Sunday, August 31, 2008

Photo Post - Jack's Hair

As you know, Lily went on a mad haircutting spree this week.

This is Jack sporting the remedial haircut he had to get to cover up the giant almost-bald spot on the front of his head. This is the best photo I was able to take -- he was eating a pluot and kept trying to shove it in front of the camera. Most of the other shots are just a pluot-y blur.

If you look carefully, you can see that the hair near the front is still shorter than the rest. The barber left as much as he could without completely shaving Jack's head.

Lily refused to pose for a picture. This is a shot of the back of her head. The blur on the bottom is Jack trying to shove his pluot in front of the camera. Lily's hair is now chin length since that's how short she cut one side.

These are the socks I'm knitting with my kool-ade yarn. I just threw them in for fun. The yarn smells like cherry!

Photo Post - George's Island

Here are the pictures from our weekend trip to George's Island:

Lily on the boat in Boston Harbor.

Jack enjoyed the boat ride too!

Here's the old fort we explored.


I took this picture because the doors were so pretty.

Here's a shot looking out one of the cannon slots.

We saw some beautiful wildflowers growing around the fort.

We tried very hard to get a picture of all four friends looking at the camera. It was harder than we thought!

Jack got some chewing gum. He was very excited!

Etsy Update!

I put two new sets of markers up on etsy today. Here's a preview of the sets I'll be adding during the upcoming week:

If you want to reserve one in advance of it going up on etsy, contact me!

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Here's a placeholder post until I can write a few longer posts about these things.

First, I've been busy lately getting Lily ready for her first day of school next week. She is very excited and a little nervous. I'm very nervous and a little sad. It seems like only a few weeks ago that she was an infant.

Second, now that Lily is in Kindergarten, we've decided to put Jack in a smaller, less expensive preschool program that is closer to home and has much more convenient hours. Unfortunately, he won't be eligible to start until he is 2.9 years old (why don't they just use months? I don't get it).

Third, I have almost completed the Marathon of Christmas Gift Knitting. I have about 10% left to do on one project and only 1 more project to do after that. I'm pretty confident I'll be done with everything well before my self-imposed December 1 deadline.

Fourth, I am knitting my first project with yarn I dyed myself -- my Electric Kool-Ade Acid Test yarn. It's the one dyed with every single flavor of Kool-Ade I had access to. I'm doing socks for myself and it's nice to do a little selfish knitting after 2+ months of knitting for others.

Fifth, Lily gave herself and Jack haircuts yesterday morning. As a result, she and Jack now have significantly shorter hair than they did earlier this week. She claims that Jack asked her to cut his hair. His only comment when asked was "Lily do it."

Sixth, my etsy store is doing a nice, brisk business and I will be updating this week with more of my itty bitty knitty markers in some new and exciting styles. Well, new and exciting if you're a knitter and like stitch markers.

So that's where I am right now. Also, I want to close this post by saying:

I'm totally on the Crafty Bus! Hi, Sheila!

Sorry, inside joke.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Here Be Pirates!

We went on a trip to George's Island today, along with our neighbor and his two kids. Jack was very excited. He got to go on a boat and then he was promised a trip into the "caves." George's Island is home to Fort Warren, and visitors are allowed to explore portions of the underground fort. Some of the passageways are pretty dark, so flashlights are necessary. Once we got home, Jack could not stop talking about his adventure.

I decided to interview Jack about the trip. Unfortunately, the interview reads like some kind of surreal, stream of consciousness speech, but you'll eventually get the point -- HE LIKED THE CAVES.

Me: Did you see any ghosts in the cave?

Jack: No.

Me: Did you see any pirates in the cave?

Jack: No. They write in the cave (Jim told our kids grafitti was "pirate writing.")

Me: Did you see any monsters in the cave?

Jack: I saw pirates!

Me: Really? You saw pirates?

Jack: I just jokin', mama! (big giggle)

Me: You know what I saw in the cave? A big dragon!

Jack. Noooo. Dragons is too loud.

Me: Well, I saw an alligator in the cave.

Jack: No. A alligator open and close his mouth. No noise!

Me: I saw a grizzly bear in the cave!

Jack. No, bear too loud, too!

Me: I saw Santa in the cave.

Jack: Santa? He a good boy! He in a cave.

Me: I saw a ghost in the cave.

Jack. No, no ghosts in the cave.

Me: I saw a pirate in the cave.

