Friday, March 31, 2006

What do Sivia Harding and Fred Flintstone Have in Common?

They may both be part of my projects for April. The next colors for Project Spectrum are orange and yellow and I get to cast on for some new projects. (I apologize to Sivia for that comparison.) Here are the choices I have lined up.

The Diamond Fantasy Shawl (Sivia Harding Designs) with my Grafton Fibers Corriedale handspun on the left. And on the right, a skein of STR in the Fred Flintstone colorway. I do have a pair of Jaywalkers in Carbon on the needles and Carbon does have some yellowy/gold in it, but I'm not sure that I can resist casting on with this other STR. The shades of orange are so wonderfully bright and intense. This would surely make me smile everytime I pick it up. The in progress Carbon socks are shown below.

The brightness quotient is definitely lacking here. But the first sock is almost at the heel so it would be nice to finish this pair up. I guess I could do a Cara and finish one sock in Carbon and then start one in Fred Flintstone.

One of the other projects that is lined up for this month is the baby sweater shown below. It is a Minnowknits pattern.

I know of two more babies that are on their way so I need to start some gifts. Question for anyone reading this - do you think these colors could be for either a boy or girl? I feel that colors are for everyone, but I know that some people feel differently. I tend to have more "girly" colors in my stash, but when it comes to baby gifts that are made before the baby arrives, obviously, I need to make something that can go either way. So, what do you think?

To finish up Project Spectrum for March, this wonderful package arrived in my mailbox. From Robin, my postcard swap buddy.

She drew this picture. I mean she drew this by hand. It's gorgeous. And she was worried. OK - now I can color - give me some crayons, colored pencils, watercolors - and I can go to town. But that is coloring in a picture that is already there. I cannot draw a picture from scratch. I love it Robin - and I mean that sincerely. And I have a keychain with flamingos and some yummy smelling lip balm. Robin, thank you for ending my red/pink month so beautifully!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

More Red and Pink

Last night I grafted the toe of the second Opal Ladybug sock. You may notice the matching stripes. While this is not so important to me, I have a girlfriend who feels just the opposite. So, since I cast on for the second one in her presence, I had to make these as close to identical as I could. I think I did a pretty good job.

I just love a finished project. It makes me feel better about casting on for more! These will be a birthday gift for my sister. Her birthday is right around the time of the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Festival and hopefully I will be able to go to Cummington again this year. Last year was my first time there and it was really nice - smaller than Rhinebeck, but more manageable.

I received my postcard from Robin, my March Project Spectrum Postcard Swap Pal. It's beautiful! It's like a pieced sunset and I love the colors. I put it up in my office at work and it makes me smile everytime I see it. She told me there is more coming in the mail, but I wanted to put this up to share. Thank you so much, Robin.

I've photographed it with the front of my Nothin' But a T Shirt which is about a third done. I had hoped to get this finished up during the red/pink Project Spectrum month. I don't think it will happen, but I'll keep on knitting.

Monday, March 27, 2006

In Preparation for My Upcoming Annual Visit

I received this joke recently and it seemed appropriate since I have an appointment this week. And I could see my daughter doing something like this.

You will want to read this through to the end......


I was due for an appointment with the gynecologist later in the week. Early one morning, I received a call from the doctor's office to tell me there was a cancellation and the 9:30am appointment was available. I took it. I had only just packed everyone off to work and school, and it was already around 8:45 am. The trip to his office took about 35 minutes, so I didn't have any time to spare. As most women do, I like to take a little extra effort over hygiene when making such visits, but this time I wasn't going to be able to make the full effort. So, I rushed upstairs, threw off my pajamas, wet the washcloth that was sitting next to the sink, and gave myself a quick wash in "that area" to make sure I was at least presentable. I threw the washcloth in the clothes basket, donned some clothes, hopped in the car and raced to my appointment. I was in the waiting room for only a few minutes when I was called in. Knowing the procedure, as I'm sure you do, I hopped up on the table, looked over at the other side of the room and pretended that I was in Paris or some other such glamorous place a million miles away. I was a little surprised when the doctor said, "My, we have made an extra effort this morning, haven't we?" I didn't respond. After the appointment, I heaved a sigh of relief and went home. The rest of the day was normal... some shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc. After school when my six year old daughter was playing, she called out from the bathroom, "Mommy, where's my washcloth?" I told her to get another one from the cupboard. She replied, "No!!!".

