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.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Our Garden

I didn't want to make 2 posts in one day, especially since I have acquired such a great reputation for long periods in between posts, so here is what else happened yesterday morning!

If you remember from here, I had made a cute little vegetable garden that we weren't sure was going to be a success or not. First of all, let's see what the whole thing looks like as of yesterday morning. This is the left side, which is melons, tomatoes, and lemon cucumbers (that you can see from this angle).

This is the right side which is still some cucumbers, mostly pumpkins, and then tall sunflowers.

In the morning, I was poking around, looking at all the plants and checking out the flowers when I saw something really exciting... PUMPKINS!!!

These are about the size of spools of thread. It's really neat to see our first attempt at a garden actually show success! I was too excited taking pictures of the pumpkins that I forgot to take a picture of the tiny watermelon that is (no kidding) the size of a pea. I'll have to do that later today.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Soakers and a Wrap

I have finally taken some pictures of a few soakers that I finished... almost a month ago? Wow, has it been that long...
Well, here we go. These are all the Curly Purly pattern, and are in the order that I finished them. I knit them almost one right after another until I couldn't bring myself to knit another soaker (or had a baby.. you know.. one of those).

This one is actually more recent than the others; I just "finished" it on August 9th. It is not entirely complete, because when i went to buy the velcro to actually hold it together, I bought the wrong kind. One side has a sticky backing while the other is sew on. The sticky backing will not work for this project, and I must get the correct ones. Sighh.. Other than that, I think it looks really cute!
The pattern is the WHW Plain Wrap, and it's pretty easy to make! We'll see how it works out, although (yet again) the smallest size they had is still too big. I'm currently making an even smaller one using my own numbers, and hopefully that one will fit soon.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Size Does Matter

One of the problems with having a baby that weighs only 6lbs (at 2 weeks old) is that none of her clothes fit. At all. She looks so silly in just about everything we have (except for 2 kimono shirts), including all the soakers I knit for her that I thought were going to be "too small". She would fit into preemie clothes, but at ~$30 for a single preemie outfit... Everything she has is huge on her teeny little body. Except for one thing.

FunSize First made and gave me a cute little pair of baby socks for her, and tonight I was finally able to get them on her wiggly feet. Surprisingly (or maybe not so much) it was infinitely easier to get the socks on her feet than it was to actually take pictures of said socks on her feet.

These socks are the only thing we have for her that fit perfectly. And they are so cute!!

So thank you, funsize for gifting something we can use now. :o)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Thank Yous

I decided that I wanted to knit a Thank You gift for my two midwives for their help and support with the birth of my daughter. What could be a more fitting gift than Womb? I had some pink yarn that was the perfect weight, and after a little digging, I found US8 DPNs. Actually, I found 9 US8 DPNs, and I think I know where the last one is...
Anyhow, knitting womb was pretty fun and quick, which is just what is needed when a constantly hungry baby is in competition with the knitting for attention. Since I had 2 midwives, I made 2 wombs.

Tonight I had a visit at the birth center, so I brought along the little gifts. It is so easy to please them. Unfortunately we forgot our camera, so we didn't get a picture of the glee on their faces when I pulled them out of the bag. I think these were some of the best received gifts I have ever given, and they certainly were fun. I would never have any personal use for them, so I probably won't knit them again, but this was definitely the perfect gift for my midwives and the parts they played in one of the most important days of lives of the Kiwi Family.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

We Goofed

So yesterday Mr Kiwi and I decided we needed to wash baby laundry. We have a bin dedicated to burp cloths, clothes, receiving blankets, etc that is separate from the cloth diapers. Pretty self explanatory, right? Well, through some miscommunication between Mr Kiwi and I as to what is a "soaker" (things I knit) and what is a "diaper cover" (non-knit things), the little white soaker managed to make it into this laundry bin. I knew it had been placed in there (I think I asked 10 times where it was before doing the laundry) but for some reason it kept escaping me to take it out before washing the clothes. I didn't remember it was in there until everything was thrown in the dryer. Of course this wasn't helped by the fact that almost all baby clothes we have are white. Why do they do that? Babies are messy; why is white, the color that just about every stain will show up on, the most prevalent in baby outfits? So of course, the white soaker blended in with all the other white clothing.

All knitters should be cringing about now. Soakers are made from 100% wool to give them the high absorbency that they are used for. 100% wool when stuck in a washer which has heat + agitation and then in a dryer that also has heat + agitation, and yes, even in a front loading HE washer... will felt. I figured the damage was done, and I might as well fish it out at the end of the cycle.
Sure enough, it had felted. Not nearly as bad as I had expected it to, but the fabric was denser and it was a bit smaller than it had been before going in. I brought it into the house to show Mr Kiwi what had happened and to explain the difference in terminology and where things belong. Covers get washed with the diapers. Soakers are knit and get washed by hand. They don't go in the bin with clothes or diapers, and must have a designated area somewhere else. This is what happens to machine washed soakers.

We looked at the soaker for a minute, and looked at the 6lb baby, then back at the soaker. One of us got the bright idea to see if it still fits, since everything we have is huge on her. We pick her up, go to the changing table, and stuff her (gently of course) into the newly felted soaker. Surprise, surprise, it fits better now than it did before. Previously, it was huge and bulky, but now it fits like it should. This of course won't last long, but it is nice to know that A. we now have at least 1 thing that fits her properly, and B. the soaker is not a complete loss.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sewing Project!

So it was really easy. All I had to do was a little cutting, a little hemming, and a little measuring and stitching. And here we have Mr Kiwi modeling the sling with the sleeping Juniper curled up inside.

I have enough different fabrics to make at least 3 more, and possibly add some pockets to the tails.

I Have A Good Excuse!!

Like anyone still reads this because of my more and more infrequent posting, but this time, I have a really good excuse for not posting in over a week. Really, I do!

That excuse is little Juniper.

