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Pumpkins One, Two, and Three (and Me)

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Entries in knitting (55)



I am back from my business conference.  It would be a lie to say I did not enjoy staying in a top hotel, networking at cocktail and dinner parties, and attending seminars that required different brain neurons firing.  But of course I fretted about the boys the entire three days.  They were in perfect hands--Charlie and my folks tag teamed--but still.  You know how it is.

I ambitiously packed my Aidez, thinking I'd have lots of down time--alone down time--to knit in my hotel room.  Nope.  I returned to my room quite late each evening and woke by 6:00 a.m. each morning to get in a workout.  And there was no down time whatsoever during the day.  I've attended lots of conferences in my working life.  The pace of this one was remarkable.  But I liked it.  I'm not interested in leaving my family for any sort of boondoggle. 

I have one sleeve left to go on Aidez.  But then the entire thing has to be seamed!  I've done one other seamed project (to be posted), and I can't say I like it much.  But perhaps it's because my seaming could use some practice, so this will be good.  I did recently finish up a pair of fingerless gloves. 

I knit a pair exactly like these last fall, but they have gone missing so I knit another set.  I used the leftover yarn from my first scarf project.  I can't believe it is still cold enough to wear these, but it certainly is.  This week anyways--that's Northern Virginia whiplash weather for you.  The pattern is Toasty by Leslie at A Friend to Knit With.  A perfect first project for double point needles, I'd say (it was mine).



Recap, hats and such.

You know those bloggers who write weeks in advance and never face a lull in their posting?  Sigh.  I actually thought about adding "blogging more consistently" to my to-do list...but considering it's March and I have yet to post my New Year Resolutions, let's not kid ourselves, shall we?

But here's something I can do:  knit hats.  Besides these two, I have another one that I knitted on the plane ride to TX.  And another slouchy that I knitted over Christmas, then promptly forgot about.  There are no photos of either, yet, so I will have to post them soon (just nod).

First up, a lace slouchy that is heading to my sweet sister-in-law for her birthday.  I loved this pattern.  It's from Woolly Wormhead and is called the Mystery Beret, or Meret.  I plan to knit another one for myself in a lighter weight yarn and a fun spring color.  I'm thinking Kiwi.  I'm also thinking I'll start wearing make up before the next self portrait.

 if it looks like Iike I'm making googly eyes at my new camera it's because I am

Next is a one-afternoon-wonder due to the simple pattern (stacks of knit and purl rows) in chunky yarn.  I needed a brown I'm keeping this one.  The pattern is called Slouchy Beehive and can be found on Flower Pot Designs.  I modified it slightly:  no flipped brim and fewer repeats before is still plenty slouchy.

And here is the sweater I began while away in Texas last week...I am jumping, with both feet, onto the Aidez bandwagon.  I have ripped and restarted the back--after getting five inches into it--three times.  Three! 

This is my "I can do it" sweater.  I will stop labeling myself a beginner knitter once I finish it.  I'm usually not drawn to tons of cables and intricate stitches in sweaters.  But my heart went pitter patter as soon as I saw this pattern.  It takes a fair amount of concentration in the beginning, so attempting my latest restart during the Oscars was not the best idea.  But I'm getting there.  What I lack in skill (which is a lot), I usually make up for in sheer determination.  This applies to more than knitting.



Why hello there, Mr. Sun.

This week, we enjoyed a preview of some spring-like weather.  We also received our first installment of Girl Scout cookies.  I will not go on record and state how many boxes are headed our way from various orders--other than to say it's frightening.

With the afternoons so warm and lovely, we enjoyed sitting outside for a spell. 

Well technically, I suppose, it was I--and I alone--who sat, devouring my new camera manual (figuratively) as well as other things (literally)...    

The boys played and played.  It was amusing to watch them attack the garage as if they hadn't seen its contents in ages.  Max came across a bag of items set aside to donate and quickly invented a game of "keep away the lamb."  Not sure what it involved, exactly, other than a lot of chasing, tagging, and a scuffed knee.   

I can report that it tuckered him out...

William grabbed a bit out of every corner of the garage, greeting each item like an old friend... 

And Leo organized a neighborhood game of's a new version, where the entire team serves as goalies...    


