Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sock Summit Day 2

Everyone has been referring to today (Thursday, the 6th) as day one, but for me today is really day two.

Let me start out by acknowledging that it has been a severely long time since I last posted. Shortly after my last post, I became ill with the worst flu I have had in my life. It lasted over a month, and for the duration I was too sick to even browse the internet. Yuck. Fast forward and you'll find me today, currently recovering from three ear infections. Yes, three. Two inner, one outer. I can't hear very well and I get the feeling most people might think I am ignoring them. But this isn't the reason I'm posting. I've written many posts since February. All in my mind and never made it to the blog. I'm moved to post for all to see because I simply must put down what's happening. This is history in the making. This is Sock Summit.

I really can't go into glorious detail at the moment. It's far too late and I need sleep in preparation for tomorrow. I've met so many awesome knitters today. Knitting rock stars. I've seen many interesting things at the market, and enjoyed a great opening reception. I volunteered and the work was much easier than I expected. I merely had to take tickets as people came through the doors. At the end, it seemed as if everyone swarmed the teachers. I decided to let them breath a bit, although I did force Angela into taking a photo with Cookie A.

I'm starting to fall asleep now. More later! For now, we have here a photo of Amy singer and hizKnits. Amy's carrying her new uke. She's shorter than I expected. ;D

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The sky is falling.

Yesterday was the first day in a long time that I did not knit at all. Not one stitch. I admit, I did pick up my socks-in-progress a few times. I arranged my yarn and the socks on my needles, and not a moment later Connor would find me and was pulling at my clothes, his furrowed brow accompanied by "Eeee!" and a sense of urgency.

Today, I have resorted to my least favorite solution to Connor's teething crabbiness. I have employed the brain slug. Yes, PBS is on and he's distracted enough by the TV to play quietly with his toys. At least he isn't staring at it.

There was another good reason for the lack of knitting. There was an ever-growing pile of laundry in front of my washing machine. I'm honestly not sure why the pile was still growing, as there were really no more clean clothes to wear. So, the neglected pile was calling my name and asking me questions. It was grilling me over my suddenly suspended daily visits. Halfway through our visit, the dryer started making an obnoxious noise that could not be ignored. Now we're waiting for a repair man before we can continue. It also became apparent (around the same time) that the leaking kitchen faucet could no longer be ignored, as it was running just as much water behind the sink as it was into it. Then there was also the problem of it randomly spraying in the operator's direction. That was especially entertaining when the operator was a six-year-old, or a grown man who had just gotten dressed up for a job interview. (Really, it was entertaining if it was anyone but me being sprayed.)
Now it has also come to my attention that there is a problem with our dishwasher. The other day, I called my husband over to get his opinion on a suspicious wave mark on the floor in front of the dishwasher. He insisted that it was impossible for it to be leaking. I wiped up the dried wave lines and moved on to other things. Wouldn't you know it, more lines keep appearing and I'm beginning to think that he just might be wrong.

Despite my lack of knitting, my brain is writhe with knitting plans. I have so many ideas for projects I want to do that I am afraid I may be overwhelming myself. I'm being sucked in by Ravelry, the desire to make things for my loved ones, and proposed ideas for KALs. I've never actually participated in a knit-along, but there is a certain sweater I've been eyeing that would be perfect for spring. This month would be the perfect month to knit it.
Yes, I am speaking of the February Lady. I first came across it in November while on a search for something to knit with six skeins of Manos Silk Blend. It's my thinking that I can just squeak that sweater out, due to the lace and relatively short sleeves. I also plan on shortening the garter section, as it seems unflattering to visually cut "the girls" in half. Since garter stitch is a great black hole for yardage, this strategy should aid me in getting a satisfactory sweater out of so little yarn.

I normally have a firm rule about starting new projects while others are in progress, but I think this time I will break that rule. The rule exists because my WIP pile would quickly grow to depressing preportions, and then none of it would ever get finished.
The February Lady should be good "mindless knitting" while Connor's eating or napping, or when I am in a sitation where I can't just grab my sock project. I've been toying with the idea of making a small shawl out of sock yarn for Erin. Also on my radar are socks for my dad. Socks for Erin. Socks for Jesse. Socks for me. But first, I must finish the heel turn on these socks for Grandma.

This whole sock thing is addictive.

