Friday, December 31, 2004

Completed Vest on Recipient

The vest is complete and delivered to my father. Here he is at lunch showing it off:

I didn’t block it for two reasons. 1. It didn’t look like it needed it. 2. I wanted to give it to him today and it wouldn’t have been dry. Upon wearing, however, I realized it probably did need blocking, at least on the armholes and neck. My wonderful mother will have to do it for me. I am very pleased at the outcome – the vest fits him perfectly and I’m very glad I put the cable in, even though it caused me some fits. I think it looks great on him.

After lunch we went by to pick up a gift my mom made for Joe and me for our bedroom. I grant you it is not knitting, but check out this quilt:

It is going to look fabulous on our bed – we have a great red dresser and red curtains. She just has to finish the binding and then we get it, hopefully next week sometime. She is very sick (so sick in fact she won’t touch the baby, which is almost impossible for her), so we’ll give her a little leeway.

This afternoon I’m going to do some knitting. Joe just got home from work and we opened a very fancy bottle of wine. It’s a good way to start the new year.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Knitting in the Rain

Ok, not really. But it was pouring out yesterday when I went up to Jessica's. Kim and her relatives from Ireland were there, Kiki and her daughters, and Jen even came despite the rain. Jack wasn’t in the greatest of moods and I spent more time feeding him than anything else, but it was still fun to get up there and knit for a while. I bought this:

It’s wool and angora and I’m going to make myself a scarf. (Notice the hanks are not wound. Jen broke the ball winder!)

Gemma, Kim’s daughter, was learning to knit. She’s only 3, so she really was just playing with the needles and wool. At one point she said “Oh no! I dropped a stitch!” (Kim pointed out it was a good thing she didn’t swear) Here she is with her knitin and her cousin:

And Kiki’s husband showed up towards the end – he learned how to knit as well!

Clapotis is progressing slowly but surely.

It’s such an adjustment for me to not get things done very quickly! I haven’t done any more on the pink sweater because I need a small bit of uninterrupted time to figure out the cable pattern, and I just don’t get that with the child. Joe is staying home this weekend so I’m hoping to have an hour to myself to get the cable going.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Stitch-n-bitch yesterday

We met at Mama Java’s yesterday for some much needed after Christmas knitting. I brought Gloria and in true Stitch-n-Bitch fashion she barely got anything done. But she did get started on her scarf and I think it’s going to look great. Kim brought Angus – he’s just over 2 weeks old now and is just adorable:

And Sherry’s back! Here she is with our new member Julia. I love meeting at Mama Java’s, it’s so comfortable and nice.

Today a few of us are heading up to Jessica’s. We’ll be there around 2:30 if anyone wants to join us. I am only planning on buying a tapestry needle – for some reason I can’t find any of mine and I need to finish weaving in the ends of my dad’s vest.

I cast on the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky yesterday. I only knit three rows because the cable pattern started after that, and we all know I can’t do anything difficult when I’m knitting with other people. It is the softest, most beautiful yarn I’ve ever had in my life. I think I’m really going to like this sweater when it’s finished.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Vest is Complete!

Other than weaving in ends and blocking, the vest is finally complete. I wanted a picture, but Lucca decided it was all about her today:

This project was a huge learning experience. Other than the importance of centering your cable between the armholes, I also learned an important lesson about 3 needle bind off. One side has a ridge, the other side is smooth. Make sure when the pattern says “Right Sides Together” that you really pay attention. The other thing I learned is that ripping out 3 needle bind off really sucks.

We have a SnB meeting at 10 today, so I will borrow a tapestry needle from someone and sew in all these ends. Hopefully soon I will have a picture of my dad wearing his new gift.

I cast on

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Sooooo Close

I am so close to finishing the vest – I think I will be able to give it to my father when he returns from Colorado tomorrow.

The gifts I sent to Colorado were quite a hit. Here Greg and Vincent pose with their skull hats:

and the entire family in knitted gifts:

Anne’s poncho (far right) looks great on her – I’m very pleased with how it turned out. The Yarn Harlot’s pattern is fabulous. And Madeline (in pink) sent me an email that she was going to wear her poncho every day. Apparently the fur on the edge was quite a hit.

I have such a sense of accomplishment looking at this picture – I really can’t believe how great everything turned out. I am making Greg another hat though because he said his is a little big. I made it big on purpose because he has a big head, but apparently I got a little carried away.

For Christmas I got Vogue Knitting and the new Stitch n Bitch book. Vogue Knitting was from Joe’s uncle – he drew my name in the family gift exchange. I could tell he thought it was a bizarre gift but he was happy I liked it. Apparently it was the last one in the store!

