Friday, September 29, 2006

10 Knitterly Things...

This might be the first meme ever on XRK, but since my WIPs are sort of boring right now...

Ann and Mo might know many of these things, but the readers won't.

1. My mom's best friend Mary Ellen taught me to knit when I was in 4th grade. I still have the needles she loaned me then, and she still nags me about it. I used the same needles when I started to teach Rosebud to knit. Mary Ellen and I still talk knitting and go to yarn shops together.

2. I was a member of the Knitting Club in high school. Sister Sallie was the club leader, and we were to knit in total silence. It wasn't fun, but I stuck with it, because I really liked knitting, even though all I could make were long rectangular schmattes. But to her credit, the late Sister Sallie taught me to bind off.

3. It was Mo who inspired me to knit again and really learn how to do more than knit and purl. I'll never forget the playgroup in her old house, when she debuted Miss Priss's pink poncho, and proudly but humbly declared that she made it. By the next day, I was at the big-box-craft-o-rama buying the "I Taught Myself Knitting" book.

Two of my beginning knits, c. 2003 -- a pumpkin hat and a blue poncho for Rosebud, inspired by Mo's.

4. The first thing I knit was a squeaky acrylic lavender baby sweater for Rosebud. It was so thick and stiff that it wouldn't fold. I think I threw it out. My second sweater was an intarsia baby sweater in Mission Falls 1824 cotton, recommended by Stewart, when she worked at the Knitting Basket. I frogged that one.

5. I will not knit intarsia ever again. After mutliple tried, my intarsia still looks horrible, and all those ends...yucky. And I don't like the effect enough to make it worth it.

6. I rarely knit with the same yarn twice. Every new project is a chance to try a new yarn. I feel like I haven't knit enough in the last 5 years to have favorites, and most yarns have something to love. Frankly, I'm just not that picky.

7. I try to knit something for Mr. S once a year. So far, he has felted slippers, a DNA scarf, and the Sasquatch socks. I know that there are a few years missing in there. I said "I try..." Next on the agenda, a sweater. I am scared to even start it.

8. I used to knit mostly gifts. I felt like, during those lean years, that I needed to justify my craft by making gifts for others. I have gotten over that.

9. I'm a thrower, but can knit continental.

10. Until we began blogging, I didn't really have a way to organize and chronicle my knitting progress. I tried journals and files and notebooks. Blogging just seemed to work as a means of keeping track of my knitting. And now, it has become a wonderful community with friends and inspiration and ideas.

Ann and Mo, I'd love to learn some more knitterly things about you. I miss you both so much. And XRK readers, consider yourself tagged.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Last Knit

Has everyone seen this wonderful little animated short? It comes to me by way of the blogless Martha who has not been knitting much these days due to way too much work. This wasn't what really happed though, right Martha? Martha? Martha, put down those scissors!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Not Blogging By the Numbers

I know my normal yakkity-yak has been scarce lately. Here's why:

1 contractor + 500 personal problems = 3 day kitchen facelift becomes 12 days without a kitchen and 12 days straight of Liz's freakouts + too much pizza, hoagies and Chinese food + endless hours of cleaning construction dust and scrubbing paint from woodwork and cabinets

The Tyranny of the Beige is over - new tile, counters, and a couple of dishtowels

2 children in school + 100 papers to read and sign and schedule

2 lost teeth for Rosebud and 2 cavities filled for me

350 miles traveled for 2 birthday parties and visits with 1 great grandma, 3 grandparents and various aunts, uncles, and cousins

1 Jewish high holy day

1 birthday for Mr. S (Happy Birthday, Honey!)

1 book read, 1 book begun (see sidebar)

And the knitting...

1 Shedir chemo cap finished

Berrocco Ultra Silk, sooo soft

1 Embossed Leaves sock done

All but the grafting...

1 Forest Canopy shawl begun with 1 skein of Schaefer Anne

Behold the black blob of lace!

And Project Pepe's 1st sleeve is done, 2nd sleeve almost done. Onto the collar and finishing.

