Friday, April 25, 2008

One More Sleep!

DH gets back tomorrow, thank God. Although he was home over the weekend, he’s either been in Halifax (last week) or in Toronto (this week) during the weekdays, leaving Iain, the four legged critters and I to fend for ourselves. In general, we do fairly well. I attend regular baby programs with Iain and managed to get together with girlfriends and their children each week. I get a bit lonely for adult conversation in the evenings but tend to make up for it by being fairly productive (cleaning, sewing, untangling yarn or reading). DH and I learned early in our fifteen year relationship that we simply must hear each other’s voice every day. Between email and the telephone, we are now in contact several times a day. That’s all great but it just doesn’t make up for the times when Daddy is home!

Now I’ve vented – thank you – and we have only one more sleep left before Daddy is home. I can’t wait to see the look on Iain’s face!

In knitting news, I must thank you for your positive vibes because, this is what happened to my large tangle.

When a friend of mine saw the tangle these were in earlier this week, her comment was "I’d never have the patience to do that [untangle the mess]." I just smiled. She did not realise that it was impatience that was the fuel I was working with. I’m very impatient to have Iain’s sweater finished before he grows out of it, if he hasn’t already.

Despite appearances, these yarn cakes are the same weight. Well, as ‘same’ as my kitchen scale allows. I have enough yarn to not worry about them being a little off. One was wound using Chase’s sock bag as an assistant (I do not have a swift) and the other wound freely from the kitchen scale bowl. Therefore, one is a little looser than the other. I think I can live with the end result.

You think I’d be casting on and re-starting sleeve number one tonight, eh? Yes, I should. However, I’m just too darn tired! Perhaps Iain will let me in the morning while he naps. In preparation for DH’s arrival around lunchtime, I already have soup made and in the refrigerator to be re-heated tomorrow. Carrot and herb biscuits are also ready (wet still separated from dry) to be made up for lunch. I figure this halo deserves a little knitting time!

Monday, April 21, 2008

My Own Fault

It is really my own fault. Writing a blog entry with "knitting miracle" in the heading incurred the wrath of the Knitting Goddess. This is what I’ve been dealing with this weekend.

This,Turned into this.

Iain (Boy Wonder) and Checkers (the cat) further exasperated the whole mess. This is as close as I got to knitting all weekend. Sigh. The skein was tangled when I bought it (I asked to have it wound into a pretty yarn cake but it was not cooperating. Naturally, it was the best matching skein!).

On a happy note (I like ending with a happy note!), the family managed to get out into the gorgeous sunshine and garden this weekend. How can this not make you smile?

How about this?

Iain Daniel tasted his first dirt yesterday. A neighbour cautioned me not to introduce him to the worm I found hidden underneath the leaves. Proabably wise…

And, I haven’t shown one of these in awhile. Here we are in our kitchen yesterday.

PS I have finally put myself on the waiting list for Ravelry. It took me awhile to get on the blogging band wagon and it is one of the best things I’ve ever been involved with. Now I’m excited to see how Ravelry pans out.

Friday, April 18, 2008

This Knitter’s Miracle

On Wednesday, Iain had his 9 month doctor’s check up in Wolfville. I cannot believe that he is nine months old already. I have to plan a first birthday party in only three months – eek! Iain is now 21 lbs, 29.5" long and is sporting five teeth! He is growing so quickly. While DH was away this week – Monday to Thursday – Iain cut two teeth. You’ve got to be with him every moment to catch these quick changes! He has two more coming in while I type and I sure wish they’d hurry up. Even the most contented baby would be fussy with odds like that.

Wednesday was a gorgeous, sunny day - capri and sandal weather. Not that that was what I was wearing. No, that would require foresight, planning and the ability to use finite personal time to search the Internet for weather information versus knitting information (not to mention a trip down into the depths of my storage area where I’m a little scared to go).

After his appointment, Iain and I headed off to Gaspereau Valley Fibres, my LYS, for a wee shopping trip. This time, Iain and I also visited the chickens, llama and sheep that are located close to the building that houses the shop. Iain was particularly taken with the chickens - probably because they were smaller than the other animals, some were black and white and they were conveniently located close to the fence. The sheep and friendly llama were a bit further away so they didn’t catch his eye. Do not despair, he’ll be a knitter yet. He had to be safely ensconced in a sling during my whole yarn store visit so as not to tear the yarn apart. He has a huge attraction to fibre; I just do not have a huge pocketbook with which to feed both of our addictions and, lets face it, I’m still bigger than him so I won.

