Monday, February 28, 2011

Of Oranges, Flowers, and the Pinwheel Continued

I have changed to the following pattern:

Purl 1 round. Knit 1 round. Repeat these last 2 rounds 3 times. On the last
knit round increase 1 st. every section by knitting into the front and the
back of one stitch.

Repeat these 6 rounds until the desired size. The sample sweater has 126
rounds and 7 colours, and ends with 49 stitches in each section, 392 stitches

Since my gauge is at 7.5 stitches per inch, I will have many many more stitches on my needles when I finish my sweater. Right now, after doing 2 repeats of the aforementioned pattern, I have 72 stitches per section. There are 8 sections. I timed how long it is taking me to do one row - 27 minutes.

Given that it takes me 27 minutes to do the 576 stitches on each row, it is going to take me a few more weeks to complete this sweater. I am glad that I am using fingering weight yarn and can't wait to wear this sweater during the summer. At the rate I am going, winter will be over when I bind off...Wow I am looking forward to that!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why I love my dogs

For me a house or an apartment becomes a home when you add one set of four legs, a happy tail, and that indescribable measure of love that we call a dog.
Roger Caras, president emeritus, ASPCA

A dog is the only thing on this earth that loves you more than he loves himself.
Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw)

When you leave them in the morning, they stick their nose in the door crack and stand there like a portrait until you turn the key eight hours later.
Erma Bombeck

Dogs love company. They place it first in their short list of needs.
J.R. Ackerley

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Of Silliness and Nummy Brownies

My son is very silly
He likes to wear hats. Today, he wanted to wear his green camouflage hat (that was supposed to be mine, BTW). He found a fake flower, thought it was pretty, and decided to put it on the top of his green hat.

I thought this was cute and funny. He becomes a ham when I take pictures of him and likes to make silly faces. He has a great time looking at the shots that I take of him.

My husband took the kids to his mother's house for the weekend. Yesterday, my son helped me make brownies. He remembered how nummy they were and asked to eat some for his snack. At the time, it was only 9:00 in the morning, so in true mother fashion, I said, "Yes, but you have to eat them at Ba-Chan's (his grandmother's) house." I cut some up and put them in a plastic sandwich bag to take on the road. He carried these brownies around until they left...30 minutes later.

A little smooshed brownie never hurt anyone. I would not be surprised if he ate them all...Bwahaha!

Friday, February 25, 2011

I'm ready for Spring, already!

My children's room is, for all intents and purposes, done. My son was so excited to be sleeping in a "big boy bed". My daughter was nervous about sleeping on the top bunk, but soon got used the idea. I have to say that I love the way the room looks. It is so much roomier than it was yesterday. I took pictures of the new room early this afternoon, the first time the sun came out today:

I say the first time because we had really weird weather today.

Early this morning, I heard the rain on the rooftop and the wind howling. Even when the rain stopped, the sky was foreboding - cloudy and cold, but dry - so I quickly took the dogs out for their morning walk. Soon after I came back, it started to pour thick sheets of water.

A few minutes later the rain stopped and the sun came out. . While I worked on cleaning my children's room, I mused on how pretty the day was looking. I started the doubt the weather man, promising snow. Then before I knew it:

The sky darkened again - snow and ice started covering the ground - my poor blueberry plant!

Then the sun came out again and brightened the sky:

Is Spring almost here??

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Yes, there is a monster under your bed Sweetie...

See what I mean:
Ewwww, right?
Well, this is what was under my daughter's bed when I took off the mattress. We bought my children a bunk bed and I decided that today is the day that I break down her single twin bed frame, clean and vacuum her room, and rearrange the rest of her furniture so that the bunk bed can be put together and placed. I took the old bed frame apart and the pieces are waiting patiently for the donation truck to come by tomorrow to pick them up (yay for the Salvation Army truck!).
I attempted to put together the new bed frame together. Unfortunately, because it is so BIG, I needed my husband to help me. My inner Superwoman was deflated...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pictures of the Day

My son had his gymnastics lesson today. I was so happy to see him have so much fun. He made some friends and he even flirted with one of the little girls. My husband says that he must get that trait from me - HA! Really??
Afterwards, we visited the nearby Salvation Army thrift store, looking for a globe. My son spotted this and claimed it.
When our daughter was born, our respective parents told my husband and I that "she looks just like you". Of course, I agreed with my parents and my husband completely agreed with his parents. Based on this picture, I think I won...
Thanks for sharing my day with me. Yep, I am still working on my Pinwheel Sweater. It is taking longer than I wanted, but I forget that I have 2 growing kids and 2 dogs that want attention. It's tough being a knitting mom...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Beautiful Find

I am not one to drool over guitars or cars, but as far as musical instruments are concerned, pianos are my thing. If we lived in a bigger house and had a few thousand dollars extra in the bank account, I would have bought this without a blink.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Obsession Sidetracked cont' or the Almost Disaster

If you have ever *needed* to get a new couch, whether for purely non-practical reasons, or because your dog had a horrible, gross accident on your old one, then you may have had to struggle with getting the old one out of your home. When I lived in an apartment, I remember being grateful that we didn't live on the 12th floor - moving out with big pieces of furniture would be pretty darn tough.

