Friday, August 29, 2008

Running to Stand Still

I cannot believe we're almost done with summer. I remember when school ended for DS1, that sort of sinking feeling of "oh man, how are we going to get through!" And we did. I think overall, it was a good summer (and we have one more week). We didn't make as many friends as I had hoped, but we're starting to settle in, and I think starting school is going to be awesome. Both boys are anxious about it, but I think it'll be really good to get going. I've always been this way when anticipating something, the last week or so I just want it OVER with, to move on.

I'm chugging away on DS2's lime green star blankie. I have no idea how big he wants it. He also changed his mind about adding the funky variegated yarn, so it's just...lime green. VERY green.

With cooler weather coming, I want to be reignited on sock making. Since, you know, I'm really low on socks! DD is now doing some napping in the morning, though that may change with school. I guess mainly I'm just waiting to see what sort of routine we enter into!

In the meantime, we've got DS1's 5th birthday to plan!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back from vaction.

It was not the best vacation we've ever had. We got the call on the Friday before we left that DH's grandmother was failing (this has been expected for some time, so it was not a shock). We were supposed to be going on vacation with my MIL and FIL, my folks, DH's older sister and her husband and three kids, and DH's younger sister (who lives in London). MIL, FIL and younger SIL instead went straight to MN where they were with his Grandmother (MIL's mom) when she died. The rest of us went to the vacation house, but SIL and DH left midweek to go out for the funeral (she passed away on Tuesday). So yeah.

In a way, the timing was actually as good as it could have been. DH and older SIL both were already off from work. Younger SIL was in the country and available (she lives in London and travels a lot). BIL and I both weren't stuck at home alone with 3 kids each.

In non-family loss news, I was in the Walmart in Riverhead NY (on Long Island), and found Peaches and Cream yarn, which I had never seen. I feel so disloyal, but I think I actually prefer it to Sugar'n'Cream!! It feels softer. I did a star washcloth for my SIL in one of the really bright variegated colors (maybe Fiesta?), and it pooled in such a way that it looked tie dyed! It was really cool (and I did the pattern from memory, go me!). I did almost no knitting. I started a hat for DD, but I brought smaller needles than I should have so I'm going to pull the bit I did and start over.

I'm determed to go get some more pink Cottontots to do a plain cardigan for DD because she needs one. Needs as in doesn't NEED exactly because she has far more clothes than she'll ever wear but I want to make her one. Now I'm or lilac?

Friday, August 15, 2008

AGAIN with the Startitis

We're going on vacation on Sunday for a week. I have my folks here tomorrow night before we go. We have no food, the house is a mess, and I've got Mount Laundry to scale before we can leave. So what do I do?

YES! I started a new project! Go me!

My fantasy was actually to get this knit before we go. It turns out I am obsessed with knitting for my daughter. (My daughter! How odd that sounds, after almost five years of sons.) The sweater I knit for her is almost too small. And, although it's very pretty, I don't actually put her in it that much because it's variegated and clashes with most of her clothes. What she needs is a simple little pink or purple cardigan. So, I started one.

It's a variation of this pattern. In my usual way, I decided simply to wing it. The pattern doesn't actually tell you what the gauge is, so I picked the needles that my yarn called for. I did the collar in the leftover lilac from the pinwheel blanket, and started the body in the pale pink (so the yarn is Bernat Cottontots). As I did the increases, it seemed to me that if I kept going the way the pattern was written, the sweater would be more of a 2T or 3T size than what I need now. So I went off-pattern.

This does not always bode well for the utility of my projects, but we'll see. After being concerned that the thing would be huge, now I'm worried it's going to be too small. I also decided to do three buttonholes close together at the top, and do a slip-stitch edging, though I clearly have messed that up a couple of times. I also forgot to do the garter stitch button band edge for one row. I am too tired to care, honestly. I need her to have a little sweater that I can just toss on over lighter outfits.

I've just put the sleeves onto scrap yarn, so I figure I've got about 20 rows to do or so. Hopefully it'll fit her!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I wish I lived in Canada.

Specifically, Toronto. The Yarn Harlot is starting a Yoga for Knitters class (I almost just wrote "a knitting for yoga-ers class" which could also be fun), and I wanna go!!!! I used to do yoga every day, for a good long time, and I *loved* it. I miss it. Trying to find a time to do even my 25 minute Ashtanga Yoga DVD is challenging. Anything that helps me to slow down, be present, and breathe a little more is something I need.

