Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sure, they look innocent now

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Don't let them fool you. They'll suck you in with their cuteness, and when they see that glazed look in your eyes - they pounce. This is reason not much knitting is getting done. I'm busy putting out fires. Laundry, picking up, scrubbing, running errands - the stuff of life. There seems to be an inordinate amount of it lately.

I have managed to finish the back of Thing 1's (he's the one on the right)SpongeBob sweater and have started a sleeve. The Husband's aran is only about 3 rows further along. I keep ripping back a few stitches here and there, ala fixing a miscrossed cable, and tweaking wonky looking stitches. I don't trust a good blocking to fix some of the wonkers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


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That's the Husband's aran. I had the perfect atmosphere for working on the aran(no kids, husband, or dogs in the immediate vicinity) and I still screwed it up! I still have the black eye from the knitting goddess' smackdown.

So, I valiantly used a crochet hook to pick up the stitches on the cable I had incorrectly crossed and get them going in the correct direction(a crochet hook's only useful purpose in my opinion), when I noticed that I had $%^&ed up the celtic knot center portion. Some how I had gotten on the wrong row on the chart and was blissfully knitting along for 3 rows before I realized it.

I can fix that I thought. Rather than use a crochet hook(this was too big of a job - 28 stitches with multiple crossings), I used dpn's and reknit it. Although I'm going to give it another go, because I used dpn's way smaller than the 7's I'm using on the sweater.


This left me with a very tight gauge and loops of 'left over' yarn that I don't think a severe blocking will correct. I knit on for a few rows thinking I could tug it into submission. No joy.

In the spirit of random Tuesday...Last evening was the Carpet Spotter's(Brunnhilde the German Shepherd-why am I using a knickname for her like I want to protect her privacy?) first night of training. We were kicked out in the hall for 'talking'!!!!

Monday, May 07, 2007

And we're back...

I'm trying to catch up on my sleep. So far, not so good. The two older kidlets and I arrived back home around 9m last night, and I'm sleepy. The hotel was nice and comfy, but the Girl insisted on sleeping with me. I would rather have slept with an octopus.

At about 1am the first night, I decided that I'd had enough of the random arm flailings and knee kickings to get up and crawl in bed with the Boy. Now at only 11 years the Boy is only a few inches shy of being as tall as me(I don't come from Amazonian sized parents), he was taking up most of the bed as he was stretched out from one corner to the opposite one. Being the self-sacrificing mom that I am, I didn't want to disturb his rest since he was the one that was going to be competing the next day, I pulled the really soft and cushy comforter of the bed that I had just vacated and made a nest on the floor. I figured that the Girl would be fine since it wasn't that cold and she is usually very hot when she sleeps.

I was sleeping very soundly and quite comfortably(surprising since I was on the floor), when I was awoken at 3am by the Girl to tell me she was cold. So I got back in bed with her to be kicked and punched until 5am when the Boy got up and flipped on the flipping t.v.!

"HOLY MOTHER GOD, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?", I said. Although I'm sure it sounded more like, "Hug movr guh, wha'do?". The Boy said he couldn't sleep(though you couldn't tell by his snoring). I said "G'bed, stare seal." Translation: Get in bed and stare at the ceiling.

The next night I debated about just starting off on the floor, because I had found an extra blanket that I wasn't coherent enough to search for the previous night, when the Girl promised me that she wouldn't flop about. I also warned her that I was going to punch and kick back if she so much as crossed over the "line of death" that ran down the middle of the bed.

After pushing her back over the line to her mutterings of "stop it!" and putting the extra blanket on top of her, I was back in my nest on the floor. I was going to get in bed with the Boy, but he had rolled up in his blankets like a burrito. I was later awoken(again, after very comfortably sleeping on the floor) to, "Mom, I'm cold." So I was once again kicked and poked the remainder of the night. Besides that, I had the beginings of a cold, so breathing was not up to par.

Last night I got to sleep in my own bed, and I slept well, but I'm still nodding off at random times this morning. I think one more night ought to do it.

Oh yeah, the Boy came home with a bronze in sparring, and the Girl came home with a silver in sparring(I guess she was practicing on me during the night - had I stayed in bed with her, it may have been a gold).

