Monday, December 21, 2015

Baby Surprise the Third

I seriously love the drape of dishcloth cotton! I never really thought about it much until I realized I was out of nice baby yarn for baby boy sweater stuff. I have a whole slew of new relatives now I'm remarried to the second of NINE siblings. I have gained many brothers and sisters in law, nieces and nephews, step children and even a grand! Crazy, eh?

Well, one of my sisters-in-law has three daughters, two of which are twins, who were both pregnant at the same time. (awesome, right? twin cousins! how cool) Anyway! One of them recently had her baby (like a week ago or so) and I thought...hmmmm I wonder if she'd like the baby sweater I made already? So I sent her a picture of it and asked her if the colors were too girly for her baby boy. She said no, she really liked it. So, that one will be on it's way to it's new home probably the beginning of next week, when the people stealing packages off of doorsteps stop looking for packages to steal.

After that, it occurred to me that I shouldn't leave the other twin out, that would be rude, right? So I'm digging through my baby yarn and all I have is the pink colorway that corresponds to the yarn I used the last time. Pink and purple and white and maybe another color. (they are both boys, in case you didn't get that yet) I think it's Baby Bernat in their baby cotton line (antique by now, practically... I bought it before I knew anything about yarn) So after looking at the dishcloth cotton I have left, I started to formulate a plan. A similar color combination to the previous one, blue and purple and green, as would befit cousin twins, don't ya think? Similar but not exactly the same. heheheheheee

Of course I still must double check the colors with the soon to be mom. (the moms are 6 weeks apart in due dates - how cute is that?) What do you think? Do you like these colors?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Baby Surprise Sweater FO.

One Baby Surprise Sweater down and at least one or two more to go

I've started the next one, hopefully I have enough yarn to get through the whole pattern.

This one has a home waiting for it and the next one will, too, if mom likes it. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Casting Off

I must say, that after a million miles of straight knitting (garter stitch) casting off a hundred miles in purl feels very strange =)

FO pictures of The Great Dame E.Z. Baby Surprise Sweater to come.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Baby Surprise Stashbuster

Elizabeth Zimmerman was a genius. I would love for my brain to work the way hers did. The baby surprise sweater is (as many others have said) engineering genius. I've made one and am working on my second. The thing is, the time in between knits means I've forgotten everything I figured out working the first one. 

I understand her instructions being completely understandable to her and many others. They are, quite wonderful and simple. It's just that, for me to know what I'm doing, I need to know exactly where I am at all times - which means knowing what row I'm on and how many stitches are supposed to be on that row etc etc. So I (being me) have to over complicate the pattern to keep it straight in my brain.

Maybe if I make about 3 or 4 in a row, I'll have the recipe down in my head enough not to need these notes. But rest assured, if I go another 2 years without making any more, I'll need the notes again (and again) Considering I'm on a dual stashbusting/getting my groove back kick, I should be able to use up all the baby yarn I have. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Second Thought Beanie

The stash-busting continues. It's been quite a long time since I've actually been in the habit of knitting, that it's taking some time to get back in the swing of it. I ought to be doing better than I am, but, for one reason or another I can't seem to settle down and focus. So, in an attempt to knit down my stash of less marvelous yarns while getting myself back into being a real knitter, I've been working on getting my dishcloth cotton knitted into useable objects rather than balls of yarn that seem to just sit there and long to be real stuff.

I had planned of making lots of dishtowels. I've got to that stage where I have worn out most of my dishtowels and really don't like the rest of them. =) So I started another random dishtowel, much like I started the last one. No pattern, no specific number of stitches, just cast on randomly and start to knit. Once I cast on, I realized I didn't want to do garter stitch and I was bored with seed stitch. So I started doing YO K2tog just for kicks. Once I'd been doing that back and forth for a while, I noticed it didn't want to be a dishtowel. (funny how some projects seem to have their own personalities) It would have been a very odd towel, anyway, too floppy to be serviceable, really.

