Friday, March 30, 2007

Yarn Diet: False Start

While some people need to eat that huge piece of chocolate cake before starting a new food diet, I apparently need one (or three) last yarn purchases to prepare myself for months of stash knitting. Truthfully, I had intended to buy enough sock yarn to make two pairs of socks for my in-laws to thank them for all the babysitting they've been doing; however, I bought enough for three pairs! Bad knitter!

Lorna's Laces (I'm in love) Shepherd Sock in Pewter for my stepfather-in-law,
Louet Gems in Fern Green for my mother-in-law
and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Chocolate for me - the reason? I only own one pair of handknit socks. I don't even know how that is possible. And with so much work to do in these two weeks, I've been bribing myself with the promise of lots of sock knitting. Some people eat chocolate, I knit chocolate colored yarn. At least I won't gain any weight, right?
Finally, slow progress on Ida's socks. I've finished the first one and started the second but now I'm just knitting a few rows here and there. I'll pick them up again next weekend. Check out the cool striping!

Finally, go check out Kelley Petkun's blog- she and her husband own Knit Picks, my favorite not-so-local yarn store! I found the link to her blog on the much needed, newly redesigned Knit Picks site!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Child's First Sock Progress

Yay! Baby Gleek arrived! Go stop by and see the little wee one!

I was able to capture some better photos of my Child's First Sock from Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks book. I'm almost done with the first one but my knitting will be slowing down this month since I have a big Organic Chemistry exam and four of my comprehensive exams on April 6th. April 5th is going to be a rough day, I suspect. *sigh* There will be so much celebratory knitting on April 7th, let me tell you!

Anyway, have some sock photos!

Do you see that cool striping on the heel flap? It was virtually impossible to photograph but it's there! Between me and Stacey, there are going to be some colorful CFSs out there!

I encourage you to stop by Theresa's blog, where she's holding a contest in search of manly sock yarn and manly patterns. Someone needs to write a book of really good manly sock patterns that are actually interesting for the knitter to work on! I have two pairs of manly socks languishing in the UFO pile, mainly because they bored me to tears. I really ought to finish the blue pair. I am only inches away from finishing the second sock but two significant problems have arisen, one physical and one motivational. Aaron expressed doubt about the pointy toe and its suitability for what I would consider his pointy feet. I'm afraid that the 10 sts/inch gauge began to matter once the knitting mojo was compromised by said toe. Alas! The curse of manly knitting: utter boredom.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Nancy: The Only Bush that Ought to be President

All politics aside, isn't Nancy Bush the greatest?? I started the Child's First Sock from Vintage Socks this week using some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport yarn in Boldly Red. I suspect that these socks will take a bit longer to knit because I stop to admire how the pattern is coming out every few rows!

The richness of this yarn was difficult for me to capture. Perhaps I'll get The Photographer to take the FO photos!

Remember the Nancy Bush inspired socks? They might as well be called Elinor Can't Read socks but nonetheless, I like how they turned out.

Pattern: mis-read Gentleman's Sock in Railway Stitch from Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish
Needle: US 2

I have finally finished a pair of socks for Aaron! I'm ashamed to admit that there are two other pairs of socks intended for him in the UFO pile. He was beginning to believe he'd never get a pair, I think!

Next, some stash expansion! First, J. Knits superwash sock yarn in 'Newburyport'. I admit that I bought this yarn almost entirely because I used to live outside of Newburyport and I liked that the color was plum, as in nearby Plum Island! It was a total impulse buy, I admit it.

Next, some Koigu solid sock yarn that I bought yesterday on a quick trip to Kansas City. We were on the Country Club Plaza and when I pointed out that The Studio was only up the street, no one objected too loudly so I convinced them to let me pop in.
Given recent stash expansions, I have decided to go on a yarn diet. My last yarn diet lasted 14 months. I have incredible willpower. I need to jump back on the wagon because my stash is getting too big for my taste! I need to go track down one of those tacky tickers announcing how many days that it's been since I bought yarn!!!

I'll leave you with some really cool baby knitting: Saartje's mom. Go check it out. I need to make a sweater just like that! I'd have to reconstruct the pattern but it doesn't look too bad.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Mindless Stockinette Knitting

Sorry, folks! This is all I have for you this week. No yarn reviews, no pretty socks, just plain stockinette knitting and lots of it!

I received a few skeins of the new Cotton-Ease and decided to test it out. I think it's the same as the old stuff but it seems like it's spun a bit more loosely. I intend to pull out some stash Cotton-Ease for comparison.

I appreciate all of your comments about future baby sweater sizing for said bean pole. All of this stockinette is for a couple of long, skinny sweaters for next winter. Christine pointed out that sweaters stretch horizontally but not vertically so it wouldn't hurt to add length.

Lastly, I ought to announce that I won! I won! I've never won anything before so I'm pretty excited about winning Pepperknit's blogiversary contest!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Wear Test: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease

Oh Cotton-Ease, how sad I was to see your misguided manufacturer chose to discontinue you - such a wonderful cotton - only to promote its excess of crappy yarns. We knitters pleaded with said manufacturer to bring you back and voila! You've returned in better, less eye-searing colors.

