Archive for April, 2007
Signs of spring are everywhere today. Daffodils blooming, birds singing, leaves finally starting to bud. The birds are crazy active too; starting their spring mating rituals. As I sit at my kitchen table and look out the window I am eye level with the trees tops due to the slope of my backyard. It is so interesting the way the birds flit from one branch to another. To me it looks like complete chaos, but to them it must mean something really significant. They are like giddy teenagers in love flirting around the high school corridors. I am tempted to get out my binocs to study them further. Possibly I can gleem some information as to what makes them act the way they do. (The birds, that is, not the teenagers!)
So I took a walk this morning through my yard and my parent’s yard to find some good yellow for Project Spectrum. While it is a bit of a lackluster year for Daffodils, the Forsythia are florishing!
I just took a bit of time to do some knitting. After so much entrelac-ing lately, it is nice to just knit! This Baby Surprise Jacket is sure going to be a surprise though! I know where I want my stripes to be on the finished jacket, but I really have not clue were to put them as I’m knitting so I think I am just going to have to be happy with what I get! While I was knitting I decided to listen to a knitting podcast and I saw in my e-mails from this weekend that Kelly from Knitpicks just started one. I wanted to listen to it mostly out of curiosity because you know anyone who works in a LYS is going to have a love/hate affair with Knitpicks. The podcast was actually very sweet. She has a soft soothing voice and her topics were true to the knitting community and interesting. She told about how she learned to spin and then knit and what type of sweaters she makes. She reviewed her love affair with Elizabeth Zimmerman which was really nice to hear as I was knitting an EZ pattern. She talked about how she and the other women knit during their staff meetings as the men watch on jealously and she mused that they should be taught to knit too as to which I wholeheartedly agree – what fun that would be!
So back to the Baby Surprise Jacket — I have to say for some reason I am having a super hard time with keeping the numbers of stitches correct! I’ve already had to rip it back a couple of times! I think that mostly says something about my state of mind lately! Not too many brain cells! Well, this will be a good warm up project for when I bring Cece (from ChicKnits) back out to play. Many many many brain cells are needed for Cece!
Here is BSJ thus far:
And here is Cece from almost a year ago:
Can you see the difference? Does anyone know how to grow brain cells real fast????
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I didn’t really intend to go a whole week (plus) without blogging, but lo and behold, here it is Sunday, the 29th. Already. Spring is just crazy that way! Choral concerts, band concerts, planting flowers, packing up the winter clothes… it all just takes lots and lots of time.
There are a couple of interesting things to note, however, and I think I will go “listy” on you to make life easier:
1.) Agent J and I survived the Dude Ranch. She had a great time with her friends and so did I. It was long ,though, and there wasn’t overly so much sleep to be had! Agent J rode a horse twice and she didn’t even fall on her head or anything (she actually did quite well and really seemed to enjoy it)! I was brave and didn’t have a heart attack or anything while she was out on her rides. It was a good thing that I didn’t hear about how steep and twisty and turny the trail was until we were on our way home! Here she is now on her horse:
2.) I’m sure no one has noticed, but there has not been much activity on my reading page lately. When I wrote this post, Jayme commented that I really needed to read Outlander so I decided to borrow it from the library and take it for a spin. Well, I LOVE it! The only problem is that I read about 5.3 pages a night before I fall asleep and at this rate I may not be done until the 2008 Summer Olympics. I am really glad that we can renew library books over the phone because I have to call again tomorrow for my third round with it. Anyway, did I say that I LOVE this book. I think I am in love with Jamie too. It has been a long time since I’ve had a crush on a fictional character (Snape not-withstanding) and it is kinda fun! So far, I would highly recommend this book as a fun read and a great way to end one’s day.
3.) We found out last week that there is a new yarn store opening in Torrington! Can you believe it? Our little city with 2 yarn shops? Anyway, it appears that this one is different as its emphasis is more on weaving and spinning and other fiberly arts and not so much on knitting and crochet as the store where I work. It is hard to know what to think, but my first thought was “more fiber never hurt anyone, right?” Torrington is very well known for its theater and ballet and other arts so maybe it is well suited to become the next Mecca for the fiber arts? The more people who partake, the better for all!
4.) I finally finished the pink and green entrelac sock I was making for a shop sample! I just realized that I don’t have a good completed photo and I left the sock at work. Also (and this is so exciting!!!!) I ran part 1 of the sock class today. I had 2 students and they did so great! They were awesome and they want to do part 2 next week! I hope my boss goes for that! We started by just doing Eunny’s entrelac sample and then we started on the toe. So during the week, their homework is to just complete the toe section and start the row of set up triangles. Next class we will start entrelac-ing in the round. Knitcole is going to knit a long with them too and she is pretty excited so that just makes all the fun even more grand.