More narrative posts to come when I can actually get my head together.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Cable Crisis

Well, at about 10pm last night, after remarking to the BackBou about how easy this cable sweater was going, I found this (dum dum dum -- that's evil, ominous music) ...

Ack! The Wrong Cable. (Almost as terrifying as The Wrong Trousers.) Do I leave it in? and then this would become that dreaded big mistake that I point out whenever someone compliments the sweater. Or do I jump in the frog pond? Not a terrible idea, I wouldn't mind knitting the 9 rows again, but it would be disappointing. Or ... do I selectively rip out only some stitches to rework the cable and then weave it back up again? I have never done this before (is there a name for this?) except reworking some knits and purls just one row down. I wanted to do this. But I cleverly went to sleep instead. I thought that maybe in the morning I would just visit my LYS and have someone else do it (I would bring chocolate).

Instead, in the morning I decided to try reworking the cable without frogging by myself. Worst case scenario, I would have to frog the rows back and reknit, something I could live with.

Here I am beginning to unravel ... literally and figuratively.

Why I decided to begin this while the BackBou was out on his run and the kids were all over me, I'll never know. I then exposed the offending stitches.

I reworked the cable and was feeling pretty durn smug.

And then I started picking up stitches. There are no pictures of this. Because it got ugly. I got ugly. I got very confused about what was a stitch and what wasn't. The seed stitch in the middle of the diamond was awful. The right slant of the cable was even worse. Where were all those stitches? Why are my fingers growing bigger and bigger? Why did I have children around me? Why did I ever have children?

I finally got back to my starting point (with a new-found appreciation of the crochet hook) ... with 4 extra stitches. WHAT? How the hell did that happen? I guess in my ugly confusion state I was just picking up anything that looked like a live stitch. Anyhoo, I did some k2tog and ssk and ... Voila!

Now let's be a bit more careful next time, shall we?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fall means KALs

I seem to be joining KALs and thinking about joining KALs constantly lately. Here are the latest to join the sidebar.


Sock-A-Month 2 -- I joined this one in time for September, and foresee having no trouble finishing a pair of socks a month. I love reading Chrissy's updates every Sunday, which is a great way to be introduced to new blogs and see the socks being knit around the blogosphere.

Count Your Socks -- surely you have seen this on everyone else's blog. I just decided to add the button to the sidebar to keep track of my socks in the drawer, with the goal to have a pair for at least every day of the week. I need to stop giving all my socks away! And just in case you can't be bothered to check the sidebar, I currently have 5 pairs, although one needs to be repaired.

Socktoberfest 2006 -- Lolly's at it again, hosting another garganutan KAL, this one in celebration of, that's right, sock knitting. My plan is to make another attempt at the simple stockinette socks.


Red Scarf Project 2007 -- Norma's hosting the KAL for this one. I have a bunch of red Alpaca in my stash to make a scarf for foster children heading to college. I am relieved that I have until January to finish this one.

Pretty in Pink -- Knit pink for breast cancer awareness, or knit for cancer charities. My current main WIP is the perfect project for this. I'm knitting Shedir is for my son's teacher, who, unfortunately, needs it for herself. Pics posted soon.

This list does not even include the KALs I am considering...Zimmermania, Fall Cables KAL...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Journey

After the finishing of a bigger project, the small projects that have waited patiently in the wings rush forward for immediate attention. Then comes a bit of a void, for small projects cannot sustain me for very long. I like a big, slow work that will challenge a bit but provide some pacing for my knitting -- to remind me that life is long and the pleasure of the journey should outweigh the arrival at the destination.

This fall, my "journey" piece will be a self-designed aran sweater (cardigan?) for myself. However, I can't seem to get on the road. I'm ready to enjoy the journey and all, but I can't seem to kick my butt out the frickin door.

It's the swatching. It's the designing. It's the planning. Why don't I conceptualize these steps as the journey as well? My painter explained to me that housepainting is really all about prep-work. Cleaning, repairing, scraping, sanding, priming. The painting is just the final step. I can tell that my big project knitting is undergoing a paradigm shift more in line with my painter's conceptual model. Prep work is essential.

