Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kitty Warhol

Thanks to everyone who commented and emailed me about how to finish the Wiggles and Waves sleeves! Now I know what to do, I just have to get it done....

Kitty Warhol is courtesy of a cool little Flickr thingamabob. Enjoy!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Wiggles and Waves Revisited

Wiggles and Waves has reappeared. I got my act together. Yesterday I seamed the shoulders and wove in *a lot* of loose ends. What's left to do is pick up stitches around the armholes, knit the sleeves, pick up stitches around the neckline and knit the neckband. Question for you: I don't think I have enough of the main color to knit 2 long sleeves. How do I divide my remaining yarn so that at least the sleeves are the same length?

Casual Friday
Pattern: Knitting Pure and Simple Top Down Weekend Pullover
Yarn: Rowan Big Wool 100% merino, #021 Ice Blue, 6 balls
Gauge: 2.5 sts/inch
Needles: size 17 DPNs, 16" circular and 32" circular
Comments: Had trouble finding the right needles. I started out with Lion Brand but plastic just doesn't cut it. Also, keep in mind the circumference of the circular cable, you want the fatties not the skinny cables. Only Addi's had them. One last tip - knit the sleeves BEFORE the rest of the body.

I enjoyed knitting this sweater. I needed to see how a top down was constructed. While I was knitting this I also read Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top about raglans and things made so much sense.

Santa Goes Shopping
I leave you with this funny photo of Santa and his elf on their way to Target. Or maybe Lowe's. Karl and I were going to pick out a Christmas tree and caught a glimpse of Santa on his motorcycle (I'm sure his license plate said "my other vehicle is a sleigh").

Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Finished But Is It Complete?

Pre Block
The Knitting Pure & Simple Weekend Pullover in Rowan Big Wool. Fini. I finished it during Turkey Day vacation but just now showing you the results. I was going to wear it as-is to a lunch with Cyndi but chickened out. It wasn't perfect; there's some laddering going on with the neck (drat those huge size 17 DPNs) and just general funky wacko impatient stitching. Cyndi convinced me to block the sweater. Gasp. No, no, I said! I am afraid!! She told me to be bold. Blocking is my friend.

Blocking Progress
Here it is, laying in a lonely way on the guest bed. It swam in my tub for about half an hour. I watched it turn a beautiful saturated sky blue as it absorbed water. Then the scary part - I pulled it out of the water, sopping and limp like a half dead kitty. When I rolled it up in towels I was convinced I had ruined it. As I reshaped it on the bed I kept thinking, "What have I done?" But now...now, it looks much better. Whew!

I've been feeling a bit blah. Blah this, blah that. No oomph or flair or zowies. Everything is just, you know, yadda yadda. It shows up in my photos. Blah.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

NP&S Progress Check

The one-armed gal. I look tired because I am tired. But I'm getting knitting done, by golly.

Next time I do this or any other top-down sweater, I'm going to finish the sleeves before the body. The body is rather heavy as I knit the sleeve in the round on DPNs.

This pullover is going to be as warm, soft and light as a cotton ball. Rowan Big Wool is niiiice. I'm beginning to be a fan of this yarn company. I might just join the Rowan International club.

I hope to have an FO photo the next time I post. See ya'll later.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

How Much TV Is Too Much?

Admittedly, I watch more TV now than I ever did. But that doesn't mean I really like it.

When I was a kid, I saw the usual shows - Gilligan's Island, Bewitched, Love Boat, all those goofy shows in the 70's. In hindsight they were a lot more wholesome and innocent than the violent and gratuitous crap we are offered these days.

However, when I was an infant and toddler I watched next to nothing TV. In fact, my first memory of TV was a basketball game (probably why I love Sportscenter so much).

Why am I talking about this? I read a CNN article about Moms and TV: A Love-Hate Relationship. I really have a thing about TV and babies and young kids. They don't mix. Is this considered too idealistic in this day and age? Working moms are caught between a rock and hard place - how to keep a child occupied while you try to get mundane but necessary chores done? I run around the house like a frazzled chicken picking up stuff, folding laundry, washing dishes while Karalyn is either playing in her gymini (which means I stop every few seconds to check on her) or taking a nap (then I stop every 20 min to I check on her).

There is a lot of guilt and frustration about how much TV a child should watch and what programming is considered helpful. If I had my way, Karalyn would only ever see Animal Planet, National Geographic, Discovery and History. Oh, a little DIY wouldn't hurt every now and then. But is even that too much? Is it too commercialized? Would she learn anything from them?

You know the worst part about it though? TV won't be the biggest problem when Karalyn gets older. By then it will be (gulp) the evil Internet.

All right, since this is a knitting blog here's a pic from the recent archives. My youngest brother moved to San Franciso in late summer. I went to visit him at the end of September. He lives a few blocks away from Imagiknit! He knew right where it was and indulged me with an hour of browsing bliss (gooood brother). I was taking my turn at the swift with my purchase of Malabrigo.

Happy Knitting all!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Two on the Needles

Knitting content implies that there's been knitting going on, eh? All right, let's get started.

Exhibit A: I was desperately trying to finish something for October and ambitiously decided, in the last week, that I would knit the Weekend Pullover #224 from Knitting Pure and Simple. After all, it advertises itself as quick, only two days worth of knitting. That would've been accurate if I hadn't been such a cheapo. This sweater requires at least size 17 circulars in two lengths and in DPNs. Sheesh. Not sure that I would ever knit with such a large needle again, I tentatively bought Lion Brand plastic circulars.

