Wednesday, December 30, 2009

...And Here It Is

Yarns and Colorways
Comfy Sport: Fedora, Planetarium, October, Cypress, Honeydew
Felici: Marsh
Stroll Kettle Dyed: Wine

Monday, December 28, 2009

Besides Knitting...

I've been obsessed with the White Elephant gift I got at Christmas! It's a Techno Source illuminated pocket sudoku. It has over 1 million puzzles, an LED light (love that on my Light Wedge!), an extra stylus, a notes feature, AND a feature that allows you to input your own sudoku puzzles to solve. My, oh my, this has been a time killer both good and bad! Even though it's too easy to be challenging for me despite the 4 difficulty levels, it's still fun because of the touch screen and stylus (as opposed to my usual pencil and click eraser) as well as it being a nice time filler when needed. Plus, I could always input my owner higher-difficulty puzzles to solve ;-)

The Princess and The Frog
Marie and I went to go see Disney's The Princess and The Frog yesterday afternoon. We both loved it. It had a nice story, and I especially liked the main character and the music. If there's such a thing as animated cinematography, I'd say that the animated cinematography of the bayou was awesome (check out the firefly part)! I'll admit to getting teary eyed a few times throughout the movie, not because it's sad or anything, but because of all the feelings it evokes. I'm glad Disney finally got around to making this.

Out of nowhere, Ian decided to try using his fork tonight with his pasta and chicken! We'll have to see if he keeps it up tomorrow... He loves his big Lightning McQueen car we got him for Christmas. At first he was afraid of the sounds it makes when you push the buttons on top (still is actually, but we've turned the switch to "off"). Yet, now he carries it around, kisses it, and sleeps with it. So cute! Marie loves her Ariel jewelry set and light-up Ariel tiara and has been playing with all her (old and new) dolls and doll house. This is old news now, but I have to mention how much Marie enjoyed painting some leftover Christmas salt dough ornaments that we'd baked a year or two ago. I got out some paint and glazing spray for our snowman and Christmas tree. They turned out really nice! Oh, and Ian looked so cute at Christmas in his first plaid flannel shirt -- my adorable little boy :-)

I'm still re-reading Breaking Dawn, probably delaying a little since I'll be taking a break from the series after this. I wouldn't mind reading the last Harry Potter book a 2nd time or re-reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings for a 3rd time. Those are books I enjoy reading during the cold, winter months. I still have a couple of books to read that my brother got me a while back as gifts: The Terror by Dan Simmons and The Last Man by Mary Shelley. We'll see. I'm now on Goodreads which has some neat reading lists by genre. Somewhere out there exists a site that recommends books based on titles you input, kinda like Pandora yet not as complex, but I can't remember the name of the site...

While looking up a song on YouTube, I came across a Kings of Leon song that everyone but me has probably already heard: Closer. I really like it despite its simplicity and repetitiveness, probably because I go for emotive, driving songs like this. The lead singer has a gravelly voice perfect for this song. Can't help but like the YouTube video I found that uses it. If you're not a Twilight fan, you can minimize it while listening, although keep in mind that the song is about a lovesick vampire according to the lead singer ;-)

Three posts in one day, wow! I guess most of the time I have nothing to say. Then when it rains, it pours. See ya in a month I suppose, ha!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Baby Booties for Isla: An Enjoyable Technical Knit

Recently on Ravelry, I found a cute little pattern for my new niece Isla: Blue Steps Baby Booties. Using 1 circular needle, it starts on the midline of the sole with a closed CO (I used the Magic CO) and a garter stitch sole. After the sole, brioche stitch is used, continuing to work upward ITR. Side note and warning: If you knit Continental Combined, brioche stitch is very easy and extremely enjoyable and addictive! To BO, I tried out Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy BO (JSSBO shown here by Cat Bordhi) after tinking my too-tight k2togtbl BO. JSSBO worked really, really well and fit easily over Isla's foot. This pattern encapsulates so many techniques or methods I like that I really enjoyed doing this pattern, start to finish. I highly recommend it! Unfortunately, when we tried the booties on at Christmas, they were way too small. After all, the pattern is for newborns, not 1-month-olds like Isla. So, now I'm going to re-knit them larger. No problem. I think I'll CO 28 stitches this time...

BTW, I thought I'd share something I un-vented, as EZ used to say, which I'm sure many other knitters have also discovered. When I was first doing the Magic CO and beginning the garter stitch ITR to make the sole, the midline was too flat and indented because the first garter ridges surrounding the flat CO end up farther apart from each other relative to the other garter ridges of the sole. Since the Magic CO creates a complete purl ridge on the WS when casting on, I decided to use that feature by beginning the booties on the WS of the work. How, you might ask? Instead of rotating the needle tips around vertically 180 degrees like you usually do to begin knitting ITR, I rotated them around horizontally (toward myself) 180 degrees. As long as your needle tips end up pointing to the right and you see a purl ridge between the needles facing you, you've got it right. For the first round, I knit all the stitches just like you would in garter stitch after a round of purl. Then on round 2 (a purl round) I began the pattern increases as written. No more wonkiness at the midline, and you can't even tell where the booties begin ;-)

Last night I worked a bit on Wright. I'd like to get that done as well as Ian's long-sleeve Vestee before Ravelympics begin. Other small projects OTN that I have: Marie's Lullaby socks and a pair of Evenstar Mitts for me. I'm not sure if I'll get to them or not, but I also have queued a hat (or two!) and mitts set using some beige alpaca yarn. I also would like to knit something besides booties for Isla such as Pepita and Cozy Hooded Sleeping Sack.

A presto! Ciao!

Winter Project Bliss

After receiving a Knit Picks gift certificate and some Christmas gift money, I've decided what I'm going to get with each. Last night I ordered Knit Picks yarn for the cardigan shown here called Laura's Cardigan by Annie Modesitt. It's from Interweave Knits Summer 2009. To qualify for the free shipping, I also ordered some US4 Options tips and some sock yarn. Comfy Sport is the yarn I'm using for the cardigan. It's machine washable and is a cotton blend like the pattern yarn. Thanks to seeing someone's nice FO pics on Ravelry, the colors I chose: "fedora" brown, "october" orange, "planetarium" blue, "cypress" green, and "honeydew" yellow-green. For sock yarn, I chose Felici in the Marsh colorway and Stroll Kettle Dyed in the Wine colorway. I'm thinking Ampersand or Groovy Socks (link to FO pics using the exact colorway I ordered) for the Felici, but haven't yet decided on a pattern for the Stroll Kettle Dyed (maybe something by Cookie A?).

With a portion of my gift money and a Barnes & Noble gift card, I plan on getting some additional sock yarn at the LYS and the book Sock Innovation by Cookie A. Usually I purchase all my sock yarn from Knit Picks, although I've used Claudia Handpainted (awesome!), Saucon Sock, and Regia Bamboo (wears/washes extremely well!) -- all from Knitter's Mercantile. Some yarns I'm interested in: Malabrigo, Lorna's Laces, Claudia Handpainted (again), KPPPM, and Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Since I'll probably get something variegated, I already have a pattern in mind: Herringbone Rib Socks. I'd also like to get some fingering weight yarn to make the Winter Twilight Mitts.

