Monday, March 24, 2008

Sunday in the Park with Friends

Making great progress on the Surprise Jacket. This is the end of one skein of yarn, plus 2 stripes of a matching near-solid. I have assembled the jacket "inside out" for this photo, because I am trying to decide which side I like best. the "right side" can be seen in the back of the jacket - the stripes of the near-solid are clearly delineated. The "wrong side" is shown on the sleeves and front, in the garter stitch it makes a more gentle transition from the variegated to the near-solid. I'm leaning towards that, but I'm not sure. Luckily I have all the time in the world to decide. What do you think?

Ok. Thus endeth the knitting content. Following is a mess of photos from our day in Bryant Park with friends. Just warning you.

The Divine Miss M was beside herself with glee at the prospect of going to Bryant Park. We've been there a bunch with tourist-friends, but never Just Because, and she thought that was an amazing prospect. She breathlessly begged to ride the carousel, then proceeded to slowly and deliberately spin in circles while marching up and down, in her imitation of a carousel pony.

The Mole was less than impressed by the carousel and preferred to sit back and chomp down some Veggie Booty while watching his crazy sister and her crazy friends ride around and around. The Divine One showed a moment of barely-bridled glee as the carousel started up.

To be perfectly honest, she actually spent more time laughing with her friend as they hid from the camera every time they passed me. Those two join forces to become a menace to society. Or at least a menace to me. I fear the teenage years. The girls have been friends since they were less than a year old. And it shows.

Liv's mom, Rosie, is the world's finest children's movement teacher. Seriously. Here she proudly sports a bonnet her kid made for her.

Also joining us for some carousel fun was our friend Issa. Issa has what may be the most beautiful singing voice of all time. On top of that, she happens to be one of the most gentle people I think I have ever met. And, she's got this very cool idea when it comes to selling her music: self-determined pricing, to "ensure that money (or lack of it) never comes between the artist and someone who might be lifted by their offering." I find that to be pretty amazing, and I would love to follow in her footsteps. I'll be working on converting my pattern sales to follow this model as soon as I have a minute to sit down and update the store.

In the meantime, you should definitely go to Issa's store where you can buy her music, become a patron and support her as she records new music, and buy songs from some similarly minded artists (as well as songs Issa recorded under her former name, Jane Siberry).

The kids (including Issa's incredibly cool, confident, and kind niece who was here visiting from Canada) then played that old heart-stopper hide and seek.

This is where my urban parenting gets challenged. I want the kids to run and feel free to be and play however they want to, but HIDE? and SEEK? in Bryant Park? gulp. Luckily we had plenty of adults and we all just took a kid and kept our eyes glued to the kid. And luckily for the kids, they didn't catch on that if they just looked where the adults were looking they'd find their hiding friends.

The Mole didn't quite get the whole "hiding" part but sure did love flinging himself all over the ground like the big kids.

Oh hey, see those pants? Despite their current filth-covered state, those pants are in pristine condition. I made them for Miss Squid almost 4 years ago. I had to peel them off of her this year to pass them on. Last year she wore them with legwarmers to cover her ankles. She loved those pants. And you would never know it looking at them. They are in perfect condition. not a pill, worn spot, or sag. I made them from Peace Fleece and looking at them now, I don't think I will never buy a different yarn for kids' clothing. It gets so soft (picky Squid girl wears them as PANTS, fergodnesssakes) and looks great with zero maintenance.

See? I managed to end on a knitting note after all.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happier Now.

Ripped out the hem of my grey sweater (for the 4th time) and added a couple of inches. still hated it, so i dropped a bunch of stitches and picked them up again with my trusty crochet hook, so the sweater is now ribbed from the bust to the bottom. it fits a whole bunch better. Still ginormous, but not tent-like.

Discovered the problem. I read the pattern and then cast on for it while I was not looking at it. I remembered the gauge as 16 stitches/4 inches but it's actually written to be 17. So my already-intended-to-be-roomy sweater became a whole bunch roomier.

Whatever. It's fine now. Cozy, comfy, and not an embarrassment.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring is for Sweaters

I was running late for school this weekend and hadn't prepared a school-friendly project. So I grabbed 2 skeins of yarn (Berocco Comfort) and decided to wing a springy cardi for wee Mole. However, I forgot to bring a tape measure with me, so I guessed on the numbers, and it's coming out more like a 2T than the 12 mos. size the wee one needs. So I'm sticking it on hold for the moment and moving on to more pressing things, that will fit now, when they're needed.

