Friday, March 31, 2006
But now that he can move around...this little routine of ours is quickly becoming i-m-p-o-s-s-i-b-l-e! He won't stop moving! I must have taken 50 shots today trying to get one where he is sitting still, not eating the sweater, and not crawling out of the shot and I tell you it was slim pickings.
This is the first photo I took and that was it. I think I'll have to come up with a new strategy! It will probably involve more spontaneous 'action shots' or a lot more 'sleeping beauty' shots. As I mentioned earlier this week, the pattern is from the Fall/Winter 2002/2004 Phildar Layette magazine knit up in the 12 month size with 8 balls of Phildar Altitude yarn. It was real quick to knit (the gauge is 2 st per inch!) and the resulting fabric is very thick so that it can be worn as a jacket. I love it!
But now I really have to get to my sisters Christmas/birthday sock since her birthday is today! Bonne fete Helene, je t'aime gros gros ;0)
Have a great weekend everybody!
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
I started knitting the 'Patelot No. 20' from Phildar Layette Automne/Hiver 2002/2003 (I wish I could hyperlink that for you but I couldn't find it anywhere on the web, perhaps ebay?). It is knit from Phildar Altitudes yarn which has a gauge of 2 stitches per inch! Yes, you read that right...this yarn is huge so needless to say, this is a uber quick knit!
All the pieces are knit and all that's left is a little steam blocking, a little seaming up, and the addition of a few white toggles before Julian can model it for us ;0)
There are so many wonderful patterns in this particular issue of Layette (though every issue has lots of lovely baby knits - about 30 patterns per issue). I've already knit the 'Gilet a capuche' for Thanksgiving from this issue so this is my second and there are a few more on my must knit list. Most patterns are written up is sizes 0-3 months all the way to 24 months so hopefully I'll get to knit them before Julian is too big...it's the ultimate deadline! Here are some of the knits on my must get to list from this particular issue:
I'm working on a little translation guide which I'll post next time for anyone who would like to knit from french patterns. I'd strongly recommend the Phildar stuff (you can buy the most recent magazines here some in English even and if you'd like to browse them first you can do so at the Phildar site). But there are also really nice things from Bergere de France. Check out their free patterns for baby 0-2, children 2-16 (click 'fille' for girl or 'garcon' for boy patterns), women or men.
Monday, March 27, 2006
The pattern (free from Knitty) is very well written and easy to memorise. It is perfect for anyone who wants to try some cabling because there is enough of it to keep it interesting, but it is surrounded by a lot of stockinette which makes the whole thing knit up faster. It is also more flattering than an all out aran cableknit would be, especially on us curvy girls ;0)
I did not make any mods. To my great surprise, the waist and bust shaping suited me perfectly. The length is just right too. So it's a good thing I resisted making any mods. The pattern is just right as is! Well except for maybe the sleeves...if I ever make this again, I will probably make the sleeves a little narrower. There is a tad too much ease for my taste, though on the flip side, it will be great for layering.
Not bad for my second attempt at a sweater I would actually wear. (The first still doesn't fit...though I'm trying to do something about that!)
And now on a more serious (and hopeful) note, I've started taking evening strolls with a neighbour and friend who is training to participate in the Walk to End Breast Cancer in Ottawa this summer. The walk is an amazing 60km in two days and each walker must raise at least $2000 just to be able to walk. What a challenge! I won't be participating in the walk, but am ready to help anyway I can so I thought I'd post the link to the donation site, because you never know ;0) I mean maybe one of you just rolled up the brim and won a pile of cash today! Or maybe you have a money tree growing in your yard. Or maybe you've been looking for a great cause to get behind. Or maybe you have $5 bucks (or $10 or $20) to spare?
So, if you'd like to help raise funds to end cancer (and help a friend of a friend get one step closer to that $2000 goal) you can do so by clicking this link (it will take you to Jennifer's fundraising page on the Walk to End Breast Cancer site). It is a great cause. I mean who's family hasn't been affected by cancer? Ours sure has. A tax receipt will be automatically generated for any donation (though I think that's just applicable to Canadians?). Thanks for considering it ;0)
Now enough talk about taboo subjects like money and illness...
It's time to knit, knit, knit and now that Bristow's off the needles, I think I'm getting a case of startitis!
Sunday, March 26, 2006
And in knitting news Bristow's done! Here she is soaking in the kitchen sink on the Friday night. She's since been blocked and seamed. Button, button-hole and neck bands were picked-up and knit this morning and buttons sewn on a few hours ago. I'm really impressed with how it turned out and think I'll actually get to wear this one lots. Stephen's working from home tomorrow since Julian has his 9 month well-baby check-up in the afternoon so I'll definately pull him away for a few minutes to take some pictures in the morning light.
