Monthly Archives: November 2006

Pinky Pinkers

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‘Member how I was freaking out about having a girl? How I wasn’t sure I could handle the challenge of raising a small being into an intelligent, confident, motivated, caring woman who knew she could conquer the world if she wished? Yah, well, I still am freaking out. But, the knitting for a girl? Wow, have I won a gold medal in that category.

One of my more recent projects is the baby bonnet hat from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts (just in case you weren’t already aware of this: check the errata for this book, it’s a fabulous book but fraught with errors).

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Pink. I know, I have no idea what has gotten in to me. The yarn is the called for yarn, Rowan Kid Classic, in the Sherbet Dip colorway (Shade 850). A new to me yarn and yet another reason to *heart* Rowan yarns. They are damn expensive but I have yet to meet one that I do not like. Knit up on US8’s this is a soft, but not too furry, fabric. A sweater out of this stuff would be a dream.

I have to pick up stitches to knit the garter stitch trim on the bottom – again. Yes, it has already been done once. I picked up too many stitches and it was craptilious. You see, I am a fly by the seat of my pants picker upper. This practice results from the fact that, more often than not, my gauge does not match the patterns. Coupled with plain dumb experience – it’s a pain in the arse to count the number of stitches as you pick up! In this type of situation, where the picked up stitches perpendicular to the stitches already knit, if you pick up one for every two or three you can usually get away with it. Originally, because I have preggers brain and I couldn’t get my hands to listen to my head, I tried 1 for 1. No go. I knew this would happen. Rip and try again.

The trim and tie cord is knit as an attached I-cord. I hate I-cord but have yet to do an attached I-cord so maybe, just maybe, I will be converted! I originally planned to knit the hat all one color because I am a cheap skate and didn’t want to buy a whole skein of yarn for a little itty bitty I-cord. I am having second thoughts, I think the contrast is a nice touch. However, I still think the idea of buying a whole skein just for the trim is plum crazy. Any one have a small amount of Kid Classic in a contrasting color? I could trade you my left over pink for your next hat pattern… I am not sure about amounts – there is about 35″ of 3 stitch I-cord. So what ever you have would be welcome!!

The limits of Decorum

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I keep meaning to post this “photo”. Rob and I had two sets of t-shirts made back in July. We wore these during our trips to see our families – the trip where we spilled the beans about the pregancy. This set was my favorites of the two (the other set said “Little (our last name) on Board” with an arrow).

It was pretty funny to watch peoples reactions. More than a few looked at the t-shirt, read it, and just kept talking to us. My cousin later said, “I just thought it was a funny t-shirt.” One of Rob’s sister in-laws thought that it meant we had just had sex. Yes, thank you, I am so FULL OF CLASS that I would wear a t-shirt announcing that my husband and I just had sex.

There are some limits to what I will do. Granted, they are relatively small in number but that is another post.

I put my t-shirt on the other day and it barely fits. Not so much because of the huge growth protruding from my midsection – but more because of the boobage. I should dig out Smarty and have her try it on.

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Bringing the internets to me

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So, I was tooling around the intranets trying to find some inspiration for a few balls of Jaeger Matchmaker Merino 4 ply that I purchased during our fall trip to webs. I have 3 balls two in orange and one in brown, or maybe I have two of each. Regardless, my intention was to knit up something Cleveland Brown like for the little babe. However, I am REALLY not in the right mindset to be modifying patterns (recipe for disaster, I can barely read at this point) and the yarn is a fingering weight. Not a lot of pattern support out there for what I am envisioning. I could do a simple striped pullover. But, again, the maths will have to be used to ensure I don’t run out of yarn and I am just not up for it. I could order another color and do a three color pullover with less worry about running out of yarn – but just as much trouble with the maths.