I specifically went to the yarn store to pick up an extra skein of organic cotton for my nursing sweater. I already have plenty, according to the pattern, but I do not want to tempt the Knitting Goddess further and wanted to make very, very sure. Additionally, as I usually add at least 2" to the sleeves for a sweater for me or any member of my family, an extra skein in that particular dye lot is probably not going to go astray.

I was also on the hunt for something else very special. Something hand-painted special. Something ‘one of a kind’ that was on sale last summer special. Yes, I was tempting the powers that be to see if I could find something that would mean I could complete the sleeves on Iain’s chevron sweater without having to rip out the project and start a vest.

How do you think I did?

The only real fibre difference with the new skein is that the fibre blend includes 10% nylon (it’s Hand Maiden’s Casbah 80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% nylon sock yarn) instead of just a cashmere and merino blend. I figure the nylon could help if Iain, you know, starts wearing the sweater out in the elbows. That is if he gets to wear it before he grows out of it.

Either way you look at it, I figure this find has got to be a knitting miracle! Now, if somebody can tell me how to evenly split a skein into two equal balls, I would be eternally grateful. I’m serious, how would I go about doing that?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Little Bit of This and A Bit of That

Thanks so much to everyone for your helpful answers to my knitting questions! It’s so nice to have a group of experts to call upon in times of need. I have used all of your suggestions and am busily working on that organic cotton swatch. I have yet to cast on for that project as next in line for the swatch is to bind it off and wash it. My excuse was that I was waiting for our laundry sink plumbing to be installed; an outstanding project from when we put in new counter tops. While Iain and I ran errands today, DH got some quality fix it time and the sink is now in working order – yeah! Not only can I wash my swatch but also all those other large items that I don’t like washing out in the kitchen (rubber boot mats, screens, etc).

Things have been a bit strained around Chez Fibreholic I’m afraid. All three (well, the three that are out of the knitting closet…) knitting projects on the needles needed frogging. I have just managed to get to Chase and fix his heel flap. I’m now turning his heel. I decided earlier this week that, as my knitting was going so badly, I would go back to something I know how to do without thinking too much about it. Remember this? Well, it still needs to be backstitched – my second most disliked portion of cross stitch only beaten by my first dislike - working with metallic filament thread. However, this project is not at a stage where I can mess it up easily so back to cross-stitching I went. It’s been quite cathartic.

I have also been sewing a bit in my basement (I made a path through the boxes down there…). There’s a birthday coming up that I’m using as a deadline to get motivated. The project is working up nicely (thanks for all of your help with it, Aunt J!) and I will post pictures once it has been properly gifted, received, exclaimed over, etc.

I realise my posts about home have been rather ‘Iain-centred’ recently. Here are our cats to even the score a bit.

Here’s Tobi enjoying my mohair shawl.

This is a new hiding spot for her. She’s right next to the heady scent of 100% wool and organic cotton stored in the basket next to her.

And here are both Tobi and Checkers enjoying some gorgeous sun beams on our dining room rug. It’s 100% wool too. There seems to be a theme in this house ;).

The weather this week was amazing in the Annapolis Valley. I managed to garden and raked leaves out of the front garden (I use leaves in the fall to act as a protective winter cover for low lying plants). I also raked most of the leaves from the three gardens next to the house and shed (the lawn and back garden have LOTS left to be done). One of the shrubs has been pruned (my first time doing this and I am ridiculously proud of myself), the crocuses are up and in bloom and the tulips are on their way. Iain, Para and I have been heartily enjoying the chance to be outside in lovely weather. I have gotten back to hanging out my laundry in the spring breezes – only stymied today by the rain – and ate my lunch on the back deck once this week as well. It will soon be time to put out the deck furniture.