Jack: No, just pirate writing. That is what it means.

Me: Did you like the caves?

Jack: No.

Me: No?

Jack: I like the caves.

Me: What else did you do at George's Island?

Jack: I like my, I go in another cave. I got my feet in there and it was.... (he is suddenly distracted by my typing). You type my word?

Me: Yes.

Jack: (pointing at screen) That is mommy words? That is Lily's words?

Me: Do you want me to type your words?

Jack: Yes. Type my words.

Me: What you want to say?

Jack: My word! My word! My word!

Me: Do want to tell a story about George's Island?

Jack: Where George's Island?

Me: Where we went today.

Jack: (pointing at the edge of the computer screen where the scroll bar is) I peek in that kind world!

Me: That's where I am typing. See my typing?

Jack: What does that kind says? This one says papa (pointing to the button marked "publish post"). Open this kind up. What that says? Open that kind page. What is that?

Me: I can't open that, it's the computer screen. Why don't you tell me about George's Island?

Jack: Georges Island. Where is George's Island go?

Me: That's where we went today.

Jack: (pointing at the last thing typed) That says George's Island?

Me: Yep.

Jack: That says George's Island?

Me: Yep.

Jack: No, that not say George's Island! This kind says George's Island (pointing to the "publish post" button again).

Me: Do you want to tell what you did there?

Jack: What? I go and see all the caves in George's Island, George's Island has all the caves.

Me: What else did you do?

Jack: Saw caves at George's Island.

Me: How we get there?

Jack: I saw some caves at George's Island.

Me: What did we do to get there?

Jack: Some a boat at George's Island that has a really fire at George's Island. (No, I have no idea what this means).

Me: Did we go on a boat?

Jack: We go on a other boat.

Me: Did you like that?

Jack: I liked the cave.

Me: What did you see in the cave?

At this point, Jack spotted an am/fm radio headset lying on the windowsill and lost interest in our conversation.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Things I Didn't Know About My Kids

In the spirit of my recent post, here are a few things I learned this week about my own kids that I never knew before:

1. Lily has a boyfriend -- her friend Patrick. She advised us at dinner tonight that she would be "getting a new boyfriend" when she starts kindergarten. We were a little surprised, since we didn't know she had an "old boyfriend." She said "I will meet a new boyfriend and I'll have to get used to him." I am not so sure she fully understands the term "boyfriend." That's fine by me!

2. Jack's favorite song is "I kissed a girl" by Katy Perry. I linked to the YouTube video so you could hear the song lyrics (don't worry, Jack has not seen the video). The song was playing on my car radio yesterday and Jack suddenly piped up from the back "Dis my favorite song, Mama!" Who knew?

3. Jack's favorite house is a blue house in the Highlands.

4. Lily can read one of her "I can read" books from cover to cover. She came out in the living room last night and read the whole thing out loud. Kind of makes it difficult for her to continue claiming she can't read.

5. Lily likes having me at home better than when I was at work because "I take care of her better." Talk about a double edged sword of a compliment!

6. Jack will ask for something 27 times in a row, even if you tell him "no" the first time. Occasionally, he will leave the immediate area and then return and ask again. I think he believes that by going away, he can make me forget he already asked.

7. Jack can take off his pants and pull-up by himself. He did it during his "nap" on Wednesday. I have placed the word "nap" in quotations because he did not actually sleep. Not only did I find him naked from the waist down, but I couldn't located the diaper he removed for about ten minutes. He told me he "couldn't remember" where he threw it. I eventually discovered he had wedged it between his crib (where I was trying to get him to nap) and the wall. It was completely dry, so I'm not even sure why he removed it in the first place. When I got over to the crib, he said "Look at MEEEEEE!" with glee.

8. Lily is no longer afraid of water splashing on her face. She went on every kid's slide at Water Country, even the ones that took her through spraying water spouts.

9. Jack does not like getting splashed in the face. He really does not like it when Mama tries to "help" him by sliding down with him, and ends up throwing him face down into the water when she gets to the bottom of the slide. Actually, no one liked that whole incident. I don't think Jack will be trying a water slide for some time.

10. Lily is interested in learning to play badminton.

11. Jack's favorite color is green. Unfortunately, he uses "green" as his default name for any color he doesn't know, so "green" could mean anything. I guess what I learned is that he has a favorite color.