And in Julian news...well there is just so much to tell! He started pulling himself up on the coffee table and has even been working on his balance, letting go of one hand at a time. No cruising yet, but he's so very close. We decided to take him to the toy store on Saturday to look for an exersaucer or some kind of device to help him develop strong walking legs and since he wasn't asleep (a first I think...he is usually fast asleep in the stroller) we thought what better way to choose than to pull them each down and have him 'test drive' each exersaucer.
He had such a great time in all of them, but since the height limit on them is 30" we decided he wouldn't get that much use out of them so off we went to try some scooters and push toys instead. We brought home the Fisher Price ride-on hippo which he just loves. He's had it for one day and this morning he pulled himself up on it and pushed it across the living room. Our jaws dropped when we saw him do this! He's only 9 months and hasn't really figured out how to crawl forwards yet so seeing him up on two feet pushing this thing across the room was quite the shock. We're just so smitten with the boy. And incredibly proud of him too ;0)
And because things happen so fast when you're 9 months old, he also packed in a whole bunch of new teeth this week-end. I felt one of his top middle teeth on Friday and when I showed daddy later that night, we noticed two other ones had also sprouted! That's 3 new teeth this weekend with no tears or crankiness (what's the catch?). The strange thing about his teeth though is the configuration: he's got the two middle teeth on the bottom, and 3 of the 4 middle teeth on the top. So on the top gum, it's tooth, tooth, space, tooth. Weird, eh? Hopefully another tooth with fill the gap soon enough.
Well that's it for now. Time to join my snoring boys asleep beside me.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Well we had Stephen's family over for some chowder and quesidillas on Sunday afternoon and while we were cooking, something caught Jujube's eye: the silicone whisk! Those two have been inseperable since. He even sleeps with his new buddy. I really have to be careful not to refer to his friend as 'Whisky' though which is quite difficult because since he was born, everything started ending with "y"as in binky, horsey, nappy... Those are all cute of course, but there's something not right about being at the park or mall and asking your baby if he wants his whisk-y!
Here's the week in review...
Yup, more gratuitous cuteness shots! I'm hoping to distract you from the lack of knitting content. Is it working? Truth is, as I am sure you know, sleeves are incredibly long and boring to knit and blog about. Especially the second! And that's where I'm at on Bristow. I keep telling myself to hang in there, stop thinking about how dull it is to knit and how far there seems to knit still, but I'm at the point where every row is a greater chore than the one before it (which it is by the way since the pattren calls for increases every 6 rows).
Visualise the finish line, Anny, visualise a beautiful red Bristow...
And knit, bay-bee, knit!
Monday, March 20, 2006
This time I did not miss any yarnovers and finished both fronts. Again! But this time, I won't be doing any more frogging.
I immediately cast on for the first sleeve in fear that if I didn't start it right away, then poor Bristow would go hiding under the bed. Again! Poor thing. Such neglect is not right ;0)
To my surprise, the first sleeve is flying and am dreaming of a finished Bristow by the end of the week. What? It could happen! Afterall, I've got to finish it before Project Spectrum leaves the red and pink behind in just over a week. Plus, my sister's birthday is coming up on March 31st and I have to finish her 'Christmas' socks by then...
Knit, knit, knit!
Friday, March 17, 2006
What a treat! I bought the first 3 in the series (out of 4) from Elann for $35 each and am really happy that I did. These feel like complete compendiums. There are hundred and hundreds of stitches, cables, lace patterns and charts for motifs. Unlike the Harmony guides which have separate volumes (I think) for different stitch types, each of the Treasury guides contain plainer purl and knit stitches, slip stitch designs, two- colour stitch patterns, cable patterns, lace patterns and a few motifs. The volumes offer more and more of each of these and from what I can tell are exclusive of each other. If you can only buy one, I think the second book contains a greater number of stitch patterns.
The first two guides offer written out instructions only while the third one contains charts only. Note that I've seen criticism (somewhere) about her charts in the third book because they do not use standard abbreviations. Since I have never really used charts (I prefer the line by line instructions) this is not a problem for me as I would still need to use a "legend" whether standard or non-standard abbreviations were used.
The wonderful thing about these for me is that as my knitting skills evolve and my repertoire of basic patterns grows (like the yoked baby sweater and the cutom-fit raglan sweater, for instance) I can see myself going back to these books to find new and interesting stitch patterns and motifs to spruce up these basics. See my first try above. I used the seamless yoked baby sweater pattern and inserted the Madeira lace border from the first treasury of knitting. I found that the lace pattern was really well written out and easy to follow and am really pleased with the result.
