Wednesday, December 24, 2008

So Long!

Well, I guess I figured this was going to happen sooner or later. I have decided to pick up and move over to wordpress. All of my old posts have made it over there, along with the promise to update more regularly like I used to. Please update your blog readers!!

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Milinda Trilogy

The Good News: Joan dyed 3 new skeins of yarn for me based off a sample that I sent in from the yarn I was working with on my Milinda Pullover before realizing I was going to run out before getting the sleeves done. The dye job came out so well. The colors are so close that I'm sure only I know where they were added into the top.

The Better News: This morning I finished the sleeves! I am almost done and so ready to wear the top. I'm actually looking forward to wearing it for an event on Sunday for the first time. I already have the shoulders seamed up, and it's looking great! I am really excited about this.

The Bad News: I hate seaming. I have seamed and re-seamed the left side 3 times, and each time it comes out looking horrible. Why am I suddenly so bad at seaming?? It's leaving me a bit frustrated. Hopefully I'll figure out a way to get this looking good and soon, because I am ready to have this done!

Friday, September 26, 2008


So remember how I said I purchased the Milinda Pullover Kit forever ago at Stitches West? Well, this is certainly a time when I wish I had started a project sooner (although, it probably wouldn't fit "new" body). I have finished the back (yai!) and am 1 repeat away from finishing the lace pattern on the bottom of the front (yai!!), but it looks like I'm not going to have enough yarn to complete the whole top (BOO!!!). I've been a little uneasy as I see the yarn in my little yarn cake disappearing. I've gotten pretty good at guestimating yarn amounts and something just didn't look quite right. Lucky me, I have a scale that I can weigh my yarn with. Woo hoo! So I am supposeed to only need 500g of my yarn for the size I am knitting. And in a kit that ranges from needing 400-600g, I should be safe even making minor alterations, right? Well, that assumes my kit had the correct amount of yarn in it. Stuck a bowl on my scale, tared it, and put all of my yarn and pieces in the bowl. 296g. :o(

It wasn't just eye trickery, I am really not going to have enough yarn to finish this top. I don't have receipts, proof of purchase, and I don't even know what credit card I had used or if I still have it. I've already emailed Joan explaining my very very sad situation, and I guess for the moment, that's all I can do. I'm pretty bummed out by this, but I guess things happen, huh?

Guess I'll watch the debate instead of worrying about the top for now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Milinda Progress

I've been plugging away at the Milinda Pullover. I'm not finished with the back, but almost! I am only a few inches from binding off. Then I'll be repeating most of it with the front, and including some short rows for bust room.
When I ripped my "old size" and restarted with my "temporary size " (haha, like that? ;) ) I decided that I didn't want as much cinching at the midsection as the pattern calls for. The directions say not only to decrease a few stitches, but to decrease the needle one size. I decided to go ahead and decrease the stitches, however not to change the needle size. At the top of the waist, I increased the stitches and of course didn't change needles.
I'm really loving this pattern and it's getting to the point where I can work on a small section, put it down, and pick it right back up later. This is especially good when there is a very young baby who doesn't wait for the end of the row. :p
And pictures will be posted either tonight or tomorrow. Promise!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stitches West 2009