Which means, it's time for a new Elizabeth Zimmermann Surprise Jacket. This time for the Squid, following the Adult pattern found in The Opinionated Knitter so I can make up my own size. Lately I'm really nervous about sizing. I've had some bad luck with my powers of estimating and I'm concerned.

The Knit Along is, hopefully, going to help my trepidation.

The yarn is nice and thick (Montana Targhee dyed by Mosaic Moon in the "Malayan Orchid" colorway with a skein of the same yarn dyed by Mountain Colors in the "Rosehip" colorway. I have a skein undyed for emergencies.) and I'm thinking to make a hood or a foldover collar or something to make it more jackety.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Miters are cool

So I got this idea. Whenever I'm between projects and spinning my wheels about what to do next (which is when i usually cast on 15 things I don't really want to make) I'm going to start using up my scraps to make miters. Then I will put them together (no, really!) for a blanket for my bed. So far, so good.

I particularly like the cashmere ones!

Oh, another thing I knit. Sigh. I'm really sad about it, and it's ABSOLUTELY my fault. I've been admiring the lines of Tahoe for a year. I finally decided to make it. But I made some changes, and nearly all of them turned out to be bad ideas. Cumulatively, they make the sweater unwearable.

Looks ok, right? The yarn is pretty. It's single ply merino from Mosaic Moon.

Anyway. Yeah, that was one. I used a worsted merino. So the lines of the sweater no longer draped so much as seemed, well, big. And I knit it at a larger gauge than usual hoping to maintain that drape, but instead I made it so this single ply merino, already prone to pilling, pills like it's winning a speed pilling contest or something. by the time I was seaming I could already tell which sleeve I'd knit first.

Which is another modification I made. I ditched the bell sleeves and went for tapered. I like the sleeves a lot, actually. It was a good choice, because with the extra thickness of the yarn, the drape of the bell would have been unbearable. As it was, I had to slice the sweater in half across the middle and reknit the bottom downwards to omit some of the shaping to make it narrower at the bottom. I did this three times. And it's still not long enough.

And in case you didn't notice i made it a pullover instead of a cardigan (like) and I raised the V a little (do not like).

In the end, the only things I kept of the pattern, really, are the armscyes and the sleeve caps. Which are really, really great and fit very well. I think I will reknit the sweater, saving the sleeves, and going from there.

I'll leave you with the Divine Miss M eating a Ginger-O, the best cookies on the planet.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Oh such a long time.

I've been busy. We've been sick. We're getting better. (The kidney stone is missing, they think it might have dissolved. whatever.) Winter is ending. We're applying for Kindergartens (yes, i KNOW how insane that is. but there are some really amazing "empowerment" public schools in our district, one only a block away. and admittance is by lottery, so we're applying for kindergarten. So there.) The Mole is nearly one. yikes.

Oh, and I have a pattern published for free in the most recent Berocco newsletter! I'm very excited about this.

The fun part about it this time of year is if you stop after knitting the body, you have an egg. Then after you're finished decorating with eggs, you can "hatch" them by going back, adding neck scultping, wings, beaks, and tails.

Onto more knitting.

I made some socks from Cherry Tree Hill DK sock yarn, part of my gift from my delightful sister. I made nearly-knee socks, my favorite length, and made them sufficiently slouchy. Knit the foot on US 3s, and the leg using 4s. They were pretty quick and I didn't hate making them.

Had enough yarn left over (I always do toe-up and try to use all the yarn, but this yarn was neverending, especially knit on 4s) to make a pair for The Squid who is very happy with them.

Let's talk about the Squid for a second, shall we? She is an amazing kid. This morning my husband slipped on one of the 70 thousand toys strewn over our 2'x2' living room and she said "see, papĂ ? this is why it's a good idea to clean up before bringing new toys out."

And she gets on her hands and knees and starts putting things away. The Mole crawled over to where she was putting blocks in the block box and started doing it, too. and she said "good job, wee man."

She's so amazing with him. Her patience and tolerance seem endless. She's sweet, looks out for him, and is generally pretty good natured when he tries to eat her eyeballs or her toes.

I have about 10,000 photos just like that - him attacking her, she is still and smiling beatifically. Most of them take place in the park, because we're big park geeks.

And here's the Squid enjoying our one and only day of snow this year.