After searching through my back issues of IK and all of my knitting books I went to the google gods to show me some info. Unfortunately during my first pass they were not much of a help. This led me to search all of our great free pattern websites (and some that charge but are reasonable): Knitty, Magknits, The Garter Stitch, Glamprye Knits, Kate Gilbert, Chic Knits, Chiagu, Drops Design. Some of these sites are not really geared toward kids stuff but it was nice to remind myself what a talented crew they are. I wandered over to the Knitter’s Review forums and found a whole topic on free patterns. This led me to a GREAT resource, Knitting Pattern Central, wow – do you all know about this place?!

I also found a bunch of inspiration from some fellow bloggers. Wendy at Knit and Tonic just published a pattern, Drive-Thru, for a worsted weight yarn. The pattern starts at age 2 but if I used the same numbers with fingering weight I could likely get a cute sweater for a wee wee one. A definite possibility. There are some great things happening over at Knitty Bloggy Baby Bumpers…but most of these patterns would require the purchase (or search of) a book or pattern. I just don’t have the energy (or money in some cases). The list goes on and on.

With all of that searching I was exhausted. So I took a break and came back to it a week later, this morning. This is where I found the coolest thing since sliced bread.

Am@zon has a Key Word search and a Search Inside feature. Now this is a feature that I have perused in the past. But you know what – you can use it for knitting!! And with Am@zon’s preview feature you can look at a pattern picture to give you an idea of what it looks like, whether you want to purchase it. Go ahead, try it, here’s how to do it. I type in “Jaeger Matchmaker Merino” (I imagine the closer to get to the way the manufacturer refers to the yarn the better the results will be) and WHAM-O look at the fun! Go to one of the books and click on “See all pages with reference to…”

Now, this does not really get away from the whole spending money thing. But, it is a GREAT resource for all kinds of applications. The other bummer is that I am pretty sure these previews are only there with publisher initiation and permission (and possibly at some fee) thereby eliminating some of the smaller publishers. Furthermore, if the page that happens to have the phrase that you are seeking isn’t part of the preview, the book won’t come up as a possibility.
Finding the search inside/key work search reminded me of Google Book Search (here’s a link to the advanced search feature). This tool works for this application as well – the results are more different AND I’m pretty sure there is no limit to what you could find there as Google ramps up this service. So cool.
While neither of these tools replace your favorite independent bookstore or LYS, they are still pretty freaking cool. I am still without a pattern but I am definitely more inspired. The brown and orange will have to wait a bit more as I finish off some other projects.

Have any other free pattern sources? Ideas about finding patterns? Feel free to leave them in the comments. I love learning about new places.

I would have gotten away with it to if it wasn’t for that dang knitting.

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I did it. I figured out one thing that I do not like about knitting.

Are you sitting down?

Ready?

It makes the day go by too fast.

Seriously.

I spent yesterday knitting away and in the blink of an eye – gone. One of my favorite days of the year. Poof.

Blech.

Now, in many cases this is a blessing.

However, Thanksgiving?

When it’s cold and rainy and shitty out and you’re warm and snuggly inside with your honey and baby in your tummy and animals around you while you Tivo through the crappy Pop singers during the parade to the parts that are really fun?

Not so much a blessing.

They fall down

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A few weeks ago were watching football with our favorite 19 month old N. She doesn’t watch much tv, but has seen a lot of basketball with her father. She thought football was way cooler and kept yelling, “They fall down” and laughing hysterically. This is also the girl who coughs a little and looks up to say, “I am sick”. In her best grown up voice. She is a pure miracle.

If N had been following me around this week she would have gotten a real kick out of me. Because, I fall down. Or rather, I fell down. Again. Black out. And have a couple of near misses since. I think some of the near misses have been “normal” light-headed episodes during which I panic because I get scared I am going to fall down again. Not productive.

I have spent most of my week in Drs offices while my ticker is talked about, looked at and photographed. The poor ultrasound tech who did my echo the other day exclaimed, “Those boobs just keep getting in the way.” She had a hell of a time getting a good picture of my soul muscle and couldn’t help herself. I laughed. These kinds of practitioners are my favorite. Because really – they do get in the way and they KEEP GROWING.

