Sunday, May 31, 2009

Resume

Sorry for the totally unplanned blogging and knitting break! It's been a very busy couple weeks, with lots of work stuff, repainting the house, (trying to) install light fixtures, etc. Little knitting has been accomplished, and most definitely no finishing of knitted objects has taken place. I even missed knit night due to the failed stupid light fixture installation. I will never, ever, buy another house if there is any hint that the prior owners did their own electrical work (unless they are electricians). Meanwhile, DH was busy planning a party:

It was a very tasty red velvet cake. Many lovely people came, including some knitters, and a good time was had by all. I am now old (30), and feeling woefully unaccomplished. Cammy, on the other hand, turned 10, and is very accomplished in many ways, primarily cuteness.

Otherwise, the weather has gone from sort-of, sometimes-cold spring to most-definitely summer. I got to sit out by the pool today, and picked up Buttercup after a long break. Sadly, two birds (or one really evil bird) pooped on me within 10 minutes of each other. So I called it a day, came inside, knitted on the couch wearing a swimsuit, and drank a raspberry beer. Ah, summer!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Buy the peachy baby sweater!

AmyJ has listed her lovely iteration of the Peachy Baby Sweater, to be sold for charity, here on hyenacart. She was kind and thoughtful and asked for permission beforehand. If you're in the market for a super-cute baby cardi, here's a perfect one!

Monday, May 18, 2009

WIP: Buttercup

Well, so much for making myself finish all those pending projects. Fueled by the need to have an easy, portable project for plane travel, I started another top. This one is Buttercup (ravelry link), by Heidi Kirrmaier, which I'm knitting with the new organic cotton (Simply Cotton Sport) from Knitpicks. So far the yarn is soft and not too sheddy, and the swatch held up pretty well in the washing machine, so we'll see how the whole shirt does when it's done. The color (ginger) is lighter than expected, and rather flesh-like. Hopefully it won't turn out too grotesque when I have it on (ie one of those creepy "OMG she's not wearing a shirt!, oh wait, she is" kind of situations).

Sadly, I ended up not knitting anything on a plane at all this past weekend, because there was freak tornado weather in the midwest. So my flight got delayed several times before it was cancelled altogether, and the earliest I could get to the destination was 24 hours later. Since that would mean less than a day at the actual destination, I called it a day and came home, and worked on work stuff and on the garden instead. I missed the first surprise birthday party someone has ever planned for me, and a big graduation, and seeing lots of good people. A big ole bummer of a weekend!

I'm thinking maybe I should try to get all these pending projects finished up in time for my 30th birthday, to start the decade anew. Also, it's getting too hot to wear the golden poplar...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Forgetfulness

Today, I forgot to go to my own knit group. I had even sent out reminders to everyone! Tina and the others there called me about an hour in, to call me out as the ridiculous fool that I am. Somehow I had looked forward to knitting all day, then I got home and got going on work stuff, and my brain got all distracted and squashy.

Well I did get quite a bit of work done, and felt justified in taking a break to do some research about what to do about the impending end of my car lease. I'd get rid of the car altogether, but I'm anxious about all the little trips I wouldn't be able to do...like to the yarn store, TJ's, work, etc. There's a car sharing program started by Enterprise in St Louis called WeCar, which looks very good and well (all hybrids! cheap!) except that the cars are parked a long way away from this neighborhood. Has anybody done this? Anyone want to band together and lobby for shared cars in the Central West End? I'm also trying to find a used bike with a basket from craigslist, to commute the whole 4-5 blocks to work, and also to buy picturesque basketfuls of flowers, baguettes, and yarn (probably not all together). Any suggestions?

Monday, May 11, 2009

FO: Akimbo


It has a name! Akimbo is one of my favorite words--it's sort of a visual onomatopoeia--and wearing this top just makes one want to stand akimbo. Thanks for all the great name suggestions. I'll have to save them for the upcoming designs.

The cap sleeves curve slightly using short rows to "hug" the shoulders, so that they fit and keep straps tucked in. There's bust shaping and waist shaping for a perfect fit, but since all but the cap sleeves are in stockinette, it's pretty quick and easy.

There would be more pictures, but the sunlight is really bright in that one spot, and washed out the other pictures. I might treat myself and get an actual tripod, so that I don't have to use a recycling bin on top of the patio table, which has been the MacGuyver-ish solution so far, and has resulted in that one spot being the only one usable for pictures.

The pattern will be written up soon, and will be on its way to test-knitters soon. Yay!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Thwarted procrastination

There are knitters who don't mind finishing, which encompasses the sewing, embellishments, blocking, and whatnot that come after the knitting is done. Then there's the rest of us. After all the work that goes into the knitting (and designing, ravelry-browsing, hemming-and-hawing, yarn-choosing, swatching) of a garment, it seems that once the knitting is done, the whole thing should be done. Alas, the part after the knitting plays a big part in what the final product looks like, and I've ruined many a fine project with slipshod finishing. No wonder I put it off! So far I have 3 projects off the needles but not quite finished:

Buttons and trim on my niece's sweater:

Lining, buttons, and charms/handle of the denim purse:

And--wait for it--the golden poplar!

The knitting and seaming (!) are done, but the top of the shoulders (where the front and back join) need some pattern embroidered in, and (this is the worst part) the hems for the neck and arm holes need to be picked up and knitted in 1x1 rib. Sigh x3.

It always helps to start a new project to stave off any guilt one might feel about not quite finishing earlier projects. Here is the as-yet-unnamed top I'm designing, currently done down to the waist.

It's baggy in both directions, and I'm getting nervous about the size, and keep re-checking the gauge on the swatch (which was machine-washed and partly machine-dried), re-reassure myself, and get back to the mindless stockinette. The top was coming along swimmingly (and I was managing to avoid working on all the annoying bits of the old projects), when this happened.

The circular part of the needles eroded where it joins the needle, which happened with another pair of these cheap bamboo needles from ebay. I have a whole set (circs, dpns, single points) of them, and they are great except that the circs keep breaking. These are my fifth pair to break, that--oh so unfortunately--I have had to replace with Addi circs. Thank goodness knitty couture was open today, so I can continue procrastinating.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Gardening

It's finally warm enough that the door to the wee garden behind the house can be left open, and I can watch the plants grow. Last summer and autumn I completely gave up on the garden, after the crabapple tree got a fungus and shed fungemic leaves all over the garden, and everything died. So sad! Somehow the cold of winter was curative, because things I had counted as dead are miraculously growing out of the ground at astonishing rates. Like this clematis. Amazing!

Even the infamous crabapple tree has rid itself of fungus for the time being. I feel so vindicated about not spraying toxic fungicide all over the tree. Look!

If you look closely, there's a nest in the lower branches. The baby birds hatched recently--so far I've seen three little baby bird heads at a time, but there could be more. Usually, there's one parent bird keeping watch, and a couple little baby heads resting on the edge of the nest.

Then the other parent will come back with a squirming worm in his or her mouth, then rest for a few moments on the nearby fence, and make little hooting noises. He/she looks around for a few moments (? to make sure predators aren't watching), then goes to the nest, and simultaneously the other parent will depart to get another worm.

As soon as the worm-bearing parent arrives, there's a lot of eep-eep-eep-eep noises, and little baby bird heads with mouths open peek out above the top of the nest, clamoring. Then just like in cartoons, the parent leans over them and the baby birds devour the worm.

I waited all afternoon to try to get a picture, and I kept missing them. This is as good as it got with my little point-and-shoot. Isn't springtime wonderful?