October 11, 2006

A One Track Mind

We were in New York last weekend, and I finally had a chance to deliver Robbie's first birthday sweater.

Here's a little backstory. Robbie is completely and totally obsessed with cars. "Car" is the word he says most often, most clearly, most accurately and -- did I mention often? From the moment he wakes up in the morning until the moment he drifts off to sleep at night, it's a stream of "car.... car? ...CAR!... caaaaar..." It's really cute.

Now the sweater. I decided to make him a cuddly, over-sized sweater and I had the perfect dark-grey All Seasons Cotton in my stash. I used the Mickey pattern (so familiar from when I made it for Robbie before he was born!) as a general guide. The dark grey knit up beautifully, but once I was a few inches up the front I knew that it needed something more. I made a quick trip to my new (!) LYS for an on-sale ball of light grey ASC and spent a bit of time with some graph paper to come up with the perfect sweater for the Robster.


Isn't he the cutest?

In addition to cars, Robbie also loves to walk. He won't really walk unless he's holding on to a hand, so Sunday night after dinner Jason and I walked all the way back to Robbie's apartment with him toddling between us, with one index finger in each chubby fist. It was so fun! On the last block of the walk, I spotted this in the window of a little clothing store. The next day I went back and snapped a picture; if you look closely, you can see something quinessentially New York. Go ahead, click -- see if you can find it!


Posted by shannon at 10:02 PM | Comments (6) | For related posts: For Robbie

December 29, 2005

Christmas 2005: Last Things First, Vol. II

Welcome to the second installation of Christmas gifts by Gringa, better known as...

Robbie Cleans Up

Picture 247
'It's Christmas. Spoil me, please!'

As the newest member of the clan, it's only right that Robbie made a killing for Christmas this year. When we made our 8-hour visit to New York on the 27th, his mom told us that they hadn't even had time to finish opening his gifts yet. Not to miss out on the fun, we added to his haul with a couple toys, and -- of course -- some knitted goods!

Robbie's mom Lauren loves sea turtles, and when she was expecting Robbie she painted his nursery blue and gave it a sea creatures theme. A few weeks after Robbie was born, I was flipping through a Patternworks catalog and found a felted turtle kit*. I'd long wanted to try felting, but since wool in most forms doesn't feel pleasant to me (see: wool allergies) I could never bring myself to make and felt a handbag that was meant to be carried close to the body. I know, I'm weird. Anyway, this was a perfect opportunity to felt something and to give a gift that I was sure would be well-received. And would you just look at these guys?

After felting, you just add some stuffing to make them squeezable and eyes to give them some personality. The pattern recommends buttons or googlie eyes, but since these turtles will be hands-on toys I decided to embroider the eyes to minimize the choking hazard. I knew they were a hit when Lauren threatened to keep one of them for herself!

Finally, I gave Robbie his definitely-not-a-Christmas gift. Remember when I swore that his blocks were definitely NOT coming back to Massachusetts with me from Thanksgiving? I busted my butt to get all of the pieces knit and blocked, and sewed them all together in time but the foam blocks that I'd had cut at the fabric store were crooked. It's difficult to get straight lines on such small pieces with a foam cutter, but these were particularly bad. And since Lauren had shown such genuine enthusiasm for these blocks since well before Robbie came along, I just couldn't have them being crooked. So they came back to Boston with me after all, and I got new (straight) foam cut. Almost five months to the day after he was born, I finally gave the little guy his blocks... and he promptly tried to shove the R block into his mouth. There's no greater compliment than that!

Picture 012

*It's actually a Felted Turtle & Starfish kit!

Posted by shannon at 2:54 PM | Comments (5) | For related posts: Christmas Knitting 2005, For Robbie, Robbie's Blocks

November 23, 2005

Bad Tia!


The morning after we got married, I interrupted Jason in the middle of a sentence to say: "Hey! I have nieces and nephews!"* I then proceeded to do what I christened The Nieces and Nephews Dance. Seriously, "my nieces and nephews" comes in a close second after "my husband" in terms of my favorite things to say now that I'm married. So, with all of this excitement, you'd think that I'd be further along on Robbie's blocks.