I looked at it, flipped it over and looked at it some more. (we were in the car on a meandering road trip of sorts) I dropped down the vanity mirror on the visor and wrapped it around my head. As it turns out... it was the perfect size for a little hat thing. I joined the stitches and began to knit in the round after fudging the number of stitches only slightly with one strategically placed K3tog and continued on with the same basic YO K2tog. Of course it was only then I recalled the obvious implications of straight knitting back and forth in a pattern and switching to straight knitting in the round. I pressed on anyway just to see it I could deal with it and I found I could bear it very cheerfully indeed. (emulating Charlotte Lucas from the Ehle/Firth P&P)

Here's the result
One Stash-buster Second Thought Almost Flapper Beanie

What do ya think?

Friday, December 4, 2015


Over the last few days I've been updating the blog, moving around the "furniture" and removing old non-working links. As I was going through all my links, I noticed many bloggers seemed to have quit posting regularly very near the same time that I did. I have to wonder what was going on in 2012 that so many of us stopped blogging? Was knit blogging a fad that had run it's course for all but the most dedicated and tenacious writers? Or was it something else? I think perhaps it was Facebook that took my attention off blogging. I noticed another knit-blogger said something about a Farmville induced funk. I was in that boat for a while, too. I also started working like a crazy person at the beginning 2012. It seems to have been a time for big change for many of us.

Transition: The most painful part of labor and delivery.

Most any transition is painful  or at least uncomfortable. After feeling completely stagnant and stuck for so very long, one would think that a bit of change would be a relief. Lots of it WAS a huge relief, but relief and discomfort aren't mutually exclusive. Change can be just a scary as stagnation is frustrating. 

Stagnation has it's own strange comfort to it. Nothing ever changes. You are still. Maybe you starting being still to try to heal. Maybe you just got depressed and stopped to assess. Whatever the case, the stillness turned toxic and you began to ... stew in your own problems.

Once one begins to move and live again, and things begin to change, change itself can take on a whole new life of it's own. Very soon I'll tell you the story of all the change in the last few years. Buckle up, it's a dizzying ride.

Stashbuster Dish Towel

My very first knitted FO in some length of time.

I'm trying to knit down my stash so I won't have to much yarn to pack. Of course, it'll still be about the same amount of packing, it'll just be stuff instead of materials for stuff.

I've also made a little beanie thing, but I don't have a decent picture of that just yet. Have to get into good light and not look quite so tired under my eyes - ya know, for the sake of vanity. (yes I still have a tiny bit of that left, in spite of evidence to the contrary)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Don't You Love it When... randomly cast on an amount of stitches for stash-busting/getting your groove back and form your plan quite after the fact and by accident you start doing a sampler type of what becomes a kitchen towel (with dishcloth cotton) and you realize 67 stitches doesn't quite do the sampler thing so great, but then you find a stitch pattern just happens to work!?!? Yeah, me too!

Here's how it looks now, I'll post updates later as to how it looks with the DMS&RC stitches.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Twists on "The Sweater Curse"

It's time to start blogging again! SO much has happened I can barely wrap my head around it. I'll try to catch y'all up by an anecdotal study of The Sweater Curse phenomenon, which applies to any knitted gift intended for a significant other. All you have to do is read my last post - actually the first paragraph is enough to cue you in. 

When I started knitting and then subsequently became a citizen of the subculture of online knit blogger/podcaster/nerds, I discovered the lore of The Boyfriend Sweater Curse. I never had the hubris to  deny it or doubt it's existence, it was quite the opposite. Having been, or at least felt like, the overly thoughtful girlfriend/wife type, and experienced the backlash of it, it made perfect sense. 

Of course, when I started knitting, I was married, right? So I should be safe to knit for my husband, right? Well... sure, let's go with that theme. After reading the Wiki page on the sweater curse, it reminds me that while some things can cause a breakup, other things can shed light on problems that are already there in a relationship. 