I learned.

I learned that plastic needles with 100% wool is torture. To make it worse, the stitches tightened up a lot once they were off the needles and on the cable. I knit this much before I said ENOUGH, GET ME ADDI'S!! The thing is, size 17 metal Addi's with the fat cable is hard to find. The three closest stores to me did not have them. I ended up winning an auction from eBay. Hopefully they will arrive tomorrow. The good news is, I love the yarn - Rowan Big Wool in a light lavender (although it looks blue in the photo).

Exhibit B: The other Knitting Pure and Simple sweater. This is the Neckdown Shaped Cardigan. I'm patiently working on this one, it's my mindless knit. This morning I was in a teleconference and I managed to complete 8 rows in an hour. I danced a little jig in my cubicle. This one is with Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed from my stash. My knitting is so uneven! I think you can tell when I've had a tough day and when it's been OK.

Exhibit C: Nothing to do with knitting, this is the odd photo of the day - Garden Buddha. I've been feeding my neighbor's koi fish and the pond is surrounded by lush greenery and an eclectic assortment of garden art. I enjoy going over there because his backyard is so quirky, so tropical bohemian. The buddha brings good luck to the fish. Perhaps I should have one to watch over me while I knit.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Great Pumpkin

real pumpkin

Karl's version of Charles Schultz' Halloween spirit.

Holidays take on a renewed significance when there's a baby in the house. We aren't big celebrators of any of the major holidays so it's funny that all of a sudden Karl and I were dashing around getting candy ready and making sure the pumpkin decorations were lit on the front porch. Karalyn's daycare had a Halloween parade with all the kids dressed in costumes. It was, as one parent said, organized chaos. Kids also renew their parents' sense of play. Karl and I definitely had a lot of fun dressing Karalyn up in her Great Pumpkin costume.

Hope you all had a ghoulish Halloween, take it easy on all the leftover candy! Knitting content will return in the next post.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Per several commentors' request, I give you this from Karalyn's first portrait sitting. We were shopping at Babies R Us a few nights ago. A girl from Kiddie Kandids approached us about a portrait sitting. I only agreed to do it because we would get free 8x10 print since it was for training purposes.

Karalyn was a bit sleepy and hungry but she obliged with a few poses. It's not easy to convince her to smile when she's suspicious of what you're doing.

Now, see that blue sweater she's wearing? That's the Baby Bolero from One Skein that I knit over the summer. It's in a newborn size but the cotton yarn stretched a bit. Right now it fits her like a cardigan with 3/4 sleeves. She's going to continue wearing it until one day it's just a short-sleeved, fitted shrug.

Don't ask me about Wiggles and Waves. Aargh.

The KP&S top down v-neck cardigan is coming along. I've passed the section to slip the stitches for the sleeves and now on to straight stockinette for the body. I dread this part because it's kind of boring, but I have a question for you all.

The pattern says to work in stockinette until the piece measures 9" from the top of the shoulder. What does that mean? Do I measure from where the middle of the shoulder hits the neckline?

Confession: for the past 9 months, I have kept a quiet resolution to myself about completing one knitted item per month. I have managed to do this even through the chaotic last month of my pregnancy and during the sleep-deprived months of new motherhood. However, October probably won't see a new FO unless a miracle happens with Wiggles and Waves.

Next week I will have more photos, including more cuteness! Halloween is coming up!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 20, 2006

What's Up

9 days since my last post. That's shorter than I thought.

On the knitting front: Wiggles and Waves is still on the needles if you can believe that. I've reached the point of seaming the shoulders but I don't think I have enough yarn to knit 2 long sleeves! This may be a spring/summer cardigan for Karalyn instead of winter/spring. I also started the Neck Down Shaped Cardigan (#241) by Knitting Pure and Simple. It uses DK weight yarn so the knitting is quite slow. I like it, though. Very easy, rather mindless. Something I'm not in a hurry to do.

I have to confess I went on a terrible yarn buying spree last month. Drat the knitswap and knitting-forsale Yahoo groups. I felt like a yarn addict - on a high when I was shopping but suffered guilt when the high wore off. I have sworn off buying any more yarn the rest of the year and just shop my stash. Caitlyn said her yarn is boring and I kind of feel the same way. I keep thinking I should have a sale or at least another swap to have different yarn to look at. Anyone wanna swap?

On the motherhood front: Lori asked me what advanced things my baby girl has learned to do since she started daycare. Well, she can roll over! Both ways: back-to-front and front-to-back. It sounds simple enough but these are some of the development milestones that parents anxiously watch out for. I'm really relieved Karalyn can roll front-to-back because she's a tummy sleeper. New mothers are constantly being told to put their babies to sleep on their backs to avoid SIDS. Karalyn, however, doesn't like to sleep that way. During her colicky period she would cry and cry before I finally gave in and laid her down on her stomach. Now that she can roll over to her back, I feel better about the way she sleeps.

She is also learning how to sit up, crawl by doing the inchworm, and eats a whopping 8oz every 4 hours. Not bad for a preemie! Her daycare teachers and other mothers are amazed she can eat so much. I didn't think anything of it...wasn't I supposed to teach her how much to eat and when? But apparently her eating schedule is something to be envied. I have to say, it's rather convenient because we can feed her at the same times we eat our meals.