My Stitch n Bitch group is meeting Tuesday during the day and I’m really looking forward to it. By then I will have started my new projects and will spend time just relaxing with my friends. Gloria is coming as well since she is still off school and we’re going to get her started on her scarf.

I am so glad Christmas is over – it was stressful and exhausting. I even got a fever blister last week from all the craziness and lack of sleep. I may not do a single thing this week – as it is I am still in my pajamas now and it’s almost 2 in the afternoon.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Bah Humbug

I was in a horrible mood yesterday as Joe can attest. Christmas is a little difficult for me because my family leaves every year to go visit my brother in Colorado. It's a good set-up in theory, because the older grandchildren are used to seeing my parents, and we spend the holiday with Joe's family. But even so, I get sad when they leave. I think holidays may be the toughest part about getting married – I don't know anyone who has an easy time with it.

Also, I don't have a Christmas Tree. Yes, it is Christmas Eve today. There is no tree in my house. There is a war going on about it and neither side is willing to budge. I want a fake tree with lights already strung. Joe wants a real tree and wants me to string the lights. He is coming home at lunch time and we're going to solve the problem one way or another.

The vest did not get done. I gave it to my father unfinished and explained to him that it was not done because I cannot count. I will finish it while they are gone to Colorado and have it for him Monday, but it's not the same as having it on Christmas.

I did give my mom her socks. I planned to make her three pair from the Walk-Away Socks pattern, but I only got one done. Here they are:

I made them out of a yarn that the women at the mean yarn shop said wouldn't work for socks. Hmmm. They were wrong now, weren't they? I will get a better picture when she gets back, but there are cables up the back of the socks. They are very cool.

I showed her the start of the second pair, and I think she liked them.

She made me a knitting bag. I have a small bag that I've been using that I HATE HATE HATE, and I'm so excited to move everything over to this one:

The worst part about not finishing the vest is that I still cannot knit on any of my new yarn. And the instructions for the vest now say "Join a second ball of yarn and work both sides of the neck at the same time." Since the vest is ALMOST done, I do not have a second ball of yarn. Who would have a second ball at this point? I'm a little annoyed. I guess I could run over to Fiber Factory and get another ball. Hmmm.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

I've been RAOK'd!

I belong to this web group called RAOK (Random Acts of Kindness). I joined right before the baby came and haven’t been able to keep up a ton with the group – there are 150 members – but I do read people’s blogs and comment from time to time. The idea is that you send gifts to random people in the group. Sometimes people send e-cards or gift certificates via email, but other times people do amazing things like buy you some yarn, go to the post office and send it to you. My first package arrived in the mail yesterday from Nancy. Here it is:

3 balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, a pattern for a baby sweater, and a small photo album for Jack. I am speechless. (Ok, maybe not). Thank you thank you thank you to Nancy. I have never met her, but she grew up in Phoenix (as did I) and now lives in the Bay Area, where I just moved back from a year ago. If you click on her name above you can visit her blog.

Jack and I took a trip to Jessica’s yesterday. Here he is with Lily, Kiki’s daughter:

She was very helpful and watched over him while I shopped. (Although when I was having my yarn wound some strangers came over and touched him. ARRGGGH. It’s just a horrible thing, touching a baby.)

I bought some Lorna’s Laces yarn – not the $30 a ball recommended by the Clapotis pattern, although that yarn is beautiful. I just got the regular kind, but it’s still soft and wonderful. Here is a picture:

Of course this yarn sits in its bag taunting me until I finish the vest. It is due today – my family is celebrating Christmas this evening because my parents leave for Colorado tomorrow morning. There is no way on gods green earth I am going to get it done. Darn. I should be able to have it finished by the time he gets back on Monday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

More Vest......

The instructions say to knit until the front measures 20.5 inches from the cast on edge. I’m at 16. Then I divide for the neck. Once that happens I know it will be quick because the pieces get smaller as they go up. I just don’t know if I will finish, because my knitting windows are getting smaller and smaller.

I tried the sweater on Jack – I think it’s a little big:

I am going up to Jessica’s today after lunch just to run in and see if I can find a good yarn for Clapotis. I don’t know if she carries the Artyarns Kirsten mentioned, but I’m sure I’ll find something good. And something that doesn’t cost $30 a skein.

Lunch is with Parley and my mom at Flo’s. It’s really great Chinese food but in waaaaaaaay North Scottsdale. I really wish Parley would get a job somewhere downtown and move down here – driving all the way up there is such a pain. And my parents are talking about moving even farther north. Sheesh. I don’t get the fascination with living so far away from everything.