She was born on July 21st (16 days before due date) at 12:04am (or 00:04), and weighed 6lbs 1oz. The morning of the 20th if you had told me that the next time I went to sleep it would be with a baby in my arms, I would have laughed at you. Actually, you could have told me at 9:30pm that night and I still would have laughed. It was a very fast labor (1hr 45mins!!) and we made it to the birth center just in time. Any later, and she would have been born in the car.
She is a trooper little baby and I am so proud to have her. We are all doing fine, although my knitting time has suffered a bit. I did however get one crafty project in yesterday, and that was to make our own sling! I had previously (in April, even, I think) purchased fabric I would need as well as the rings, and had anticipated working on them a little later. Well, schedules change, and I made my first sling yesterday. It's a big hit with the baby who loves to be carried and cries when the carrier stops walking... even if it is 3am... and it's just as much a hit to the Mr. who is now glad to be able to carry the baby while still having the ability to use his hands for other things. He's much happier taking her for a walk around the neighborhood this way instead of full in his arms.
We'll be taking pictures tonight and they will be posted shortly.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Backyard Garden

I can't believe I haven't posted about this! One of the draws to the new house was that I had free reign over the yard. I had big plans to make my first garden full of flowers and veggies and was really excited. The problem? I was starting out with dirt that's worse than clay. This ground had not be watered in over a year, aside only from the rain California had in the winter. So this is what I had to start with:This was what it looked like the morning of June 22. I had already planned and prepared for my garden to be, so I had planted sprouts that were waiting to have a more permanent home. For example, these pumpkins that I started from seeds.
We had bought sand, top soil, bricks, and tools and dug up the rock hard dirt in the corner of the yard. It took all day (on the first 100°F+ day of the summer) and half of the next before we were done. At the end, this is what it looked like, and I was quite proud of my new baby.
Each day I walk outside to pay attention to and water the garden, I am completely surprised at how amazing it is doing. Nearly a month after we set out to make a garden, this is what we have:

So, my first garden is looking like it's a success. Bees are visiting, and flowers are getting pollinated. Vines are sprouting, and I already have the start of my first yellow bell pepper! It's only about the size of a quarter, but it keeps getting bigger every day.
So this garden is yet another reason why I am slow to update and not being as productive in my knitting as I should be. Speaking of which.. progress really has been made. I'll post tomorrow instead of having one huge disjointed post tonight.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Soaker Mania!

I've done as much cooking ahead as I can do at this point due to a way too small freezer, where almost half of it is consumed by an icemaker (which of course is a waste of space since it doesn't even work). I have 8 bags of dinners frozen which should be 8 dinners for 3 people. Assuming my mom is out here at the time, being the third person of course. I'm pretty proud of myself for the planning ahead, and hope that a week of meals is enough.

When I'm not cooking, I'm working on knitting soakers. They're pretty quick, even if my knitting productivity has slowed way down. By the time I take pictures of the last 2 I have finished, I have 2 more that need to have pictures taken. I've started my 6th soaker. Woo hoo! I've gotten pretty good at the Curly Purly pattern, so 5 of the 6 are the same pattern, just various sizes, colors, and yarns. I had wondered for a long time what I was going to do with the remaining yarn from the Frog Purse that I knit 2 years ago. Because of the red and green, it looks like I have Christmas soakers in my stash, however I have not knit a red and green soaker. One was red and white, however...

Once I finish the soaker I started yesterday, I think I am going to work on a cover-up for nursing during the colder months. While at Stitches West in February, I picked up this booklet, and some of the tops would be excellent. I'm thinking the Sanpoku would be excellent. I just have to make sure I have enough yarn for it. It will also be nice to have a break from soaker knitting.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Large scale cooking

Today is my second day on maternity leave. I have had plans of things to do to keep from going insane being cooped up in the house all day. Over the weekend, Mr Kiwi and I went to Costco to buy some ingredients for me to do some massive cooking for freezing and having on hand when I'm too exhausted to even think about what to eat. I bought ingredients for Lasagna, Eggplant Parmesan, and Beef stew. Today (after a mid morning nap) I set on to cooking the lasagna. I cooked everything to the point of assembling it, then instead of in the oven, it went into the freezer for a few hours to thicken up. I then cut it into thirds and each third went into a freezer bag with the cooking time and temperature written on it.

While waiting for the lasagna to freeze, I started the eggplant parm. I had to wait until I transferred the lasagna before I could assemble the eggplants, since 1. My freezer is small and 1/2 of it is absorbed by an ice maker that does NOT work, and 2. I wanted to reuse the same pan since I was making enough mess with dishes anyhow.

I had plans to also do the beef stew today, but because of the freezer size (I want everything to cool flat as long as possible before I tilt them at funky angles) and the fact that my feet and lower back are pretty sore, I think that will be saved for Thursday.

I feel pretty good knowing that no matter when the baby comes, I won't have to worry about what to eat. I'll have at least 3 meals ready to go and all I'll have to think about is what sides to make. I feel pretty accomplished knowing that I'll have a couple of weeks' worth of meals already ready to go.

I've also finished another soaker since the last post, and am half way through another one.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Owed Pictures

Man, I used to be so good at posting in a timely manner! Now, I really stink at doing any sort of updating, let alone a good picture post.

But here we go!
I have everything that I talked about in this post; 3 quick soakers and a baby sweater that I had just started at the time, but have just finished* today!

*Yes, I still have to add buttons to the back. I didn't realize I needed buttons when I started.

I made 2 soakers from the Curly Purly Pattern that seems to be quite popular.
The first soaker I decided to knit in the newborn size since, well.. I'm going to be having a newborn, not a toddler. Makes sense to me. Having never had a newborn before, I am *still* unsure of their size. it looked pretty small to me when i completed it, but it seems as though it might be the perfect teeny size for the first few weeks.