Here are some of some stitch patterns from the three books that I think are representative (they're pictures I took of the pictures in the book so the quality is a little lacking but don't worry the actual pictures in the book are better!). Note that all the stitch patterns are photographed in these books albeit in black and white only. Colour would be nice, but the stitches are easy to see in B&W so this is not really a problem either.
Perhaps the best thing about these Barbara G. Walker books is that each stitch pattern includes a little note from her about what it might be used for, the stiffness (for instance) of the resulting fabric and whether they use up a lot of yardage. As a novice when it comes to designing knits, I find these advice tidbits really useful.
So all in all, I'm really happy I bought these (they are so inspiring) and will probably get the fourth one too. I give it a definate two needles up ;0)
Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
My mother-in-law helped me out with the basics like pining and sewing straight lines back on Super Bowl Sunday (I have yet to finish that quilt) and that's all the sewing experience that I needed to make a wee bunny of my own (you can download the free pattern from Wee Wonderfuls). It's just too sweet and I love it, love it, love it!
I even tucked one of Jujube's plastic Heinz baby food containers filled with a small handful of rice in the bottom. Ta-da! Instant bunny rattle! And bonus, the plastic container is the perfect size. Really. It's perfect. And allows the bunny to stand on his own.
All that's left to do on this little cutie is sew on the bottom, attach the pom-pom tail, and embroider on a face. The face has me really stressed out. I suck at hand sewing and am scared of ruining my wee one. So I need to make a plan and work up some courage. Or maybe I can use fabric paint and paint on two little eyes and a pink nose? Or sew on some bead or button eyes? Or not risk it and leave it as is until I either (a) get good at embroidery, or (b) find someone who is? What to do. What to do.
I know, knit a little somethin' somethin' while I figure it out. It's another little pink cardi (see it up there, under bunny). This time I am using the seamless yoked baby sweater pattern leaving out the fancy stitches and substituting a lace border from Barbara G. Walker's stitch library. So far so good. Two arms to go and it's another pink FO.
You'd think I'd be tired of all the pink and red, but actually, I'm loving it and am feeling the pressure to knit up my entire pink and red stash by the end of the month. Though I know it's not gonna happen cause I've accumulated quite the lot of pink and red over the years! I blame all my friends and relatives who've only been producing baby boys! LOL!!!
I figure I outta try to knit up as much of it as possible this month and take it easy in April since I only have like 3 balls of yellow and orange yarn in the stash. April is going to be a breeze! Heehee!
Don't we just love Project Spectrum? Lolly, you're a genius!
Monday, March 13, 2006
I started by making a 6 stitch i-cord on 3.75mm needles with baby yarn, stuffed it with 6 pieces of yarn (threading them through the icord tube with a darning needle) so that it wouldn't collapse on itself and look more like a thick cord, made the knot following these directions, trimmed the ends, sewed them together and attached it to the hat. Voila! So cute ;0)
That's pretty much the extent of the knitting I got done this weekend because we were busy socialising bees these past 4 days: shopping with auntie t and dinner with my sister and her family on Thursday, visiting my best friend from work for dinner on Friday (boy, can her husband cook!), cleaning house in anticipation of a visit from friends and their 22 and 3 month old babes to go sleeper shopping at the Baby's Own factory outlet on Saturday and brunching with the in-laws yesterday. Phew! Needless to say, I'm glad it's Monday today.
And Julian, well he's still growing. Here he is in his infant car seat for the last time having out grown it already. We also loaned out the bouncer and returned the Jolly Jumper this weekend since he outgreww those too in the last few weeks. The swing will probably have to go next, but I will be really sad to see that one go since it's still the only way he'll settle down for a nap in the afternoon. The limit on it is 24 lbs. He's currently 21 lbs.
And he keeps growing, and growing, and growing....
P.S.: Hillary over at Wee Wonderfuls has posted a free pattern for the most delightful (and simple) wee bunny today. Go check it out. I've already started working on mine and hope to show you later this week.
Friday, March 10, 2006
There was not much knitting around here yesterday. No siree! Julian and I went out for a day on the town and then to my sister's house for dinner. It was like a little field trip. So exciting! We had breakfast and lunch with auntie t and her little 3 month old munchkin and of course hit all the baby and toy stores in the underground city! And then I took the bus and metro (aka, the subway) to my sister's house which I really should do more often because we always have such a nice time.
