Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All about babies......

Greetings and Dear Laura:

Well, the last week has been all about babies - and that's always good! (Caution - long post, very little knitting content!)

Last Wednesday, we picked up my niece Jessica from the airport - she'd flown in from Austin. Yes, it was odd that we didn't recognize her right away, since it has only been 5 months since we've seen her. I have to say in our defense that in those 5 months she's gotten glasses and gotten 5 months pregnant. She's rounder than she used to be!!!

Thursday my parents drove up from Kentucky, and my youngest brother brought his 5-month-old daughter over for supper, which was a lot of fun. (That's how it is when mom & dad are home. My brothers and their families are over for meals and visits and its lots of fun and I love it and I get NOTHING done the whole time. Yay!!) Friday my nephew Zach showed up on his way home to California from the east coast. Since Drew is also home from California right now, it meant that the whole family was actually home at the same time for the first time since Jess's wedding last May.

Saturday was Jessica's baby shower. Somehow between Friday night and Saturday afternoon, I managed to sew 7 baby receiving blankets. These have become my favorite baby gift to give! I simply purchase 1.25 yards of flannel and turn a hem all the way around. They have such cute fabrics, and moms love them because they are heavier and larger than receiving blankets that you buy. Since we know that Jessica is having a girl (Josephine!) I got to pick out 3 girly fabrics for her shower gift. I also made an extra 4 (2 neutral, 1 girl and 1 boy) for her sister Amanda, since at the time I didn't know what her new baby would be.


We got a great picture (I'll post a copy when I can) of my 3 oldest nieces - Amanda due 10/29, Amber due in January and Jessica due in March. (Amanda & Jessica are sisters and Amber is their cousin.)

(Did you know that I don't like to sew really? That's the downside of these blankets. I have to sew. I decided to try a fusible webbing for turning the hems under and then sewing, avoiding the tedious process of pinning all that hem. Really, ironing all that hem under twice and fusing the webbing was pretty much as tedious! And even tho I followed the directions and used a pressing cloth, the bottom of my iron got all gooey. Tip: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser cleans that right off!)

Sunday after church my mom and I took my 3-year-old great-niece Grace along to Walmart and ran some other errands. She is so much fun - I especially love hearing her talk to/about my dad "Grandpa Ed." (His name is Ned!) She has somehow not noticed that N yet! Sunday evening I enjoyed a lovely dinner with
RPW's family, celebrating my Godson's 11th birthday - check out her post for pictures of how he's grown!!

Which brings us to Monday, when Amanda gave birth to Whitney Lyne! She's a beauty, 8 lbs 2 oz. Both mother and baby are doing well, and may come home today. Whitney got 3 of the receiving blankets (not the rockets!) and 2 hats, the Louisa Harding angora and the 3rd Fetching Inspired Hat that I made from Debbie Bliss Cashmerino.


(I cast it on Sunday evening and finished it last night!) (That closes out the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino in cream that I used to make Grace's baptismal gown 3 years ago - so that's some stash busted!)

Whew. So, back to the regularly scheduled knitting.


It's still baby knitting, of course, but it's all good!

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Friday, October 26, 2007

How to be a better speller...

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I'm scrambling to show you something knitting related, so here is a sock, all done except for the bind-off....the first of two socks in this pair.... This pair of socks is one of two gifts which I am trying to finish before Christmas so that they may be gifted at that time. It's not exactly an impressive goal in terms of "Christmas knitting", especially considering what others all around me in cyberspace knit during this time of the year. Even so, I'm not sure I'm going to be done with either gift on time...

