Tuesday, February 24, 2009

kite patrol

here's some of what we did in baja over valentine's day.
hope you enjoy it!
allez, venez ;-) !

Monday, February 23, 2009

knitting makes you feel better

doesn't it?

though i swore off deadline knitting, we ended up with a baby shower to go to, and how can a knitter refuse to knit for a baby? or the shower? so before we left for baja last week, i dashed into abuelita's, my fav lys, grabbed some debbie bliss baby cashmerino in five colors, threw my ez knitter's almanac and a size 3 circular into my knitting bag, and hoped for the best. here's what came out:

some shoulder detail:

more shoulder detail:
i used the february baby sweater pattern, and came pretty much to gauge with the size 3 needles (though a baby will always grow into and out of whatever size you make, another great aspect of knitting for babies!). i don't like garter stitch especially (too bulky), and i think seed stitch has a classically elegant quality that i like. here are the changes that i made to the classic fbs:
  1. of course, seed stitch borders instead of garter. the only tricky part is at the very bottom, when the border goes all the way across, i forgot to check for number of stitches, and ended up having to go against the seed stitch pattern for one row on the placket. you can't really see it unless you're looking for it, but if i were going to do this again, i would have done one fewer of the decreases on the last row of the body, so the seed stitch could continue uninterrupted.
  2. for the yoke increases, instead of an invisible m1, i decided to yo instead. it was going to be for a little girl, so i thought the lacy holes might add some daintiness. i'm not sure i would do this again. it's kind of choppy with the fair isle look. i would say to be sure to increase on rows where you are not doing any stranding. (is that really obvious? i guess so -- it'll help me remember)
  3. when i knit the first row (which i purled), i tried to make a lacy sort of edge by twisting my cast-on stitches every 3 stitches. it does make tiny holes along the edge, but not well-defined. i would not do that again, but would find out how to make a picot edge instead.
  4. the obvious: i decided i wanted a stripey sweater instead of a lacy-bottomed sweater. but before i started striping, i decided on the color order, then immediately hated how bold the maroon was after 2 rows. it just took over. so i could not do even stripes. so then my inner color-loving maniac took over and i just started throwing colors together, stranding, etc, to see what would happen, knowing that target and a pile of onesies were just a moment's drive away (and perfectly wonderful baby gifts in their own right) if the sweater came out as hideous yarn barf. as it evolved, i needed to make sleeve and body decisions. you see what i decided -- if it's going to be a fun fair isle-style sweater, then let's get really fun and have different colored sleeves.
  5. i kept the green going on the outside to unify this colorful mayhem. i love love love this color green (close to sage?) for a baby -- girl or boy.
  6. on the next one i will make the first button hole at row 8 instead of row 16 -- i think with the seed stitch spreading so much it just looks a little sloppy. but how cute are those buttons? and they stand up off the fabric so there's room for the placket underneath -- you don't have to sew them on really loosely.
re: the cashmerino -- lovely and soft, a tiny bit splitty, and unplies a little bit when you are casting on. this sweater needed someone who really knows how to block. the seed stitch spread quite a bit as i was frantically steaming it with my iron 2 hours before presenting it at the shower, but the stranded parts definitely settled into themselves after being steamed and pressed a little. i did not want long strands due to baby fingers, so all of that catching strands makes for fabric that seems a bit stressed and irregular until it is steamed.

all in all, fun to do, a quick project, and really easy to modify to one's rebel heart's content.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

my favorite picture of my dad

this was taken during my very brief (13 month) tenure as an only child. ;-) look at the expression on his face: who are you, where did you come from, and why do i love you so much?

my dad passed away peacefully last week in his 80th year. he had struggled hard and valiantly against parkinson's disease for at least 25 years. i feel so relieved for him; right now the relief far outweighs my sadness, as it was difficult for me and my brothers and sisters for a long time to watch while he fought his battle with mortality.

will you allow me to share a poem? my dad loved poetry -- i'm too prosaic to be a good poetry aficionado, but i do love john donne.