As for me, I have two newly knitted hats to show for the equal number of lazy afternoons spent outdoors this week.  Keeping my hands busy as I keep an eye on the boys makes me feel productive.  I will take proper pictures of the finished hats soon.  But here is a preview.  I think it beats pictures of what else resulted from my impromptu al fresco afternoons:  an unruly kitchen, unvacuumed living and dining room, un-put-away laundry.  Totally worth it, I say.                 

Happy Friday!




Today, as Will hopped out of the car during preschool drop off, the helper told him she liked his hat.  He promptly replied, "thank you.  My mommy made it for me.  I like it too."  He sure knows how to make me happy!  And it also made me realize I never posted final pictures of his hat.

I had countless pictures to choose from because he has worn his hat nonstop this winter.  I still cannot get over how well it matches his heavy jacket--it wasn't at all planned, just a happy coincidence.  I decided against adding a pom pom because it wouldn't work as well with hooded coats.  Plus, it makes it harder to stuff into a pocket.  The free pattern is a super simple beanie by Elena Nodel--a great pick for a beginner if you're looking for such a thing (Ravelry link with pattern details here).

It's been keeping him warm all winter.

Except when a certain grownup lobs a snowball right at him.  Then no one is safe (Charlie has freaky aim).

Stay warm!



Lacy Baktus; haircut.

I really came to adore knitting this Lacy Baktus (Ravelry link here).  And it's pretty obvious that I also adore the end product as I have worn it nonstop since it came off the needles.  I think I'd better cast on something similar to mix it up a little.  I recently stashed a skein of sock yarn in a cheery yellow that might be fun.  But for now, I'll continue wearing this fella.  He makes me happy...

...I am choosing to overlook how I miscalculated the center point of the skein, resulting in a fear of running out of yarn and the need to rush the final decreases (so rather than the graceful taper per the pattern, I got wonky ends).  I probably wouldn't gift it this way, but it's fine for me...

Also, in other news, I finally cut my hair.  It's the third time I've donated my hair to either the Locks of Love or Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program.  This year, I donated 12 inches. 

Whenever I make the appointment, I find that the stylist thinks I will need a "moment"--to do what exactly, I am unsure.  Say goodbye to my hair?  Really, I am unclear.  But they always look at me rather shocked when I say something along the lines of, "listen, I've got 30 minutes before I'm needed back home.  Cut it off, bag it, and let's go!" 

I am, like most women, vain about certain things.  But not my hair.  I figure, it grows--it's fine long, it's fine shortish.  I just don't do short short because I have funny-shaped ears (looking at you, dad).   One of the nice parts about growing out my hair is that I just forget about it.  I rarely even trim it because I don't blow dry it/style it very often.  And yes, if you are wondering, I generally look awful when I'm running around with the kidlets with my hair pulled back in a mess.  But at least it means only one fancy haircut every 2.5 years.  Think of how much money I save!

I didn't get a good shot of the swoopy bangs (yes, bangs!) my stylist talked me into.  And this self-portrait is rather out of focus...but it's the only shawlette-shot I took that has a bit of my head in it.  Also, it was a good opportunity to try out some free photo actions I've recently discovered.  I'm rather shocked at how much "help" you can give a photo with post-processing effects...I am new to photo shop elements, but I think I likey.

I thought my stylist did a good job of giving me a wash-n-go cut...he knows of my lazy ways.  This is with a few minutes of blow drying but allowing it to mostly air dry on the fly.  It sure beats the wet mop of a bun I've sported the past two winters.



Deja Blue.

This hat.  Again.  How is it I've knit the star-crosssed slouchy beret in this Malabrigo colorway three times but still don't have one to call my own?  Oh, right...this is how:  My first one was lifted (lovingly) by my mom.  My second one came out too small, more like a beanie despite aggressive blocking (no clue what happened; it is headed to my niece).  And most recently, I knit the one pictured above for my mother-in-law (she picked out the yarn and pattern while visiting at Christmastime). 

I would still like a hat to match my cowl.  But I honestly don't know if I can knit another one of these!  Hmn.......but it is a quick knit.  And goodness knows I have the pattern memorized.  And--incredibly--I still have yarn left.  This stuff is like the everlasting gobstopper of yarn.  So maybe.  Maybe... 



My Francis Revisted sweater.