With all this new yarn, I'm going to have to get busy finishing my current WIPs!!! Motivating me will be the upcoming Ravelympics since our knit knite group has decided to be a team this year. In addition to my WIPs and upcoming projects I already mentioned, I still have even more winter projects queued. I'm really enjoying the overflow of ideas and yarn at this time of year after spending months doing scrap yarn projects (speaking of which, I should take a picture of my now smaller scrap stash)! The last time I had this many knitting projects lined up was summer 2008 when I last got a Knit Picks gift certificate and cranked out a plethora of sweaters. Good times :-)

Up next... the baby booties I've been working on!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Evenstar Mitts Done and Knitty Thoughts

No pics, sorry! But, I finished my Evenstar Mitts. While watching The Notebook on tv, I zoomed through the rest of mitt #2. What a fun cable pattern! It kept me interested, and I was able to do the mitts entirely in combined knitting. These days, I've been doing lots of combined knitting due to the projects I've been working on. Anything with a mixture of knits and purls... Anyway, I soaked my mitts in Kookaburra. So, they smell wonderful and are ready to be worn :-) Of the 3 hanks of grey alpaca yarn I have, I only had to use one plus a smidge of a second hank. That means I can make a beret or slouchy hat to go along with the mitts - yay! Now, I'm also considering what hat and mitts to make with my beige alpaca yarn... BTW, here's a pic of the alpacas from which my yarn comes:

Sometimes, I just can't wait to cast on some projects. This particular time, it was a little pair of copycat socks using my leftover Stroll Handpainted in the Lullaby colorway: I'm making Marie a pair of Lullaby socks to match mine. Since I don't know how much yarn I'll have for the leg, I'm making them toe-up. Using the numbers from MSKS and incorporating a gusset/heel turn/flap, they should look nearly the same. I say nearly because I think I'll do eye of partridge on the flap rather than heel stitch. It'll be fun to work out how to mimic the 2-stitch garter edge while making sure to use the outside stitches to eat up the gusset increases. BTW, for the first time ever, I like how the toes look! Normally, I'm dissatisfied with toe-up standard or round toes thanks to the unevenness in half of the increases when doing 2xML (2aat magic loop). I did a Turkish CO --for kicks, of course, since I normally do the Magic CO-- and then did a standard toe using kfb so that the bar is one stitch inside each edge. Somehow I managed to keep the increases at the beginning of side 2 on each sock from being loose. I didn't do anything different in tensioning my edges, so go figure!

Besides casting on Marie's socks, I've also been working on Ian's Vestee top. For some reason, it's taking longer than usual. Probably because, instead of being mindless like I thought, I'm actually having to pay attention every other round when doing the [k2, p1] part of the seeded rib pattern. Not a lot of fun so far, this project.

Winter '09 Knitty is up! I like the drawn in, ribbed waists of Spoke and Zora. Mr. Darcy is a keeper, as well as Bitterroot with its beautiful stitch pattern and beads. Vroom is cute, and I could totally see Ian wearing that. It's been fun looking at the sock patterns. Just recently on Ravelry, in disecting toe-up heel turns, someone had mentioned there existing some sock patterns that do a W&T heel turn without increases (followed by a fixed flap). Saviano from this issue of Knitty does just that. I've done the kind where you stop short of doing all the gusset increases because you do increases on the W&T heel turn ( a la Wendyknits slipstitch heel). I wonder which I'd like better: increases or no increases on the heel turn? I've done the heel extension method where you pick up stitches to make a horseshoe right before doing the heel flap. But, I haven't done the Fleegle heel or Wendyknits' gusset heel which both skip the heel turn and don't have a fixed set of flap stitches. They look enticingly easy and very similar, but I'm not sure if I'd like the look of the back or sides of the heel since it's not perpendicular and fixed like a traditional flap. OK, OK... I'll quit blathering on about the technicals of toe-up sock heels!

Today Marie had her last day of preschool before the break. Her class put on a really cute Christmas program for the parents. It was hilarious seeing 4-year-olds trying to sing and move in unison. Some kids just stood there smiling and frozen rather than participating. ...Uh oh, my 2.5 hours of peace will be missing until January 4th!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Note To Self

Do not machine dry a knitted garment made from Knit Picks CotLin with any other knitted garments. How do I know this? I washed my red CotLin Henley Perfected together with my blue Tubey sweater made with KP Swish Worsted and two pairs of socks made from KP Stroll. They washed up just fine, but came out of the dryer as if I'd washed my CotLin garment for the first time. That CotLin REALLY, REALLY sheds! My lint screen was heavily coated. Normally, I wash the CotLin top by itself. But now that I have a humongous bottle of Kookaburra, I decided to do a load of handknitted items. Never, ever again will I be drying that CotLin top with other clothes, especially knitted ones. It took about 90 minutes to get all the embedded lint and fuzz off using a combination of a used dryer sheet, a disposable razor, and my lint shaver. Whew! It wears me out just thinking of it...

I wish I had pics to show because I've definitely been knitting. Since I last posted, I finished my bluish-green Knotty or Knice socks and used the leftovers to make Marie a matching pair. Hers were slightly different though in that I knit hers cuff down, did a garter-edge heel, and did a round toe to finish. As for my sportweight grey alpaca Evenstar Mitts, I'm just finishing the afterthought thumb and will be starting the 2nd mitt soon. I keep forgetting about my purple drapeneck cotton top but hope to return to that at some point. Oh, I also started a longsleeve green Vestee for Ian.

My favorite online language learning site Babbel is no longer free. But, I liked it so much that I decided to sign up for 3 months with 3 months free since I'm a longtime member. However, once my 6 months is up, that'll be the end :-( S0, I'll have to rely on sites like and to keep the language learning alive. On Babbel, I've worked up to over 2500 vocab items. Along with that, I like to casually read my old Italian grammar review textbook from college to supplement the vocabulary building.

Have you noticed that there's no mention of me running since September when the weather got cold? Not a coincidence, unfortunately. I don't really like running in any season but summer up here in Ohio. I never had to worry about running on ice or snow in the dark when living in North Carolina. However, I'm mentally ready to start up yet again. I need it. Can't wait either because I miss how good I feel when exercising regularly. Hopefully, I'll be able to get back down to my healthy range of 125-130 pounds. I haven't seen that range since before kids. I think I was about 130 when I was in prime shape from being in both marching band and running. The biggest difference between now and then, other than having all the time, freedom, and opportunity in the world to workout, is that I'm really going to have to watch my caloric intake this time around. Being 36, I can't only eat healthy anymore; I also need to eat smaller portions. I love food, so eating often is easy, but reducing portions will be tough for me. That's the key, though. When I worked out really hard for 6 months nearly 2 years ago and then when I ran in August and September of this year, I didn't pay attention to portion size, and guess what? I didn't lose a single pound. Back in my twenties, if I'd been working out like that, I would've dropped pounds easily. Not anymore. Just gotta accept that my metabolism isn't what it once was.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Beauregard Bear and His New Hoodie

Gosh, not having an operable digital camera has really affected my blogging frequency! I have pics today, but they're from Jared's cell, so not the best. However, since I have something to show, I thought I'd post :-)

Last Wednesday, my daughter's preschool teacher handed her a tote bag with a teddy bear and journal in it and told her that she was to take care of "Beauregard" for two days until her next day of preschool. When we arrived home, Marie asked me if I could knit something for Beau. So, I took his measurements and some scrap KP Andean Silk yarn and made him a little hoodie. This was a fun project because I got to make something from scratch and try out top-down short row sleeves.