Death be not Proud

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

John Donne, Holy Sonnets, 1633

Thursday, February 12, 2009

schoolmate valentines

due to circumstances beyond my control (doesn't it seem they all are?), i was late on valentines for the kids this year. so very quickly yesterday (valentines were due today), i cut some 12x12 cardstock in half, opened up adobe illustrator, and quick designed and printed some little rulers with a valentiney sort of wish. we applied heart stickers cut from the edges of those free address labels that come with charitable solicitations, and off we go!

please go to rachel may designs for some wonderful ecofriendly valentine's cards and gifts. i love her work.

Friday, February 6, 2009

rainy friday

the pharmacy gave me a chocolate bar yesterday, to persuade me to fill out an online survey. i probably shouldn't eat the candy bar until i have completed my end of the bargain, but a hot cup of coffee is the perfect hershey's partner while i work in my kitchen on a cold (socal) rainy day.
don't you love my mug? made by my mother-in-law.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

locks of love with lots of love

as you saw in the chinese new year post, thing 1 has long blond hair. she's been growing it, trying to get the 10 inches necessary to send a ponytail to locks of love, a wonderful non-profit that makes hair prostheses for children with medical hair loss. i guess she sniffed a sudden whiff of crazy the other day, and got out scissors to crop a few inches (6!) off the hair that hangs down on either side of her face. so it seemed the time to see whether she could fulfill her goal -- we measured, and she could. so locks of love is getting a blond pony, and she has a brand new adorable bob.

the point of no return: (she said she closed her eyes ;-)

the deed is done:

this shows you the haircut and how happy she is, without subjecting her sweet face to the dangers of the internet wild frontier:

off it goes! she wrote a note saying "i know the child who receives this hair will love it. i have." ;-)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

jacques cousteau pour ma jeune fille

i have to say that the last part of this hat goes really quickly. my superbowl sunday ambitions aside, it was fun to knit, especially when i switched to the noro kureyon and started the decreases.
it is too small for an adult, but thing 1 loves to wear hats (i need to knit one of those felted cloches for her) so i gave it to her.

the swirlies are great. i (compulsive about changing a pattern) did a ssk decrease instead of the kks -- i wanted the ribs to sort of disappear, not crash into a wall. i did not knit all that 3x2 rib, several more inches for folding up as a brim -- it would have been pretty hot here in socal. if i were to do this pattern again, i think i would try doing the decreases right up against the vertical knit rib instead of the purl part of the rib. just for grins to see how it looks.

in this picture, the swirlies are pretty visible but the color is too bright.

in this picture, the colors are right but the swirlies are blurry.
on to the next project. i have two bags ready to decorate and felt, and just haven't done anything with them. i am not inspired on the decorating, and i need that inspiration. it'll hit! it just hasn't yet. in the meantime, my nephew at bucknell where it has been snowing and snowing has suggested he could use "the hat that you made for uncle joel -- it's awesome". how flattering! it's simple and gorgeous -- brooklyntweed's pattern. here's mine, if you're on ravelry, featuring my brother, uncle joel ;-).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

she looked out through the kitchen window

i love looking out my kitchen window at this time of year. i have a tangerine tree straight out there, and at this time of year the tangerines are ripe and beautiful. i prefer looking at them to eating them (!). see them down there on the left?

at the corner of my house, accessible from my neighbor's driveway, is a lemon tree. i use those lemons all year round in my cooking -- even if they're old and sprouting seeds in the middle, the rind is still lemony and flavorful, and the juice is still tart and sour. i wish i could convey with pictures how pretty it looks. at another corner of the house is an unruly bird of paradise plant. how fantastic that doing some necessary trimming in the garden leads to a bouquet of b of p and ficus in my kitchen window.

in the morning (right now) the sun is streaming onto the lemons, making the ripe ones gleam. i am a lucky gal.

lemon yellow, tangerine orange, bird of paradise spike blue.

Monday, February 2, 2009


the game was too good, and the laundry pile was too high. i only got this far:

plus, the comments i've read are true -- the 3x2 rib is a bit boring. but i want to finish it, hope it may fit an adult (it's pretty stretchy), and can't wait to see how the noro i'll switch to will look with the twirly ribs.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

how much can i do

with laundry and superbowl-watching, but i think i can get a bunch done of this hat

see, i've already started:

i'm fooling myself.