Friday, October 29, 2010

While we're waiting...

My friends Greg & Caiti from Theatre-Go-Round are expecting their first child in December.  It's a boy, his name is Christian, and he has already provided me with plenty of knitterly motivation over the past few months.  
I actually finished this blanket back in August but didn't want to post photos of it until after the baby shower, lest the eagerly expectant mother spot it on Facebook!  Don't worry - that hole in the middle is intentional (and a source of a fair amount of pride for me) as this smallish blanket is intended for use with the car seat - the buckle goes through that slot so you can fasten and unfasten the straps without uncovering baby Christian.
I chose the color to coordinate with the parents' choice of car seat, and I had almost a full skein leftover after I finished the blanket, so I figured why not keep the little guy's head warm, too, with a matching hat.  After searching and searching for just the right pattern (cute, free, and not too complicated) I found this one:

Now all that's missing is the baby! 
Fully realizing that these items have an extremely limited useful life - maybe a month or two tops for the hat, and three or four for the car seat blanket if we have an unseasonably cold winter, I also have a baby afghan in the works that will coordinate with the crib set as well pains me to even write it...their Mets fan gear. 
Under the heading "When it rains, it pours,"  I discovered a few weeks ago that my neighbor is expecting her second granddaughter at the end of November.  'Nuff said.  Off to Michael's I went to find just the right pink for new baby/big sister sweaters.  Just as I was about to settle for something not quite what I wanted, I stumbled across the "Pink Ribbon" display in the middle of the aisle, chock full of Bernat 100% cotton in a yummy variegated pink.  I cranked out this baby sweater in no time at all:
Big sister's sweater has been a little exasperating, but I'm making progress.  Took me a while to find a pattern that resembled what I had envisioned in my mind, then took me a while longer to experiment with gauge (remember why I claimed I was going to stick to afghans?).  With the help of the Phillies in the post-season, I've been making steady progress, but now that they've been ousted from World Series contention I fear my needles will slow down.  I also have some serious doubts about things like having the right number of stitches, and is this thing going to fit a 4 1/2 yr old, and is the little girl going to look at it and say, "Ew!"  All that aside, here it is so far:
It's knitted from the top down and thus at this point resembles a lamp shade more than a sweater.  When it was only a neck sitting around on circular needles on the end table, Eddie complemented me, "That's a really cool bowl thingy, Mom." (This reminds me of those who refer to my dinner theatre career as "singing karaoke")  One appeal of the knitted-in-the-round-top-down technique is that the garment is then "seamless."  Now I'm not thinking of the wearer's comfort here, rather I'm attracted to the notion that, since the actual putting together has always been a stumbling block for me, there's a chance that this might one day be a completed project.  And maybe even (dare I dream it?) wearable? But then again, with major league baseball season over for me, I'll have to find other excuses to spend 3 hours at a time "sittin' and knittin'" if this sweater's delivery date is going to be anywhere near the baby's!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

You know you knit too much when...

you love your new stash yarn so much you put it on the dashboard on the way home so you can gaze at it lovingly.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A great start to the weekend

Friday evening found Dan and Eddie and me free to do as we pleased, with Chris off at an away game and Genny over at her friend's house.  So we trotted up the street to our favorite place to do our favorite things.

Eddie did a lot of this:

Dan, eying the iffy skies and deciding against a real bike ride, got his exercise and his ocean fix at the same time.  Back when he was recuperating from knee surgery a couple years ago he bought this cool attachment for his bike which makes it stationary.  It's gotten a fair amount of use  - we occasionally take "bike rides to nowhere" in the garage on a rainy day.  So he took the setup up the street and was able to keep and eye on Eddie and the surf while he pedaled for 45 minutes (into the wind!).

 I opted for leisure rather than exercise and was quite content to occupy my chair for an hour or so:
It was actually a quite productive happy hour for me because, with the wind so strong and the ocean so loud, I was able to rehearse some music for a couple upcoming shows while I stitched and sipped.  The few stragglers on the beach were not within shouting distance, so I felt free to let it rip at full voice.  (Dan said he could hear me from his mount atop the dunes, but he's used to it!)

When we finally tore ourselves away and headed home, loyal Vinny was there to greet us:
I was so impressed that he lay quietly in the yard, patiently waiting for us to return.  But then our neighbors came over and told us he had been howling the entire time we were gone (surely they exaggerate), so much so that they had come across the street to check on his welfare, knowing that such an uproar is unusual for Vinny.  Oh well, another bubble burst.  The strong east wind blew his voice in the opposite direction, I guess - we hadn't heard a thing.  Come to think of it, the strong east wind must have blown my voice right down the block to Vinny, which is probably why he spent the hour singing along!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A bad day of knitting....

Remember that bumper sticker that said, "A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work"?  Or "A bad day at the beach..." (wait a minute, is there such a thing?)  Well, that's how I felt yesterday about my knitting.   If I were to measure my progress solely on the basis of rows completed, then I had a net loss of, oh, I'm guessing about 97.  However, I'm quickly discovering that there's so much more to this craft than counting off rows and completing projects (actually, there's relatively little of the latter in my case!)