So I began this new process. I took Teresa's fabulous suggestion and checked out Jane Szabo's excellent website on the Follow the Leader Aran Knitalong. I may even order her Aran Sweater Designs book. I am determined to do this the right way, as if I were a meticulous person (which I am not). But then after just one swatch and a bit of measuring, I ran screaming ("I don't need no stinkin' swatches in pattern, and I'm sure as heck not blocking them!") to a different project.

Now I love this new project (Pie Man for N or R, whomever it fits best, because I sure as heck didn't swatch well enough). It's beautiful and easy and is using up stash yarn from Ireland. But it's not my aran.

I'm going to take a deep breath and do some more swatches. Maybe, maybe, just maybe I will block them. Then I will create something very, very slowly. I will just creep along. No pressure. No rush. Life is long. Swatching and blocking as I journey ...

Charity Knitting Action
The Yarn Lounge hosted a benefit for the Virginia Breast Center yesterday. We knitted seatbelt covers and small pillows for breast cancer patients. Melissa designed the patterns (available here) and was a tremendous help as I bobbled for the first time. It was a thrill!

They will host another charity knit for the Virginia Breast Center on October 14th. If you live in the Richmond area, mark your calendar!

Sheer, Unfettered Power
As some of you know, I cancelled my subscription to The Washington Post this summer largley due to information overload and pure frustration with our Nation's course in this world (and also due to one Dolly, the mean-as-a-snake old lady who delivers the paper and has decided not to like me). Lately, I have felt more centered and have been able to re-engage in national politics (and ignore Dolly). But as sure as falling gas prices near election time, I have gotten righteously pissed off after just one week of following the news again (things with Dolly are fine).

I was pleased at first to see Sen. Warner (R-Va) apparantly standing up for the rights of prisoners of war and against torture and unfair detention. But a closer reading of Warner's bill is downright disturbing, and this is moderation? Giving the president, any president, such "sheer, unfettered power" is so infuriating that I want to run through the streets yelling at people to wake up from their media-induced, conspicuous-consuming haze -- look at how our constitutional rights are being swiped at every turn! This is tyranny people!

I've calmed down a bit now. But I still feel intensely disempowered and ready for a change. I'm attending the Family Peace Festival today here in Richmond. Maybe I'll find inspiration there.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Yarn Room Renovations

Over here at the Philadelphia outpost of Crossroad Knits, we have been doing lots of nest-feathering. Since moving into our house late last summer, we have been trying make the blah suburban colonial we call home a little more funky and colorful.

This past year has seen a lot of changes for us, and its been really difficult. With the move, we went from South to North. From city to suburb. From a job Mr. S hated with a small company with no future but lots more time to a job Mr S loves with a Fortune 50 employer with huge potential, but lots more responsibility. From a life surrounded by beloved friends but no family, to having lots of family responsibilities and having to make all new friends. From an smallish old charming house with lots of flaky problems in a great neighborhood to a larger, newish, bland house with lots of wallpaper in an anonymous suburban subdivision.

It has been a struggle to keep certain parts of me around. It has been hard to tell what is just growth and development, what is change, and what is part of "me." And re-doing this house has been part of this process. In the old house, we had lots of antiques and charming little things, collections and funky details. But in this house, we have been going with a more modern, contemporary vibe. The rooms are larger, and a lot of our old furniture just didn't fit. It was also time to shed some of the old post-college furniture and replace it with some more grown up items, more influenced by modern design than shabby chic.

I know you all think suddenly you've vertured into a shelter blog. But this is a knitting blog, so here is the yarn room.

Recently painted a lovely shade of purple, the yarn room (I suppose in some homes, this room is called the "guest room") has been refreshed and organized. Curtains hung, old-and-tired furniture rotated out, other old-but-charming furniture rotated in, some favorite things displayed, the yarn is finally getting out of the closet and given the place of honor it deserves.