It was the first time Jujube and I went anywhere without daddy and we did okay. The only really challenging part was getting off the subway and having to climb two flights of stairs with a diaper bag, a 22 lb baby and heavy stroller. And this in all our winter garb! My arms are still feeling the burn from that one ;0)
Thankfully, the rest of the time, there was always someone ready and happy to lend a hand and that makes me feel really good about Montreal. Sure it's big and cosmopolitan, but it is also very friendly and I really love it here (I should say "there" because I don't live there anymore, but I still consider it "my" city).
So maybe we'll venture out more. I can't wait until the waist-high snow bank out front melts away and we can resume our neighbourhood walks. It'll be really fun to go to the park and socialise with the other neighbourhood moms again. We've been hibernating all winter!
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
The pattern doesn't include much in terms of closures for this ribbed jacket. It recommends a flower pin. Though as most of you with little ones would agree that as cute as the little flower pin idea is, no one wants a sharp pin anywhere near their babies! So after spending a day knitting the sweater, I spent another day just concocting the closure for it.
I wanted something cute. Not pointy. Securely attached. And machine washable. I considered a large button, a rick rack flower button with a snap, a ribbon tie, and an i-cord tie before settling on a mandarin-style frog. Too bad I thought of the frog late last night after we returned from the store where these are usually easy to come by! But I really wanted to finish the sweater so I did some online research to see how difficult it would be to make one...
Turns out making frogs is actually quite simple (though time consuming). I started by making a 12 and a 20 cm i-cord (4 stitches wide) on 2mm needles with baby yarn. I then used these* instructions to make the button knot with the 20 cm i-cord (centering it as much as I could). Once I was happy with the knot, I held the ends together, lined them up and sewed them together using a mattress stitch (neatness counts ;0) and sewed it onto one side of the jacket.
Using the 12 cm i-cord, I made a loop big enough the go over the button knot (I actually made it quite snug on the button so it would not easily come undone) and mattress stitched the ends together before sewing it onto the other side of the jacket. Ta-da! A really cute frog closure!
I am so pleased with how it turned out and predict a lot more of these in my future. So cute. Really practical (if you have yarn, you have a closure). Totally safe for little ones. And machine wash and dry (I used shrink resistant acrylic). And it only took me...4 hours! Okay, that's a long time, but that's because I was experimenting. Now that I know what I'm doing, I could probably make and attach one in an hour.
One more note on the pattern for anyone inspired to knit it, the collar was really rigid on mine when I first knit it up and wouldn't fold over and drape nicely. I ended up ripping out the bind-off and started again binding off with a needle 3 sizes larger around the neck area (but using the regular 4.5mm needle on the fronts) which made a world of difference.
* I also found instructions here, here, here and here.
Monday, March 06, 2006
I decided to concentrate on Bristow this weekend since Odessa's still in a time out. We rented movies and I knit and knit and knit. I even considered that I might even finish both fronts on the weekend. So naive.
Well I finished the left front, cast on for the right front and flew through to the bust increases. That's when I noticed it. Another missing yarnover (what is it with yarnovers anyway that make them so easy to forget?). What to do, what to do?
This had happened to me once on the left side but I noticed it after only a few rows and was able to ladder down and fix it. But this time, it's like more than 30 rows back? I can't ladder that far! It would end up looking worse than if I just left it. I was tired. The Oscar's were becoming a bore (it's so much less interesting when you haven't seen any of the movies!). So I put it down and decided to sleep on it.
This morning, I still didn't know what to do and not wanting to waste any more precious knitting time deliberating, I did what any normal knitter would and cast on for a new project. I don't have any baby girls to knit for (seriously, it's been years since I've even seen a baby girl!) but thought Project Spectrum would be the perfect opportunity to knit a little pink somethin' somethin' for a wee one...you know, for the gift closet?
So I started knitting the ribbed jacket from Debbie Bliss' Special Knits (it's the one on the cover) and this one is really flying. I cast on this morning and am feeling pretty good about finishing it today. No kidding. Forget what I said before about my knitting naivite. Really, I think it's a one day baby sweater!
So I took a break to photograph them both for you while the sun is still high in the sky. I wanted to show you the amazing one-day sweater in progress and ask your advice on Bristow's missed yarnover. It wasn't until I saw the photo up there in the right hand corner that I noticed them...the three missed yarnovers on the completed side!
What? I edited the photo to point them out (as if I had to...kinda glaring if you stare even for just a little while). Now what? I've got to rip. If I don't it'll bug me to no end everytime I wear the sweater. And, if I'm going to rip out 60 rows on the left front anyway, I guess I'll rip out the 30 rows on the right front too. What's and extra 30 rows? Right? I thought so ;0)
Well at least there's still the magic of the amazing one day sweater...