On the work front: I survived the latest round of company layoffs. I may have told some of you that while I was on maternity leave, my department decided it was too difficult to maintain the software products I was managing. When I returned to work I found out my job was essentially being transitioned to another group. And guess who has to do the transitioning? Yepper. I don't know what I will be doing after this but I am still employed.

On the personal front: lately my private time has been few and far between. Seems like the only time I'm by myself is when I'm in the bathroom(!) or when I run an errand. As I drove to pick up some dinner the other day, I thought about what I would've been doing or been preoccupied by if I hadn't had a baby. A lot of things that I previously thought were important no longer seemed so. In fact, many seemed frivolous. With a shock, I realized how much my priorities have shifted. The basics - the health, happiness and love of my family - matter to me most right now. Not to say that I've lost my identity or given up things I like to do. Just that the focus isn't on me anymore. And that's nice.

One last thing...a shout out to Allison, my PC Pal. My company volunteers and raises funds at various schools in the area. One way to do this is by employees having elementary school pen pals via email. Allison is my pal - she plays soccer for the #1 team in the league, loves math and spelling and has a cat named Trapper. She asked me to mention PC Pals on my blog so here it is!

Have a great weekend everybody....

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Manos or Malabrigo?

Irked, I tell you. Just a bit.

Look at this (sorry for the fuzziness, took the photo in a hurry).

I haven't had time to knit, but it only takes 2 seconds to buy yarn over the internet. I've had a hankering for some Malabrigo and thought I had scored a deal on 7 skeins.

I was at the Destash Blog and when I saw the original picture of the 7 skeins, a fleeting thought went through my mind, "Hmmm. Looks like some Manos that I already have." I shook it off and went straight to PayPal.

But now look. The wound ball on the left is supposed to be Malabrigo. The skein on the right, Manos, from my stash. Don't they look the same thick and thin?? They feel the same.

Irked! But only a bit. On the bright side, I now have 10 skeins of #109 Manos to make a sweater. And I can continue my quest for the perfect Malabrigo. Hehehe.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

No Time

I love knitting.

I love blogging.

I love reading blogs about knitting.

I love you knitters who read my blog.


I have no time to knit,
or read blogs.

I have returned to work.

I am now a working mother.

It is hard.

Will it get better?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Gad Zukes!

Busy past 2 weeks.

Great fun hanging out with fellow knitter bloggers Caitlyn, Ruth, Cyndi and Lori.

And yes, Stephanie, I bought a camera! Actually 2. Karl has been dying to get a camcorder. So I bought the new Canon SD700 IS and the not-so-new Panasonic PV-GS300. Took both to the Bay Area last weekend for a wedding.

Had a blast, visited...

...heard these...

...and saw these...

On the domestic front, some knitting has been done. Like Wiggles and Waves...

...close up...

...but mostly I've been cooking a lot. I haven't talked about it much but I've been baking and cooking up a storm. The latest dinner was Chicken Marsala with Browned Butter and Mizithra Spaghetti...

...with a batch of Chocolate Zucchini Cake.

This weekend will be another adventure, and I'll share photos next week. Until then, hope you all have a fun Labor Day Weekend holiday!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Knitting - Not So Much

Is it the weather? Is it lack of sleep? Is it just a case of the ho-hum's?

Whatever the reason, there's been little progress on the knitting front. I abandoned the idea of knitting a shawl in time for the wedding this weekend. I'm going to wear the shrug I made in the spring. The Leaf Lace Shawl is still on the needles and I'm quite enjoying it when I can focus. Something clicked with this pattern - I found myself reading off the chart instead of the written instructions and suddenly charts were easy!

After the self-imposed moratorium on yarn buying for the Yarn Focus Challenge, I've been acting like a gambler let loose in Las Vegas. My yarn stash has grown by several purchases - a total impulse buy of 12 skeins of discontinued Kool Wool on eBay (they were *cheap*!), 8 skeins of Valley Yarns' Longmeadow and 1 skein of Florence, and the latest obsession: Blue Moon Fiber Arts' Sock Candy. I stumbled on this yarn at Farmhouse Knits on a business trip last November. Since then I discovered a cult following of BMFA for the Socks That Rock, a hard-to-find merino sock yarn in gorgeous, unconventional colorways. Sock Candy is a cotton and lycra blend that's even more difficult to find. They don't even advertise it on their website, you just have to know about it.

In other news...I go back to work in less than three weeks. Karalyn is past her colicky stage and is changing rapidly every day. It's fascinating to watch her learn everything. One of the coolest things about being a mom is re-discovering the joys of life through a child's eyes.

As I'm writing this, Karl is playing with Karalyn while she's in her crib, teaching her words from a book..."What have we here? 3 Shells...and 4 turtles...and 5 starfish. What do you think of that? Can you say it with me?" She is concentrating really hard as he turns the pages. What could be better than this?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I Digress

We interrupt the shawl indecision-making to bring you a little diversion:

Pattern: Baby Pirates Hat (aka Baby Skull Hat) from Jennifer at Purse-Ho Knits
Yarn: Plymouth Wildflower DK in pink and purple, 51% cotton 49% acrylic
Needles: size 4 US 16" circular and size 4 US DPNs
Gauge: 6 sts and 7 rows to the inch (or at least that's what it's supposed to be, hehehe)

