Life knitting, working and parenting

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

One is the loneliest number 

This has been a whirlwind of a weekend, with so much to talk about. I don't have the time to do justice to each event, but briefly:

Nana's funeral was beautiful. I saw Aunt Susan again for the first time since I was 7 YO. It was so good to have the whole of Dad's family together if only for an afternoon. The ceremony brought closure, and I was able to leave a picture of Isaac and Ollie with Nana to remind her of the future generations which will carry her memory forward.

Saturday we went to the Carlisle firestation with Bobby, and Jimmy & Pam joined us. The boys raced around like madmen, and Ollie did her best to keep up.

Sunday morning we met at the Portsmouth Children's museum to celebrate Julia Fifield's birthday. All of the UNH crowd was there, and we had the place to ourselves. It was amazing!! Isaac's favorite part was the space shuttle, and Ollie was so busy that I don't think she had a single *favorite* thing. We went out for brunch afterwards to Molly Malone's. 11 of us, half were kids, and it went very well. Enough said. I loved the time I got to spend with Nate and Kara - I do miss them terribly.

Monday morning we went to the North Chelmford parade and watched it twice - once on the way up, once on the the way back on the other side of the block. It had to be the smallest of small town parades, certainly that I'd ever seen, but the kids thought it was the greatest. Last year Isaac was into the firetrucks and ambulances as they drove by. This year he figured out that they would throw candy & you'd think it was raining gold coins! He would wave both of his hands frantically, smiling and cheering, selling himself for a couple of tootsie rolls. But when they threw him some, he'd scurry out into the road, timidly at first and no holds barred by the end, and scoop it up. Because it was such a small parade, we had no problems parking, and it wasn't too crowded as a bystander. Perfect for two little kids! Ollie was feeling under the weather, and looking back on it, I think it began on Sunday. She was very quiet, snuggly and needy, which is a sure sign she's not feeling well!

In the afternoon we went to the Garrison house for a tour. We ran from house-to-house under our kiddie umbrellas. Isaac loved the blacksmith shop, and there was a little outbuilding where they were cooking popcorn over an open flame for the kids. Finally we bought some sour cherry and some apricot jam after a lengthy conversation with the lady who grew all the fruit on her own farm about how to keep the birds away.

It was a wonderful weekend, although I'd been expecting otherwise with Nana's funeral. I also got started on my second sock during all my traveling time. It's completed through the end of the gusset. I modified it from the first: only 48 st total, and shortened the foot length (now I'm a little worried it'll be too short!!), hoping for a better fit. I'll go back and shorten the first sock once this is done.

Ollie's home sick today; she woke up with a fever and her cough isn't any better. I hated leaving for work today when all she wanted was Mommy, but I will probably go home at lunchtime, if I can sort things out here at work first. Speaking of which, enough for now...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Heavenly Bliss 

Last night I blocked the newly completed pieces of the Debbie Bliss Modified baby sweater & it looks great! All the recalculations to accomodate the chunky yarn worked smoothly on this minimalist sweater, and it'll be a cute one. I'm aiming to seam this project by the end of the holiday weekend if not before as I'm too excited to see the final result. I think I'll be making one for both Isaac and Ollie with a modified neckline including a buttoned shoulder to accomodate my very fat-headed children, so they don't outgrow them so quickly. Very basic, very cute!

Now, do I make another, or just start knitting hats & booties as fast as possible to keep up with the upcoming births??

On the work front, Praecis had a massive layoff on Friday http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=prcs&d=v1. It was truly a black Friday here as we lingered in our respective departments, waiting to see if our name is next on the list. Now that the amputations are done, those few of us who are left are stuck with the aftermath of grief and bitterness. I worry about who else will be leaving us shortly.

Finally, my father called on Saturday morning to tell me that Nana died Friday night. The funeral arrangements have been made for Thursday and Friday. I am so sad, of course, to say goodbye to one of the steadfast forces of goodness in my life. I'm even more worried for my father who has borne more over the past couple of years than any human should bear in a lifetime.