Friday, March 03, 2006
Seven Things To Do Before I Die:
- Get another degree in something fun like architecure or environmental studies or teaching.
- Hike up Mount Washington (the highest peak on the Eastern Seaboard).
- Teach my children to love God, live productively and serve humanity.
- Take a train across Canada from shining sea to shining sea.
- Have 6 children (apparently it's my destiny).
- Stop caring about what other people think.
- Accept myself. Truely. Completely.
Seven Things I Cannot Do:
- Drive. I still need my husband to drive me to the mall.
- Cook meat (it always ends up like shoe leather).
- Resist a bag of chips in the house.
- Stay awake watching Star Wars.
- Keep plants alive.
Seven Things That Attract Me To My Mate:
- He's smart. Really smart. They call him "Stevie Wonder"
- He's funny. He laughs really loudly, even at commercials.
- He's loving. And kind. And caring.
- He's sensitive. And doesn't make excuses or hides it.
- He's warm and comfy. And lounges. With me.
- He's easy-going. And doesn't like to fight. So we don't. We're easy.
- He's fair and doesn't judge. Anyone. Ever.
Seven Books I Love:
- Summer Things by Joseph Connolly. Seriously the funniest book I've ever read. Truly hilarious!
- Baby knits for beginners by Debbie Bliss. I taught myself to knit from this book and it is still my reference of choice when seaming up garments.
- The many lives and secret sorrows of Josephine B. by Sandra Gulland. It is a historical novel about Napoleon's wife written as a journal. I stayed up for 2 days straight reading it. Seriously could not put it down.
- The unofficial guide to having a baby by Ann Douglas and John Sussman. I bought this book when my husband and I started thinking about having a baby and I have no problem saying that it is the most reader friendly, complete and thorough pregnancy book out there. It covers everything from conception, through a week by week "what's going on with your baby?" and "what's going on with your body?" all the way to birth and after. It also has lots of information about medications, problems, interventions and loss. I consulted it at least once a day during my entire pregnancy.
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Need I say more. It's still on the bestseller list after almost 3 years and this despite not having come out in paper back yet! That was a great read.
- How to behave and why by Munro Leaf. I first heard of this book in an episode of 7th Heaven (yes, I watch this show overacting and all) and thought it might become useful when teaching Julian to be honest, fair, strong and wise. It was originally published in 1946 and is really charming.
- The very hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle. A favourite as a child and a favourite of my little Jujube. And then he was a beautiful butterfly...
Seven Things I Say:
- "He's so cute!"
- "I love you"
- "We're out of Coca-Cola"
- "I have to pee"
- "What's it like outside?"
- "We need to go to the Home Depot"
- "The thing is, here's the thing..."
Seven Movies I've Loved:
- The Barbarian Invasions
- The Cutting Edge
- The Point
- Apollo 13
- Office Space
- The Usual Suspects
- The Lord Of The Rings (all three + Viggo's such a hottie)
Seven People To Tag:
- Renee from Froggie Meanie
- Robyn from Prettybird's nest
- Shelley from Kitten Yarns & Crafts
- Cynthia from Two wooden sticks and a ball of yarn
- Rhonda from Home of the stitching nut
- Rachael from All it took was just one stitch
- Stricken Madchen from Pink Knits
What about you? If you care to share, consider yourself tagged too! Oh, and it goes without saying that if I've tagged you and you don't want to, you don't have to ;0)
Have a great weekend everyone!
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Except that I am also using the wrong needle size for the yarn. Since my head is huge, I wanted to make the hat a little larger than the pattern called for anyway so I thought I could stretch it around a 24 inch circ. I figured, if it is taught on the 24 inch, it will be perfect on my head.
So I cast on 80 stitches (instead of the 110 called for in the pattern) and managed to knit about an inch of the ribbing before noticing that despite the usually "duh" instruction in all patterns ever written for knits in the round, I managed to twist the stitches. Rip.
I started again, got to about the same point when I also remembered that the ribbing should be knit on smaller needles than the main part. Ah, crap. Rip. Now 80 stitches on a smaller needle won't stretch around my huge head. 90 is too much. 85 won't work with the swirly pattern...
Then my head sarted to hurt, so before I had another potentially disqualifying false start, I decided to put it down for a while and cast on for my Project Spectrum red Bristow. Ain't she purdy? I had finished the back during the Olympics (to free up the needle) and got started on the left front last night and am loving it. There's lots of mind numbing stocking stitch with a neat cable for interest and motivation.