I'm also beginning to have trouble prioritizing my projects.

I know before beginning any of these other projects that I really should knit a baby sweater for friends who are expecting this month. I was nearly finished with a sweater this past weekend (everything but the side seams) before deciding that I hated it.
I could consider the time I spent wasted, but I learned a valuable lesson: don't knit with yarn you don't like. I also got a lot of practice seaming and picking up stitches. Yay, me.

And with that, I leave you.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Estonian Lullaby

As promised, featured today are the photos for my most recent FO!

Pattern: Estonian Lullaby Baby Blanket (Ravelry), by Evelyn Clark for Fiber Trends
Yarn: 2 skeins of Cascade Ecological (250g per skein!) in the "Latte" colorway. Used nearly every last drop of the wooly goodness.

Suddenly it has occurred to me that I've been unoriginal. I've been looking at my blanket photos and shivering at that odd feeling of Déjà vu, and now I realize why. I've probably used the Brooklyn Tweed preferred blanket yarn for, of all things, a blanket project. (see Hemlock Ring, and his Garter Stitch Blanket) I assure you this was completely unintentional. (I'm not saying my photos are as good, either. I don't think I can even come close to the utterly delectable, artistic renditions of his "Baby Bonnet stuffed with Comforter" series...) :)

All that remains is to move forward. So, with that I present The Photos:

Estonian Lullaby

Estonian Lullaby

I couldn't resist a little staging, with that crisp white teapot and unusual tray. They just went so perfectly, and this blanket really is the perfect size to keep the chill away in our relatively mild Oregon winters.

Estonian Lullaby

Trust me, it is as cushy as it looks.

Estonian Lullaby

Laid out flat, the pattern can easily be made out. Oddly, this project has taken on it's own look, distinct from the photo provided on the pattern page.

Estonian Lullaby

Forgive that fold line, there. I neglected to smooth it out after draping the blanket over our bed.

Estonian Lullaby

Lamby Ornament

Just for good measure, I had to throw in this little guy. Isn't he cute? I love the swirlies.

All things considered, I think the photos turned out pretty well. Given that it is winter in Oregon, daylight is in short supply. I found that the only place where I could get sufficient light was in our bedroom, with the shutters moved away from the windows. It turned out to be perfect lighting (although, I am not a photographer so I hardly know, right?).
Someday, I'd like to study photography but right now I am just too busy with my little ones. Perhaps in a year or two?

This blanket will find a home at my uncle's house, where I hope it can be of use to him. A little bit of rustic lace to cozy up the couch. It isn't for any holiday in particular, but he has always been supportive to me and my family and I thought it would be nice to give something in return.

My next post will be detailing the Chronicles of the Imperfect Sock. Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Quasi Funny Friday

We have a bit of a funny today, brought to you by Jesse. This actually happened two years ago, when we were in a similar position to our current status, looking for jobs.

Click here to go see the Comic.

We're considering doing this every week. I'm not committing to anything yet, however, considering my track record for plans.

In other news, the Estonian Lullaby Baby Blanket, by Evelyn Clark for Fiber Trends is D-O-N-E and blocked. It was completed on Wednesday during the felicitous hour of 6pm. I used nearly every bit of yarn I had. All that remained post-frenzy were a few 2-3" pieces of yarn where I had cut half the plies out to spit splice the joins. I powered through the last half with a new found speed and determination. Since we had to cancel our drive to Hermiston last week, we are planning on going this Sunday. This extra time meant I might actually succeed in completing a pair of socks for my Grandma before we leave.

I've hummed and hawed over the right yarn and the right pattern for over a year now. I figured it was about time to dive right in.
I don't have a lot of experience knitting socks, so it was a bit overwhelming to figure out a pattern I liked, do the stitch swatch, then figure out if it would work with the size I wanted to make and the necessary amount of stitches for the cast on.
After seeing MicheleLB's Leyburns in person during the yarn crawl, I decided that was the pattern I wanted to do. The swatch was gorgeous, very different from others I've seen and resembling undulating fish scales in my teal Happy Feet.


In the end, I chose to wait on the Leyburns, because the fabric would not be as stretchy as I'd like. Stretchiness is an important factor, as I think my Grandma has been dealing with severely swollen feet. It's hard to say, given her penchant for keeping health issues secret from the rest of her family. In the end, I had Jesse pick a 5 stitch pattern out of Sensational Knitted Socks. He chose the Laburnum stitch pattern, which wasn't the one I'd been considering.