I think I'll knit a prayer shawl next in memory of this time of my life. That's one of the comforts I've found in knitting, that each piece I create becomes a journal of my life. The taupe sweater encompasses my graduation through the birth of my children. My fuchia pair of toe-up magic loop socks were made during my leave with Ollie, and will forever remind me of my special time with both children that summer. Of course there are several pieces I've made as gifts of love to commemorate the births of babies within my circle of friends. Each one has a story, and is made with great care for the giftee. I think that is the essence of knitting that keeps me coming back. Now I can knit my first piece representing some of the sadness in this time of my life, and wrap myself in it as a reminder of the cycles of life in times when comfort is hard to be found.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Honeymoon is Over! 

Last night I completed & grafted the I-cords, and with only a few more ends to weave in, it'll be done in no time. I tried it on, and while it's not quite the look I was after, it is very cute, and not too short either. It'll be great on a summer night with jeans.

Also finished sock one of the Sockatta self-patterning yarn.

Upcoming projects? A modified version of a Debbie Bliss baby boat neck sweater, knit with wool ease in chunky weight in an olive green color. Should be very cute, quick & I can't wait to get started!

Off for a day with the kids!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Honeymoon Camie on the home stretch 

I'm just about there. As of this morning I have only to knit the I-cord shoulder straps on the camie and its done (well that, and remove all the cat-hair that's built up from Scamper snuggling during our knitting sessions). I'm holding my breath that it's not too short afterall; as I wrote earlier, I don't have the belly to be playing peek-a-boo anymore, so I'd knit in an extra inch. I'm afraid that that extra inch wasn't enough however (a row-gauge problem??). Perhaps I'll write Julia and suggest she add more dimentions to her schematic to assist with that issue. Not much longer and it's done!!

Also, tonight is the Yarn Harlot's book signing at Willow Books at 7 PM. Can't wait! I only hope to get there before 6:45 while there still might be a seat. We'll see! Check it out!


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Little O goes girly 

After yesterday's Little O story, I just had to write a note on watching my little girl grow up. She's already becoming a clothes horse! Maybe a month ago I went to the store and picked up a few spring things for the kids' wardrobe. When Ollie saw the bag on the table at the front entry, and realized there were clothes for her in it, she started pawing through the bag. Everytime she found something for her, she'd struggle to her feet (like only a 19 mo old could) and wrap the whole shirt around her neck like a boa, then turn and smile at me, saying, "Ollie's shirt". She was having a ball! At Easter she wore her new little Easter dress to Grammy's house for dinner. When she got there & took off her coat, I told her to show Grammy her pretty new dress, and she did little pirouettes for Grammy, round and round to show it off, her chubby arms out to her sides to show the dress in it's full glory. You've never seen a bigger smile! Then just yesterday, I had bought Ollie a new pair of sneakers. Very plain, white sneakers & none of us had made much of a fuss over them, since they weren't much different than her last pair. But when she got to Grammy's that morning, she started stomping her feet, running in place to tell Grammy she had a new pair of shoes that she liked VERY MUCH. She even told Grammy they helped her run fast!

My sweet little girl!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Oh me, Oh my! 

Have I been delinquent or what??

It has been a busy winter full of fiber fun, and yet I didn't even post once. First, here's a list of completed projects:

Hat and scarf set for me, LB Thick&Quick in Fisherman.
-Very basic, very comfy. Self-designed.
Hat and neck muff for little O in LB Thick&Quick fuscia.
-The sweetest little, self-designed hat with a knotted top. I just love it!
Finished the 10 YO cabled sweater from grad-school (Finally!).
-Turned out to be a men's large with sleeves modified to fit. Self-designed. My favorite!
Cabled bulky-weight sweater (Zar One, wine color)
-Heartbreak of the year. Great yarn, sweater fits, but the gauge of the pattern is too large for the yarn, despite the manufacturer's directions. The neckline is misshapen too. From Winter 2004 Knit it! magazine #21?? I think I'll be ripping this one out in the fall, and making something else out of it. Special ordered the yarn with much ado about receiving/paying for it as well. It just wasn't meant to be.

Current projects:

Pair of socks for me from Sockatta cotton-wool blend yarn, self-striping in blues, purple and grey.
-Yummy yarn-5 stars! Commuter knitting, although I'm hung up on finishing the gussets of this first one. CO 7 st, toe-up. Increased to 52 st for foot. Added 13 st for each gusset & followed CH&T directions for general pattern. Seem to be skewed 2 st extra on one gusset than the other as I'm decreasing the gussets & haven't figured it out. Will resolve or overlook when I pick up this project again. Haven't decided. Clover bamboo 7"? DPN size 2. 7st/in. Deferred to project #2.