Monday, December 20, 2004

On the Home Stretch

I'm back to where I ripped out the sweater vest. Now I just have to finish the front and sew up the shoulder seams by Thursday night. I think I can do it. Here is what it looks like so far:

After the holidays I will only be making things for me for a while. I took a look at the Clapotis scarf on Knitty. Of course I have to come up with a yarn substitute because as it was made it would cost about $75. That's just a ridiculous amount of money for a scarf. I tried to explain to Joe why that was a lot but $170 wasn't a lot for a sweater. He didn't seem convinced. If anyone has made this scarf from some other yarn let me know – I'm curious to see how it came out.

I also think I want to make those washcloths from Weekend Knitting. And something with that green Kidsilk Haze I bought a while back. And maybe I'll make myself a pair of mittens.

I can't believe it's almost Christmas. Time flies when you're busy having a baby. We don’t even have a tree yet, I'm still pushing hard for the fake tree with lights already attached. Joe isn't a fan, but it would be so much easier that way. No needles, no lights to put up and down, and next year we would just have to pull the tree out and put it up. Plus I really want pictures of Jack and his first Christmas!

I'm off to do some Christmas shopping – we haven't bought a single gift yet. I also have to mail the stuff to my brother's family. Oh, and I have to bake some cookies for the cookie exchange on Thursday. I can't remember how many dozen I need – I'll have to ask my mom today.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Car Buying Blues

I spent a few hours at the car dealership yesterday, which would normally be fine as I would just sit and knit. But my knitting wasn't with me. Do you know why? Joe took it out of the diaper bag. It was in the diaper bag, he removed it. Said he didn't think it belonged there. I have exactly 5 days to finish the vest, and I wasted 2 good sitting still hours staring into space instead of finishing the back. We had a small discussion and now he understands why knitting does indeed belong in the diaper bag, especially this close to the holiday.

So today I have made no commitments, I am holing up at home and knitting like mad to get the vest done. I am super-motivated now because as soon as I finish I get to cast on the ultra-fantastic Debbie Bliss sweater.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

End of Yarn Suspension

It was such a lovely day at Jessica's yesterday! Unfortunately she is sick and couldn't hold Jack, but she did touch his feet to see how soft he is. Of course he was very popular and everyone commented on how cute and alert he is. He was very well behaved in the yarn store, although who wouldn't be if they got to be carried around by their grandmother most of the day?

So the yarn suspension was lifted and here is what I bought:

a closeup of the yarn, just so you can imagine it's softness and beauty:

I am in love with this purchase but I am forcing myself to leave it alone until the vest is finished. I have to get some knitting in this weekend or it will never get done.

We had a SnB meeting Thursday night at Changing Hands. Kim showed up with Angus, only 5 days old! Here they are admiring the baby:

Doesn't she look fabulous?

And here's a picture with Pam still smiling, even though she's very sick. Illanna didn't want to be in the picture but I made her, and Alison was most cooperative:

I never got to figure out what this thing was across the room. Of course I ended up having to feed Jack which cut into my time to look at people's stuff

Parley emailed me yesterday and warned me that Richard the drag queen may read my blog. First of all, I seriously doubt he's reading and trying to keep up with the knitting community (if you are though, Hi Richard!) And secondly, I think he can fend for himself. Considering the last time I saw him he called me a thieving f---ing whore and threw a fake nail at me, now maybe we're even. My only point was that I expected his blog to be more about his job and the interesting things he does, not "Parley came over and we decorated the tree." Yawn.

OHHHHHH, I want to knit that Debbie Bliss yarn. It's calling to me.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Oh. My. Gosh.

I love Jessica. I went to her store today and finally was able to buy something. Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky is now part of my stash, and a great sweater pattern with a cool cable. Oh, and some Addi Turbos and a row counter like Illanna has.

It was a good day. I will post pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

SnB Tonight

Tonight we are gathering at the Changing Hands in Tempe to knit and socialize. I am excited to go do something normal and see all my friends. I am leaving here right after I feed the little man, so hopefully I’ll get some knitting time in instead of having to feed him like I did at the party! I will be working on the vest. One week left. If I do finish it in time I think I deserve some type of prize.

I went to visit Gloria’s class today, and I was amazed at how much knitting they got done. Here is the table with all of their squares:

And this is the group of kids who have finished:

They are all going to work on squares over the break and then we’ll sew the blanket together in January. I am very pleased with this project – I think at least a few of them will continue to knit.

Tomorrow I’m going to Jessica’s to break my yarn diet. I can’t wait to get there and hang out again, and I hope I find something wonderful to buy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Finished Gifts!