12. Jack is already planning his next birthday party. He wants cake and balloons. He informed Jim of his plans this morning as we went out to the car.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Stuff on Etsy!

I've been a very busy girl lately. I just put up some red hot chili markers on etsy:

Aren't they cute? I got the beads at the Knit and Crochet Show in Manchester. They are hand blown glass. The markers are good sized, so I would recommend them as best for a project on larger needles -- maybe size 5 and up.

I'll be updating the store every day for the next few days with my new markers. Here's a preview for you all. See something you like? Let me know! (You can also click on my shop name, pennywenny, on the etsy widget in the side bar -- it'll take you right to the store).

With the exception of the chilis, these markers were designed to be used on smaller projects. Most are shown on a US 3 needle for reference. They all feature my new seamless loop. Enjoy.

Knitting Olympics Update

Things are going well with the knitting olympics. My designated project, the Entrelac Clutch, got finished so quickly that I felt guilty. I started the Lucy Bag, and finished that up over the weekend. Now I'm working on a Pirate Hat (decorated with skulls and crossbones). As of today, I have 7 gifts completed, 2 on the needles and only one that hasn't yet been started.

My goal was to finish everything by December 1, but I'm starting to feel pretty confident that I'll be done by the end of October! I am really looking forward to the end of these projects because I'd like to finish up my Sunrise Circle Jacket, knit a February Lady Sweater, a Koolhaas hat and the Druid Mittens. Gotta get ready for the cold weather! Also, I have yarn in the basket for sweaters for the kids and Jim wants him some felted clogs for around the house. Of course, working on all those projects seems so desirable when I'm in the middle of the Christmas knitting. I'm sure it will feel just as drudge-y when I finally get to it.

Just gotta give a shout out to Becky -- ever since last Tuesday, every time I think of knitting the Koolhaas Hat, I call it the Kool Ass hat. That's one Kool Ass hat!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Things You Might Not Know About Me

My sister-in-law sent me a meme e-mail. Normally, I don't answer those, but I thought this one was interesting. I learned a lot about my sister in law that I didn't know! (You can read her blog here).

So, without further ado:

1. WHAT TIME DID YOU GET UP THIS MORNING? 2:00 am when Jack came upstairs and asked us to get up. 4:00 am when Lily came upstairs and asked to get up (both eventually ended up sleeping with me). 8:44 am when Jim kindly let me sleep in after an unusually busy night!


3. WHAT WAS THE LAST FILM YOU SAW AT THE CINEMA? Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull with my Mom. I don't get to the movies much these days!

4. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOWS? Project Runway, Burn Notice, NCIS and Ghost Hunters, for now.

5. WHAT DO YOU USUALLY HAVE FOR BREAKFAST? Iced tea and a bowl of granola with milk.


7. WHAT FOOD DO YOU NOT LIKE? Meat loaf, green peppers, most citrus fruits, raspberries and blackberries, peaches with the skin on, honey-baked ham or any ham with sweet glazing on it.... The list goes on, I have a lot of peculiar food things going on.

8. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ALBUM? This is hard, because it's not often that I like a whole album. Most recently, it would be Evanescence.

9. WHAT KIND OF CAR DO YOU DRIVE? A red Honda CRV named, appropriately, "Reddy."

10. FAVORITE SANDWICH? Falafel and hummus with tomatoes and lettuce on a pita bread.


12. FAVORITE ITEM OF CLOTHING? My lime green Keene sandals.



15. FAVORITE BRAND OF CLOTHING? For work, Talbot's. For play, anything I kind find on sale at Kohl's or WalMart.

16. WHERE WOULD YOU RETIRE TO? Anywhere with an ocean view.


18. FURTHEST PLACE YOU ARE SENDING THIS? Based on my Google Analytics report, this could be read as far away as Australia, if my Australian readership is still checking in! Shout out to Australia!

19. WHO DO YOU LEAST EXPECT TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? No one, because I'm not sending it out, I'm just posting it here.


21. FAVORITE SAYING: Suck it up, Buttercup.




25. PETS? Oskar and Magdala (Maggie), our two cats.

26. ANY NEW AND EXCITING NEWS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US? I only have 3 more Christmas gifts to knit!

27. WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE? Miss America or the President of the United States. You can all see how that turned out.

28. HOW ARE YOU TODAY? Sleep deprived.

29. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CANDY? Licorice pastilles.


