Saturday, April 26, 2008

C'est finis

I'll be honest, when I first saw the Clapotis pattern I wondered about going through all the effort to knit stitches that would be intentionally dropped. It just seemed like an awful lot of extra work. But my friend Allison invited me to join the better late than never KAL and I do so love group knitting. Besides, I had this lovely wool from Australia that had been waiting for a great pattern.

Now that I've finished my first Clapotis, I freely admit that I'm a convert. The pattern is interesting enough to keep your attention and yet allows you to carry on a conversation. Dropping the stitches is fun and you get to do it every few rows, which offers a nice little reward. And the results are fabulous. It's wavy and bouncy and drapes just so. I made it a little wider than the original pattern and a little longer. I would have liked it to be a little longer still, but not enough to undo hours and hours of work.

The photos were taken by the just turned 6yo at the beach just down the street from our house. Having grown up in the midwest, I am continually amazed and thrilled to live so close to the ocean. The picture shows two of "five sisters" breakers that I assume help preserve the main beach. This whole area floods when a storm is coming and it's high tide. One year it was so extreme, there were lobsters floating on the streets! Our neighbors had some great meals that night.

We went straight from our fabulous photo shoot to the Salon for summer 'dos. The 6 yo loves it because she can play video games but the 2yo getting the just second hair cut of her short life wasn't so sure she liked the idea. She was pleased with the results. I think she will be even happier that it won't get so many tangles- she sees a brush and starts running away.

The big question is what to knit next? hmmmmm.....

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I went shopping today for some clothes for my upcoming trip - I encountered a shrug very much like what I was thinking of knitting. First I was a little demoralized because I know how many hours it would have taken me to make it and there it was on sale for just $20 - the yarn would cost me more! Then I tried it on - I'm not so sure I'm the shrug type. I suppose it's better to find that out now rather than after I've spent said hours. I also saw a darling, intricate lace and cable sweater that looks very much like one I've been thinking of knitting in a lovely shade of light blue. Hmmm. I'd know before hours click and clacking if or not it would fit. I could even pass it off as my own work - not that I would ever do that! Sadly, I found no comfortable, fashionable shoes - which I can't knit no matter how much time I have!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Big Smiles from across the Atlantic

Having decided to embrace my magazine collection with new found enthusiasm, I received two more to add to it - these are from my good blogging friend, Anna, who live outside of Paris and whom I expecting to meet in person next month, when I travel to her country. She included this gorgeous cherry red mohair lace weight yarn that my youngest two instantly "claimed." They each grabbed a skein and ran from the room laughing gleefully. I asked the 2 yo what she would want if I decided that to make her something. Without hesitation, she announced, "a pillow." Who can blame her? It would be nice to lay your head on that yummy softness.

I'm not sure that my three years plus of French have actually equipped me to follow the patterns, but I think I could puzzle it out given what I know about knitting patterns. There are many in these two that would tempt me. One interesting thing I noted is that several patterns have the "wrong" side out. I also recently learned that the designer of the Clapotis, who was living in France when she designed it, intended for it to be worn with the reverse stockinette stitch side out, which is how it's shown in the pic of it. Maybe it just coincidence, maybe it's a trend across the sea. I'll ask when I get there :)
Can you tell I'm excited? I have a 6yo birthday party to plan first and a lot of logistics to handle to ensure things run smoothly while I'm away but whether or not I find just the right pair of shoes, I'm going. I'm going to pack up my guide books - including the ones that Janice so generously shared with me after her trip to paris, bid a tearful farewell to my children and head out into a great adventure. I will return with great memories, a new lease on life and deep insights that will make me a better parent and partner. At least I'll have some good pictures and more yarn.
I confess that I'm nervous too. I'm worried about speaking the language and not getting lost. I'm worried about how things will go here while I'm gone. I'm worried I'll never want to come back (hah, hah - just kidding dh) Really, no sense worrying. It will be fine and I'll finally have a stamp in my brand new passport.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Organize Schmorganize

In my ongoing, never-ending quest for organization, I listened to the gurus of order and serenity and decided I should go through and weed out my unloved, unused knitting and other creative endeavor magazines. Let them bless someone else, I thought bravely, diving into the pile. How many sweaters can one realistically knit in a life time, especially considering that I haven't knit one in the last two years despite having the yarn and patterns? I've managed this before - letting go of an entire collection of home decorating magazines once and gifting a two-foot pile of sewing magazines to my neighbor. No problem, I thought. I'll only keep the magazines with a pattern that I might really knit sometime in the next year or two, or maybe the next decade or two. I should have realized I was in trouble when after having gone through five magazines, I hadn't found one that had nothing I wanted to see again. They all

had a bunch of patterns I will absolutely never want to make. They had some that aren't on my list now, but who knows and they all had at least a couple that I really would like to make if I had the time and the yarn. One might say I wasted valuable knitting time pouring through old magazines. On the other hand, I was able to reacquaint myself with some projects that I had been interested in. The only problem is I still don't have any more time to get to them than I did before! I can see why people rent storage lockers - much easier than letting go. In the end, I've decided to put the magazines in my "I love it and it makes me happy," pile. While it's true, I will likely not knit more than a small percentage (if that) of the patterns in them, I enjoy seeing the possibilities and they do all contain bits and pieces of inspiration.

