February Fixin'

    nothin' but a t-shirt knit-a-long
    Nothin' But a T-Shirt


    Posted by shannon at 2:17 PM | For related posts: Finished Projects

    Bridezilla in a T-Shirt

    Here's the back. (Notice that it's not laying flat? Blame the photographer -- he didn't tell me!)

    My Nothin' But a T-Shirt is done, and I love it. I'm so happy that I found a way to reuse this Calmer, and the pattern gets a big thumbs up from me. I can't wait to make another one!

    Why "blushing", you might ask? Well, because I'm about to be a blushing bride. But wait! Before you roll your eyes and decide that I've become one of those women who allows her wedding to dominate every single thing she does, allow me a bit of explanation.

    I've been knitting for a few years now, and I really enjoy the fact that looking back at a finished project takes me back to the period of time I was knitting it. Just seeing the Waikiki tank makes me think about the end of graduate school (and Jason's surprise birthday party, of course!), my ChicKami brings back memories of our first weeks in Boston and my first trip to the Knitsmiths, the log cabin blanket reminds me of our trip to Austin for SXSW, and so on.

    I know that when I think of making this T-Shirt it will bring back memories of planning the wedding. I knit a lot of it during wedding-related travel -- heck, I bought the original Calmer right after we got engaged, and justified the cost as an engagement present to myself. So why not make the association explicit? Alison kindly provided a chart for the word "blush" in the pattern, so it only took a bit more work on Excel to add the -ing. (Also, I figured it was as good a time as any to induldge the small part of me that enjoys cutesiness, even though my credibility as a no-frills girl will likely suffer as a result. But don't tell anybody, OK?)

    So that's two knit-alongs completed at once: the Nothin' But a T-Shirt knit-along hosted by the lovely and funny Nona, and Alison's Feburary Fixin' knit-along. Thanks for letting me join, ladies!

    Posted by shannon at 2:05 PM | Comments (11) | For related posts: Fixin' Vixen in a T-Shirt

    May 9, 2005

    All Thanks to Mom

    Happy Mother's Day!

    I actually finished my mom's socks up right under her nose. I told her that they were for me, and when she asked if she could try them on I said no. Isn't that evil?

    I'm sure I've mentioned before that my mom taught me to knit. She hadn't picked up a knitting needle in around fifty years, so she had to brush up on her skills a bit before giving me my tutorial. After I got the hang of it, I asked her if she thought she'd keep knitting and she said that she doubted it. Apparently three years of watching me knit has changed her tune -- she's back at it, cranking out baby hats at a mile a minute! To celebrate her return to the world of string and sticks, I added some knitting goodies from her local yarn store to her Mother's Day gift bag -- some Sol Lastic yarn (discontinued for so long, apparently, it is scarcely mentioned on the web except in one lonely eBay auction) and a set of her own circular bamboo needles.

    While we're on the subject of my mother's local yarn store, I should share a description. In addition to knitting and crochet supplies, it also has cross-stitch, framing and some sewing supplies as well. I'd wager that just over half of the store is devoted to yarn, but I'd swear I've never seen such an ecclectic selection of fibers in all my days. She has everything from Lion Brand and acrylics to Lorna's Laces, Cherry Tree Hill, and boutique hand-dyed yarns from Uruguay (not Manos).

    Such a wide-ranging selection is wonderful, except for the fact that it is it was all mixed together -- in baskets, on shelves, on the floor, everywhere. If you concentrate extra hard, there does seem to be a vague organization-by-yarn-weight going on -- but even that has pretty much broken down. It was pandemonium. It was overwhelming for me, somebody who knows yarn fairly well, so I can only imagine a how a brand new knitter might react. ("Retreat!") I talked to my mom later and she said that the owner ran the store as a hobby, and was content not to grow her customer base outside that which she had always had -- experienced, older knitters. In fact, when my mom told her recently that knitting has become very popular with the younger set the owner was surprised. So sad to see such potential under-utilized!

    Despite these hardships, I did manage to find something for myself at this yarn store (I know you're all shocked!), something I'd been meaning to try for some time: Fortissima's Cotton Colori sock yarn. My allergy to wool is well-documented and while I don't mind wearing sock liners when I want to show off my hand-knits during the winter, it's just not going to happen in the spring. This stuff is unbelievably soft, and on the needles it feels like... well, like it has wool in it. I got the Autumn colorway, which is best displayed in Sarah's post here -- she used it for her Sockapalooza socks!