It's that time of year again when registration opens up for classes at Stitches West. Every February (usually right on top of Mr Kiwi's birthday), XRX comes to the Santa Clara Convention Center, trailed by knitters from all over California, the entire West coast, and a few of the more inland states. Armed with pointy sticks and string, they descend on the nearest hotels, booking them solid Thursday-Sunday. Any out of town traveler who happens to be at one of these hotels during this time must have quite a shock seeing so many knitters all at once. Lucky for me, I am a mere hour's drive north, and if I cheat and stay at Dad's house in San Jose, I'm even closer. To a first timer, this knitting convention is huge and overwhelming. My first year I couldn't believe that there could be so many booths filled with so much different yarn, patterns, tools, and people. To those who have experienced it before and have had a year to recover, the market place is only half the draw. The other half is getting to take a class to learn or refine a specific skill (or 3).
On Friday, the class brochure came out and I promptly downloaded, printed, and forgot about it. Moday morning I spent a good amount of time trying to decide what class(es) I wanted to take. I wanted something on the weekend (this is a Thurs-Sunday event) so that the easy solution for Little Kiwi would be to have Mr Kiwi stay home with her, however, none of the weekend classes appealed to me enough. The ones with the big draw were on the weekdays. Mr Kiwi so kindly offered to take a vacation day from work to be with Little Kiwi on a weekday so that I could have my fix of knitting heaven.
Last year I treated my mother in law to 2 classes with me (and even with early bird registration, the price added up!). This year, I am taking 1 long class (6 class hours). So, very reminiscent of college and getting our time slot to sign up for classes for the next semester and waiting for the *second* the slot opened to be sure that the desired (or required) classes weren't already full, I got up, searched for the registration page, and got to make my choices. My first choice is a Fair Isle class, and the second is a Pattern Writing class. I should easily get into the Fair Isle one, since I submitted my info 9 minutes after registration opened, and probably not too likely to have been sold out in that time. It's an all day class, so Friday will be spent learning fair isle, knitting, shopping, knitting, having fiber overload, knitting, and fair isle-ing some more.
Only 5 more months, and the knitting sensory overload can begin. :o)

Monday, September 15, 2008

New Knitting Body

About 6 inches into the back of the Milinda Pullover, I realized that I was knitting my "old" body size, and would not fit (or be particularly flattering on) my "new" body. Rip rip rip. I'm now 1/4 inch into the next size up. But at least I realized this now, instead of after I seamed the whole thing.

Knitting Notes

Time goes by so quickly with a baby; things happen, and I think "I have to write this down!" and before I have a moment to do so, time slips by and more events occur. So being true to form as of late, I'm scrimping on pictures (blame Mr Kiwi!!) and will give quick accounts of recent happenings.

Remember a long time ago when I knit that really pretty maternity top from Expectant Little Knits? Well, a few weeks ago I wanted to wear it as a nice breezy top, however when I put it on, something didn't feel right. The fit was somehow strangely different, and no it wasn't the part around my belly changing because of having the baby. The bust and shoulders were fitting differently, and that doesn't change once a baby is birthed. I looked in the mirror and realized it was the yarn I had used. One of the skeins was NOT what it said it was, fiber content-wise. It had felted!! I really have to take pictures of this, because you can see exactly where I switched from the first hank to the second. The first hank which, lucky for me, made up most of the top is still gorgeous and bouncy, however on the straps in the front and from the armholes up on the back it looks shaggy, felted, and littered with holes from the fabric pulling unevenly. This was such a bummer. It's way too noticeable to just shrug it off and continue wearing the top, so I'll probably have to rip the whole thing out, trash the felted parts, and re-wind the bottom portion to be used for something else later. Sighhh... So sad.

The garden! Well, most of the plants are doing well. I have already picked 5 or 6 lemon cucumbers, and they are very fresh and yummy tasting. The tomatoes are all ripening, and I've had a few here and there. I have a feeling, they are all going to redden at once, and I'll be eating tomato salads for days! The eggplants are sprouting beautiful lavender flowers, but not a bud of a veggie yet. The honeydews and getting bigger, and the sunflowers have all bloomed many times over. And then there are the pumpkins. They were the first to do spectacularly well, however possibly to my own garden inexperience, it caught a pumpkin leaf powdery mildew that has no treatment (so I'm told). It spreads white all over the leaves and only gets worse when watered. I think it ends up killing the plants. Most of my pumpkin leaves have the mildew, and a good number have died, leaving me to actually see the soil underneath where the giant leaves formerly spread. I still have 2 decent pumpkins that are on their way to ripening if the plant can hold out that long. Am I bummed? Only slightly. I was just proud that my plants were successful at all, seeing as how this was my first garden. I've learned something about pumpkin plants, and maybe can use this knowledge for next year.

