Saturday, December 30, 2006

Calorimetry 2

Second try at Calorimetry is done - still wider and a bit looser than I'd like it to be, but much better than my first attempt (see below). I wish I had read up on this pattern a bit before starting as apparently I'm not the only one who's had to make some modifications...anyway, it's on my head now and it's actually pretty cute. Pics tomorrow, maybe.

I think dr. girlfriend got it exactly right: size 6 needles, cast on 110 st, omit a few rows. Also check these Calorimetry photos (gorgeous handspun!!)

I may try again in the purple Filatura colorway!!

Also, I have gotten most of my buttons fixed in Blogger beta. If anyone out there is looking for help with beta, try this website: (thanks, deborah!!)

Blogger Beta

So far, so good with the beta. If I can just hook my buttons back up I'll be all set...

Friday, December 29, 2006

Think Big!!

Holiday Wrap-Up

Best gifts, Christmas 2006:
1. Kids socks and hats - they are loving 'em :)

2. Gift certificate to LYS - for me!

3. DDR Supernova, at least until dh or I break a hip.

Here are the hats. I didn't finish them in time, so I wrapped them OTN and stuck them in with the socks. The kids thought this was pretty funny. I used Cascade 220 superwash but found I had to go waaaaayyyy down to a size 6 to get a decent looking stitch. And to think I'm the girl who used to knit so tight I needed to go up a needle size, or even 2!! Apparently I've become quite loose in my old age (see also Calorimetry, below.) Anyway, the colors match the coats and the hats fit the heads, so all is well:

I have to admit, I'm very tired of "boy" colors and boring beanies. I'm itching to make them long striped stocking caps or something fun. Instead, I picked up a quickie project for myself: Calorimetry.

In my mind, this is the perfect transition project - one skein, done in a day, interesting construction. I used the Filatura di Crosa 127 and size 8 needles called for in the pattern. I even checked my gauge.

Lookin' good:

Found the perfect button:


Don't I look sad in my ill-fitting headband :-( Aww...If only I had a ginormous head, everything would be fine.

I guess when a pattern says things like "gauge = x when stretched slightly" and "width = ???" one should do a bit of common sense gauging along the way. So, I frogged it out and started over again on size 6's. So far, so good. I'll be more careful this time.

In other knitting news, the Malabrigo IHS still languishes on the needles, as does my niece's felted bag and a felted bag for her mom. I did give dh the original, brown IHS for Christmas. Einstein isn't even swatched, and the Vogue shawl is waiting patiently in its ziploc. So there you have it - the 2007 lineup. At least until I get distracted by some new project.

Happy New Year!!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

More Socks!

DS socks done!

Now both kids will have a pair under the Christmas tree. Now, do I still have time to make 2 hats...?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

When Chihuahuas Attack...'s because he imagines that people on the other side of the room are fixing to steal his gross, spitty old chewbone. Silly pup.

But doesn't he look handsome in the new sherpa coat his uncle gave him for Christmas?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Crazy, crazy, crazy...

Great weekend:
1. dh's work Holiday party on Friday night. Bonus: night in hotel room sans kids. Downside: sore from too much "80's dancing" (don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.)

2. a totally chill-out Saturday with the kids, reading lots of Harry Potter and doing this cool thing, which I highly, highly recommend as a fun and challenging family project. No errands, no work.

3. get-together with family. My brother and his brood (4 kids!) came in later than expected, so we didn't have much time (we had an evening thing at church.) My niece told my mom that "Aunt Jenny's house is my favorite place in the world." Much giggling was done by all children, including mine - cousin giggling is always music to my ears. They are all such great pals. (The only downside here was missing cookies with Lynne and the girls - I miss you guys!!)

4. ds's were each asked to do a reading at the Lessons and Carols candlelight service at our church. So earnest and beautiful, they made me cry. Bonus: spaghetti supper at long tables with friends.

