Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Two Snaps Up...

...and a swirl! The magnetic snaps are in:

At first I wasn't crazy about the plastic outer ring that you sew through, but it does give the thing a lower profile and it has some flexibility. The magnets are very strong. Other than my own amateurish stitching-on, I am very pleased with them. If anyone else is looking for this kind of closure, I got them here. Now I need to start sewing them into some other bags, including my mom's - she left it here for me while she is off basking in the sun, lucky her :)

Finished product:

This one turned out better than I expected! It just needs a little brushing and off to the post office it goes. A little late for Christmas, but I'm very glad it's done.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Productive, I am

Project Update: SIL's Bag has FINALLY been knit, boiled, agitated (repeat) and now it's resting comfortably on a stack of Kashi cracker and rice boxes to dry. As the before picture indicates, it came out a bit squatty:

Interesting shape, especially with the wide striping, love the colors. Hopefully its short stature won't compromise its function; e.g. all SILs s*it falls out of it whenever she leans right or left. I'm looking forward to attaching the straps and seeing how that all shakes out. I finally bought some magnetic snap closures online, we'll see how those work out.

Hmm...what else? Took the family to the Museum of Science in Boston this weekend. Amazing how 6 hours can fly by, and everyone is still not ready to leave. We lifted 500 lbs with ease, controlled our own school of fish, fooled our eyes with optical illusions, and compared the planets in our own galaxy to the planets of Star Wars. We barely finished a corner of the building. I think this will be the year that we REALLY get our money's worth out of that membership; the kids are already mapping out our next visit.

Speaking of Star Wars, the kidlets have finally become Star Wars marathon we have had, as Yoda might say. Episodes 1-2-3 we have seen. Enjoy Episode 4, I will.

My small one has been complaining of the bitter cold. He even mentioned the phrase "ski mask," poor lil guy. Since my memory of these items involves having my head trapped in a damp, ice-encrusted mass of wool (especially around the edges of those openings in the face, ouch) I decided to whip up a little neck warmer that could be pulled up over his mouth and nose.

Version 1: Made from leftover hat stash. Too wide, too short, too thin. Child enjoys running around with it pulled up over his eyes, yelling "I can see through it!" Note the "design feature" in the center:

Version 2: Finished that evening in front of the tv. Much better fit, though it could be a few rows longer. It is also warmer as I knit it with two strands held together. Extremely fast to knit with the stockinette in the center, though a cable (or even just rib) would look even nicer. Child is pleased, and warm. My work here is done:

Next: Frisky's sweater and the big guy's ipod case!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sock Tension...

Exhibit A: Type A knitting:

Just look at the warp on those needles! A little tense? Yes, maybe. But here's the outcome:

They are a perfect fit and I can't wait to start another pair. But maybe it's time for some metal dps?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Whole Lotta Sock Talk

Socks! The perfect project: fits in your purse, short-term commitment, and - truly - one thing that almost everyone will wear. These feel SO. GOOD. (And they're actually for me for once - yippee!)

And I never seem to get over the thrill of watching a whole freakin' sock, shaped and complete, miraculously emerging from a network of pointy needles. AMAZING!!

Even more so with the short row heel because you don't have to stop - ever - and pick up anything, you get to justkeepknitting! Whee!

Speaking of short rows, since I'm one of those people who tends to end up with a bit of short-row holey-ness, I tried following misocrafty's tutorial for short rows without holes. If you haven't seen it, this technique requires you to pick up the wrap(s), knit the now-unwrapped stitch, and then pass the wrap(s)over that stitch rather than "knitting the stitch together with its wrap(s)."

Here's what I found:

(a) One side of my heel (knit pickups) is much nicer-looking than the other (purl pickups),
(b) the wrap pickups are indeed a little tighter, but in exchange I seem to have ended up with three tiny holes up at the top join (ie where you first start knitting around the whole foot after the heel turn) instead of the single, slightly larger hole I usually get, and
(c) I'm quite sure that both (a)and (b)are totally my fault :)

I will definitely try this technique again as the knit side really does look fantastic. I just have to work out the purl problem - I have a feeling it has to do with the angle of approach when I pick up that wrap. Anyway, it's a great tutorial, and have I mentioned that I LOVE my socks?

The heat is on now, as the family has begun to pressure me to decide whose socks come next. As we all know, in the kids' minds this is interpreted as concrete, legally binding evidence of "who you like best." *sigh* Maybe I'll get two sets of dps going, each with one sock for one kid! LOL - And maybe a third for dh?

There's also the belated felted bag, which has been cast aside as I selfishly (HA!) finish my socks, plus the heavenly Malabrigo IHS which could actually be worn now that winter has finally arrived, and Frisky really does need a new sweater. And somewhere, a lonely dissertation proposal lies gathering dust...

Monday, January 15, 2007

What Kind of Yarn are You?

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Mohair.You are a warm and fuzzy type who works well with others, doing your share without being too weighty. You can be stubborn and absolutely refuse to change your position once it is set, but that's okay since you are good at covering up your mistakes.
Take this quiz!