31. WHAT IS A DAY ON THE CALENDAR YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO? September 20, the day we fly to North Carolina for our annual beach vacation in Emerald Isle.

32. WHAT IS YOUR FULL NAME? Wendy Catherine

33. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? My son talking to himself while playing with a green water rescue matchbox truck.

34. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Iced tea and a bowl of ginger and almond granola with milk.

35. DO YOU WISH ON STARS? Yes, whenever I get the chance.

36. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Almost any shade of blue.

37. HOW IS THE WEATHER RIGHT NOW? Sunny and, for the moment, no thunder storms in sight.


39. FAVORITE RESTAURANT? Sandrine's in Cambridge



42. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TOY AS A CHILD? Raggedy Ann (I still have her!)

43. SUMMER OR WINTER? Winter, definitely. It's sweater weather!

44. HUGS OR KISSES? Don't make me choose.

45. COFFEE OR TEA? Tea, preferably iced.


47. YOU WANT YOUR FRIENDS TO E-MAIL YOU BACK? Only if they feel like it.

48. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? I can't remember the last time I truly cried, but the last time I almost cried (out of frustration) was when I couldn't figure out the entrelac bag instructions!

49. WHAT IS UNDER YOUR BED? The parts that make up the top bed on Lily's bunk bed. We're not using them right now.

50. WHO IS THE FRIEND YOU HAVE HAD THE LONGEST? Chuck. We're going on 15 years this year.

51. WHAT DID YOU DO LAST NIGHT? I watched "Pride and Prejudice" (the 2005 movie version) and worked on the Lucy Bag I'm making as a Christmas present.

52. WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? Poverty and death.

53. SALTY OR SWEET? Salty. And yet, I fear that too much salt will kick me into another heart failure....

54. HOW MANY KEYS ON YOUR RING? Good lord! At least six. I'm too lazy to go get me keys and count them.

55. FAVORITE DAY OF THE WEEK? Monday. I can like Monday now that I'm not working.


58. DO YOU MAKE FRIENDS EASILY? If I force myself to get out there and meet people, I do.

59. HOW MANY WILL RESPOND? Who knows? I'm issuing a challenge to my blogging friends -- put this meme on your blog and tell me some things I might not know about you!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lily and Jack on Knitting

Do you see what I did there? A post that combines my kids and knitting. Clever, clever me. Anyway, I took a page from Ms. Knitty McGillicutty and decided to interview my husband about my knitting. Sadly, he has been very busy in the evenings of late, what with some last minute papers to get out and free tickets to see Radiohead. Accordingly, I turned to the only other people who care, my children.

Lily graciously agreed to be interviewed, asking only "What is an interview?" When I explained I would be asking questions, she expressed some concern "What if I don't know the answers?" I reassured her that there were no right and wrong answers.

Me: What is your favorite thing about my knitting?

Lily: Let me tell you. Okay, it's the hats you make.

Me: What is the best thing about me having a knitting hobby?

Lily: I don't know what a hobby is.

Me: Name something I've knit that you really like.

Lily: Jack's bunny you knitted.

Me: Do you think knitting is an expensive hobby?

Lily: Uh-uh (no)

Me: How come?

Lily: Because I'm crazy. To you is it special?

Me: Yes.

Lily: I'd say I'm wrong then.

Me: Do you have any hobbies?

Lily: No, I don't have any hobbies.

Me: What's your favorite style of dance?

Lily: A plie.

Me: Does it embarass you if I knit in public?

Lily: No. Why did you say that?

Me: I'm just asking you. Do you know my favorite kind of yarn?

Lily: Your Kool-ade yarn! Kool-ade yarn. I would say it's your Kool-ade yarn.

Me: Can you name another knitting blog?

Lily: Butterfly Yarns! I remember that one.

Me: Do you mind it when I go to yarn stores?

Lily: Mmm-hmm. (yes)

Me: You do?

Lily: Mmm-hmm. (yes)

Me: Why?

Lily: Because it's very fun to see when you come back with new yarn.

Me: Do you understand the importance of a swatch?

Lily: No. (giggles)

Me: Do you read my blog?

Lily: No.

Me: Is there anything in particular you'd like me to knit?

Lily: Socks.

Me: For you?

Lily: Yes. And I'd like them to be pink and purple.

Me: Anything else you'd like to add?

Lily: Nope.

As you can see, the interview turned out to be somewhat surreal, since Lily didn't really understand what "hobby," "expensive" and "do you mind" meant. I next approached Jack for an interview.