Here’s hoping this weekend finds you knitting up storm! I am sending out positive knitterly vibes through the Internet…

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Knitting Questions

I’ve been swatching. Yes, for a new project. I feel the need to have another one on the needles despite the, ahem, other WIPs. Don’t worry though. I hold too much guilt to really get a good start on a new project. In fact, I was so over zealous about Chase’s heel that I knit too much and am now frogging it back to size. I used the eye of the partridge heel flap (thanks, RenĂ©e!) from Yarn Harlot’s Knitting Rules book and I’m finding it a wee bit tedious to take back with all of those slipped stitches so Chase is hanging out on the dining room door at the moment. I’m also moving along on Iain’s chevron sweater. I’m going to run out of yarn, there’s no doubt about it. I’m still on sleeve number one but cannot figure out how I’m supposed to knit 10" of sleeve times two out of the yarn I have left. However, the eternal optimist in me is not going to rip it out and knit a vest until I first head off to my LYS and casually inquire as to whether or not there’s anymore of that once in a lifetime yarn left…from the summer. I doubt it but you never know. The Knitting Goddess might be smiling on me that day. It’s worked once before for me regarding some special quilting fabric. Let’s try my knitting luck.

I’ve been swatching in preparation for my Queen of Hearts nursing sweater from Natural Knits. The organic cotton (I'm using 'Sage Colour 83') from Blue Sky Alpacas is GORGEOUS! Like other cotton I’ve used, it has no ‘give’ but that’s where the similarity ends. You know those lovely pictures you’ve seen of cotton blooming in the fields and how soft it looks? Well, that’s how soft this yarn IS. I’m not kidding. It is amazing. I cannot wait for this sweater to be done. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve rubbed my swatch against my face, exclaiming over the wonder and softness of it. It’s going to be so lovely to cuddle my little boy in!

Speaking of that swatch, I have a couple of knitting questions for you knitters with lots more experience than I. Here goes. Seeing as this is somewhat revealing, I will start properly.

Forgive me, fellow knitters, for I have sinned…

Question One: How much extra yardage do designers allow for knitters to get gauge? I’ve only just realised (seeing as people have been asking what others do with their swatches. I, um, ripped them out and re-swatched and/or knit that part back into my project. Bad Patty!) that I’m not supposed to re-use the yarn I used to swatch. However, I’ve been known to knit up to five swatches to get gauge. The Natural Knits book suggests casting on 30 - 40 stitches and then knitting 4" from the cast on edge. If I knit several swatches at that size (the cotton is worsted weight), I’m afraid I’ll run out of yarn! Are designers allowing enough yardage for the likes of me? Can I re-use the yarn I’ve used for a swatch that isn’t to gauge? Yes, I understand that reusing the yarn might be difficult if I also, gulp, washed the swatch like a good knitter should…Should I be doing that too?

Question two: Regarding ‘checking your gauge as you knit’, I have to admit to not having done this before either. I’ve only knit one adult sweater in recent memory and I’m afraid to knit another one without understanding this concept. In general, I’m a very loose knitter (stop laughing) and am often a couple of needle sizes below what is called for in the patterns I’ve used. Therefore, I’m fairly sure my knitting loosens up as I become relaxed with a pattern. If I am keeping track of gauge and have noticed that, indeed, I’m loosening up, what do I do then? Go back and swatch and change needle sizes as per the new swatch? Do I then frog back until I hit a section where I was knitting to gauge? Help!

I will now immediately return to a WIP until someone is able to provide some answers. I’m afraid to start this lovely sweater without starting it properly!

Yours headed for (hopefully) knitterly purgatory,


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Rare Night Indeed

I’m sitting here at the computer, alone. Yes, you read that right: alone. DH and baby have gone to bed. DH attended a Mess Dinner last night (that’s a fancy dress event where military members wear the equivalent of a tuxedo, get to eat good food and, usually, drink a bit too much). He strolled in around 0230 hrs this morning (self-reported – we were not up to greet him, thank goodness!), which means he is a wee bit tired tonight. Iain is off to bed a whole two hours earlier than last night. Hopefully this means he has fully adjusted to the time change – yeah!

Therefore, with a bit of an evening to myself, I have to admit to being at a loss. This is the first time this has happened in, oh, about nine months. Likely I’m going to spend so much time thinking "Well, I could do this. And I have enough time to do that…" that I will while the evening away without much to show for it. I have already spent an hour downstairs working on a quilt for somebody special. That time bit was supposed to be my hour ‘off’ and then I was going to take Iain for the rest of the evening. I’m getting a sitter in tomorrow so that I can sew more so I’m thinking I’d like to do something else tonight instead. Iain allowed me to bake cookies earlier so the baking urge has passed. The housework is at a point where I do not feel pressed to do anything tonight (egad!).

What to do, what to do?!? Oh! I know! There’s a television with Season Three of Battlestar Gallactica primed and ready to go plus a couple of knitting projects waiting for me upstairs…

Ain't life grand?!?