Everything is likely fine and this is just a part of this pregnancy. However, it feels good to rule out each medical reason. I just walk really slow and tell everyone around me that I fall down, so they should beware. I need a t-shirt with a disclaimer on it!

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Knitting is slow for me lately. I have started no less than four projects over the last week and have abandoned all of them. Partially because the pattern writer pissed me off, partially because I just am indecisive right now. I just cannot stand a poorly written pattern. If you are going to charge money for it – for cryin in the beers – please, please, please take the time to have someone test knit it and tell you how much your instructions are insufferable.

Oh, and turning a heel? Apparently beyond my ability at this point in my life. Is there a service our there? Turning heels anonymous? Turning heels 911? Turning heels-at-your-service?

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I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had flown to D.C. for my annual reunion with my college roommates. They threw a itty baby shower for me that was fabulous. Place settings for the eight of us, candle favors (to light while I am in labor), fun games (for real these were fun), and cool gifts. Check out what my best-girlfriends got me and Baby…

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all filled with books. I am in love. I wonder if Rob can draw a lil’ bookish?

One of the games we played was super fun. I am so not a shower person and defo not a game player. However, this one was hysterical. Juli had gotten Rob to send her four pictures, two of each of us. We were all given a color copy of these, scissors and glue. The goal was to create Baby Bookish out of Rob and my features. Some of these were very very scary…but ultimately had us rolling with laughter.

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These are my girls…

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Post election day ramblings

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You all know that I’m a total whore for a good graphic.  The New York Times is an excellent source of graphic information.  For a look at election results check out this link.  Fabulous use of technology and information.  If you click the tabs on top you can see the House and Governor races as well.

I love watching election results come in, I love discussing them, thinking about the meaning, and generally analyzing how they are or are not a barometer for the public will.  The lack of red on each of these maps (indicating a Republican gain) is really, really interesting and, frankly, lightens my step today.  I hate the two party system, I hate generalizations and labels.  However, this is how we play and if them theres the rules than so be it.  Democracy is led by the will of the people (when it works anyway).  The moderate nature of some of the Democrats who turned over a seat is also interesting.  A Massachusetts Democrat is most certainly NOT the same things as a Utah Democrat.  This holds true for the Republican candidates as well.  I think these close races really are especially interesting.  Our votes do matter.  Now, if we can just get everyone to count right….
I hope that our New Speaker (first woman in history!) rises to this occasion and bridges the gap in her party as well as between parties.  I also hope for a more transparent government and an increased level of accountability in the Executive Branch.  However, I will likely have to wait a few more years for that.

Furthermore, not only was history made with Ms. Pelosi…but in Massachusetts we elected the second black governor in history, it has taken this long for women and blacks to penetrate the higher levels of government.  Change is fickle beast.

Lastly, the MA ballot question addressing the sale of beer and wine in grocery stores in was strongly defeated.  Many of you echoed surprise that these kinds of sales were not already allowed.  It’s a weird State (well, technically it’s a Commonwealth but that’s a story for another day), what can I say?  We allow gay marriage but won’t let you buy alcoholic beverages in the grocery.  In fact, the sale of alcohol on Sundays was prohibited up until a few years ago.

You have to remember that Massachusetts was founded by Puritans and some of these silly laws are simply old laws that just have yet to be turned over.  I would also venture to guess that for some voters the beer issue may be a “big business” backlash type of thing.  We have gotten to know our local liquor store peeps and are quite fond of the them.  I wonder if others feel the same way and fear that these people will loose out?

Alright – enough of the political ramblings of a brain shrunk, relatively uninformed bookish girl.  I just got really excited about that damn graphic and couldn’t stop!

You have a voice, use it!

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Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote.

Watch the news and be motivated to vote.

Read the newspaper and be motivated to vote.

