Friday, November 24, 2006

My pinwheel!

I finished it! I finished it! I pulled it out of its hiding place, found some needles, grafted, cursed, grafted again, knit some, grafted, cursed, searched the house for more yarn, unravelled part of the first sleeve to salvage enough yarn to finish the second one, soaked, blocked and admired my lovely pinwheel ;0)

Isn't she beautiful? I started her this summer and then put her aside during those dark days of early pregnancy when knitting made me nauseous. When I picked her up again, the sleeves tested my patience (I knit them upside down!) and I buried the whole thing in a grocery bag at the bottom of Julian's diaper bag. I dug it out this week in an effort to come clean about all the projects that were still unfinished and it was worth it! Here's a picture of the back...

Looking at it in all of it's blocked beauty I can't help but wonder why I almost gave up on it in the first place. Seriously, I had planned on loosing it forever! The only little itsy bitsy problem it still poses is that I knit it for my cute little neighbourette who just turned 3 (actually, that's not true...her birthday was in June!!! See what I mean about procrastinating?) and let's just say that while my Pinwheel is the same "size" as it was when I started it this spring, it's intended recipient just kept on growing and growing as little ones tend to and I'm not sure if it will fit. Of course the only way to find out for sure would be for her to try it one but I'm too afraid that it might not fit and don't want to break her precious little heart.

Anyone out there have an average sized 3-year old? Please help a procrastinating knitter out, won't you? Please? I need to know about sleeve width, sleeve length and waist measurements.

Do tell...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A first sweater for my little little guy

So my little little guy keeps growing and growing. I'm more than halfway through this pregnancy already (24 weeks...I think?) and I've just entered the phase where my belly is growing faster than I can adjust so I've been bumping into the kitchen island, the footboard on my way to the loo a zillion times per night and the other day I even closed the door on my belly ;0)

So it was about time I started working on the little guy's layette! He'll have plenty of hand me downs from his brother but they will be born in different seasons (Julian was a summer baby) which means that Julian's itty baby clothes (0-3 month) won't be warm enough for little little guy due in March. So I'm planning some knits. Some fancy, some practical and some both. I thought I'd start with a 'practical' project for anyday wear -- the classic sweater and footsie leggings from Erika Knight's "Simple Knits for Cherished Babies." I started the sweater last week and just finished it. Really, it couldn't be a simpler knit. It's all knit in one piece with a big 'ole hole in the middle for the head.

My only pattern modification was to graft the sleeve seams rather than sew them. Well it sounded like a good idea at the time, but in retrospect was probably more trouble than it was worth. I was almost done grafting the first sleeve when I noticed this. Huh?

Yeah, that's 3-ish stitches on the front needle, 6 on the back and one really weird messed up loop at the beginning of the front needle. I still don't know what happened there. I undid the whole thing a few times and was able to get the stitch number to match up again on both needles, but that loop? Well I just darned it in. Shhhhhhh ;0)

Oh, and a note about the yarn... The Jaeger Cashmere the pattern called for has been discontinued (plus, I wanted a 'practical' knit so cashmere would have been too high maintenance for this project) so I sought a good substitute. A quick web search revealed lots of great substitution ideas: Dale of Norway Baby Ull (100% merino, machine wash AND dry!), Baby Cashmerino, and Filatura Di Crosa 501. I settled on the Baby Ull because everyone seemed to be thrilled with this yarn but I must say that though it is so buttery soft that it is hard to beleive it is 100% wool, my stitches are really uneven with this yarn and it really bothers me. It improved somewhat after a Eucalan bath and a good blocking, but not enough to my liking.

And of course I have tons of it left over! The pattern called for 3 balls of the Jaeger and I expected to sub ball for ball so I bought 8 (I'm also planning on making matching leggings which call for 3 more balls and decided to get a couple more just in case -- don't look at me like that, I got a deal on ebay!). Thing is, this yarn has unbeleivable yardage...I ended up using only 1 ball and maybe 25 yards of the other to finish the sweater!!!

So now for the leggings...

Oh, and to answer Ellen's question from the comments a few days ago (Hi Ellen!), I bought my copy of the "Sirdar Nativity Collection 285" leaflet from Country Yarns. The good news is that it looks like they still carry the leaflet (scroll down) and they ship to Canada and the US. Hope that helps ;0)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

That's me! That's me!