The other Curly Purly soaker I made was in the next size up. I also decided to try some color work! I made a row of three little white hearts in the background of red. These are really excellent stash busting projects, since I was wondering when and how I was going to use up my remaining Cascade220 from various felting projects that I had previously done. I think this one I am most pleased with, not just because of the hearts, but I like the size. This of course may change once I actually find out what size a real baby is.

This last one is from Ms Crafty Galore. I liked doing this pattern because it was slightly different from the Curly Purly, (and gave me excellent practice on kitchner stitch) but I am not sure how pleased I am going to be when actually putting it to the test. Where I picked up around the leg holes are slightly bigger and floppier than I would like, leading me to suspect that it would be enough for leaking. I'm going to have to figure out what I want to do with those; maybe undoing them and changing to smaller needles or doing a rolled cuff instead. This one ended up being the largest of the three soakers and was made with Crystal Palace Fjord, instead of Cascade.

Finally, I have the Sirdar #3170 sweater I had made (and realized I massively messed up on KIP day). The mess up wasn't a big deal, and I certainly like it better now that I have it knit up correctly. Just today I finished seaming and weaving in the ends. That counts for something on timeliness, right?! Seaming really was a pain, but I stuck through it knowing that if I didn't get it all done today I wasn't going to want to touch it or any other knitting for a little while. I am very happy with the final result and can't wait to stick a baby in it! Planning ahead, I made the 3-6 month size, since well... I can't think of anyone who would want to be stuck in this thing during the whole month of August, and by the time winter hits, look at that! The Little Bit will be ~3-4 months old, falling in the age-size thing that baby patterns seem to go by. Hopefully my plan works. This was also knit using Plymouth Yarn's DreamBaby DK.

So there ya go! The knitting I have been working on as of late. Tonight, I think I may start another soaker and bust through more Cascade. I'm going to have to buy more wool for this purpose. Hmm.. what should I use?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Let's talk felting. Taking a knit item and throwing it in the wash so that it shrinks and tightens. I'm not talking about when you have that really nice sweater that your mother-in-law bought you for Christmas the year before you became in-laws, and after the third wearing, you accidentally stick it in the washer and dryer in your college dorm laundry facilities and it comes back squat and too small. No, I mean the trendy thing to do when you knit something loose and HUGE with the intent of throwing it in the washer, beating it beyond belief, and ending up with this cute little... whatever it is.

I don't claim to be an expert on felting, by any means. I know the simple rules: temperature, agitation, wool. One can get more detailed in these rules, such as alternating very hot and very cold water, what is the best way to agitate the fabric (tennis balls, jeans, etc), and what percentage of wool in the yarn composition. Oh yeah, another basic would be no super-wash. That defeats the purpose.

The one thing about felting that I just don't get however, is that people are constantly claiming that you "can't felt in a front loader/HE machine". Who in the world started this rumor? I mean really. I had never heard of this rumor until after I had successfully felted 3 projects. my front loading HE machine. The first project I felted I knew very little about felting. All I knew was that I needed heat (hello, whitest whites setting!) stuff it in a pillow case so that felty bits didn't get caught in my washer, add some detergent, a pair of jeans, and go! I let it go for one single run. When I pulled it out, I was expecting that it was going to be saggy and not the nice little crisp bag I was intending. I was actually prepared for having to run it multiple times before getting the size and thickness I wanted. Woah, was I wrong! It came out perfect that first time.

So why is it that I am still hearing all the time that you can't use these washers for felting? Why do people still question it? Why don't people trust that it will work? No, really?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Knitting and heat

The past few days as it gets hotter and hotter, knitting becomes harder and harder. It's not that I am working with wool at the moment, or working with anything huge or thick. However as it reached 100°F today, as I try to knit the yarn gets stuck on my fingers. It doesn't move and it is hard to keep proper tension. Eesh!

All I want to do is relax and knit, but what can you do when you can't even knit due to the heat?

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Knitting

Once again it seems I have fallen victim to the empty blog. I need to stop starting posts out with some such variation of a guilty admittance of not having written often enough.
Well! The Icarus ended up being very nice, and was fun to wear at the wedding. Unfortunately, only moments before I left the house one of the peaks snagged on a door and pulled about 3 inches of yarn, creating this nice floppy loop. I can't figure out in what direction to pull or where it came from in order to get it back into place. It may take some really good looking into, or maybe something as simple as a reblocking (which it needs anyway since it spent about weeks crumpled up after the wedding). It's not too big of a deal though; someone would only notice if 1. They were a knitter, and 2. They were specifically looking for it because I mentioned it. Which means I have to be careful around all of you ;o)
Since finishing the Icarus, I decided I needed some quick projects. I needed to work on baby things. Soakers!! One can never have too many of those, and they burn up stash wool, like all of the Cascade220 I have managed through felted bags. I made 3 soakers, 2 being the same pattern, and one being a different one. They all ended up being slightly different sizes since I still don't know how big babies are when they're born adn how long they stay at certain sizes. Of course I don't have pictures, but I'll try to remedy that quickly.
Fearing I'd get burnt out on soakers, I decided to start a baby sweater with more stash yarn (are we sensing a theme here?). I misunderstood one of the directions in the pattern, and although I thought it looked strane and that things were just not right, I kept going anyway. It wasn't until I was 3/4 finished with the back of the sweater (and at KIP Day!!) that I looked at it and said "something really is just not right". I had to rip back to the first inch of 1x1 ribbing border, but no big deal! It's a mini-sweater, so frogging went quickly, and now I am already back to the point of where I had ripped. Much less painful than frogging a full sized swweater, and much easier to recover from.
As I slipped in above, I did get a chance to go back to MFA and hang out with some of the regulars for Knit in Public Day. It was very fun and good to see people again. My only complaint was that my sciatica was acting up so bad that it was very painful to walk even though I was only walking about 2 blocks at a time. And even then, it was very infrequent. I'm not used to walking so slow, but I sure was being forced to or I'd probably fall over. The weather was excellent and very cooperative. No more 90° heat, just some nice sun, cool breeze, and thanks to the scaffolding we had some shade too! A nice start to a very relaxing weekend.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Are We Sick of the Icarus Yet?