( Now wait for it......., this is too funny not to be true!!!)

She yelled, " I need the one that was here by the sink, it had all my glitter and sparkles saved inside it."

Friday, March 24, 2006

Sshhh... I know it's not pink or red

But there's a baby coming. And I need a gift. And I had this yarn - Blue Sky Organic Cotton. Perfect for a baby. As the label says "Wrap yourself in a cloud of cotton." And it's machine washable and you can even tumble dry it on low - great for a new parent. So, I present a baby blanket - knit in garter stitch from one corner to the other using 4 skeins of the organic cotton. It is a gift for a woman who works at the day care which my daughter attended for 4 years. A wonderful place which utilizes the Waldorf school philosophy and is the perfect environment for a developing toddler/child. The teachers amazed me. They were always soft spoken and calm and the children reacted in a positive way. They got to participate in gardening and baking, art and crafts (my daughter learned finger knitting), wonderful seasonal rituals and walks in the woods when they were older. A safe haven from society's sometimes overwhelming bombardment of television cartoons, action figures and toys. Now we have moved onto kindergarten and I can see that I have lost some of the control I have had over my daughter's environment. The clothes, the toys, the television shows and other such things are starting to be influenced by peers. In some things my daughter sticks to her own ideas - for example, she still wears dresses or skirts almost everyday. I hope I can be a good role model and teach her to follow her own head and heart and not listen so much to what others say and do.

I joined Risa's KAL to wipe out the WIPs. So far this month I have finished my daughter's pullover in pink Malabrigo and the baby blanket shown above. I am knitting toward the toe on the second sock of Opal Ladybug (nothing really new to show there) and I have also taken out my Nothin' but a T-Shirt that I started quite a while back. Here is the back which I finished last night.I am working the shoulders with short rows instead of bind offs which is why the shoulders are on holders. This way I can do a neat three needle bind off at the shoulders when the front is finished. I should get the socks done by the end of the month but it's a stretch to say I can get the t-shirt done as well. I'm also gathering my thoughts and projects for next month's Project Spectrum - orange and yellow - two colors I don't usually work with. This will be fun!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Size 1 Needles Do Not Belong at Competitive Events

No, I didn't poke anyone with them, but there were a couple times when I almost broke one of my needles. On Saturday, my daughter was in a state level gymnastics meet and for some reason, I was quite nervous. I'm learning something about myself - or maybe just admitting something. Even though I hate to compete, I think I may be a competitive person. I like to win. I know that the most important thing is to do your best, but it is also nice to come in first. So, when my daughter was competing this weekend, I found myself, with sweaty palms, clutching those size 1 needles in a death grip and I kept having to tell myself to calm down. After all, I just want her to have fun. I never would have performed in front of a lot of people when I was growing up - I'm too shy. I am so proud that she is doing this and I just want her to have fun and enjoy it. She may be beginning to realize what it means to come in first, second, etc. because after the meet, she asked me if first place was the best. I told her that everyone wins as long as they do their best. And the Y does a good job because everyone gets medals or ribbons or whatever no matter where you finish. Note to self: next time, bring a project on larger needles - maybe around size 10 or so.
Now for some knitting content - Project Spectrum is coming along wonderfully. I should probably join Risa's KAL in wiping out the WIP's since I have plenty of red/pink projects on the needles to work on this month. Here is what I worked on Sunday:

My second Opal Ladybug sock is coming along nicely - I'm now at the heel. I also have my NBaT on the needles from a while back and will work on that when the sock is finished.

Looking forward to next month, I am already lining up my projects although I don't have anything on the needles in the orange/yellow family - except for some Jaywalkers in STR Carbon - they have some yellow in them. Guess I'll have to cast on for some new projects. Life is good!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Quick Card Post

Robin, my postcard pal for March received her cards so I feel safe in posting the cards I sent to her. I have done rubber stamping and some scrapbooking for a while so I definitely have a stash of card making stuff . I also belong to a monthly card swap with a few women. I make a card for each of them and I get one from each of them in return. It's a fun way to increase the handmade card stash. Anyway, here is what I sent to Robin.

She has just brought home a beautiful Lab puppy named Lucy so I borrowed a Lab stamp from a friend. I also get a lot of ideas from all the magazines and catalogs out there. The front of the "flower" card is actually cut in a wave pattern and then the flowers are layered on the cut edge. It was fun concentrating on one color theme.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Where do you knit?

