Sunday, January 31, 2010

Updates all around

Kate's garden is having issues. The amaryllis are growing a bit:

But the taller of the two has these almost rusty spots along it's stem, and even some holes:

Really weird. The other has a few rusty spots too, but it's major issue seems to be this:

The bud seems to be dying back right at the tip. I don't know, the compost heap may be calling these two.

On a more positive note, the February square for my block a month afghan is finished early, and I acquired something to help with my blocking issues.
I usually soak my wool items for blocking, but I just read a really good instruction on how to block acrylic here. I will try to accept her advice. So, I'm ahead on the afghan, but the garden is looking grim. Everywhere balance I guess.

Monday, January 25, 2010

How does Kate's garden grow?

My daughter and I have been cultivating the plants she got for Christmas. Indoor plants are not my forte in general. I tend to forget to water them or in fact that they exist at all. I do ok with outside plants because I have mother nature to back me up. She'll get things watered eventually. All that lives in the house are an African Violet and a Jade Plant because they enjoy being ignored for long periods of time. This Christmas, however, my daughter got two Amaryllis and an herb garden. Seeing as she is three, it's up to me to keep them alive. Things did not start well, when the dog stole one of the Amaryllis bulbs from under the tree and attempted to eat it. (If this is in some way bad for dogs, don't worry. It was weeks ago and he's still alive. Nor is that the worst thing he's eaten. The coil of wire and the tube of soldering compound are the worst and he never even threw up when he ate those.) Anyway, back to the plants. The herbs are doing well.

Although in my experience very small plants in very small pots can go south pretty fast, so I'm trying to keep an eye on them. Kate does too when she remembers.
The amaryllis are not moving along so well.

They are growing, but just fractionally compared to the huge growth an amaryllis is capable of. I'd blame the dog, but he only chewed on one bulb, not both, so it's probably lack of sunlight. This is a south window, but we haven't had much sun from any direction lately. Maybe when we get some sunlight, they will burst forth. Keep your fingers crossed. (P.S. if you never hear anything about these plants ever again, it's because I killed then and threw then into the compost when no one was looking. I'm like that.)

A New Obsession

I'm a pretty avid raveler, and the other day I found something I really liked. I joined a group that is knitting a block a month through the year, each one a little different, with the goal of having a completed afghan at the end of it. It's a perfect idea for my knitting club, as it will relieve me from the stress of constantly having to come up with ideas for them, plus there's the knit-a-long aspect which means I'll have a little backup should any of the club members ask me a question to which I know no answer. (Happens more often than you'd think.) I've also started recruiting my friends cause I love this idea so much (although I've left my sock-knitter friend alone. She's pretty committed to her genre, so I'll not distract her from pretty socks and shawls. You're welcome Diana.)And finally, I'm so over the moon about this idea that I knit up two squares for January, all in two days, possibly developing a knitter's claw in the process. (My left hand aches even as I type this. I may have to give it a break today and knit some natural fiber. Acrylic seems to be harder to knit than wool.) So here's a pic of my work so far.

The green is caron simply soft, which I have enough of to do the whole afghan in some complimentary colors. (Why yes I had it all sitting in my stash. The fact that I had a whole afghan's worth of yarn sitting around is not shocking at all, is it?) The blue is knit from an unlabeled ball I found at work. I'm pretty sure it's acrylic and that's all I know about it. I like to live dangerously. So it looks like I'll have two afghans in December. Stay tuned to see if I can keep up this pace.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


What you are looking at is four incomplete sweaters. Not pictured: three potential afghans. All but one of these projects were started within the last two weeks. What on earth was I thinking? That's all for now, no time to blog, must knit. Maybe I'll cast on a sock. Why is my eye twitching?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What not to do:

Do: Teach your three year old independence by asking her to clean up her own laundry.

Do Not: Place these items into the washer without checking inside everything

Do: Use Pull-Ups at night to prevent major bed wetting though three year old is potty trained during the day.

Do Not (and I really really mean this): Put a pull-up IN THE WASHING MACHINE.

The pull up was not wet when it went into the washer, but boy was it wet when it came out. The state of the clothes that were washed with it is indescribable. Oh what a day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's gettin serious

So, in the grand scheme of things I'm a pretty new knitter. I don't have any massively complicated undertakings under my belt. I still fear the word intarsia, and colorwork in general does not appear in my resume. But I still retained this weird impression that if I wanted to, I could probably figure things out as needed. A sweater is a sweater (I think to myself, ignoring the weird cackling over my left shoulder that must have been the knitting fates). You knit it in one piece or you knit up all the pieces and slap em together. Done. Maybe doesn't fit so much, but done. (see here) Then this book came into my life:
Custom Knits: Unleash Your Inner Designer with Top-Down and Improvisational Techniques Custom Knits: Unleash Your Inner Designer with Top-Down and Improvisational Techniques by Wendy Bernard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wow, really great sweaters, really great patterns, and not too many seams. Just too many models wearing sweaters and underwear. What the heck is that about.