And, a close-up of the button on my little sock knitting bag, given to me by another knitter, found in Minnesota:
My seven year old has been corresponding with Grandpa via e-mail the past couple of months. Yesterday, I observed him as he was working on a note and adding a PS, then PSS, then PSSS (not sure that he knows exactly what these mean, and actually, I thought the sequence was more PS, then PPS, then PPPS, etc. -- but I'm sure Grandpa doesn't care). It bothers my little guy when there is a red squiggly line underneath words indicating that they aren't spelled correctly, and I watched as he highlighted each of these PS, PSS, and PSSS terms individually, and one at a time managed to "add to dictionary". Voila', the words are spelled correctly, the offensive squiggles gone. I don't know how he figured out how to do this, though we subsequently had a discussion about how in real life, you can't just make words how you want them...and that putting them into your own personal dictionary doesn't actually mean they are now spelled correctly... Anyway, I can understand why his teachers have told me that he is a "problem solver"...

In other news, I had a chemistry quiz yesterday and I think I may have come close to fulfilling the adage, "If you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail." I gave myself the week off from studying, and now feel fortunate that we are going to be able to drop our two lowest quiz grades this semester.....

Kids have off from school today, and we have lots to do around the house, so I haven't had to do a whole lot of "peace-keeping" so far... I hope this finds you having a nice day. Also, have a great weekend!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Happy Mole Day!

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

6.02x10**23 atoms or molecules -- Happy Mole Day!! I never even realized that this basic tenet of chemistry actually had its own day, but my chemistry professor brought in cookies yesterday for all of his students in celebration of today, 10/23, so I pass along my great joy to you as I say, Happy Mole Day!

Thank you for sending me your extra copy of Vogue's 25th Anniversary issue! It arrived yesterday, and as you've said, there is nothing more fun than receiving an unexpected package in the mail! Thank you so much! I'm very much enjoying reading through it!
My seven year old was clearly jealous of my package, and my five year old immediately started squishing/popping the plastic air bubbles inside of the bubble/mailing envelope (which was so pretty in all of its floral glory -- very fun)!

I've been sewing and knitting when I can, and have a few things to share with you. First, my five year old saw this paw print fabric and has been asking for a "fleece jacket with a zipper" for a few months, so I got busy on that.(Okay, so he's wearing his pajamas in these photos, but just so you know, when he wears the jacket outside, he actually has real pants on...)

I've also been pushing to finish Sapporo. The lower hem is sewn in place, complete with "zip cord". The front plackets are done and the zipper has been officially sewn into place, though I still will hem stitch around the edges of it to hold it in place better and keep the lower part of it from flapping around (since my zipper ended up being and inch or two longer than the opening for it). I followed the directions in the tutorial on our sidebar for sewing it into place. I still must fold down the neckband and sew it into place. Pictures of the finished sweater, "right side out", in my next post. Here is a snapshot of the finishing which shows the sleeve where it is attached to the sweater, with facing sewn down over the raw cut edge where the sleeve was placed into the body of the sweater.
"Take Two" of the Christmas sweater for my DH is well under way. I totally ripped out the body, because the hem at the lower edge just wasn't going to lie flat, and started again with ribbing. Now I'm about ten inches along (needs to be about 17 before I add the sleeves and start knitting the raglan yoke), and this is probably about 500 yards of yarn knit into the body so far. These hanks of alpaca yarn are great, because they are about 600 yards each, so there aren't going to be very many ends to weave in when the knitting is done -- a very stark contrast from my Sapporo (which has very laborious finishing). Still not certain this will be done before Christmas, since I only work on it when DH isn't around. It's the project I most enjoy knitting these days, even though it is a sea of stockinette -- I think because there seems to be a lot of other stuff going on this fall, and it is nice to just pick something up to knit which requires absolutely no thought. When I make another sweater for DH someday, however, I think I will make sure to select yarn which may be knit on needles larger than size three...

I'm "decorating" in the loosest sense of the word, making fleece pillow covers for the pillows on our (very old) couch. So far, only one is completed, so of course my kids now argue about who gets to sit by the pillow having the soft apple cover on it... I might have the second one done just in time to replace them with pillow covers which are more in the spirit of Christmas. Pattern/instructions are from Nancy Cornwell's books on sewing fleece.

I've been sewing Halloween costumes, too, and will share those in another post. For now, it's back to Tuesday chores. Tuesday is really my only day "off", so now I must go make gold while the sun is shining (if by "making gold", I mean "do laundry, sort paperwork, scrub things"...)...