I CO and did 1x1 ribbing at Beau's tummy. After working stockinette ITR up to almost his underarms, I did some decreases at the sides since his chest was smaller. For the armholes, I placed 4 sts on holders on each side. Next I began shaping the armholes at the front and began the front opening. Using kfb at every front opening sts, I separated every other stitch and placed them on two needles, one in front of the other. Then I worked each front side separately, shaping the armhole and keeping the opening edge in seed stitch (i.e. moss stitch, UK). The back was shaped the same way, and I added one set of short rows below the neck so that the neck would be higher and help the hood sit better against the neck. For the hood I kept all the stitches I already had OTN, picked up a few more at the sides of the neck, and did kfb increases in every stitch (on the next row) except the seed stitch border. After that I still had to do 4 more evenly spaced increases so that my stitch total was somewhere near what I had earlier at the hips. I used a three-needle BO to finish the hood and also when joining the shoulders.

The next part was something I'd never tried until now: top-down short row sleeves! I used US4 dpns (3 sizes smaller than the US7's I used elsewhere) to pick up stitches around the armhole, making sure to use at ratio of 3:4 for horizontal/vertical areas and a 1:1 ratio elsewhere. Leaving the bottom armhole sts that were on holders alone, I took the top 4 picked-up center shoulder stitches and worked short rows back and forth, wrapping one more stitch each time at each end from the picked up armholes stitches. This meant working a wrapped stitch and then wrapping the next new armhole stitch before turning. When I ran out of stitches to wrap on the RS, I continued across the 4 held armhole stitches (picking up the last wrap when I came around to it) and finished the sleeves ITR with a new color. They (the sleeves) are not perfect and they don't match since I ran out of green, but they sure were fun to do! In retrospect, I need to figure out a better way to hold all the picked up armhole stitches because here's what I had: 4 armhole sts on a holder, 2 dpns at the sides, and 2 circulars at the top. Maybe I could've done each sleeve entirely on 2 circs with no dpns? Hopefully, there exists a simpler way of doing this method of sleeves specifically concerning needle placement, and I just haven't discovered it yet!

Other knitting news:
Hopefully, I'll remember to take and upload pics of Jared's finished black lattice stitch socks and of my new WIP Evenstar Mitts. I'm just about finished with my tidepool heather Knotty or Knice socks. I modified the toe and heel a bit, so I'll be blogging about that soon. The new Twist Collective is out and fabulous as usual. I've already faved the patterns I like on Ravelry. Hopefully the next IK preview will be out soon since subscribers will be receiving their new issues soon. The cover jacket looks really nice!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Socks, Ice Cream Cake, and Twilight In Italiano

The black socks are done and just in time for Jared's birthday yesterday! I'd share pics, but our camera is broken. I didn't waste time casting on for a new pair of socks with Knit Picks Stroll in tidepool heather ;-)

For Jared's birthday, my mad scientist ways paid off in the form of a decadent homemade ice cream cake. The layers, from bottom to top: chocolate-covered grahams, raspberry sherbet, hot fudge, Reese Cups, chocolate ice cream, chocolate Coolwhip, and chocolate sprinkles. I wasn't too sure about how the Reese cups would taste in combination with the other ingredients, but I was pleasantly surprised. Jared, aka "Mr. Picky," was certain that I must've followed a recipe and was therefore impressed with my effort. The only part I took from a recipe was the base of chocolate-covered grahams and raspberry sherbet. Success! ...and many days of ice cream cake.

Lately, I've really been having fun reading a few Italian fansites for the Twilight Saga. It's so cool! I'm constantly learn a combination of formal and informal Italian via vocabulary and idioms used for pop culture, music, and movie-related topics. I'd checked out some Italian knitting sites and blogs, but reading the Twilight fansites are more fun to me.

Speaking of Italian and Twilight, I recently noticed the word for werewolf, thanks to the upcoming Twilight movie New Moon: licantropo. When I saw this, I immediately thought of the movie Underworld and the characters called Lycans. Who knew?! I didn't realize that the word Lycan used in that movie wasn't made up. Hmm, it must have Latin origins...

My quest to intuitively learn and not memorize F2L algorithms of the Rubik's Cube is going well. You could really separate the algorithms into two categories: those that immediately make sense, and those that take some deeper processing (specifically the ones that flip up the R-face or the F-face 180 degrees). There are a couple that actually lie somewhere in between because the white part of the corner piece gets flipped a new direction and therefore requires a changed approach compared to those algorithms where the white corner piece remains unchanged in relation to its adjacent edge piece.

The kids have been loving The Muppet Show dvds I've been bringing home from the library. Just while typing this post, my daughter asked me to put The Muppet Show on. She also has fallen in love with the Johnny Depp remake of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. I won't tell you how many times she's seen it in the last two days :-)

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Well, no new knitting pictures since I'm still working on the same black socks. I still haven't uploaded Ian's birthday pics. But when I do, I'll have to share a couple of them. Gosh, I haven't blogged for a while. I think the rain and change in weather, Marie being in preschool (early mornings), and not having any news about my current knitting project have fueled that.

In knitting news, I finally read about and watched Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off (Knitty link and Cat Bordhi video) and her follow-up video of a complementary cast on, Jeny's Stretchy Slipknot Cast On (her blogpost here). JSSCO and JSSBO are specifically meant for ribbing -- ribbing that really needs superior stretch and can still bounce back. JSSCO and JSSBO not only has great stretch and bounces back, it also creates the hinged edge that you want for ribbing. To me, JSSCO is just like longtail CO except that you're using only one strand of yarn. It's simply a single CO version of longtail! In longtail CO, you're drawing a second strand of yarn (from the index finger) through the thumbloop; whereas on JSSCO, you're drawing the thumbloop yarn itself through the thumbloop: a series of continuous slipknots. Cool! Hey, if Cat Bordhi gushes over something, it must be cool, right?! As a sidenote when speaking of toe-up socks (i.e., closed toe CO, Cat Bordhi says in the article on Knitty: "Judy's Magic Cast-On and Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off are real soulmates."