Me: Jack, do you want to be interviewed for my blog?

Jack: NOOOOOOooooooooo! (runs away giggling)

Anyway, I was pleased to see Lily giving a shout out to my local yarn store, Butterfly Yarns (link in the side bar). She enjoys visiting there and touching the yarn, so I guess it's made an impression. I highly doubt she's ever seen the blog before, though. Sorry, Kim.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

And now a word from the kidlets....

SOME people want to see more posts about the kids. SOME people are getting tired of all the knitting posts. Dear SOME people -- it's the Knitting Olympics! Sheesh! Nobody complains to NBC or whoever is covering the Olympics this time that there are too many sports broadcasts.

Anyway, in order to keep SOME people happy, here are a few words from and about the kids.

Some funny things: Lily told me she had a really bad day at school yesterday. When I asked why, she said her "cart" broke at nap time. I eventually realized she meant her cot. As we left the school, I mentioned her bad day to the center director, who commented "Yes, those cots collapse all the time." Lily said "Well, I think it's because I'm 5 now."

Jack got to have a pop tart last week when we tried out GymStreet USA (great place for kids, by the way). They had an open house this weekend, so Jim and I took the kids to meet some of their friends there. We told the kids they could get something at the snack bar, and Jack repeatedly insisted he wanted a "monkey bar." We finally figured out that he wanted a "pop tart." He still insists they are monkey bars.

I bought Lily a detective kit a few weeks ago, because her new goal is to become a detective when she grows up. On the way home from school that evening, I told her I had bought a real detective kit with fingerprint powder and everything. She said, very seriously, "Does it have a gun?" I assured her I wouldn't buy a gun for a 5 year old.

Sweet story: The center director told me last week that one of Jack's classmates was crying after her mom left her at school. Jack went over and hugged her to try and make her feel better. He has also stopped crying when I leave him at school. He just insists I have to give him a hug and a kiss before I leave.

Sorry, that's all I've got. Sometimes the kids don't really do anything funny or interesting enough for me to blog about. Not much has been happening around here lately -- we do our play dates, the kids play and we knit. It's the knitting olympics!!!

Here is some cute to hold you over until something a bit more blogworthy happens:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Entrelac Blues

The first day of the Knitting Olympics did not go well.

I'm afraid that the pattern for the Entrelac Bag I'm working on was written for people who have some idea of how to actually knit entrelac. I struggled on my own for hours and couldn't figure out how to knit the middle squares on the second row. After about 6 hours of work, I had what looked like 4 Tibetan prayer flags flying on my circular, one with a little blue triangle stuck on the side.

The good news? Having a lot of knitting friends means I got a lot of offers of assistance. The bad news? Because the power went out at my house during the whole process, I didn't find out about these offers until almost 4:30 pm. I ended up stopping at a friend's house on my way to pick up the kids from school. She couldn't figure out the pattern at first, either, but by laying the pieces out on the table and looking at a tiny, fuzzy picture of the pre-felted finished product, we were able at last to figure out where to pick up the stitches to start the first middle square. Once I figured that out, the rest of the pattern became clear.

Question: Assume you have two squares next to each other on a needle (let's call them Square 1 and Square 2). The instructions tell you to do some knitting on the edge of Square 1. Then the instructions tell you to pick up stitches on the "next square." Wouldn't you think they meant Square 2? Therein lay my confusion. "Next Square" did not mean Square 2, it actually meant the edge of Square 1 adjacent to where I'd just finished knitting. BIG difference. Can you tell I'm still a little annoyed?

Happily, once you figure out how to add new squares, you are doing entrelac! It's actually quite easy. I'm still fascinated by how you knit straight across, but end up making a diamond (because the square is in between two catty-corner squares). Intellectually, I understand what's happening, but it's still like a little magic trick. "Ladies and Gentlemen, watch as I knit across these flat stitches. Presto! Now it's a diamond!" Cue applause.

I only have 3 rows of diamonds left and the main portion of the bag will be finished. Somehow, I thought it would take longer. I'm going to try to finish the Lucy bag within the deadline as well, and if that's done early, then I'll work on the DNA scarf. Yes, I sound optimistic, but if you could turn straight rows of knitting into a diamond attached to other diamonds, wouldn't you feel like you could do anything?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Knitting Olympics

Initially, I said I wouldn't join the Ravelympics. What is the Ravelympics? Basically, you pick a challenging project, cast it on on opening day (August 8) and try to complete it by the closing ceremony (8/24). Yes, I do have quite a list of Christmas projects to get done, but I didn't want to put myself under too much pressure.