I blocked the shawl yesterday when I got home from work before cooking dinner, bathing a cat, and running out to go to our class. In my excitement, I completely forgot to take a picture of it unblocked, and really wanted to take picture of it while it was soaking in the sink, but at the time Mr Kiwi and the camera were not home and it had to be done quickly so I could finish the remainder of the above list.

Since we have moved to a house with no carpet, I can't sit down and pin the shawl to the floor. That's what beds are for; beds with pillow top mattresses. I started to pin the length of the shawl with blocking pins, but after doing only half of it, I decided it was a stupid idea since it would be faster to just thread in the blocking wires, pin it in 4 places and then move on to pinning the peaks. I'd also avoid unwanted scallops on the straight edge this way as well. Unlike last time, once I got the wires in I only had to pin the shawl once since I followed the directions on binding off in the loose way they directed. I am pretty impressed with the size and am also glad that I spent a whole day ripping out those 14 rows since 1. I have a few yards of the ball left over, and 2. it seems to be the perfect size. Mr Kiwi was not exactly thrilled to come home from work to a frantic me with a wet shawl pinned across the bed, however when we got home from class at about 10:15pm he was a good sport and quickly hot some pictures before I ripped all the pins out and passed out on the bed.

Speaking of pictures....

This shawl was really pushing the deadline. I knew this was a busy month and that I would cut it close, but due to some unforeseen events it took about a week or two longer than I had anticipated. The point however is that I will be wearing it to the wedding tomorrow, and may get some good shots of it in action. I am very proud of this shawl, and am excited about getting to wear it out!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Icarus Complete!!

Well, almost. I still have to block the shawl, but as of this very moment it is completely bound off and waiting to be soaked and stretched. I still have to figure out exactly how I am going to accomplish this since my oh so convenient carpet that I used for blocking is non existent in the new house. Looks like I might have to lock the cats out of the bedroom and block on the bed.

Last time I updated, I was excited about only having 24 rows left; ie Chart4. I forgot that there were also 4 rows of edging that had to be done. I also surprised myself in that I did complete all of the charts by the end of the Memorial Day weekend. The 4 edging rows were not very complicated at all, and went by pretty quickly... as quick as that many stitches in one row can go.

Hooray! I made my deadline! I finished only 3 days before it was "due" and am pretty proud. This means that I can begin knitting other items, perhaps baby related. I think I need a few small projects after those 2 huge shawls in a row.

Again with the excuses: moving, unpacking, yadda, yadda.. pictures will be posted eventually.. I promise!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

More Icarus

I am starting Chart4 of the Icarus Shawl. Only 24 rows left to go! If I complete 4 rows a day, I should be done Thursday night. However, with work and evening commitments, I am not sure I can get those four rows every day, so luckily with the long weekend I can hope to get most of it done this weekend in time to wash, block, and wear it on Saturday.
I don't think I'm ever going to knit on a deadline again. Too stressful!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Icarus Update

And we've moved! We are now settling into our new house and are happily procrastinating unpacking all of the boxes. And we have had internet at the new place for about an hour and a half now. But this is not the point of the post.

This is an update on the Icarus that I am so trying to complete (less than two weeks!) for the wedding. I had previously thought that it wasn't going to be big enough and decided to add an extra repeat of Chart1 before doing the partial chart and diving into chart2. While I was working on the partial repeat AFTER completing the extra repeat of the chart, I decided that no, this was now going to be an Icarus blanket, not an Icarus shawl. And we don't want that. During the move, I managed to hurt my hips to the point where I could NOT remove myself from the couch without shrieking in agony (no lie) so I spent most of my time working on the shawl/blanket. It was during this time that I decided to rip back the 14 rows needed to undo the extra mess that I had created for myself.

Ripping lace is not entirely straight forward. If this was anything else, I would have slid the stitches off and started pulling, confident in my abilities to sort it out in a timely manner. The size lace weight yarn I am using and the Yo's next to ssk's and k2tog's made it so that I really didn't want to just rip and hope. Of course, being the cocky knitter I am, I had no lifeline. So what am I to do?

After doing one row, I decided that tinking was going to take waaay too long, and seeing as how I have a fast approaching deadline this was almost certainly not an option. I tried about 10 times to thread an afterthought lifeline, but alas the YO's, ssk's, and k2togs made it almost impossible to see if I was picking the right stitches. Solution? I decided that tinking back every 5 stitches out of 12 was better than tinking all those 12, so I thread a lifeline through the 7 plain knit stitches and skipped the pattern part. I dropped the knits and tinked back on the pattern, making sure not to drop anything vital. This ended up being much faster and successful than my alternative, and had I known in which box or bag the camera was in, I would have taken pictures of the before and after shots.

I am happy with the decision since I know the size will be what I want, but the only thing that makes me sad is the time that I spent doing all those extra rows and then having to undo them. I could have been getting it right the first time! Oh well. I am now almost finished with Chart2 (only 2 more rows left!) and will soon be moving on to Charts 3 and 4. I'm estimating that even if I power through I'll still be cutting it close and may finish May 30th. Today is the 20th after all... I only have 10 days left to work on it before having to wear it on the 11th day.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Knitters' Baby Shower