    So thanks, Mom. For the knitting skills, the wedding planning, and the piles and piles of chocolate cake you "forced" on us this weekend. You're the best!

    Posted by shannon at 11:59 AM | Comments (1) | For related posts: For Mom, Socks

    May 8, 2005

    Mother's Day Socks (Finished!)

    Posted by shannon at 2:03 PM | For related posts: Finished Projects

    May 5, 2005

    Elephant Toy for Robbie

    Posted by shannon at 3:07 PM | For related posts: Finished Projects

    E is for Elephant

    Now this is what I had in mind when I got Last-Minute Knitted Gifts!


    I bought the yarn on a Saturday and despite a full week of work and spending some time with other knitting projects, Ephraim the Elephant was ready to be gifted on Friday! I followed the pattern exactly, except that I didn't use the doubled baby alpaca called for. Instead I opted for trusty Lamb's Pride worsted in Blue Magic. (It seemed sturdier and more practical -- not to mention easier to find!) I used scrap yarn for the end of the trunk, the scarf and the eyes.

    The pattern was fairly well-written right down to the one small correction (I remembered to check this time!). I've even almost gotten used to the crazy way this book has of telling you to do something, but then changing its mind. Like this:

    Work 4 rows straight. (No problem, 4 straight rows coming up! OK, done!)
    Five stitches before the end of the 4th row, K2tog... (But I already finished the 4th row! #$&@^!)
    Oh, one last thing: there is what I call a "Technique Ambush" toward the end of the pattern. You know what I'm talking about; one minute you're knitting happily along, making good progress and BLAMO! the pattern calls for a technique that you have no idea how to do! In this case, it was a provisional cast-on for part of the trunk. The directions were good and I got through it without incident but I hate having to stop and learn something new mid-project -- needles dangling in mid-air, time running out, etc.*

    Anyway, Ephraim has gone to live with Jason's brother and sister-in-law, who will care for him and feed him peanuts until their first baby (a boy!) is born around the end of July. Lauren, the mom-to-be, has been telling me for years that she can't wait to get hand knits for her babies. If that doesn't make a knitter's heart sing, then I don't know what does!


    To give a sense of the elephant's scale, I took some pictures with the ubiquitous Sydney, my model of choice these days. I thought Ephraim was cute before, but when I saw little Sydney grasping his huge floppy ears, my heart melted. I hope that Ephraim gets toted around by his ears by his real owner for years and years to come.

    * I know, I know. The ways to avoid both of the problems -- the crazy way the pattern is written and the Technique Ambush is to read ahead (1) before I start knitting and (2) as I'm knitting. But it's a Last-Minute Knitted Gift, people! Who has time to read ahead at the Last Minute?!

    Posted by shannon at 3:03 PM | Comments (5) | For related posts: For Robbie, Miscellaneous Small Projects

    May 3, 2005

    Baby Socks for Mom

    Pink socks, to match Cherry Mango!

    I'm knitting madly on the Mothers' Day socks, hoping that I'll be able to give them to my mom this weekend when we see her. The yarn is Sock It To Me! from Elann, and the color is Orchid Pink. The pattern is... well, the pattern is a hybrid.

    I started out following my favorite, old stand-by pattern and knit happily along in a 2x2 rib until I felt like the leg was long enough. Just as I was about to start the heel flap, I happened to be browsing the on-line table of contents for the summer issue of Interweave Knits. More specifically, I was looking at the Better Than Booties Baby Socks (PDF!) pattern, which is posted in its entirety.

    The introduction to the baby sock pattern mentions that the socks "feature Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’s short-row heel and toe". I skimmed a bit further down, and saw that all of the sock variations started by casting on forty-four stitches, a number very close to the sock I had in my hands at that exact moment. Since I've long wanted to try short-row heels I threw caution to the wind, added four stitches evenly around the sock on the last round of ribbing, and dove into the heel using the instructions in the baby sock pattern. And it worked like a charm! I can't wait to try the short-row toe.

    I know things have been fairly sparse around here, we've been flitting around the East Coast again. Last weekend we were in New York, where Jason's parents threw us a lovely engagement party. (One of the gifts was the vase you see above -- isn't it pretty?) Being in New York also means that we saw nieces and nephews, and that means that you can expect baby knitting pictures up next!

    Posted by shannon at 1:21 PM | Comments (1) | For related posts: For Mom, Socks

    May 1, 2005

    Lola, the Phildar Copacabana "Tiny" Tank (Project in deep hibernation)

    Posted by shannon at 12:02 PM | For related posts: