Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Portland update

Knitting continues, but it's not looking good at this point. Jamie completely stymied any attempts at knitting yesterday by refusing to nap, and then I discovered I had actual work that needed to be done, so .. not a stitch yesterday.
I continue to miscross single stitch cables, so every so often, I have to stop, drop those and recross them. Which I am getting good at.



I made a mistake, though, at the very beginning. The Fool is a long, lanky guy, and if I knit this to 14 inches before the armholes, as the pattern says, the Fool will be sporting a belly Aran. As I told Edward at our gig this weekend, when I held the sweater up to measure on him for comparison, next Olympics, I'm picking a guy with a shorter torso to knit for. Edward volunteered. He has been admiring the color of this sweater since I cast it on. I think 16 or 17 inches may be in my future. Maybe 16 inches, and I'll count on Blackwater Abbey's tendency to grow when washed.
Over the weekend, we all went to Valparaiso*, Ind., for another contra dance gig. The Fool and I played with our other band, the RoarSharks, Rachel called, and Edward entertained Jamie and ran the soundboard. Jamie likes the RoarSharks, because I play percussion, not guitar, and it's a lot easier to mess with my stuff when it's a pile of drums and shakers. Here he is sitting in with the band, happily thumping away on my snare drum during sound check.**



Walter, the fiddler, looked at the Fool sadly and said, "I don't think he's going to grow up to play the fiddle."

*I totally know about the great yarn shop in Valpo. Rachel and I checked it out when we were there for a gig last month. I'm not in any great need of yarn these days, as I am finishing projects and anyway, I have a gorgeous basket of sock yarn on the mantelpiece for inspiration, but ... wow. What a cool shop. I could see falling down pretty hard in there.

**Yeah, he's wearing one shoe. One fell off in the car, and the Fool didn't bring it in, and then when we asked Jamie if he wanted to take off his other shoe and be in his socks, he said "no," so he went around lopsided for a while. Toddlers are weird. He also likes clomping around the house in his boots, so, whatever.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Another day of knitting....more miscrossed cables



Knitting continues apace. This is a photo I took yesterday. The yarn is much more cranberry-colored than the photo shows it. The lovely Chicago winter afternoon light either gave me photos that showed the real color and none of the cables (with flash) or the wrong color and all of the cables.
It's Portland, from A Fine Fleece, by Lisa Lloyd.
I'm knitting it in the round to the armholes, because I hate seaming, and so far, it's going fine. There are some mistakes in the chart, though, and the first repetition of the cable design took a little while to figure out because I had to sort things out.
But there it is.
Feeling a bit brain-dead right now, because the Fool is in a new Irish band, and they had rehearsal last night, and I got Jamie to bed earlier than usual, and I was so excited by the evening to myself that I put on an old episode of A Prairie Home Companion and stayed up way too late knitting.
Like none of us have ever done that. Further updates to come....

Monday, February 15, 2010

the Sweater of Minor Setbacks

The Fool said, as I knit and cussed tonight, because the chart wasn't matching what I was knitting, that I had very little good to say about the project.
So far, I've had to drop and recross two cables, and drop and fix five stitches that should have been purls that were knits. And now I have a dropped stitch to ladder back up, and there's a cable cross in the way and ... grrr.
If this were Olympic figure skating, I would be the skater who keeps falling down.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cast on!

Tonight, at knitting group at Panera, I started the Aran sweater I'm making the Fool for the Knitting Olympics. I forgot how much I like knitting cabled things. It's so much fun. Of course, I had the wrong size needle with me, but Peggy loaned me a KnitPicks needle of hers, and I was able to get things started.
At home, the Fool and Jamie watched raccoons on the porch. By watched, I mean, Jamie cried and hid on the Fool's lap. Raccoons seem to be something Jamie likes in abstract (pictures in his books, video on YouTube), but does not like when they are on his porch, peering through the sliding glass door.
Earlier this week, Jamie and I were at his doctor's for his 18-month checkup. His pediatrician, who also knits, finished up her exam and stepped outside to write up her notes. She finished, poked her head around the door and said, a little quietly, "So, are you doing anything for the Knitting Olympics?"
We compared project notes - she's doing a lace cardigan from the Twist Collective patterns.
Too fun. The camera batteries are charging, I swear, so maybe there will be a photo on this blog one of these days.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Busy day ahead