5.) Spring has finally arrived here. These are the crocuses that were blooming at the beginning of the week. Now, we finally have our daffodils and forsythia!
6.) I just have to tell you how wonderful my husband is. Right now, as I write this, he is shopping with Agent K. Shopping with Agent K is quite the experience. Last night I took her and a friend to the mall. She found 2 tops that she liked and one pair of sweats. The purpose of the shopping trip was to get her some nice outfits to wear on the days she has track meets as one of the track rules is that the students need to dress up more than usual on meet days (yeah, I don’t really get it either, I think it has something to do with school spirit?). Anyway, when we got home, I found out that she needs black or blue pants for her band concert on Friday and she never mentioned it. At. All. Drats. So IHA has to take her to Old Navy as I just don’t get along with that place. But they do have the adjustable waists which helps increase the chances of something fitting her. I sure do hope they find something! And I hope they don’t find too much either as sometimes she can be darned irresistible:
7.) I also went scrapbooking this weekend and I had a splurge of creativity! It was great. I really hope that I get a chance to scrapbook more often. I want to try more digital scrapbooking too. There was a tutorial in the latest issue of Memory Makers magazine that used PSE3 and we are almost friends again. I need to use layers at least once a month or I totally loose the skills and get frustrated the next time I try it and end up frazzled.
So there you go! I’m back on the blogging saddle again! I hope that it is not another week before I post again! And here is a head’s up… I’m not all that far way from my 1000th comment and I’m pretty sure there will be a prize for that lucky commenter! So stay tuned — it could be later this week or next week at my typically posting/commenting level!
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I can’t say that I have been doing a lot of knitting lately, but there is some knitting and I had a mini-photoshoot this morning to show-off what I have been up to. This weekend, Agent J and I are going to the Rocking Horse Dude Ranch with Girl Scouts. Where I live, it is a fifth grade Girl Scout right of passage sort of thing. As you can see AvaSpinny is dressed and all ready to go! Please note that she is accompanied by a cow and not a horse. I am so much fonder of cows than horses. Cows bring back childhood memories of my uncles farm for one thing. When I went to the dude ranch 2 years ago with Agent K, I thought I needed to be a good role model and I tried the horse riding, but it just wasn’t worth it for me. I didn’t see the appeal and as soon as I got up, I just wanted to get off. It was too high up and I didn’t like the lack of control. It sort of made me feel all shaky inside like I feel when driving in the snow. So I will be a brave mom and let Agent J take a ride, but I’m sure I will be wringing my hands with worry the whole time. (The key will be to not letting her know how worried…)
Oh, I think I am totally off track now from my current knitting projects so I better get started! First up we have this:
Can you guess what it is? That’s right! Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket. I am making this for Agent B’s third grade teacher who will be having a little girl in June. This is the second year in a row that she has had a teacher expecting a baby. Last year I made the little baby bolero from One Skein, but I thought I would branch out and try a new baby sweater this year. There was a customer at the yarn shop on Sunday who was using Key West Karibbean Kotton in a light pink and it was so pretty that I could not help but buy some for myself. For this sweater I chose 3 colors. The photo is pretty true to the Seashell (this color reminds me of white Playdough) and the Peacock, but the Wild Iris is much brighter in real life. I am having a lot of fun knitting this. It really is going to be a surprise to me how it will turn out! I think the parts I have knit thus far will turn out to be the sleeves and the top of the back. I know there is neck shaping coming up soon, how that can be, I don’t know!
Next up we have Ginger:
I think I have mentioned this sweater before, but it is Rowan Summer Tweed and I’m still sort of trying to choose a size to knit. My gauge is a little off and I’m contemplating either going up a needle size or knitting a larger size from the pattern book. I think I may choose to do the latter as I like the resulting fabric that comes with using the recommended size 8 needles.
And finally we have more entrelac sockiness:
This is the sample sock I’m knitting for the yarn shop to entice people to take the class. I really like these colors as it is so blah and dreary outside (for the 5th day in a row, I might add). It is coming out a teeny bit smaller with this Shelridge Farms yarn than the Koigu even though the yarn weight is very similar. There is just something very different (and slightly magical) about the Koigu that makes it act differently than other sock yarns. For this sock I have knit the entire thing – no purling! When it is time to purl (except for picking up stitches) I have been knitting backwards. This made such a huge difference in the ease of knitting the short row heel! I think I have my best ever short row heel although one side is much neater than the other…
Here is one side:
and the other:
That is about all I’m doing except for waiting for the sun, laundry, dishes, packing, other assorted cleaning activities, trying to blog, talking on the phone for dude ranch arrangements (we are driving with Crops a Lot and I am sooooo excited!) and once and I while I work a bit on my HTML class.