So Jen generously provided this pattern for me to test knit because I couldn't resist the juxtoposition of a skull and crossbones image in girly pink and purple colors. Jen, I'm not sure I'm the best person to test knit anything! It's been over a year since I did any two-color work; confession - I had to take a peek at the Philosopher's Wool video for 2-handed fair isle to reacquaint myself with this technique. And yeah, my stitches are so uneven but a little toss in the wash should help. Eventually. No, I didn't block this before I took a picture of it. *slap my wrist*

Comments on the pattern for Jen: easy! I didn't have a hard time with it at all. My only suggestions are (1) recommending when to switch to the DPNs. I switched after I did the first 2 rows in the decreasing section but it probably would've been easier right after finishing the chart. And (2) in the decrease section, row 7 requires 5 k2tog's and a k1. Picky, yes, but you asked! Other than those 2 things I can't think of anything else to add. If I can knit this in a few hours, even though I had to re-learn the 2-handed technique, then anyone can. Thanks Jen!!

The instructions said to stick the hat onto the nearest baby so I looked around and discovered there was this baby just lying there and....yar.

OK, so back to the indecisive shawl for a minute. I want to knit a shawl because we're going to another wedding at the end of the month. Either one of the patterns I've already started would be just fine if the wedding is indoors. You can see where I'm going with this.

The wedding is in the Bay Area, outdoors, on a rooftop and in the early evening. The setting sounds truly romantic and I commend Erika for being so creative (because that's just the way she is). But dang it, I'm going to be cold! And it even says so in the invitation - "bring a jacket or shawl".

shawl swatch

The other shawls won't cut it, thermal-wise. I've been hunting for a stitch pattern that would be dressy yet wouldn't be so holey that I would feel the draft. What do you think of this? My swatch for a proposed wrap (aren't wraps rectangular?). It's in Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran and I found the stitch in the latest IK. Check out the Weekend Pullover designed by Veronik Avery. My swatch is the center panel of Van Dyke Lace.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Can't Make Up My Mind

Between this:

the beginning of the Easy Lace Poncho...

and this: the beginning of the Lace Leaf Shawl...

The poncho is much easier and uses worsted weight yarn. The shawl is a bit more complicated as well as more interesting. I can't make up my mind so I'll do both for a while and see which one wins out.

I've learned to multi-task with the baby and knitting is no exception. No, I haven't mastered knitting one-handed which would be quite a feat, but I can breastfeed and knit at the same time. Since Karalyn eats 6 or 7 times a day I actually have many opportunities now to get some quality knitting time in. Note, however, that this only applies to the easier poncho. The DK yarn for the shawl keeps getting tangled in her feet and hands.

Here's an interesting observation - cats and babies like the same things. Toys, milk, soft blankets and shoulders to sleep on. I've found the cats snuggled in Karalyn's pillows and eyeing her rattles with great interest.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

In The Pink

Pattern: "Polly" from Berroco Scarves and More Collection #225
Yarn: Berroco Pronto, color Wild Rose, 50% cotton 50% acrylic
Gauge: 3 sts/in
Needles: US size 10 and 11
Size: Large (12 mos)

Don't look too closely at the picture. It's a cute dress, very fast to knit and I liked the little detail using double yarn overs for the ribbons. But. My knitting is very uneven with this piece, especially the Reverse Stockinette. I had to put it down (to change diapers, burp the baby, etc.) and pick it back up so many times I thought I was never going to finish. Karalyn will wear it next year and she won't care that the knitting isn't perfect so I guess that's all that matters.

I'm trying to decide what to knit next. I want to do something for me but not a sweater...I still need to lose a little more weight. Maybe a shawl? An easy one like Shoalwater from Fiber Trends? I've got about 900 yards of Koigu Kersti in the Ocean colorway that would look very similar to the picture. Or, I've also got 600 yards of Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb in Iris Garden. That would make a small Shoalwater or Clapotis. Can Clapotis be used as a shawl if I blocked it out?

While I make this extremely critical and important decision, I'm working on a pair of socks. I started them last year as an experiment using Magic Loop, the Figure 8 cast-on, 2 socks simultaneously and toe-up all at the same time. It was a bit much trying to do the socks on the same needles so I split them up but I still got bored. They have been on the needles ever since, and I suddenly feel compelled to complete now them even though they're just straight stockinette.

My days are running into each other. Beyond the feedings, diaper changes, burp sessions and seemingly endless crying jags (Karalyn's, not mine) I manage to get out. Sometimes I take Karalyn for a 2 mile walk to Starbucks. Sometimes we just meander around the mall. Then again, on some afternoons we just lie around on the ottoman and take a nap. I've watched every sporting event there is on TV. Oprah is my new friend. Life is very slow right now.

Latest photos of the babe.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Yarn Buying Withdrawal

I haven't bought any yarn in 2 months! Not since before the baby was born. There I was, smug that I was doing so well in Rebekah's Yarn Focus Challenge (Rebekah, am I still in the hunt?). I had made only one purchase since starting that challenge, some Muench Big Baby yarn from By Hand Yarn and Knitting in Sonora. That seems like ages ago.

Can you blame me for a sudden urge to splurge? Lori told me about these stretchy circulars that would be neat for socks. So what if I haven't knit socks in a while. Wouldn't these be a good reason to whip up a pair?

I've been hankering for the Lantern Moon circular needles. So help me, I might just buy an entire set. If the needles ever get here, that is. Apparently they are still in transit from Vietnam. Does anyone else want these? They would be an unabashed self-indulgence. So beautiful I'd be afraid to knit with them.

OK, the day has started. Baby is fed, bathed and napping and it's not even 9am. I'm doing good. If she's amenable we might even go on a shopping trip this morning, woohooo! Yesterday I watched a show about a couple in the 40's who started their family later in life and now have had 6 kids in 5 years. EEEEEK! How do mothers manage their time? I'm still mystified.

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Time to Knit

Quick, while the baby is sleeping I will post a short entry in my woefully neglected blog. Not that I haven't thought about it. I wish I could write every day! But a little person named Karalyn, aka "Spitty", is currently demanding all of my time so that's the way it goes.

In very spare moments I've been able to do a little knitting. Since the baby arrived I've knit another baby hat and a cardigan:

This is the Baby Hat from One Skein

Details - yarn is Peru DK Luxury, 70% merino, 20% alpaca and 10% silk. I used US size 4 needles but didn't change the pattern other than that. I originally knit this while Karalyn was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) but her head was still too small to wear it properly. Now her head may be too big and it's super hot here so she won't wear it anyway. It's a cute hat. Easy pattern, very fast.

The latest item is the Baby Bolero, also from One Skein

This one is knit with Debbie Bliss cotton cashmere and is leftover yarn from the Diane tank from last year. I think I knit this on size 9 needles for the body and size 10 for the ribbing. Another easy knit, pretty quick. I wish I had done this in the round, though, instead of in separate pieces.

I'm currently halfway through another knitted item, a dress, for Miss Karalyn. That one is really, really fast but I wasn't able to do much more over the weekend beyond completing the back.

My days are different now (see Babe in the Wool). Before, I used to obsess about what I would knit and what yarn I would buy next. Now I am the 24/7 caretaker of a tiny baby. And it takes so much time! I've always taken pride in being an organized person and I think I still do pretty well, but wow it's a challenge every day just to be showered and changed by 10am. I still think about knitting a lot because it's my little escape. Those moments when I can knit more than one row are like gold.

Hopefully I can get more done when Karalyn is a little older (or is that just a pipe dream?)


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Finished Object

There's a reason I've been AWOL from this blog for the past couple of weeks. I have a long birth story to tell but that will have to be for another day. Here's the high level:

I developed a severe form of preeclampsia very quickly, literally overnight. In a span of 3 days, I went from my normal routine to Suddenly Motherhood. The complications from the preeclampsia made the labor long (26 hours after induction) and the delivery quite torturous (back labor with very little epidural effect). Plus, I had to have an assisted birth (vacuum) because the baby was stuck and I was exhausted and panicked.

When Karalyn finally showed up, though, it was like a miracle had just happened. I still get teary-eyed when I think about it all.

I was in the hospital for another 3 days while the doctor tried to get my blood pressure and edema under control - don't I look like I have Gary Coleman cheeks?? As of this writing, the baby is still in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). She is doing wonderfully well - she's off any medications, she's eating well (I have already started to breasfeed) and she doesn't seem to be suffering any ill effects from all that had happened in utero and during L&D.

Everyone says she is a princess, though. She knows what she wants (a diaper change, feeding, etc) and gets it. I don't have a problem with that.

It's so hard to leave her at the hospital after a visit and I can't wait to have her home. So far I am enjoying everything about motherhood that I am allowed to experience. I feel so very, very lucky.

Karalyn Eve
May 7, 2006 3:50pm
4 lbs 14 oz
17 inches

(BTW, I finished Kristy's baby blanket! And right now I've knitting a hat for Karalyn. Preemie clothes and hats are very hard to find - knitters who have donated crocheted and knitted hats are angels.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Baby Blanket Focus

Many of you said a baby blanket may not be doable in 2 weeks. I think you're right but I'm trying all the same to finish this blanket by May 6th. If it's not done at least it will be close. I'm hoping to be more than halfway done by this weekend to take some pressure off next week.

This yarn was a find at Elann - a heavy worsted weight 100% superfine merino superwash at a discount. I love all those words! I'm knitting this basketweave blanket double-stranded which is why I have a fighting chance that it could be completed on time. I'm just a bit sad that I can't use the yarn for my own baby's blanket. Most of the current progress was courtesy of a day's knitting at Kirkwood Ski Resort this past Sunday. It was essentially the last day of ski season so Karl and I, along with my brother and his fiancee, went up for a last hurrah. It was a good knitting day for me.

Other than that, not so much happening on the knitting front. In a shameless attempt at promoting my other blog, I have more current news on Babe in the Wool.

This coming weekend the crew is (1) participating in a golf tournament - I'm driving one of the carts, yay! - and then (2) taking a quick trip to Yosemite country. We'll be spending the night in Sonora on Saturday and then most of us will drive into Yosemite and hike into the Hetch Hetchy reservoir area. I say "most" because I will instead meander along the quaint streets of Sonora and knit at By Hand Yarn. I'm thrilled at discovering yet another yarn store and hope to have a review for you next week.

Until then, happy knitting! Spring is finally here!

Friday, April 21, 2006

On My Front Porch

Me and my big mouth have put me in a mild state of knitting panic. I am not off the hook regarding my friend's baby blanket. Here I was, smugly confident about surprising her with a hand-knitted baby ski hat and matching booties when all along she has been expecting a blanket! The blanket!

"I know about your special skills," she said when I asked her if she wanted anything specific from the ubiquitous Babies R Us registry. "From you, I'd like a blanket." Oh. Shit. Pardon my Lebanese.

I frantically made a mental inventory of my stash. The only yarn that would work is my coveted Laines du Nord Baby Cover which I specifically bought to crochet my own baby blanket. Oh. Crap. Worse, the colorway is just right for her because the variegated yarn, despite being pastel, is yellow and green - Green Bay Packer colors, her favorite team.

Fortunately I have 2 weeks until her baby shower. Drat these shower things. Why is it that grown, mature, sophisticated women willingly subject themselves to games like...Poopy Diaper...Pins in Rice...? It must be the gifts. I, too, will have my own baby shower tomorrow.

No pictures of the Packers blanket yet. It's just a simple basketweave pattern anyway.

cym_pink Now, as for what's on my front porch. There was a dead lizard. I'm not going to show you a picture of that although at first I thought it was sleeping. Poor lizard. My cymbidium orchids are blooming wonderfully. These grow particularly well outside and like to be cramped in their containers. The more crowded the bulbs are, the better they bloom.

cym_yellow I bought these at Lowe's after the plants had already bloomed so I wasn't sure what color they were at first. The flowers stay open for weeks, sometimes months! The plants are extremely easy to maintain. The first year I watered them every week. Then I began to neglect them. It didn't matter - as long as they were fed every once in a while they were fine. They are extremely gratifying.

karalyn_tree You may wonder what's so special about a tree sapling that I had to take a picture of it. Well, imagine this plant with absolutely no leaves or even buds. Just a stick, literally. That's what it looked like when Karl gave it to me for Valentine's Day. Now the maple is positively lush and we will plant it when the baby is born. We call it the "Karalyn Tree".

Another week gone by. One of the highlights was having lunch and knitting with Cyndi at the office. I think it was Cyndi who first suspected we actually work for the same company. Now she's on the same campus too! To think I would've missed out getting to know such a cool chick if it weren't for knitting and blogging. Serendipity. I have to admit, though, I envy Cyndi's spacious cubicle with natural lighting.

How did your week go?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Cutie Booties

Never mind food cravings during pregnancy. I've had crafty cravings instead - of the baby knits kind. I didn't look twice at baby stuff before, not even when friends started to pop out their bambinos. Nothing like having it happen to yourself, though. I've been on a Bootie Quest since I saw a cute pair in Melanie Falick's Knitting for Baby (thank you, Caitlyn!).

booties_blueThis is my "practice pair" because when I read through the directions I wasn't sure I liked them. Turns out this pattern is rather well-known, as bootie patterns go. While I used the book you could easily follow this version. Yarn: Rowan 4-Ply. Needles: Bryspun 5" DPNs size US 4. Modifications: I added a slipped stitch selvedge to the garter stitch sole for easier pick-up. Observatations: relatively easy but the directions to even out the number of stitches per DPN were awkward. Next time I will do this on smaller needles, say #2.

booties_kristy The "production pair" is from 50 Bootees to Knit by Zoe Moeller with the textured cuff. Note that this matches the baby ski hat from a couple of months ago. My friend will receive both as one of her shower gifts. I may even have enough yarn to make thumbless mittens but we'll see. This super cute bootie pair took next to no time to knit but I was not pleased to seam the sole. It is knit in one piece but seaming the sole and heel are required. Yarn: Filati Biberon. Needles: Addi Turbo size US 2. Modificatons: none. Observations: Next time I will knit the sole separately with a selvedge, pick up stitches on all sides (like a purse) and follow the directions in reverse.

scarf_bryanAnother FO for the month is another gift scarf, this time for my youngest brother. Not that he will be able to use it any time soon because it's almost 90 degrees in Atlanta but it's the thought that counts. And it's still cold here in Northern California. Just an excuse for him to visit. I love this yarn! It is heavenly soft; I bought a skein for myself in loden green to make the same scarf later. It might be in everyone's stocking at Christmas too. The pattern is free from Misti Alpaca, an easy slip stitch that could be used for socks. Yarn: Misti Alpaca Chunky. Needles: Addi Turbo size US 13. Modifications: none. Observations: this is a short scarf, skip the ruffles to make it a few inches longer.

gardenpathSpring is trying so hard to come to the part of the world I am. It's been another weird and wacky season weather-wise with lots of rain and cool temperatures. I wanna be in the 70's and 80's already so I can buy those cute maternity halters and tops! But I digress. There were brief respites from the rain this afternoon so I took a quick trip to the backyard for this photo of our garden path. Karl and I worked hard to finish this up last summer. At first the little plants were so skinny and lost-looking but the groundcover spread like weed. There are 4 different kinds. Wish I could tell you what they are but I only remember the creeping thyme and flea bean (the low shrub with white flowers which turn pink).

irisAbout 2 years ago I bought 3 iris plants, put them in the ground and promptly watched them wilt. I had faith they would come back, though, and they have for 2 years. I once kept iris bulbs in a basement for a year and planted them. They were fine. Other plants are blooming too. My outdoor orchids have been sensational. I'll show them next time. One of my indoor orchids, the dendrobium, is shooting up a flower stem. I whooped for joy when I discovered it because I've literally tried to kill this plant with no success. It hasn't bloomed in over 5 years.

The knitting is keeping me sane. I am slowly but surely getting the gestational diabetes under control but it's still hard to prick my finger 4 times a day. Actually it's more than that sometimes but I won't go into the goriness. Let's just say it's psychological torture for me because I'm such a wimp!

Hope ya'll have a good knittin' week.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way of Knitting

Hi everyone. This is quickie post to let you know I haven't forgotten how to knit or blog, I've just been monumentally distracted by a recent complication in the pregnancy. No I'm not on bedrest (wish I was, then I could knit more!) but I'm preoccupied all the same. And it doesn't help that things have been busy anyway with appointments and childbirth classes.

I have been knitting though! In fact, I really look forward to when I can sit on the couch and just knit. It takes my mind off things. I finished another gift scarf for my brother's' birthday and now I'm practicing on baby booties before I knit a gift pair for a friend - yes, the one who was supposed to have a blanket but not anymore. The booties will match the baby hat I've already finished so they will be a set.

Rebekah will be glad to know that, although I've been tempted, I haven't purchased any yarn since she first posted about the Yarn Focus Challenge. However that hasn't stopped me from buying the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules! or a couple of baby sock patterns like this one. Or, for that matter, yet another new knitting bag. If you haven't heard of the yahoo groups Knitswap or Knitting-For-Sale, you might want to join. Someone advertised her barely used Namaste Executive Bag for only $40 including shipping so I jumped on that right away. Should be here
any time now.

That's all the news for now. Like I said, my mind has been on other things so I apologize in advance if you haven't seen any comments from me lately on your own blogs. I hope all of you are happily knitting away and that Spring has already arrived wherever you are.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Anniversary Post

As March comes to a close, my last post for this month reflects on the past year.

I started this blog on March 2nd, 2005 with a bit of trepidation. What in the world would someone like me write about? My life is ordinary. My knitting is average. My writing is rusty. But oh, what a difference a year makes. You, dear blog readers, have witnessed an incredible time of learning and change for me.

On the knitting front - in no particular order of importance, I've learned how to knit lace and socks, conquered my fear of DPNs and taught myself new techniques like felting, Kitchener and the Figure 8 cast-on. Many projects were finished: a baby afghan, a lace capelet, 2 pairs of socks, the Diane tank, the Booga bag, a bunch o' scarves, a shrug, baby hat, baby jacket, the Shapely Tee and the One Skein Wonder. This is a list that's longer than I expected!

About blogging, writing and photography - blogging has generated renewed interest and confidence in my writing as well as in photography. How has it affected me? I started looking for opportunities to apply these skills in my every day. Some of you have been particularly supportive of this effort and sent me very encouraging email. You would be interested to know that I have managed to incorporate writing in my latest position at work. I have been designated as the "Communications Czar" for my overall group! Although not officially part of the job description, I'm hoping it will turn out to be something formal and permanent by the end of 2006. As for photography, it was extremely gratifying that 2 of my photos were accepted in my company's photography contest last fall. These photos are still touring the different company sites all over the world.

Speaking of travelling - you all have been subjected to posts about my trips here and abroad. I usually go on one big trip per year and since last March that adventure was Germany. However, you know by now I'm just as happy hiking in Mendocino, Yosemite, the Sierras and the urban jungle that is San Francisco. My new job (same company) also provides time to hop on a plane to Arizona and Oregon. No matter where I go, I somehow manage to find yarn shops and hope that some of my store reviews have been helpful to you.

Now new friends - blogging about knitting led me to meet several local knitters, wonderful people I never would've had a chance to know otherwise. And those who I haven't met in person yet, we still have time! And when we do finally see each other it will be as if we'd known one another for ages. I'm flabbergasted at this concept...blogging has truly brought a community of us knitters together! I so enjoy reading about your knitting and your lives. Everyone is fascinatingly different.

Personal notes - and of course through blogging you've come to know me not just as a knitter. You know...I have silly cats; that I adore my (sort of) new husband; about my futile efforts to be more patient; I own snowshoes; orchids are one of my weaknesses; I am a freak about cameras; that I will soon be a mother. Getting married and becoming pregnant (not in that order *grin*) are the most significant developments of all since last March, and captured here in the blog.

Who knew this would all happen? I think the blog has brought me good luck. The past 12 months have been some of the most fateful, momentous and memorable times of my life.

Thanks for sharing them with me.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Why You Should Swatch

shrug1I think this photo says it all. I didn't swatch, but I knew it would be oversized because of the yarn. Oy, it looks likes it was made for someone with a wingspan 6 feet long! The sleeves definitely turned out funky. While I was seaming them up, I noticed how puckered they looked because of the thick and thin yarn texture. There's nothing I could do about that but it was a little distressing all the same. It looks like a bad scar.

Ah well, there's something charming in a homely knit kind of way about this shrug so don't get me wrong - I love it! I am wearing it at work and it's very comfy, warm. People looked at it wonderingly and said, "It's a shawl...with...sleeves?" Why yes it is. I'm glad I didn't rely on this for Vegas because it wouldn't have matched my dress but it's perfect as the office sweater or weekend cuddler.

jjill_shrugBesides, big shrugs are trendy. Heck, take a look at this shrug from J.Jill. This is a $100 sweater. Of course, I think I spent that much on yarn anyway but at least it's yarn I selected and like very much. Although I didn't swatch per se, I measured my gauge after 6 rows and used it to calculate the height from top to bottom. The problem was that I didn't take into account the sleeve length. Duh. Details:

Pattern: Streakers Shrug from Interweave Knits
Designer: Pam Allen
Yarn: Crystal Palace Musique in Stormy Weather
Needles: Size 10.5 and 11 US Addi Turbo
Gauge: 3 sts/in, 3 rows/in
Modifications: I didn't knit the lace cuffs for obvious reasons

OK, so now what's next? I am progressing on Wiggles and Waves but I am slow with lacy patterns. My friend's baby blanket is sitting sullenly in my knitting bag. I pulled it out the other day and saw daylight coming through the loops. Holes! I can't handle the yarn - it's hard to differentiate the stitches. Novelties - phooey, spit! I might just make booties and a hat instead out of something comforting and friendly like merino.

