17 March 2010

The Six Steps of Perfection

Enough said.

Oh, okay..."The Six Steps of Perfection" refers to the perfectly drawn pint of Guinness.

16 March 2010

Monkey Surprise

I just got back to Omaha after spending a great weekend surprising my daughter, Anne (daughter #1), at her baby shower. We had just been there to visit in February and I truly didn't think I'd be able to make it there again - especially since we'll fly back out when this baby arrives! But I hadn't seen Ashley's (daughter #3) townhouse, yet, and I didn't want her to make the drive to the shower alone since she's in her first trimester. (Baby shower or showering babies?) So it seemed to be the perfect time to visit and it's so rare to really, really, really surprise someone.

There was a moment of iffy-ness that I'd actually make it out of Omaha. On December 23rd, we were all packed, waiting for our ride to the airport for Christmas with our granddaughter when we got a message that one leg of our flight was cancelled. Well, that just brought the whole trip to a screeching halt. There was no chance that we would be able to get on a different flight. I love spending time with Dave, but the two of us, alone, couldn't compete with Christmas in the presence of a 3-year old!

We waited, semi-patiently, through a record-breaking Omaha winter until we could fly to finally visit Anne and family. No sooner did we get to her house then the first of the two blizzards hit the mid-Atlantic. We were delayed getting home, but who cared? We were with family!

So, this past Thursday, after days of pleasant late-winter weather in Omaha, while I'm finishing packing (what knitting should I take?) it begins to snow. Huge flakes. Humongous flakes. I could use these flakes of snow as lace doilies! Jeesh! My little Jetta performed valiantly and I managed to get out of Omaha this time. I think I would have crawled out!

Anyway, it was a big surprise for Anne and we had a great time at the baby shower, meeting her friends and listening to all of the baby/childrearing stories. I gave Anne the completed baby blanket (see "Events", Feb. 11) that will have a written pattern shortly, and this rendition of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket:

Monkey Surprise

I couldn't find the perfect baby blue sock yarn (sock yarn makes a superb newborn jacket!) in my stash and was just turning away from all the yarns when my eyes hit on the tan and red and my brain yelled, "Sock Monkey!"

It makes me happy.

I followed EZ's pattern with the first 13 ridges in tan, then 6 ridges in white, 6 ridges in red, and 6 more ridges in white. Then I continued along with tan to the section of 10 ridges of 90 stitches. Here I knit one ridge in tan, 3 ridges in white, 2 ridges in tan, 3 ridges in white, and the last ridge in tan. Two buttonholes spaced about 5 stitches apart (I put the buttonholes on both sides. It gives me a guide as to where I sew the buttons.) and flip, flop, it's a jacket!

All this talk of daughter #1 and daughter #3...is there a daughter #2? Absolutely! And she's celebrating her birthday today! Happy Birthday, Allyson!! We'll see you soon for a NYC weekend.

06 March 2010

Big Louie

So here comes Innocent Lynn Anne, walking into her local yarn shop, String Of Purls, for a little Thursday knitting with friends. "Evil Sally", the super-genius saleswoman, is lying in wait for her. Over she strolls to the table, smile on her face, and some gorgeous yarn on some needles.

"What are you knitting?" asks Innocent Lynn Anne.

"Why, I'm knitting that cute lace cardigan in the new Vogue Knitting, " replies Evil Sally.

The spell has been cast and Innocent Lynn Anne can't help but blurt out, "Ohh...Can I see a photo?"

This is what Evil Sally had at the ready to display to Innocent Lynn Anne: (Rats! The photo was visible for a few hours, and now it's gone. I'll see if I can do something else. Ugh>)

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Lace Jacket from the Enchanted Lace collection in the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of Vogue Knitting.

I'm not expecting to wear it over anything formal (Where do I think I'm going?), but it will be perfect over some dressy slacks with a cute sleeveless shell.

I bought the yarn in this beautiful color (#271 peach):

and now all I want to do is knit with it.

As I sat here this morning, happily knitting each stitch, I became aware of the cadence of the knit stitches that I was silently repeating in my head with each repeat of the lace pattern. Many of us have learned to assign each stitch in the repeat a number, or to set up a little sing-song reminder of the directions. I often use the number bit. Knit and purl stitches are numbered and silently spoken in a normal "voice". Yarn overs are silently spoken with a rise and fall in the word. Since knit 2 togethers and slip-slip-knits take a bit longer to knit, I lengthen each of those numbers.

K3, k2tog, yo, k2, yo, ssk, becomes, "One, two, three, ff-oo-uu-rr, fiiiive, six, seven, eeiight, nn-ii-nn-ee." Repeat many times. (Please don't tell me if any of you are in the psychiatric profession. It weirds me out. Like smiling at a dentist.)

This Lace Jacket pattern has a 16-stitch repeat so I'm finding it a little easier to just say the stitches instead of assigning my usual numbers. There is, also, a double decrease that requires moving a stitch marker each time. I was calling this stitch "the big one" until my coffee must have kicked in, and it became "Big Louie". Why? I have no idea. But Big Louie it now is!

"Yarn over, knit 2, Big Louie." Geesh!

Anyway, it's lovely yarn and a lovely cardigan pattern:

Happy silent knitting to all!

01 March 2010

Olympians, All

I am proud to display my 2010 Knitting Champion gold medal:

designed by artiste extraordinaire, Franklin Habit for the Knitting Olympians.

My knitting challenge was this:

I'm only posting a sneak peek for now. All grown up, it's a rather large afghan. Now I'm playing with the idea of re-working the sizing and knitting a smaller sibling in a solid color. I love options. The pattern is written and will be published when the photos are complete.

I'd love to see any of your Olympic events! If you didn't compete this year...well, it's never too early to start training for Sochi in 2014!