Last night was my last Thursday night knitnight group for a few months. My birthing classes have been so (in)conveniently scheduled for 7pm on Thursday nights in San Francisco, which is the same time as the knit group meets. The wonderful knitters threw me a baby shower since I won't been seeing them much before the baby is born. On the MFA group on Ravelry they kept a post going communicating with each other planning last night, and I was forbidden to look at it. I behaved and didn't click it until I got home last night.
It was a wonderful event with some delicious cake, fruits, and drinks. I received a beautiful blanket of 16 knit squares that the knit nighters each made. It was beautifully peiced together, and each sqaure was very pretty and interesting. With some of the left over yarn RevKnits made a cute little hat. AuntieJojo gave me a set of 5 cute onsies, VSkiver gave me a little washcloth square that matches the blanket, Ms.Crafty knit a beautiful little sweater for the baby, Suzanne gave me cute little bootees, and Aliflo gave a cute monkey comfort blanket. (I think I am remembering everything; I don't have my cheat sheet on me!)
Everyone put in so much work to throw such a fun party, and I appreciate all those wonderful people have done. Lynitter did an excellent job coming up with little games to play (even though we kept getting distracted by knitting and yarn to focus on racing to get the games). The "guess the size of the belly" game with the yarn was amusing; I decided to play as well, cutting my own string after everyone else had. All but two people overestimated my belly size; even me!
It was such a fun night, and thank you all so much for planing this out. You are all so wonderful, and the next time I'll see most of you is the knit in public day!
Of course because of moving to a new house this weekend, as of tomorrow I am going to be out of internet and won't be able to post any pictures of the event. I do hope a certain someone sends me photos so I can post some up here, but it will certainly won't be a speedy process.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Suffering Knitting.

I know, I know.. I haven't been updating. A lot has been going on here; we are in the midst of packing all of our belongings to make a move from our crummy apartment to a slightly less crummy house. Work has also been more stressful than I can summarize, and my knitting has been suffering. I've had less time to knit with everything going on, and am starting to feel stress about making my May 31st deadline for the Icarus shawl. I'd take a picture of the progress, however the camera and computer that it hooks into are already packed up.
We're moving on Saturday and won't have internet for a while, so my updates are again going to be pretty sparse, unfortunately. But hopefully my knitting will pick up and when I do get a chance to post again, there will be many pictures and fun things to write about

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Shawl Status

Ever since finishing the Flower Basket Shawl I have been working on the Icarus which I plan on wearing to the wedding on May 31st. It's been pretty slow going since I've been under a lot of life pressure. There's been stress at work, but mostly we have been spending all of our time searching for a new place to live. Last week we finally found a place and put down the deposit. We've spent some of the past 2 days packing boxes to move to the new place, and the rest of this month and into May we're going to be packing more, moving, and unpacking. So all of this means less time to spend knitting. Hopefully I'll still manage to get the shawl done in time for the wedding, and not blocking it the night before the wedding!

I wore the flower basket shawl to the bridal shower, and it was a hit! People were impressed and it was very comfy and fun to wear. I've gotten a lot of compliments on the shawl, and it makes me pretty proud that my first lace at this gauge was received so well! The Icarus is being knit at an even finer lace weight, so hopefully it will come out just as nice and be just as impressive.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Flower Basket Shawl

Over due post! Last week (April 14th) I finished the Flower Basket Shawl. Usually, I do a sewn bind off because it leaves the edge nice and loose, which is what I wanted with this. However, binging off some multi-hundred stitches this way is less than efficient, so I did a regular I don't know what to call it bind off, and went up 2 needles sizes. All proud of my finished shawl, I spread it's ruffly self on the bed to take a pre-blocked picture and measurements, and then threw it in a sink full of water and Soak for 15 minutes before pulling it out, squishing it in a towel, and attempting to block it on the floor. I pulled out my blocking wires for the first time (yai!) however it was not a successful block. In the time it took me to try pinning, undoing, repinning, and readjusting, the whole thing dried, and I was still not getting the pretty little peaks that were supposed to be there. It took me maybe an hour and rug burns on both knees to decide that maybe I needed to undo the bind off, and redo it with a much looser one. I stayed up late picking the stitches apart (which probably took another hour) and then redid a nicer bind off. Really now, who among us has not ever stayed up late just trying to do one more row, get past this one part, or finish the whole thing because "I'm so close!!" Even before re-blocking, I could tell that this new bind off was going to be a lot more successful.

The lesson I learned this time was that blocking and getting the peaks works MUCH better if you bind off correctly. It also takes less than 1/4 the time to do. Don't make the same mistake twice. I'm pleased with this, although because "it's only a shawl" I didn't do a gauge swatch, so when I took it off the needles, I didn't know how big it would be. Jon said it looked like a cape. This instantly led my mind down the lines of purple-flower Bat Girl!! I didn't say it out loud, but the image is still there and amuses the crap out of me.

Onto the pictures!


Closeup of blocked detail:

Showing the back being worn just before the shower:

And a side view to see the belly... oh, and the shawl!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dresses and Shawls

In continuation of my shawl and dress dilemma, I decided to stop off on the way home from work to a maternity outlet store. This store was really nice and big and had a huge selection of dresses! I was pleased that I actually had enough that looked decent and actually had to think about a few. I ended up unable to decide between two dresses, and since they weren't crazy expensive, I bought them both. That way I could show Mr Kiwi and get opinions, and take my time over thinking about them. I can also wear them a bunch of times and get good financial mileage out of them. Mr Kiwi prefers one over the other, so that will be the one I wear to the wedding, however I also have the bridal shower to go to where I could wear the other one. I am so NOT a dress person and usually go out of my way to get out of wearing one, but right now I am not so much a fan of pants. Or shorts. Or anything other than my underpants. So I may find myself in a comfy dress more than I'd have thought (Mr Kiwi was actually surprised to come home to find me with my pants still on since for the past few weeks, ripping them off is the first thing I do once getting in the door).
As if anyone really had to question, both dresses are predominantly purple. They are also highly patterned, so I don't feel I can used a variegated or bold yarn without it clashing with the dress. So because of the colors, I am down to the Misti Alpaca from two posts ago, as well as the Jojoland merino. I am still trying to decide if the Jojoland is too variegated. I might just stick with the Misti Alpaca since it it is solid and a safe bet. As for the pattern? I'm debating between the Icarus and Flower Basket shawls. Hmmm.

A Long Post... But with Pictures!

I took pictures of my most recent finished projects. Woo hoo!

