Saturday, August 01, 2009

New Pet

CinnamonLittle Blue Dog sweaterWe have a new family member.

How can one resist those eyes? We'd gone to the pound "just to find out how one goes about adopting" and "just looking to see what they've got." Famous last words.

The 6-year-old has decided to call her Cinnamon, which I think is appropriate because her coat more resembles her Dachshund ancestors than the Chihuahua ones.

Just think, someone else to knit for! She gets cold in the air conditioning, so I had to try making her a sweater. This is "The Chihuahua Sweater" by Staceyjoy Elkin and it's a free pattern. It's knit in 2 pieces and seamed to form the front leg openings. It was a pretty easy knit and I can see I'll be playing around with the possibilities for a while.

You know, I used to think people who dressed up their pets were nutty. Now I find myself browsing through all those wacky pet costume patterns over at Ravelry! Guess I'm nutty too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What Mistakes?

We've been so busy, busy, busy around here lately, but there is something I want to share with you today.

You know, people say the nicest things about my knitting, and I am pleased to get a compliment for my effort, but some people are convinced that I am some paragon of perfection, and that I must never make mistakes because my work is just so ____ (insert adjective here).

I say Hah! I'm always messing up, but have simply learned how to deal with a knitting error by either:

1. Catching it early enough to fix it easily or
2. Being willing to rip it out and redo it or
3. Coming up with some snazzy way to hide it.

Case in point:

Late last night, I was working on a baby cardigan. I had nearly finished the body of the sweater, having only 20 rows or so to go. Of course, I quickly finished that off while watching the news. After I had bound off the hem, but before I had cut the yarn, I looked it over and discovered it wasn't behaving properly.

fixing errors in a baby sweaterThe hem was curling up and wouldn't lay flat, it was flaring out at the bottom. The garter stitch edge along the hem came out a wee bit wider than the stockinette stitch body. This happens sometimes, but for some reason I had forgotten about the possibility.

This is why many patterns recommend changing to a smaller needle or decreasing the number of stitches by 10% while doing the garter stitch edge of the garment. This particular pattern (Seamless Yoked Sweater by Carol Barenys) doesn't. So, I set the sweater aside for the night in disgust.

In the morning, I ripped out the 8 rows of garter stitch hem. I then re-knit the hem, but on 10% fewer stitches. Now, just because somebody is going to ask about the exact details, that's:

(I'm making the smaller size)
When you have 8 garter ridges on the front band after the 4th buttonhole;
Row 1: (right side row) k4,*k 8, k2tog* across row;
Rows 2-4: knit across row;
Row 5: Knit across row to within last 4 stitches, k 1, YO, k2tog, k 1;
Rows 6-8: Knit across row;
Bind off in purl on the right side.

When the sweater is finished, nobody will know about the mistakes I made and fixed. They won't know how many times I had to rip out a couple rows of this thing because I forgot to knit the garter stitches on the front band during a purl row. They won't see how many times I lost count on the slip stitch pattern and messed it up. Or had to fix stitches that were too tight, or too loose, or just too funky looking. And they certainly won't have a clue about the other weird ideas I tried on this sweater and discarded (ripped out quickly before anyone could see) before deciding on this simple, conservative take on the design.

I have several baby sweaters that I'm working on right now, in varying stages of completion. I will post here when I'm finished with them, but until then you can see photos of them in progress in my projects on Ravelry! .

Monday, July 06, 2009

Happy 4th

layered jello dessertsWe had an enjoyable Independence Day. Good friends, good food, good times.

As you can see, we had fun with Jello.

We learned a few things too, like don't pour warm gelatin liquid on top of the whipped topping, or you will you end up with floating blue goo on top of your dessert. I chose to disguise it with more whipped topping and a cherry, of course. It was a hit.

But then, that's the magic of the Fourth of July BBQ, everything is a hit. Cook it on the grill and smother it with your favorite brand of bottled BBQ sauce, and it's your own little piece of heaven. They'll even eat their veggies-and like it.

You know, there's always something you forget to buy at the grocery store, and after two follow-up trips to pick up what had been forgotten, I was still missing that vegetable soup mix I usually use for the dip. I'd had enough of traveling in the heat and decided to improvise with whatever I had in the house. Here is the recipe I came up with. Feel free to substitute low-fat or fat-free versions of ingredients.

bowl of spinach dipSpinach Dip

1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed, excess water squeezed out
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
2 cups prepared ranch dressing
1 cup sour cream

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Chill for 30 minutes before serving with chips and crackers or other dippers of your choice.

