Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Simply Baby Shrugs and Less Than Simple Bears

Mid-week-at-a-glance... On Monday, I managed to bind off and add ties to the Bainbridge Scarf I started a while back after seeing its cuteness posted by ADD Knitter and purlfriend (and then promptly put down just shy of finishing... why do I do that?!), and well, as it has snowed pretty much every day since the first day of spring here in perpetual Winter Wonderland (otherwise known as Minnesota), it looks like there will still be time to wear it.
I may have been born and raised in MinneSNOWta, but I am truly a cold-wimp at heart, and will continue to wear little scarves well into the light jacket season to cozy up my temperature sensitive neck zone. Now I need a new portable and preferably brainless project for toting around town...

This will do, not exactly brainless (though pretty easy), but baby and toddler sizes make for pretty portable.

(not my baby, but isn't she cute?! she's in the book...)

Off to a running start on my list, I've been working on the Baby Shrug from Simply Baby. I'm at least halfway through, having divided for the fronts. The construction is interesting, starting with the bottom of the back, working up, casting on more sts for sleeves, working up some more, dividing for fronts, then working over the top (shoulder) and down each front, finished with picking up for a ribbed edging (thinking of a contrast edging for this one). I'm making the largest size (18-24 months) for my little M (currently 16 months) hoping it will fit her for the rest of spring and into early summer. At first I wasn't sure it would be big enough, now I'm thinking it'll be a bit too big... we'll see... babies grow, too fast, in my opinion. If it's too big on Monday, it just might fit by Friday... or so it seems.

I should have a finished object with cute pics of baby (excuse me, er, toddler) photo shoot by next week... but for now it just looks like this...

and from further back, like this...

What's that lovely bit of orange-y-goodness, you ask? Well, it could've been a Little Teddy Bear, from Amigurumi, if it weren't for the hole that stopped me dead in my tracks... yeah, that hole that's located right at the top of the head...?!?!

Hmm, something in my 'foundation ring' went awry. Never fear, I don't give up that easily, at least at some things... (This crochet in circles tutorial should help refresh my skills) Seriously, this book is so cute, I just have to figure out how to make some of these little guys, with no holes in the head... maybe even in time for my baby sister's baby shower, maybe.

Happy Wednesday,
and happy knitting-

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Yay for Random Winners!

Well that was fun. Thanks to, the world has two more winners in the giant winner's circle of life!

Crazzybunny of SpinKnitUp and Dove Knits of Dove Knits have been notified of their winning status and soon all kinds of yarny goodness and extra goodies goodness will be en route.

Stop by their blogs, congratulate them, and cheer them on in their knitting and their higher educational efforts! These are some busy and determined ladies!
Thanks to everyone who participated- I love to see others set some goals too. I learned long ago the value of setting goals, of having something to strive for and a plan in place to help make it happen, or at least get me closer to the goal than I was before I started. Progress is good.
Congrats again, ladies!
Happy knitting-

Thursday, March 20, 2008

StatCounter Fun

I was showing my kids (and my husband, who happened to be home early that day due to a 'locked ourselves out of the house' incident...) the different flags from countries represented by visitors to my blogs (this one and my homeschooling blog)- I thought it was cool to have returning traffic from places like Estonia and Poland (hello, out there!)... when my husband hopped on the laptop and checked his stats. He casually says, yours gets way more traffic than mine, to which my oldest two half-whispered to me, with shock and awe in their hushed tones, "Dad has a blog?!?!?!"

Um, nope, dad doesn't have a blog. He doesn't have time to blog, but then either do I, but that hasn't stopped me so far... Dad does have a website for his business (snazzy upgrade coming soon, or one of these days when one of us has oodles of time on our hands), and while it may not be splattered with fabulous pictures of my darling children, it does explain why having your data backed up offsite is not just a luxury these days, it's essential for businesses, and could come in pretty handy for home computer users as well.

Shameless plug for my other half, I know, but really I just thought my boys' reaction was hilarious!

More knitting content soon (I almost have another finished object! Yay for finished objects!), and don't forget to post some spring knitting goals- you have until midnight tonight!

