Tuesday, February 28, 2006

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Knitting...Already in Progress

This is the back, two wrap fronts, and partial first sleeve of Cari's Baby Yoda sweater. I am knitting it for friends who recently had a little pink one. I also just found out a co-worker is having a little pink one in June, so maybe I will knit another one up for her. It is such a cute pattern and knits up quickly when the Knitting Olympics don't interfere with the regular knitting line-up, that is.

I am knitting it in washable Paton's Canadiana Acrylic in the medium pink color. It is a pretty cross between Bazooka and Pepto-Bismal pink.

Gold Medal

Here it is:

So pretty.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Photo Finish

Chamonix with the turtleneck extended...
and Chamonix with the turtleneck rolled down...
Needles: US#10.5 Clover Bamboo 14"
Yarn: Bernat Softee Chunky in Navy Blue
Pattern: "Cables in Chamonix" from The Yarn Girls Guide to Beyond the Basics
Pattern Modifications: I added an inch and a half to both the front and the back to make it a little bit longer and I also added an inch to each sleeve because I have long arms and hate when my cuffs ride up.

For my first adult-sized sweater attempt...not bad, if I do say so myself!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Chamonix est fini

I am done...ends woven in and all.
The time?
Saturday, February 25, 2006 at 8:34 pm EST.

Will post pictures tomorrow when the lighting here Chez Finley is better.

I must say, I am a perfectionista, and even I cannot find many faults with this sweater. Especially if you ignore the glaring to me mistake design element on the front of the sweater at boobage level where there is an "abbreviated cable pattern". This is the nice way of saying I completely messed up and couldn't count to 10, I only made it to 8 apparently! What can I say? It was late, there was ice dancing on the TV (I think Tanith Belbin is just the cutest little thing!), and there may have been a serious lack of sleep going on. I actually toyed with the idea of ripping back to it...but the neck was already shaped and bound off when it was discovered. I take solace in the fact that no one will no but me. Although I am such a perfectionist, I will probably point it out to everyone, just so they realize I am not that great a knitter after all. It is right at breast level, perhaps the small distortion there will make it less noticeable??

What did I learn during this, my very first adult-sized sweater?

  1. I will definitely knit up this pattern again ("Cables in Chamonix" from The Yarn Girls Guide to Beyond the Basics).
  2. I think my days of scarves might be coming to an end. I may be ready to tackle more complex projects...this definitely built some confidence in my knitting and pattern reading skills.
  3. I can find time to knit if it is a priority to me.
  4. My family can often wait for things if I am busy. The phrase, "Just let Mommy knit one more row" is now commonplace amongst us. As is the fact that Mommy will, in fact, try to squeeze in two or three rows instead of the promised one if you are not vigilant in bothering her again in a few moments. But, I seem to have them well-trained in the past 15 days...BB#1 actually said to me tonight, "Mom, can you come look at something, as soon as you finish the row you are on?" OMG! How awesome is that?!
  5. The world will not end if we have take-out three nights in a row so that I can have free time to knit.
  6. My couch is not comfortable for sitting six and seven hours at a stretch.
  7. Washing dishes can actually be therapeutic when you have aching, cramping hands from knitting for hours on end.
  8. Extra-Strength Tylenol will relieve that horrible aching from my tendon in my left forearm.
  9. Wet blocking acrylic really doesn't help much and can be skipped in the future.
  10. Taking the time to finish the sweater properly from the right-sides, produces a much more professional result that the inside-out backstitching method I have used previously and is worth the extra time and swearing.

So, what is next? My first pair of socks! I think I am ready!

Pictures tomorrow morning ...I promise!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Never Ending Sleeve--Day 13

The sleeve is in fact, never-ending. And worse of all, it is only the first one. I still have to do the other. If I had been thinking, I would have cast them both onto the needle at once, and feel like I was making more process...but alas, I am not that smart it seems.

So, today I had planned to go to Target to get a big Rubbermaid bin in which to store the stash which is quickly over-taking the area underneath the sofa (in a big zippered comforter storage bag). And to deal with the inherited stash that I got from my mother-in-law that is taking up way too much space in the bedroom. I also need to go to JoAnn and get some navy blue embroidery floss to use to finish the sweater when it is done. However, a quick look at the counter over at the Yarn Harlot's (3 days, 4 hours, 19 minutes, 22 seconds!! YIKES!!) smacked some reality into my silly brain. Instead, I will be planted on the bulging over with yarn stash sofa, doggedly knitting away on the Never Ending Sleeve #1 and hopefully getting a good deal done on NESleeve #2. Then, tomorrow--finishing up and blocking. Then Saturday, sewing it all up and picking up stitches for the turtleneck. If all goes well, completed early...but let's be realistic...you just know that we are going to get unexpected company or something that will fuck the whole plan up.

I am beginning to wish I hadn't told a soul about joining the Knitting Olympics so I could just chuck the pieces into a bag and walk away with my pride in tact. However, I don't seem to work that way. This sweater will be finished on time...it just will.

