August 2009


Here is the rainbow I saw on the way to Knit Night Out.  On Tuesday night, my knitting group met at a local restaurant.  We meet on the first and third Sunday of the month.  There is an extra week between the third Sunday of August and the first Sunday of September than we would normally have between meetings. We decided to get together in between. It was a lot of fun.  How can anyone complain about knitting, adult conversation, and food!!  It is like heaven.   I really enjoyed myself.

Of course, it was raining that evening. The rainbow was a complete rainbow (I couldn’t get a picture of the whole thing).  It was really beautiful!  I knew that it was going to be a great night when I saw it!

While at Knit Night, I worked on my one row scarf.  I have about 14 inches done so far (much of that done at dinner).  It is moving so quickly! I am still loving the pattern. It is so simple. It is easy to travel with as well because it is easy to pick up anywhere in the row and know where you are.

The only thing I don’t like is that I am doing it on straights. It would be a bit more portable if I had put it on circulars because they fit in my bag a little better. I keep poking myself with the needles reaching into my bag.  I am going to have to get some new circs this weekend!  I am planning more of these scarves so I will make good use of the circs!

Lately, I have not been very happy with the way my stockinette stitch looks.  I haven’t done a lot with stockinette because I do a lot of knitting in the round and garter stitch. I have been noticing that my stockinette just didn’t look right.  You can see in the above picture that every other row is twisted.  I started to question whether or not I was doing the knit stitch right. I taught myself to do Continental knitting with drawings on a website.  I went onto KnittingHelp.com to watch a video to see how it is supposed to be done.   I have been doing it right. My next thought was that maybe I have been doing the purl stitch right. I also taught myself to purl using this video.  I checked the videos on KnittingHelp. I realized that the purl stitch in Continental knitting is not how the video shows. That being said, I love the way I purl.  I didn’t want to change. I decided to try to figure out what I needed to do to make that purl stitch work. I then realized that I was knitting Continental style, but purling in Combination knitting!  I found Annie Modesitt’s website. I changed the way I was doing the knit stitch (only when knitting in stockinette…in garter stitch or in the round I have to do the knit stitch the way that I was)!  Here is the result!

Look at how nice and neat and pretty that is!!  All better!  It looks like it is supposed to look.  I was so very thrilled!  Not only does the knitting itself look so nice and neat, but it made the edges of knitting look so much nicer.

This is the monkey head. The top area is the top of the head.  The bottom area is the snout (it is bent down).  Both are made using short rows.  The red arrow is pointing to the “seam” made on the knit rows before I made the change in my knit stitch.  The blue arrow is pointing to the same thing, but using my combination knitting.  You can see that it makes the “seam” look a lot neater. It also makes it symetrical (the same as the “seam” made on the purl row).  I also noticed that my tension is more even between knits and purls. I think doing the knit stitch is easier this way too. I was so excited, I almost ripped out the whole head to start over. I decided just to leave it and consider it a “design feature”!  I have ordered Annie Modesitt’s book because I still can’t visualize how to do an SSK (and a few other random things).  I also found that Grumperina has a really helpful combination knitting page. I haven’t gotten to explore it as much as I would like, but that will be for this weekend.

In doing the research on combination knitting really helped me to have a new understanding on how the stitches worked. I realized that all combination knitting really means is that you always knit/purl into the leg of the stitch that is closest to the needle tip (unless you want to twist a stitch on purpose).  It really helped me understand how some of the decreases and increases lean.  It all made sense!  It was a big “aha” moment!  I can’t believe that I have been twisting stitches for so long and not realizing it!  Now I know why things haven’t really looked exactly right!

After I realized that I was knitting in a very mixed up way, I started examining the scarf I was working on. I had been not very satisfied with how my knits looked in the scarf as well.  I put in a lifeline and then just changed to combination knitting. I was hoping it would look a bit neater without looking dramatically different.  It looked different enough that I ripped back to the lifeline.  I considered frogging the scarf and starting over (it is fun to knit). Instead, I decided to continue knitting in my “mixed” way and consider it a design feature again!  I will do it “right” on the next one.  14 inches of scarf is too much to rip!

I finished my CNE scarf a few days ago. This is a scarf that will go to one of my nieces for Christmas.  It is made of the yarn I dyed using Easter egg dye left over from our eggs this year.  It is very bright.  I really like the pattern, but the project seemed to take forever. It was knit on size 3 needles with fingering weight yarn. I suppose that is why. If I were to knit it again, I think I would use larger needles.  The pattern was easy to memorize. I also have a fondness for seed stitch, and this scarf has a seed stitch border.  I don’t know why, but I love knitting seed stitch!

After I finished the scarf, I cast on a Monkey 2.0 for CB for his birthday. He turns two at the end of September.  We are trying to wean him from his paci, but I really feel like he needs a comfort/security item to replace it. He loathes blankets, so that is out.  I think he will love the monkey.  The pattern for this monkey is really clever. It eliminates a lot of the sewing by being knit in the round.  I really am enjoying knitting this. I also think this yarn is completely perfect for this project. This is the Kindred Spirits yarn I got in the first Flat Rate Box Swap.  It is supposed to be fair isle/stripey yarn. In the legs of the monkey, it has almost a “galaxy” effect (like the Regia Galaxy yarns).  Also, the legs and body all started in exactly the same point of the color repeat.  I could not have done this on purpose so perfectly if I had tried.  It is such a fun, happy accident.  This monkey is going to be very, very cute.  I also love that it is knitting up really, really fast.  I am thinking that I may do one for my nephew for Christmas since I hadn’t decided what to make him.  I may also do one for LB for his birthday (late December).

