Sunday, December 29, 2002  

More Babies on the Way!!!

This weekend, while celebrating my grandma's 90th (!!!!) birthday, we learned that my cousin and her husband are expecting their first in August. This little one did not happen overnight, and the whole family is rejoicing that they have finally been blessed. Hopefully everything will go well for her, and my grandma will become a great-grandma next summer!!! If it turns out ok, I will knit a second "animal blanket" for the new little guy or girl- I really love the design, and I think it will turn out well.

Aran update- I am on the neck ribbing!!! So hopefully I will finish tomorrow, or possibly on tuesday. I think I will start the first blanket at choir tomorrow...


Thursday, December 26, 2002  

Designing Success!!!

This is the hat and scarf I knit for my best friend- I finished the scarf ages ago, but I was stuck on the hat- I couldn't find a pattern. So today, I decided I would use the first day of my "knitting vacation" to try my hand at designing..... :) I am VERY excited that it worked! :) It isn't perfect, but I think she'll really like it. I will post the pattern and more pictures once I get back to my high-speed connection at work next week! :)

In the meantime, here is Cricket helping me get started on my design....

I am also making great progress on the Aran. I have reached the short row neck shaping- a little intimidating at first, but I'm trying to take my time and concentrate, so hopefully I'll finish successfully in the next few days. :) Right now, I am winding the yarn for the baby blanket into balls while watching CSI (best show on tv!). I'm hoping to start on the blanket before I go back to work. I've never done Intarsia before, so that will be a challenge- I hope it turns out well as I think it will make a great gift for the new baby! :)

Oh, in other knitting news- my grandma LOVED her hat and scarf. She wore it that day! We had a white christmas for the first time since 1993, so she needed the extra warmth of the fleece lining. I know it meant a lot to her that I took the time to make it for her. :) I wasn't 100% satisfied with my design/lining job, but I think I have some ideas that will help in the future. For example, in the baby blanket, I will do a seed stitch border, and also knit the white "background" of the blanket in seed stitch to discourage curling and to give the blanket more texture. I also think it will help the animals stand out more. But it will be an experiment- if it doesn't work, I guess I'll frog and start again!


Monday, December 23, 2002  

New Year's Sweater

Here it is- all ready to be knit in one wonderful, huge round! Last night I made it though 4 combined rounds- only 44 left to go before the neck ribbing starts! I am confident I will be able to finish this before the New Year- I will be SO excited! I will start the baby blanket next- a nice change from the Aran. ;)

And, although she isn't the smartest cat, Cricket's little brain was big enough for her to understand that she shouldn't even think about attacking my sweater. You can tell she was tempted, though- "who, me? I have absolutely no plans to play with that big pile of yarn!"

In keeping with the spirit of the New Year- getting ready for a fresh start etc...- I frogged the unsuccessful start of a chenille tank top. The idea was a good one- but I had picked a complicated cable that was completely lost in the yarn- I was disappointed, but not crushed- I will eventually figure out what to make with that yarn, and whatever project I come up with will be a lot more suitable than what I just frogged. I'll just chalk it up to experience- I got practice with the cables, and a lesson in making sure that the yarn and the project suit each other!

When I got home from seeing "Drumline" on Friday (ooooo fabulous movie- about MARCHING BANDS!!!!), there was my Dale of Norway pattern waiting- the instructions are daunting, but I am very excited about starting it.... AFTER the baby blanket. ;) I almost went out to the store to buy yarn that instant- but then I realized that I had some swatching to do! I believe I will use the Woolease- on my small practice swatch I got almost exactly the right gauge, so it should work! Now I'll have to pick out colors- I might use some of the leftover yarn from my sweater- they have, for some reason, discontinued the color- and it's one of my favorites- a rich, dark grey. Maybe they will bring it back...


Friday, December 20, 2002  

Wool Frustration

Being allergic to wool has never bothered me too much... until I started knitting! It seems like all of the most beautiful yarns are wool.... ARGH! Today, though, I'm proving to myself that wool isn't entirely off limits- I am wearing a holiday cardigan that was a gift from my boyfriend's mom several years ago- it is a very soft, fine gauge lambswool. As long as I don't let it touch my skin directly, it seems to be ok.... although it is kinda hot in a wool sweater and a turtleneck. And I have been sneezing more today... but I still don't think I could actually knit anything in pure wool. :( Well, on the bright side, at least there are alternatives- imagine if I had been born in medieval England- I would have either had to learn to deal with it, or gone naked... now there's a thought! ;)



Knitting Vacation Countdown!

Only 2.5 more days of work (counting today) until I have an entire glorious week to devote to hopefully finishing my Aran.... I will be so excited when it's done! :) I just found out that the President is giving all Federal employees a half day on tuesday- WHEEEEEEEE!!! Extra knitting time for me!