Lucky for us, we only have a one story home. However, we bought a couch that was SO BIG that I disliked it since it passed through the front door (and this it did just barely). The broken front tiles will attest to that (GRRRRR). The worst part of this fact is that we have a small home. Its size made the living room look THAT MUCH smaller. Truly, I think that my husband and I forgot that we downgraded from our first house in Elk Grove, which was GIGANTIC (sniff, I miss the space).

Anyway, we need to get a new couch. In case you are curious, my reasons are for the latter reason that I listed above. You don't want to know what exactly happened...Ick! is all I have to say about that. Thank God for tax returns!

The trash collectors will be at our house tomorrow morning to pick it up, provided that we put it out on the curb for them. My husband and I attempted to take it out of our living room through the front door. When that didn't work, we attempted the back patio door. It got stuck because it had feet. My husband and I realized after looking carefully at the bottom of the couch that we could take the feet off. In fact, once we did this, the whole couch fell apart(!). Oh Joy!

I vacuumed the space that was just vacated by the monster.
We went to IKEA and agreed on a loveseat and an ottoman. We also agreed to get the children a bunk bed. I have plans for our living room and I am very excited.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Knitting Wonderland

I went to STITCHES West 2011 with my friend today. We volunteered at Alpaca Direct with a group of really nice people.

Saw some beautiful yarn:

Met some nice people from the industry:

Jess, co-founder of Ravelry

Cliff from Skacel

And ogled at some really beautiful pieces created to work with fiber, like these spindles. They *almost* make me want to learn how to spin yarn...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Of Rainy Days, Pretty Fabric, and Silly Kids

Lucy snoozing by the patio door...

Pretty Japanese fabric

Two Silly Kids, Kinneared by mom

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's like the last month of pregnancy

or the last 5 pounds...or the last day before a big vacation....

I am still knitting increase rounds after the armhole and I have about 60 stitches between each increase. Based on my gauge, I am knitting until I have 70 stitches between each yarn over to correspond to the part in the pattern that says:

Continue in pattern increasing and changing colour every 18th round until you have 42 stitches in each section
(i.e. 70 stitches instead of the 42, and I am not changing colors).

Then I will:
Change to the following pattern:
Purl 1 round.
Knit 1 round.
Repeat these last 2 rounds 3 times.
and will see the end of the proverbial tunnel.

I have so many stitches on my needles that I need to move them onto a longer set of needles. They are bunching up BADLY. When I try to spread them out, they've gotten stuck and I have actually pulled them off the needles by accident a few times - I almost DIED! GAH! Thank GOD it is all stockinette and yarnovers!

To pass the time, I will share with you a picture of my son that I took this morning. He is wearing his "awesome" hat. He thinks this hat is so awesome, he made me look for it this morning while I was rushing out to do my morning errands...awesome indeed...Grrrrrrr

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Just me and my two boys

My son cuddled with me today on my husband's recliner. I reminisced about his babyhood. It felt bittersweet...
My puppy Pippin...he's actually a teen in dog years, but he is so small that in our eyes, he will always be a puppy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Obsession Sidetracked

I went to IKEA today to look for some furniture. Our home is in desperate need of a makeover, and we have accepted the fact that some of our furniture is too BIG for our space. My husband agreed to sell his La-Z-Boy recliner, so that we have room for a new couch. I am also looking for a room divider to separate the space between the play area and the dining room. The kids also need new beds...Did I mention that I have to do all this on a budget? While it is fun to look for new things, the cost always brings down the excitement.

I still look in thrift stores, but one of the main problems that I have is that we don't have a way to transport the big things that we need. Can you imagine me fitting a bunk bed like this in my Camry?? I don't think so...This is the reason I like IKEA so much; the prices of their NEW furniture are wthin our budget and they offer shipping at a reasonable cost.

I tend to get obsessed with projects until they get resolved and unfortunately, this project is going to take a few months. I guess it's good that I have my knitting to take my mind off of furniture for a while...