I’ve been looking for holiday issues of my favourite knitting mags for a few weeks now but couldn’t find them anywhere (granted only really special newsstands carry knitting magazines and there just aren’t many really special newsstands where I live). But today, I finally found one and bought a stack of holiday ‘zines including the Special Holiday Issue of IK(did you know there was a special issue? This one is not part of the subscription so you’ll need to go out and get one!) and Vogue Knitting’s Knit Simple. I picked up a club at the food court near my work and settled myself down to read. Imagine my excitement when I turned to page 20 of Knit Simple to find that my blog was profiled along with some other blogging idols like the Yarn Harlot, Mason Dixon Knitting and Whip Up!

And, as if that wasn’t enough…there is a screenshot of my blog on page 22 right next to Knitty for crying out loud!

Seriously! How cool is that? No really? Naturally I gathered my stuff and headed right back to the newsstand to buy another copy. I’ll have to frame one and keep the other under my pillow and flip to it every once and again ;0)

And all this time…I had no idea! Did you?

I think I need a little lie-down…

Sunday, November 19, 2006

'Tis the season!

I finished Mary! Though it took several tries (and an extra trip to Wal-Mart for just the right shade of embroidery floss for her eyes) I managed to give her a peaceful expression. And a good yarn hair day. And a 'the hills are alive' posture! That last one was unintended, it just kind of happened. I'm hoping it'll sort itself out when I give her a baby Jesus to hold ;0)

All that's left to do is colour on some cheeks with a red pencil crayon. (I kid you not, that is actually what it says in the pattern.) I figured I'd knit up a test swatch to practice colouring cheeks on. I've come too far to mess it up with improvised craft cosmetics! LOL!

Oh, and Julian loves her too. When I started to put her together, he would come over and ask to see her and then ever so gently pet her while exclaiming "nice nice" and since I finished her last night, he can't help but exclaim "wow" everytime he sees her. I feel that I've done right by Mary and also by my son. Somehow, I've managed to pass on my admiration for needlecraft to my toddler...and it makes me very proud ;0)

And then, in a prelude to Christmas, our dada woke up before dawn and drove to the nearest toy store to stand in line for the new Nintendo Wii which was launched today. (It's his Christmas present this year...actually it's a present for both of us because I enjoy playing wholesome Nintendo games too! I got hooked in elementary school when I received the original Nintendo for Christmas. I never got any extra games for it but I got really good at Super Mario Bros which is to this day my favourite game ever - though Tetris and Dr. Mario are very close behind). Well after standing in a very civilised line for 2 hours, he did manage to get his hand on the coveted console and was back at home ready to try it out just as Jujube and I finished breakfast.

And then of course we had to try it out. You know, to make sure it worked properly ;0)

Merry early Christmas!

* Specs for my Virgin Mary: the pattern is from a Sirdar booklet (number 285) called "The Nativity Collection" and designed by Alan Dart. I knit it using Knit Picks Palette on US1 needles (note to self...the blue ones). My gauge was different than the pattern called for because of my yarn substitution. I threw caution to the wind and made no adjustments to account for my different gauge and somehow she turned out perfect! Yes, I am counting my blessings ;0)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Totally out of control!

So remember my rule about WIPs? No more than 3 projects on the needles at a time? I've managed to do good by this rule for most of my knitting life (with a few exceptions here and there). Nice. Neat. Organised. And in control.

But now that I am waking from my first trimester hibernation, I suddenly feel the need to knit EVERYTHING. I think I've developed knitting attention deficit disorder and hope I can somehow manage to turn it around. Oh, and if that wasn't bad enough, I can't stop buying yarn! Seriously, this knitter is out of control!

I had so much knitting bits all around the house that I needed to dust-off my "knitting bag" and organise all of my projects in ziplocs where they belonged. There were projects on the dining room table, in the tv cabinet, on the floor by my bed, in my purse, in the fruit bowl and one deep in the yarn closet (that one I left in hiding for now). So much knitting that it doesn't all fit in my ginormous knitting bag...and it is making me anxious.

You've seen my Anniversary Sweater before and frankly I haven't knit much on it since April! I still only have about 10 inches of the back piece done and my anniversary was April 17th. You saw my virgin Mary last week...and I still haven't worked up the courage to finish her. So instead I started the Menorah Pillow from Handknit Holidays in Elann's Uros Aran (sooo soft!).

Then I got my hands on some Dale of Norway Baby Ull which is so wonderfully soft but somehow my stitch definition is awful in it. It all looks so uneven...I hope blocking will take care of everything. I have high blocking hopes! The pattern is from Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Cherished Babies.