I'm teaching myself a few new things with this project: magic loop two socks at a time, Judy's magic cast on, and how to do toe up socks in general.
During the last project, I altered the way I purl stitches so that I could be faster. Now I'm recalling a portion of EZ's Knitting Without Tears where she shows a better way to purl. I think I'll have to refer to that before any real muscle memory sets in.
It may seem odd, but I am approaching knitting the same way I approach martial arts: always looking for ways to improve my technique.

And I will leave you with that. Much knitting to do. Look for photos of the blanky tomorrow.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

More Crawling.

I missed a few photos last night. Here are a couple more of the Yarn Crawl.

Tami and Angela at Cacao:
Tami and Angela at Cacao

Bobbie, Karen, and Kathleen deep in discussion. (Sorry for the phantom photo, ladies! :))
Bobbie, Karen, and Kathleen

Con-Zilla hamming it up!
Hamming it up at Cacao

Now I really feel the sore muscles, but at least I had plenty of exercise.

Oh, and I neglected to mention that while we were taking a break at the Starbucks I decided to also take the opportunity to change a soggy diaper. (Yes, isn't that interesting?) Unfortunately, their bathroom was filthy (Hello, downtown PDX) and had no changing station, despite possessing the necessary room.
No problem- Kathleen to the rescue! We followed her to the front desk of the Governor Hotel, where she requested the use of a restroom that had a changing area. They were actually very nice and set up a key card so that the bathroom in the gym could be accessed. We made it down there and I used the dressing room instead of the bathroom, because it had a cushy bench that I could lay a blanket on. Needless to say, it was very posh and quiet and much appreciated.

When we woke this morning, a layer of snow was covering our neighborhood. We had been planning on driving to Hermiston to visit my Grandma for her birthday, but postponed the trip due to ridiculous winds and icy roads in that direction.
No matter, there is plenty of cleaning and housework to do. Maybe I can get the wool blanky done so I can start on some socks.

Right now, Jesse is on the phone with Toshiba customer service. His laptop's power cord has been acting up for the last month, sometimes supplying power and sometimes not. Last night, he picked up the brick and had me listen to this weird, buzzing/clicking noise.
I gently reminded him that he needed to call Toshiba CS, as I had done on many occaisions prior to this.
Shortly after, we were watching an episode of 30 Rock on the laptop and suddenly sparks were flying. He picked up the cord to keep it from burning him or the couch and we watched in horror as it melted itself and severed completely.
Now we are a little worried. The sparks were enough to cause a fire and I have the same model of laptop. What if it performed this dramatic death while we were sleeping? Not to mention that I have a hard drive full of photos and documents needing backed up, and unfortunately no means with which to do it. As soon as we are able (read: employed) we plan on buying an external hard drive, but nothing can be done with the Terabyte worth of data we have now.

It would be devastating to lose our photos. Connor's birth, Erin's infancy. Lost pets and tangible memories of my mother.

I hope we can find him a job soon. For now, the laptops are getting completely powered down for the night.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

PDX-SEA Yarn Crawl '09

Today was the yarn crawl, and I am exhausted.

I convinced Jess to take Miss Erin with him to class, while I took Connor with me on the Yarn Crawl. I didn't think it would be worth it to go if I had to keep both of the kids comfortable.

We were supposed to meet up with fellow PDX Knit-Bloggers at the Orenco MAX station, but were running about ten minutes behind and knew that there was no way I'd make the train. So, instead we drove to Sunset TC (farther down the line toward Portland, but closer to us) and calculated that the train they probably got on (one listed at 8:55am) would be there at 9:19. I figured that because the rear car is closer to the parking lot, that was probably the one I should check first.

Trimet dieties smiled on us today, as I spotted the group of knitters right after boarding- no car switching necessary. :)
Thank you, Trimet. You can accept the fact that your trains are never on time, so instead give real time updates to the tracking system, which can be viewed on our phones. I love my phone.

After walking to Union Station from the MAX, we waited. We waited, some of us knitted (not me), and I scored some prettily dyed fiber from Abstract Fiber. (Thank you, Rachel!)