View all my reviews >>

I picked it up a few months ago, picked out a few patterns that I liked, even ordered yarn to go with one of them, but I only started it a few days ago, and Holy Crap. I'm starting at completely the opposite end than I thought I was when I cast on. I've provisionally cast on (eek) and passed stitches onto scrap yarn, and picked them up later. And I can totally see the shape of the thing emerging from the knitting even though the instructions as read are like Greek. (It's not that the directions are not clear. They are wonderfully clear and I've yet to make a mistake that wasn't totally my own boneheaded misread. It's just that from reading the instructions, I did not expect to have the shape that I do) It's like a whole new weird knitting adventures. I'd like to state for the record right here, that I'm totally loving this. (Cause tomorrow, who knows where I'll be.) Just goes to show you that knitting is a life long lesson, like anything that's worthwhile. Check on me in a few days and see if I'm still loving my lettuce coat.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Call Me Ahab

It's always darkest before the dawn, I suppose, so only days after predicting I would be knitting an afghan until the Devil's nose had frostbite, it is done. The pattern called for 44 inches and I quit at 40. Mostly I bound off because I didn't believe my yarn would hold out for another repeat of the pattern, but also because I wanted to go to bed and didn't want to spend another day on this thing. The white whale is complete, and looking for a home. Unfortunately, I had to buy some new yarn part way through, and the line where the new yarn is joined is pretty obvious when the thing is laid out. Out of my control unfortunately, as the thing was given to me and I had used all the yarn that came with it. I don't think a baby would notice, do you? And thus ends Moby Dick.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Easy Being Green

I have once again abandoned the white whale in favor of greener pastures. Literally.

It's a super bulky, sweater in a green so lime my eyes are watering in relief. It's also super big and super stretchy, so i'm pretty sure it will fit when assembled, (in contrast to some others I have known.) It's in for some blocking this afternoon and assembly tomorrow, I hope.

We are still enjoying our winter wonderland here in Northeast Ohio, but the sun is shining on us today and making all that white snow sparkle. I may be forced to break out the skis this afternoon, but having been out to the store before lunch, I'm aware that it's an elaborate fake out, and that the wind chill is still enough to freeze your ear tips between the house and the car. Stay warm wherever you are.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My White Whale

White is the color of the day. We got approx. 6-7 inches of snow last night. I've been home sick or snowed in for 5 days. Although I was blessed to have my driveway (not the city few yards long kind, the country 1/4 of a mile kind) plowed out by a thoughtful cousin this morning, I'm still feeling a bit apprehensive about the roadways. I have passed the time finishing knitting projects that have been laying around taking up space. Unfortunately, I've finished up so many things, that I'm kinda down to this:

My Moby Dick. For the record, I didn't start it, it wasn't my idea, and I would never and will never make something solid white. It is so boring I"m thinking of slitting my own throat and bleeding on it just to give it some color. It is another gift of that unnamed patron from whom I accepted another knitter's stash, and boy was the cast off knitter nothing like me. This little baby afghan was about 1/4 finished when I got it. I've been alternately working on and avoiding it for 8 months, and the bloody thing is never gonna be done. It has all the hallmarks of a terrible project for me. Too complicated to do mindlessly, too simple to be really entertaining, no real deadline cause it's not for anyone in particular, and white, white white. Ugh. If any one knows of a baby named Moby, or possibly Dick, I've got an afghan for you. Should be done about the time the snow stops falling, in hell.

Success!.....and complete failure

My very first sweater to be knit in pieces and assembled is finished. All the ends are woven in. It looks like a garment, and not a post-modern sculpture. I got the sleeves set in and they aren't completely crooked or projecting from the back. It looks pretty good if I do say so myself. (And I have to because I'm currently snowed in with a man and a three year old, so nobody but me is complimenting this thing right now.) The downside? Too d@#$ small. I can get it on, but I look like Chris Farley doing his "fat man in a little coat" bit. The sleeves are WAY too tight, and there really isn't enough room across the shoulders. If I were a better person, I would rip it all back and start again, or at least find a way to fix it. As I am not a better person, I am on the lookout for a person somewhat smaller than myself who would like a "Hey Teach".

Any takers?

Monday, January 4, 2010

As I Do Not Mean To Go On

Every New Year I resist the urge to disappoint myself with failed resolutions, and I felt the same this year. I do always try to start the year as I mean to go on with it. (Is that the same as a resolution?) This year, however, we will avoid that at all costs, as every one of us (extended family included) went home from our new year's eve party with the stomach flu. Oh yes, we had us a merry new year. I was only back on my feet yesterday afternoon, but I am trying to pull it together since then. I have most of a sweater blocked and ready for construction, (my first of this sort, so wish me lots of luck. There is a reason I normally knit seamless things) and I would be much further along if not for a very persuasive three year old and a snowstorm.

Happy New Year.