And then there are my too small Cable Twist socks that I managed to turn into really cool fingerless mitts (knit from my Froggie Meanie winnings...a delicious Fleece Artist merino).

I feel like Lucy in that classic I Love Lucy bit where she's working on the assembly line at the chocolate factory and can't keep up with the candy flying by her on the conveyer belt and starts to stuff them in her mouth (click here to reminise).

Oh, and in other super exciting knitting news, my knitting buddy Marie-Michele and I got to alienate our co-workers and hurry to the McGill Bookstore last Friday to meet the one and only Yarn Harlot!

And the Harlot didn't disappoint. She was funny and charming and though she wasn't quite like I had imagined her, she was even more endearing if you can beleive that that is even possible. If she's ever in your town, you should totally go see her! We had a blast!


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Knitting (and other) miscellany

Did anyone else notice that they started piping out the Christmas music at the mall already? Yeah, like on November 1st! Two things happened: (1) I started getting excited about Christmas, and (2) I started freaking out about Christmas! You see, I bought this pattern for a knit nativity a zillion years ago and had planned to knit a character per month so that come Christmas this year, I'd have an astonishing knit nativity to lay out under our Christmas tree. I was also going to knit the advent calendar ornaments too...there are 24 of them! It was a glorious plan except they are already piping the Christmas music at the mall and all I have knit so far for my fabulous nativity display is this:

That would be the gown, right arm, collar, partially stuffed head, and scarf of Mary. Oh and there's a partially completed baby Jesus somewhere too who, well, let's just say needs to be reworked ;0) Oh, and this is how far I got before halloween...I've been procrastinating since because I'm too afraid of the face embroidery (it's what ultimately felled my first baby Jesus attempt...he ended up looking like he had fetal alcohol syndrome. Not good! Definately not divinely inspired!)

Speaking of halloween though (no I'm not changing the subject just to avoid setting forth a timetable or revised plan for my nativity, why would you even think that?), here's a photo of our little lion blowing his nose! Ain't he cute?

We didn't take him out because it was cold and damp, but we let him give out the candy and he had a blast (and his very first sugar high!). So much fun. I can't wait until next year when we can take him out trick or treating. I think he's really going to love that!

And now, to justify the title of this post, are some completely unrelated knitting items that I wanted to share with y'all...

  1. Did you see grumperina's cable twist socks (the pattern is from hello yarn)? I think they're so cool that I've actually cast on a pair of my own in some delicious Fleece Artist sock yarn that I won in froggie meanie's blogiversary contest. Did I even tell you about that yet? I'll have to take some decent photos and tell you more about it. I'm loving the yarn and the colours are sooo pretty ;0) Thank you thank you thank you Froggie Meanie! For being a fabulous blog pal, an inspiring knitter, kitty costume sewer (how cool is that kitty costume she made for Claire...seriously, Renee, you rock!), and for possibly becoming Julian and Logan's future mother-in-law. What? She's got the girls and I've got the boys? Think about the potential knitting progeny (is that a word and does it mean what I think it means?)!
  2. Have you seen this celtic alphabet chart generator yet? Is it ever neat! I'm so going to have to use it on something. It just so pretty ;0)
  3. What about this? Did everyone hear of the Tsarina of Tsocks yet? I have to get me some of these Imbas socks! Seriously, if I ever manage to knit those, I'll never take them off my feet. I think I'd even bath in Eucalan so there really would never be a reason to pry them off.
  4. If you are lucky enough to have a little girl to knit for this holiday season, check out this simple but really special flapper hat from Sara + h. Too cute and perfect for holiday knitting too since you could probably hash one out in an evening if you had too...and you just might ;0)
  5. I joined a new knitalong, knitty bloggy baby bumpers, which is for anyone who is expecting and knitting for baby or for anyone who is knitting baby garments period. It's a really cool place. Check it out if you're into making baby things...
  6. I finished my Soctovember socks last weekend! I'll have to take proper picks and show you next time.
  7. Stephen and I were lucky enough to get to see Bob Dylan live in concert last night! Too bad I fell asleep during the intermission and really had a hard time staying awake when he finally got on bedtime is 8:30 these days y'know? I think I'm too old for rock concerts ;0)
  8. Oh, and YARN HARLOT IS COMING TO MONTREAL TOMORROW NIGHT and I am so there bay-bee! I called the bookstore to ask if we should reserve spots...they told me it was a knitting book signing and figured there'd be lots of room. Boy are they going to be surprised! Check out the deets here if you're in town and want to check it out too.

Ciao for now...