The Christmas gifts for my brother's family are all finally finished and ready to ship. I made little bags to hold them and they turned out really cute. I had been waiting for Joseph to move my sewing machine out to the office so I could sew up the bags, but I realized yesterday there was absolutely no reason I couldn't move it myself! I'm not pregnant anymore and my doctor said I could lift things. So here is my setup:

Jack hung out with me while I stitched together the bags. I think he liked the sound of the sewing machine because he slept most of the afternoon.

Here are the bags:

They were pretty simple – I didn't spend too much time trying to make them straight and even, they are just little net bags after all. But I am please at how cute they look.

Now if I could just finish this vest I would be happy. I have a week from tomorrow until it needs to be wrapped and handed over. I am about halfway done with the back 11 inches, then I have another 11 on the front, but there is a v-neck so it should go more quickly.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Blogs are not created equal

I have a drag queen acquaintance in Phoenix who is somewhat of a local celebrity. (Former Ms. Gay Arizona for one). Parley just linked me up to his blog, which I thought would be funny and interesting and at least a little bit crazy. I read the blog this morning and it turns out not to be that great. Just a little yapping about Christmas and Clay Aiken. In person this guy is really funny – his stage name is Barbara Seville (which I think is quite clever), and his shows are fantastic. I guess in his blog he's just Richard.

Not that my blog would be that interesting to someone who doesn't knit. I did ask Parley why he reads my knitting blog since so much of it doesn't make sense, and he said "I just skip over the boring parts."

BORING parts?

What could possibly be boring about knitting?

Very little progress has been made on the vest. Mr. Friendly decided I didn't need to sleep night before last, so I spent most of yesterday in a haze. I knit a few rows at the pediatrician's office and a few more in the afternoon, but I'm still worried it will not get done in time.

Not much else going on, although we have a Stitch and Bitch meeting this week at Changing Hands bookstore. I think it's on Thursday night. It will be fun to get out and see everyone again!

Monday, December 13, 2004

New Knitty!

I’m probably a little behind the times, but the new Knitty is out. I love the wine cozies and I think I’ll make those next year to give as gifts. I would like to think I could get one done for my father in law for Christmas, but judging from how slowly I’m getting the vest done, I don’t think that will be possible.

Speaking of the vest, here it is.

See the centered cable? See the back and forth knitting I have to do up the back? See that it is 10 days away from when this vest must be given to the wearer? (My parents go away for Christmas, so we celebrate on the 23rd.) I don’t have a clue how I’m going to get this done.

For great insight on how close Christmas is, you should visit Yarn Harlot – that woman cracks me up. If you don’t want to read her entire post, here is my favorite part:

I know I should be reassuring. I know that a kinder person than me would be saying the things that my family says to me. Relax. Enjoy the season. Don't freak out. Try to stay cool. Well I'm here to tell you....DON'T RELAX. FREAK OUT. THE TIME FOR THE FREAKING OUT IS NOW. DO NOT LET YOUR GUARD DOWN. There is a tree in my house. There are perishables. This means that there is not time. Not nearly enough time. Go. Go now. Shop. Take your knitting with you because there is not enough time for that either. PANIC NOW. Get someone to drive you to the shop so you can knit in the car. Stay up late. Get up early. Call in the reserves.

I also need to send a belated thank you to Alison for the great stitch markers and outfits for Jack. She made him two onsies that said “I was worth the wait” and “My mom knits for me” Too cute. I love my knitting friends!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Kim had a baby boy!

Angus William Dallas was born yesterday afternoon at 2:52 p.m. He was 8 pounds 4 ounces and 21 inches long. I spoke with Kim last night and she sounded really tired, but very happy to have the baby here finally! Here he is:

I'm so excited she had a boy too – now we have three boy knitters to hang out with our SnB friends.

In other news, I ripped back the sweater vest to the armholes and adjusted them so the cable is now centered. I am back to knitting up the back – 11 inches of it, and then on to the front. I think I will be able to get it done in time for Christmas, especially because I finally figured out how to nurse the baby and knit at the same time. It only works with this pillow or a sling.

And one more news item. My yarn suspension has been temporarily lifted! I am going to Jessica's this week to find a new project and make myself something wonderful. I'm thinking I want to knit with Lorna's Laces of some type – her superwash wool is so soft and beautiful I can't get over it. Or maybe Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky. Or maybe something for the baby.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Happy Birthday Mom

The secret is revealed. Here is my mom modeling her shawl, which is just one of the super secret projects I've been talking about this fall. It is her 60th birthday today and we took her to breakfast and gave her gifts and told her how wonderful she is.