In non-knitting news, I'm still doing Babbel in italiano, learning how to do the 3x3x3 Rubik's cube faster (see this site, noting that I do the top layer using Steps 4, 5, and 6 of this separate method) and yet still intuitively, and reading (re-reading actually) Twilight. On the last topic, I'm re-reading to differentiate between the book and the movie better. BTW, at a high school marching band contest yesterday afternoon, I heard a band do music from Twilight. It was Bella's Lullaby I believe. Anyway, I'm not looking forward as much to reading New Moon since that's all about Jacob.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BL Starts Tonight! and Restarted My Socks

Season 8 of The Biggest Loser begins tonight at 8:00! I'm excited because the previews look really good. There are always changes and sometimes new themes from season to season. This season focuses on second chances. Sounds like nothing new considering that's what the show is all about, but this season looks really positive. A former contestant returns and there's a contestant there who lost her husband and two kids in a car accident. It looks like the entire group meets together to introduce themselves, and they train with both Bob and Jillian rather than against each other in two separate teams. Can't wait to see it all start tonight!

On the knitting front, I've frogged and restarted Jared's lattice stitch socks since last posting. The unevenness of the stitch pattern from switching back and forth between knitting styles, and forgetting and not being able to see where I was (hello: black yarn) which resulted in errors caused me to start over. In starting over, I discovered that I'd gotten better at casting on 2aat cuff down. Knitting in one style, Continental Combined, has worked well with the purl stitches of the lattice stitch pattern. Something else I changed was to alternate Longtail CO with German Twisted CO (for the purls in my 1x1 rib). The CO edge looks entirely like longtail but will have some extra stretch from the hidden German Twisted CO stitches.

I have to mention the specifics on how I CO 2aat magic loop if it helps anyone else having trouble. I do the method where you CO all of Sock 2 followed by half of Sock 1, then the second half of Sock 1. Instead of pulling out the loop right away after CO all of Sock 2, I wait until I actually get to that sock on the 1st round so that I don't have to stress out over stitches twisting. After transferring Sock 1's stitches to the other side and facing the front side of those transferred stitches and holding the tail and working yarn, I turn the work around so that my left hand is ready to CO the second half of Sock 1 onto the same needle that holds Sock 2's CO stitches. The reason I CO Sock 2 first is so that when I turn my work around to begin the first round, my two working yarn strands coming from my single Ziploc bag aren't twisted in the home/starting position. Waiting to pull the loop out and knowing how to twist the tail and working yarn to CO the second half of Sock 1 made a BIG difference for me (less stress!). The same two principles could be applied to the other method where you CO half of Sock 1 first, CO all of Sock 2, and then finish CO the second half of Sock 1. I'm now seeing the appeal of why knitters might want to CO all stitches for both socks at once and pull out the loop for both so that your home position is in middle between the two socks. :-) You could hold off on pulling out the loop on Sock 2 with this method until you get to that sock on the first round.

Speaking of CO magic loop 2aat, I also read something I want to try for toe-up socks. Toe-up 2aat CO is super easy, but the increases at the beginning of side 2 for magic loopers can look crappy because of the cable separation. Some Ravelers suggested working each toe separately until the toe increases are done, then put both socks on the same needle. Sounds good to me! I'm going to do that on my next pair of toe-ups.

I also wanted to blog about a recent park visit but will wait until next time since this post is already long enough!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

100% Bamboo?

Recently I read a thread on Ravelry that was very interesting, especially since I just bought a bamboo blend yarn. The Ravelry thread references a recent FTC Consumer Alert on the fiber content labeling practices of companies who sell clothing, linens, or other textile products. Here's the FTC Business Alert concerning bamboo labeling. These alerts were preceded by the FTC charging four companies with deceptive product labeling and advertising concerning bamboo. As of August 2009, all fabric labels now have to say something like "rayon from bamboo" or "bamboo rayon" rather than just "bamboo" since the majority of bamboo fabric is actually rayon. Also, proof (via testing) must be shown for products labeled as "bamboo" or those claiming to be derived from bamboo.

So what's all the hubbub about? Truth in labeling and possibly misleading "green" claims. Up until the FTC blew the whistle on the four companies, many products labeled as bamboo were in fact rayon derived from bamboo. Is rayon derived from bamboo still considered bamboo? No. Let me quote the FTC: Even when bamboo is the “plant source” used to create rayon, no traits of the original plant are left in the finished product. So, not only could companies sell rayon labeled misleadingly as bamboo. They could also get away with labeling products as bamboo rayon even if they were produced from cellulose resources other than bamboo. Their thinking? If there are no traces of bamboo left in the end product, why not use a cheaper cellulose source? With all the attractive qualities naturally inherent in bamboo, people might want to know if they're in fact buying bamboo or be certain that their bamboo rayon is actually derived from bamboo.

I'm no expert in the least. But from the little I've gleaned, bamboo can be processed mechanically or chemically. One process method that qualifies a fabric to be labeled as bamboo is mechanically crushing the woody parts and
retting it with natural enzymes. Since this is the same process that's used for linen, sometimes the resulting fabric is called bamboo linen (or bamboo litrax). Chemical manufacturing processes and technologies other than the viscose process (to make rayon) are appearing which are more eco-friendly (e.g., the lyocell process, the process used to make TENCEL, can be used on bamboo cellulose) and are trying to retain bamboo's natural properties. See here and here for more information on how bamboo fabric is processed.

Truth in labeling and advertising. Are you getting what you think you're paying for? BTW, my bamboo blend yarn is labeled "rayon from bamboo." However, the website lists it simply as bamboo. The yarn is Spa by Well, at least the yarn label is accurate. I found all this bamboo brouhaha interesting since it relates to yarn. I love my Regia Bamboo Jaywalker socks! I've also used SWTC Bamboo which is listed as 100% bamboo, and I have to say that I believe the label because it has a slightly scratchy, linen-like feel to it compared to some other bamboo yarns to which I've been exposed.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Verde: A Final Pic and Lattice Stitch Socks CO

Though it's been finished for weeks now, I finally braided the drawstring cord for my Verde string bag. I think it looks complete now so I thought I'd include a pic here, especially since it contains some new yarn in it (can you see it?)! On Labor Day, I used a gift card at JoAnns to buy some Country and Spa yarn (both by Caron) and some Serenity Sport Weight yarn ( a Deborah Norville line by Premier Yarns). The gears are turning inside my head as I plan exactly how I want to make Marie and Ian hoodies and Ian a pair of soft pajama pants. I browsed patterns on Ravelry last night to help steer me toward which features I want to include in my knits. At the moment, I definitely know that their hoodies will be pullovers, not cardigans. Everytime I make them a cardigan, it almost looks too fancy to wear at the playground. So this time I want a sweatshirt-style hoodie. Oh, and I do want to have either a handwarmer unipocket or two separate pockets on the front for their hands. Stitch patterns, cuff, hem, and neckline details are still on the drawing board for now... Eventually, I'd love to learn how to line my knits, especially hoodies and bags. Wouldn't that be nice to have a fully lined hoodie for chilly fall days or, at the very least, lined pockets for your hoodie?