I used an envelope of ranch dressing mix and followed their directions to prepare the dressing, but you can use bottled ranch, creamy italian, blue cheese or other creamy salad dressing. Also consider adding chopped cucumber, chopped roasted sweet red peppers or other veggies you like to the dip.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

...Or maybe I did...

Wow. Time has sure flown by.

After Mom passed, I just didn't have the heart to knit for a while. It was something I did with her, after all. I do miss her, but it's not as painful anymore. It does ease with time.

I have started knitting again. I've had more time lately and more motivation to do so. A couple of years ago it seemed like everyone was having baby boys, well this year everyone is having baby girls. Strangely enough, the young women in my neighborhood like my knitted gifts. They even make requests. The most popular? The February sweater, in any color except pink.

Here is my latest February sweater, in violet Lion Brand Baby Soft. I managed to finish it a little over a week before the baby was born, and any time a project is finished before the kid outgrows it is a victory in my book.

Can you tell I've been going through all those boxes full of old unfinished projects? Yes indeed.

I visited my local yarns shops this week (for the first time in several months) just to reacquaint myself with their inventories. You know, pet-and-drool. I'm on a fiber diet until I can finish sorting out the stash conglomerate, so I wasn't actually shopping. While I was drooling, I saw a very simple little baby sweater in Araucania Nature Cotton, a one-ball wonder, that I simply must try. It was even in the same color as that orphan ball of Nature Cotton in my stash. The employee and I counted stitches and measured lengths to figure it out, since there was no pattern for her to sell me. Now, that's accommodating.

I'll be sharing that with you soon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I haven't disappeared.

It's been a while since I have written a blog post. Well, that's not exactly true-it's been a while since I published a post. I have several drafts of posts in this folder that I started to write but never finished. Some things are difficult to write about.

My mother passed away.

I had been living with her and caring for her while she fought cancer the last few years. Now that the battle is over, our lives are changing. Moving, selling the house, sorting out her belongings-all the usual things are keeping us very busy just now.

So, I haven't disappeared. I'm just dealing with one of the more difficult things in life.

Friday, July 25, 2008


World Wide Knit In Public Day 2008There hasn't been much knitting going on around here the last couple of months. The best knitting time comes when the mind is occupied but the hands are free, and lately my hands have been quite busy at other tasks.

I did manage to make it to our local WWKIP '08 event on Saturday June 14 with my Ravelry group. We did a great deal of chatting while knitting, as usual. We sat on the benches in the courtyard, shaded by the trees, listening to the splashing water and every now and then feeling a bit of the mist blown by the wind off the fountain. It was truly lovely.

Monday, May 26, 2008

We interrupt this knitblog for a bit of humor.

I get such a kick out of these little quizzes. When I see one that catches my eye I simply must click over to see what my results will be. Today I saw the Muppet Quiz on someones blog. I remember the Muppet Show, and I just had to try it out.

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgeable, you are the perfect sidekick.

You're always willing to lend a helping hand.

In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.

"15 seconds to showtime!"

Of course, while you're there at the Blogthings website, you have to try out some of their other quizzes too. Hey, cookies! Everyone loves cookies, let's see which cookie I am, shall we?

You Are a Chocolate Chip Cookie

Traditional and conservative, most people find you comforting.

You're friendly and easy to get to know. This makes you very popular - without even trying!

Oh, here's an interesting one, let's see what my fridge says about me!

What Your Fridge Says About You

You tend to be a very hedonistic, greedy person. You have trouble saying no to what you want.

You are not careful with your money. In fact, you rarely think about how much you are spending.

You are a very adventurous person. You love to try new things, and you get bored very easily.

You are responsible, together, and mature. You act like an adult, even when you don't feel like it.

You are likely to be married - and very busy.

ROFL! Now, I would have said that my fridge looks like it belongs to a large family with healthy eating habits (lots of veg) who enjoy variety (different ethnic condiments). Continuing with the topic of food, I gotta know-what spice am I?

You Are Ginger

Like ginger, you are a total shape shifter.

You can be sweet, spicy, mellow, or overpowering.

You are both soothing and unique. You are popular... yet you are often overlooked.

OK, one more for the road.

Your Pirate Name Is...
Lord Fanny La Bouche