Nothing beats Cotton-Ease for hard-wearing children's knits. Cascade 220 is great for outerwear but Cotton-Ease needs no qualifiers: it is the perfect choice anytime. It feels like cotton, washes like acrylic sans pills, softens like denim and offers a stunningly low cost per yard. I'm tempted to buy a few cases of this yarn before Lion Brand realizes that it actually makes a good product and decides to triple the price.

These were two hastily knit sweaters from my last fortnight of pregnancy (ah, nesting...) They have both seen quite a bit of wear and look just as good as the day they were finished.

Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease
Pattern: Debbie Bliss Special Knits
Needles: US 7

Pattern: My Seed Stitch Baby Hoodie
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease
Needles: US 7

Friday, March 09, 2007

R.I.P. Dear Running Shorts

This afternoon, I hatched this great plan to pack the stroller and some toys in the car, pick Aaron up from work at 5 and head down the street to the high school track so that I could get a quick speed workout in. He could entertain Beatrix while I ran repeats and then we'd all go home to celebrate the beginning of the weekend.

Since all of my running clothes were dirty, I dug into my dresser and fished out my most favorite pair of running shorts: a pair I ran in when I was in boarding school. Ahem. Yes, these shorts are more than 10 years old - do you have a problem with that??? They've logged many, many miles but I haven't kept them for sentimental reasons (not really); comfortable running shorts are hard to come by! They even helped me out when I was pregnant. Not huge pregnant (after all, I did stop at 28 weeks) but still, pregnant. I pulled on the shorts and headed out the door with Beatrix.

After the baby hand off, I started jogging down the street and by the end of the block, it became abundantly clear that I would not be running to the track, let alone around it. Had my hands not been at my hips holding my beloved shorts up, they would have been puddled at my ankles. It was quite a sight, let me tell you. When I took them off at home, I inspected the waist. No wonder they didn't fit. I should never have even put them on when I was pregnant! I've checked out the elastic and I don't even think I could replace it.

"What," you ask, "you actually considered replacing the elastic on running shorts that are over a decade old? Are you crazy??"

Yes I am.

I haven't blogged a lot about exercise but I'm still running and looking forward to some 5 and 10Ks this spring. My original plan had been to run 3-4 miles about three times a week and then run longer on the weekend. This has changed. Getting out of the house is such a huge production that I feel like I ought to at least run for an hour to make all of the preparation, timing and planning worthwhile. I hope to hit 20 miles this week but I'd like to soon be up to 25 miles/week. I'm also forcing myself to add in a few hills and hit the track for a speed workout once every 2 weeks.

The nice weather makes it so much easier to get out and I just feel like a new person after a good run. For you non-runners, there's always the painless Couch-To-5K program. It's never too late to start!!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My Skinny Babe

Why baby sweaters are all too short and too wide for baby in question:

At 6 mos, my little bean pole checks in at a mere 13.5 lbs. I think average is about 17.5 lbs! This is a hard baby to knit for, especially since most of my baby patterns are boxy Debbie Bliss numbers. The question is, should I assume that she will continue to be this shape? I want to knit her some sweaters for next winter. Should I alter the patterns to account for the lack of baby chub and make them a bit more narrow in the chest? What do you knitters think?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Knitting Funk

Thanks for all of your comments and encouragement on the mittens. I'm behind on my work this week so I haven't responded to anyone and I apologize.

I did finish my mitts at Knit Lawrence, although since I forgot the pattern book and decided to wing the thumb, the mittens don't match. Many thanks to blogless Camille and Jennifer, who encouraged me to knit the thumb sans pattern. I won't lose sleep over the lack of mitten symmetry because I made them for myself. Furthermore, one mitt is a little bigger than the other and I recently noticed a significant color chart mistake on the back of one hand so they're far from perfect. I still like the colors. We knitters are the only people that would notice the mistakes.

I also put the finishing touches (i.e. the button and ribbon) on this little tank top I made earlier this year for Beatrix. I hope she'll be able to wear it this summer. She's so skinny that a lot of clothes don't fit right. Her winter sweaters have about 5" of ease. I couldn't decide which picture to post (partly, I think, because I like the tank so much) so have several.

Pattern: Eyelet Top from Debbie Bliss' Special Knits
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport in Orchid
Needles: US 4

I think what I like most about this little top is that it's the kind of sweater that I would covet for myself. Don't worry - I will never make matching mama-baby sweaters, although I won't rule out socks. Doesn't it creep you out to receive a Christmas card from the family of 10 all wearing the same outfit?

I've been finishing little knitting projects lately because I have a lot of real world work to do these days. I have some big projects to finish for my master's degree before graduation in May. I haven't talked much about what I do on my blog, but I'd like to get a PhD or MD once I have my master's and work in infectious diseases or epidemiology. Since I never took any science in college, I've been taking chemistry, physics and biology classes alongside my grad classes to meet the PhD and medical school entrance requirements. Just this week, I met with an advisor who told me I should apply this summer, when I had assumed that I'd have to wait a year until I finished my science coursework. Suddenly, I have a huge amount of STUFF to do in the next six months. It is so very intimidating. I think I'll take the MCAT this summer. *GULP* I wish I could knit while studying.