My latest handknit sweater is the Francis Revisted pattern, by Beth Silverstein.  It has become my uniform of sorts--I've reached for it repeatedly these past few blustery days.  It is made from Berroco Ultra Alpaca, which is deliciously squishy, yet light and warm.

I was determined to upload some photos--so I ignored the harsh light coming through our front window as I took some shots.  I almost like the glare effect, though I know it makes the sweater harder to see, sorry.  But  I figured I'd better just post what I have because today and (most likely) tomorrow are snow days.  Soon I'll be wearing my alternate winter uniform of fleece and gortex, head-to-toe.  Our boys are counting on some sledding time.



The sweater knit up quick because it is mostly stockinette stitch with touches of moss stitch at the cuffs and hem.  It's a great pattern, knit top down and in the round.  I am not the best at moss stitch (a.k.a. seed stitch) because I purl much slower than I knit.  Here's a close-up, although it's hard to see on the dark colored yarn.  It's just enough detail for some interest, but not so complicated as to get in the way of TV knitting.     


My Ravelry notes are here.  I am now working on a small lace shawlette--the thin yarn, a silk and merino blend, feels odd and delicate compared to the worsted alpaca.  And the small needle size means it's a much slower project.  Not sure how it is sitting with me.  In case it's not obvious, I am not the most patient crafter.



Sanity knitting.

Quiet time became a bit of a necessity during our recent sickfest.  Usually, at least one person was napping at any given time throughout the day.  This prompted me to begin a new knitting project.  I actually have a few projects on the needles right now...a first for me.  I'm more of a start and toil away until it's finished kind of knitter. 

One of the projects I interrupted is a hat for my mother-in-law.  It's nearly done but I mistakenly left it at a friend's house during a playdate and have yet to retrieve it.  Hopefully, I will get my hands on it soon.  In the meantime, I impulsively cast on for something else.

Another sweater.  And once again, it's for me, me, all me.  In contrast to my sewing (which is almost always for others), it seems selfish knitting will continue into 2011.  And I love it.  I'll write details and share links shortly as I just finished it up, blocking and all.  Did I mention I love it?  Especially because knitting it was a life-saver last week--between all the sniffly noses and temperature checks, I also stressed as I worked on a report (67 pages!!) as a volunteer on a committee for our school board.  It involved a lot of maps and data.  And it made my brain hurt. 

Knitting, I discovered, is awfully therapeutic.  Especially mindless stockinette in the round...




Happy accident.

This weekend, we happily headed to my dear friend's annual holiday cookie decorating party.  Her family does an amazing job each year, opening up their home to a ton of children armed with sprinkles. 

I was trying to think of a small thank you gift and landed on Starbucks--the hostess is not a huge coffee drinker, but is a fan of some of their seasonal drinks.  I also wanted to try to knit a little something as she is a new knitter herself.  A Starbucks gift card wrapped with a handknit coffee cup cozie seemed perfect.

I used this pattern, found on Ravelry, but added ribbing at the top and bottom because I wanted it to look like a little sweater.  I also knitted 5 fewer rows in the middle cable section to shorten it a bit.  It was a quick knit, but after all that pattern tinkering--wouldn't you know it--it did not fit a Starbuck's grande coffee cup. 


It is now a vase cozie.  Turns out, the knitted sleeve perfectly fits a little glass jam jar that I tucked away long ago because I liked the quirky square shape. 

I will certainly knit more vase cozies like these.  And next time, maybe on purpose.


p.s.  tomorrow I hope to sew some items on my to-gift list--very excited!


Knitting lesson (not the good kind).

I cast on for Leo's hat on Sunday--another earflap hat by the same designer, tiennie knits--pattern is here, though I changed the design motif.  I am on the last few rounds of the Fair Isle--and I just noticed a hiccup in my stitches, causing subsequent rows to be off by one stitch. 

This photo does not highlight the error--but trust me, it's there. 

I am not ripping and correcting because even though I care very, very much--Leo doesn't.  And he wants his hat!  He is so sweet, helping me when I started by asking if he could be in charge of keeping the strands untwisted.  In truth, he mostly got everything tangled.  But it's a small price to pay to have him sit next to me for a bit, chatting away. 

I will post more pictures when it's completed.  I'm not sure I can bring myself to showcase the error.  But then again, maybe it's a good lesson for me:  Fair Isle at night, in the dim light, while watching tv--not there yet.