First, an old glass-front cupboard serves as display for some favorite yarns, the knitting library, and my collection of apothecary bottles. The closed space below houses knitting magazines and patterns, my sewing box, the swift and ball winder, and yarns by the bag. This cupboard used to live in our dining room.

Next, in an empire-style dresser is the bulk of the stash.

Other highlights include the handknitted stash pillow, and my beloved saucy calendar girls from the 1940s. My grandfather was a lithographer, and the company he worked for mostly produced calendars, I picked these up because they reminded me of him. And the months are the three months leading up to my father's birth: May 1, 1940. Sentimental, funny, and incredibly politically incorrect.

I really love the style we are bringing to our new house, more modern and clean, and decidedly different from the boring beige homes we see, but the thing I love most about the yarn room is that it most reflects our old style, with some of our favorite Richmond antiques and collections. I really miss that old house, our last home, and when I step into the yarn room, it feels a little like we are back in Richmond again. It feels like my old self again. With yarn.

This room has been my oasis during what has been a turbulent few weeks. Rosebud and Pepe have been needy and emotional, with them beginning school, and to be frank, so have I. I can feel those idyllic days of summer drifting away from me. Worse, I know this is the natural end to my baby years, and the beginning of the rat-race years of pick ups and drop offs, activities, practices, volunteer committments, and not getting nearly enough sleep. Or knitting time.

And we've been trying to do all of this with the center of our home, our kitchen, out of commission. Without the restorative rhythm of family dinners and a contractor with personal problems hanging around, with make-do meals and the constant intrusion, it has been rough on all of us.

So if you're looking for me, I'll be in the yarn room.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Baby sweater revived

Here's a peak at my five year old daughter wearing one of the first sweaters I ever produced.

She dug it out of storage recently when she decided she need to "dress like a teacher" everyday, which apparently includes wearing a cardigan.

My early knitting exploits started with baby sweaters right from the get go. This one includes a frilly bottom edge with a picot hem and simple lace patterns throughout.

It also includes a complete lack of understanding about gauge (notice I said baby sweater which now fits a five year old). The button band is wonky, and worst of all the back is longer than the front.

Even with all the mistakes, I adore seeing her wear it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Works in Progress Report

WIP #1 -- Supermerino Super '70s Scarf

WIP #2 -- Pepe's Accordion Sweater, back, and both fronts finished

WIP #3 -- Embossed Leaves Sock in Lorna's Laces

She's a real beauty, these socks. Eyeknit, I have a really good feeling about this one.

WIP #4 -- a little kitchen update, with new counters, tile, lighting and paint. Finished pics to come soon. Hopefully.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Thoughts on Knitting and Food

First the Knitting

I finished my much-desired Diagonal Hat ...

I found out about this hat on Purlwise's blog (her hat is beautiful and you've got to see how her gorgeous Firebirds is coming along). Then Martha knit one up in a grey colorway Noro Kureyon, I just had to knit one. The pattern is fast, fun, and a bit of a puzzle. Really, if you want to have a good time with some varigated yarn, you should try it!

Pattern: Jean Wong's Diagonal Hat Pattern
Yarn: Noro Kureyon, 124
Needles: US6s

Currently, I'm trying to figure out a pattern for my Maggi's Aran Tweed -- I want a cabled, aran sweater for myself. I think I may whip out the Ann Budd sweater book and design a cool cable pattern. First however, I'm going to take my swatch over the my LYS and leaf through some patterns. Also, I ripped out my sock (Claudia's Handpainted) because I didn't like the size -- too loose. I'm trying it again with fewer stitches, but I may have to go down to US1s.

And Now the Food

I recently stumbled on this article from a writer/eater in the Philly area. The 100-mile diet in the article restricts your food to that which is grown within a 100-mile radius in order to support local, more sustainable, agriculture (BackBou and Zen Camel have recent posts about local food in the Mad River Valley of Vt and Urbanna, VA respectively).

