Friday, May 29, 2009

Baby Things

The babies that are here now ...

See them in action -- with momma and poppa!

and for those still to come ...

Pattern: Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap (free pattern)
Yarn: Rowan Cashsoft 4-ply (blue) and Dale of Norway/Dalegarn Baby Ull
Needles: US 2½ / 3.0 mm and   US 1½ / 2.5 mm
Size: 1-year
Modifications: none

I love this pattern, but had the worst time getting it right at the beginning. I'm sure I ripped out more rows than I knit before I remembered all the M1s.  Maybe knitting in the car had something to do with it.

It used hardly any yarn, and I think it's adorable.  Will be even cuter when I take the stitch marker out of the end. :)  I'm going to make another one for a different neighbor; first I should wash this one and figure out what size it really is.

The robin pictures are from a few days ago and they already have many more feathers.  Mama and Papa have been very attentive.  There are four of them!  The mother doesn't look all that happy about having to sit on them to keep them warm; maybe they're not happy about it either.

Sometimes when the parents aren't around and we open the door to the porch, the babies hear the sound and shoot up out of the nest, mouths wide open, waiting for someone (anyone!) to drop something in.  They're just so stinkin' cute!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Robin Saga

Our robin is back! I am so inordinately happy. And this is SUCH a crappy picture, and my professional photographer is at work. Boo.

I haven't blogged forever, so I'm sure all 2.1 readers I have left (if that) are thrilled to have me come back with pictures of a robin they can't see. I do have some knitting to show! And a semi-good excuse for not blogging. But first,  the robin.

We've had robins nesting on our back porch for several years now -- sometimes they have babies and sometimes they don't. I assume it's the same robins -- they always come back to pretty much the same place: the open ledge under the porch roof. Only this year we got our porch redone, because it was about to fall down, and in the process, the open ledge got closed up. The builders tried to give us a little ledge anyway, but when the robins came back it turned out it wasn't deep enough. There are failed nest attempts in every single alcove of that ledge! and incredible amounts of debris on the floor of our porch. Very distressing!

So of course I had to rush out and buy a nesting box at the bird house store. (Yes, we have a bird house store, it is pretty wonderful.) I must make clear that I did first suggest to my husband that we nail up a piece of plywood to make a ledge, but I was met with a noncommittal, skeptical, "I'm-not-nailing-a-piece-of-plywood-to-my-new-porch" type grunt that did not suggest action, so I had to go buy the nesting box. This robin has eggs to lay! She'll take them somewhere else if she can't make a nest here! The nesting box cost $30, which gave my husband new perspective on the merits of the piece of plywood, but TOO LATE.

I went up on a ladder and screwed in the nesting box and put in some of her nest fixings ... and waited. And the next day, the robin was back to build her nest ... right on top of the $30 nesting box. I could have called that. It's just like the kids who play with the wrapping paper instead of the present. BUT I think the box gives the ledge the tiny extra edge it needs for the nest to stay put, so it's worth it. And maybe her babies will move into the duplex below next year, you never know.

In the below picture (and on either side of the nest in the top picture) you can see one of the many, many failed nests she started along the ledge (apparently she couldn't just measure and see they were all the same), as well as the black streaks that are now on every roof beam of the porch ... maybe from her carrying dirt back and forth and not aiming so well? Or she was just mad and vandalized the place. 

Yesterday morning Auden and I got to watch her pulling up dry grass and flying back to the nest with her mouth stuffed absolutely full, then shimmying to get it in the right place in the nest. Today she seems to be sitting more -- maybe the eggs are on their way? We need a mirror on the roof so we can see what's going on.

Anyway, I have been knitting, mostly on endlessly in-progress things which aren't too exciting to show, but I did whip this off in two nights and I love it:

Auden wore it to her cousin's wedding and was very cute, if I say so myself.

Pattern: Cloud Bolero by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash
Needles: US 10

I made the XS size in worsted weight yarn ... I probably could have even gone up a size.

And finally, the main reason I haven't been here is I started a web site for Rochester city school parents, and it's been VERY time-consuming, though I love it. I've wanted to do this for years -- set up a place where city parents can support each other and exchange information and experiences. The response has been great -- we were on the tv news and had a meeting with the superintendent -- and even though I panic every time posting slows down, I think it's going very well.  

