Wednesday, May 30, 2007

7 things and an almost sweater

A while back, Anna over at the Yarn Mansion tagged me for the 7 random things meme, so here goes:

1. I have a minor phobia of making (and to a certain extent answering) phone calls.

2. When I was a kid, this fear was so intense that I would pay my brother to make phone calls for me (this quickly ended when his voice changed).

3. To combat this fear, I worked three summers during college answering phones at a hotel reservations call center.

4. When I worked at the call center, I would talk so fast that people often wouldn't understand what I was saying. My callers would regularly call me "Violet." For the longest time, I couldn't figure out why. Then, I realized that the dialogue I was required to follow had me say, "My name is Laura. What city and state...." If you say "Laura. What," fast enough, it sounds like "Violet."

5. I'm from the South, but I usually don't have a Southern accent.

6. My Southern accent can come out in certain situations, but I can't do it at will. Sometimes I try, but it never works.

7. I've never gotten a speeding ticket or even been pulled over. I don't drive slow. I just always make sure there's someone else going faster than me. (Mom, I know you read this, I really don't drive too fast, I promise.)

I'm pretty sure that I'm the last person in blogland to do this one, so I'll skip the tagging.

Now, back to the knitting. Look! An almost finished sweater! This is #13 from Phildar Printemps 2007.

Sometimes I feel like I'm not supposed to like garter stitch, but the truth is that I do like it. A lot. Not just because it's super-easy either! It can be hard to find the right pattern for it, though. Baby patterns (like the surprise jacket) are obvious choices. Grown-up patterns w/ garter stitch are a little harder to pull off. Sarah's Rorschach definitely works.... and I think this cardigan pulls it off too.

Here's the detail on this sweater that I think makes the garter stitch work:

Those ribbed thingies were knit separately for both the front and the back. I'm not so sure that I executed them beautifully, but I like the effect anyway. On the downside, they did bring the total number of pieces to be seemed to nine (would have be twelve if I hadn't picked up the button and neck bands!). Now I just need to do the pockets and epaulets. Of course, I'm in no hurry to get those done since it's now super hot summer weather...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I knew there was a reason I learned to crochet...

I'm still slowly working on my argyles, but last night I needed a break Especially from Drunken Argyle. Long rows. Size 2 needles. Black yarn. Yeah, I definitely needed a break.

A while back, the lovely Aimee sent me Phildar's Layette No 465 and some Lion bars (oh my gosh, have you ever had a Lion bar? they are only the best candy bars of all time. it's like they took a kit kat and said, 'you know what? we could do so much more with this. caramel, rice crispies, more chocolate.... now that's a candy bar!') in an exchange. I still haven't gotten to knitting anything from it, but there was also a picture of a crochet headband. I don't read French crochet patterns and it looked simple enough, so I just winged it.

I think they came out pretty cute. Definitely a fun way to use up leftovers. So far, I've made about half a dozen. I think they'll be fun gifts for people who would appreciate a handmade gift, but wouldn't appropriately appreciate the amount of time that goes into knitting a sweater (even a baby size sweater... you know people like this too, right?).

Should you be inclined to make one (or a few) yourself, here's the flower pattern I did (beware, i don't remember the last time i looked at a crochet pattern, so i hope i'm using the appropriate abbreviations and lingo):

Ch 7.
Join with a sl st to the first st in your chain, to form a ring.
(Ch 2, dc, tr, dc, sl st) repeat 5 times around.
Weave in one end and use the other to create a bar across the center of the flower to loop the chain tie through.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


When I was a kid, my dad used to take my brother and me on long hikes through the woods and cow fields near our home. We called it the Cow Hike. What was strange about the Cow Hike was that every single time we went, we would somehow get separated from my father. What was even stranger, though, was that we would often see him behind trees and such. We would call out to him, but somehow he never would hear us. So, we would be forced to find our way home on our own.

When I was a teenager, I was thinking back on the Cow Hike and it hit me. My dad was testing us. He was hiding on purpose to see if we could find our way home without him. I asked him about it, and he confirmed my suspicions. I was so shocked. It seemed so sadistic.

Now, though, when I think about what he did and those long hikes, I find myself laughing and even to a certain extent grateful. The Cow Hike was a great bonding experience for my brother and me. Plus, we really learned our way around those woods and fields.

When I was a kid I used to do a fair amount of knitting. Mostly stuffed animals for friends' kids. The first big project that I made to keep for myself was this afghan. It's all acrylic. Probably mostly Red Heart. Every skein was purchased from W@l-Mart. When, I was working on it, I was so pleased with myself. It was so much fun picking out different patterns and colors for every square.

When I got back into knitting a couple years ago, I looked at this afghan... and I was kind of horrified. The finishing was so bad. There were so many mistakes. It's acrylic....

Now, though, I'm happy again with this afghan. I realize that I learned a lot from making it. Plus, it's completely functional and machine washable.

So, anyway. Thank you to everyone who responded to my post on my mother in law. Your kind words really meant a lot. Oh, and the yarn will soon be in a new home with Sue in Australia!