Originally, I did a very nice tubular CO for Jared's Lattice Stitch Socks. Since you can really see the green and blue jewel tones, I decided to keep this picture. The second socks picture is the newly re-done German Twisted CO. Since that picture, I've finished 1.5" of ribbing and started the lattice stitch leg pattern. My borrowed audiobook of Pride and Prejudice is due tomorrow at the library, so I've been listening to the last of the CDs at night while knitting these socks :-) I'm so glad that I originally read P & P nearly last of all the Austen books because it's so superior to the others. That's saying a lot, too, because the other books are excellent. Each Austen book has a certain draw to it from the storyline. P & P has the best combined qualities of all the other books. ...In my opinion, of course.

While out shopping for yarn, I also went clothes and shoe shopping. Target had a bunch of stuff on clearance, so I grabbed some things for Marie and Ian. At Kohl's I found some Avia trail running shoes that are very comfortable and sturdy and some casual short sleeve tops that were on sale. My old running shoes were cold in the winter here because they only had thin see-through mesh on the toe area. These new shoes are all-season, so yay! Now that I'm equipped with the right shoes, maybe I'll finally make it through the winter here, running, for the first in a long, long time (college maybe, definitely high school). Winters were so mild in Raleigh that I've been a wimp each winter since moving back to Ohio.

Marie starts preschool tomorrow! It's hard to believe that from now on, she'll be in school most of the year. It's only 2.5 hours 3 days a week, but still... wow!
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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Lullaby Socks FO

Pattern: MSKS Vertical Lace w/Twisted Ribbing
Yarn: Stroll Hand Painted in Lullaby colorway
Needles: US 1.5 (2.5 mm) KP Options fixed circs
Notes: Frilled CO 120 sts. Decreased down to 60 sts in ribbing pattern on 1st rnd. Garter-edged slip stitch heel. Standard toe (I think? The directions seemed slightly different to me.).

I love these socks! I actually stalled my knitting of them at times to delay their being finished. The yarn's colorway is beautiful, and the socks are very cozy :-) Next up are socks for Jared. He picked out the stitch pattern and the colorway of KP Stroll (midnight heather: black with jewel tones of green and blue).

After exactly one week off from mildly spraining my left ankle, I went running tonight. Marie wanted to go, too, so we took the jogging stroller. A good run! This afternoon we went to a cookout over in Hilliard where we had really yummy food. North Carolina was brought to mind with the pulled pork and corn casserole. Friday morning we went to the zoo with Karen, Brandy, and kids. The red panda (visible for once) and tiger (being fed!) were especially fun to see.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Green River Ordinance: Live @ The Basement

Oh my, what a fun night out! I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening. It's been quite a while since I've gone out with friends and felt giddy and carefree. Last night was perfect because it was just me and my good friend Ronnelle going to see Green River Ordinance, my new favorite band.

We got to The Basement early enough to chill and have drinks, catching up on anything and everything while sitting on one of the many couches aligning the right wall. For the first time in a long time (years) I ordered a couple of drinks at the bar without having to worry about anything else at that moment. After a second drink (I actually got a beer for my second drink, if you can believe that), Ronnelle and I grabbed a spot along the upper railing at stage right. The Basement is a very intimate venue, so you can stand pretty close to the band. GRO started about 8:00 and played for about an hour, ending with their current hit single Come On. When they played my favorite tune Endlessly (click here for that performance) halfway through their set, I sang along softly and took it all in that I was listening to them live 15 feet in front of me and not on YouTube. So cool!

After GRO finished playing, we lined up for autographs and to purchase their CD. I got both the lead singer (Josh Jenkins) and one of the guitarist's (Jamey Ice) autographs on a poster. (Thank goodness for Sharpie markers because Ian later spilled water on my poster. >:-s) I also got a free promotional CD on which is an acoustic version of a song I really like called Piece It Together. Later after the line died down, Ronnelle and I went up to the lead singer so that Ronnelle could snap a picture of us with her phone. Neither of our phones have a flash, so what you see in the above pic is what you get. Editing could only do so much. Looking at that picture now, it makes me laugh because it looks like I'm leaning away from Josh. Ha, silly girl! It's just a picture.

Yesterday afternoon before the concert, I had emailed 107.9 (radio) to say that I liked Green River Ordinance and to please keep playing their music. Well, after getting home last night, I noticed that I'd received a response from the station operations manager who said that if I got his email in time and called, I could come to the station to watch GRO's interview and performance which, btw, played today around 1:00 PM. I would say "Darn, I missed it," but... Here's the podcast and photos!

Every day I have fun doing all sorts of things on a small scale. But I realized after last night that I need to get out more often. Not a lot, but just enough to allow myself to be giddy and carefree on occasion and remember what it's like to be me, Jackie, regardless of age, kids, or whatever. Here's a pic, which you'll probably recognize as my new avatar. Don't I look happy about my impending girls night out?!
Quick Knitting News:
I got my Knit Picks order of sock yarn in the mail today :-) Midnight Heather and Tidepool Heather Stroll. Yay!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Socks, Ankle Scare, and GRO Concert

My Lullaby socks are on the final stretch. So... I'm already thinking about ordering some more sock yarn, especially since I'm planning to make Jared some socks, too. He, of course, likes black and dark blue :-\ Good thing I'm getting some practice right now with dark sock yarn!

Friday night I almost sprained my left ankle, which would've been the third time. After getting up from the couch (knitting), I didn't realize that my left foot was asleep enough to make it vulnerable while walking. All I did was walk from the living room to the bedroom where I then lost my balance on my left foot. Luckily, I caught myself before putting my full weight on it. I only felt a slight pop and didn't notice any immediate pain or swelling. Saturday evening, I still went running and it felt pretty much OK, although I treated it cautiously and went running earlier than usual. Yesterday afternoon, I took Marie and Ian to the zoo where I walked around for a few hours. Today, however, I do notice some slight swelling and faint bruising. Darn! It's my running day, too. So, I guess it's time for RICE instead.

During this short post, I've had to get up to change a poopy diaper, change a DVD twice, get a box of crayons and markers, make some chocolate milk, move something out of reach, and have Ian beg that I share my lunch with him even though he already ate. So you can understand how excited I must feel to get out with a friend tomorrow night for a girls night out! We're going to a concert at The Basement to see Green River Ordinance and NEEDTOBREATH : featuring Griffin House. I've never heard of NEEDTOBREATHE or Griffin House. I'm just going because I want to see GRO! GRO opened for David Cook a few weeks ago, and I'm glad that they're back in Columbus so soon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Can You See Any Purple?

Tonight while sitting out back before sunset, I took these pictures in the hopes that I could capture better the purple hues in my sock yarn. Not quite sure if I succeeded... But, at least you can perhaps see better the lace pattern I'm knitting. It's a 5-st vertical alternating lace with twisted rib. How long do you, those who regularly knit socks, knit your sock legs? I'm thinking of knitting this one about 6" maybe? Almost mid-calf is my goal. This has been such a fun knit, all because of the combination of yarn and pattern. I've got the simple 4-rnd pattern memorized and therefore can enjoy it from here on out. Love it!