Knitters seem to be similar to each other in many ways. We don't usually knit for just anyone, so, when we do it really means something. Lots of people have asked me to knit things for them, without comprehension of the knitting process, fiber choices and price and/or what my knitting time/expertise is worth. Normally, I nod and smile, knowing  they will likely forget they said it in ten minutes and I'll never hear about it again. There are times, though, that I've had that very adamant, obnoxious demand, "I am GOING to hire you to knit ME a sweater." That particular person, on a good day, is one I can barely tolerate. My response was, "You can't afford me." No force in heaven or earth could persuade me to knit anything for that guy and there's not enough money in the world to buy it. The few people who have gotten knitted gifts from me are in an exclusive group.....well.... at least they used to be. 

When knitters set out to knit a gift, it's a careful and deliberate process. (not that I am educating my fellow knitters here, obviously, but in case any non-knitterly people wander in here one day, they really need to understand) Here's my list, which may be incomplete, we'll see if I edit it later to add stuff that forgot because of this medicated migraine with mild vertigo:
  1. What color do they like/want? (there can be literally 100's of options)
  2. Do they look good in that color? (they must look good in said item)
  3. What is the best fiber I can afford? (good yarn can be very expensive, just the yarn for a nice sweater can run into hundreds of dollars - no, I'm not exaggerating)
  4. How does it feel against the skin? (if it scratches me, I won't put it on you)
  5. How soon do they need the item? (gotta be done before they need it)
  6. What pattern reflects my regard? (must be special, different, textured and interesting)
  7. Can I design the pattern myself so it's 100% special? (I want your item to be unlike anything anyone ever got before)
Anyway, I think ya get the picture. I only knit for people I love. What you don't know about me, is that when I give a gift, my best reward is how much you love it. Whether I made the gift or not, I want you to love it. That's fairly normal, most people want their gifts to be received with joy. (Rachael Ray is on in the background and she just said, "Husbands, here's a hint, be grateful for anything we give you!"synchronicity... ya gotta love it) Without going in to details and histories and traumas, let's just say, no gift I ever gave mine was received with a measurable reaction. While I can't speak to anyone else's relationships, for mine, that was only one of the manifestations of serious underlying issues. That's 1, the first man I knit anything for, is no longer in my life. (that was my decision, by the way)

Some time after it was so very over, someone else came into my life. Lots in common and so many similar tastes it seemed almost impossible. There were a couple of rocky patches here and there, but all in all, it was fire and wonder. I found myself wanting to knit. So, with permission from the intended recipient, I began to knit a scarf. Yes, that one. The scarf never made it to him and I ended up (much later) giving it to a dear (much more platonic) friend of mine who thought it the coolest thing ever. 2nd man I knit for - not in my life. This is getting interesting.

Well, another span of time after the end of that, I found myself being pursued by another. Usually when that happens it's not a pleasant thing, it's usually that guy that gives you an involuntary shudder. This one was much more persuasive. After resisting temptation for a fairly ladylike amount of time, I finally caved. It wasn't fire and wonder like before, exactly, although the attraction was intense. There were things in common and things very NOT in common. Stuff I could admire and stuff I couldn't abide. Much less the "too good to be true" of the previous and much more like "too real to be fun". I never quite felt I was actually in a relationship. Curious state of confusion is probably my best description. I didn't offer to knit anything this time, but when he saw my jar of knitting needles he exclaimed, "DO YOU KNIT?!?!" This impressed me because it's a dude that knows what a knitting needle is in an area where almost everyone else crochets. Of course, I proudly (and only slightly defensively) said, "Yes I do, why?" -- "I really need a scarf! Will you make me a scarf?" I think, perhaps, I may have hit back with one of his favorite lines, "what's in it for me?" and there may have been begging, I can't be sure. Somehow or other I found myself shopping for yarn and starting a scarf. This relationship was mostly over before it began, and it was definitely over before I could finish the scarf. This time, however, I did give the finished scarf to it's intended. It was a little like an exercise in healing/martyrdom, like I felt I had to prove to myself and him that, yes, I can be a grownup and keep my promises and be your friend even when the other thing wasn't to be. Sometimes the only true answer is, "It's just TOO complicated." and "Love doesn't always conquer all." I should mention that it was very well received. There were, thank yous and my goodnesses and wows, I will wear this all the winter longs - that, at least, was an improvement on the past. So... that's 3 for 3. 3 strikes! That really should have been an indication I needed to stop. It was an indication, actually, I just didn't stop.