Honeymoon Cami in Stahl sche Wolle "Bingo" 58% cotton, 32%viscose, 10% acryllic, color: 1702 L/N: 108919 Black
-A silky, glossy cotton blend with unexpected slubs every 2 feet or so. A smoother yarn would do better service to the cami, esp. the twisted ribbing, but it still looks great, highly textured & interesting, esp. in stst. Just finishing the increases. The bottom portion went quickly. The plain stst is getting boring. Looking forward to the upcoming shaping. A couple of solid nights' work should wrap things up! Can't wait to try it on! Bottom was cast on for the 34" size, adjusted pattern decreases to fit the 23" waist & continue to the 32" bust. Added bits of length in the waist to minimize belly-button peek-a-boo. Knit on Addi Turbo, 24" #5?. Intentionally tighter gauge than suggested to achieve a less-sheer fabric (need to confirm st gauge, 11 rows/2 in). Love the fabric density now - will have to test in the finished product for fit (thus followed the 34" CO to make sure it'll fit over hips with jeans).

That's all for now. I've got my eyes on a Peace Fleace cardigan come fall. I've also ordered several yarns from Ebay which need a project:

Maybe a sweater for Little O: "This lot contains 4 skeins totaling 330gms (11.6 ounces) of wool singles plied with Cotton single that have all been randomly hand dyed purple. The effect of this combination was that the wool dyed and the cotton took on a rose colour. This is a bulky (lofty) yarn." Paid ca. $15 with S/H.


A close-fitting cabled-pullover for me: "73% cotton, 16% silk, 7% linen 5% nylon. 4- 4oz skeins. 150 yards per skein. Needle size #10 gauge 3 1/2 sts per inch (knitters) This is a beautiful hand dyed yarn from Santa Fe. Combed cotton in a rosey pink, with a darker rose thread twisted around the shaft. Very soft, high quality." I was so pleased when I got this. Paid $35ish for it.

I'm trying to build up a stash as I'm building up my knitting momentum and on several occassions have found nights to myself without yarn to knit anything. What knitter can say that!!

Patterns I'm checking out: Rogue, Everyday Cardi, and several from skinnyrabbit.com.

Also, lots of babies coming soon. I'd love to knit for them all, but check out the list:

Bonnie: anytime
Jamie&Scott: end of June
The Flewellings
The Fifields: Oct
The Hellings: Oct
April: Oct 1st

I think I will try something for the Fifields, but it might have to wait until the baby's born, since they don't know the sex. I'd like to do something for the Helling's since it's their first. I might pass on knitting for Bonnie due to the SnB competition :). I'll have to find out more info from the others to make better plans.

That's the download!!

Friday, October 08, 2004

quick update 

I am squeezing in this posting just to tell one little story. The night before my birthday, while fixing dinner, I was feeding Ollie in her highchair while I cooked. Somehow we were getting silly and I taught her how to toast and say "Cheers!" while clinking glasses. She caught on after the first try, and now sweet little baby-girl toasts me between every sip at the dinner table ever since!

Another tough week down at work, and I finally begin my blessed parttime schedule. I'm supposed to meet with Sandra tonight for coffee and girl talk, if the kids cooperate. We'll see!

More later!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Weekend in Review 

Briefly, Friday we celebrated at the Outback (previously mentioned!) and Sat we were supposed to meet with Sandra, Ken and Evan to go to Verrill Farm (www.verrillfarm.com) for a hayride and pumping picking. However that morning Sandra called and said she and Evan were sick, not to mention that the skies were overcast and dismal. We postponed those plans and really just stuck around the house. We read books, played and snuggled. Ollie and I went to the library while Isaac went with Grammy and Grampy to Aunt Becky's house with takeout pizza. I just love seeing Isaac get so excited to see Becky - no inhibitions or reservations & he's happy to sit beside her and eat pizza together. Meanwhile Ollie and looked through the Debbie Bliss books with different agendas. She was checking out the other babies on each page, while I snuck an extra long peek at all the patterns. If only I had more time, I'd knit them all! But with such a fine gauge (relatively speaking, as 4/in is my limit these days!!) there's not much hope of that.
So that was our Sat, with an oil change and a cup of java with homebaked biscotti thrown in.