Happy knitting-

Monday, March 17, 2008

How to Save a Tight Sweater? Really?

Just in case you missed today's "How to of the Day"- I thought I'd share the fun.

Hmm, I don't think the sample cardigans were made using their technique. Their purple sample laid out flat would not be the easiest to split that central panel of patterned sts evenly in half, at least not with much chance of it looking as sleek as the next picture of a purplish (on my screen anyway) cardigan with 2 very nice edges, edges that I can't imagine were going down the center of a pullover. I have a sneaking suspicion that the first pic on the "Adding a Closing Mechanism" section has always been a cardigan. Um, same goes for the second one- look at those edge sts, those were not running down the center of a plain pullover. The third pic is believable, unfortunately frumpy, but believable. The next pic, is, um, well, doesn't that look an awful lot like Lolly? (before haircut)

My favorite part of this silly How to is the warning (scroll down a bit)- "Don't force a tight sweater to fit you and don't force the cardigan version to fit either - this simply creates a very unflattering look and does your figure great disservice. If the sweater is so badly shrunken that it looks best for a child, give it to a child or a local charity clothing service. Sometimes we just have to move on. " He he, some good advice.

All 6 of my kiddos have succombed to some viral crud, fevers, headaches, coughing, etc... so we won't be out and about at all today, which might mean lots of knitting time, or it could end up meaning lots of cooking (soup) and cleaning time, as my cleaning crew is all contagious at the moment...

Happy knitting-


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Got Goals?

Okay, time to start writing out my own goals for the spring. I'm a list maker, an overly ambitious list maker at that. My to-do lists, as well as my seasonal goals lists, are virtually impossible for me to complete, unless somebody can come up with a way for me to survive on no sleep... but without the list, I wander aimlessly through most of my days, not accomplishing much, aside from filling toddlers' milk cups, keeping diapers current and dry, supervising kids' chores, and helping with things like math and english, violin and piano... Lists help me focus and energize me to stay on top of the daily mommy stuff in such a way that I can squeeze in some knitting, sewing, crafting stuff as well.

I know I will not get to everything on my list. In fact, I would consider it quite an accomplishment to finish half of it. With no list, I'd be lucky to finish a garter ridge scarf, for a doll...

ali's spring knitting goals 2008

1- finish kid's bulky jacket design, my TOP priority at present
2- cotton maternity tank (that would be for me to wear this summer... hint, hint)
3- finish Cable Rib Sock (Favorite Socks) and knit its mate
4-Girl's Sundress for Mercy
5- finish 2nd baby heart hoodie, get pattern written up and laid out
6- design sweater to replace old favorite from Anthropologie that I accidentally shrunk/felted (so sad...)
7- get cabled baby cardi ready for publication
8- bulky jacket for Mercy
9- baby girl sweater for friend- haven't decided which one yet...
10- try a toe-up sock pattern (I've only knit top-down so far)
11- Baby Bobbie Bear
12- coordinating sweaters for friend's soon-to-be-born boy/girl twins
13- Uptown Boot Socks (Favorite Socks)
14- Kai Cable Sweater (Natural Knits for Babies and Moms) for nephew
15- assemble my Eyelet Cardigan, finish neck and button bands
16- pink Baby Shrug (Simply Baby) for Mercy
17- a couple Pompon Berets, too cute (Simply Baby)
18- Boat-neck Sweater (Baby Knits for Beginners) w/ matching hat for gift
19- girls' version cropped cardigans for my girls
20- work on the Rectangle Shawl I'd all but forgotten about...
21- update more on Ravelry and Flickr
22- give the podcasts another chance, see if I can find one I can stand listening to...
23- Rolled Jacket (Simply Baby)
24- some dolly dresses and sweaters

That's more than enough for now... I'll try to update as I actually work from my list, but don't be surprised if I post about random things that didn't even make my list (I have always suffered from Project Attention Deficit Disorder, hence my need for lists in the first place) like, say, for instance, these little bags I made my daughters. (Yep, 4 of them for my 4 girls, my 2 boys could do without pink book bags...)

Out of this way cute fabric I bought yards and yards of for mere pennies at an old fabric store's 'going out of business sale'. Ten years ago I never would've paired orange and pink, now I can't get enough of the color combo. Lovin' it.