I try to eat organic and local but the 100-mile thing is wild to consider. I always thought I was pretty hard core about food stuff. We make our own bread, using a sourdough starter that I made by capturing the wild yeast roaming around our kitchen. We belong to an organic CSA -- Amy's Garden -- that provides us with excellent veggies all spring and summer. We grow our own herbs and have rabbit-eye blueberries, alpine strawberries, and brown turkey figs in our little city garden. Fun. But hardly sustainable. Our flour, pasta, salt, olive oil, torillas, beans -- all staples -- travel thousands of miles before reaching our kitchen.

I often think about the incredible local Philly food we experienced with Liz at her Amish Market. Since that visit, I have made an effort to find a local dairy for our cheese and milk which I buy at our health food store. I still want to switch to local eggs; I'm going to try to do that soon.

The Buddist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh says that "eating is a deep practice." I like being mindful of the food that I eat. I enjoy providing healthy meals that nourish my family and are sustainable to our planet. (I most definitely love cooking in the new fancy kitchen!) Sometimes however I just want the kids fed and to bed before I go crazy regardless of how many miles the frozen burrito has traveled.

Now to go on a 100-mile yarn diet would be something interesting to consider!

Finished Object Housekeeping

Here's the most recent F.O. about which I never blogged while it was in progress:

Pattern: Trellis, published in Knitty
Yarn: Plymouth Encore in Wedgwood Blue (the picture is reading much grayer). This was a big stashbuster for me, as this was leftover yarn from a sweater I made Pepe back in 2004. Readers of the blog know that Encore is my old reliable for baby knits, but I am looking for other easy-care alternatives with less acrylic content in the future. Any suggestions?

I would definitely recommend this project and would knit this sweater again. The only modification I would make would be to do fewer buttonholes -- 5 buttons seems a little excessive, especially on a squirmy baby.

The recipient, baby Dylan, is the second son of a college roommate in Richmond. When she received it in the mail on Friday, she called and gushed, "Oh, this gift deserves much more than just a thank you note!" I love when the recipient (or the recipient's Mom) gushes appropriately.

Coming up this week (I think): reports on the 3 current WIPs, the yarn room gets redone, and a Philly Burb yarn shop review (with some special stash enhancement too!)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Socks and Cece

Thanks to Ernesto, I whipped these socks up in just a couple days. The yarn is Painted Merino in Olives and Pimento from Holly Spring Homespun in Powhatan, Va. This yarn purchase was one of my summer of stash slip ups, but I'm glad it happened.

Next up, Cece from Bonne Marie Burns in Rowan Calmer.

This project started moving along nicely once I gave in and started using a gazillion place markers.

Both projects helped me survive the "my baby is going to kindergarten" freak out of the last week or so. Wow, she's happy, and I'm knitting. Sounds like a good deal.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What the Muggles Think...

ETA: Welcome to all who are stopping by for the first visit via the SAM2. Come stay a spell -- can I offer you something? Tea? Coffee? Cookies? Let's talk about about knitting!

I have made socks for all the women in my family: my mom, sister, daughter, and both of my brothers' wives. Oh, and me. The socks on the left are the most recent pair, gifted to my sister-in-law, and the ones on the right are, of course, the TBS on the feet on my sister.

The striped socks began their life as a pair of basic stockinette socks for me, my first pair. The plan was to figure out "my basic sock recipe," and begin cranking out a bunch of simple socks for the upcoming cold seasons. They knitted up so quickly. I loved the yarn, I loved the stripes, and I began to really embrace the love of the simple stockinette socks.

But one weekend at the shore, the SIL took an interest in the socks. I love the perspective of non-knitters; I talk about knitting with other knitters, and am reluctant to bore the Muggles with knit-chat. But I think sometimes we knitters and bloggers are so insular; we get caught up in trends and fads, and make items for the yarn and not for the wearing, for the challenge, but not for the flattering looks. Non-knitters sometimes need to tell us needle freaks what we look like to the outside world. Remember the socks-with-Tevas debate with my sister?

She began by asking some semi-technical questions, about the construction of the sock, how it stripes, etc. I appreciated how interested she seemed in my hobby, so I happily obliged her with a basic discussion of toe-up sock construction and sock yarn.