Train Station

Knitting @ Union Station

If I trust my memory, the folks from Seattle arrived at Union Station around 10:30am. Connor had a mini-meltdown while at the station. He was too hot after awhile of being in the carrier, and fighting his inevitable morning nap.

After we got going, he fell asleep immediately. It seems no amount of pseudo-bouncing can mimic the gentle motion of actual walking. He had a good two hour nap while his cherubic face and gnomey hat were cooed over and admired. At one point during the day, Kathleen complemented the hat and "what was in it" and I responded, "Oh, it's Alpaca." Everybody laughed "Only a knitter!" and it struck me that she was complementing the baby. Oops.

We visited Dublin Bay first. I bought a skein of Yarn. Yes, I know I wasn't supposed to buy anything. I had to buy something. There were so many pretties and it's not like I have a ton of yarn waiting for me at home.

I ended up buying some Fleece Artist hand dyed Peter Rabbit, which is a blend of 70% angora, 20% nylon and 10% wool. 50 grams of pure bunny love. Mmmm-mmm. Naturally, this little confection will not be used on a project for me. Erin needs a girly bunny hat. Yes, needs.
At one point, there was some confusion as to the price of the yarn. Written in sharpie on the tag was "11.18". I thought this was the price. When it was rung up, however, I was informed that 11.18 was a date and the price was $20. Hmm. Oh, well. It was too late now. My ownership of the yarn could not be denied after standing in line for ten minutes of petting. Speaking of lines... Why is it that people think it's OK to cut? Don't answer that. Karma on you, people. Karma on you.

We petted the sea silk, ate the grapes, and admired all things sheepy. And by "we", I mean me. At the next shop, Knit Knot Studio, we were greeted by a friendly and seemingly harmless wire-haired dog. Interesting... The shop was well stocked, but tiny and hard-pressed to fit so many shoppers inside and I was quick to vacate.

After leaving Dublin Bay, Rachel turned back to the rest of the group to ask if everyone got a sample. Thinking she was referring to the sample of Soak that everyone was supposed to get, I exclaimed "I didn't get one, but Tami gave me hers!" She gave me a funny look and replied "Yes, you did too get one!" and after a moment of thought, I realized she was asking about the fiber samples. Haha... oops. Later on I did end up with more fiber samples. And now I feel bad.

We then made a trip to Cacao for some "drinking chocolate". Yes, drinking chocolate. I don't think I need to explain how that went.


Choco Baby
(No, I didn't really give the baby chocolate. Just a mustache. :))

A failed attempt at visiting Button Emporium (they barred us from the store, informing of their attempt to move the shop to the retail space around the corner) followed our short visit to Knit Purl, where I saw a wall covered in the most vast array of Koigu Painter's Palette that I could ever imagined to have seen.

I felt like I was pregnant again all day. The extra weight of Connor strapped to my tummy made it difficult and tiresome to move, but I managed to make it until late in the afternoon. Ohhh, am I sore.

Connor had his own victories today. Not being content to take a first step, he instead surprised us with a two full steps. They weren't faltering or unsure, as baby steps usually are. Since we got home, he has been standing freely for long periods, a huge improvement over the 10-30 second stints he's started this past week.
He also surprised me by using a straw to gulp down some cold water from my thermos during a break at Starbucks this afternoon.

So, I knew I did not want to take my blanky project with me to this whole thing, but I couldn't bring myself to decide on a last minute project. I usually prepare for a project carefully, thinking it over, making sure the yarn and pattern meshes. I tried. I grabbed my needles, some yarn, and emailed myself the pattern for a dishcloth. I assured myself that since gauge didn't matter and I didn't like the yarn anyway, I really couldn't go wrong. I never ended up pulling any knitting out. Every break we got from walking was needed for either taking care of Connor or resting for me. I never felt like trying to rummage through my giant rolling backpack (for which I am very thankful) and pulling out needles and yarn. I did lament the time sitting and not getting anything done, however. But really, it all would have ended badly and with a sour baby. (Well, have you ever been strapped to someone's chest while they were bent over, rummaging through a giant rolling backpack? Really.)

So, that's that. It was a good day. I met lots of nice people and had fun gabbing and being social. I was given info about a spinning guild in my area called "Aurora Colony Handspinners' Guild", and I'm really excited about going to this and other meetings and events.