Details can be oh-so-tedious, but oh-so-rewarding at the same time...

Now if I can just stay away from the machine long enough to put the finishing touches on the design I'm working on...

How 'bout you, got goals?

Happy knitting-

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring 2008- Knitting Goals Contest

When my 7 year old daughter informed me this morning that it was the 13th of March and that meant there were only 7 more days until spring, I thought it seemed like there is no time like the present to throw out the next season's Knitting Goals Contest!

Last summer's contest was such a blast that I was thinking it would be great to do one each new season. It's a great time to stop and take stock, re-evaluate the priorities on the knitting to-do lists, and set some short term reasonable goals. I was so swamped with activities and family illnesses that I plum forgot about a fall contest, and I just didn't get around to a winter one... It's time to let bygones be bygones, or whatever they say, and just pick up where we are, and where we are is on the verge of spring. We had our first high of around 50 today, and after last Thursday's high of 15 and last Friday's high of 12, the current 40's are a much welcomed sign of spring- so bring on the contest, eh?

I'll bring on the contest- y'all pitch in and bring on the goals, okie dokie? I'll start the bidding by putting up a bag of Blue Sky Dyed Cotton in the prize coffers, with copies of the Fitted Tank and Kid's Kimono, maybe the new Girl's Sundress and/or Flower Headband (they all call for this soft and sweet yarn), and I'll see what else I can come up with to add to the mix. You do your part by commenting here & then blogging about your spring knitting goals, remembering to link back to this post. Easy enough? Okay then, let's get this show on the road.

Deadline is midnight on the first day of Spring- so off with you, look through your basket of UFO's, your stash, and your Ravelry queue, and get some goals set, then get knitting!

Have fun with this one!

Happy knitting-


eta- I forgot to say that if you mention whose blog you saw this contest on, that person will win a runner-up type prize (which is yet to be determined, but certain to be scrumptious). If you came directly here, feel free to leave the name of a favorite friend or blogger, somebody has to win the extras...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What? It's March Already?!

Wow, I must be getting really old, I'm sure time is going faster each year... It seems I was just contemplating New Years' Resolutions (knitting and non-knitting) the other day, and, well, it seems that was something like 75 days ago... jeepers.

This month started out with a crazy-busy week with little to no knitting time to be found. I got to thinking that I need to start a pair of basic socks as a person only needs so many garter ridge scarves, but a person (like me!) really needs some brainless knitting to be working on during weeks with activities like play practice, competition*, and finals*, orchestra and violin lessons for kids, every single day, sometimes well into the evening... The thing is, I really wanted to come home and knit a while to wind down at night, or to have something to knit during one practice or another, but I'm in the middle of a bulky jacket design, and I'm figuring neckline shaping, in a cabled stitch pattern, and that isn't exactly the 'portable and brainless' type project needed for such situations. With a deadline approaching on the jacket design, I felt guilty even thinking about starting some socks... so I did what any self-respecting procrastinator (really, is there such a thing?) would do- I did nothing.

Well, it's time to jump back into the swing of things. I have a couple more days to work out that design and I even found a languishing little scarf I'd sadly forgotten about finishing to pick up when my brain is fried from knitting math. Soon all will be well with my knitting world.

Oh, and when I find myself procrastinating some tomorrow, I'll try to get a chance to snap a pic of the cute little bags I made my girls! I've been drawn to the sewing machine again...

'till tomorrow then,
happy knitting,

*the play advanced to finals and took 2nd place (my 14, 8, & 7 yr olds were in it)
-the skit didn't advance... poor skit... (14 & 8 yr olds)
-8 yr old got an outstanding performer award for violin solo
-14 yr old got best musical performance award for violin solo
-kids took home several ribbons and a couple of plaques
-Mom is still grinning big and is so proud of my kids for giving it their all and having a lot of fun in the process! (It was a 4H event called "Share the Fun" after all!)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Big Yarn Brings Big Crowds