By the way...this,

was absolutely wonderful on Tuesday night. The girl who played the role of Christine was actually the understudy's understudy...but she was phenomenal. My husband turned to me halfway through and said, "Holy shit, how good are the actual actresses if this one is so awesome?" I don't know...I'm guessing pretty good.

The staging was incredible! I've never seen it done on Broadway before, so I have nothing to compare it to, however, the lady at the restaurant where we ate dinner before the show said that she believes (and has heard from others), that they feel that the transitions between the scenes for this touring production are superior to the Broadway ones. All I know is that the set was draw-droppingly stunning and beautiful. The lady behind me kept gasping and screaming out whenever the pyrotechnics went off. It was funny. You would have thought she had never seen a firework before!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Damn Distractions!

And no, I don't mean the children (although they are distractions aplenty).

I mean these:

Has my mail delivery person never heard of the Knitting Olympics? Does he not know of the evil insidious countdown ticker that is tick-tick-ticking away as we speak I type over on the Yarn Harlot’s web page? Can’t he hear it? It is ticking as loud as Marissa Tomei’s biological clock in My Cousin Vinny. I can hear it resonating through the house. Can’t you??

How DARE that blue uniformed yarn pusher drop off these glossy temptations in my grubby little paws, okay, okay, so I met him at the door on my doorstep when I am hard at work on a sleeve? Does he have no mercy? None at all?

And have I looked at them? Ummm...


but I desperately want to.

I noticed today while checking in on other KO athletes that a lot of people are throwing in the towel due to fatigue, annoyance, and other types of butt-kicking type crap personal reasons. I am torn between gloating in their tired, quitter faces, and very smartly holding off until I see if I will successfully finish my own crazily-too-much-to-do-in-16-days project and join them over in the stands. Since I don’t want to get my butt kicked by some sleep-deprived, once-athlete Knitter for some other sleep deprivation induced poorly placed and poor sportsman-like comment...I will sign off now, and get back to the fucking ridiculous knitting pace that I am forced to commit to in order to finish on time and NOT be a quitter business at hand.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Finally, the Front before the Phantom!

It felt like it took forever, like I was knitting and knitting and knitting and the darn thing wasn't getting any bigger...But finally, the front is done! I am not sure about the crew-neck shaping. I followed the directions to a T, but I am not happy with how it turned out. It called for binding off stitches on each side of the center stitches that were bound off first. This resulted in an interesting and annoying stair-step look. It is very bulky and when I pick up the stitches for the turtleneck, I am afraid that they will be annoying on the inside. If I ever make this sweater again, I think I would decrease stitches instead of binding them off to make for a smoother curve.

Next up, the sleeves...But first, tonight is our date night and The Phantom of the Opera. I cannot wait.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Pretty Things in Sunshine

This is the progress made this weekend on my Knitting Olympics project...Cables in Chamonix sweater (from the Yarn Girls' Guide to Beyond the Basics). I am just about up to the armhole shaping and then will have to figure out the crew neck shaping. I've read the directions about ten times and think I finally have a clue...it's just mirror images, right? How hard can that be? Well, if you've never done it before...pretty hard. I think it is one of those things where I will understand when I get there. A stay-tuned and all-will-be-revealed sort of experience. At least I hope so!

This is our Mid-Winter Recess at school, so I have all week off. Lots of time to knit. Tomorrow night is our big belated Valentine's date-night. Dinner at The Van Dyck restaurant, which I've heard is really nice and romantic...and then, at last, The Phantom at Proctor's Theatre. I get to dress up and not have to cut up anyone else's food at dinner! Thanks to Steve and Amy who are watching Le Bug for us. I cannot wait!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Day 7: Progress Report...ahem...

Today is the Bug's birthday. He is two. That powder blue blur is his "bee" (blankie). It goes everywhere with us. Last weekend, we lost it at the mall. We discovered it just as we got out to the parking lot. Daddy (aka "The Rookie") was too cranky to go back to the mall and retrace our steps to find it. Mommy (aka "The Pro-after-all-I've-done-this-twice-before") just smiled knowingly and said, "Okay", as he packed the "bee"-less Bug into the car seat.

People...we live about 20 minutes from the mall where the blankie was lost.

The screaming for the "bee" began about one nanosecond after we slammed the mini-van's sliding door.

Needless to say, Daddy pulled into the nearest Tar-jhay (Target, for those of you who don't spraken de Frenchie), and ran in to see if they had a new one. Now, you all, I bought the original "bee" when the Bug was still a fetus. TWO years ago! But, lo' and behold, they had one, exactly the same...and now, what you see above is a much happier Bug, playing shy on his precious little birthday. Today is low-key--tomorrow Grandma comes and we have CAKE!! Chocolate cake.

And now, to the real, subject at hand. Ahem...

My (lack of) progress on my Olympics knitting. I just cast on for the front last night and got about one pattern repeat done (10 rows). It hit me today that the Olympics are half over tomorrow. It would stand to reason that our projects should be half-way completed, right?