Then, Butterfly Yarns (link in side bar) offered its own Olympic Challenge. In fact, I think it was originally suggested by Knitty McGillicutty, one of the knitters at the Tuesday Night Knitting Group at Butterfly Yarns. I swore I would only participate if there was a Special Olympics for Pressure Challenged Knitters. Sadly, no one was willing to accommodate my aversion to time limited knitting.

Last night, when everyone was talking about their new projects and the Olympics, I got sucked in by the joinitis and signed up for an event (Felted Freestyle). I have been itching to cast on the Entrelac Bag, so I figured, what the hell, I need to knit the bag for my Christmas Gift Marathon of Knitting anyway, why not join in the Ravelympic fun? If I make it, I will get a badge for my blog! Woo hoo!

My goal is to try and finish up the Pinwheel before I cast on the bag, so I really have to get going on that.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hang Me By My Magic Loop

Magic loop, you say? So awesome, you say?

So far, I am not a big fan of magic loop. I don't know if it's the really small circumference of the work (36 stitches) or the large size of the needles (US 9), but magic looping the sleeves on the Pinwheel Sweater has been wearing my last nerve.

So I did what any wise woman would do. I brought the work to knitting night and asked if I was doing magic loop the right way (I am). I then commented that my problem was trying to drag the inactive stitches back onto the needle part when I transitioned from one side to the next. As I said that, someone commented I was knitting really tight.

I never knit tight. I almost always have to go down at least one needle size because I knit so loosely. But when I heard that comment and checked my gauge against the rest of the sweater, I could see it was way tighter than the rest of the garment.

One of the ladies suggested "You'll have to rip it back and reknit it with a larger needle." I replied" Hell no, I'm not doing that!"

I went home and proceeded to knit the rest of the stockinette portion of the sleeve, and then started on the ribbed portion, paying careful attention to keeping my gauge loose. You know what? The knitting went a lot smoother when I didn't have to struggle to drag those tight little stitches onto the needle each time. Am I now in love with magic looping? No, but I loathe it a little less than before.

I have about 4 inches left on the sleeve. This morning, I tried the coat on my daughter because I was worried about how tight the sleeve looked in the upper arm (where I knit so tight it looks like chain mail). Lily said "I think this sleeve is TOO SMALL!" She's right.

Soooooooo...long story short, I will be ripping that sleeve all the way back today and reknitting it while paying much closer attention to my gauge. I'm also going to pick up a couple of stitches where the yarnover holes are, because one of them is huge and needs to be tightened up. So that will give me a little more room in the sleeve. I hate ripping back, but I can't finish a sweater with such tight sleeves, even if they will probably fit my niece. I want her to be able to wear this sweater for a couple of years.

In more positive news, I crocheted an edging on the jacket and it looks really pretty. I just did 5 double crochets into one stitch, chain two, skip a stitch, single crochet into the next stitch, chain two, skip a stitch all the way around the edge. It looks nice on both sides, so it will be fine when the jacket edge is flipped over to make the shawl collar. I think I will edge the sleeves the same way, even though the pattern doesn't call for it.

If I have the energy, I'm pretty sure I can finish up the jacket by tomorrow, leaving me free to finally cast on the Entrelac Bag. I'm really looking forward to hat project. I think it will be pretty quick. I continue to plod along with the DNA scarf. It would go much more quickly if I would stop losing my way in the chart. Yes, I am using a post-it as a marker, but I still manage to move it or forget to move it enough to screw up every 10 rows or so. I've finished 2 repeats and the pattern calls for 5 per side. I think I'm going to drop a repeat on each side to save myself some time. I really like how the DNA cabling is turning out, though.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hey, Kool-Ade!

I did some kool-ade dying last week and it was so much fun! I got together with two friends and our 6 kids, and we dyed up a storm. I practiced on some kitchen cotton first, just to get an idea of how the dyes worked. Then I dyed a hank of fingering weight superwash wool in a bunch of wild colors. I was nervous because it looked kind of ugly while I was doing it, but as I wind it into a cake, it's looking kind of neat. Pictures later -- I got sidetracked while winding it and never got back to it.