Sun we headed up to the Deerfield Fair, and spent afterhours at the Fifields with the Lessards too, watching the Patriots, running up and down the stairs as each child took their turn crying for Mommy, and fitting in a bit of work on the sleeves of the-sweater-that-never-ends. Unfortunately this morning I found a dropped stitch and consequently a funky crossover as payment for the minimal attention.

More later!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Birthday celebrations 

More catching up to do, but here's last night's adventure first. To celebrate the successful season at the nursery we all went out to the Outback (my how our taste in restaurants has changed since having kids!). Jim and I met Jim's parents & the kids there. When we drove up, they were all sitting outside waiting for us, and when the kids saw us they junped out of their seats waving and cheering (such fanfare!). Poor Ollie lost her balance and did a bellyflop of the sidewalk in her enthusiasm. The kids did great at dinner except that it lasted too long - everyone has their limits!

Afterwards we came back to our house for cake and icecream - Jim had picked up the most beautiful chocolate & whipped cream cake. Yummy! The kids had such a ball singing happy birthday and blowing out the candles that we did it twice :). Isaac ate almost all of the chocolate coin garnishes off the top and was buzzing for the next 2 hours.

More later!

Friday, October 01, 2004

Catch Up 

I've decided to add more non-knitting commentary, as my life is so full of wonderful daily events between kids, home and work, I really want it all committed to cyberspace before the memories fade.

This week has been so busy and for the better; after a month in purgatory, I received word at work that I can change to a 4-day, 34 h/week schedule with only minor inconvenience to all. This change will be such a blessing to my sanity, and all the extra time I'll be able to devote to the kids. Ollie and Isaac will only be young once. I hate to miss a minute!

Here's one of my infinite, precious kiddie stories I have to share that happened earlier this week. I got up early on Thurs, and was in the bathroom brushing my teeth when I casually glanced out the window into the backyard. I watched with secret pleasure as 5 deer cautiously came out of the woods into the yard, obviously looking for food. One was very young, much smaller than the 4 other females. I watched quietly with wonder for a few seconds then decided to check and see if Isaac was awake yet - he'd just love to see them. Turns out my cute little man was wide awake, curled up in fetal position in his bed, just lingering and waiting for someone else to get up first. I peeked around the corner and he gave me his million-dollar smile, so I hurriedly pulled him out of bed to show him the deer. He was a little bewildered, but once he saw the animals he was captivated. We watched silently, then he began to ask questions: what are they doing? Why are they eating your garden, Mommy? (my answer: It's okay Isaac. Mommy will share with the deer). I knew Jim was awake, listening in to our conversation; I told Isaac to go get Daddy to show him too. Isaac comes back, Daddy in tow and says, "Look Daddy at all the deer!". Jim says, "Yes Isaac, they're eating the gardens." Isaac: "That's OK, Mommy said we could share (OOPS)". Daddy says, "Isaac, lets scare them away so they don't keep coming back." So they open up the window, and Isaac yells in his sweet little-boy voice "Go Away Deer!". They all stop grazing and wondering to look up at us. There's silence from both parties. Prompted, Isaac yells again, "Go Away Deer". And with that they all took off into the woods and the moment was over. Ollie started crying, alerting us that she too was awake and wanted to see what was going on. Today a sleepy little Isaac woke up and whispered, "Mommy, lets go look at the deer...". I was sad to say they didn't come back this morning.

Back to work.

Thursday, February 19, 2004


I am pleased to announce that the cardigan is done. I found the most precious pewter buttons with little dragonflies stamped on each. My mission during knitting night was to select and sew on the buttons, and weave in all the ends. That's about all I got done, but that was enough! I took pix this morning, but have to figure out how to link them here.

I've knit a few more rounds on Sweet I's socks. Another 2 inches and I'll tie in the waste yarn for the afterthought heel. Thinking about doing a German Toe on it, and give the students an option to avoid the kitchner stitch. We'll see how it comes out first. Then I suppose I ought to write it up - Look who's becoming a designer, like it or not! Just because I can't follow a pattern myself! :) I tell you with all the wonderful knitting sites, the internet is so inspirational - a perfect balance to my science work all day long.

