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Soupygirltwitting

Poop (everybody does it)

After popular demand (well, my friend Jana asking anyway) I’ve decided to tell the Gory Memorial Day Poop Story.  If you are at all squeamish just stop here.  Trust me.  This is a story my father wouldn’t have been able to take without turning green.  He could hardly change my diaper without passing out the once or twice he changed mine.  You’d think a man who drove himself to the hospital after damaging his finger in a table saw would be able to take it.

This story requires a little background.  We’ve pretty much given up on Unclothed Baby Time.  Even though it is incredibly adorable–all that chubby flesh, that cute baby butt, the fact that she runs over to the full length mirror to admire herself–it comes at a very steep price.  A price we are simply not willing to pay.  About two months ago I was letting the girl air out her nether region.  I was sitting on the couch and H was playing on the floor next to me.  Sparky came downstairs and noticed that there were turds on the floor.  I had no idea.  We cleaned it up and then we realized that wasn’t the end of it.  Unfortunately, that realization came in the form of Sparky stepping on an undigested raisin.  That resulted in a LOT of swearing and a microscopic inspection of every inch of the carpet.

A few weeks ago we had been out all morning and I didn’t have the opportunity to change her diaper.  Since it was pretty heavy I thought I’d give her the chance to air dry.  Big mistake.  She walked over to the front door and peed all over the area rug.  I cleaned it up (cursing under my breath) and thought “well, she’s done she can go for a little longer without the diaper.”  Even bigger mistake.  A few minutes later I noticed a mine field of poop all over the entryway.  I took a picture of it with my cell phone and sent it to Sparky.  Parenthood does this to a person.  We used to send flirtatious texts back and forth all day.  Now it’s pictures to show how my day is going.  That marked the end of Unclothed Baby Time–probably forever.

In the midst of all this she achieved that all important toddler milestone of learning how to take her diaper off.  This has turned changing her diaper into an Olympic event.  Not only is she rolling around trying to jump up and run off, but she’s grabbing the velcro closures as soon as I get them on.  This is a big game to her, one that she thinks is hysterical.  So not only is there no more Free Range Baby, but she also has to be wearing pants or a diaper cover at all times.

This brings us to the Gory Memorial Day Poop story.  Really, if the above stories made you uncomfortable, you should just stop now.

We were staying at a newer hotel in Bend after driving all the way to the Idaho border the day before.  Poor girl was a champ even though she was trapped in the car for two days.  After the “I wish this were charming but it’s just awful” hotel room from the night before it was nice to have a modern facility to lounge in. We were letting her run around the hotel room to burn off all that pent up toddler energy.  I was in the bathroom and could hear her playing with her reflection in the mirror on the other side of the door.  I could also hear the tell-tale noises indicating she was taking some “personal time”.  All of a sudden I hear Sparky yelling “Oh! OH! OH! OH!”.  The shouting just kept escalating louder and more intense.  “Do you need some help honey?”  (knowing full well that he was dealing with a huge disaster on the other side of the door.)  Apparently our Sparkle Girl had indeed pooped.  But then she removed her diaper flinging poop all over the floor of the hotel room.  Huge amounts of poop.  Farm animal amounts of poop (probably from being confined in a sitting position for two days).  Sparky had grabbed the diaper and as much of the poop as he possibly could and tossed it on the bed (a mistake made in the panic of the moment).  Of course, poop rolls out of the diaper onto the bed.  By the time I came out to help him he was wild eyed and jumping out of his skin.   That’s when I realize that she had also stepped in the giant pile of poop and left little poopy footprints on the carpet.  I grab her and try to clean her up (thank goodness for very sturdy baby wipes)–her bottom, her feet.  She’s wiggling so much I’m also trying to keep it from getting all over me too.  Sparky gets most of the poop contained and disposes of the diaper.  We debated whether or not to call housekeeping and put some poor woman making minimum wage through the indignity of cleaning our carpet, but decided to see if we could take care of it first.  I put a diaper on her and turn my attention to the footprints on the floor.  Those wipes are really amazing–it cleaned everything up and you would never know that moments before it was covered in unholy amounts of poop.  I think Sparky still has PTSD from this unfortunate event.  I’m sure now you’ve made a resolution to never walk barefoot in a hotel again.

I know that we have more poop adventures waiting for us when it comes time to potty train in the not-too-distant future.  But for now we think we’ve instituted poop-containment protocols that will prevent any future elimination adventures.

I warned you.  If you are squeamish and kept reading you have nobody to blame but yourself~

Shifting Focus

There are parenting stories that I’m interested in posting but had not done so yet because I wanted to keep the focus of this blog on knitting.  I’ve decided to not worry about it and share all the glorious, gross and goofy stuff that comprises my daily life with the Sparkle Girl.  That means there will be poop.  There will also be rants about sleeping (or not sleeping), food and my judgments of bad parenting I see out in public (this means you crazy lady I saw at Old Navy).  Expect to see bragging and confessions.  I’m mixing it up folks!

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First off a confession (you didn’t expect me to start out with the gory Memorial Day poop story did you?).  My allergies have been giving me hell for the past week.  I’ve resorted to Zyrtec and feel sooooo much better.  It says on the label not to use if breastfeeding.  I took it anyway.  What some may consider to be a “side effect” I see as an amazing feature that will probably keep me faking allergy symptoms for  months to come.  The Sparkle Girl slept last night!!!  I don’t mean naps in between furious demands for milk.  I mean real, honest to goodness sleep.  She woke at midnight and then again sometime after the sun came up.  If you’ve never experienced a year and half of sleep deprivation you just don’t know how fantastically amazing this is.

Another confession.  I’m a total sucker for the chaotic train wreck that is Toddlers and Tiaras.  Those women are so crazy.  They spend a fortune on this endeavor.  Most of the kids are spoiled and out of control.  Most of the moms are completely emotionally and physically unhealthy.  It’s delicious and I can only watch it while the Sparkle Girl is napping because Sparky won’t watch it so I have to DVR the show.  The most shocking thing about this (and this is the real confession) is that I think the Sparkle Girl would LOVE to do this. (hushed whispers and shocked stares).  The dressing up, being on stage, people clapping for her, seeing all the dressed up big girls…  My little girly extrovert would explode in a convulsion of ecstasy if I were to enter her in one of these things.     Don’t worry, it’s never going to happen because I’m never going to let her know that such a thing exists.

Some bragging.  I married one heck of a fantastic father.  Sparky adores her, he adores me, he adores our life.  He was made to be a parent.  While a lot of moms on Baby Center are venting about how their husbands act like they are doing them a favor by “helping” with the kids, mine changes a diaper when he knows she needs one.  I don’t even have to ask.  And he knows where the diapers live in the house and where to throw it away.   He also sets her up for dinner and feeds her without acting like a child.  He knows what she eats.  He’s amazing.

Ok.  That’s enough for now.  The Sparkle Girl is going to wake up soon and we’ve got a movement class this afternoon.  She had a busy morning with all her friends at my Mom’s group so it’s hard to tell how long she’ll be down.  It takes a while to recover from all that unbridled playing, stealing snacks, and running around like a crazy child.

Catching Up

Ok.  Finally took some pictures of all the craziness~

First:  The gorgeous coppery WooBu for the Traveling Sweater. I’ll be in a car for well over a dozen hours this weekend so there will be plenty of time to make some progress on this. When I get tired of working on it I’ll switch to the booties. Since there are miles of 2×2 ribbing on size three needles I’m certain the booties will see some action.

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Second: The green vest that seemed to linger for ages. Not a great picture, but the best I could do with the Sparkle Girl trying like heck to get in the photo.

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A close up of the perfect button I found at the Yarn Garden:

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I’m hopeful that the next post will show a wide swath of the Traveling Sweater~

Be safe over the Memorial Day Weekend and Happy Knitting!

A flurry of activity

Gosh–I’ve been in a high productivity mode lately.   Must be the new organizational system.  I LOVE the new organizational system and I’ve added to it.  So in addition to the stockings that I need to get cracking on, Sparky has another colleague with a new baby girl who needs booties, and I’ve picked up another project for the Sparkle Girl.

My virtual friend, turned real life friend Veronica came down to PDX with her daughter.  Her husband came down for a  conference so we spent the morning at OMSI and the afternoon at the Yarn Garden and Twisted.  She’s expecting a girl this summer so I made her a pretty cute baby shrug out of some Manos cotton that I’ve had for a few years. Since I managed to finish it right under the wire it wasn’t blocked.  It might be a little small since I  used smaller yarn and made a larger size.  If nothing else she can use it for doll clothes.

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The thing that I’m most excited about is that I cast on for the Traveling Sweater!  I tried on the sample at Twisted and loved it.  The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts WooBu–a wool bamboo blend.  The color I chose is called Saffron Jungle.  It’s a sumptuous coppery color and will be ohsoyummy this winter.  It is named the Traveling Sweater because it looks fantastic on everybody, like the pants in the movie “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”.

This is the photo from the pattern:

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I need to take some pictures…the finished green sweater (which I found the perfect button for), the Woobu, the yarn for the booties, etc.  That will have to wait for another post~

The cute booties were mailed and Sparky’s co-worker loved them.  Yay!

The basket of project kits has been a great success.  When I ran out of yarn on the green vest I quickly picked up another project.  I also found a better pattern for one of the projects and was able to quickly match it with the yarn.

So, I ran out of yarn.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to get any locally so I turned to the internets.  First I checked with an acquaintance from high school who now owns a ginormous yarn shop (Threadbear Yarn Studio) in Michigan.  It’s not one that they stock.  Second I turned to Ravelry and found someone who had two skeins in their stash.  I contacted her and asked if she’d be willing to sell me hers.  Through the magic of PayPal she had her money right away and she popped them into the mail.  Yay!  I worked it some more and then realized it just wasn’t going to work. sigh.  I was using much smaller needles, which made the fabric very dense and *heavy*.  I tried it on and it just didn’t fit right.  Too big under the arms and just heavy.  So it has been frogged and I started on green vest pattern number three.  This time from French Girl Knits.  There is some arrowhead cabling so we’ll see how it looks with the variegated yarn.

In the meantime, I started the ShimaJima t-shirt for the Sparkle Girl.  It’s a fun pattern and worked up pretty quickly.  Here are some pics:

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This knit up pretty quickly.  It’s in the round from the bottom up (no seams!).  Put the sleeves on a provisional cast on and then work the neck and shoulders with short rows.  I had to redo the top a few times–user error every time.  My first mistake was in not reviewing how to lift the wrap on short rows.  It looked terrible, so it was ripped and restarted.  Then I was knitting while way too tired and totally lost track of where I was.  So ripped again.  I can’t really remember what the last problem was, but I’m sure it was my fault yet again.

Once I was finished I really like the way it looks!  I love how the purled stripes up the sides come in to at the top.  The shoulder shaping is genius~  It fits her perfectly and will probably fit for quite a while.  I love the green cotton/silk of the yarn too.

So now I’m back to the green vest.  I seriously hope I’ll be able to finish it before next Winter.

I’m still contemplating how I’m going to do the stocking for my friend Steve.  The first pattern just did not work out.  I’ve got something in mind but am not ready to commit it to needles yet.

Getting Organized(ish)

I’ve been a little uninspired lately.  Not completely sure why.  It’s Spring and the days vary between gorgeous and sunny and gorgeously stormy.  My baby has become a toddler.  The Sparkle Girl has started walking/running and getting into everything.  I swear that her arms telescope out to be much longer than it seems physically possible.  It’s a weird feature of toddlers that these 10″ arms extend a good foot longer.  We’ve been sick here and being all hunkered down has created some fierce cabin fever.

I’ve been working on booties for one of Sparky’s co-workers.  This is yarn I bought forever ago.  I like it.  Superwash wool is great for booties.  But it’s a little splitty.
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They turned out cute, but need to be mailed.