It's at if anyone wants to drop by.  A friend designed us a logo, but my tech guy *cough* hasn't gotten it up yet.  He's too busy vetoing plywood ledge projects.

Oh and I am working on a monster freelance project, so that might be the other reason I haven't been here. And why I shouldn't be here right now!  But I was afraid if I didn't post soon, I might never post again.  And the robin, she just needed to be blogged about.  Spring, and the cycle of time, and all that good stuff. See you next time!  

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

This and That

Do I still have a blog? Why do I still have a blog? On the other hand, Ravelry gives me no place to ask deep searching questions like that, so I guess I will ask them here. (And what about Naomi? Does anyone else remember Love of Chair?*)

So. To business.  I have been knitting – it's serious keep-warm-knit-and-watch-tv weather here in Rochester – but going out of my mind with boredom with my cabled cardigan.  Maybe I need to learn to cable without a cable needle.  Anyway, I polished off this Noro stripe scarf, which I love, though it might not have been my first choice in colors.  (I made it with my Fetching leftovers.) I flirted with the idea of giving it away, but couldn't do it.  Given how many knitters have made this scarf, I'm amazed that I don't run into people wearing it at the grocery store. What everyone says is true: it is lots of fun to knit and watch the colors change.  I can almost imagine knitting a scarf like this forever.  As opposed to my cables, which just feel like I'm knitting them forever.)

Pattern: Noro Striped Scarf by Brooklyn Tweed
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden, 205 and 201 
Needles: US 7s

And then Auden told me she wanted a hat, so I made one for her and Rose:

It's a lovely pattern, easy to whip off in a night.  I downsized for Rose by using fingering weight yarn.

Auden's hat
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Worsted, Bachelors Button, less than one skein (I ran out before the edge but I had less than a skein to start with.  I think one skein would be enough.) Edged with Dalegarn Stork held double
Size: small
Needles: US6

Rose's hat
Yarn: Dalegarn Stork, blue and green.  Not very much.
Size: large, but I think the small would have fit better.
Needles US2

Speaking of Auden, she has her own Ravelry account now, which I hope I don't regret at some point in the future.  She only has one project (see below) but she would be most pleased if you visited and gave her some hearts or comments. Her Ravelry name is: Fairyflower  (Why? Because she's six.)

She has a short attention span; after asking me each day if her invitation had come, she lost interest almost as soon as I'd logged her on. Much like the sweater she's knitting for Rose, which has stalled after one row. But never mind. Maybe Ravelry will motivate her to knit more. (Or maybe to spend more time on line ... hmmm.)

Back to the salt mines cables. Stay warm, everyone ... spring will come someday!

* I just learned from Wikipedia that the mysterious Naomi of "Love of Chair" was Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal's mother!  Now if that isn't excellent useless trivia, I don't know what is.  I also learned how to spell Gyllenhaal.  What about all those a's?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Bouquet of Handwarmers

So, I am neglecting this blog shamefully, but I couldn't not show off my attempt to be like tiennie, who is always whipping up four or five (always gorgeous) versions of something practically overnight. Mine definitely weren't overnight and they aren't really the same -- even the two Fetchings are different because I messed up the first time and put the cables one row too close together.  (On BOTH pairs I forgot to reverse the cables on the second glove.)

I'm pretty happy with all of them anyway.  These are for my daughter's 1st grade teacher:

and these are for my son's cello teacher:


and this (modeled by my daughter): 

are for my 12-year-old niece

and THIS:

is for her 7-year-old sister.

I have become the crazy aunt who gives knitted gifts.  I hope this is not a great disappointment for my nieces.  I have given them knitted gifts before, but not as their main Hannukah or birthday presents.  I'm not at all sure how thrilled I would be about this if I were them! But too late now.

The specs:

Fetching in Noro Silk Garden, colors 201 and 205. These took about one skein each, but I used half of two skeins for each pair to get the colors to match. Otherwise they would have almost unrecognizable as a pair, the color changes so much. Needles: US6.  I added an additional cable repeat (possibly two?) to the fingers, and possibly one to the wrists.

Maine Morning Mitts in Noro Silk Garden, color 39. These are all from one skein. Needles: US7. These are long! I stopped before I even got to the length suggested in the pattern, and they're still very long.