Yarn Crawl Loot

A good day, indeed.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bizzy bizzy bizzy.

Yes, I posted last night. Believe it or not, I forgot to mention a few things.

On the 20th, I also made stitch markers. I used some swarovski beads I had, plus the sterling silver pins I found at the Gem Faire for $1.50.


I also made some Animal Crossing stitch markers using the little cell phone charm thingies you find in Tomy vending machines at the movie theatre.


All I did there was take them apart and shorten the cord. I'm now reminded that it's been a little over a year since I played Animal Crossing on my DS. My town probably looks like the Kingdom of Weeds now.

I've also been getting quite annoyed with my bag. It doesn't have enough compartments, the velcro closure sticks to my knitting (gah! not the lace!), it's falling apart, and it really isn't roomy enough. Also, despite not having much room inside, once something goes in it takes quite a bit of digging to find it.

So, after some searching and shopping and deciding that those lovely Jordana Paige or Namaste bags were just too expensive and not worth gambling on if they didn't work, I decided to sew my own bag. I've designed and sewed purses and sewing kits in the past, but to make it even easier I'm going to work from a pattern and just make alterations.


I'm using Amy Butler's Sophia bag pattern, sized up slightly and with an outside pocket and extra dividers inside. The piping and handles will be made from chocolate colored ultrasuede. The two accent fabrics will be the lining. The paisley pictured is 100% cotton upholstery fabric.
I'm not allowing myself to start on the bag until I finish sewing the kids' jammies, though. (Really, they're almost done...) And of course, clean and organize the sewing room. All my individual supplies are already organized, so this won't be too difficult. (She says...)

Oh, and I made bread in a machine. Lots of bread. I make about three loaves per week. It's the best way to get really good dairy free bread and costs a fraction of what you'd pay in the store.


I believe that's it. I'll leave you alone now, while I lament over not being able to participate in Blue Moon's Rockin' Sock Club '09.

At least I have this:


And this:


Firefly, out.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What... is the average flight speed of an unlaiden swallow?

Oh, wow. I have a lot to catch up on.

Progress on the Swifts has slowed a bit. Sanding takes care and is noisy and messy, thus not suited to doing with the baby around. I currently have more than 70 individual pieces to sand. It's like knitting a ginormous wool baby blanket: one stitch at a time.

Speaking of those, work on the Estonian Lace baby blanket is also slow. This pattern is pretty, but boring, and lacking the enchantment of a more complex project. It should take less than two skeins of the Cascade Ecological. I plan on putting in as many lace repeats as my yardage will allow and finished the first ball today at knitting group. Knowing this would happen, I brought the second skein with me and wound it into a ball at the coffee shop. It was huge.


However, when I went to (russian) join the new yarn, I found my bag curiously absent of darning needles. Or wire, or paperclips, or really any decent substitute. Now, I could have just given my shoulders a shrug and started knitting with the new strand, would it not be for a fierce and substantial loathing of Weaving in Ends. So, instead I enjoyed the rest of my coffee and was social.

I love being social like my cat loves baths. He freaks at the prospect, but has a blast after getting in.

This past weekend, we drove out to the Columbia River Gorge to visit Jess' grandparents. Several other family members came down as well, to celebrate Grandma and Grandpa's birthdays. I remember the drive there like a dream. The day was bright and clear and a willfully determined wind drew back and forth across the highway, tearing the car from side to side. It was a struggle to stay on the road and through our windows we observed the cheery side of nature's fury. To our left, the depths of the Columbia raged, teased by the wind into a constant spray. Intense rainbows of color stood like a halo above the white-capped crests while the slate colored waves churned, reminding of their depth. An old childhood fear of the water swelled within me as it passed.
The stark winter branches of moss-ridden birch lined the right side of our path, breaking loose in large chunks to provide more ammo for the relentless gusts. As our course changed and we headed into the gusts, I felt them move us and imagined that we were flying. The car bounced up and down as the wind blew harder, intent to claim us.
We rounded another curve in the road and suddenly the hillside loomed, sprinkled with trees, crags, and greenery. It was another hour before we arrived to our destination, and we ended up stopping in Hood River to rest and give our little wailer a snack and break from his car seat. Later on our way, I recognized the crisp white head of an eagle perched regally by the side of the road. He seemed to meet my gaze as we drove by, following us with his eyes before breaking contact.

He was a gorgeous big guy (4-5 ft wingspan?), but not nearly as big as the eagles we saw frequently during our sojourn in So. OR. (Say it with me now.. SO-OR... No, I'm just kidding.)

Jesse's uncle who works for Laika was there, and we had a small discussion about the box that Amy Singer received as part of a promotion for Coraline. Unfortunately, he didn't know too much about it, dissuaded as he was by his insider status.
I happened to have had a new haircut the day before, and he mentioned that I was effectively channeling Veronica Lake. I was confused at first, because I thought he meant Ricki Lake. Ouch.

I decided to commemorate the Inauguration by doing a few new things. I made three spindles from two sets of chopsticks, a large stone pendant, a wooden toy wheel, canes of fimo clay, copper wire, and O rings.



After making said spindles, I tried them out by spinning a tiny sample of navy blue Merino top that came with my Rambouillet top. That went fast and I was very pleased with myself, despite being annoyed with the force required to pull apart the Merino fibers.
I found the Rambouillet much easier to draft (can I say that it feels odd to use terms that I have only- up until now- read about?) and it ended up turning out pretty even and thin with... no slubs!
And the peasants rejoice.

Well, mostly no slubs.
After I spin a decent amount of yarn, I'm going to experiment dyeing it with Jacquard acid dyes. I cannot wait!! I haven't yet decided when to add the acid (I'm using vinegar for the first go. It's what I have on hand.) I've heard of spritzing it on after painting the dye on the yarn, adding it to the dye before painting, etc. Any suggestions? Detail is appreciated!

Well, I'm not writing a book. Off to bed.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

In which the mundane of life intervenes.

Connor is such a cutie and growing so fast. He has such a personality. He waves his index finger as the signal for "no-no". Very cute. One day during Christmas break, he woke up with fluffy hair and I couldn't resist snapping a few photos at breakfast.

So, no knitting today. No woodworking, either. Jess had a late class and by the time he got home, we were into prepping the kids for bed.
I'm planning on doing my woodworking on Monday after Erin gets out of school. There are a lot of pieces to prepare since I'm planning on making three of the beasties.

All last night and today, thoughts of beautiful Swifts have run through my imagination. I have an idea for one in particular that is nearing perfection in my mind. I only hope it comes out so well.

It will have one cup finial for the adjuster piece and one for the top, which creates a pedestal for a wood carved sheep. The center dowel will be stained a light cherry color (so, pink) and so will the crosspieces. The rest of the wood will remain natural colored. All pieces will be sealed with semi-gloss sealer. The screw for adjusting height will be made from a flat watermelon agate bead and filigree bead cap.

I'm thinking something like that will more than recover the cost of supplies for all three swifts. That is my goal, anyway.

I also came across this basket, inadvertently... and decided that I must knit it someday. I would knit a tube in a basketweave stitch pattern using wool, then insert a measured and cut piece of plastic canvas before knitting the opposing sides of the tube ends together, then grafting the two edges. Knit a larger oval piece for the bottom and a smaller piece for the top (also reinforced by canvas), handles in a narrow tube as well. The lining would be muslin and of course, there would be nifty pockets and bands of elastic for holding items to the sides.
Wool would make a nice picnic basket for the insulation, don't you think? I'll have to flesh out the details later this spring. As it is, I have too many projects lined up for Easter.

Well, it is getting late and still much to do. Courtesy of youtube, here is the song I have been singing to Connor for the past few weeks, in addition to our usual choices.

Friday, January 9, 2009

"Swift"-ly progressing...

After picking Erin up from school today, we made a trip to the hardware store. This trip yielded:

One packet of rubber washers for assembling spindles - $1.37
A 1" x 6" x 6' solid oak board, which is enough to make three swifts (not counting the stand or clamp on the bottom) - $17.82
A 3/4" oak dowel 36" long - $3.49
One medium-sized can of water-based sealer - $14.98

I only bought one dowel to begin with, because I may decide later on that I want a thicker or thinner one. I'm thinking this one will be perfect, but I'll only have enough time this weekend to make one swift anyway. I already have the necessary sandpapers for smoothing out all the pieces. Tomorrow, I will go to the skate shop and pick up the ball bearings for the spinning mechanism, get screws and nuts for the cross pieces, and do all the cutting.

I was thinking I might ask Jess to do the cutting, since I have been hurting quite a lot recently and being in the cold garage would make me miserable. If my hands get too cold, they become useless claws. It's like when I first started knitting. My mom taught me how to knit on some old Boye aluminum knitting needles (at least, I think they were Boye?). I was very young, but had already started experiencing problems with my hands. Over the years, I would pick knitting up sporadically, but never really do anything with it. Later on it was just too painful. Then I discovered bamboo needles and for some reason, while using them it didn't hurt my hands to knit! I'm thinking it's because of the flexibility of the bamboo.

Anyway, everything is coming together for the construction of my Swifts. After the pieces are cut, I'm going to take my time sanding, sealing, and then sanding again so that they are nice and smooth. The oak is beautiful and a nice warm color. I love the grain as well. I'm thinking I will also sand some designs into the surface with my dremel, then maybe burn the grooves before sealing.

I had an idea that I would put a stately acorn finial on the top of the swift, and maybe another one on the bottom disc that moves up and down. Kind of like this antique one. Isn't that thing marvelous?? Too bad a lot of the parts are made from whale bone. :(
The key for adjusting height could be very utilitarian (dowel with another dowel stuck through one end to keep it from sliding straight through the different height holes) or a clamp of some sort. Maybe a little finial type knob would be cute. I guess we'll see!

Baby Soup Recipe

Today I will tell you how to make Baby Soup. This recipe has been helping McConnor with his skin troubles.

First, you need a nice-sized pot that will hold a lot of water. They don't make many baby-sized pots that are available in local stores, so I settled for this wonderful thing from IKEA.

Fill the pot with warm water- not scalding! This step is important, because water that is too hot will either 1) burn your baby or 2) dry out his skin. Water that is too cold will contribute to your baby's dislike of bath time. Once they're wary of bath time, life can be difficult. If you're unsure about temperature, dunk your elbow straight in.

Now, sprinkle half a pack of colloidal oatmeal in the bath. Sprinkle slowly, to prevent clumps from accumulating. Stir it around for even distribution.

Add the baby. Don't mind if water spills over the edge. Now grab your bath oil and dump about a teaspoon's worth in your palm. After a quick rub between your hands, spread it first over the areas of he baby above water (shoulders, chest, back, arms), then the areas below water (bum, legs, little feeties).
After the oil application, keep ladling water over your baby's shoulders and keep massaging the oil into the baby's skin. Do this for 10 minutes.

Now, because Connor's skin is in such a delicate condition, I was advised NOT to wash him with soap. Unlike other suggestions from our Pediatrician, I agree with this one. So most of the time, I do not use soap on him. Occasionally, I will shampoo his hair with a pea-sized bit of soap. The only "soap" I EVER use on his body is Weleda Bath Cream. I buy it at New Seasons, and one bottle lasts a long time. Instead of leaving that dry "squeaky-clean" feeling, it leaves a nice "clean-but-not-stripped-of-moisture" feeling.

There's been something I've been thinking about from yesterday. I walked in behind Jess and Erin as we arrived at his friend's house. The friend's name was Eli. Greetings were exchanged and then Eli turned his gaze to me. "Nice to meet you," he said. Then his skinny face transformed into a snicker, "How was your... knitting group?" As the word "knitting" was spoken, he glanced to Jesse, as if looking for justification of the hilarity. I turned my head slightly as my gaze narrowed. He was making fun of me. I took it in stride. Enthusiastically, I said "It was great!" Then went into all the glorious detail. He didn't say anything else to me after that.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

The plans of... mice?

Okay, I may be in over my head. Nah! Despite teasings, I keep it no secret that someday I'm going to have a big enough yard for a fair sized garden, greenhouse, and a small flock of goats (3 or 4?).

Oh yes, and Chickens. I will have some gorgeous heirloom chickens. They will poop on my garden beds, nourishing the plants, and eat the pesky aphids that live through the Neem application. It will all be perfect. (Oops, was that last bit sarcasm?)

(And yes, I am fully aware of the documentation and requirements for having these animals in city limits, in my specific county)

So, in preparation, I search out and collect information to aid in my endeavor.