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Chihuahua Identity Crisis

Late last night as I was working in my office, Frisky the chihuahua wandered in looking very sheepish and wearing my black brassiere...

I kid you not:

Should I be concerned?

Only a little knitting has been done so far today. I was lucky enough to get to chaperone the school field trip to the State House. Can I tell you that both our state senator and our governor totally rock? They put quite a bit of time into our visit and really met the kids on their level. I was also very proud of our students as they were extremely well-behaved and asked some excellent questions - due in large part to their fabulous teachers. Today was one big goosebump for me.

I am soooo looking forward to knitting with the girls this weekend. It has been way too long. I would love to be kitchenering the toes on my socks, and casting on the next pair, but we'll see.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tulips in 30-degree Weather

Whatever was that white coating on my lawn this morning? Could it be (gasp!) frost?? Hard to believe, but this will be one of the very few days of constant 30-degree temps we've had so far this winter. I'm tempted to complain, but the weirdness of warm (and what it implies) is making me grateful for the cold. Anyway, it will be back up to the high 50's on Friday. Hmmm...

And now, for your viewing pleasure and mine, tulips!

Considerable sock progress has been made, not so much on the felted bag. (Guess the socks are just easier to haul around with me, but the bag could be finished off with one good, non-subtitle movie night, maybe this weekend.) I've added a "sock-of-the-moment" bar on the Progress-O-Meter as I have a (ahem) few pairs in the queue.

One more project: Check out the 1/06/07 post about helmet liners on this blog, and help if you can. I'm going to give it a shot.

Stay warm, at least for today! Can't wait to get my work finished so I can curl up in front of the fire with my knitting, a book, or both :)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Small but Satisfying

While cranking away on the felted bag I ran out of the camel shade with a mere 2 rounds to go. I debated skimping would have been way too noticeable. So I stopped by LYS to grab another skein.

I took little DS with me, a move which inevitably leads to ISE (Involuntary Stash Enhancement). Just look at the sock yarn he chose:

The Colinette on the left is for himself - ! Apparently tiger is in this season. (BTW the new shades of Colinette were gorgeous - I think I will have to go back for some "Popsicle" for myself.) The Cherry Tree Hill is for his more subdued older brother.

I'm thrilled with both of his choices, though something a little thicker would knit up a WHOLE lot, small but lovely purchases were made.

And for me, a totally out of character color choice that I've been waiting months to knit up:

Can't WAIT to wear these!!! I got a lot done while watching the Patriots game with dh at a friend's house. (Actually, I could care less about football. I taught this friend to knit last summer and today I finally succeeded at bullying her into learning to purl. Hey, you can only get so far with garter stitch, though this girl has cranked out a record number of scarves and even a purse for her daughter. It was just time, you know? I predict there will be ribbing in her future.)

Also out of character, I found and finished up an old crochet project, of all things:

I know, I know, it's a doily, but a pretty bitchin' doily, yes? I ended up skipping the final picot round because I was pretty sure I would come up short on yardage (see pattern picture below) but I think it suits me better this way. I had to bleach out some tiny mystery stains (what is it about white things left in closets???) and I ended up just patting it into shape to dry after getting really angry at a bunch of T-pins that were only trying to help. I won't be making another anytime soon but I must admit - I am proud of this project.

Maybe this will inspire me to get going on that Crochet Squares afghan...

And here is the bag progress:

This week it's back to school for a department meeting and some workshops - time to buff up my syllabi and get back into the teaching (also dissertation!!) groove. Luckily, there's always time for knitting - at the kids' basketball games, at the bus stop...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Over Here, Mom...

Felted bag I'm working on for SIL...

A New Day, and Other Random Stuff

I am a total sucker for ceremony. I cry at church, graduations, weddings, etc and I cried today while watching C-SPAN coverage of the opening of Congress. (With a mouthful of 100-calorie Oreo Thin Crisps. Not pretty.)

This, however, is pretty, and will soon be very pretty:

Tulips!! They are growing at a rate of about 1/2" per day. I absolutely cannot wait until they bloom.

I've been reading (actually re-reading) No Idle Hands: A Social History of American Knitting by Anne Macdonald and Good Wives by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. (NOTE: How silly is it that one can never find these kinds of books in the history section of a bookstore???) Is it too late to change my major? I love living in New England.

I have been meaning to take the kids down to Salem for a hands-on history lesson but now I think I will go by myself first. I haven't been in ages and I really want to enjoy the Peabody Essex Museum and the Witch Museum all by myself, in peace. I also hope this happens soon - maybe now with the 110th there is a chance?

(I wonder what's with all the italics today. Perhaps I am trying to give my random thoughts greater significance...)

On to the is Calorimetry 2. Looks a lot like Calorimetry 1, I know, but smaller and less babushka-like. Not that I have anything against babushkas...

The SIL felted bag is smokin' - I love love love the colors. Pics later.

Go Nancy...go, go, go Nancy.