First, we have the Double Wing Top that I recently completed. I have worn it twice since it came off the needles. The verdict? I'm still getting used to it. I like the way the pattern looks, however I wish the charts were written in the right order so I could have the lacy pattern at the bottom and the closed fabric on top, or all lacy pattern. I think it kinda looks a little off having the solid pattern on the bottom with the rest lacy. Since this is a more summery tank for me, I am pretty happy with the lacy-breezy feel, but it just means that I have to wear a small tank underneath. The only other thing I'm not too happy about it its length. This is my own fault however, since it is entirely the yarn I was using, but I also figure that it'll be one of the last shirts that still covers my stomach come July.
The yarn I used was Sweet Grass Wool Toe Jammies. It is a superwash wool and tencel yarn, which means that blocking is difficult. The yarn likes to soak up water and stretch as far as it can. For shawls, great! For tops, not so great. I was pre-warned (thank god) that if stretched, this will NOT spring back. So instead of proper blocking, I have used the dryer. It actually did a good job of what I would expect from blocking; more even stitches, nice fluff, soft..
You can also tell in some of the pictures where I wasn't actually doing math to figure out where to make my modification to string in the rope, but it's not too big of a deal to me. I am also VERY glad I did, since the "empire" shaping that the directions had me do were not enough and without the rope I look like a frumpy square. Thank you, insta-shaping!

Next is the Pinwheel Baby Blanket that I March 14 and finished March 22. It was knit on size US10 needles using Cascade Bollicine Maxi. The blanket went pretty quickly and was a nice brainless knit where I didn't really have to think too much about what I was doing. The only thing that was a tad bit irritating was having to start with the DPNs. Because I am not used to using them (hello, magic loop!) some of my stitches were wonky towards the center, however when I figured I had enough stitches, I moved up to the smallest circular needles I had. When the stitches got to crammed on those needles, I replaced the cable for a bigger one. THIS is where the Knit Picks Interchangable Set comes in quite handy. I decided instead of doing a plain knit cast off I would try to make a fancy edging. Also, because (as everyone knows) stockinette curls, and no amount of blocking is going to eliminate it completely. I decided to try a picot edging to see if that helped with the stitch's tension. It seems to have helped some, but of course not 100%. I'm still quite happy with it though. I also decided to start the bind off when I had a little over half a ball of yarn left, and good thing too! By the time I was finished, I had a whole 3 yards left. Whew! Yes, by the half way point I was sweating quite a bit.

And finally on the evening of March 22 I cast on for the Vine Lace Baby Hat. The only thing I remember about the yarn is that it is wool. This is a very easy pattern to memorize and knit, and I ended up finishing the next day, March 23. The only edit I made to this pattern was to add an extra panel or repeat since I wanted it to be a slightly larger size and since the yarn was smaller than gauge and I only have limited DPNs (see comment in the Pinwheel Blanket). It didn't make a difference to the decrease directions, with the exception of how many stitches I pulled the yarn through in the bind off; 10 instead of 9. I used a balloon to block the hat, which also doubled as a perfect model for pictures. I also decided to photograph the crown since I think the decreases are pretty cool looking.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Decisions, decisions...

I finished the Double Wing Top on March 11th (and still have to get Mr Kiwi to take pictures..) and set on to a new, fast project; the pinwheel baby blanket. I had 5 skeins of a nice worsted weight wool and acrylic blend, and am almost finished with the blanket too!

I'm already plotting out my next project, and I am sure most of us knitters have found ourselves in a similar situation... I have a wedding to attend the last weekend in May, and am told that it may get a little chilly at the evening reception. New project: shawl! The problem? I don't have my outfit picked out yet, so picking the appropriate shawl and color is proving to be a bit difficult. So far I think I've convinced myself to either knit the Icarus Shawl or add some repeats to the Swallow Tail Shawl. I have plenty of time if I start next week, right? Since my yarn budget is quite tight right now I am trying to knit from my stash. My options are:
one skein of Claudia Hand Painted in the Blue Fields colorway.
2 skeins of Misti Alpaca Lace

2 skeins of Jojoland Harmony in the hc09 colorway
or 4 skeins of Crystal Palace Kid Merino.

(and yes, I realize how lame it is that I only have 1/2 the pictures)

So I have purples, a blue/yellow/green, and a cream/brown/white. I know that her bride's maids are going to be in moss green dresses with pink flowers. Seeing as how this is the first wedding I'm attending since being of the age of being forced into the flower girl role (oh, the scars! The memories!!) I don't know if I should match their colors or if I should wear whatever I happen to show up in. And should I plan the shawl and get the dress based on the shawl, or should I get the dress with these color combos in mind and then plan the shawl? Or should I just give up on knitting a shawl altogether and try to find a dress that matches the Famous Boise Shawl? All this, keeping in mind that a "simple dress" is not so easy for me to find since I am on a limited budget, and am restricted to maternity stores.

Maybe I should cut to the chase and go dress shopping this weekend and then look at my shawl making options. Hmm...

Friday, March 07, 2008


Well this morning we had our appointment for the anatomy scan and to find out the sex. About an hour before we were planning on leaving there was a huge accident on the west end of the Bay Bridge closing 3 lanes and making the bridge even more congested and backed up than it usually is. The appointment was in San Francisco (UCSF Med Center) which meant we had to scurry to make it accross the Richmond and then GG Bridges as alternate (more expensive due to tolls) route. We ended up getting there at 9:45am when the appointment was at 10:30. Lucky for us, the u/s tech was ready and waiting (someone must have been unlucky enough to get stuck in the bridge mess) so we got in instantly.
Most of the pictures were for measurements, checking fluid, heart chambers, and all that fun stuff. It was weiiiird to see a picture of the face straight on and actually make out the eyes, nose and mouth. I'd say it was beautiful and moving, but honestly it was kind of scary in a creepy horror show kind of way. Since it was in the morning, I hadn't eaten more than a bowl of oats, and hadn't been moving a heck of a lot, someone was still napping in a nice little tightly curled ball. I was actually mostly expecting and preparing myself for a shy baby not giving up the goods. The majority of the people at work and in knitting who gave input on what they thought said boy, while only 4 total said girl. In order to get better glimpses of the baby, the tech had me roll on my side, or stretched the table out, or flipped me upside down. I think after laying flat the first time when the tech went to measure the femurs, he asked if I had been having much morning sickness. Luckily, I haven't. He replies with "Well, there goes that theory". Of course since it is a fuzzy black and while image of bouncing sound waves, it is not 100%, but it seems as though we have a little lady floating around in there.
Now we get to embark on the name game. We've decided that just in case, we'll also come up with a back up boy name, but for now it's focusing on narrowing down those girl names.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Non Knitting Post