Two nights ago, DS2 and I took a walk in the rain afternoon, just around the block. The sun was coming out as we walked down by the lake, and I thought "huh, this is rainbow weather." We went a little further, and saw the most amazing, full-arc rainbow, with a double shimmering next to it. I wished I had my camera. Then I thought that maybe I could just try to be present in the moment, to just enjoy the amazing sight with my son.

Knitting away on BYOB, almost done with the openwork section. Feeling a tad bored with it, honestly. I had such momentum but the crochet stars derailed me. DS1 now wants a Crescent Moon blankie. How the heck does one do that??

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I have conquered the STARS!

So after much gnashing of teeth and a couple of choice swear words, I have figure out BOTH the little star patterns! I didn't knit either one to blanket size. I made a washcloth out of some cotton (leftover from the pinwheel blanket) and then a lovie for one of my kids with some (ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE) Red Heart acrylic crap I had in my stash. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm really not a yarn snob, but this stuff just feels cheap and rough and plasticky (that's plastic and icky all at once!). If I'm going to put effort into making a blankie, it's going to be with something nicer than that. Pity, because I do love the colors (but not how they pooled).

The reason I need to make another blankie is because DS's green blankie had a tragedy. I knit it from Lion Brand Thick and Quick Chenille, which is mostly acrylic. We had an unfortunate stomach flu incident, and the blankie got nailed. Not thinking (it WAS 1:00 am), I tossed it in with all his sheets on the Sanitize selection, which is HOT HOT water. Yeah, I fried it. It came out all nasty and crunchy with the loops all pulling out (I did a simple diagonal garter stitch blanket). It's not salvageable, as far as I can tell. So, I'm going to do him a new one, out of natural fibers that can stand being washed and dried. You know, it's not the machine washable I really need (though I prefer that for this sort of thing), it's the DRYABLE. I just don't want to have to think when tossing laundry into the dryer, you know? ANYWAY. I digress.

The first star I did was from Beth's Little Star Afghan. The beginning is sort of tricky, but there's a great tutorial here. I did this in some leftover Bernat Cottontots. The pattern is not too difficult, once you get passed the opening rounds. I'm not sure why, but where my rounds join, I have two holes instead of one (from the stretchiness of the cotton? because I suck at crocheting? Who knows.). I think I did 5 rounds or so on this, and then decided to turn it into a face cloth for me. It's pretty, but I'm not loving the 5 holes in the center. So, I just knotted it off. Since it's just a washcloth for me, I didn't really bother to weave in the ends (yes, I am so lazy about that, I know).

The second one I did was from the Dive Crochet's pattern. Wow, did I have a hard time with this pattern! I'm not sure if it's that I'm so novice, or if there are actually issues with the pattern. For example, once the pattern is established, a typical row reads like this: Round 4: Ch 3, dc each over next 3 dc’s, {shell in ch 2 sp, dc in next 4 dc’s, sk 2 dc's (this is the valley), dc in next 4 dc’s}. Repeat { } around. Repeat * of Round 3. The last series of DCs (underlined) are actually the beginning of the next peak, so after I had done all 5 peaks, I didn't do these, even though they are within the brackets to be repeated. I'm not sure if that' sk next dc, sc, dcs correct or not, but it didn't make sense to me.

I also had THE hardest time with Row 3, which reads: Round 3: Sl st in sc, sl st in first 2 dc’s of first shell, ch 3, dc in 3rd dc of first shell, {shell in ch 2 sp, 2 dc over next 2 dc, sk next dc, sc, dc, 2 dc over next 2 dc’s}. Repeat { } all around. * Sl st in 3rd ch of ch 3, sl st in dc after ch 3 of R 3. She even has her "user friendly" version of it. I had gotten this far about 5 times before I finally understood that sk next dc, sc, dc does NOT mean: skip next double crochet, then do a single crochet, then a double crochet. It means skip all three. AH HAH! The lightbulb went off and that made the whole thing work. While it's not entirely clear in the pattern, she does state it clearing in the user friendly version, so I'm blaming my non-comprehension on my own exhaustion. I'm not sure if the joins are better in this because the yarn is much less elastic, but they do look better. I also think I like the look of the single center hole a bit better. Not sure.