Ya'll were awfully nice about the wedding picture and video. Thanks for the congratulatory wishes. It's not every day a girl gets married although I've had one more day than I'd like, hehehe.

Until the next time.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

We Do


Lynette & Karl
March 18, 2006
Las Vegas, Nevada

Can you say cheesy? Karl and I are camera-shy but at least he is photogenic in this picture.

In my last post, I had said how I wanted the week to fly. It just zoomed away and suddenly on St. Patty's day evening we found ourselves in Fabulous Las Vegas just before midnight. Setting the pattern for the rest of the weekend, we met up with a friend and promptly stayed out until 2am eating and catching up on each other's news.

On Saturday morning we taxied to the courthouse to pick up a marriage license in downtown Las Vegas. This was probably the sleaziest part of the whole deal...there was a special office just for licenses and it looked exactly like a bank: a long marble table in the middle with forms and pens, a cordoned line of people nervously waiting their turn, five teller windows to process your request. $59 dollars poorer, we walked out with a license.

The wedding was held much later that day at the MGM Grand's wedding chapel, Forever Grand. I had a hair up-do appointment at their swanky Cristoph Salon and Spa where the stylist spent an hour shaping my hair into a mod Asian bun. Then I walked over to the chapel, got dressed with Karl and, well, got married. Warning: Everyone who has watched this said it made them tear up and cry.

After the wedding we whooped it up with a super dinner at the Craftsteak (it was also Karl's birthday so we had a birthday cake) and then saw a Cirque du Soleil show, Ka. No one went to bed early that evening. The rest of the weekend was spent sightseeing, more eating, more staying out late. We hardly did any gambling at all. That's for another trip ;-)

We've been married for a week. Is it any different? Not at all! Except we have rings we keep forgetting where we put down last. The focus is now on a healthy baby and getting ready for her arrival.

As far as knitting goes, I slaved away each night last week trying to finish the Streakers Shrug but it overwhelmed me in the end. I was still knitting it on the plane on the way home from Las Vegas. In fact, our flight from Las Vegas was delayed so we rushed from one terminal to another to catch our connecting flight in Los Angeles. We were a sight to behold - Karl dragging a pregnant woman who was huffing and puffing with a large wad of knitting in her arms and a 12-ft train of yarn trailing behind her. No wonder everyone was staring at us.

I finished knitting the shrug this week but have to seam up the sleeves. Maybe pictures of that tomorrow.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Week in Review

Taking one day at a time has its pros and cons. On the pro side, you're able to focus on the tasks at hand for the day. There's potential to accomplish a lot this way. On the con side, you don't always see the flow of things from one day to the next. This means your days can be herky-jerky.

Take this week.

First, a disclaimer - I've been sick.

I started the week with ambition, but then encountered this:


Untangling this skein took me the better part of one evening and one morning. Even Karl got into the act and he became just as frustrated as me. But I was rewarded with:


Which later in the week turned into this swatch for a baby cardigan pattern called "Wiggles and Waves".


Some wiggle, some wave and the colorway:


The week also saw another Finished Object. The second crochet scarf which is a gift for, um, someone who might be reading this and therefore will know what their present is but oh well.


Yarn: Plymouth Encore Bulky in Chocolate and Burgundy
Gauge: something like 2 stitches per inch, I don't really know
Pattern: Cozy Crochet Reversible Scarf by Melissa Leapman
Stitch: *skip 3 sts, (sc, hdc and dc) in next stitch*
Hook: US size K


Another project that showed up on the needles is the beginning of the Streakers Shrug, a pattern from the latest Interweave Knits. It's on the needles because I want to complete it by the upcoming weekend. The yarn is Musique by Crystal Palace. The colors that really pop out are the aubergine and copper but it's hard to tell in this photo.


In non-knitting news, I picked up my dress for this weekend. I don't like what happened with the alterations...it's a bit tight and shortened up noticeably (it was supposed to be below the knee calf length). I may go with the second dress I bought as a backup. We'll see. I don't look very pregnant in this dress which is why I chose it.


The week ended with someone backing into Karl's new truck and me finally doing my taxes. Karl was very upset with the ding. It doesn't look too bad but you never know what damage has been done underneath. He's already going through the insurance motions.

As far as taxes are concerned, every time I do them I always feel blah, even when the final outcome is in my favor. Doing the taxes inevitably makes me want to attempt some drastic financial spring cleaning. This is when I feel the least mature. Dealing with financial matters reminds me of when I was 10 and opened my first checking account - it was so intimidating.

That was my herky-jerky, topsy-turvy week. I'm hoping the next 5 days will fly by so I can just get to the weekend. It'll be hectic which should make for some very interesting news and photos for an upcoming blog post. Stay tuned!