I had been looking forward to yesterday because my husband was scheduled for outpatient ear surgery, thereby providing me the perfect excuse to sit around for hours with nothing to do but knit, all the while appearing to be a doting and attentive and sacrificially loving wife.  As a bonus, since we had to go to Melbourne for the procedure, I asked Dan if he would mind leaving home 45 minutes early so we could stop at Jo-Ann's on our way to the surgery center, giving me a chance to check out their yarn department.  So the adventure began with an hour of knitting in the car while Dan drove up, followed some quality get-acquainted time with Jo-Ann's inventory.  I scored some beautiful chunky wool for a felted tote bag I want to make for Eddie's teacher, as well as a few skeins of mix and match sock yarn for when I finally getting around to trying my first pair.


Once at the center I had plenty of time to work on the baby afghan I brought with me, but the first thing I did was tink two rows, attempting to correct a wayward and disagreeable stitch.  Several rows later I discovered my stitch count was off and had been for probably 30 rows or so.  No big deal - I tinked a half row and increased one stitch right in the middle.  Stitch count fixed, problem forgotten.  Move on.  But despite my high hopes for a productive knitting marathon, I only had eight or nine rows to show for four fleeting hours of opportunity.

Later in the evening I had a rude awakening with another project.  I was finishing up the front of a little Knit for Kids sweater, when I finally had to face the facts.  I had thumbed my nose at gauge, as I am wont to do, believing that regardless of the size sweater I turned out, surely it would fit some little kid somewhere.  What I failed to take into account, however, was proportion.  I neglected to adjust the length specified in the pattern in order to correspond to my way-bigger-than-gauge width.  The outcome was a cute little sweater with a wingspan similar to that of a turkey buzzard.  This photo is misleadingly flattering to my "creation" and does not do justice to the ridiculous hugeness of the sleeves as compared to the squattiness of the body.

Rather than duplicate that piece for a back, knowing all along that the finished garment would have little chance of actually being useful to anyone, I frogged the whole thing.  Maybe I'll start over, or maybe I'll use the yarn for something else.  No regrets. (Especially after checking out the KFK sweaters on - mine's in a better place now, may it rest in peace!)

Spaghetti anyone?
Just to end the day on a good note, I cast on for that tote bag and whizzed through a few rows.  Ahhhh!  The feel of soft, thick wool in my hands....

I think it only fair that lessons learned the hard way should perhaps be spread out over several days or longer, rather than being flung at me all at once, but I'm all the wiser for persevering through my fits and starts.  A bad day of knitting?  Just like a bad day at the such animal.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Group Hug

In my August 29 post I included a photo and pattern for what looked to be a quick and simple afghan - something I'd stumbled across while searching the web for some other quick and simple afghan.  Well, I lost no time finding an excuse to buy yarn and make it, and in a record time (for me) of two weeks, the creation pictured to the left (the blankie, not the teenager) was completed and delivered to a dear family who is experiencing the loss of their beloved mother and grandmother.  It is my hope that this humble substitution for a mother's arms will bring them warmth and comfort and snuggliness. Unfortunately, due to the afghan's limited size, they will have to take turns - the tassels are not to be used for tug-of-war purposes!

I would like to thank Fox Sports for televising an unusually high number of Philadelphia games in early September, conveniently providing both motivation and opportunity to crank this baby out in a timely manner.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What I learned today...

What I learned today is that if I let my van's tank run all the way down to E and stop for gas at 7-11, I can knit an entire row of a baby hat while I fill up.

What I learned last Thursday was if I let my van's tank run all the way down to E, and, even though the warning light glares at me every time I glance its way, if I forget to stop for gas at 7-11, or anywhere else for that matter, and let my permit-wielding son drive to band practice, about two blocks from school he will ask why he's pressing the gas pedal and the car is slowing down.  But he'll know what if feels like when a car runs out of gas and how to calmly pull over, get out and walk to band practice.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I know there's no such thing as a coincidence...

Thanks to Facebook I think I've already had more people read this blog than I did in two years of GottaWearShades posting! Now would someone please click on "Follow" so I don't look so lame? lol Anyway, one of those readers, my Sunday School sidekick literally from birth to high school graduation, asked, "Do you have a nice pattern for a knitted ripple blankie?". Well as a matter of fact I do! It just so happens that just a few months ago I made a "knitted ripple blankie" for a Vero HS graduating senior, who has since begun his freshman adventure at University of South Florida. I found this on (free registration required for access) and could easily picture it in three colors (much as I love the multi stripes!). It claimed, "Skill Level: Easy", so I said, "What the heck? Let's try it." Once again, I was glad I checked the official school colors before I went crazy at the yarn store. I always thought USF was green and black - turns out they're green and gold. But I knew Alex likes black, so I used that as the background color (3 strands of Bernat Satin Sport) and created a pattern of green and gold stripes (2 strands of Caron One Pound in Forest Green and Sunflower). All of these yarns can be machine washed and dried, so the smell of old beer can be removed as desired. Here's how mine turned out: