Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fall has come late to Chicago!! Somehow there are tulips involved as well....

I can't believe that as I write this on November 13, there are still leaves on the trees. I don't think they normally last anywhere near this long. In fact, my mother maintains that they are usually gone by Halloween. Weird. Anyway, here is some badly shot proof of the changing/falling leaves in our area. I really didn't do that great a job capturing how bright and wonderful the leaves are. They're just electric right now. It was hard to shoot, though, because of the position of the sun, my laziness (not wanting to leave my porch), and the fact that I didn't want our SUPER paranoid neighbors across the street to think that I was trying to photograph their house or something....
If you click on them and blow them up you can sort of see how pretty they are.

Of course, the fall tulips I spoke of in the title are the ones I'm knitting. I speak in the plural, but you can only see one here. This is the 6-9 month version. I am awaiting now the kit from Coldwater Collaborative that will bring me the 6 year old version. I am finishing the current sweater for a baby that is due in December and the bigger one will be for her big sister so she can feel good too. Hopefully they will both get some use out of these sweaters!

A note on the size: I do have the 6-9 mo pattern, but I have knit it in smaller gauge. As far as I can tell, no baby in the plains is going to need a sweater from June to September, so I think making it available now is a good idea. Of course, since I don't know what size newborns are, or more importantly, what size this one will be, my choices in making it smaller are definitely arbitrary. I've got my fingers crossed. If nothing else, hopefully she can wear it in the spring . . . so long as I haven't made it too small . . . which I don't think I have. But we won't know until December, will we?

So, here it is:

It's going together nice and quickly, which is encouraging since I have to make a much bigger one soon. And hopefully I will have learned from my mistakes. Heh.

Here is a blurry close-up of the i-cord bind off. I was pretty nervous about that part, but it was super simple and it's kind of a fun way to finish!

I made a couple mistakes as I went a long. Big surprise. I have to admit that for the first time, I didn't really fix most of them because most of them were not big enough to notice. I hope. I did do something that is noticeable, though, and that is that the parts that I picked up on the insides of the cardigan front are not equal -- that is, the seed stitched parts on the left and the right front insides of the cardigan are not equal because I didn't go as far up in picking up stitches on the left side. Hooray. I would have fixed it, but I would have had to undo so much at the point where I discovered it. I am hoping very much that when I do the i-cord around the neck, along with the i-cord strings for tying the sweater, I will be able to hide that somewhat. And of course, there's always that deeply delusional hope that I will be able to block out the difference . . . . Ha, ha, ha. Man, I hope so. If it's horrible in the end, I'm sure I'll rip it all out. I don't like having messed up stuff to give out as gifts, that's for sure.

Two notes about the pattern, both of which may have been obvious to smarter knitters than me:

1) when I picked up stitches for the cardigan front panels, the instructions said to pick up three stitches for each four rows. At first I thought maybe I should do this with the outer-most stitches, but those were slipped and I didn't quite know what to do, since they didn't represent the number of rows and it would have been hard to count. I tried it for a second and found that the stitches were waaayyy too loose and looked terrible for picking up the stitches. So, I quickly moved instead to picking up stitches from the column of stitches just inside of the slipped/outermost column. This worked much better for counting and for the tightness and visual appeal of the sweater. It is probably obvious to some that this is how to do it, but I had to think and try it before I decided to change my approach, so it's possible that someone else could have the same problem.

2) in the first row of color change, my instructions say "slip 1st stitch purlwise, k1, p1*, repeat from *...*." I wrongly slipped, k1, p1, all the way through that row because I assumed (though perhaps the "1st stitch" part should have given it away) that the ** would include the whole thing -- I had to make something up since it was unclear. Later I looked at the top of the instructions and for some reason that part is repeated up there. THAT one had it correct: slip 1st stitch purlwise, *k1, p1*, repeat etc. Don't make my mistake.

Lastly, this week, I'm going to give you a gratuitous shot of my cat Bobcat strutting down our street because it's such a lovely shot. Enjoy. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Halloween (a day late)!

As usual, it has been a long time since I last wrote. We have been on a whirlwind tour of the U.S. Well, not exactly, but we were in Southeastern Wisconsin three weekends ago (to celebrate our first anniversary), then we were in Northern Wisconsin the weekend after that (for my dad's birthday), and last, we drove to the Atlanta area for my aunt's surprise b-day party and then onto Jacksonville, FL to see Andrew's family. In the Atlanta-Jacksonville trip alone, we put 2400 miles on the car!! All trips were pleasant, though, and worth the effort.

Weirdly, I managed not to take any pictures of most of the things we saw/did. Well, maybe the Europe trip was weirder -- the fact that I got so many pictures. I am not so good at taking photos of stuff -- it doesn't come naturally, I have to force myself to do it. Anyway, this blog entry will probably be photo-light (especially compared to those from Europe).

Here is a picture of us having lunch at the freezing cold cafe in the cool new wing of the Milwaukee Art Museum:
Very exciting photo, no? If you want to see a weird image of the new building, click here. It is strange looking because the "wings" of the building can move and this photo shows the wings in their different positions moving from up to down or vice versa. Normally the wings are just in one position and quite lovely to look at. Anyway, it is a really neat building and worth checking out if you're in the area. Besides being freezing when we were there, it was a nice place to see art and it also gave one a very nice view of Lake Michigan (and the Milwaukee marathon that happened to be going on at the time we were there).

I don't have any photos from Northern Wisconsin. When I say Northern Wisconsin, by the way, I'm talking so far north that if you went any further, you'd fall into Lake Superior! Here is a fun link to the history of Washburn, WI (the town we were in). It's amazing to see how much industry used to be there, given how small the place is today. You can see from the top photo on the page's frame how pretty it is up there.

A week after returning from cold, cold Washburn, we headed to considerably warmer Atlanta. Here is a picture of all of us (this includes immediate family and lots of friends -- including some who had flown in from Baton Rouge, LA just that day solely for the purpose of surprising my aunt!) waiting for my aunt in the foyer of my cousin's house.
The door is open because my aunt has just come in. I wish so much that I had a picture of her face when she saw us. My cousins and uncle truly outdid themselves with this party and there is no question that she was surprised. It was wonderful! It probably took her the length of the party before it all sort of sank in.

So, did I knit for her? You bet I did. Unfortunately, I flaked out and forgot to get a picture of what I did. :( I knitted the Not Pedestrian Peds -- thank you Stitchnsnitch! I got the link off of Ravelry. I'm so mad I didn't take a picture of the finished product, but I do have a photo of the yarn:
There is great significance to this yarn, you should know. Not only is it a color that my aunt happens to like very much, but waaaay more important is the fact that it is called Mustang Sally (by Blue Moon Fiber Arts). Why is that significant? Because my aunt's name is Sallie, of course!! I told her that even if the color had been horrendous (not that BMFA makes horrendous colors), she would have gotten socks out of it anyway because of the name. It is particularly pleasing that it happens to be a color that she really likes.

Other than that, I haven't been doing much knitting lately. Truth be told, I have been going through a bout of morning sickness (I can say that now that our family knows!) and was not feeling up to par or like I had the energy to do anything -- including knitting, if you can believe that! I am doing much better now, though, as I am beyond the first trimester and so I have begun another gift project.

Ta da!
I am knitting the Tulip sweater (scroll down on that page) that is so popular right now. I am making it for someone's upcoming baby. I think it will be really cute. I have already screwed something up of course so I need to rip back a bit, but overall I am pleased and am looking forward to making this thing. I am particularly looking forward to completing a second project in a month's time. I feel like I haven't been finishing anything lately!

Oddly, this is my first baby sweater! It is fun to make something that I think will go together quickly. Normally, I make blankets (see previous entries!). I will keep you up to date on how it goes.

That's all for now! Who knows? Maybe next time I will have cast on for my own little impending being. It all seems so unreal right now, though, so that's not likely.