Project update: The malabrigo IHS that I was making for my brother wasn't quite finished, and rather than blow a gasket - as is usually my way - I (surprisingly) opted, calmly, to give him the silk cashmere scarf instead. I didn't cry or obsess or anything. Now, the IHS will go to dh, who loves it.

So, the house is clean, I turned in all my students' grades this morning, and I have close to a week free to finish socks for ds, scarf for dh, and hats for both sons. Let the race begin!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tried Blogger Beta?

I just upgraded to the new version of Blogger, but haven't tried the new custom features...apparently by doing so you lose all your current settings. I will probably try it after Christmas (heck, it took me forever just to put up my few lame-o decorations, I'd hate to lose them now LOL) but I'm wondering if anyone out there has tried it. Any opinions/suggestions/advice?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Scary Memories

O. M. G. What were we thinking back in the 80s?? Hearts, geese, AND bows all in one pattern??

This pair of lovelies was wrought by me in celebration of my first Christmas with DH, circa 1990. Clearly, the influence of '80s country was still upon me. At least they aren't pink and blue!

I don't use them, not for the obvious reason (fugliness) but because they are way too small. Otherwise I would probably put up with their kitschy-ness for old times' sake. I have the one my Grammy knitted me 40-some years ago, and I knitted a massive one for dh last year (I should remind him that it can be felted if he doesn't behave!!)

Sadly, this was one of my last real colorwork projects. Since then the most adventuresome I've gotten has been stripes, and adventuresome, that ain'tPosted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Seeing is Believing

Here is the Malabrigo in the first pattern:

Same Malabrigo in the IHS:

The lighting is different - incandescent for the first photo, natural for the second, but you can still see how the green moves to the center in the first photo. Amazing! The IHS definitely makes the most of this yarn's color variations. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Little Holiday Decorating...

Finally getting the tree and decorations up! Refusing to stress over what doesn't get decorated!

Tree - check
Outside lights - check
Garlands and swags - check
Blog - check
Everything else - not so much

On the knitting front: my brother and his family have chosen to celebrate Christmas with us next weekend. After shuffling mine and dh's plans, I realized that this also means gifts will have to be ready by next weekend. ook!

The My So-Called Scarf that has been languishing on my Progress-O-Meter was intended for my hasn't gotten done because the pattern, though beautiful, was just not holding my interest. (I don't want to talk anyone out of it though, it's an amazing pattern! Go on and have a look for yourself!) Yesterday I ripped it out and started another Irish Hiking Scarf instead.

I wasn't sure how cables would look in Malabrigo. It's so soft and airy, I was totally skeptical about stitch definition, which of course is crucial for cables. Glad I tried it, though, because YOWZA is it gorgeous. The subtle color variations of the Malabrigo that pooled in an unappealing way on the MSCS are playing out beautifully on the IHS. What a difference a pattern makes. And the cables, as g-girl puts it, are "pop-o-licious". Yeah, baby!!

Pictures later...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

KUO Hats Done!

I finally finished hat #5 from the KUO project. Now I just need to wash them (damn dog hair - it's everywhere)and bring them downtown.

Christmas knitting:
-afghan for my parents (actually this is crochet. I'm using dk! What was I thinking,listening to that pattern!! It will take forever...)
-socks for DS #1
-hats for both DSs
-scarf for my brother

Note that the afghan is the only item from my Project-O-Meter. That other stuff is waaay off the radar right now! I'm not even sure about my niece's bag - I've gotten her some American Girl Doll stuff so I don't really need the bag for Christmas. Maybe Valentine's Day...or just surprise her with it on some non-holiday.

Is holiday knitting stress just a fact of life? It seems no matter how early I start, I find things getting down to the wire come December. I think the problem is that instead of enjoying the fact of being done early, I simply add more projects hence undoing the benefits of starting early. I should really stop doing this...

I really should also stop thinking I need to knit things for the kids' teachers...and my neighbors...

