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!