Thursday, August 17, 2006

More baby knits

This year has been a busy year for new babies within my circle of friends - we're up to four new babies, with at least two other couples actively trying to get pregnant. Lots of babies means, of course, lots of baby knits.

I knit a blanket, hat and bootie set for the newest of the new arrivals - my friend Carrie's new little girl Katherine. Katherine arrived last Saturday afternoon, and she is as beautiful and entirely enchanting as I expected her to be. Carrie and her husband William had decided to leave the baby's sex a surprise for the birth, and so we were aiming for genger neutral colors. I've held off posting pictures up here, but I'm hoping to deliver the gifts this afternoon, and I doubt Carrie's doing much blog reading at the moment.

The blanket is from a pattern in Knit Baby Blankets, which is a great collection of cute patterns. I used Kertzer Butterfly Super 10 mercerized cotton, which is a great baby yarn - soft as anything and entirely machine washable. The pattern used two balls of the yellow and orange, and a smidge more than a ball of the green.

The hat and booties were (obviously) knit from the same yarn. The booties are the Pirate Booties from 50 Baby Booties to Knit, and the hat I just made up by myself. It looks tinny in the picture, but the entire hat is a knit2 purl2 rib, and it stretches to about double the size you see here.

Next up is a project that's going to be an enormous challenge for me.

Anyone want to guess what, from the last two pictures?

Lots of different colors, eh?

Does this help a little bit?

Lastly, two things. First, thank you for the words of condolence - I've passed them on to Wiley and he say thank you as well. Second, I loaded all my pictures from Georges Island up onto Flicker. If you want to see them, they're over here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

You can get a lot of knitting done on a 17 hour car ride

We spent this past weekend on an unexpected trip to western NY because my husband's grandmother passed away last week. She lied in a small town west of Buffalo, and it is a long, long drive to get there from Boston.

The trip was sad, but not overly so, and despite 17 hours in the car with Widget and Kate, my mother in law, I'm glad I went, to see many people I'll likely never see again and to say goodbye to Westfield, which, although not nearly as central to my life as to my husband's, was still a little place I'd come to really be enchanted by.

The other upside to the trip was, of course, the knitting time. When we left, I had a sleeve and a half done on the Pea Pod sweater. When we got back, I had this:

Nearly the entire sweater finished, as well as both sleeves. It needed about an hour's more work on the back, and I wove ends in last night. I'll block it tonight and hopefully start seaming it, and then I'll just need to knit the neckline and finish up the hat.

And a couple close-ups of the lace on the front:

This is a fantastic pattern. I'm knitting it with Rowan Cashsoft DK, which I am loving. It's come together so quickly that I think I'll make another for the newest new little girl in my life (more on that later).

Kate was in town through this morning, so we all decided to take a mental health day and headed out to George's Island (a trip we were supposed to make on Saturday for Wiley's company's summer outing). Kate lived in Boston for years and years, but doesn't get much chance for ocean enjoyment in Roswell, where she's lived for about 11 years now.

We thought a relaxing day on the harbor would be just what we all needed. We roamed all over the fort - Hannah's finally old enough to be really fascinated by all the nooks and crannies of the fort, and then settled in for a rest while we waited for the boat back. The best part was getting to sit and knit with this stunning view.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Flowerbasket shawl(s)

So, Suzanne over at Double Helix has been allll on my case to write about my Flowerbasket shawl(s). I have to pluralize it, because it's a pattern that I've knit three times over now.

There are two of them in this picture. A corner of mine, and a good view of my daughter wearing the one I made for her. She insists on wearing her shawl "inside out", with the reverse stockinette on the outside. While pretty, I don't think it shows the colors off to their best advantage. There are pictures of all three shawls on my Livejournal picture gallery, if you want to surf over and see them.

So, the stories of the shawls. The first one I made was for a gift for my grandmother in law. I had some beautiful fuzzy re-claimed angora blend yarn that I pulled out of a sweater for Goodwill. I desperately needed a good gift for Um-um one Christmas, and hit on the shawl as an answer. As a first lace pattern ever, it was challenging, but not impossible, especially since it's knit with non-laceweight yarn (a key for me on a first lace project attempt). It came out beautifully, if I may say so, myself. I thought that someday I might make one for myself, but with so many things out there to knit, I don't often re-knit patterns.

But then, last summer, I made plans to go visit my friend Carrie and her husband in Japan. Faced with more than 30 hours of flight and travel time, just to get there and back, I knew I needed a good project. It couldn't be too easy or I'd get bored. It couldn't be too big or too small (either too hard to carry, or I'd risk finishing it on the road). It couldn't be too tiny or too dark, since lighting might be an issue. I'd had this nifty hand-painted silk yarn in my stash for a while, and I decided that a lace shawl was just the thing for the yarn, and for the trip.

My goal was to try and start and finish the shawl on the trip, and if I'd not decided to add extra repeats at the end, I'd likely have done it. This shawl went to Tokyo, went to the Izu Peninsula, went to Mt. Fuji, went to the Tokyo Stitch and Bitch. It saw endless trains and busses and lockers as we roamed around Japan with no car. It even survived customs at LAX, which is something that I nearly didn't manage. LAX sucks rocks.

When I came home and blocked out the shawl, my daughter made her customaty request, whenever I knit anything. Momma, could you make one for me? I had a LOT of yarn left over. In fact, even after making her shawl, I have a lot of yarn left over - the incredible non-shrinking ball of yarn. I was feeling generous, and agreed to make one for her too. She loves it, and often asks to wear it with entirely inappropriate outfits. Best review I could ask for.

I find mine is just not quite the right size. Too small to be a proper shawl, too big to be worn like a scarf. I love it, though, and wear it anyway. Who cares if it looks a little silly?

So, that's the story of the flowerbasket shawl(s).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Little Fluffy Clouds

Has anyone else here ever heard the Orbital song "Little Fluffy Clouds"?

"What were the skies like when u were young? They went on for ever and they when I we lived in Arizona and the skies always had little fluffy clouds and ahh.. they were long and clear and there were lots of stars, at night."

The song's been stuck in my head for days, since reading the Yarn Harlot's description of her trip to the Southwest. Mmmm, the skies are one of many many reasons I want to live out in the desert someday.

Today, our skies are nearly as perfect as New Mexico sky; full of blue so bright it hurts to look at them and fluffly clouds just to make you see how bright the blue is.