I’m sorry to have been away from the blog so long. I don’t have a good reason – I’ve just been struggling to break the silence despite so many fun things to share. Perhaps it’s because I do have so many things to share, I don’t know where to start. So I’m just going to do one of my signature photo-dumps. I’m starting with the kids and housewifey stuff, knitting and spinning at the end.
First, though, I have to mention that the Knit-Out event is this weekend at the Mall of America. It’s always a good time, if a bit crowded. My strategy is to look at the schedule on the web site ahead of time and pick a couple of the demonstrations to check out. I also like to make it in time for at least one of the show-and-tell sessions, and in between I walk around and look at the booths. Here’s the catch, if you’re going to go: Don’t get sucked into any of the lines. The last few years, I’ve seen people standing in long, long lines waiting to pick up freebies from the sponsor booths. It’s not worth it! Who really needs a free light-up knitting needle, a random pattern flyer, or a skein of crappy novelty yarn? Not me. There’s lots of interesting stuff to see and people to meet instead.
Oh, and the other thing that I keep in mind about the Knit-Out is that it’s a great opportunity for us capital-K Knitters to share our portion of the knitting world with the knitters who have dabbled in the craft via big-box stores and haven’t experienced the wonders of LYS shopping and classes. So if you’re there, and you’re hanging around in the crowd, strike up a casual conversation with a stranger and compare notes.
And because I’m excited and need to toot my own horn a bit, I’ll be demonstrating on Sunday from noon to five at the Yarnery’s booth. I’ll be showing off my mitered square blanket and my slip-stitch hats, and how easy they are to do. If you’re there, stop by and say hi!
On to the photos…
The girls have started swim lessons at our local Foss swim school. I was too late to get them signed up for standard classes in the current session, so they are having semi-private lessons together till the Spring session starts. So far, so great! They’re loving it, I sit there and watch and am amazed at how well they are doing. Their teacher is making it a lot of fun for them, and they both love the water.
So much better than the nightmare of ballet classes we’d been going through for the last year and a half.
Julie was at the easel one day last week, drawing pictures. I had the camera out for some reason, and she turned to me and asked me to take her picture, posed like this. I think it’s hilarious. Most of the time she won’t let me take her picture at all. I only wish I knew what’s going on in her mind half the time.
Another random bit, this one from the kitchen. I was digging through the freezer trying to figure out what to make for dinner a couple weeks ago, and found a package of hamburgers that needed eating. We had everything else to make a meal except the buns. Doncha just hate that? I really didn’t want to drag the girls out to the store for a package of buns, so I whipped some up…
They turned out pretty good – no worse than the ones I would have bought at the store. I feel so empowered now that I’ve been baking bread for a while that I can just whip up some burger buns at the drop of a hat. The one with the burn on top slid off the cookie sheet and landed on the bottom of the oven before I was able to fish it out, but it still tasted fine.
The same night, we introduced the girls to steamed edamame in the pods. I love those things, and I hadn’t cooked them in the past because of Julie’s food allergies, and then it just didn’t occur to me to start making them again until recently. They went over pretty well.
Okay, and another random photo-op: I needed to take a shower one morning, and wanted to make sure it happened before breakfast. So I brought up a couple of bowls of dry cereal, raisins and little snack crackers with some juice for the girls. They set up the picnic, and were playing some imaginary game that only they could understand while I got ready.
Sophie’s turned three on Sunday! Three! I really wanted to do a whole post on this, but I’m just going to roll it all in with the rest. Here is my first attempt at frosting for her cake:
She asked for a “pink Elmo cake”, and I put too much food coloring in on my first try. Luckily, I tasted it before I put it on the cake – it had that horrible medicine food-color taste and looked like Pepto Bismol. Yuck!
We had a little party at the local bowling alley – it’s so much easier than trying to host it at our house, and the kids had fun. Uncle Dave got right in there and helped out too.
We invited our favorite neighbors, our favorite Canadians, and some close family.
Here’s the cake with the second batch of frosting on it. I didn’t do a very thorough job of flouring the pan, so the edges of the cake were a bit messy. Oh well. It tasted good.
I made sure to get strawberry ice cream to match the pink cake
There were many presents, and Sophie did NOT want any help opening them.
Oops – sideways picture coming up – one of her two gifts from me and Joe was this little dog toy that walks and barks. It’s not too annoying, and it’s been quite popular around here this week.
I can’t believe my little one is three already. I mean, I can believe it. I love this stage. She’s getting quite grown up, and I realize that she has definitely moved from the toddler to the bona fide preschooler category.