Although the shawl is not my best work, it was a good learning experience. I tore the thing out three times before I finally decided on what to do with it. I think it works okay and she seemed to like it.

One of her gifts was a knitting cruise in September. Kim is going, and I think Annette? I know other SnBers are considering it, and I think her sister Pat might go as well. I can't decide if I should take the baby. I guess I can't imagine spending an entire weekend away from him so he'll probably go along.

I'm going to finish ripping out the vest this afternoon. I will try not to cry while I do it. At least I only have to rip back to the arm holes, but still. It's a tragedy.

Friday, December 10, 2004

SnB Holiday Party

The holiday party was a smashing success! Great job to Kim and Alison for finding such a wonderful place, and thanks to everyone who brought food and drink. I was so glad to be there and see all my friends – I feel like the past few weeks have been a blur, but seeing everyone made me realize the world is going on without me, and I'd better get back on board.

Southwest Trading Company was just amazing. They had their new line of fibers out to show us, they did a fashion show, and they sold some discontinued items as well. They were friendly and interesting and I was so happy we decided to have our party there. They asked us all if we were interested in being test knitters for their patterns. They supply the yarn and pattern and you give your feedback, AND they give you additional yarn to make your own item. I signed myself right up. Are you kidding me? Free yarn?

Here is my mom and Jack standing behind a table full of people:

And here's Pam smiling because she complains I always take bad pictures of her. (And Pam, I think the shirt is very cute. You looked great for being so sick!)

More from the same table with the cookies in the background:

And we had a spinner!

And some people I didn't recognize, but they were very nice:

Kim still hasn't had her baby, poor thing. She was due Monday and we all expected her to be in the hospital by now. She's set to be induced this weekend, so I'm hoping she goes into labor on her own before that.

It has been a wonderful year for us knitters. I am glad to have this group of women as my friends and it makes me happy that our group just keeps growing. With the committee in place and Kim's wonderful leadership I think next year is going to be spectacular. Especially once I get to knit again!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

It's a party!

Tonight is the Stitch-n-Bitch Holiday party! I’m so excited to see everyone, but alas I will not be participating in the gift exchange. Here is my gift:

Hmmm, not quite finished, huh? My energies have all been focused on this little man who arrived last week, and I think I’ve knit a total of 8 rows. No matter, I will still have fun at the party.

I am going to take the vest with me. I think it will be better to examine it in front of a sympathetic group. I have to get it figured out and fixed by Christmas, which apparently is coming up.

I will post pictures of the party tomorrow. We are meeting at the Southwest Trading Company Warehouse surrounded by yummy yarns!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Back in the Saddle

I did finally get out some knitting two days ago. Jack and I sat by the fire and I worked on the gift I'm giving at the knitting party this Thursday. This Thursday? Hmmm. I don't know if it will be done, I may have to resort to some type of knitting gift instead. What I'm making is knit in the round though, so it does go pretty fast.

We took Jack to see Santa yesterday and I bundled him up in the blanket I made him. I never wove the ends in, but was smart enough to tuck them inside for the picture. The blanket is pretty warm and soft and I think he likes it.

It's too bad I can't knit while I feed him – there is so much time taken up in the day sitting in that rocking chair!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Fifth Grader Update

The fifth graders all wrote me letters and Gloria brought them over to me. They were so funny, Joe and I were laughing at the dinner table about these kids. One of them said “I have two pets. A dog and two geckos.” Is two geckos one pet? Did he mean categories of pets? He went on. “One gecko is named Geckie and the other is Katherine.” How did one of the poor geckos get stuck with the dumb animal name? Can you really tell them apart to see which one is Katherine? It was fun reading through the letters. Apparently Cameron has complete 9 squares for our blanket and all the kids are quite impressed with him. By the time I get back to the classroom I suspect the blanket will be ready to sew up.

Joe said to me this morning “I haven’t seen you knitting since we’ve been back.” It’s true, and I hope to remedy this today. I really want to finish the gift for my knitting gift exchange next Thursday and I think I can do it. I still haven’t touched the vest. I’m such a wimp.

Since I don’t have any knitting pictures, here’s a shot of Gloria feeding the baby yesterday.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Knitting? What's that?

We are home from the hospital and recovering nicely. Baby Jack arrived Saturday evening at 5 p.m. Here you can see him wearing the knitted cap I so frantically made before he was born.

It wasn't big enough to stay on, but I wanted a picture anyway. His head is pretty big and the hat wasn't tall enough. But it does look darn cute anyway.

I'm so glad I got so much of my Christmas knitting done beforehand. I haven't picked up needles in almost a week. I hope to get back to it today or tomorrow now that we're all home and settled.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!