I have also started another new scarf (another Christmas present for another niece).  I decided to make it out of the Spritely Goods that I got in a trade some time ago. The colors just scream to be made into something for this particular niece.  I decided to knit the One Row Handspun Scarf by the Yarn Harlot.  I doubled the yarn and am knitting it on size 8 needles.  It is a huge relief after knitting the previous scarf. It is knitting up so fast!  Part of that is the completely addictive nature of the pattern.  A row doesn’t take long. I can’t seem to knit a single row. I keep saying, “Just one more…ok, just one more…maybe one more…”  I am enjoying this pattern (and how quickly it is knitting up) so much that I may do another for my last niece.  I just have to check the yardage on the yarn I have for her.

I am actually pretty surprised at how much knitting I have gotten done over the last week or so.  We have been dealing with a lot of kid stuff.  LB started pre-K this morning. We have been trying to prepare him for the last week or so for the change in routine. I am not sure why we worried so much. He is such an easygoing kid. He adapts to new situations with amazing ease.  I actually cried a little when I dropped him off. He started by telling me that I didn’t need to take him into the building. Thankfully, they require that parents sign their children in, so I had a really good excuse to go in with him.  He went in and started playing immediately.  I spoke to the teacher briefly, and then told LB I was leaving.  He said, “Bye, Mom” without even looking up from his toys. I said, “Can I maybe get a hug and kiss before I leave?”  He heaved a huge, long suffering sigh, and then gave me the fastest kiss and hug on record before returning to his toys. I got all teary eyed and looked at the teacher. She said, “He will be ok, mama.”  I said, “I know. I think that is why I am crying!”  I couldn’t believe how big and independent he seemed!

We have also been dealing with some health stuff with CB. While we were in Wyoming, my mom asked me, “So, how long has CB been walking like that?”  I had no idea what she was talking about. I turns out, he walks with his head tilted.  I never noticed.  She had to point it out and tell me it wasn’t normal.  Then, CB had one of his “spacing out” spells. Sometimes he just spaces out.  My mom noticed and tried to get his attention. She couldn’t.  She asked me how often he does that. I had no idea because we leave him alone when he spaces out. We have always just assumed that he was such an internal child that he just needed space sometimes. We thought he was just very good at tuning us out, so we don’t really try to get his attention when he does it.  My mom was very disturbed by it. She suspects that he is having absence seizures.  At first, she told me just to mention it at his next appointment at the end of September.  After thinking about it and considering that his head is abnormally large, my mom asked me to call the doctor immediately. The doctor diagnosed CB with mild torticollis (for the “tilt” when he walks). He is going to start physical therapy (again). She also expressed concern about the possibility of absence seizures combined with his head size. She decided to send him for an EEG and neurology appointment. I spent all week setting all the various appointments up (in between court, office appointments, jail visits, and all the other mom stuff I do).  All the appointments are spread out over the next month.   As I said, it amazes me that I got any knitting done at all!

Boys at Lake sherdI just got back from a really wonderful vacation in Wyoming.  Every other year, my family has a family reunion in Wyoming.  The first week was spent at that reunion.  The second week was spent just hanging out with my parents, siblings, nieces, and nephew.  We had a great time.  This is a picture of my boys on our hike to Lake Sherd.

I wore my shawl a lot because the weather was cold.  I also got a lot of crafting done.  I got quite a bit done on my CNE (Christmas n Easter) Scarf for my niece.  I also made three bath puffs while there. I taught my mom how to make them (she taught me to crochet, but I had to teach her all the stitches as she had forgotten).  There are not pictures of the knitting or crochet because I was too busy to get out the camera.

When we got home, DH, both kids and I all had a cold that we got from my brother and his kids.  The kids have a very mild sore throat and cough (although Vicks on their feet one night seems to have gotten rid of their cough). DH and I have serious sore throats, runny noses, terrible coughs, chills, aches, ear aches, etc.  I also got pink eye. CB had it while we were in Wyoming. He got better immediately.  My eye doctor has warned me that I will likely be fighting it for at least a month.

As a result, my return home was not happy.  Fortunately, two things greeted me to make me feel better. First, MIL cleaned our whole house for our anniversary (we celebrated our 9th while in Wyoming…where we were married).  She didn’t just clean…she CLEANED (in all caps).  She washed my windows, washed and put away every stitch of clothing in the house, mopped all the floors, washed the bathrooms, cleaned out the fridge and freezer, took out all the trash, washed the baseboards, vacuumed all carpets, washed all throw rugs, etc.  She is really, really awesome. It was better than any gift she could have bought.

The second thing that greeted me and cheered me was my second Flat Rate Box Swap box.  My swap pal is really, really awesome.  The theme this time was a project for you. The idea was to get everything needed for a single project in your pal’s queue.  My pal chose the Chinook Shawl in mine. She got me the Riverstone colorway.  She also got size 8 harmony needle tips.  Also included was the Mason-Dixon Knitting Book (which I have been really, really wanting) and some Louet Euroflax so that I could make something from it.   There are also several mini-skeins for my sock blankie, a crocheted project bag, mini-highlighter, pencils, mini-post-its, a small pen, a mini clip-on calculator, a magnetic tape measure, a mini-digital camera, an album, a stress ball, Goon n Plenty, hand lotion, and a little sheep.  This is truely a remarkable swap package!!  I was so excited.  I love absolutely everything in it.