Look at your neighbors across the sea, the state, the country and be motivated to vote.

See others who do not have the right.

Vote.

Once a year we have a very REAL chance of influencing the course of our world.

Vote.

And for the love of all things beer and wine.  If you live in Massachusetts vote Yes on Question 1.

Because when this baby pops out and I finish breast feeding I am going to need a BIG GLASS OF WINE FROM THE GROCERY STORE!  You wouldn’t deny a pregnant woman, now would you?!

The Birth of a Bookish Girl

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So glad you all like the sweater! I would definitely recommend the pattern. Well written and easy to understand. This would be a perfect “first sweater” project. In fact, I think baby sweaters are a great beginners project. There is little, if any, shaping. You typically knit two rectangles and two ummm, what are they called? Trapezoids? Yeah, two sides are parallel, Trapezoid. Love the Google. Sew everything together, stick a neck on and viola! A sweater!!!

Pop Quiz…how many of you know where the nickname “Bookish Girl” came from? Hmmm, not many hands out there. Elisa, you can only raise one hand at a time, both don’t count.Rob started a novel a few years ago. The premise is based on a fictionalized account of his time in Athens, GA. Seeing as this was where we met and the book covers the beginning period of our courtship (seriously, how cool is the term courtship?!) I am a character in the book. Rather than use my real name Rob came up with an ultra-ego for me. The Bookish Girl.

She slowly morphed into my real life ultra ego. A superhero of sorts. Ready to save the world with literacy and nerddom. I love her. A few years later I started the blog and it just seemed like the right name. That was two years ago.
About a year ago Rob was drawing and I asked him to draw his image of the bookish girl.

Here is a scan of his sketchpad…
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How cute is she?!!

I really wanted to use her to her full potential. I made plans to make some crafty labels…for gifts, for garments, etc. On paper, fabric, ribbon, all kinds of stuff. I worked up a few designs but never got around to putting into action. The first step in all of this was to render the graphic in digital form. The scan wouldn’t really serve my purpose as the resolution was limited to the size at which he created it (too small for some stuff). The other night I finally took some time and worked in Corel Draw (a graphics software that I use frequently for work) to create the Digital Bookish Girl. It’s difficult to capture the texture and personality of a freehand drawing but this is what I came up with…

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What do you all think? I’m not a big pearl person but I liked the touch…. And the color? Well, I’m not so sure of it either. I think I’ll play with her a bit more and maybe come up with some other versions. In the end, if I ever end up making handmade stuff for gifts (I used to be a maniac soap maker, I don’t know what the hell happened to that hobby) I think she’d make a great little mascot. I also think that I may be able to get my mom to embroider some labels for me (she has one of those cool sewing machines that hooks up to the computer).

Thanks Robby for creating her, you really caught the best part of me. ;)
What do you all think?

Kai Sweater

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I started knitting for baby the day after we found out the sex. That 18 week ultrasound is an important one as it round the almost final corner of the crap shoot that is having a baby. If you’re having a normal pregnancy it will be your last view of the bugger until it pops out and starts screaming.

I finished the knit one week later. Fastest knit evah. It was so fun to make and I really enjoy the book from which it came (details below). I purchased some yarn during my trip to WEBS to make a few other patterns from this book so keep your eyes peeled.

Pattern Details:
Started: 09/21/06, Ended 09/28/06
Yarn: Nick’s Farm Merino? Purchased at SPA 02/06
Needles: Size 8 (I think)
Gauge: Need to check!
Size: I think this is 0-3 months but I really need to measure to be sure.
Pattern: Kai Cable Sweater from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms by Louisa Harding
Modifications: Made modifications for changes in gauge. Did not sew up the side seam on the neck’s right side. Baby is bound to have a huge head.
Notes: Babies first sweater from Mama. I loved this yarn. I have some left and hope to get a hat and maybe even some booties out of it!

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Cross Posted At:

Knitty Bloggy Baby Bumpers