This weekend, though, I have to finish the last few rows on my grandma's (never-ending) scarf, and sew on the backing. I also need to knit a chenille hat for my friend Jen- to match the scarf I knit for her ages ago. And, of course, I need to wrap ALL my gifts, knitted or otherwise. ARGH! But soon, the scarf will cease to loom over my head, and I can concentrate on finishing the Aran. I think I will also start the baby blanket just to have something else to work on- there is a pattern, but it's colors , not stitches, so hopefully I won't need to reference the pattern nearly as much. I need something I can work on on the bus, or in choir practice, etc... so I'm hoping that the baby blanket will fit the bill. :)

In other news, I am expecting 2 glorious gifts (to myself!) in the mail any day now- both the Dale of Norway pattern and Janet Szabo's Designing Arans book are on their way.... more motivation to work extra hard on my Aran! I think I have about 10 more rounds to go on the body before I am ready to attach the sleeves and begin the yoke- after that, it's only 48 rounds, and ribbing! I think with some quality, dedicated knitting time next week, I will be able to finish before the New Year- cross my fingers!

I can't help myself, though- as soon as the Dale pattern comes, I will first swatch with some WoolEase, and then, if that's too thick (which I think it will be), I'll go shopping for some WoolEase sportweight- regardless, my stash will soon colntain the yarn needed for that project too.


Wednesday, December 18, 2002  

Virtues of Being a Patient Knitter

Poor Cricket... someone wrapped her up in "her" yarn (the yarn I have abandoned to her kitty-crazies)...

In other knitting news, my dale of norway pattern was (hopefully) shipped today- it is going to be extremely difficult to keep from starting it right away. Regardless of the impression from the title of this post, I am not usually endowed with much patience- I guess I'll just have to learn to knit faster! :)

Oh, and for the "you know you have a knitting problem when..." files- I woke up 30+ mins early this morning so I could work on my sweater. I HATE getting up before 8 am. That early in the morning, 2 minutes more of sleep is more precious than gold- yet there I was, resisting the urge to reset my alarm so that I could get some knitting in before work. I think because I spend so many evenings out and about (M- choir, T, Th- aerobics... and the past few weeks, choir on W too!), I'm feeling a lack of "me time." It was nice to start the day with a little TV and a few rounds on the Aran. I think I shall have to do that more often...


Tuesday, December 17, 2002  

Knitting Vacation

Beware the fierce and fearsome Cricket! :)

It is almost unbearable to have to wait an entire week for my "knitting vacation" to start. Sure, there will be lots of holiday activities to cram in as well (goodness! I guess I should WRAP my presents....!) but I am looking forward to a week with some solid knitting time. OOOOOOOOO I can't wait! I would be ecstatic if I could finish my Aran.... but I shouldn't get too excited... a lot of work left to do. And this weekend I HAVE to finish the scarf for my grandma- I probably have about an hour of knitting left (hopefully less!) and then some sewing. I hope she'll like it- it has been a very easy but very annoying project- mostly because it is SO boring to work on. Note to self- design projects that are more interesting and/or faster to knit! :)

Next up will be a baby blanket for a good family friend- she's expecting in May, I believe- even though I really really really want to start on designing my own Aran.... but I should do the blanket first as I would like it to be done in time for the little one's arrival. The pattern I'm using is much adapted from Vogue's Baby Blanket book (I completely re-did the colors):

I used the Digistitch program (originally purchased for cross stitch- what did I know about the wonders of knitting! :) and it took me the good part of a day to transfer the pattern from the tiny and almost illegible printing in the book into the program. But now it's there- complete with new, more exciting colors- and I think it will make a GREAT blanket. :) I'm thinking that I will also line the back of this blanket with fleece or flannel for added softness and warmth- but I'll see how it looks when it's finished, and decide then. :)

I can't help myself- I started looking at Dale of Norway patterns online, and I fell in love with this one (Akantus):

I had to order it right away (even though I am probably months away from actually knitting it!) And it isn't THAT bad (warning- shameless knitting purchase justification here!) because it includes the patterns for both the cardi AND the pullover- all for about $7 !!

I will have to substitute yarns, though, since I am too allergic to wool to even think about making it in a wool/mohair blend. But I think I'll be able to substitute Lion's WoolEase sportweight- I'll have to do some swatching to make sure, but I think I'll be able to do the substitution... which is great because (a) I can afford woolease, especially on my hopefully soon-to-be-in-law school budget, and (b) the woolease has enough wool to have the "wool look" and some of the texture without making my skin itch like crazy. I am SO excited to start this project- but then again, I'm so excited to start EVERY project (LOL!) I shall have to try and control myself and make each project wait its turn (more or less!) :)


Monday, December 16, 2002  


I admit it, I am ADDICTED to books. But I really couldn't help myself this time... :) I ordered Barbara Walker's first treasury, and also Janet Szabo's guide to designing arans. After working on my current Aran, I am in love- and dream of designing my own!!! :) Here's crossing my fingers that these books make me happy happy!! :)