Thursday, May 03, 2007

If Nautical Nonsense be Something You Wish...

This weekend the Boy, the Girl and I are off to Gurnee, Illinois(north of Chicago, almost into Wisconsin) for a regional karate tournament. Those of you in the Chicagoland area will know how excited I am to be going(she says with sarcasm).

Since I'll be driving the 7 hours to get there, this eliminates any possibility of knitting in the car, that and the motion sickness. If anyone has figured out a safe way to drive and knit, I'm listening.

Sitting for 6 hours at the tournament venue and having to pay attention to the competitors(not just my kidlets, but the others from our dojo as well), eliminates working on the Husband's aran. I need something I can knit on autopilot. That would be this...
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That's the beginings of Thing 1's Spongebob sweater. I figure that I can work on the back and sleeves while cheering on the competitors, because it's a mindless drop shoulder sweater and also because I haven't charted the front yet. The front is going to be an intarsia version of the Sponge's face.

Drop on the deck and flop like a fish!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

So Where Was I?

Oh yeah, the Husband's aran. One fine day while we were out with out the kidlets(they were all in school, and the Husband had the day off), we were running errands. One of the stops was the library which happens to be a short mile or so from the yarn store. I dragged him there, under vehement protests of course, to pick out the yarn for his sweater. I think he didn't want to go there, because it wasn't, well, macho like a hardware store. (Insert manly grunting here.)

I wanted him to go, because I didn't want a repeat of the last sweater I had knit then ripped for him. In that instance, he picked out the stitch pattern but not the yarn(soft enough to be knit into undies, Malabrigo). He liked the softness factor, but he didn't care for the color.

The Husband settled on a yarn that is exclusive to the yarn store. Actually, I picked out the yarn, he just chose the color. It's Yarn Source Sol in grey. It's 100% wool, 100 grams per skein(approximately 220 yards) for $4.50 per skein. in a worsted weight. I think this yarn is excellent. It's nice and soft, and I've had no problems with splitting. It's a good utility yarn at a good price. Christine has lots of fantastic colors. Go on over to her online shop and check it out.

Now that I had the yarn, there was no excuse not to swatch. Besides, I was so excited to be working on something other than the #$% samurai hats, I actually wanted to swatch! For those of you that have an allergic reaction to swatching - get over it!(She says in her motherly "I'm tired of putting up with your nonsense" voice.)

To determine how many stitches to cast on for the Husband's aran, I swatched each panel and measured the width. For example, the diamond pattern panel with moss stitch in the center of the diamonds is worked over 25 stitches and it measured at 4.5" in width. The celtic knot is worked over 28 stitches and measured 4.5"

By adding up the measurements of each panel including the 4 cables I was using to separate each panel, that gave me the width of moss stitch I would need at either side to make up for half of the circumference of the aran(30"). I figured that I would need 5.75" of moss stitch on either side of the seam, which worked out to 26 stitches. I'm putting a lot of ease in this sweater, because the Husband likes them big and he will be able to hide his weapon and badge under it(policemen never go out in public unarmed and they don't like to advertise the fact that they are armed).

I know, I've been rambling, but here's how it worked out...I need a total of 162 stitches for 1/2 of the body.(I chose not to do this in the round so I could have the stability of seams, and I knew that it would be easier for me to keep my place in the pattern if I was only working on half of the sweater at one time.) So my pattern is:

26 stitches of moss stitch,

8 stitches for a 6 stitch right cable(this includes a rev stocking stitch on either side of the cable),

25 stitches for the diamond pattern,

8 stitches for a 6 stitch right cable,

28 stitches for the celtic knot pattern,

8 stitches for a left cable,

25 stitches for the diamond pattern,

8 stitches for a left cable,

and 26 stitches for moss stitch.

Using the EPS, I cast on 10% fewer stitches for the ribbing(2x2 for 2"), increased 16 stitches on the next row in purl stitch(making this the wrong side), and I'm off to the races! I increased in purl so the stitches would recede to the wrong side and that row wouldn't be noticable in the big scheme of things. I could have increased on the last row of ribbing, but quite frankly I didn't think of it. I also added a selvedge stitch to each side to make it easier to seam.

After all that, I think you deserve a picture.

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