Quickie Noro Silk Garden Hat in Silk Garden, color 205 (different dye lot). Less than one skein. Needles: US6. I didn't like the way the decreases in the pattern looked, so I did the ones from the Vogue Ribbed Cap pattern, which I got as a freebie in the mail once. I added the tail thingie from the Vogue pattern too.  This seems small for an adult; I hope it fits my niece.

Charmed Shrug, from Knitty, in Rowan RYC Cashsoft 4 Ply (doubled), color 421 (Rose Lake.) I thought I got gauge, but I made the size 4 and it fit my very tall 6-year-old just fine, and she usually wears size 6x-7. I used the same yarn single for the crochet edging.  Needles: US7.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


I finally finished Auden's cardigan – really it was quite a simple project that I managed to make way too complicated!  I'm happy with the result though.  Blocking made a big difference – especially pinning out the lace border.  There is something slightly funky/linebackerish about the shoulders, which is probably due to my lame job putting in the sleeves.  (And that is partly due to my knitting the body of the sweater in one piece, and then having to insert the sleeve tubes, which was not so much fun. I love the ruffle at the wrists, though, and didn't know how to reverse engineer it to knit the sleeves from the top down.)

I had a hard time finding a buttonhole that looked good in reverse stockinette – I ended up using Maggie Righetti's three-row buttonhole from Knitting in Plain English. I think it's basically a modified double yarnover. I had to reinforce them/tighten them up with thread to keep the buttons from popping out.

Pattern: Angel by Kim Hargreaves, from Pipsqueaks (still my favorite book of kids' patterns)
Yarn: KFI Cashmereno, about 900 yards?
Needles: US4s and 6s (and who knows what else ... there was definitely some needle confusion on this project!) I never could figure out my gauge in ribbing ... I made Size 8, and it is not big!
Modifications: Knit body in one piece, but not sure that was a good idea.  Changed buttonholes.  More details on Ravelry. 

Sorry for the headless pictures, but Auden was not particularly interested in posing for me. I had visions of her wearing this with some sweet English frock, a la the Rowan book, but my daughter has her own ideas about how to dress these days.  (Also, I don't think she owns a sweet English frock!) 

Next up: holiday knitting!  I have grand plans of fingerless gloves for Auden's teacher and Eli's cello teacher,  and a shrug and more fingerless gloves for my nieces.  And then there's my own cardigan to get back to ... 

Monday, September 15, 2008

What I Did on My Summer Vacation, or: Reports of My Demise ...

(had there been any) would not be all that overly exaggerated.  However, here I am! still knitting, still blogging, sort of.  My severe lack of updating here can be attributed to a) summer vacation and b) complete knitting ineptitude since I last wrote.

But I'll start with the good – I have one (woo! count 'em!) finished object. My Moebius scarf, made under the direction of my unendingly patient sister-in-law Kathy, who took it upon herself to teach THREE of us (two sisters, one s-i-l) to make Moebii (?) on the shores of Lake George in beautiful Ticonderoga this summer.  And she did a smashing job, despite our complete ineptitude.  Hopefully Kathy will post a picture of all of us with our scarves sometime.  It was lots of fun, and Kathy is a wonderful teacher.

Pattern:Moebius Scarf by Cat Bordhi
Yarn:Noro Sakura, 1 skein
Needles: US 6 / 4.0 mm Knitpicks Options circular

The other positive summer knitting note was that on our trip to the High Sierras (Tuolomne Meadows, about 9,000 feet up), while I did not actually knit except on the plane, it turned out that handknit wool socks were the perfect thing for keeping our feet warm on very chilly mornings, evenings and during the night.  I was so happy to have my socks in use, and to have 3/4 of my family keeping our feet toasty with them. (Because I do not pack for my husband, he did not even BRING his handknit socks. However I can't complain, because he got up every morning and lit the fire in the woodstove. without which we would have been very very un-toasty, even with our socks.

Tuolomne Meadows is close to heaven. It is a place that was special to my parents before they married and had us, and a place that I have warm memories of from my childhood, and now my children have wonderful memories from there too. Having all three generations there was incredible, despite the stress of planning and executing a vacation for 10 sometimes-cantankerous (I include myself!) relatives.