The Frightening World of Cable Repair

Well, quite an exciting weekend. First and foremost, between Thursday morning and Friday afternoon, I decided I want to go to law school, beginning in Fall 2004. WHEW. I'm not committed yet, but I'm 90+ percent sure that's what I want to do. But the price tag on 3 years of law school is enough to make a strong girl cry- looks like my nice little "nest egg" will soon grow wings and fly away! :)

After all the excitement of the big decision and the fun of telling friends and family, I was kinda beat- so Saturday night, I watched a couple of movies and knit away, first on the scarf for grandma (so close to being done- but MAN is it hard to knit stockinette in white- so boring!!), and then on the sweater :) Well, the second movie was minutes away from the credits, and the clock was minutes away from midnight when I happened to look down at one of the cables- a simple braid (think braided hair). Much to my shock and horror, I had somehow MISSED one of the 6 left cables- a GLARING and OBVIOUS error that was about 8 rows down. AAAAHHHHHH! But, remembering some advice from the Aran Knitting group (yahoo), I resolved to rip out and knit JUST THAT SECTION. It took me 2 tries- 1 that evening, 1 the next morning, but I fixed it- and learned a valuable new skill in the process. I still dread the idea of another egregious error in one of my cables, but now at least I know how to fix it without frogging the whole thing. :)

I spent the day saturday making soaps for friends and family for holiday gifts- I know, just what I need... another craft hobby! ;) But the soaps did turn out well...

Sweater Update: I have just about 10" done.... I need to make it to 13" before I start on the yoke. But the end is in sight- and I am getting more and more confident that I will be able to wear this creation THIS winter! :)

Cricket, as always, provided selfless moral support while I crafted the weekend away!


Friday, December 13, 2002  


The weekend approaches- and hopefully knitting will progress! :) I finally finished posting my "condensed" version of the instructions for the yoke of the Aran sweater- because the original pattern was written as a series of posts to a knitlist, it was kinda hard to follow... I can't wait until I can start wearing this! (I know, I know, I have to finish knitting it first....) But this weekend's project is to finish knitting the scarf for my grandma. Next weekend I can sew the backing on... and all in time for her birthday celebration on the 28th.

It is unbelievably dark and gloomy outside- the rain clouds have settled in and coated everything in a grey haze. I guess I should be grateful it isn't snowing (again!), but snow is so beautiful....

I've decided I need a "winter break"... a time to catch up on some knitting and enjoy some kitty time.... ;) Consequently, I will be taking off the week between Christmas and New Year's- like 99.9% of my office, I'm sure!! :) I think I'll spend the whole time knitting. :)


Tuesday, December 10, 2002  

Sweater Progress Pic

Proof that I am indeed making slow but sure progress on the sweater body- today I have been reading ahead in the instructions/advice on the sweater, and am trying to consolidate the instructions for the yoke and neck. I think I understand the basic ideas, but I won't be sure until I am in the thick of the actual knitting of it.... but I am hopeful that I may indeed finish this sweater before the summer heat settles in. :)

I am also making slow progress on the scarf for my grandma- I must admit that I would MUCH rather be knitting my sweater, and so have been favoring that project over the scarf. Ah well- with only two weeks remaining in which to finish the scarf (including sewing the fleece backing), I must buckle down and get it done. Oh, but the sweater is SO much more appealing....

And here is another moment of kitty zen:
Cricket believes a truly helpful kitty thoroughly checks the yarn for any imperfections! ;)


Monday, December 09, 2002  

Snowy Knitting

The 6-7" of snow that fell on Thursday still blanket the area- and there is nothing better (in my opinion) than knitting while the ground is covered in snow. :) Unfortunately, this weekend was BUSY- I had tickets to a concert on Saturday, and performed in a concert on Sunday- so not too much time for knitting. I did fit some in at a security conference I attended on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and I also made some progress in the evenings... I even took a picture, but didn't have time to upload it yet. I have about 8" done on the body- and I'm getting faster as I get more and more familiar with the cables and the patterns. :) Maybe there is hope to finish the sweater before the temps start climbing again- and it's supposed to be a cold and wet winter this year... perfect for knitting!

My kitty-fuzzle, Cricket, seems to think a warm sunny spot on the couch is all she needs. I agree- and sometimes wish I could become a cat. I'd be SO good at it! :)


Monday, December 02, 2002  

Body Progress- of Sorts

Well, I finally got the body of the Aran started over the holiday weekend- the third start was the charm! The first time, I didn't plan the increases out well AT ALL, so I decided to frog back to the beginning and do a better job planning. Second time- I forgot I had changed the number of cast-on stitches from the pattern, so I had cast on 200 instead of 220. Frog number 2- but the third time I think I got it- 220 cast on, relatively even increasing to 276 sts, and I'm all ready to begin the cables... WHEW! I was certainly sick of knitting k1p1 ribbing after all those attempts! ;)

I am also making good progress on the scarf for my grandma- I've been knitting it on the bus, and also at choir practice- since there is no color or stitch pattern, it isn't hard to pick up and drop at a moment's notice.


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