I found a great site and blog by Donna Druchunas (why does that name sound familiar?? Maybe one of my Greek relatives...) and her description and advice for growing Japanese Indigo. Obviously, I plan on part of my future garden being used to grow plants with which to dye yarn. Go ahead. Call me crazy. I'm doing it. I have plans.

Knitting and Coffee

Today was knitting group at Insomnia Coffee Co. in Hillsboro. Right now, it is quite the drive for us, but well worth it. The Coffee is delicious and I really like my group. I'd really like to attend the Westside Wednesday group as well, but haven't yet found a way to do it since it runs later in the evening and I'd have kidlets to figure out 'sitting for.

I continued to work on my Estonian Lace baby blanket, and I realize that I'm not sure what I was thinking yesterday when I said I'd finished 7". It must have been late, because I think it was closer to 5". I only worked through six rows during group, as I also held a baby, flipped through a book about spinning (eee!!!), sipped coffee, and chatted it up. The blanket project is pretty well suited for social knitting. Every other row is purling with the exception of four stitches on each edge. The lace pattern inbetween is very easy to memorize and I had my pattern on my knees to glance at in case I lost my place while listening to the conversation.

I was so emotional today... Linda Carter of Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks was mentioned and I actually started tearing up.

After group, I dropped Jess off at his friend's house so they could hash over a programming project. He suggested I leave the kids with him while I checked out Knitting Bee, which surprised me! He took Connor with him while he went to pick Erin up at school, which means I actually got to knit at knitting group. :) Not having at least Connor around is a rare occasion for me and twice in a day is almost unheard of.
When I arrived at the store, they were set to close in 15 minutes. I walked around inspecting everything and petting the yarn. It isn't often that I can go to yarn shops and get that real tactile experience with all the yarns available. I did notice that the sock yarn section was pretty lacking, unlike Twisted, but they do have quite a selection of other yarns packed into the store!! I didn't buy any but wow do I have plans... :)
We drove by the exit for Uwajimaya on our way home, and I couldn't help but think about the Japanese stitch books at the Kinokuniya in there. I flip through it everytime we are there. I love the clever lace stitch patterns and the three dimensional stitches.

Anyway, I'm working on a grilled goat-cheese spinach sandwich (really delicious and even though I can't eat cow dairy, goat is fine!). Now Connor is eyeing my sandwich, so I better set him up in the high chair. :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Last night, Connor couldn't settle down until 1:45am. He was tossing and turning and flailing his arms, all the while half asleep. The excema on his shoulders looks better, but his sleep is so disturbed. Tonight, I'm going to grease him up a little more and hope that he can sleep a little more peaceful.
The shea butter I got from yarnsandmusings is working really well so far. I think last night was just a fluke, because he had been starting to sleep better.
I feel so bad for him... I know what it's like to have excema this bad and it's not fair that a baby should have to suffer like this. It breaks my heart.
Connor doesn't like it when he's "confined" while he's trying to fall asleep, so I just patted his little bum to help calm him. 
Last night I also came across some basic instructions for making an umbrella swift. I had seen plans for swifts that looked like a little windmill, but when I saw the ones for the umbrella swift I was SO excited! 
I'd also been looking at the swifts in stores and thinking to myself that constructing one would not be hard, but here are some instructions already tried and proven. Ready to go and how perfect is that?? 
As soon as my "allowance" gets in, I'm going to go out and buy supplies. I think I'm going to make three, then sell one for the cost of materials for all three. So there... Giddy!!

As for knitting, I've been working steady and making a fair amount of progress. I just need to keep myself off Ravelry and actually knitting!
Last week, I made a pair of Fetchings and a Calorimetry. They will be late Christmas presents for my sister, Rachel. They worked up real nice and I have a small amount of yarn left over. I think it's enough to make a cozy pair of baby socks. And even though I have had the Estonian Lace baby blanket on my Ravelry projects page for awhile, I only just started it the other day. I'm already about 7" in and it's knitting up beatifully.  have an inkling I might be just a little intolerant of wool, though. I notice that whenever I handle wool, my face gets a little itchy. It's not too bad though, and eventually doesn't bother me after prolonged handling.

Anyway, all this typing is taking time away from my knitting. ;) I have a sleeping baby in my lap, but he's never minded my knitting while holding him, and if this is what it takes for him to sleep in peace, then I don't mind at all.