So, in prep for our long car ride to the Ranch, here is one of the games that we sometimes play: I am going to the dude ranch and I’m going to bring Airborn, Baby Surprise Jacket, Carrots, Doughnuts, Entrelac Socks, French Fries, Ginger, and Happiness! Ride ‘em Cowgirl!
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Posted by: Tamara in gardening
This is one of the those a picture is worth a thousand words post.
2007, not a good year for daffodils:
It is, however, a much better year for Lichen:
I’m not very eloquent at writing about the serious things so I tend to just skirt around them in my blog, but I would just like to take a moment to mourn those killed at Virginia Tech this week. I have the deepest sympathy for those students and parents involved.
Carrie wrote in her blog this week about how terrifying it was to be in high school when the Columbine shootings occurred. This made me remember that when we were in high school in the 80’s, we were scared that at any second we would be wiped out by nuclear missiles. Both things are truly terrifying, but I have to think that having to worry about your classmates, people you have known since possibly even preschool is just so much worse than worrying about an enemy thousands of miles away.
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Posted by: Tamara in gardening
I am notorious for overdoing it with the yard work, especially on the first day out of the starting gate. You will have to forgive me for the brevity of words in this post, it even hurts to type! We did get quite a bit done including clearing some hemlocks. Check it out and see if you can see a difference (Agent K said, upon arriving home from her sleepover; “What? You cut some trees? Where?”).
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Posted by: Tamara in knitting
Tomatoes and Eggplants are actually in the same Genus (”The genus Solanum also contains the eggplant and the potato, as well as many poisonous species.”), so I’m in luck that my Tomato is really an Eggplant!
I finished my Tomato/Eggplant in time to wear it for Easter!
It was way to cold too wear it without a shirt underneath, but it is certainly not as low cut as the illustration in the book would have you think, so it will be quite appropriate to wear it with or without a tank underneath.
Pattern: Tomato by Wendy Bernard from the book No Sheep for
Ewe You (there is a KAL at this site which I didn’t notice til after I was done) by Amy Singer
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpaca Dyed Cotton in colors 614 and 618 (I used just over 3 skeins of the main color and just a bit of the contrast)
Date Started: About March 25, 2007
Date Completed: April 6, 2007
Pattern Mods: I combined 2 sizes. I started with the size 35.5″ and changed at the sleeve division to the 31″. I also altered the sleeves a bit so they would not be tight and cut off my arm circulation.
Overall thoughts: This sweater fits me very nicely, however, there is a bit of an issue with the color stranding part being right at the chest. Since my color stranding knitting tends to be tighter and the pattern has you decrease right before it starts, I found that I was being pushed in in the area I least need to be pushed in. However, by the end of the day, the sweater seemed to stretch out nicely and maybe it is part of the overall design plan of knitting with cotton? It will be interesting to see how the fabric behaves after a few more wearings and washings.
This was a quick knit and relatively inexpensive. It has great shaping and I love the “squareness” of the neckline. Knitting with cotton always hurts my fingers a bit, so I probably should not have rushed it for Easter, but I just could not help myself, it is knitting, you know!
Here is a close of the sleeve:
What is up next? I need to work on an entrelac sock for a shop sample but I’m sure I will not make it through the day without swatching my new Rowan Summer Tweed for Ginger from The Summer Tweed Collection by Kim Hargreaves (her patterns are gorgeous, aren’t they?). Yummy! 70% Silk and tweedy!
Don’t you think I should also do some spinning? I can not wait til our temps rise above freezing because my favorite kind of spinning is when I get to take my wheel out to the deck and bask in the sun!
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That question was asked of me just recently in our backyard. I looked it up to be sure, and the answer is to attract insects for pollination (and maybe perhaps to dissuade a hungry grazer). Skunk Cabbages are pretty amazing, if you would like to read more about them, check out this webpage as the author is pretty thorough in his discussion.
We are pretty big fans of Skunk Cabbage in our family. One of our favorite things to do on days like today when spring seems so far away is to go out into the woods and hunt for their little heads peeking out of the ground. When nothing else can grow, you have to admire their spunk and their ability to provide their own heat to survive our cold New England springs.