The bad:  I was inspired this year to make a summer tank, my first real summer knit, the Soleil tank out of Hempathy.  It went very well and the Hempathy is lovely and the pattern is lovely ... but ... I don't think it fits.

EVERYONE and their sister said it needed to be longer, and I entirely believed them, until I compared the measurements with my favorite T-shirts (and thought about my short torso) and DIDN'T make it longer.  And it is too short.  I am sure this has something to do with my bust, though I don't quite understand why it's different from my T-shirts.  I need to try it on again and figure out what to do – rip it all out? but given that summer was all-but-over when I tried it on, I lost the will to go on and for now it is sitting.  Sad.  I also don't love the way the single crochet around the edges looks – I couldn't figure out how not to make big holes.

*     *     *

My other knitting screw-up, not as serious:  I finally went back to work on the second sleeve of the cardigan I am knitting for Auden, only to realize that not only the number of stitches I had started the sleeve with, but also the number of stitches I had ended the FIRST sleeve with, matched absolutely nothing in the pattern.  Apparently,  *cough*, mistakes were made. So I have ripped out half of the first sleeve and am plugging away at re-doing that.

I started a pair of socks for the plane trip to California:  Conwy from Knitting on the Road in Fleece Maiden Basic Merino, which I LOVE. Love the colors, love the way it looks and feels.  (I hope they're going to fit – I've switched from 2s to Knitpicks 1.5s, without readjusting my numbers ... I'm livin' on the edge.)  

And for mindless TV knitting (Sarah Connor Chronicles!!!) plain ribbed socks from Trekking XXL.

And now fall is in full swing, with always too much to do and not enough time to do it. I am going to try to stop and breathe more. I'll let you know how that goes. :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

What Hath Spring Sprung?

It has been way too long since I've posted.  I've been knitting a lot, though.  And thinking of lots of things I want to say, here or somewhere, and just not finding the time.  I'll try to catch up a little!

It has been a very busy spring.  We have officially joined the ranks of over-scheduled families.  (Is there a badge?)  It happened SO quickly; I didn't see it coming.  Eli wanted to play Little League, but he was not going to give up cello (nor did we want him to) nor Hebrew/Sunday school (he would give that up, and I would let him, but his father feels strongly that the pain of religious education must be handed down from generation to generation.)  And recitals and science fairs and Auden wanted to play soccer ...  And my parents were here visiting from California this week, and last weekend was a reunion with my college roommates, and this week the children are in a play and next week I have a concert with rehearsals all week ... next year something may have to go!  

Knitting (combined with mindless television) has been a great stress-reducer.  Except all my knitting has been going wrong!

I started this sweater for Auden, Gretel by Penny Straker, but even though I swatched very carefully, my gauge got much tighter when I knit in the round and the sweater was clearly going to be too small.  Now I am bored of so much stockinette and think I will knit her a cardigan from Rowan Pipsqueaks instead, even though I love the Gretel and have heard wonderful things about Penny Straker patterns.

And then there were the socks for Will, which I went great guns on until it became clear I was going to run out of yarn; I don't know why I thought one skein of Cherry Tree Hill DK was going to be enough, but I did.  So I thought I'd make the toes gray, with leftover Lorna's Laces, and then I ran out of THAT and now the toes are purple and gray. *sigh*  They are not the things of beauty I once envisioned, though I know the toes won't show, and I haven't been able to get motivated to finish them off.

THEN I decided to make the cabled purse from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts for my friend Julie's 40th birthday, using the leftover Koigu from the scarf I made my friend Alison for her 40th birthday.  I didn't check gauge, and halfway through the purse was coming out VERY tiny! About 3" wide instead of the 5.25 called for in the pattern.  I couldn't bear to rip it out – it's not a hard pattern but it's a little bit fussy – so I went ahead and finished it and managed to spray-block it (around a plastic container lid) to about 5".  Hopefully it will stay that way!  It is a fun way to use Koigu; much quicker than socks and a better spring/summer gift than a scarf, I think.  This could be my go-to girlfriend gift.

Still plugging along on my cabled cardigan; no disasters there, thank goodness!

I will try to be back sooner.  Thank you for putting up with me!  And thank you all for your wonderful comments, which I love reading despite my lack of replying.