Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Here we are at mid-June

Not much knitting (or crocheting) progress to report here. I've been getting out & taking more photos of late.
This is one from last weekend that I like quite a lot. It's from the IBM Glen, a scenic spot behind the old IBM country club. The Waterman Center owns it. There are some inviting signs when you leave the parking lot, warning one to watch out for the poison ivy (appreciated) and to call 911 if you see vandalism going on (how often does vandalism happen to prompt a sign like that?). I'd been there once before and was a bit put off by most of the trails being old asphalt roadways. The asphalt's mossy, some of the old roadways are steep, and I was picturing the potential for falling.
Mossy old asphalt, bordered by one to two feet of low-lying poison ivy.
But this last weekend, I finally got down into the glen itself and was very pleased with the experience. This place is only about a ten minute drive from home, yet feels more remote. The creek with all its falls, small and large, is lovely, and the topography & water block out the valley's traffic noises. A very relaxing place.
Until I realized how much poison ivy there is.
But still, relaxing.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Goodbye great yarn store in Oneonta! Hello Babette Blanket!

I've started the Babette Blanket, due to a windfall purchase of yarn in Oneonta.
27 skeins (2 skeins each of 13 colors, and 1 skein of a 14th - not sure if there was only 1 skein, or if I dropped one in all the excitement/waiting in line with my arms full of yarn until some kind person brought me a basket) of Ella Rae Silkience at 75% off. The yarn is 41% cotton, 39% modal, 12% silk, and 8% rayon. I loved the range of colors and the sheen that the fiber has. On further reflection, I'm not sure what kind of useful blanket cotton/modal/silk/rayon will make, but it will be pretty. I've so far made 10 of the 50 little two-round squares for the pattern. Many more squares to be made. Like quilting, it will be fun to combine the colors in different ways.
At this 75% off sale, I also purchased 9 skeins of Elsabeth Lavold Silky Wool in a charcoal gray,
And 8 skeins in 4 different colors of Ella Rae Kasbah. Those I don't have a real plan for (and if I'd bought more yarn that I just liked with no plan for it, I could have cleaned out half the store, and my checking account). A woman in line behind me suggested throw pillow covers, which was an excellent suggestion. I could make use of approx 520 yards of 4 different colors, and have something to adorn the living room.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


[Wow - coming by to check on the blog & there's a comment! Hi Marcia!]
It's been a lovely springtime. The grand family trip out to the Midwest went pretty well, lots & lots of driving, but the little guy did quite well.
On the crafting front, I finished off the trucks sweater, it fits & has been worn!

It might need to be a little longer if it's going to fit next year. If so, I have an ambitious plan: unravel one row above the ribbing, knit another couple of inches, then graft the new knitting onto the body of the sweater.

A last-minute project for the big Midwestern driving trip was the Bile bag (or for my Ravelry purposes the Put a Bird on It Bag). This involved learning double knitting, which is somewhat interesting. And somewhat tedious. The result is quite pleasing, but the process... I'm about half done, and should be able to stick it out.

Because starting things is the way to go, I also have started two more scarves, one involving learning another technique - brioche knitting. I had bought a book on brioche, and have had some lovely skeins of alpaca as a gift from my sister-in-law, in two colors. Two-color brioche makes a lovely corrugated effect, and seems like it will be an extremely soft & lofty scarf.

And, tonight I cast on for yet another project. Seems like a bit too many, but I found out today that one of my son's daycare teachers is leaving for a new job. Mindy's been really great, so a small scarf - a Drop Stitch Scarf in KnitPicks Imagination sock yarn (Mermaid Lagoon - blue & purple with a little green). Greatly helpful to have one project with a deadline - Mindy's last day is in a week and a half.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Car trip!

Car trip tomorrow, so I had to come up with some knitting. Thinking more about gifts, I decided I haven't been making enough. At some point, if there aren't enough people I know to make gifts for, I'm really going to have to get into charity knitting. Just need a good idea for a specific one there...
But for now, there's a new baby in the great pool of co-workers, and I'm going to make her a Milo. Also, I may start a Strangling Vine scarf. Because it's good to have a backup project. The Owls sweater for N & the neck-down cardigan for me are still out there, but figuring out shaping is not a task for the car, so those can wait just a little longer. (At this point, I better figure out if the Owls sweater needs to go up a size for next year.)
And, I just heard earlier that tomorrow there will be a "Supermoon!"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bit of Ugh