I dyed a second hank of the same yarn in flame colors. I really like how it came out:

The kids tie-dyed some cotton t-shirts. Here they are, modeling their work:

Jack's shirt front is also decorated with chocolate ice cream.

Sadly, I have it on good authority that cotton does not take kool-ade well as a dye, so the shirts won't look like this again. My wool should stay dyed, though.

I'm going to make a sock monkey out of some of this yarn...after the Marathon of Christmas Knitting ends.

I cast on another project today -- the DNA scarf. It's a fun little pattern, although I found the directions a bit confusing at first and then decided to frog the whole thing after 2 inches so that I could change one aspect of the design. I forgot how annoying it is to use a cable needle. I'm going to give cabling without a needle a try after I get used to the pattern.

One tip for those interested in kool-ade dyeing: wear gloves! I can't stress it enough. My hands ended up nearly black from all the kool-aid, and the only thing that cleaned them up was bleach. Even that didn't get the color out from under my nails. Today (almost a week later) the color finally wore off.

After the kool-ade practice, I think I'm ready to try some of my acid dyes. I like more muted colors better than the brights of kool-ade, so I think I'll enjoy being able to blend my own colors even more.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Now With New Blog Links!

I've updated my blog links by getting rid of a few that don't interest me anymore and adding some new ones. Gotta change it up!

Very briefly:

(the customer is) Not Always Right: Hilarious stories about stupid customers. Good for at least one laugh a day!

A Wicked Good Yarn: Life and knitting from my friend Beth's point of view.

Behind the Counter: Snarky commentary by a former Wal-Mart employee. There's not much going on now, but the archive posts are a hoot.

Butterfly Yarns: What else is there to say? The best little yarn shop around.

Cake Wrecks: You'd better pray you don't get one of these cakes. This blog makes me laugh until I cry.

Can't Stop Knitting: My friend Lisa's blog -- she really can't stop knitting!

Fail Blog: Photo blog where the picture is worth 1,000 laughs.

I am Neurotic: Reading this blog will make you feel like the healthiest, sanest person you know.

New England Knitter: My friend Cathy's take on knitting and other good stuff.


The Knitting's the Thing

It's been a while since I blogged about knitting, so here goes.

The Twisted Tree sweater is finished! The neck seemed a little small, so I tried it on Jack and Lily. Big mistake. Both kids have a larger than average noggin, and the neck was indeed too tight. Fortunately, one of my friends has a daughter with a normal noggin. The neck fit over her head just fine. Since I have no idea whether the intended recipient has a large or normal noggin, I decided I'll have to rip back the neck a couple of rows and redo the cast off in a stretchier version. The sweater is ready to block today, assuming I have time to get to it.

I also finished the Noro Hat! It's been a big week for me! I love the way the Noro hat came out. I'm definitely going to make another one for myself after the Great Christmas Marathon is over. My only complaint was the instructions concerning the second to last decrease. Now, I now my ability to read and properly interpret patterns is questionable, ever since the whole 5 US 2 needles thing (See this post for more info). Still, when I see (K1, K2tog) 12 times, it tells me I'm supposed to K1 and then K2 together, and then K1, and then K2 together, etc., etc., 12 times. The thing is, when you only start with 25 stitches, and need to get to 13, this instruction is NOT going to get you there. After several false starts and quite a bit of frogging, I finally K1 and then did K2tog 12 times. Voila! 13 stitches. So simple if you actually sit down and use math instead of pigheadedly knitting the row with the same mistake 5 times!

The Pinwheel Sweater is coming along so quickly it's like a miracle. It's been a while since I knit anything with size 9 US needles. I'm just blazing through it, even though I've been dealing with Captain Puketastic and Whiney Girl for the last few days. I have 8 more rows until the circle that forms the body of the jacket is finished. Then I just need to bang out the two sleeves and decide what I'm doing for trim. Here's my dilemma: the pattern calls for a looped i-cord around the circumference of the circle. I don't know why (perhaps it's the mind-numbing repetition), but I loathe knitting i-cord with the fiery intensity of a thousand suns. At the same time, I really like the way the trim called for by the pattern looks. I'm torn between sucking it up and doing i-cord or figuring out a crocheted trim that I like.

My next project will be a felted entrelac bag. I haven't tried entrelac yet, so I'm really excited to start. Plus, I bought some beautiful Elizabeth Austin Andes yarn, and I'm dying to see how it knits up.