Tuesday, January 29

Baby Blanket = Time Vacuum

While I know I will love my little nephew enough to have made countless baby blankets, as this is my first baby blanket, I am quickly realizing that they take considerable time. In speaking with several people at Rosie's, I have learned that even the experts share my opinion.

The time is not a product of this basket weave pattern, which takes no longer than garter stitching the blanket. The time seems to go by as if I were trying to find a taxi in the rain at 8:30a here in Philadelphia. It may not be that it really takes that long - it just seems to take forever.
What does this boredom lead to? In Lisa's case, completing 15 other projects during the course of knitting her absolutely breathtaking blanket. In my case, dreaming of completing one (just one!) of Lisa's creations. Instead though, I added another 30 patterns to my queue. Eat your heart out, Lisa. You don't have nearly as many projects in your queue as I do. I guess you're just too busy!

Sunday, January 27

Bunchy Baby Sweater & Hat

I finished the baby sweater and hat that I mentioned earlier. I strayed from the cute ribbon design the pattern called for and opted for a more durable button/pompom option. Ribbon is a pain to maintain through washing/cleaning. There is a little more whipstitching that the pattern calls for around the neck flaps and down the middle. Theoretically, I'm sure it would help complete the look, but I'm not sure whether I'll do it. I've had trouble whipstiching too tightly, and the yarn is bunching a bit. I've already blocked the sweater, and it's still a bit bunched. The hat is much less bunchy, and I didn't have to block it, partially because I whipstiched much looser and partially because there's far less of it.

I'm definitely still learning to knit. I haven't yet held a consistent gauge throughout any projects. Clearly, the orange sweater pointed that out. I'm still thinking of soaking it in some hot water for a short spell before sewing the button on. I've worn it a couple of times, and it's just irritatingly too big. Not to mention, it would probably benefit from blocking!

Wednesday, January 23

Oh Baby, Baby!

I guess everyone reaches the age when it seems everyone around them is having a baby...or two. I'm definitely at that age. My brother's boy is due in May. Our friends' in March. An essential member of Rosie's shop and culture had one in November. Chris has several other classmates who have had babies in the past few months. It's overwhelming, actually. Suddenly, I've woken up, and most of the girls I graduated high school with are mommies of at least one kiddo, also. What's a non-mommy to do? Well, in my case, knit! And dream of the day when my family isn't 1600 miles away and my husband hasn't just signed up for several years of 90-hour work weeks.

I'm working on a matching sweater, hat, booties, & teddy bear for the baby girl due in March from Susan B. Anderson's itty-bitty nursery.

Tuesday, January 22

Pictures of My Projects

It has been a while since I last blogged, as I waited for photos of more of my projects.

Here is my first sweater. It's considerably larger and off in other ways to the orginal pattern. Honestly, I'm quite glad that it's recognizable as a sweater. I have a button to put on yet, but it's virually finished. Once I have the button on, I'll have the Knitting Circle girls take a picture of me in it. Some of them also volunteer to bring their first sweater to make me feel better.

This is a felted bag that we made in Beginner Knitting Class. We knitted a giant bad and were supposed to put in a hot water washing cycle and check often. I didn't check often enough, apparently, so mine is a camera bag rather than a purse.

This bag I filled with pacifiers and gave to my pregnant friend. I'm working on some more fun things for her too.

This is the start and finish of my first sock. I finished it yesterday, and with great relief. I struggled with the tiny needles and the fuzzy yarn. I added a different color to the heel and toe, but I'm not impressed enough to try that yarn for another sock. Maybe I'll use it to make a teddy bear.

This is a granny square. My only crochet success. Frankly it was a success because the teacher got impatient, took it from me and finished it. My problem? What do you do with one granny square. Well, my kitty found it's purpose quickly.

This is one of the sock monkeys I've made, which was my hobby before knitting. Unfortunately, I've given many of the cuter ones away. This is the sock monkey I made for my husband, who is an Investment Banker. I even stitched a tie tack on him.

Friday, January 11

Overzealous ever? No? Me neither.