I meant to mention on my last post that I've been listening to my first audiobook. I checked out Pride and Prejudice (thank you so much knit night ladies for planting the seed) and have been listening to it at night while knitting or surfing the net when everyone else has gone to bed. It's more enjoyable than I thought, listening to a book being read. Next, maybe I'll see if the library has the Jim Dale audiobooks for the Harry Potter series :-)
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Outdoor Fun and Finished Socks

Oh, thank goodness. My strawberry latte anklets are finally done! Here they are:
Pattern: Simple Toe Up Anklets (Rav link) by Rachel Calado
Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted fingering yarn in Strawberry Latte colorway; Regia Bamboo
Needles: US 0 KP Options fixed circulars
Notes: I substituted a Sherman heel and reduced the length of the ribbing. Instead of doing 2x2 rib, I used 1x1 twisted rib. For my BO, I used EZ's sewn BO worked on the WS. Gosh, it's been so long since I did the toes, I might've changed the short-row method on those, too -- can't remember, other than that I used the Magic CO as my provisional CO.

So now I'm down to two projects OTN: Wright and Lullaby Socks. Knowing me, I'll get the itch to add a new WIP! I'm already thinking of making a sweater for Marie and Ian's Winnie-the-Pooh bear. Also, I love making pajama pants for Ian. ...and both of them will need a cardi and/or pullover hoodie for the fall ;-)

Speaking of fall, that's what it felt like on Sunday! I took Marie out very near where I grew up to walk and play at Prairie Oaks on Big Darby Creek. Before ending our visit at the play area on the west side of the creek, we walked the greenway trail from the east side to the pedestrian bridge. As we approached the bridge, we had to let a long line of people on horseback go first. Marie had a hard time budging me from my viewpoint on the bridge as I gazed at the winding creek. During our visit, we listened to the loud chorus of insects that are much amplified when visiting prairie or woods. I love that sound in late summer and early fall! The flowers and tall prairie grasses are so beautiful this time of year.

Yesterday evening, we went to the OSU football team practice at the stadium. As we walked along the Olentangy from the Lane Avenue bridge toward the stadium, we counted 6 blue herons fishing in the river. I love those birds! We had 4 resident blue herons at Lake Lynn in Raleigh, a 5-minute walk from our home. Every time I went running there, I'd look for those herons as I crossed all the many bridges that edged the lake. I'm so glad that herons live here, too. Marie, Ian, and I saw a huge blue heron at the zoo recently. It was standing in front of the lake as we headed toward the pedestrian tunnel. I've also seen a heron at an inlet of the Scioto while heading to the zoo on Riverside Drive. I think that a visit to Pickerington Ponds may be in our future!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Started My Lullaby Socks

It took several attempts and froggings, but I finally got my Lullaby Socks cast on Friday afternoon. For me, casting on two-at-a-time cuff down literally gives me a headache. When I'm concentrating on knitting one sock's CO sts, the other sock's CO sts get twisted. Once they're twisted, I have a hard time righting the stitches since I'm not able to tell whether I've fixed the twist or not, or whether it just happens to be loose between CO sts. When my head began to pound Thursday night from my casting on attempts, I decided to put off casting on again until the next day. Friday afternoon, I decided to try the Frilled CO mentioned in MSKS. Somehow I managed to keep all those stitches from twisting -- yay! Since taking the above pictures, I've completed 16 rnds of the lace pattern on the legs with 10 rnds of ribbing in the suggested rib pattern (P1, K2, P1, K1-b).

In other news, a friend's mom passed away this past week after a 2.5-year battle with cancer. Her name was Alice and she was 72. My friend is the youngest of her 10 children. Alice and her husband Robert had married in 1959 and lived on their farm for nearly 50 years. They recently had moved to Delaware to be closer to family. I feel bad for my friend because one of her sisters died from cancer back in 2004.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tubey Tank Done

Here's my lastest use of scrap yarn: Tubey Tank. Luckily it turned out overly long as planned so that Marie can wear it next summer, too. I finished it while watching Pride and Prejudice which happened to be on TV last night :-)
Pattern: none
Yarn: various scraps of dk cotten blends
Needles: US 6 16" circs
Details are on my project page on Ravelry, but basically this is just a 3x1 rib tube top with a drawstring closure. The color changes are at the beginning of the round which I placed at the left side. I really enjoyed knitting this entire tube top in Continental Combined! It's not often that my entire project is ribbing. The last time I did a full project in CC was my Marine Tubey sweater and before that my Central Park Hoodie where there were columns of purl between cables and ribbing. It really does make all the difference in the world in evenly matching purls with knits and helping avoid the forearm fatigue from throwing (or the finger fatigue from flicking, if you knit Continental) the yarn on all those purls. It sure was nice to lazily pick both the knits and the purls, mirroring each other exactly in movement. Can we say, "Ohmmmmmm." Oh BTW, doesn't Marie look like she's wearing a big girly tube sock?!

Luckily, Marie actually likes this top (compared to the white halter tank I just made her). She says that she'll wear it. Whew... Good thing because I think it's cute. I like the colors, and I know it's comfortable on her. Until I finish Wright for myself, I'm going to not let myself CO for any more kid projects. ...which reminds me...

Good news: I'm down to just two (although soon to be three) WIPs! Wright and some Claudia Handpainted anklets. I'm frogging some sportweight socks today to make my KP US 1 fixed circs available to knit my first pair of MSKS socks in KP Stroll Hand-Painted Lullaby yarn (see previous post for pics). I still have a cell phone cozy on my US 1 dpns, but it's hibernating for now.
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Monday, August 17, 2009

A Tracy Flick Moment and Yarn-y Loveliness

For those familiar with Reese Witherspoon's character Tracy Flick from the movie Election, you'll understand what I mean when I say that my husband had a Tracy Flick moment. I'd gotten tired of cleaning all the toys off the living room floor and decided to give up doing it until someone else wanted to lend a hand. That was weeks ago... Thursday night when I came home from my weekly knit night, the living room floor was clean. I guess hubby stepped on a sharp-edged toy and heard tribal voices inside his head, hence the Tracy Flick moment. :-D (Actually, you could also say a Rachel Barry moment, too, but you get my point.) He proceeded to have my daughter help him put away the toys. Ahhh... yes (sigh). BTW, the floor still looks good four days later -- wooHOO!

Note: Skip to end of post for pics of yarn-y loveliness if desired ;-)

Friday was our 10th anniversary. We took the kids to the zoo and enjoyed the afternoon. Then we all came home and had some Donatos pizza. Marie got hot at the zoo and asked if she could wear the Dream Swatch headband I recently knitted while walking to the car. So that's what she's wearing in this pic.

Since last posting, I celebrated my birthday. We went to see David Cook that evening which was fun because it had been a while since I'd gone to a concert. I loved the opening band Green River Ordinance, as many of you already know ;-) When I went to last week's knit night, I received a very nice present from my knitting bud Kristie: a signed copy of More Sensational Knitted Socks!! I've been wanting that book forEVER, and she surprised me with it. Kristie got it signed by Charlene Schurch at Sock Summit which we all got to hear fun stories about, not to mention fondling all the lovely haul of yarn-y goodness she brought back with her. Kristie didn't have a class with Barbara Walker, but she got to speak to her at an impromptu moment during the summit. She also had a class with Jess and Mary-Heather from Ravelry. Lucky woman! Nearly all, if not all, known knitting designers were at that event. How awesome it must've been to be there in the midst of knitting greats and enthusiasts!