Sunday, December 03, 2006


I have one miserable little chihuahua on my hands:


He has a terrible, honking, body-racking cough that ends in a gag and it's making us all miserable. He and I have been to the animal emergency room and ($345 later - ook!) they think it's a virus. Of course I knitted in the waiting room. Amazing how it always helps, somehow.

The cough could also be a sign of a collapsing trachea, a condition that is not uncommon among chihuahuas but one that can be tricky to treat. We're keeping our fingers crossed. He has some medicine to take and we'll be keeping his collar off for a bit.

I love this little guy. I think a new sweater will make him feel better; he does love to be warm. I found a cute aran pattern that I hope to get started on soon.

Not sure why I'm posting this, exactly, just needed to process, I guess.... Posted by Picasa

Knit Unto Others

Okay, here it is:

  Posted by Picasa

Not nearly as much as I wanted to complete, but considering how busy the last two weeks have been in non-knitting respects, I'm satisfied. Yes, the grey one at the end is still OTN. I'm hoping to finish it tonight and then I'll bring them to the Soup Kitchen. Perfect timing now that it has fnally decided to get cold around here.

I loved this project. It has indeed helped me put my holiday (and general life) stress in perspective, and while knitting I have found myself thinking about the people who might need one of these hats. I feel grateful for my blessings and happy to be able to help someone else. To be able is a beautiful thing, and I think we all forget that sometimes. Count me in for next year!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Happy Crafty

What a week!!! I submitted the first draft of my dissertation proposal, wrapped up the lecture portion of both of my classes, and made this:


For tomorrow is the long-anticipated social event of the season –drumroll please- the elementary school Holiday Fair. This year’s extravaganza was coordinated by yours truly, not because I wanted to, but because I foolishly gave a rousing pep talk to the other beleaguered PTO moms when it looked like the fair wasn’t going to happen this year.

The climate in PTO this year has been one in which merely making eye contact with another person is taken as a sign of long-term commitment. So I should have known what I was getting into. It’s not anyone’s fault; most of us have been around for a few years and are (1) older, (2) busier, and (3) just plain tired-er than we used to be.

Fortunately, all I really had to do was send out a lot of emails and put like-minded people in touch with one another. These ladies are conditioned by years of hard labor selling cookies and assembling raffle baskets. They've frosted a cupcake or two – if you know what I mean. They know their stuff. I am proud to work alongside them.

This will be my third year handling the kids make it and take it crafts room. The first year, a friend and I proposed the activity as an alternative to the “holiday store” where kids bought junky things for their parents. With the craft room, kids make junky things for their parents. See the difference?

Anyway, the craft room has been a hit. The picture above is the board showing some of the items that are available to make. Kids are busy and happy and lovely crafty times are had by all. About half of the items are Oriental Trading-type kits (yes, lots of the dreaded foam) but about half are kits designed and assembled by a few of us moms – pop-up cards, wood frames, felt ornaments, etc.

One year a woman thanked me because her husband had recently lost his job and she was thrilled to be able to have the kids make gifts for their teachers and grandparents for just a dollar apiece. And I get a real thrill being part of a community event – especially one that involves craftiness and happy people. And my kids think I am the greatest mom ever because they get to hang out after school and run wild with the other kids whose moms are there setting up - at every event, same moms, same kids.

I left work at 3 pm today and helped set up the school gym until 7 pm. I will work the whole fair (3 hours) and clean up afterward. By this time tomorrow it will be all over and everything will be packed away in the PTO closet until next year. With any luck, I will have won a big raffle basket (I’m putting all my tickets in for the knitting basket I donated – go figure) and will be relaxing with a video and some knitting.

Speaking of knitting – I had a KUO setback. The top half of hat #4 has been ripped out and reknit THREE times!!! I am very frustrated. I have this idea that I will finish this hat tonight and then knit a fifth tomorrow, but...maybe I need to drink a fifth of something instead.

Random woman’s health update: had my first mammogram at 7 am today and....surprisingly, it wasn’t nearly as awful as I expected :) And I think this is my longest post EVER!! Posted by Picasa