That's not entirely true. I actually did stop. I stopped and healed or tried to heal, got on with life, and back to normal stuff. Meanwhile, a friend I've had for quite a long time, who'd always been a shameless flirt, started to seem to be a constant of sorts. Years of consistency can give that impression, right? I thought so. We'd had lots of conversations and discussions over the years, and the occasional slightly indecent proposal which was not taken seriously by me, at all. There I was, single, still a little bruised from life, and talking to friend who'd always thought me cute, or whatever. So I started to slowly consider the idea. Now in this case, I don't remember whose idea the scarf was. I made up the pattern myself to some degree. Which means there are similar ideas out there, but not exactly the same. I charted it and did the math, etc etc. It turned out really nice and it was very well received with all the proper adulations and praise. So again, there's progress. This time, the scarf got finished before the end. Of course a long distance relationship can only go so far. Talking was all it ever was, but that didn't mean it was trivial. In this case, the friendship didn't survive, which is too bad. One can't decide they don't like you enough to be with you and then be upset with you when you move on. Either/or, not both. And that's the 4th.

While I know that knitting for them didn't end the relationships, it does make you think. In case #1 it drew my attention to issues I should have looked at before. In #2, fear of commitment was the trouble, and perhaps me making a ridiculously marvelous scarf was the thing that made his stomach go queasy and put a stop to it. #3 was the victim of timing, the relationship couldn't have outlasted a potholder, much less a scarf and #4 was much the same as #2, and though the scarf was appreciated, someone wasn't quite ready for a real relationship. 

Perhaps it's a good exercise, a way to flush out the ones that won't stick, for whatever reason. At any rate.... did you notice the moving on part on the last bit? Once upon a time, MANY years ago I stumbled upon a website that is like a very basic version of Pre-Facebook meets It's mostly for finding friends amongst people of the same religious persuasion (so to speak) and as a married woman at the time, I just wanted to make some friends. And I did. I got to be friends with many women and men all over the place and it was rather nice. Well, the site will also "match" you up with any criteria of person you set it up for. No personality questions or anything like that just very, very, basic, unsophisticated stuff. So when I was single, I did the logical thing. Looked out to see what the dating pool was looking like. Mostly it was (deep loud sigh) enough to make you shoot your computer and run for the hills. It's one thing to make someone's acquaintance and chat platonically, quite another to look for something more meaningful in a sea of photo thumbnails. I was never convinced that it was a good idea, not from what I'd seen in there, anyway. There were many times I had the mouse hovering over "Cancel my Account" only to have something hold me back. That little slight voice that said, "Not yet, just wait a while longer." Being the gut listener that I am, I waited.

During this time, by the way, at least from 3 - 4, I was working literally every day. 7 days a week, 2 jobs, burning the candle at both ends just trying to keep the bills paid. (and even that wasn't enough, because without my sister being my room-mate at the time, I would have crashed and burned) So naturally the inevitable happened. I got sick with the flu and was laid up in bed with all manner of ailments. Not being able to work, I naturally turned on the computer and tried to pass the time. I had paid one month's subscription just a few days before on a whim. I hadn't been in there for quite a long time. I can't say long story short, because that ship has sailed, but in a nutshell, I was contacted, we talked, we met, we dated, we married. 

I hadn't knit anything in quite a while, and I didn't knit anything for him for some length of time. When I finally did, though, you would have thought he was the only person on the planet who'd ever been given a gift. Repeatedly he'd say, "No one has ever done anything like this for me!" He's the picture of gratitude. What's the difference? I made him a hat!