Being square in the grips of cabin fever made me antsy to get knitting again.  I picked up the green vest again and it looked much better than I remember.  Part of why I put it down was that I wasn’t convinced it looked right.  Once I picked it up again I felt better about it.  Now my concern is that there isn’t enough of it.  Since it’s seriously bulky the project is just zipping along.  Considering how cold and rainy it has been here lately I may actually get to wear it before next Fall. Here’s the work in progress~
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Part of my problem, I decided, is that while all my stash is organized and my patterns are mostly organized my potential projects really aren’t. When it’s time to start something new I dither and stew about what to do. The Yarn Harlot had a fabulous idea when she created her own sock club out of her stash. She found the patterns and matched them to the yarn she wanted to use and bagged each project. Voila! Instant project kits. Taking a page from her book (or blog, actually) I paired yarn to patterns and put them in baggies. These instant kits are living in a basket in the living room…carefully placed where the toddler arms will have a difficult time reaching them. This is no small feat considering the tiny, tiny quarters we call home right now. (I just cannot wait to have a craft room!)

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At the top is the inherited intarsia sweater.  I’m working up the stamina to start this again.  I will absolutely regret it if I don’t finish this so it is definitely in the rotation.  Once it gets underway it won’t seem so intimidating.  But right now I just can’t do it.

Going clockwise, the next is the orange/pink cone I bought at Yarnia forever ago.  It’s going to be made into a halter dress for H.  That should be an easy project that will knit up quick.  Since it’s cotton and nylon (or something) it should work fine for the summer into the Fall.  The pattern is from Twisted.

Next is the orangey/green bamboo that I bought at Art Fibers just after I got pregnant with H.  This is going to become a nice lace scarf.  Perfect for Summer and Fall.  It will go with a bunch of different outfits and will feel so nice against the skin.

Then there are a couple of mohair skeins that will become big scarf/stoles depending on how far it goes.  One is brownish/neutral.  I got it at Knit/Purl forever ago and was originally made into a shrug for my friend Mary.  The other is a gorgeous skein of reds that recently came from Yarn Garden on sale.  The pattern has four different lace scarves in it and was purchased at Stitches West probably 7 or 8 years ago.  I made one out of some amazing yarn from Art Fibers and it was one of my absolute favorite scarfs.  I accidentally left it somewhere and it took my months to track it down.  An employee had taken it home and called me when she brought it back in.  I nearly cried when she handed it over.  It had been washed so it was all felted and part of it had broken so it had a big knot in it.  I was crushed that my favorite thing had been so defiled.  I thought I could live with it but was so emotional every time I looked at it that it went to Goodwill.  The yarn was unique and I couldn’t get it again if I wanted to.  It was gorgeous and I wore it all the time.  This was a lesson in impermanence.

Last up is some pretty green mercerized cotton that will become a darling t-shirt for H.  The yarn came from a shop in Vancouver that unfortunately went out of business.  The pattern is from Twisted.

This is a great start on using up my stash.  Kind of the equivalent of shopping in your closet.  I’m realizing that if I buy yarn but don’t have immediate plans for it, that I need to buy more of it.  One or two skeins feeds the instant gratification desire, but isn’t really practical.  This works for sock yarn or items that can be used in baby gifts, but not for real sweaters/vests/etc.  It’s going to take some creativity and discipline to use up what’s in the stash.  It feels so good to know that I’ve set myself up for success by organizing things so that I can just grab a bag and start a project.  I don’t have to go digging around and flipping through magazines and books to find something to work on. I can just go to the basket and find something ready to go!

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In Which Soupygirl Gives a Guerrilla Knitting Lesson

It’s funny how time slips away.  It seems like I only recently made my last post, but then I look and see that it was back in January.  Alas.

This whole knitting obsession has officially spun out of control.  My mom and I were consignment shopping while she was here.  We left the Sparkle Girl at home with her Daddy.  While we were waiting for Bella Stella (at about 28th and NE Broadway) to open we hit the coffee shop just down the street.  There was a young woman knitting by herself at a table.  I’m always drawn to people knitting in public and want to talk with them about their project, their yarn, etc.  I noticed that she was knitting without using tension.  This is a technique for holding the working yarn in the hand so that it flows smoothly and evenly.  It’s much easier on the hands than picking up the strand to make a stitch every time.  It’s faster and the knitting looks much better, the stitches are more consistent.

I wrestled with myself for a few minutes.  Do foist myself on her to show her how to use tension?  Do I leave her alone and let her seek out the knowledge she wants at her own pace?  Finally, the knitting teacher in me won out.   She had mentioned that she was a new knitter and that her stitches weren’t even.  She had ripped the project back and was starting over.  I asked if she knew about tension and if she wanted to learn.  Poor thing was very gracious and accepted the guerrilla knitting lesson well.  She got the hang of it pretty easily and I helped her as she practiced.  Eventually she ripped out her knitting to “start it all over right”.  Good Girl!  My Mom jumped in and told her about my blog…. if you are reading this I hope you didn’t mind my foisting knowledge on you too much~

It’s so hard not to jump in when you know that you can help propel a nascent knitter up to the next level.  That impulse to help is so hard to resist.  But sometimes you just have to.  I try to read people’s body language and energy.  She was chatty, which made it easier to strike up a conversation.  She was a new knitter, which made it more likely that she would be open to some instruction.  If she had been knitting that way for a long time she probably wouldn’t be excited about some stranger butting into her technique.  I asked her first if she’d like me to show her something.  Her response was positive and open.  If she kind of grudgingly said, “sure, I guess.”  Then I would have cut it short and left her alone.   She seemed glad to learn a new skill that would help improve her knitting and keep her from getting a repetitive motion injury.

So, I made a neckwarmer as a birthday present for our fabulous coffee lady/baby sitter.  She is such a positive woman, gorgeous, and she loves my baby.  For her birthday I made her a gorgeous baby blue and camel neckwarmer (camel on top and bottom, blue in the middle).  I found the yarn on sale at Close Knit… 60% off silk and cashmere.  I knew when I saw it that it was destined for Leslie. It looked gorgeous on her with her blond hair and blue eyes.  She says she’ll wear it skiing!  Of course, I forgot to take a picture of it.  DANG!

It is the Ridged Lace Cowl from Elinor Brown found on her www.exercisebeforeknitting.com blog. The pattern knit up easily and it was pretty easy to make adjustments for gauge.   I did 9 repeats around instead of 11 and worked the pattern probably 5 times instead of 7.  I put it on and it was nice and soft and warm.

Next up:  booties for a colleague of my husband who just had a baby girl.  Also still have the inherited sweater project and my vest.

A Virtual Friend becomes a Real Live Friend or I Love the Internet

Last Saturday a giant group of Seattle-area knitters hopped on Amtrack to Portland for their annual Yarn Crawl.  This is such a boon to our fabulous local yarn stores during a traditionally slow month and it is a fun day for everyone involved.  I joined a big group of local knitters to welcome our kindred spirits to the Rose City.

My main agenda was meeting a new friend that I met through Ravelry after she “liked” a project of mine.  I got to know her via Twitter and found that we have a lot in common.  Weirdly, this includes things like having furnace troubles at about the same time.  I had asked her if she was hopping on the Knitting Train and she wasn’t aware that it was happening.  She bought a ticket and we had a fun day together.

One of the more interesting aspects of the information age is that it is possible to make friends without ever actually meeting them in person.  This can often be a mixed bag.  The trashy day time talk shows are full of people who met their “true love” online only to find themselves taken advantage of and hurt.  As with all relationships, common sense has to trump wishful thinking and fantasy.  Having followed this woman’s Twitter posts for almost a year I had a pretty good idea that she wasn’t a grifter set on bilking me out of stash and home.  Plus, we were meeting each other among about 200 women armed with pointy sticks.  I felt pretty good about the situation.

I had seen a picture of her from her profile and she knew I was going to have a cute 10 month old with me.  It took us a while to find each other in that sea of fabulous scarves, sweaters, hats, gloves, socks…..   Finally, she approached… “Are you Soupygirl?”  and we were off.   First to Dublin Bay.  As the closest LYS (knitterese for local yarn store) to the train station it was packed and hot!  They have some fabulous yarn there and they were very welcoming.  V (my new friend) found some good stuff and we headed off to the next spot.  Unfortunately, that’s where we discovered that she forgot to grab her purchase back at Dublin Bay (cut her some slack, she’s about 2 1/2 months pregnant—I couldn’t even remember how to read patterns at that point).  So we trekked back where she recovered her purchase and discovered that she had also lost a fabulous scarf knitted by a good friend.  Luckily someone had found it and reluctantly returned it (it was a great scarf).  Back out and a detour to Cupcake Jones for red velvet and peanut butter and jelly cupcakes taken to go.

We decided to head over to the East side to hit Twisted and Close Knit so we hopped in the car.  At that point H was needing a new diaper, lunch and a nap quality time with Daddy, so we dropped her off first.  Twisted was crowded but not oppressively so.  We grabbed some tea and hit the couch to eat our cupcakes.  I’ve got to say, yarn shopping with a sugar buzz is a good time.  You should try it.  I picked up some yarn for the Christmas stocking (very pretty Noro) and did some enabling/rationalizing/goading so V could feel better about buying more pretty yarn.

Over to Close Knit and Bolt.  I ended up buying a very cute pattern for knit poppies.  At this point it was 4 and we were crashing from our sugar buzz.  Where else could a self-respecting Portlandite take a guest but Burgerville?  We hit the one over by the Yarn Garden, you know,  just in case we had time to squeeze in another store.  Unfortunately, we maxed out and it was time to return her to the train station so she could head home.

This was such a fun day and it was great to meet a fellow mom and knitter.  This is the Internet at its best:  connecting with nice people who share common interests and growing a friendship.

New Year’s Knitting Goals: Color Me Fabulous

So, I started a post the other day but then Little Miss Grabby Hands thought my keyboard was the most interesting thing in the world and kablooey the long post was gone.  My fault because I didn’t save along the way.  And it was a little overlong anyway.  Let’s try this again!

The New Year is upon us and it’s time to think about what I’d like to accomplish in 2010.  Sparky and I have an ongoing conversation about where we want to be in 1, 5, 10 years as a family, professionally, personally, financially….  It is so wonderful to have a life partner who has such enthusiasm and vision for our future together.  We complement and challenge each other in important ways so together we know we can accomplish all the things on our list.

In this spirit of goal setting I’m looking ahead with my knitting as well.  This year I plan to master knitting with color.  I’ve done a bunch of projects where I’ve added stripes or created blocks of color.  But I really haven’t done a lot with specific techniques like intarsia (inserting a block of color on a solid background) or fair isle (using several strands of different colored yarns simultaneously).  Additionally, it’s time to tackle entrelac (it’s easier just to show you what this looks like:  http://knitting-and.com/knitting/patterns/afghans/entrelac.htm ).  I did take a color work class a long time ago and have made little attempts at utilizing these techniques, but haven’t really tackled any big projects.

As luck would have it, I’ve got a couple of projects lined up that should give me just the push I need to master the art of knitting with color.  First up is the inherited polka dot sweater ufo (knitterese for unfinished object) handed down by my college friend Michelle.  This is the perfect example of intarsia.  This is definitely going to be a challenge and I’ve frogged it twice already.  By the end of this project I’ll be an accomplished intarsia knitter for sure.

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The next project is a special request from a friend who wants a Christmas stocking.  This pattern utilizes minor fair isle elements and a lot of entrelac.  It’s going to a be a lot of fun and will also present a pretty big challenge.  Bring it on!  This pattern is found in “Knitting in America” by Melanie Falick.   http://www.amazon.com/Knitting-America-Patterns-Profiles-Americas/dp/1885183275  Unfortunately, I don’t have a great pic to show but will post as I make progress.