[Well, interesting how it's been nearly 2 years since I posted on here.]
Knitting satisfaction seems to have ground to a halt, and I thought it might help to write a bit about it. It could be winter doldrums, except that this has been a lovely winter, and winter is generally good knitting weather. No complaints with having a lap full of knitted fabric in the winter. It's more likely a part of a more generalized doldrums - with what I do for work, with my lack of getting outside as much, and with the physical effects these are having on me.
But I still like to make things, I'm just not happy with how these things are turning out.
Such as:
Not one, but two hats I knit in 2010 was very happy with, and which then grew - and now are unwearable.
First, there was my version of Soulemama's "My Hat of Choice," in a dark purple Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed. I really loved this hat. Hat was great, then hat fell off my head onto the floor beside the garbage at daycare, so I washed it gently in Eucalan. And it grew. Now it just kind of sags off my head, down into my eyes. Well at least I can unknit the yarn and reuse it.
Unlike the next one, my version of the Bryony Cap in some purple Manos del Uruguay. I've had the yarn for at least a couple years, had tried it on a couple of different projects, and not been happy with it. The Bryony actually calls for Manos, so it should be a perfect fit. And it was. It was beautiful. For about four months. And then it grew. On its own this time, not with any washing. So, I tried to wash it in warm water to make it shrink a bit. Instead, it seemed to grow even bigger (not to mention losing a lot of color). So, in some bizarre fit of making sure this yarn would be done forever, I tossed it in the dryer, on a delicate setting. And so it felted. Not in a way that turns it back into a wearable hat. The best suggestion from friends at work was that I felt it more, and it could be a decent bowl.
More unsatisfying knitting? Sure.
There was the owl sweater for my little guy. I had been given some nice durable acrylic/wool blue Patons Decor from a friend at work that fit the gauge. I followed the directions in the pattern (from 1983 or so, but really - have children's bodies changed since the early '80s? Apparently). And came out with sleeves that were too long and too narrow. They're set-in sleeves, too, so the whole torso plan called for them being narrow at the armpit. I unknit sleeves, and body back to a reasonable armpit level, reknit body back up to the neck again, and haven't managed to reconfigure the sleeves to actually fit.
Then, there was the trucks sweater, again for the little boy. First off, I made the wrong size. He was currently wearing 2T, and the pattern jumped from 2T to 4T, so I made 2T. That makes sense, right? No, not really. It came out too small. So I unknit, and reknit in size 4T. This one seems to be successful, except that little boy will not try it on. Possibly remembering the 2T version, he insists, "That's too small."
Also in the fall, there was the ultimate disaster of knitting-for-little-boy, the batwing poncho in Morehouse Farm's 2-ply merino. This project was an utter slog, and just did not feel right - taking this nice soft merino & knitting scads of boring, boring garter stitch with it. And, little boy absolutely hated it. My husband & I managed to wrestle it onto the 2-year-old, and he had it back off in probably 10 seconds. So, not even a photo of that one. I frogged the yarn for happier uses.
And so, it's been the winter of scarves.
One dragon skin scarf made with the batwing merino. It's coming along. I've knit up 3 of the 4 skeins, and it seems like it should be a little longer. Not 4 skeins long, but a little more than 3.

One one-row lace scarf made with some purple yarn I purchased years & years ago at the old Cornucopia on Washington Avenue in Endicott. Sometime after I wound the skein into a ball, the label went missing. I do have about a yard left so I could do some burn tests to at least figure out what fiber(s) are in the yarn. This scarf is pretty, but so far too light-weight for the weather so far.

And, one feather & fan scarf made with some luscious-looking Universal Yarn Classic Shades from the current Cornucopia in Endwell. The color and texture are yummy, but over time, working with the yarn, I was feeling the 70% acrylic more & more. Now I'm not sure if it's too long, too skinny, or just too acrylic. Something doesn't feel quite right. My husband's niece liked it back in January, so maybe it will end up a gift this weekend..

Filling out the winter's knitwork, is the in progress cardigan in gifted Reynolds Chesapeake. Should be a nice, basic sweater, but I think I'm just afraid that there's no sweater that will fit this ungainly shape I'm in now. In hopes of making this work out better, I've just downloaded the Fit to Flatter collection from Stash, Knit Repeat. Let's see if Amy H's plans will help me ensure that this will work out.
OK, so a lot of frustration, but one piece worked out beautifully for a Christmas gift - a Hemlock Ring Blanket made with Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool for my sister-in-law. I loved working with this yarn, and loved the end result. Maybe more gifts are in order?
Seems like it's generally time for more thinking & more planning...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Red Food

Beet Risotto
Tasty, and oh so visually appealing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Boy and His Quilts

Well, Nikolas has obviously grown quite a bit in the last three months. And, he has already amassed a fine collection of three quilts.
First one started, I believe, was this colorful one which I planned out.
I had made a very similar one about 2(?) years ago for friend DVP 's son DAP. I used a number of curated prints from baby quilts made as gifts for others - a fish print from a quilt for C&D's baby, alligator prints from quilts for R&M's boys, dragon prints from E&A's baby's quilt, etc. By Nov 13, when I entered the hospital for what turned out to be a week's bed rest, the quilt was not done. Some work happened while little N was in the NICU for the remainder of November & December, but it was not a terribly creative time. Finally, the day N came home from the hospital, my mom took it back to PA to do the quilting & binding, so it has much more masterful quilting than if I had done it myself.
Next, 2nd started, but 1st finished: the quilt my mom planned and made for little N.
I love how the blocks come together and form larger patterns. Also, the quilting is fantastic - my mom machine-quilted motifs from the main patterned fabric - images like a cat, a dog, a trumpet, etc - into the main blocks.
And finally, a quilted play mat that I thought I might make from remnants of K's work jeans. Then I remembered how little spare time I've had lately, and how unlikely it is I would make such a thing, so I suggested it to my mom.
And she made it so much better than what I had imagined. It's made from pieces of my jeans from high school in the 1980s, so there are fancy embroidered back pockets, as well as my own additions - bleaching & doodling. It has plaid flannel sashing between the blocks & the jeans pockets can hold little toys.
The greatest success on the knitting front has been the burp cloths from Mason-Dixon Knitting & the this-could-be-the-last feather & fan blanket.
The little guy certainly does seem to love his blankie (equating "sleeping soundly while wrapped in" with "love").