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Timeless Valentine

Timeless Valentine

As time goes by from year to year,
One thing is surely true, my dear;
Though decades come and decades go,
Just seeing you sets me aglow.
So I write this poem, and I’ll hang my sign,
Saying, "Always Be My Valentine."

adapted from a poem by Karl and Joanna Fuchs

My husband and I celebrated Valentine's Day tonight at an excellent Thai restaurant called Thai Siam, in a nearby town. It was the first date we have had since my daughter was born. My coconut juice came in a shaved coconut and my husband had his standard Thai Ice Tea. We ordered Massaman, Chicken with Broccoli, and Pineapple Fried Rice. It is amazing what a nice quiet time with the one you love can replenish your soul.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Pinwheel Oops! and Aha!

I frogged back to where I divided for the sleeves. I got befuddled where the directions say:

"...Knit the first set of 30 stitches and the yo from the round before,
place the second set of 30 stitches on a holder, join a new ball of yarn and
cast on 30 stitches using a provisional cast on - see above for provisional
cast on instructions (this will be the sleeve later), join yarn and continue
knitting 4 more sets of 30 stitches plus the yo's from the previous round,
slip the next 30 stitches on a holder, join yarn and cast on 30 stitches
using a provisional cast on, knit the last 30 stitches and yo from the
previous round. Continue in pattern increasing [every other row]..."

I thought I followed these directions properly, but I knew something was wrong when I tried to fit the armhole over my arm and didn't succeed. GAH! So I tinked back AGAIN. Thank GOD I have an extra set of needles the same size and long enough to accommodate the ginormous amount of stitches that I currently have on my needles.

I analyzed what I needed to do to complete this sweater and I think I figured out an alternative way to work the sleeves so that it made sense to me.

When I frogged back to where I had slipped the first set of stitches, I discovered that the working yarn was on the left side of the slipped stitches. I decided just to continue from that point. Then:

  • I knit to where the directions say to slip the second set of stitches (for the left armhole) and slipped 50 onto scrap yarn.
  • I turned my work around, so that the wrong side was facing me.
  • Instead of casting on provisional stitches, I cast on 50 stitches using the Cable Cast On, and started by placing my needle in between the 2 previous stitches that I had just completed. These new stitches were consequently placed on the right needle.
  • When I knit to the part where I had slipped the first set of stitches, I joined another ball of yarn and casted on 50 stitches using the Cable Cast On method again This time with the right side facing me, and these stitches were placed on the left needle.
  • After the 50 stitches were cast on, I cut the yarn, leaving about 5 inches of tail.
  • I then continued knitting with my working yarn into the stitches just cast on. So that the newly cast on stitches would be secure, I knit with the tail and the working yarn together for about 5 stitches.

Now I am able to continue in the pattern. Yippee!

My picture of the day is a picture of my daughter and her BFF at the roller rink.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Of Children, Flowers, and My Pinwheel Continued

What are little girls made of?

What are little girls made of?

Sugar and spice,

And all that's nice;

That's what little girls are made of.

What a surprise for my son, who was confused about being able to see the moon during the day: "But it's not nigh-nigh time yet!"

I had the worst time taking a picture of this flower; the sun kept shining on my lens and I kept getting a glare. I am glad I persisted.

I was up until 3 this morning because I had to tink back my Blue Pinwheel Sweater 6 rows. It was stressful - I was so worried that I would drop the yarn overs. I suppose I could have just kept it the way it was. However, those 6 extra stitches would have added an extra inch to the width of my sweater. Also, it's not like I have an extra skein of the Ebonholz, nor was I willing to substitute another yarn in case I ran out...How awful would it be if I had continued and ran out of yarn 5 yards before completion of my sweater. I would rue the moment I decided NOT to tink back the 6 rows. This is not the first time I've done this...I've always told myself that if I am going to spend THAT much time on a project, I would do it right, no matter how many times I would have to knit back to a mistake. Calling it a "Design Element" sometimes does not work for me. This was one of those times.

I just divided for the sleeves. It was a challenge and I really had to think about what I was doing and why; the construction of the sweater is not like the top down sweaters that I usually make. The instructions confused me: for the first sleeve, it instructed to join a new ball of yarn, but no such direction for the second sleeve. I just followed the directions and didn't even try to do it a different way.

Before I did this, I calculated the amount of stitches that I needed to have before I had to slip stitches onto a holder for the sleeves. Based on the 3o stitches (in worsted weight yarn) that the original instructs you to hold for the sleeves, I calculated that for my size (Small), I needed to have 50 stitches (of fingering weight yarn) in between the increases when I cast on for the armholes. The wording on the original pattern was tricky. She literally means "...stitches IN BETWEEN the increases, not included the increases. " Therefore, when you slip the stitches onto a holder, you will have had a yarn over before and after your slipped stitches. Yikes. I forgot this, so I just added one extra stitch before and after where the sleeves will be. I don't think anyone will notice that my armholes are less holey than the rest of my sweater anyway...

No picture of it today...I've taken enough, in case you haven't noticed...I anticipate finishing it JUST in time for Stitches West 2011. I am so excited!