Speaking of Barbara Walker and luck, that made me think of the really cool article I recently read in the Fall 2009 issue of Twist Collective. If you have time to read it, it's worth it (as is viewing all the nice fall patterns -- I like so many, I can't narrow them down yet to my favorites!). Elizabeth Zimmermann's goddaughter Joan Smith walks into a knitting shop. She introduces herself and asks to have a sweater EZ knitted her decades ago repaired. Besides the story, what's also interesting is the EZ sweater design because there are none like it in all of EZ's books. Next up to read, time willing, is the accompanying Twist Collective article "The Tale of the Green Sweater" written by Joan Smith.

Pattern: a modified Katja.
Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby (yes, I still have some)
Needles: US 5 KP Options 24"
Notes: This summer halter tank is written for up to 24 mths. I sized it up to a 5T with a 24" chest circumference. I knit the tank seamlessly ITR, added a garter stitch division, and then added some 12-st feather-and-fan lace after a plain stockinette portion. So, I guess you could say this was a Katja-inspired tank for my daughter. She didn't like it at first, but warmed up a little to it when she noticed that Cinderella wears white... Maybe she'll warm up to it more next year -- that's what I'm hoping since I made it big enough for her to grow into.

Last, but not least: YARN-Y LOVELINESS!! This skein of beautiful sock yarn from Knit Picks arrived in today's mail. Squee! (Did I really just use that word?!) It's the Lullaby colorway of the new Stroll Hand-Painted. As with my photos and those on Ravelry, the violet shades don't show up as well. There is a good deal of violet in this yarn, about a 50/50 mix. It could be this dye lot, but I think it's just hard to capture on film. I love it all the same! This afternoon, I browsed FOs of all available MSKS patterns on Ravelry and made a list of contenders. (A little voice inside me is also pleading, "make Hedera or another Pomatomas." But I will not stray!) Next I plan on reading the book between now and Thursday's knit night, hoping to wind my skein into a ball while there (please, please Julane!). I wonder if I could get away with separating the skein into two balls using a scale (crosses fingers hopefully)...

Oh yeah, one more thing: it's really, really muggy outside tonight. How do I know? I went running around 8:00 PM. Though I've missed a couple of times for whatever reasons, I've been running since August 1. Tonight was a challenge, not only due to mugginess which I'm used to after living/running in Raleigh for 8 years, but also because all my running intervals ended uphill! Yeegads, that was tough. But, it felt good: I felt every last bronchiole (and their respective alveoli) of my lungs functioning and blood coursing through every last capillary. At the end of my run, I finished with walking lunges up the driveway and a set of lateral squats. I've worked up to 5 minutes of running at a time with short walking intervals in between. So, I'm running more than half the time. Once I make it 5 or 6 weeks in, I should be fine. I probably won't be running the entire time at 5-6 weeks, but my body will feel more up to the task at least and the habit of running will be developed.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Getting Things Done

Yesterday was all about cleaning up the kitchen and catching up on laundry. With two kids, it's easy to let things slide, especially in the summer when there are places to go and things to do. My return to running and working out seems to be what spurred this cleaning stint. Normally, I sit a lot throughout the day. But after shocking my metabolism by exercising for the last week, my body has been in recovery/adapt mode. I feel like I need to do something at times rather than sit... similar to the need to knit or do sudoku while watching TV to keep my hands and brain from being idle.

My goal is to run 3 times per week with off days of working out to my Cardio Max and Power Sculpt dvds (The Biggest Loser). When I alternated these two things last spring, my legs looked the best they ever have even though I didn't quite get down to my goal weight range at the time. The endurance built by running and the strength and power built through all those lunges and other aerocircuit moves are a good combination. Just yesterday, I was reading that the best way to maximize weight loss is to alternate two types of cardio (and be sure to include strength training, of course). That's exactly what I was doing last year, and it worked. Actually, I've been able to lose weight with just running. But by including workout dvds that combine cardio and strength training, I'm able to sculpt and tone my legs in a way that running isn't capable of on its own. Plus I like getting my upper body more muscular along with my legs so that I look more balanced.

My first time back running was last Saturday, and I followed that up with a run on Monday. The first run didn't make me that sore, but the second one sure did! Even my feet hurt (from all the extra weight I'm guessing). The first time I ran with my daughter in my jogging stroller, and the second time I didn't. Maybe I pushed myself hard to compensate for not having the stroller? My time on the second run was 36 minutes with 19 of that running. It felt so nice to be outdoors, alone with my thoughts and challenging myself. At the close of each run, I did some walking lunges up the driveway followed by stretching. I should've run or worked out yesterday.
But, after standing on my feet all day cleaning, I decided to postpone until tonight after knit night. Then tomorrow I'll run.

Now that I'm done with the Dream Swatch headband, I thought I should CO for an upsized girl version of Katya (a baby girl tank). I've already made the cups and straps and have joined in the round. The pattern is now tucked away while I knit rounds and rounds of stockinette with some possible rounds of purl/garter.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Dream Swatch Headband FO

Pattern: Dream Swatch Head Wrap by Wendy Bernard.
Yarn: Knit Picks Essentials Multi in Confetti, 1 skein divided and held double
Needles: US 5 KP Options

Notes: I only did 2 pattern repeats and CO 2 extra sts on each end (14 sts total). I ran out of yarn before the headband became long enough to use as a wrap. So, I sewed on a button with my last bit of yarn to use with the holes that fall naturally in the center of the headband (between pattern repeats). Since there are a series of holes, the headband is adjustable.

Now that I've made this, I might at some point have to make Calorimetry for when the weather gets colder. I have a blue fleece running headband, but it's not for extreme temperatures unless it's worn under a hat. I'd also like to make a beret or some other slouchy hats this fall/winter...

This weekend I made more flax seed hair gel (FSG). For the first time, I added some rosemary and oregano per a recipe variation. The rosemary smelled wonderful and mixed well with the lavender EO I added later on. However, my next batch will probably not have any herbs in it (or, maybe only the tiniest pinch of rosemary) because I like the lavender on its own. Many people add a variety of things to their FSG, but I like it very simple. The only extra ingredients I might add, other than the EO, are honey and aloe vera gel. This stuff works so well under regular storebrand gel. If it were strong and heavy enough, I'd wear it alone. But, it's too lightweight for my hair (like the weight of a mousse) unless I put in several handfuls. Anyway, I thought I'd share a pic of what the FSG looked like cooking on the stove. The whole process of making FSG only takes 10 minutes, 6 of which are for boiling. What a cheap and fast way to make an expensive storebought gel!

And finally, recent pictures of the kiddos:

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Fall IK and fall previews; Return to running?

