Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween...

I don't think I even enjoyed Halloween this much when I was a kid. As you can see, my enthusiasm is shared by Arthur over there.

Now that I have 2 little elves, I couldn't be more excited. And I am not one of those moms who is worried about elder elf eating candy- heck, it's all about the candy : ) We are gearing up for lots of tricksters tonight- last year we had over 250. It was great to see everyone.

I love it. Pizza, beer, costumes, what more could you ask for??? Well, we could ask for Nanny June to be here in Washington with us. It is my mom's birthday today. Isn't today a great day for a birthday? I hope she is having a wonderful day and I wish we could be together to celebrate. Happy Birthday Mumsey!

In knitting news, I have been working on Hourglass and should be done after this weekend. Then, we'll see about the fit. Elder elf has now claimed Kate as her own. She said that tiny elf can have the coveted Artie cat, and she can have Kate. That saves me from getting another Artie on e-bay, so all's well that ends well.

And how about some picutres for Nanny's birthday.....

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Got gauge?

These are stitch markers from Good to be Girl. (see sidebar- it's too late to link : ) They say "I knit with Greys" and are soooo fun. Maybe I will get better with indoor photography....maybe not.

When I learned to knit, I was living in France as a foreign exchange student. My french grandmother taught me. I don't remember any details about the lesson. Not a thing. Really strange, nada. I know that she was trying to teach me and my french host sister at the same time. My "mami" didn't speak a word of english. I think I just watched and she said, "Non, non, comme ca!" a lot and that was that.

I eventually learned to read french patterns and I made 2 sweaters while I was there. One was hot pink synthetic mohair- hey, it was the 80's after all. The other one was a nice cotton short sleeved "pull." I don't have any pics of me wearing either item. Sadly, we didn't discuss gauge and the sweaters were CRAZY huge. I mean so big that the cotton one would literally fall off my shoulders. I think I tried to sew some elastic in there to hold it up, but it was a lost cause. When I got state side, I did more knitting, on and off through college, and somewhere along the line, I discovered gauge.

I am a swatcher. I hate it, but I do it. I don't cheat and call a sleeve a swatch, but I may start. So, in making the lovely Hourglass, I did my homework. First I had my sister measure me- which she kindly and willingly (almost) did. Then, I read the article by Bonne Marie (of Chikknits) in knitty. Then I swatched. I measured my work and discovered that I was 21 st/4 inches rather than the 19 required in the pattern. Then I washed the swatch- which I don't always do. Imagine my surprise when I remeasured and the swatch was now 19 sts/ 4 inch as required!

Hmmm. I combed the web looking for knitters of Aurora 8 who had similar experiences. There was one minor reference from a disgruntled knitter on wiseneedle. I even got the nerve to e-mail the infamous Wendy of Knit and Tonic. (She is a fabulous designer and her blog is a riot). She had not encountered this dilemma before. But she did tell me that she sometimes puts Aurora 8 in the dryer to "firm it up." So, maybe it loosens up....but, it really is my personal issue with a yarn that I would really love to love

After all this, I decided to cast on and go for it. In theory, as I am knitting, the sweater should appear too small. After washing, the stitches should relax and the sweater should get bigger and fit.

What am I thinking?! Well, what else can I do? I already have the yarn. So, I started making the second smallest size- as I was knitting, it was HUGE. I have been down that road before, so I frogged. I then started the smallest size and, well, I have tried it on, and I wouldn't wear a sweater this tight. Even more strange, as I measure the gauge of the sweater as I knit, it's spot-on 19 sts/4 inch. Still, if the yarn behaves the same way, it should relax and then fit looser.

As you see, I hope that finally I have a sweater that fits, but I am not holding my breath. I have already decided to wash it before weaving in all the loose ends and if it doesn't fit, I am going to frog it and try again.....yikes. Just maybe not right away.

Late Hourglass

In keeping with the time theme, I need to keep working on Hourglass from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Of course, I am about a year (or more) late. All the KAL's are long over. The party is over, everyone has gone home. I don't see this posted on anyone's blogs...but still, it's new to me, and I really like the style. I think most of the errata have been corrected in my version of the book, so that's an advantage to starting late.

This is the first time in a long time that I am making something for myself. I would like it to fit, but that's another story. We'll see how it goes. This is being made out of Aurora 8 from Karabella in green. I figured it's my tribute to the Emerald City. It feels heavanly soft and keeps me warm while I knit it.