So this coming Friday (as in the day after tomorrow) is the day we go in for the "Big Ultrasound". I figured I'd play a game with any and everyone who reads my blog and have people place bets or guesses as to what they think we'll find. I'd embed a poll in here, but I'm not computer savvy enough to figure out how. Plus, I have a very short attention span.

So! Comment with your guess! Not promising a prize for the winner(s), but I'll let everyone know once Friday is over. :o)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Picture Updates!

I've been promising post after post to actually put up some pictures of knitting that I have completed. Well, it seems like this is the post.

Here is the Simply Marilyn that I completed in November and never took pictures of.

It's started pilling some, but I half-assed took a sweater stone to it, and it looks a lot better already!
Here is the most recent FO; the Minimalist Cardigan.

This is a very comfortable Cardigan and since it doesn't close in the front, I can wear it for a while as my belly continues to expand.

I am currently working on the Double Wing Top from Expectant Little Knits, and I actually have details of the progress thus far!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Stitches West 2008

This weekend was amazing. And not may people can say it happened to be the same weekend their in-laws were in town.

It was a combination weekend of Jon's birthday and a gift in the form of an event that I gave my MIL for Christmas. Jon and I both took Friday off of work, but that didn't mean that we got to sleep in any. His parents came over at about 8am, and shortly thereafter his mom and I took off for Santa Clara. We had Stitches West, a knitting convention to go to, and we were taking classes! This was exciting for many reasons; it was the first of the three years I've gone that I have been able to take classes, I was going down for more than just one day, and I got to share it with someone who was really going to appreciate it as much as I do.

It was a trick finding parking, and decided to skip the line of traffic circling the convention center, which left us parking illegally in a lot across the street. We were one of at least 500 cars that had also already parked, so we felt safe that they wouldn't ticket and tow each one of us. We got onto the market floor, and of course it was fiber overload. We bounced from booth to booth, oohing and ahhing, touching, petting, and admiring every yarn we saw. For the most part, we had decided not to buy anything on Friday and that it would be better to wait for the sales when we came back on Sunday. Of course, there were a few exceptions to the rules. I ended up buying a skein of medium weight Socks That Rock in their Purple Rain colorway from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Deb ended up getting a kit from White Lies Designs to make the Alyce Tee, and of course I want to steal the pattern from her once she is done. I had to replace a pattern for the Milinda Pullover that was taken from me, and of course picked up another one for the Leticia Cardigan. How could I resist? The final pattern purchase of the day was at the Stitch Diva Studios Booth for the Hourglass Jacket. Most of their patterns are so interesting and give the impression that they are a blast to make. It wasn't until I was home with the pattern that I check whether or not it was a knit or crochet pattern. While I learned crocheting first, I am a much better knitter and it would probably take me 100 times longer to finish a crocheted piece, if only for the time it took me to stop and look up how to do each stitch I was supposed to be using.

At about noon, we had lunch (read, Deb had a burger and I stupidly only had fries) before finding where we were supposed to go for our first class at 1:30pm: Stashology taught by Christine Bylsma. The premise of the class is that knitters are really good at acquiring yarn, making something (or not), and being left with little left over bits that fill our stash bins. She taught us how to effectively use up these remaining bits to make a tasteful sweater, top, pillow, or whatever. It was a really cool class, and without going into obnoxious details it really made us think differently about our yarns, how we use them, and what we can do with the remainders. The only thing I wish to unlearn from the class was how to do the "diva stitch". It was basically making fringe hang out from the middle of your work to make a yarn-boa, ugly fringey pillow cover, or...something else very.. unattractive. But aside from that, the class was wonderful and worth it.

We walked around the market a little more before deciding we were finished for the day and headed to the mall for dinner and some shopping before coming home. Remember that french fry lunch? Well, at this point I was really feeling it. I was so overstimulated that I was ignoring my stomach so my body got back at me by giving me an awful headache and an all over crappy feeling. We ate, and I felt better enough to get some clothes, which means cycling through more than just 5 outfits for me. Woo hoo! Diversity in things I can fit into! We got home at about 9:30pm, and stayed up until about 10:30 while we waited for the guys to get back from railfanning in Oroville. I couldn't take it anymore, so we both crashed.

On Saturday we all spent the day together at the Cartoon Museum, eating at home, and running some errands. I had to recover from my lack of nutrition the day before, so I napped for a few hours just before dinner.

Sunday was the earliest day of them all, since we had a class at 8:30am. We ended up making excellent time due to the lack of anyone else on the road, and got to the convention center at about 7:30am. We got some pastries and coffee/tea for breakfast before heading off to find the room for our class on Bead Knitting with Betsy Hershbergh. This promised to be a very interesting class, since I knew that there were a number of ways to embellish knit items with beads, but I didn't want to spend the time finding out and researching everything myself. It did end up being informative and we got to make a swatch with different methods of getting the beads in there. I think my biggest complaint with the class was the speed. I realize I am a fast knitter and have ADD, but it kind of bored me to finish the row we were supposed to be doing, along with the set up rows for the next sample, and have to wait 10 minutes before she suggested to the group that we get to the set up rows for the next sample. I kept getting ahead because I had nothing else to do, and would get frustrated when I actually had to stop and wait because I couldn't figure out on my own what we were supposed to do. I think at that time I was 20 minutes ahead. Deb and I took that time to plan our attack on the market floor with what we were going to buy that day. By the time the class was over, it was nice to get up and leave, however it was also a pretty educational class, so I can't complain about the pace too much. Sunday we were smarter than Friday, and after stopping only at Brooks Farm Yarn so we could each indulge, we instantly headed for lunch. This time I had a burger since it was bigger and had more substance than a thing of fries.