And here is one more argument in favor of keeping - I just found an article about knitting with boucle, including a pattern I might actually use - in a Threads Magazine from September of 1994 bought long, long before I ever dreamed I'd take up knitting. Who knows what other article might be significant to me in five years?

Are these just the arguments of delusional hoarder?

Friday, April 11, 2008

All I want for Christmas

We get so excited when the teeth first show up and now we get even more excited when they fall out! The only problem is this - it seems the tooth fairy has an issue with math. She leaves one kid $10 and another (who happens to be mine) just gets $1. You can imagine the debates this unfair situation spawns in the car pool on the way to school. That debate is followed by another, equally lively, on the best way to remove a loose tooth - twist and turn, wiggle with tongue, tie a string to a door handle and slam the door. I haven't done a scientific study, but I'll bet the chosen method say more than a little about the personality of the kid employing it. Mine is more of a patient let it happen when it happens type. Maybe that's because she knows she's only going to get $1 anyway!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

plastic surgery?

I explained the whole Barbie clothes not fitting thing to dh (although he probably cares even less than the 2.75 yo, I feel a need to share all the gory details of the day), he said, "So do you think she got a boob job?" Great. It's not bad enough my teens are hounding me about piercing their bodies until they can't get through a metal detector, now I have to worry about the dolls sneaking out and getting work done!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Barbie on a diet?

I had planned to make clothes to fit the Barbies my 2.75 yo inherited from her 5 yo sister. But then I discovered that for just $10, we could get an entire wardrobe with enough outfits plus a spare for all the dolls. I decided my time would be better spent knitting. Like a true girl, the 2 yo could hardly wait to get the new clothes on the dolls. I have been playing with Barbies my whole life, so you can imagine my surprise to find that the outfit doesn't fit! Perhaps something is wrong with the pattern. That couldn't be it - they've been making these clothes for decades, it's not like the dimensions have changed. Or have they? Has Barbie gained weight? A few too many cookies at the tea party? A little too much cake while sitting around the pool? Has it come to this, must even Barbie go on a diet?
Seriously, how hard is it to make clothes that fit the doll? It's not like they haven't had a lot of practice.
Maybe it was intentional. Maybe in this era of rising gas costs and recession Mattel is trying to reduce its use of fabric. "Just trim an eighth of an inch off the tops, the kids will never notice," the factory manager says. I'm sure they've shortened the skirts by at least a quarter of an inch too. "They'll just figure it's the fashion," the bean counters say.
Of course this bothers me more than the 2.75 yo - she's just happy the dolls are dressed so they can ride around in the back of her dump truck.
Me? I guess I better start hunting for teeny tiny patterns...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

yarn connections

My mom called this weekend from Arizona where she was visiting my cousin.
"You should be here," she said. "There's a spinning and fiber show at the hotel where I'm staying."

My first thought, having just been watching Knitty, was that she was talking about a television show. As I realized that she what she meant - a giant room filled with yarn and knitters and spinners and all things knitterly - I became insanely jealous. No need, she's got me covered.

"Do you need anything?" she said.

What an opening. Do I need anything?

Define need. Do I have an abundance of yarn awaiting the right project? Well, yes. Am I currently working on no fewer than four projects? Well, yes. Do I need anything? Well, since she brought it up... I am interested in knitting socks and I did just finish a pair. Besides, the yarn harlot once said something about sock yarn not counting in stash building. I also figured sock yarn should be easy - any color is fine, self striping, verigated, self-patterning - doesn't matter. Wool, cotton, soy? Why not? And there's little guessing about how much is needed - just ask for enough to make two pair of average adult socks. Here is just one more reason for me to conquer socks - sock yarn might just be the perfect gift.

Mom later called to ask if I needed a book to go with the sock yarn. In an act of selfless momliness, she even handed the phone to the saleslady so she could describe the books to me and help figure out if there was one without which I couldn't live. I think we may have ended up with Sensational Sock Knitting, which has fives stars with 71 reviews at Amazon.

On a side note, I've been working to turn mom into a knitter long distance, but I have a ways to go, apparently. When I asked about what yarn she might by for herself, she said, "Oh, I don't need any yarn, I have a whole table full at home." Oh mom, so much to learn. :)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Thank you Jess

A wee tiny package arrived today from Maryland containing a wee tiny sock. How much fun is this? More than 250 wee tiny socks flying around the world - what an image. Mine is from Jess Noyes, I worked with a Jesse Noyes, but it's not the same person since that Jesse was a guy.

The colorway Jess chose is just perfect. It's Cherry Hill's Wild Cherry. Now I want to knit with this yarn.

The big socks are mine from the Italian Clown yarn - knit two at a time, toe up on the magic loop. Even on size ones I found my knitting to be a bit loose! Two at a time sounds much trickier than it really is. Although I will admit that at least twice I knit a bit on the second sock with the yarn from the first and had to tink. The astute observer will notice that the stripes don't quite match. I couldn't find a matching spot on the yarn and decided it didn't matter. Now I want more sock yarn.
But first, onto the Clapotis....