There is this marvelous website/database for knitters and crocheters (www.ravelry.com). I've been a member for several months, but I just dug into it for the first time tonight. There are innumberable patterns for everything from things like what I've made, such as sweaters, hats, & scarves to intricate shawls like this one (which someone at Rosie's has made in red, and it displays beautifully in the window)

(Bird's Eye Shawl by Sharon Miller)

to some slightly odder shawls like this

(Manipura by Persones llanes, kamikazeknits)

to adorable toy frogs and turtles like these.


(Freddy Frog by Stormy'z Crochet)

Within one hour, I had downloaded 59 patterns. 75% of them have techniques in them that I can't even pronounce, the other 25% are crochet patterns. Hmmm, I think I'll just stick with my boring brown basic socks for tonight and dream about making something breathtakingly extravagant - like everyone else in Knitting Circle.

Wednesday, January 9

It Just Takes Time

Since graduating from high school in 1996, I've moved at least once every two years.

1996: From Booker to Dallas, Texas

1997-2000: Three moves in Oklahoma (Enid, Stillwater, & Oklahoma City)

2000: Boston, Massachusetts

2002-2003: Three moves in Dallas

2004: Houston, Texas

2006: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

August 2008: New York City

One of the many things I've learned from moving so often is how hard it is to make friends, and how much harder it is to make lasting friendships. It just takes time. I've always made friends, but, I've never had enough time to actually make friendships.

Today, my husband and I live in Philadelphia, where we moved for him to pursue his MBA. When we moved here in July 2006, we knew that we would move away during the summer of 2008, when he would completes his studies. We now know that we're moving to New York City this summer. We know also that we probably won't live there longer than 4 years. Needless to say, "home" has little meaning to me. Even my parents have left Booker, where I grew up. So, going to see them is not like going "home". If anything, I consider the state of Texas home.

Anyway, the reason I mention this is to provide background for what I will say next.

Tonight was Knitting Circle, and I look forward to it every week. Now that I'm not working, I look forward to it even more because it is a social opportunity. Furthermore though, it's an opportunity for me to see friends.

Knitting Circle is where I get to hang out with some really great women from completely different backgrounds, but one common interest. Since I'm a beginning knitter, I feel a little insecure about my skills and knowledge. Heck, I've only recently learned what an Alpaca even is! But, in this group, it really doesn't matter. They answer any of my questions, and they even compliment my botched projects.

For instance, I've been upset for the past few days about how horribly my first sweater turned out. It's 3 sizes larger than the pattern I used, and I knitted the armholes on the wrong side of the sleeves (i.e. the neck side!). I was almost ready to pull it out (grab the yarn at the bottom, pull, then wind the yarn back into a ball), but they were so sweet and even helped me figure out what to do to make the sweater wearable OUTSIDE of the house. They encourage me, telling me that it just takes time to learn to knit.

I went out with a few of the knitters afterward, and spanning from our one common interest, we chatted non-stop for another 2 hours. I had so much fun, but honestly, I'm a little sad, too. I'm just now finding these great people, and I'm moving again in 6 months. There's time, though. So, I'm going to make the best of it!

Thanks Lisa, Marissa, Regina, Sherry, and all the Knitting Circle ladies! I'm so glad I found you!

Tuesday, January 8

My First Post

Now that I'm only working part time, I'm excited to work on things that I've always wanted to do if I only had the time. Knitting and blogging are high on my list. Of course, spending time with my sweet husband and beautiful kitties are another. Aren't they gorgeous!?

I made my first stitch in September at Rosie's Yarn Cellar (Philadelphia) in Beginner Knitting Class. Since then, I've taken Beginner Crochet, at which I failed miserably. I'll try Crocheting again at some point in the future, but my husband, Christopher, has forbidden me from taking another Crochet class since I was a such a failure. He's a sweetheart and is just being facetious . . . sort of. Anyway, I've continued taking knitting classes, including a Sweater Class and a Sock Class. Here is what I've knitted so far.

(1) In Beginner Knitting Class: Multi-Colored Stocking Hat

(2) In Sweater Class: Orange Sweater

(3) Sock Class: I'm only starting now.

(4) Outside of class, I've completed three scarves, and a small basket to hang on a doorknob.

(5) I've started a baby blanket for my brother and sister-in-law's (Matt & Rachel) baby boy, who will be born in May 2008.