Friday, March 21, 2008

Lenten Promises

I saw this call for hats early in Lent and made a promise to myself to knit one. So finally this week, I settled in (having realized that it was Holy Week and time was running short) to knit one.

I used up yarn from Nicholas's Weasley Sweater, yarn that would have sat in my stash otherwise. There is something satisfying about using up those type of skeins. And this pattern for a Seaman's Cap makes a nice warm hat that pulls down over the ears. There is something so satisfying about a simple charity hat.

Now on to Easter.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Winter Doldrums Package Went on a Bender

So The Winter Doldrums Dishcloth Swap was my first exchange. It was very fun to get to know Cetta and put together a package for her and to have a Secret Partner who mailed such nice notes to me and made my weeks in the swap very enjoyable. Then she sent me an email letting me know the package was on its way, along with the tracking number so I could watch it traverse the country.

Little did we know, the package had a mind of its own. Innocently enough, it left Carrboro, NC and eventually landed in Las Vegas. As you can see that is were the trouble began.

March 05, 2008, 3:19 pm, CARRBORO, NC
March 05, 2008, 7:30 pm, RALEIGH, NC
March 07, 2008, 11:07 pm, LAS VEGAS, NV
March 08, 2008, 1:28 am, LAS VEGAS, NV

And thus began nearly a one week bender in Vegas. Now I know what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but how could I not spend most of the week envisioning my package having a really good run on a craps table and sucking down free drinks. And obviously I wasn't too far off the mark, because this is where the pieces get a little fuzzy. After a week in Vegas, suddenly my package ends up:

March 14, 2008, 9:33 pm, EL PASO, TX

El Paso, Freakin' Texas? Okay, I can imagine that after a week of drinking and gambling in Vegas, taking in the comped room and a few shows, one might be a little off the mark, but El Paso? Now I've driven from Vegas to Seattle, and quite frankly, Texas wasn't anywhere on the itinerary. Someone really needs to suggest to the Post Office that perhaps a more direct route might be through Reno. Or Sacramento. But El Paso? Gads. And have you looked at these pictures. The poor package looks like it got mugged. Twice. That or the Post Office took the "Flate Rate" definition a little too literally and tried to flatten it.

But there is a happy ending to all this. After shaking off the hangover, my package finally saw the other side of the continent.

March 15, 2008, 11:55 pm, FEDERAL WAY, WA
March 17, 2008, 7:12 am, SEATTLE, WA

Hurrah! I could hardly contain myself and keep from opening it up right there in the Post Office. Then again, it appears that the PO somewhere (Vegas? El Paso? Come on, 'fess up) had already opened it. Probably smelled the chocolate . . .

But they didn't get their hands on the really good stuff:

See all the pretty little packages! I was so excited, and the insides were well worth the wait,

All things I love. Notepads, which I always need. Pencils, which as a writer who edits and does a lot of hand writing and notes in pencil, those are always fun and I just hate writing with plain yellow pencils. And the llama! How darned cute is that little guy.

And stitchmarkers. The kind that just make me smile. I always need stitch markers and have envied people with their pretty ones for ages. So now, I'm in the fancy stitch marker club.

Best of all is the Eco yarn which I can't wait to try out, given my current tenuous relationship with wool. And of course, the dishcloth and cool little scrubby, which were placed right to work. Thank you, Cathy, so much!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bootie Call

Or maybe it should be "Baby Call." Got your attention though. So with the coming of spring seems to also be the arrival of babies, and Matthew's beloved OT is having her first, so I happily started knitting. I picked up two skeins of this lovely Angel Baby DK from The Yarn Stash and started off by knitting my favorite baby sweater pattern, the Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman.

I made one last year for my editor and the sweater became "the one we always reached for." Her words, not mine.

This one, which I knit much more confidently--because despite having complete faith in EZ, there is a flicker of doubt that runs through your mind when you read her instructions and have that "huh?!" moment. I knew it actually works as long as you faithfully keep track of your stitch count and your decrease/increase points. I only frogged back once.

This Angel Baby yarn knit up perfectly at 6 stitches to an inch on Size 3 circs and is perfectly baby soft. I think white is a great color for baby stuff because most of the time the spit up barely shows. And the yarn is machine washable, which makes it very mom friendly, or rather, spit up friendly.

The best part was having enough leftover to knit a pair of Mary Jane Baby Booties. Believe it or not, these are my first pair of booties. I was "oohing" and "ahhing" the whole time I was knitting these, which was like 2 hours total, and wishing I had another little one. But of course, an entire night of sleeping without interruption snapped me out of that foolishness.

I think the new arrival will look pretty as a picture and boy will we all miss "Kris Bounce" as she is known around our house, now that she's off to the joys of motherhood. Kris, thank you for all you done for Matthew.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

If At First . . .

I tried and tried to start an Elizabeth Zimmerman February Baby Sweater over the past week or so and utterly failed. It isn't like I haven't made one before--I made one last summer for the newest edition to the family. I've even got proof here. You might have noticed that the picture above is not the February Baby Sweater. Let me explain the bait and switch. Or as I call it "If I have to Frog this %$#@ Sweater one more time."

For some reason, I couldn't get the February sweater to work to save my life. First I knit the garter section for way too far. Frogged it back. Then messed up the lace portion. Frogged that back. Messed it up again. Frog some more, add swearing this time. Quite honestly, when you start swearing at a baby present, you really need to put it down. You're putting the wrong sort of mojo into it.

So finally I just frogged the whole darn thing and tossed the yarn back in the stash. Instead, I cast on the Drops Baby Jacket with some KnitPicks DK Swish I had bought to make the Peapod sweater. Of course, my gauge is off by mile, but I don't care that it is turning out to be way too big. Here's the cool part of knitting for babies. They get bigger. And eventually, voila, the sweater fits. And I love how you knit it around the body, starting at one front and making a lap around. And the short row shaping keeps the garter from becoming too boring.

And happily, the mojo is right on.