Jamie greeted the day by pulling on his snow boots over his pajama bottoms, picking up my box of contra dance cards and a small canvas bag with his animal book in it (we call it his murse) and stomping over to the door to wait.
He looks like a short and weirdly dressed contra dance caller. Which, I suppose, is what I usually manage for gigs, too.
It snowed here. Not as much as other places, but still enough to make my yard beautiful again. It's a bit too cold for my tastes and as pretty as the snow is, I'm tired of winter.
In fiber arts news, as part of my drive to finish works in progress, I'm tackling a big one. I had an inch and a half of ribbing for a sweater for the Fool. I frogged it, swatched to check gauge (because I'm using Blackwater Abbey and I discovered that yarn grows when you wash it) and am re-casting on for the Knitting Olympics at Friday night knit group. A cabled sweater in 17 days seems like a bit of a stretch, but we have two out-of-town gigs in that stretch, so I hope to get some good knitting in while we're on the road.
In other news - I bought a new camera battery charger, so I can put up pictures of this lunacy.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Three things

1. Whyfor did you get up at 4:30 a.m., kid? What did you have to do that needed such an early start? Because I got up with you, and let me tell you, I think you could have waited until 8 a.m. or so to look at books and chase Angus.

2. I started dismantling the curtain valances I got at the Salvation Army so I could get my hands on the beautiful sunny Marimekko fabric, and I discovered that somebody made these curtains out of a tablecloth. That makes me really happy, to know that this tablecloth gets three lives, not just one.

3. Jamie was helping me unload groceries and in an effort to get him out of the way for five seconds, I handed him four rolls of toilet paper and told him to go put those in the bathroom. Yeah. Next time, I need to go with him and show him the cupboard the toilet paper goes in, because he threw them in the toilet. I rescued one roll, but three are completely done for.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Sick of winter

My tolerance for winter ran out about a week and a half ago, which is not so good, because the groundhog saw his shadow yesterday, so I've got six more weeks of this nonsense.
Jamie still won't set foot on the snow and I am frankly running out of ideas for places to take him so we can both get out of the house and look at something other than each other all day long. Playgroups are fun, but they only go so far. Although yesterday's featured a house with a mid-sized dog, big enough to not be yappy, but small enough to not scare him. He got a friendly lick on the cheek, and that made him giggle happily. The Fool is afraid we are heading down the road to becoming a Dog Household, but I stand firm.
Firm-ish.
More or less firm most of the time.
Anyway, today, I thought I'd try a little retail therapy, so after getting some coffee, Jamie and I headed for the local Salvation Army store. It was a good day. I found three diaper covers for 90 cents apiece, a fancy beaded coin purse shaped like a red flower and four Marimekko valance curtains, which I snapped up, because I love Marimekko flowered fabric. I don't mind that they're in long strips, because I went and got two yards of coordinating fabric and I'm going to make a cheerful striped modern looking quilt.
Of course, I can't find camera batteries. Oh well. The light's fading anyway, because it's the Midwest in the winter and no one can see anything past 4 p.m. anyway.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Lost and found

The Fool, Jamie and I were leaving a concert the other night (Genticorum. Awesome French-Canadian band. Soooo good.) I was the official sherpa; Jamie was riding in his carrier on the Fool's front, happily snuggled under the Fool's coat. We got to the car and when he took off his coat to load Jamie into the carseat, the Fool - for reasons I can't even begin to imagine - put his winter coat down on the ground, and we all hopped in the car and drove off without it.
He didn't notice his coat was gone until he went to put it on again the next morning, and unbeknownst to me, embarked on a string of texts and calls, and got Rachel to take a walk for him and see if his coat was still there, which it was.
I didn't learn about this until it was all over, not just because he didn't want to tell me he might have lost an entire winter coat ... but because he would have had to report the missing handknit mittens in the pockets, which I just finished over the weekend.



The old mittens, possibly the first pair I ever made. One skein of Cascade 220. No understanding of how to make mittens that fit hands, hence the too-short cuffs, the loose ribbing and the weird flipper-thumbs.



The new mittens. One skein of Cascade 122 tweed, plus some brown alpaca for visual interest. 2x2 ribbing at the cuffs and thumbs that are actually as long as the Fool's thumbs. Fast knit, as the yarn is almost a bulky weight, so that made them fun.