When I made blocks for Henry two and half years ago, Lauren made me promise that I'd make them for her babies. Of course, I agreed. When I made Sydney's earlier this year, she was already pregnant with Robbie and she reminded me of our deal. She loaned me a piece of his nursery bedding to pick yarn colors months ago. But then the wedding came, I got sidetracked, and here it is November and Robbie's about to celebrate his four-month birthday and the kid still. has. no. blocks. What kind of Tia am I?

Can I have my blocks? Please, Tia?

I set a self-imposed deadline of this weekend. It's going to be close, but I suspect seeing this little face is going to keep me very motivated. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it!

*I'm an only child, so the only way I was going to get nieces and nephews was by marriage. I refer here specifically to legally-recognized nieces and nephews, since I've been Tia for quite a while now. ;)

Posted by shannon at 4:41 PM | Comments (2) | For related posts: For Robbie, Robbie's Blocks

October 27, 2005

Catching My Breath

Getting married warps the time-space continuum, there's just no other way to explain it. As we got closer and closer to the event itself, time began to speed up until -- just as everybody told me it would -- the wedding weekend went by in a flash. Now that time has resumed it's normal pace, I have a lot to share! Let's start with some pre-wedding eye candy...

The weekend before the wedding, we called a Time Out on the insanity and headed up to New Hampshire to see Jason's brother run a half-marathon. Noah wasn't the main attraction, of course... Robbie was! And because his mama is a fantastic sister-in-law, Robbie was sporting the Mickey sweater I made for him before he was born! Seeing him in the sweater makes all the intarsia madness worth it.

Robbie's first visit to the pumpkin patch. The little guy began to list to port
just as Jason snapped the picture; the hand you see in corner belongs to
Robbie's dad as he lunged to steady him!

P.S. For those looking for wedding pictures, there are a few "teasers" linked on Jason's site. More to come!

Posted by shannon at 2:51 PM | Comments (2) | For related posts: For Robbie

August 11, 2005

New Baby, New Boomerang


He's here, he's here! Jason's brother and sister-in-law are the proud parents of Robbie, who will be two weeks old tomorrow. He was barely a week old when his mama sent me this picture of him, with Ephraim the Elephant standing watch over him. Now that's a quick karmic boomerang! (Now all I have to do is wait for him to be big enough to wear this.)

I'm New York-bound this weekend, so not only is tomorrow Robbie's two-week birthday but it's the first time that I get to hold him and kiss him! We were able to squeeze in a half-day visit to New York the weekend he was born, but were limited to grinning and gesturing at him through the window of the nursery. I'm even staying with Robbie and his parents so as to maximize baby cuddling and kissing time. I can't wait!

Posted by shannon at 3:50 PM | Comments (3) | For related posts: For Robbie, Miscellaneous Small Projects

June 6, 2005

Two Baby Sweaters, Coming Up...

First things first. I asked for help in my last post, and Kate, Johanna, and Lisa came through! I picked up a C hook, and put my weary joints to work. It took a few tries, but with a little guidance from the Lion Brand page I got those pesky button bands attached. The next morning, at the Wild & Woolly sale, Alison helped me pick out a pearly pink button. Thanks, girls!

Two days later, I had already given it away. I spent the weekend in New Jersey for a wedding shower -- mine! Of equal import, my matron of honor and best buddy T. flew in from Tennessee to co-host the fiesta. We hadn't seen each other in over a year, and I was so glad that we were able to squeeze in a girls' weekend before her second baby girl is born in September. I was bummed that we lost a few hours together because of flight delays on Friday, but those same lost hours were used to make a pink hat with flower to match the sweater... for her! I didn't get a picture of the hat, but I've got my fingers crossed for a knitting boomerang in a few months. T. loved the set, or at least she seemed to -- she is a Southerner, after all. ;)

Accompanying the pretty pretty pink is the completed Mickey I knit for Jason's brother's baby. While it wasn't technically finished for the shower two weeks ago, I was able to baste in the sleeves before I wrapped it up and gave it to her. Then I did the old "glad you like the present, please give it back to me so I can finish it!" trick, and finished it up last week. To recap my experience with this sweater, pattern: way cute, intarsia: not for me.

Lottie and Mickey, perfect together... hey, maybe their eventual owners will be, too!

Posted by shannon at 9:11 PM | Comments (3) | For related posts: For Ceci, For Robbie, Miscellaneous Small Projects

May 5, 2005

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