As the conversation went on, though, what she really wanted to know was if I was going to match these socks to my shirt. Now, I don't know about you, but I am not organized enough to match my handknit socks to my shirt. Matching my clothes rarely enters my mind when I go into a yarn store and pick the prettiest sock yarn I can find. It has at one point occurred to me that perhaps I should purchase more subdued sock yarn to make more versatile socks, but I don't so much think of my handknit socks as a wardrobe item so much as a luxury, a little work of art for my feet, a surprise in the clogs. I knit handknit socks as much for the enjoyment of the knitting as for the pleasure of the wearing.

I knit socks because they are the closest thing to instant gratification in knitting. And as a knitting project, it is perfection. There is mindless knitting (cuffs and feet), interesting construction (so many heel and toe techniques), and endless possibilities and combinations. It doesn't hurt as much to frog a sock as it hurts to frog a sweater. You can finish a project in the most luxurious yarn and still not break the bank. You can go crazy with colors and not embarrass yourself by wearing them as a sweater. As all sock knitters know, handknitted socks just feel so damn good. And for me, there is always that feeling of anticipation that maybe this time, this pair of socks will be the perfect combination of yarn, color, pattern, and fit.

But to the non-knitter, handknitted socks are just socks. And socks, to my SIL should match your shirt.

As she continued to press, I finally asked if she wanted me to knit her a pair of socks. She enthusiastically said yes. I began to ask her about colors; would she like stripes or a more varied color pattern, a solid, lacy, what?

Well, I quite like those colors. Those are really my colors. And I would love a shirt that color too.

Then she tried them on.

Oh, they fit perfectly. Even better than they fit you, I think.

She was so right. My first attempt at stockinette socks were a little too long in the foot and a little tight in the calf. But they looked great on her.

So I gave them to her, and now she is in search of the perfect top to match the Regia socks, and I am still in search of the perfect socks.

Project Specs:
Yarn & Needles: Regia 4 Ply Wool Mini-Ringel Rio 5217, US1 Addis, Magic Loop
Pattern: Basic Stockinette Sock, attempt #1
August 2006

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The First Grade

My oldest starts the first grade tomorrow morning. For Waldorf kids, this is marked by The Rose Ceremony. N will be given a rose and then escorted across a bridge and under an arbor by a 5th or 6th grader. She will then join her classmates on the other side. The teacher will tell an incredible story -- I can't remember the exact storyline but it makes me cry like you wouldn't believe and symbolizes the launching of the first graders on their tremendous inner and outer journey. N's adventure further away from my arms ... sigh.

So I knit her a little handtowel to remind her of home during school.

She picked out the house pattern and you can just make out the "N" at the top. It's knit with Hemp For Knitting AllHemp6 in Lilac. I knit it on US5s. The house pattern is from The Dishcloth Boutique.

I hope to have a hat to show you soon (in Noro) that looks like this right now ...

And this gorgeous Claudia's Handpainted is going to become a pair of socks ...

I have frogged one of the Fetching and will do the other when I have the strength. Maybe after R has her first day of preschool -- wow! That will be a bit difficult I think ...

Mo? Liz? How did the first days of school go?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First Days



Saturday, September 02, 2006

Now Let's Not Re-invent the Wheel Here...

Now there is a cliche I grew to really really hate. As a young teacher, all passion and theory, I was all about reinventing the wheel. There was never a lesson plan that couldn't use some tweaking, some improvement. I never just copied a handout or used the suggested activites in the teacher's guide. My wiser, more experienced colleagues would often counsel me to not work so damn hard, when someone else had done a damn fine job designing instructional materials that were at least as good as what I would spend hours redesigning.

And I spent hours on it. I had notebooks full of detailed lesson plans, transparencies, evaluation rubrics, project materials. I was compulsive, but very very good. And after 6 years as an English teacher, working 80 hour weeks, I began having anxiety attacks in faculty meetings and committee sessions. You see, I couldn't be a good teacher without doing all that work. It took all those hours for me to be able to perform in a classroom to the level I wanted. It gave me panic attacks and a case of IBS, but damn it, I had to do it better every time. Classic type A overachiever, right here!