I have finally finished the Sanpoku bolero that I started working on 3 days before Juniper's birth. Again, no pictures (just finished it yesterday!) but I really like it. I absolutely love the way Karabella Breeze feels knit into a top. Oh my, it is luscious. Too bad I still have almost 3 balls left that I have to figure out what to do with. :o) I originally thought that the Sanpoku would eat up all 7 balls, but apparently not. Perhaps I'll make a nice thick scarf of small rectangular shawl with the remaining balls. Now that I know how it feels on, I can't let it sit there for another 3 years!! (yes, that's how long it's been in my stash waiting, no, lusting! to be made into something.) Verdict on the pattern overall? I like it. I intended for it to be a nursing top for when the fall hits, and it will serve such a purpose very well. It's also lucky that I like boleros and will wear tops with short backs; the back is a whole 12 inches long. I think the one flaw that others who have knit this have found is that in none of the pictures do you see how short the back is, until you're reading the pattern and thinking "wait a minute.... where's the back again?" I almost edited the pattern to increase the length of the back, but it probably would have worked out the way I was attempting.

So now what am I doing? Busting through stash. I'm on a roll! At Stitches West 2007 (or was it 2006?) I purchased the Milinda Pullover in a kit in the teal color from the White Lies Designs booth. Pre-baby, I was wearing a good amount of fitted and snug tops, that hugged my midsection. Now... I need to do a bit more dancing before I'll pop on another tight shirt. I am in need of some tops that are more flowy and less huggy on my belly, and the Milinda (if I work it right) might just be the top for it. So last night I cast on! Especially after doing a whole top in stockinette, the pattern is very fun. It's challenging my knitting mind to do a 10 row and 4 row repeat at the same time. I can't wait for this top to be finished and to be wearing it this season, after again, some 2 or 3 years waiting to be knit up.

With all this stash busting, soon I'll actually be able to fit all of my yarn INSIDE my drawer unit, and not inside, on top, next to, and in a box in the garage. ;o)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Quarter of a Century

For my birthday on Friday Mr Kiwi asked me what I wanted to do for the day. He is very big on the importance of birthdays, so I got to choose whatever I wanted to do all day. I had some things I wanted to do that were pretty important. Such as taking 5 more minutes in the shower, taking my time putting on make-up, actually putting on lotion for the first time in a month, doing my hair, and getting out of the house. And I got them all accomplished, thanks to Mr Kiwi's help in watching after Little Kiwi while I indulged.

The first thing we did while getting out of the house was to go to Article Pract. I had never been to this yarn store before, and had been meaning to since very many of the people I knit with love this place. Finally, I have a chance to go. I must have looked at every ball of yarn they had in the entire store, and I'm sure I spent a good 15 minutes in front of the books section. I had a "birthday budget" that I got to spend, and I was looking for some good knitting books since I already have enough stash to last me a while. My stash will certainly also last longer now that I am knitting much slower than I used to. I picked up the recent issue of knitscene, Knit So Fine, and Fitted Knits. I had considered picking a project from one of the books and buying the yarn then, but I was pushing my budget, we were running out of time for an appointment, and I needed some time to plan, so I skipped the yarn and off we went to a nearby cafe for a quick lunch. Since then, I have also found a number of patterns I am excited to start and are queued up in Ravelry, since I surprisingly have enough yarn in my stash to work on 3 sweaters out of the books.

After lunch at 3pm, we arrived at Brushstrokes Sudio. One thing I knew I wanted for Little Kiwi was imprints of her hands and feet so we can always look back and have something physical to show how small she used to be. We decided to get some extra pieces and give them to grandparents for Christmas gifts. Little Kiwi was not thrilled to have her hands and feet smushed into the clay and screamed almost the whole time. She did well with the first hand print, but she was also so kind to spit up on that clay piece the moment we pressed her hand on it. Lucky for Mr Kiwi, he was filming. Not so lucky for Little Kiwi, he was filming. I'll post pictures of this event (not the spitting up) when we go back in 3 weeks to paint the fired pieces.

Before dinner, we stopped at OSH to pick up 2 containers of ladybugs. I'll write a second post for them because it may get long.
We had a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant in Berkeley (where strangely one of the bussers recognized us from the cafe I knit at on Wednesdays, where he also works). Little Kiwi was pleasantly quiet the whole time, and while she cried in the car all the way home, it was very nice to have a peaceful dinner away from home.