I bring my knitting pretty much everywhere. I knit at gymnastics practices and meets, at doctor's offices and dentist's offices, at the coffee shop, standing in line at an amusement park, on any trip where I am a passenger, at friends' houses, sometimes at the movies - in other words, at almost any event where I will be sitting or hanging out for any length of time. And I can count on one hand the times I have seen anyone else knitting (knitting retreats obviously not included here). How come? I know there are others like me out there from reading your blogs. Or am I just refusing to admit that I am that weird! Where are the knitters? And even if I'm not knitting, I would definitely notice if someone else was. And is it just me, or does anyone else have some sort of separation anxiety when they don't have some knitting with them. You know, what if you get stuck in a traffic jam or the lines at the grocery store are really long... OK, maybe I am just weird.

Thank goodness I have some friends at work to knit with - we meet at least twice a week at lunchtime to knit. I wish I could knit at work other times - like during some of those long meetings where my mind wanders to every subject but what is being discussed (hmmm... what do I need at the grocery store, what color would I like to order of that Hanne Falkenberg Mermaid kit, if I get that kit, is it excessive to also buy the materials for Ingeborg, you know - stuff like that).

I finished the top down pullover and here it is next to the first one I made several years ago.

Even as I post this picture, I am ripping out the lower part of the sleeves since my daughter declared they were too tight. I couldn't do this last night while watching part of the latest Harry Potter movie because she wanted to sleep with the sweater. That request usually happens when she gets a new hand knit. Does anyone else's kids do this?

Thanks again to my secret pal - the Fleece Artist roving is lovely as are the handmade stitch markers.

She included some of my favorite jelly beans, some wonderfully fragrant candles (Spiced Pear - yummy), a notepad and some goodies for my daughter. I haven't given them to her yet, as I usually save things for a time when I really need to bring them out - those whiny moments when she doesn't know what to do.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Strawberry Margaritas

In keeping with this month's red/pink theme, I present the color Strawberry Margarita. I was treated to a hot stone pedicure and massage last week. Wow - that's about all I can say. I think I was actually in heaven for a few hours. The hot stone thing is kind of strange - they use these heated smooth stones covered in massage oil. Apparently the stones help direct the heat directly to the muscle so that you get a more intense massage. I just had this done on my feet and lower legs and then a traditional massage over the rest of the body. All in all, highly recommended. Yeah, I know, if I was doing this correctly, I should have included a real Strawberry Margarita in this picture. Oh well - didn't happen.

I am still working on my daughter's top down sweater - now on the second sleeve. Carole asked about the pattern and this is it -

Knitting Pure and Simple's Children's Neckdown Pullover #9730. I am making it in a dark pink Malabrigo. No new picture - still looks pretty much the same.

I also received a package from my secret pal. I apologize for the lack of pictures. Let's just say there was candy involved and I was being selfish and didn't want to share. Pictures will be coming later but I want to thank my pal for the beautiful Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester spinning fibers. In a wonderful color called Mermaid. I'm really looking forward to spinning this as I never spun BFL and have heard only good things.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Project Spectrum

Project Spectrum has begun and this first month we focus on pink and red. I picked up my daughter's sweater that I had abandoned for the Knitting Olympics and started on the first sleeve. This is a great sweater for a beginner - top down construction done in the round so there are no seams to sew at the end. And my daughter actually wears the first sweater that I made from this pattern - a size 2-4 which as of yesterday still fit a six year old. Nothing else in that size range fits her - oh, the wonders of a handknit wool sweater. She has actually gotten 4 years of wear from this sweater which was made from multicolored Schaffer yarn. When I'm done with this new one I should take a picture of the two sweaters side by side.

This next project will probably be put away for this month, but I wanted to show you the successful joining of the hem to the outside of my second Bea Ellis hat.

The provisional cast on worked great! This hem is so much neater than the one that I did for my first hat.

I am also working on a baby gift out of some stash of Blue Sky Organic Cotton. An easy baby blanket started from the corner and increasing with yarn overs until I get to the center where I decrease back down again to the opposite corner.

This kind of mindless knitting is great for those gymnastics meets and practices. Socks fall into that category also except when I need to concentrate on turning the heel and picking up for the gusset. I always need to have some mindless knitting on the needles.