I got my Fall 2009 Interweave Knits in the mail today! Wow, didn't the preview just go up not too long ago? I haven't looked through it yet, but right off the bat I like the Farmer's Market Cardigan. Once I've taken the time to really scrutinize each pattern, I'll mention more patterns that I like :-)

Another knit blogger mentioned that Vogue Knitting has their fall preview up. Congrats again to Saunielle for her pattern which is in this issue (see this link for 360-degree view)! Also, Jared Flood has a very nice collection of patterns coming out for Classic Elite Yarns, Made in Brooklyn. His attention to detail is impressive as always. I've always liked his style. BTW, now that Knit Picks has City Tweed HW, I can finally make his Morningside Neckwarmer. Lastly, from looking at the Knit Simple fall preview, I'm interested again in making a moebius cowl. I want to do the moebius cast on that Cat Bordhi shows on YouTube. You work from the center outward in the round :-) If interested, here's a dissection of the different types of moebius construction...

Every time I get on Ravelry, I check to see the ever-growing stash and projects of the new Stroll Hand Painted by Knit Picks. I'm loving the Lullaby colorway -- WANT! The more I see Ravelers' stashes and WIPs, the more I'm liking Lullaby and Make Believe the best. BTW, I like how the Stroll Hand Painted is dyed like Imagination rather than Stroll Multi -- less chance for pooling.

My Dream Swatch Head Wrap is coming along nicely. I'm only doing two pattern repeats so that it's more like a headband. Also, I'm doubling the sock yarn, Knit Picks Essential Multi in Confetti leftover from making "Louie" (Lola) Bunny.

Tomorrow, the family's going to our first Clippers baseball game in the new stadium downtown. From the outside, it reminds me so much of the Durham Bulls' ballpark. Can't wait to see if the inside is the same, too! If so, it'll be classy and modern with the feel of a real baseball stadium. I love that it's downtown and in the Arena District.

Oh gosh, I almost forgot to mention that I... went running tonight! Actually, my intent was only to take a long walk. I had my daughter and the jogging stroller with me. She walked about 1/4 mile and decided to sit in the stroller for the remainder of our outing. She asked me, "Mommy, can we go faster?" I said, "OK, maybe a few sprints here and there." She liked it so much when I ran that I felt like I had to keep it up. I ran for 3-5 minute intervals, only walking long enough to catch my breath. What was strange was, despite being my heaviest ever (30 lbs overweight), I didn't feel bad at all. Normally when I haven't been running for a while, I feel pretty rundown only 10 minutes in, both my muscles and my breathing. Tonight, I felt fine. It was perplexing to me that I was easily pushing my 30-plus-lb 4-year-old and that my deltoids weren't burning too badly from the constant contraction. Well, I'm pleasantly surprised and feel the stirrings of motivation! Maybe I'll be able to enjoy running once again this summer. I need it. It's been a while since I ran regularly. January - May 2008, I trained for a 5K to shed baby weight. Though I did get back into decent shape and lost about 8 lbs, I didn't enjoy it thanks to some lingering postpartum issues. Since I didn't experience any issues on tonight's run, I'm looking forward to hopefully enjoying running as much as I did back in summer 2004 (pre-kids). That was the last time I truly loved running and was in great shape.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lola Bunny Finished and Bequeathed A New Name

Meet Louie the bunny! This little guy is already snuggling with my 22-month-old boy tonight. Yet, I managed to take a few pictures before introducing him to his owner. The yarn is Knit Picks Essential Multi in Confetti; 2 skeins held double on U5 circs, magic loop. The only mods I made to the Lola Bunny pattern were to: 1) CO provisionally via the Magic CO so that I could continue working the opposite direction without having to pick up CO stitches; and 2) omit the tail. I did make a tail and sewed it on. But it ended up looking like Louie was, how shall we say, pinching something. So sorry for the foul description and resulting mental image I just presented to you. However, now you can see why I took the trouble to carefully remove the tail asap. Anyway, here are the pics!

Louie Bunny FO1Louie Bunny FO2Louie Bunny FO3

Lola Bunny Progress

Here's the final picture of my Chinese Waves #2 dishcloth. Originally, it looked a bit ridiculous because I ran out of yarn halfway through. So, I folded it in half and sewed it closed. Much better, and I kinda like the spongy feel. I think I'm done with dishcloths for now. Although, if I feel motivated enough, I'll make some Tribble kitchen scrubbies.

I'm making good progress on Lola Bunny (see picture). I got a lot done while my daughter was away at grandma's! I'm currently working on the ears and have the bum, tail, and face after that. The face is done with embroidery floss, which I already have in my cross stitch supplies. Can't wait to see the end result -- Ian has already become interested in it and likes the colors of the yarn :-)

Sometimes when I'm checking the Ravelry forums, I stop and search for new groups that might interest me. Last night I thought I'd check to see if there was a group that speaks Italian. YES! When I went to their forum, there was an Intro thread entirely in Italian. Since it was too late, I only read the first page of posts. But, I plan on reading them all (9 pages) and adding one myself. It's cool to see a wide spectrum of skill levels from beginners to native speakers. I think I'll learn a lot. And they're talking about knitting! In addition to this new Rav group, I've favorited a couple of Italian knitting blogs and sites to check frequently, not to mention some links to real Italian recipes, all in Italian. It's a fun challenge. I'm still doing Babbel, too, where I've built up to 1085 words and 800 or 900 some phrases. For grammar, I've been reading some of my college texts. Re-learning and remembering all the different verb tenses is probably the most challenging thing for me and my 35-year-old brain. Funny, that, because in college my biggest hindrance was vocabulary which is now easy for me in comparison. Back then though, I didn't have interactive sites like Babbel to build up my vocab...

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Verde Bag Pics

Pattern: Verde
Yarn: Knit Picks CotLin, 3 skeins (glacier, kohlrabi, lantana)
Needles: US 4, 6, 10

Knitting the lace mesh part of this string bag was my favorite part. The woven stitch at the bag top wasn't too unpleasant either. The only parts I didn't enjoy doing were the bag bottom and the fabric stitch strap. In the case of the strap, the extra time and effort was necessary to create a nice sturdy, nonelastic strap. The bag bottom looks like something unmentionable. Yet, it flattens out a little bit with ironing. The decreases and my nonelastic BO at the bag top created a narrow-diameter opening.

So... after seeing Marie model Verde and get all excited, I think I might let her have it. It's small enough for her to carry around and pretend she's Ariel collecting treasures. We could also use it to carry toys on-the-go or small knitting projects. I just know that it's not possible to be used as a regular market bag unless you're getting only small items. A cereal box definitely wouldn't fit. I think the next time I make a market bag, I'm going to do a rectangular bottom and be sure that the opening isn't narrow ;-)

I've decided to fold my latest Chinese Waves dishcloth in half and sew it closed to make up for running out of yarn halfway through making it. When I get a chance, I'll do that and take a pic. Next up is finishing my summer Berroco top Bright and some other projects that have been in letargo. I might CO for Lola Bunny today, too.
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