Now, on to current projects. For some reason, I've got argyle vests on the brain. I'm working on Drunken Argyle for the Husband. Except I plan on making the front and the back the same (obviously like the back pattern). And for Baby Girl, the Argyle Vest from Debbie Bliss' Special Knits.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A few months back, I noticed that this beautiful bamboo yarn was on sale at pureknits. I had no idea what I would use it for, but I'm a huge sucker for a sale, so I bought one skein anyway.

When I was trying to decide what the beautiful bamboo yarn wanted to be, I took a look again at the yarn's description and this line stuck out to me: "its sheen reminds us of silk." Silk.... huh, they make most ties out of silk, don't they? Before I knew it I cast on and plowed through a moss stitch tie for the husband. I was so pleased with myself. And why wouldn't I be... first of all, moss stitch is a huge pain. Second, I hate rows with a small number of stitches... and this thing clearly had miles of those rows. Third, despite my loathing of those two aspects, I was loving knitting this tie because of the yarn and because of the beautiful result.

I added a single crochet border and happily presented it to the Husband, insisting that he try it on immediately. Well, when he tied it on, it stretched by nearly two feet. Oops. Ha ha. Okay. No problem. I took out the border and then ripped back to an appropriate length.

Unfortunately, it's still not working, though, because it turns out that the bamboo is just too limp to function properly as a tie. Which really makes me wonder about some of the patterns I've seen that require bamboo yarn.... like camisoles and socks. Would that really work?

Anyway, I really want to find a way to save this tie. The best idea I can come up with is backing it with fabric to make it sturdier... any other ideas?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

.... and a blog contest

A few years ago, the Husband and I spent a year living in France. We were recent college graduates and so so foolish... foolish because we chose to go abroad even though we knew that my mother-in-law had breast cancer. I don't think we ever thought about what we were doing as selfish... and we certainly had no way to know what would happen... but this time of year (near the anniversary of her death and Mother's Day) always makes me remorseful. Two weeks before our stay in France was to end, we got the call that she had passed away. The Husband never got to say goodbye. His mother was truly one of the most giving people I've ever known. She not only never asked us to stay, but even encouraged us to go abroad that year. She truly cared more about her sons and their happiness than herself.

In her honor, the Husband, Baby Girl and I will be running (the Husband)/walking (BG & I) in the Komen National Race for the Cure. If you are so inclined, please sponsor me.

Okay, I also wanted to hold my first blog contest in her honor. You do not have to donate to the Race for the Cure. You just have to leave me a comment on this blog entry. I'll give you until Mother's Day - May 13th at 8 pm EST. The prize? One skein of Henry's Attic Andromeda Silk & Merino (50/50 wool silk) dyed by Theresa at LTK. (I used this yarn to knit My So-Called Scarf.)

Knitting content soon...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Family Heirlooms and Such

This past weekend our little family went to visit our kin in Tennessee (what Southern accent? no, not me). As is often the case when I visit my mother, she took the opportunity to unload a car's worth of stuff on me (totally justified, since it was my stuff anyway). Along with the college books and old shoes I also brought home something a little more exciting. In this bag lies the oldest ufo (unfinished object) to reside in the babyknits household.

It's a bag of 23.5 squares that were knit by my great grandmother and were intended to be a bedspread at some point. She also included the instructions for the squares, so theoretically, I could finish off this bedspread myself. Except that she was knitting them on US 00's (my mom asked, "Are those needles or pick-up sticks?"). Each square measures about 4 inches square, but there's a lot of variability in the size (gauge issues, maybe?) and there are some very visible stains on some of the squares.

So, the big question is what to do with them. I figure the best option would be to finish off the 24th square and put together what I've got for a pillow. But, is it wrong to use them? I mean they really are heirlooms at this point. But, what is knitting for, if not to be used? I really don't know what's best.

Anyway, my favorite part about this ufo of old is how she stopped. Not only did she stop knitting mid-square, she stopped mid-row. For some reason, I find this highly amusing.

I hope you all have some good advise. Oh, I should also mention that I never met this great-grandmother, as she passed away before I was born. The bedspread-to-be was passed down to my grandmother who is now past the knitting point in her life. Somehow, they ended up with my mother even though she doesn't knit, so now it's up to me and Baby Girl. We won't let you down, great-grandma!

As far as my own knitting goes, I just finished something a little less heirloom-ish. It's a washcloth for Carrie's contest. It's my own little solution to the who's doing the dishes question.

At our house, we used to always come up with little games to figure out who was going to do the dishes (pinball on the computer, trashcan basketball, that sort of thing). Of course now I'm staying at home with Baby Girl, so I'm doing them most of the time, but still I like the idea of his and hers dishcloths with the "His" and "Hers" done in shadow knitting, so you would just pick up a dishcloth and then read it to see who would be doing the washing. Uh, I only have "His" done so far, though. Maybe I should just make two of them, so it would never be her turn.