One of the agents thinks the stink is quite lovely:
When Agent K was in kindergarten, she brought a skunk cabbage in for show and tell. The teacher wasn’t too happy and would not let her take it out of the tupperware container that she brought it in. I was pretty shocked as she is my oldest child and I could not believe that a teacher would not be bubbling over with excitement (especially as the show and tell topic was to bring in a sign of spring.) When she got home from school I was expecting to hear about how the teacher and the class were so excited and it was the hit of show and tell, and I felt rather indignant to think that the teacher confined it to the container. Why wouldn’t she want everyone to see it and to learn about it? I guess everyone is just not as excited by the unique qualities that make Skunk Cabbage such a cool plant as we are in our family.
Look at them, aren’t they so cute, making their own little climate controlled microcosms:
Here is a photo of the spring in our backyard. Sometimes when we have a lot of rain, it is a rushing stream In the summer it dries up a bit, but it stays moist enough to laden with many varieties of ferns:
This reminds me that we joined something this weekend that looks like fun. Since none of the girls are playing travel soccer this season, we thought it would be a good time to join something that we can do together as a family. CT DEP has a initiative called No Child Left Inside and one of the programs is called The Great Park Pursuit: The CT State Park Family Adventure. We’ve been trying to sign up for a week, but in order to join, you need a team name. Now coming up with a team name is certainly not as easy as it sounds! See if you can find ours. I made us a button and it is on my left sidebar. Definitely not a name of anything that one finds in nature! It was sort of a combination of a couple of the things that the girls liked plus it had to fit in with Project Spectrum, of course! While certainly this is a low stress activity, there is actually scoring and a winner! As IHA calls it, a State Park Family Amazing Race…
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Posted by: Tamara in knitting
Look what I found! This blog came up on my Google Alert for Entrelac Socks and I have to do this meme! Oh what fun!
Mark with bold the things you have ever done, with italics, the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest.
Knitting with metal wire(I don’ t think I would like this for a very long time, but I’d like to learn)
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Tip-down(sort of – the Knucks are Knucklet down)
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn (yum!)
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn (I think so far, I’ve just spun some bamboo fiber)
Two end knitting (??)
Charity knitting(but not finished yet)
Knitting with soy yarn
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffitti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)(I’ve never heard of this) Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting (??)
Dying with plant colours
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items)on two circulars
Knitting with someone elses handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Bobbles (but don’t like them)
Knitting for a living (well, at least for spending money, if you can call it that)
Knitting with cotton
Knitting two socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting(tried it and I’m not very fond of it)
Knitting with selfpatterning/selfstriping/variegating yarn
Knitting with cashmere(I have some to spin!)
Jewelry(just for the dress-up box)
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets(I crocheted for my rabbit once)
Knitting with dog/cat hair (ew)
Knitting in public
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I’m sitting here in the kitchen trying to blog because this is where the sun is, however, I can not carry a thought wave for more than 2 seconds so you will have to bear with me…
Guess what! I finished my Entrelac Socks! They are done done done done done!
Ok, I apparently can not blog in the kitchen because K can not be quiet for even 2.5 seconds. This is pretty silly to continue to try so I will come to be back later to post the finished specs. Finishing projects can be very time consuming. How many steps are there when you are a blogger? Let’s see: 1.) Wait for sun to come out (in CT, this may take days…) , 2.) Take photos, 3.) Convert photos for web posting, 4.) Gather info for project specs, 5.) (and the one I’m having difficulties with right now) Find quiet place and time to blog, 6.) Write blog entry, 7.) Also post on finished objects page, 8.) Post on any KAL’s that I may have joined. 9.) Upload photos to my new Flickr account. Phew… Is finishing something really worth it? And I’m almost done with Tomato too, how long can I stretch that out, I wonder…
Before I go for the morning, we have some new excitement in our house. Agent B had her long awaited Behavioral Ophthalmologist appointment yesterday (these are 2.5 hours long!) and she came home with a prescription for a pair of glasses. K and J are muy muy excited and there was much squealing with joy. Monday we are heading out to choose her frames and such. Agent K says that B is going to be a little cutie-pie and I actually think she is a little jealous. Her vision (B’s that is) is actually fine, these are “relaxer glasses” that she has to wear for “all academic tasks.”
Ok, I think that is all I can focus on right now…I can’t even believe how loud it is in here! Really! Sunny days can be just so super loud with gleeful sounds (I shouldn’t really complain about over-happy children, should I, no matter how loud and obnoxious they are? It is just Saturday morning and I need my coffee and my quiet, and perhaps some complete thought wave patterns…)
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In less than 3 hours after officially ending my yarn diet, I fell off the wagon…
Let’s just say, if Spring is not going to come to me, I’m going to knit up some of my own…
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