I'm not sure who's idea it was to have the Craft Yarn Council of America's (2nd) annual "Knit-Out & Crochet" event in Minnesota in frigid February, but I would've thought that after last year that person would've realized the error of his/her way and moved the event to a more reasonably weathered month, like, say, April or May... I had intended to go last year, but it was cold- colder than this year. This year, the week prior to the event was too cold for comfort and I had actually decided that I might never make it to a Knit-Out, ever, as long as they keep scheduling them in February... and then my darling asked what I was doing that morning. I lamented about the weather, and he grinned and informed me that it was supposed to get to around 30... "You should go." he said, "It would be good for the blog." He had work to keep him busy all day which meant all the kids were coming with me. I took a big swig of coffee and ordered the donning of coats and the piling in the van, and off we went to the dreaded Mall of America (normally the last place I would ever want to spend a Saturday...)

I live over an hour north of The Mall, so this was a big adventure for my kids. I think the highlight was watching all the planes take off (The Mall is right next to the airport) while we were stuck in traffic waiting about 20 minutes to get through the 2 stoplights that lead into the parking ramp. I thought surely there was another huge event going on. That traffic couldn't be all yarnies, could it? Could it?!! The ramp on the side of The Mall where I was attempting to park has 7 levels- the first 6 levels were full/closed. I pulled my 12 passenger Chevy Express van around level 7 looking for a spot (try cornering that baby in your average parking ramp- wait, it doesn't fit in your average parking ramp... gotta find one at least 7' high... not for the faint at heart, guess I'm not as wimpy as I tend to think I am...) and finally found some at the far end- that's the far end of the highest level... ugh...

This narrative could get quite long if I were to attempt to describe the rest of our outing. Just remember, I already mentioned that the highlight was the planes... There were crowds. It was noisy. I was pushing a double stroller and had all 6 of my kids with me. There were lines of people. They were all talking. There were some big names... Nicky Epstein, Debbie Macomber, Kristin Nicholas, Vickie Howell- I admit it, I wanted to meet Vickie Howell.

Their little workshop/presentations were crowded together, too near one another, one could turn this way or that and see more than one speaker, not hearing any of them at all. A front row seat might enable actual hearing, but strollers don't get front row seats... When I finally found the right spot for Vickie Howell's presentation, I found the area strangly unoccupied. Her table was empty, and there were a few people waiting, but it seemed that perhaps a few people had given up? I trucked all that way, so I was gonna wait until somebody told me to go home... she did finally arrive, over 15 minutes late, but who's counting? I couldn't hear most of what she was saying, but I did manage to get a few pics. Well, my teenage son managed to get a few pics...

as my camera decided to take pictures like this all of a sudden...

Lovely, isn't she?

She was sweet enough to linger afterwards and pose for several pictures, including this one with my oldest daughter-

About that time my 8 year old son's facial expression was asking "Why, Mom?!" I told him she was the host of a show all about knitting, she's a TV star! Ooooh, aaaahhh, oh! Somehow, that made it all seem worth it. That and the Cinnabons...

After our star sighting we wandered through the crowds, wondering why it was so packed. I guess Big Yarn really does draw big crowds. None of the yarns I would visit a local yarn shop to buy were represented. Just Big Yarn. Bernat, Caron, Lion Brand and the likes...

Highlight #2. Almost like Disneyland. A grown-up in a fuzzy costume. I should see if Blue Sky Alpacas has any dressed up mascot plans; maybe a job for my teenager? It was just too funny NOT to take a picture of (teenager missing in pic- he's manning the camera...)

Big Yarn and small magazines... Where was Vogue knitting? Not at the Mall of America. Where was Interweave Knits? Not at the Mall of America. Maybe they knew how cold it is in Minnesota in February.

All in all, was it worth the trip? Probably not. Will I go back next year? Probably, I'm a glutton for punishment. The chance for good blog-fodder is worth it, though I think next year my teenager will be babysitting so I can maneuver better without a stoller...

I have to add that it was so funny to hear obvious non-yarnies making comments about the event. "It has something to do with yarn", "People come here for that?!" I found myself thinking and asking the same thing... and then I realized that I had gone there for that!

I guess it got long after all... imagine if I hadn't tried to keep it brief...

Happy knitting-


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