Still waiting for Crazy Heels and Toes to arrive at the LYS, Woolpack Yarn
Hopefully it will come in by Sat so I can bring it with me on vacation...

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Just a few ends to weave in and 4 buttons to sew on and Little O's cardi is done. And I love it already! All my knitting this weekend focused on sewing up the seams and finishing the neckline on this sweater. I'll do the weaving tonight and sew on some buttons on Wed when I go to the shop.

Next project? Get ready for school! I'll be starting up a couple of pairs of socks to demonstrate with for the class in 2 weeks. I'd like to finish a pair as a model, and get another on the needles to demonstrate the Afterthought Heel in progress. I'm tempted to even get a third or forth pair going as hands-on demonstrations of the Magic Loop technique - let the students knit a couple of rounds to get the feel on a pair of socks in progress. Just like most projects, the beginning is the hardest part. If they know what they are aiming for, the process will make a whole lot more sense and seem less overwhelming. Fun stuff!

Friday, February 13, 2004

Okay, having recently completed the knitting portion of the cardigan (yes, I still have all the finish work ahead of me) my fingers were itching for another project. And I happen to have two beautiful skeins of Schoeller + Stahl Limbo yarn #2538 (100% superwash wool in a heavily verigated dark rainbow colorway. My sweet 2 YO son had picked it out at Christmas time so, "Mama make me socks". Now I have the class coming up, I have to find a way to teach the first few cast-on rows for 2 socks on a single circ. It's complicated enough when you're an experienced knitter familiar with the technique, so I expect it to be an overwhelming process to many of my students. I'm already chanting the mantra, "Persevere, persevere!". I've decided to have them cast on for the 2 socks linearly, knit the first 4 rows flat, then set them up for 2-sock circular knitting from there. I got the circular-format caston working for this pair, but I think most students would walkout if I had them try it right away.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Time to celebrate!

I just this afternoon during my lunchhour finished the last seed-stitch on Little O's purple cardigan! All that's left is to wash, block, zip together the side seams, finish the neckband, add buttons, and weave in the loose ends. Wait a minute, I thought I was nearly done!! None the less I have a great high going from the sense of accomplishment. Not much longer now and she'll be wearing it.

Last night was my knitting night out. Of course I didn't get much done in the way of *my* knitting, but I managed to help a fellow knitter work through her first turned heel & sent her on her way to decrease the fresh gusset stitches on her first sock (another sigh of satisfaction!). I also wrote up my class description for the Magic Loop class I'll be teaching next month - funny I had been agonizing over composing this concise little paragraph (I'm a scientist, not a writer!), yet at 9 PM last night, with Little O dangling in one arm and my knitting bag slung in the crook of my other arm I was able to scratch down the perfect pitch in line at the LYS checkout. Looking forward to seeing the turnout. Time to practice the kitchner!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Isn't it funny how you can work steadily on a project for days and feel like you're not making any progress, then all of a sudden - POOF!- the project is nearly done. I've been struggling with Little O's cardi - working on it at every odd moment I've had, but never for an hour or more at a time. Last night I doublechecked my progress, and it's about time to add the bottom hem already!! I'm tempted to add on a little extra length so it will fit her a little longer. On the other hand, I can easily rip off the hem when she outgrows it and add an extra inch then. Hm. Knitting night at the Woolpack tonight; I'll ask around and get a concensus on the matter.

Another revelation last night. I'm a regular reader of "Wendy Knits!" (an amazing blog for those of you who haven't discovered it yet!)and she had mentioned how she was going to steampress her current sweater-in-progress as it was curling uncontrollably while she was knitting & driving her crazy. Wouldn't you know, this one-piece sweater I'm working on has been so infuriating to carry around, because with all the attached appendages the fabric has rolled into a twisted knot which I continually have to wrestle with while trying to knit my simple stockinette stitch. I have been dreaming of the day it was complete & I could block and press it flat - don't ask me why I hadn't thought of pressing it while it was on the needles! So I pulled out my trusty new steam iron last night and pressed it. Oh Joy! I now have the most beautiful piece of handknit fabric hanging straight and true from my silver Addis as I finish up the last of the hem. So much easier to manipulate, so much more pleasant to pull out of my knitting bag and work with! I can't wait to finish it now. Pictures soon, I promise!

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