This yarn is Red Heart Super Saver, and while the colors are pretty, the feel is awful. So scratchy and rough. The fabric it makes is actually unpleasant to hold. It feels like fingernails scratching on a chalkboard sound, you know? I've heard that if you wash it, it does soften up, but I just couldn't picture finishing a blankie out of yarn that was so unpleasant to hold. So once I knew I had the pattern down, I did a row of sc to finish it off, and called it a night.

Now that I know the pattern, I can see that this would be a really fun baby blankie to make, and super-easy, once you're in the groove. I was watching the Olympics (I had to see Michael Phelps get his medals!), and didn't need the pattern at all to chug along on this. And I think it's faster than knitting. So now I need to find a good, sturdy, machine washable and dryable yarn for DS2 (in green, natch), to do a big star blanket. I'll see if DS1 wants one too.

ETA: I'm getting a lot of hits from the Yarn Diva's link, so if you're coming here from there, well, HEY! Nice to see you! Feel free to stay a while! :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

There's a reason why this blog isn't called Crocheting with a Purpose.

Because apparently I *suck* at crocheting.

Back story - I saw a woman crocheting a star shaped baby blanket at the beach, and immediately became obsessed with making it. As I am wont to do.

I got onto Ravelry and Google and found two different free patterns: The Diva Crochets Starghan and Beth's Little Star Afghan. I cannot do either of them. I have started this thing a good 15 times (did I mention the obsession thing?) and I just can't do it. I think I'm doing it right through round 3, and then round 4 (doesn't matter which pattern), it turns out that I have done SOMETHING wrong and it's not coming together.

I just cast on for Beth's Little Star Afghan AGAIN, and I'm going to give it another try. *sigh* My poor BYOB is languishing, calling to me.

Friday, August 08, 2008

FO: Pinwheel Blanket

It's DONE! It took me a good 2+ hours just to bind off this bad boy, but it's done! Okay, I admit it, I was lazy and didn't do a great job of weaving in ends. When I say "didn't do a good job", what I really mean is "I didn't do it, I just tied knots and snipped them close." Don't tell, okay? I love this blanket! As you can see from the pictures, I haven't blocked it (yet), and I'm not decided if I'm going to, as I think it's going into rotation immediately. I realized that I can't find the other blanket I knit for DD (which is going to make me crazy until I do find it), and we're having weird, cool rainy weather. Besides, when I was taking pictures of her on it, she urped a bit on it, so I *think* that means she wants it. :)


Pattern: Genia Plank's Pinwheel or Round Blanket (ravelry link here, you should check out some of the projects people have done, they're GORGEOUS!).
Needles: KnitPicks Options, size 8 for the blanket. size 10.5 for the bind-off. Various cord lengths.
Yarn: Bernat CottonTots. I really liked this yarn, actually. It wasn't too rough on the hands, and makes a nice, drapey fabric. I'll have to see how it washes and dries before I commit fully to it. I used .7 skein of the light pink, 1.6 skein of the lilac, 1.04 skein of the variegated, and .95 skein of the dark pink.

The pattern is either confusing or has a typo at the very beginning, where it jumps from Round 2 to Round 5. I chose to interpret that as you knit around for Rows 3 & 4, but I don't think it matters *all* that much. For the edging, I switched and did one round of knit with the dark pink. The next round I kfb every stitch to double my number of stitches, then did seed stitch, which makes a non-curling ruffle. I definitely made some mistakes, mainly I have a few spots where I forgot my YOs and then didn't notice on the knit round, but that's okay. I'm not thrilled with how the variegated pooled overall, but that's the fun of working with variegated yarns, right? And now some pictures!!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

K1, P1

All increases are done. I finished with approximately 470 stitches. Ruffle color is attached, increases are done, and seed stitch is commenced. I figure I've got another 4-5 hours of work to do the 4-5 rows plus bind-off for the ruffle.

Since it's all squinched up on the needles, I also have no idea how it's really going to look. I hope it's cute!!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Pinwheel Progress

We're getting there! I did some knitting while we were in the Berkshires this weekend, and knit pretty much the whole way home (and it didn't make me want to vomit, hooray!). I've got just over 4 rows left of the body. I've decided to do a seed stitch ruffle (in for a penny, in for a pound, you know?) for the edging. From the comments I've gotten, I won't do the increases on the ruffle. It's going to be a heck of a lot of stitches, but I think it's going to look really cute, and since I sort doubt I'll make another one of these, I want to do it right!