I’ll continue to make things for H as well as for any new babies that arrive to friends and family. There are a number of different doll patterns that I’d like to try, which has the added bonus of using up the stash.  It would be nice to make something for myself (maybe finish up that green vest?).

Additionally, my intention is to continue to develop this blog and learn more about the technical and artistic ways to make this a forum that extends beyond just my own development as a knitter.  That includes improving my photographic skills and staging my pictures better.

What are your goals for 2010?  What are you excited to try/learn/improve?

More Gifts

So when I wrote that last post I was going to write about a scarf I had just made as well as a hat and booties.  These are all gifts for people and that got me thinking about the nature of gifting and then I just dove headfirst down that rabbit hole.  It’s funny that sometimes I know exactly what I’m going to say and how I’m going to say it.  Other times I start in one place and find that I really want to talk about something slightly different.  I can’t fight it, just surrender and go with the flow.

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This scarf is one I made to donate to the Red Scarf Project.

http://orphan.org/index.php?id=40  This is an amazing organization that helps foster kids once they get to college.  These are kids who essentially have no family and no support network.  The fact that they are pushed out of state care and left to fend for themselves as adults is a huge challenge for them.  Personally, I know that I required an inordinate amount of parental support–emotional, financial, etc–during my college years.  I can’t imagine trying to find my way all by myself and try to make a success of my adult life and relationships.  I love the idea that my handmade gift will keep one of these kids warm and cozy.  When I knit things for other people I often feel like I am knitting a spell for them.  Knitting my intention and energy into the object as I imagine the person wearing or enjoying it.  When I was knitting this I definitely felt myself putting in surges of compassion, love, and hugs into this scarf.  We included a note telling this unknown recipient that we hope s/he finds his or her passion and that we have confidence that s/he can achieve whatever s/he sets his/her mind to accomplish.  That plus a $10 Target gift card.

This kind of anonymous gifting feels so fantastic.  There is no agenda beyond providing something pretty, cozy and warm plus a little encouragement to a kid who really, really needs it.  I don’t need thanks.  I don’t need to see the expression on his or her face.  I don’t need to receive anything in return.  It is gifting for the pure pleasure of gifting.

The next gift is a hat/bootie combo for a brand spanking new human named Ruby.  She was born just a couple of weeks ago to a dear couple who have been waiting a long time for her to enter their lives.  The booties are the standard ones I always make.  They crank out pretty fast and look cute.  Plus, they stay on because of the ankle ties.  The hat is one I’ve made a lot before and is really, really cute.  http://www.straw.com/cpy/patterns/baby_pixiehat.html

It is knit flat and then I use a three-needle bind off to create the point at the top.   What’s funny is that you start with 2×2 ribbing all the way across.  Gradually you start doing a horizontal ribbing on each side moving in by one rib until you get all the way to the top.  The side horizontal ribs become vertical ribs on the back.  Hard to describe without the visuals so here goes:

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That triangle in the middle becomes the front of the hat and the pieces on the sides connect to become the back.  The bottom corners become the ear flaps where the ties attach.  Then I do a three needle bind off from the middle stitch working out. This makes a nice clean seam and I don’t have to sew (which if you’ve been following this at all you know I HATE). I add I-cord ties and it is darn cute~

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This is H wearing the hat but it will definitely fit the newborn pretty soon.  All that ribbing makes it super-stretchy.  Ruby’s mom is a knitter  and both parents are artists so they was able to appreciate the work that went into it as well as the hand painted yarn.  The yarn looked a lot more pinky-purple at the yarn store but I do like the gold to tone it down.  Once again, I finished the booties just under the wire so there is no picture of them (again).  Alas.

Ok.  Now to turn my attention to the cashmere neck warmer for my mom.  It has been cast on and should not take too much time to work up.  I can knit while we’re in the car going up to my in-laws for the holidays.

Have a fantastically wonderful holiday, whichever Winter holiday you call your own.  This is the season of light and love and renewal.  I hope you are able to incorporate all of these ideas into your New Year.