On to the knitting, I’ve been trying to decide on a sweater pattern for this merino-silk yarn I spun up a while back. I wanted something simple, with a little bit of interesting detail, but mostly mindless knitting to balance with the other more complicated projects in my at-home-knitting queue. Flipping through Custom Knits again the other day, I remembered the Ingenue sweater and knew that this would be a perfect match.
I took this picture before washing the swatch, and the swatch is even prettier after washing. I’m going to have to knit another swatch as a reality-check, though – I know I measured 5 sts per inch exactly before the wash and now it’s measuring only 3.5 sts per inch! The drape of the fabric is fine, but now I’m not sure about how the ratio of rows per inch will change pre-and post-wash, so I’ll need to measure more carefully before washing the next one. I did the first as a fake in-the-round knit, with lots of long floats across the back, and the next swatch will be a true in-the-round one just to be sure.
I like the way the colors play in this yarn as it’s knitting up. The roving included several separate colors from pink to green to blue and yellow, plus a good amount of silver and white. I think it’s turning out as a nice pastel neutral, and it brings out the pink in my skin rather than the sallow yellow/purple. I can’t wait get started on this project, but I’m afraid it’s behind a couple other things in the queue. Actually, I’m going to use it as a prize for finishing a couple of things.
But first, let me show you some spinning! (I did warn you that this was going to be a long, random post, right?) The first project I’m going to show you feels like very old news, and I’m too comfortable on the couch to get up and find the details, so I’ll just share the pictures.
Merino roving from some etsy seller. I can’t remember who off the top of my head, but this was another one of those rovings that was a bit felted, so I’m not sure I want to plug her anyway.
I pre-drafter it all before spinning, but it was still a bit of a bear to spin.
I was trying to practice spinning thicker yarn again, and I think I’m improving on that a bit. I ended up with two full bobbins, and they made a nice barber-pole two-ply.
It’s a bit thick-and-thin, but pretty just the same.
I think I might have enough here for a sweater for one of the girls. I wonder if they’ll actually wear it? We’ll see. This one is going to marinate in the stash for a bit.
I’ve already moved well into the next spinning project. I bought 24 ounces of BFL from Crown Mountain Farms a while back, with the idea that I might spin enough yardage for another sweater for myself.
I haven’t done a very good job capturing the colors, but I love this roving. If you haven’t ordered from Crown Mountain yet, go get some of their roving now!!! They have beautiful colorways, very nice prices, and the wool drafts like butter. I’m not even done with this batch yet and I want to go buy a ton more!
I’m on my last third of the wool now, and I’m planning to make a 3-ply out of it. I know my singles are pretty darn inconsistent here, so maybe they’ll average out over a 3-ply enough to make an acceptable sweater. If it’s looking like the yarn is too variable, I’ll do a lace shawl project, which will be more gauge-forgiving.
Birdie’s blankie is coming along, kind of. I’ve got three of the six seams done. This is one of the two projects that I’m going to make myself finish before I start the new sweater. It’s just that seaming is so not my cup of tea, and each seam takes up most of my knitting time for an evening.
And meanwhile, I did start another new project. This has been calling to me since my neighbor started a scarf from this pattern in some of my handspun, which made me realize that I needed to do one like it too.
I kind of wanted another mindless-knitting project to keep around, and I figure that this will make a good present either for Christmas or some other future holiday. It sure is yummy-soft!
Oh, look. A pile of weaving books followed me home from the library. Don’t ask. (Except that of the ones I read through, I like the one on top best.) And, um, does anybody have any special recommendations on resources to learn more about rigid heddle weaving? Yeah, don’t ask.
Socks. Another new, boring pair off the needles.
(Yawn) – we’re coming up on the end here, I promise!
The Bacchus socks are almost done. They look ridiculously long and skinny in this picture, but that’s because of the ribbing. I really love the way these are turning out – I think they’ll be State Fair quality, which means that I won’t wear them till next fall, and also that I’ll definitely be putting them on the sock blockers to make them presentable.
The colors in this flash-lit close-up are closer to true than the natural-light wideshot above. I am such a sucky photographer!
Finally, a quick update on my current boring on-the-go socks.
Only they’re not at all boring to me – it’s my own handspun, and they’re knitting up like lightning considering how much time I’ve spent actually working on them. The way the colors change here? That’s one of the main reasons I took up spinning. This yarn was also from Crown Mountains fiber, by the way – their Superwash Merino, which is also an incredible joy to work with. It’s a good thing my credit card is in the other room, or I’d be ordering more now.
Good night, and see you again soon!