I quickly got distracted from my food and was looking at the surrounding booths planning what I would be attacking next. After much more wandering, debating, and wandering some more, I ended up with a pattern for this super cute kids' hat from KnitWhits, and Deb bought me some Superwash Merino Tencel in a color close to a light version of the Iris colorway (of course it's not written on the hank) so that I could start a maternity top that I have been drooling over. The pattern is the cover from Expectant Little Knits. After deciding that we had done enough damage and were sufficiently overloaded, we headed home to relax.

It was exhausting weekend, and I was not ready to get up this morning, but it was well worth it. :o)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Minimalist Blocking

That's it! The Minimalist Cardigan is off the needles, and blocking. Hooray! Hopefully tomorrow I can start seaming it up and have it completely ready for Stitches West! My very next post should include a bunch of pictures of the Minimalist blocking, being seamed, and being worn! I also owe pictures of the Simply Marylin that was finished eons ago but was never photographed.

Now the dilemma is: what to knit next? Mr Kiwi has hijacked my sock needles or I'd start a pair. I think someone should just buy me new Addi's and keep the ones he's harboring. ;o)
I'm thinking something small-ish, quick, and doesn't require a lot of brain power. A scarf it is! I love the feeling of accomplishment.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Finished baby Bear items

Yesterday morning I finished the baby gift that I was making for a friend's baby shower. It was the Teddy Bear Hood, Mittens, and Bootees pattern from Debbie Bliss' Kids' Knits for Heads, Hands, and Toes. I thought I would get a picture of the finished set (sans mittens.. I didn't have time) however when i tried using my camera, I found it stubbornly broken. What a weekend for Mr Kiwi to be in Tahoe skiing with his sister, thus taking his camera with him, huh? So to make this not another pictureless post, I found the image that was in the book. Hopefully in a month I can get a picture of a baby wearing the one I made ;o)

This was the only photo that was shown, which was good and bad. There were some parts in the pattern notes that were not exactly clear and because they are not visible in the photo, it was a little challenging to figure out exactly what I was supposed to be doing. A little trail and error, and I figured it out.
Knitting baby stuff is very quick and fun. It's almost instant gratification because they are so small and fast to make.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Knitting Change?

Last night a friend brought many baby knitting books for me to cruise through and knit baby items from. I took advantage of the great timing (and her generosity!!) and set to work finding a baby pattern... for a friend's baby shower that is taking place next Saturday. I had pretty short notice that this shower was happening, so I have to get on it pretty quickly! After consulting the other women I was with, we chose a pattern from the three options I gave everyone.
Since the shower is a little over a week away, I have to break my one project rule and get started on the gift! And honestly, I was looking forward to getting a bit of a break from the never ending moss stitch that my entire sweater is being made with. So tonight I sat down to begin knitting, and after the cast-on row, the instructions set me up for.. yep. 1x1 ribbing.
Ironic, huh?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Finally an Update

Okay, it has been waaay too long since I have updated this site. I have been feeling bad because my track record lately has been of pictureless posts, and I wanted to wait until I have actual pictures to post so that some color and pretty could be brought onto this page. However, it only resulted in no posts whatsoever, which makes for a much more boring blog.

So! When we last left our hero she was working on obtaining the very last ball of Debbie Bliss needed to finish the Simply Marilyn sweater that she was working on. (okay, enough of that) I finished the sweater Thanksgiving Day while at a family friend's house celebrating with a Turducken (it is really a heck of a lot tastier than it sounds... trust me on this one). Instantly after finishing, I picked up and worked on what little I had done of the Minimalist Cardigan. Even without working on any other projects in the meantime, I am still finding myself working on the cardigan. So much for monogamy making knitting one item go faster, huh? Well, I have a good excuse..

The weekend of Thanksgiving, we found out I'm expecting. Yep, my home of two is about to become a home of three. And that sounds very weird. With the low energy I have been experiencing, doing something as easy as knitting has become too much effort, when all I want to do is lay on the couch, sleep or eat everything in sight. Recently however, I have picked up the sweater again and am forcing myself to knit through it. I'm beginning to get some (some, most definitely not all) of my energy back and knitting has resumed. I am half way through the left front panel and only have the sleeves left to do. thank goodness they are 3/4 length. ;o)

While knitting on the Minimalist Cardigan, I decided to play around with the way I purl. I've never felt comfortable with purling, and have changed my method about 3 times already. I knit continental. I finally figured out a nice way to hold the yarn over my fingers as I knit and purl so that transitioning between the two is easier and smoother. This is essential as I'm doing Moss stitch and am alternating knits and purls with every stitch. I've noticed that with my stockinette my stitches have become much more even as well. Hooray! I've finally found a method that I am comfortable with!

There are still more "Me" things I want to knit before diving head on into baby knitting, so I haven't done any of that yet. I have however ordered Expectant Little Knits from Amazon, and am impatiently waiting for it to arrive. I figured since little baby items knit so quickly, I don't really have to start knitting them until June. By then, it will be so warm I won't want to be knitting anything big anyhow and a nice little baby hat/socks/whatever will be much more welcome and quick, perfectly suited for my lacking attention span. I'm due August 5th, but of course that should be taken with a grain of salt.

So that's what's been going on in this little Kiwi's life as of late! Happy knitting in 2008!