When hubby was gone, I got most of it done, and now I have stalled a little bit, for no good reason. I had tons of knitting time last night and instead of working on this, I started a new project....Kate. I don't know why. I used to only work on one project at a time, up until this year. Really, I was strictly a monogamous knitter and now- I have more projects on the needles than listed on that side bar, for sure. I guess I get lured into finishing smaller projects quicker. It's just fun. So, hourglass is coming along. I have one sleeve done and the body done up to the yoke....will it fit? I will save the gauge discussion for tomorrow.

Again...on time

Could it be that I am turning over a new leaf? (he, he...I think I am too old for turning over leaves that lead to MORE self-discipline, but I could surely go the other way!) This is the quintessential "my mommy knits, so I get a holiday hat." AND she has it for the whole season- on time! We had a great time in the pumpkin patch and the hat actually kept elder elf warm. I don't have the pattern here in front of me, but if anyone needs it (ha! I don't think anyone reads this, so I can continue to be lazy!), just put a note in the comments and I will run upstairs and get it.

Project specs:
Yarn: Debbie Bliss cashmerino
Pattern: Fiber trends, I think...

Here's the tiny elf. She's wearing a make shift hat that I cheated with several years ago. I had alreqady purchased the pattern for the fancier hat, but I was making so many of these for friends' kids, that I needed something quick. After making the nicer one, I don't think it would have taken me much longer, but eh, I didn't know. I kind of modified a pattern I found on line and made it very simply. I am thinking about putting a little seed stitch border on it to get a few more miles out of it. She hates hats for the moment, so I don't feel too bad not making her another. Of course, she did wear this hat for a while....

Just in time

My family is pretty lax about getting birthday gifts to the recipient on time, myself included. I think we take that crazy rule about giving wedding gift to the nth degree. You know the one, where you have a year to do so and still be in proper etiquette- I think you also have a year to write the thank you notes, too? Our gift-giving rule is about the same especially if we live a long distance away.

My older sister was just out to Washington in early September at which time I gave her her birthday gift....mind you her birthday was in May! I suppose one way view is that it extends your birthday for months.

I never realized just how fun it is to be on time with a giftie. The elves and I went to the post office this morning and mailed my mom her Halloween birthday box, which will get there right on time. This little Odd Fellow was in there. I thought I would post a pic of him with legs. I got so used to seeing the elves play with him around the house without limbs, that the appendages looked a bit strange to me.

This little guy is so adorable- it was fun to take pics of him. This is what I do with the little spare time I have???

So, here's one on the dog so you can see how big he is....but Fonz is rather petite for a pug. Still the idea is there.

This one is just because I think he's cute. Of course, this Odd Fellow was originally intended for my sister who lives here in Washington, but it will only take a bit to whip up another one. Project specs: from Jess Hutch's book- see yesterday's post. Yarn: Lamb's Pride worsted, Needles- size 6 dpns.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Possum yarn.......

Well, I think I get a prize for the "most unusual."

This prize is not new to me. When I was a kid, I also won the prize for "most unusual" pet. Oddly, my main pet ( I had quite a menagerie most of the time and obviously a very nice mom) was a dog. Her name was Muffin and I wish I could have her all over again. Anyway, my older sister took Muffin to the park as her pet. This was not very appreciated by me, but there was not much I could do about it. Her real pet was a kitty named Suzy who kept a very low profile most of her life. So, without a pet, but determined not to miss the contest down at the green box, I went to visit the Toomey's. They had a baby at the time, so I was able to get some empty baby food jars. I filled the jars with bees. Yes, bees, right off the clover. No worries, none of them were harmed. I put them in the jars and took them to the park in a wagon. So, I won the "most unusual pet" prize. Now, I should win the most unusual yarn prize. My hubby went to New Zealand for a couple of weeks and he brought this yarn and yummy soap home. The little guy nesting in the yarn is from Jess Hutch's book. His name is odd fellow and he doesn't have arms or legs yet, but is nonetheless very cute.

I don't think you can read the label, so here's a close up:

Yes, that's 8 ply possum and merino. It's very soft- but no softer than just merino. A possum is not a native to New Zealand and as such is destroying the environment, etc. BUT, as you don't know yet, I am soooo opposed to killing critters for fur, etc. Had Hubby read the accompanying leaflet, he would not have purchased the yarn. He was instead focused on getting me something that you can only find in NZ, a very nice gesture! So, I stand in the middle holding a skein of yarn. Yes, the possums are ruining the environment for the native species, etc, but it's certainly not their fault! I am not sure what I will do with the yarn, but for now, I will be happy with the most unusual yarn prize.