Well, duh...but unless I am actually making a sleeveless turtleneck shell...then, mine is more like one quarter done.

Must knit...no time to blog.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Day 5: Progress Report

My absolutely beautiful Valentine's Day flowers from my husband. I love sweetheart roses. So little, so perfect. And, I get to go out to a fancy dinner and to see The Phantom of the Opera next week too!
The back of the Cables in Chamonix sweater is done...this picture is to show you the gorgeous cabling work...
This one is to show you the actual color of the yarn. I had to overexpose the other picture to make the cables stand out. It is dark, navy blue. 100% acrylic (I know...) but it is good acrylic. Bernat Softee Chunky (try it...it is not bad at all!).

Sunday, February 12, 2006

And the Games are Under Way...

This is the progress I have made the last two evenings and a bit of the afternoon Saturday.
This is the back of my Cables in Chamonix sweater from The Yarn Girls Guide to Beyond the Basics. I am almost up to the arm shaping. I am knitting the size Medium, and because I like my sweaters just a little bit on the longish side, I am adding about an inch and half to the body length. It is going well, no complications yet...the shaping seems relatively straightforward, but we'll see when I actually get there.

The Olympic opening ceremonies were unbelievable! I was sitting there with my mouth open, catching flies, through most of it. Wow! They seem to get more incredible every time. Even the boys were spellbound, and since the ceremonies weren't sponsored by Nintendo, that is saying something!

We were supposed to get that huge Nor'easter, but it seems to have veered off and missed us, it is just dusty swirly snow outside. The boys are disappointed, they were hoping for some real snow and maybe even a snow day tomorrow if it was bad enough. I'll save the snow day actually, we only have this week to get through, and then school is closed for a week for Mid-Winter's Break.

Well...off for more knitting. I have to stretch a bit first...the tendon that runs down the side of my left forearm is grumpy lately.

Happy Knitting! Go Team USA!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A Blogger's (Silent) Poetry Reading

Inspired by the poetry reading on the YarnHarlot blog today, I decided to find a poem to share with everyone. The only problem...I couldn't decide which of my three all-time favorites was the worthiest. So, here they all are. Each wonderful in its own way.

#1. I found this poem while I was pregnant for my third son and it made me weep. And it wasn't just the hormones!

Cathy Song

My daughter's long black
hair touches the water

where she sits, waist deep in the warm
bath to receive her baby brother.

I cup the running water,
precious in the summer of drought,

and enter the cool porcelain tub,
my arms weighed with the sturdy

cargo of my infant son.
He lies on his back

and calmly gazes into the faces
of those who love him.

We adore him,
delight in the kernel of toes,

like the youngest of corn,
the bracelets of flesh,

the apricot glow of his skin.
His sister anoints him with the sweetest soap.

And love passes like this,
cloudless in the face of a thousand years---

for the mother who parts the water
and sends

the baby in the reeds

to a young girl who waits,
arms and legs

a small harbor.

#2. This one is so unbelievably sensual I cannot take it! Pablo Neruda is amazing if you don't already know.

"Drunk As Drunk On Turpentine"
Pablo Neruda

Drunk as drunk on turpentine

From your open kisses,

Your wet body wedged

Between my wet body and the strake

Of our boat that is made out of flowers,

Feasted, we guide it our fingers

Like tallows adorned with yellow metal

Over the sky's hot rim,

The day's last breath in our sails.

Pinned by the sun between solstice

And equinox, drowzy and tangled together

We drifted for months and woke

With the bitter taste of land on our lips,

Eyelids all sticky, and we longed for lime

And the sound of a rope

Lowering a bucket down its well.

Then, We came by night to the Fortunate Isles,

And lay like fish

Under the net of our kisses.

#3. This one came to me after my divorce, as I was just falling in love with my husband, and was feeling uncertain if I had it in me again.

"To Have Without Holding"

Marge Piercy

Learning to love differently is hard,

love with the hands wide open,

love with the doors banging on their hinges,

the cupboard unlocked, the wind roaring

and whimpering in the rooms

rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds

that thwack like rubber bands in an open palm.

It hurts to love wide open

stretching the muscles that feel as if they are made of wet plaster,

then of blunt knives, then of sharp knives.

It hurts to thwart the reflexes of grab, of clutch;

to love and let go again and again.

It pesters to remember the lover who is not in the bed,

to hold back what is owed to the work

that gutters like a candle in a cave without air,

to love consciously, conscientiously, concretely, constructively.

I can't do it, you say

it's killing me,

but you thrive,

you glow on the street like a neon raspberry,

You float and sail, a helium balloon

bright bachelor's button blue and bobbing

on the cold and hot winds of our breath,

as we make and unmake in passionate

diastole and systole the rhythm

of our unbound bonding,

to have

and not to hold,

to love with minimized malice,

hunger and anger

moment by moment balanced.