So I left the English classroom and switched to the Library/Media Center. I love libraries and I loved being a librarian. Mostly because it was all the fun of being a teacher and practically none of the headache. I could be around the books, and talk to kids about reading. I could help kids with writing and research. I could play on computers. I could collaborate with incredible teachers and interact with a cool group of kids. I could be crazy compulsive about planning lesson plans, because I would teach the same lessons over and over again. By the time the 6th group of 8th graders came through for the research paper lessons, my presentation was perfect, my materials impeccable, the implementation flawless. I didn't have to prepare 4 separate lesson plans for each and every day, grade at least 50 papers a night, make phone calls to parents, and have my heart broken by kids who just weren't going to make it day after day.

But even as a librarian, I reinvented the wheel day after day. And my co-librarian, an incredibly wise and way more experienced person than I would just shake her head at me as I obessively researched and meticulously redrafted every lesson she taught for more than twenty years, everything I needed in her filing cabinet.

But somehow, 5 years deep into motherhood, I have let go of those compulsive ways. It crept out at first, when I was an uptight first time mom, and really thought about each and every detail of Rosebud's life, and took every decision very seriously. But eventually, I relaxed. I didn't want perfection to be part of the tone that I set for the family. I gave in to the rhythms of motherhood and toddlerhood. Messy houses, late bedtimes, and some occasional fast food and maybe a little more TV, it turned out, didn't kill my children, but releasing the pressure to be perfect certainly made me happier, and created a peaceful, accepting atmosphere in my home.

As a knitter, though, sometimes I feel the need to achieve. I want to be the best knitter, and I want my garment to be perfect, not just good enough. But I rarely have the patience (or math ability) to really do the planning necessary to design the perfect garment, so I usually submit to the commercial design, accepting my humanity and all its limitations. Thus I am pretty content following a pattern for my knitting, and modifications are rarely of the design itself, but more of the techniques or finishing details.

So for Pepe's sweater, I had this idea in mind:

A wide-ribbed cardigan, with a zipper. High-ish neck. Drop shoulder. Simple, irregular striping for interest. Found a few examples of patterns in my knitting library that almost worked, but not quite. I began making notes like mad.

Then I pulled out the Ann Budd and began swatching. And then I found this pattern on Knitty. Pretty much exactly what I want. You know, the wheel, that had already been invented.

But I think I want a modified drop shoulder?

Hmm...what kind of ribbing do I want? I was thining K3, P3....

How do I get the ribbing to work right on the edges so the seams look right?

How should I finish the edges? Maybe some applied i-cord, or some slip stitch i-cord?

It just was so much thinking when I could be knitting. Knitting a sweater that is pretty much exactly what I had in mind, with most of these problems just all worked out there for me.

So, I decided to simply just knit Accordion as is.

Because you know, there's no reason to reinvent the wheel here.

I guess I really am growing up.

Fetching ... denied

I don't usually knit for myself, but I have wanted to knit the fun Fetching pattern from Knitty ever since I saw it -- and to knit it for myself. When I found that scrumptious merino/mohair yarn from Laughing Tree Farm in Vermont, I thought, "This will be my Fetching."

Well, evidently, it won't. It is two-ply yarn and I made gauge with it doubled and I was almost (the key word here) positive that I had enough yardage. (212 yards, the pattern calls for 98 yards) However, I don't think I will have enough. I have thought about it and I won't mind frogging and knitting something else with it, but I need to let it sit for a bit first to ease the sting of it all.

Meanwhile ... I am using up some of my leftover Hemp for Knitting for a handtowel for N for the start of school. She is starting 1st grade this coming week at our local Waldorf school. I am so excited! We had our homevisit with her teacher and she is just wonderful. They will need to bring in a handtowel for when they wash their hands, so N picked out this house pattern for the bottom. The rest will be in stockinette with her name knitted into the top and a loop on the upper left side.

Maybe when I am done with this I will be ready to deal with my Fetching disappointment.