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

And stash enhanced.....

Greetings and Dear Laura:

So, knitting merrily along and making baby progress all the while. I finished the little blue cashmere hat in just 2 days!


It was a fun knit, and I really like the finished project. I now have a boy hat, a girl hat, and 3 that are for either. At least 2 of those will go to my new great-niece/nephew scheduled to be born on the 29th, so there's always more to do!

As soon as I cast off the blue hat and wove in the ends, I cast on a blanket for a baby due in January.


I'm using the stash-lost-found-lost yarn, 7 balls of red and 2 of blue to make this blanket. My friend Kathryn specifically requested that the blanket be made of this yarn, since the blanket I made for her 2nd child was in this yarn and she really likes the feel and wear of it.

I'm using a pattern that I found on Ravelry - yay!! It's a fun pattern to knit - I've finished the first ball of yarn already! The pattern makes up to be smaller than I wanted, so I cast on 146 stitches, and I think I'll be somewhere more than 30" wide, and 35-40" long. At this rate, I could have it done yet in October! (Why am I so opposed to size 8 needles!?!?!)

Last Saturday, I made a trip up to
Knitting Today to pick up a few things that I had picked out a few weeks ago. The Cash Vero yarn for the blue hat was new, but they had sold out of the blue, so I ordered that. I also ordered Addi Turbo Lace needles in size 0, 47" for magic loop lace sock knitting. And I grabbed up the last copy of Cat Bordhi's new sock book, and put that on hold.


So Saturday I drove up, and picked up the yarn and the book (the needles weren't in) and also found...(of course) some Universal Deluxe yarn in a lovely blue colorway which will also make some cute baby hats AND another Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket - I love that pattern!


I also picked up a Fiber Trends pattern for a lace baby blanket that I had picked out on my last trip. I have the yarn for this (thank you for picking up the silk/wool laceweight at Blackberry Ridge for me last spring!) and that will be my next baby blanket. I need one in March, and possibly one in January. I haven't decided if my niece's second baby will also get a lace baptismal blanket. She's lobbying for it, but I'm trying to be a realist!!


Oh, and at the last minute I grabbed a pom-pom maker that looked easier to use than my current one. (wink!)


Alright, that's it for now - keep knitting!!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter!)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Stash lost. Stash found. Stash lost.

Greetings and Dear Laura:

I must be losing my mind. I'm sure as heck losing my yarn.....

Four years ago, I ordered
Heirloom Breeze yarn from Ozeyarn. I ordered 4 bags. I think. One in cream, one in yellow, one in red and one in blue. 10 balls is enough to do a baby blanket. I had already made 2 blankets with this yarn and really loved it. It's a stretchy wool/cotton blend that tolerates the washer and dryer, and the two moms who had these blankets really liked them.

My niece Amanda was expecting, and blue and/or red was going to work with the nursery she planned. And since Cass Street wasn't carrying the yarn anymore, I ordered yellow and white to have on hand.

So. Four blankets worth. I never got around to knitting a blanket for Amanda's baby Grace. Just ran out of time. I had the yarn in a plastic tote when I moved - it was in storage upstairs at mom & dad's. Then I went to knit a baby blanket...and I couldn't find that tote. Or the tote with the Cascade 220 leftovers and the 2-sweaters-worth of Classic Elite Tweed. I hunted everywhere. Went through every box and tote upstairs (found a lot of OTHER yarn I'd forgotten about!) went through my closets, my yarn dresser....nothing.

I looked again when it was time to have the stash sale and start cataloging my stash. Same result. I was just SURE that I hadn't knit 4 baby blankets and forgotten about it, but I finally gave up.

Last week we had a contractor over to remove a wall from between my parents living room and family room. While it was all torn up, I wanted a second cable run from the satellite down through my hall closet and out by the tv. In order to do this, I had to empty the hall closet.

You can see where this is going - I found the tote with the Breeze yarn!! I was SO excited - I want to do a blanket for a baby due in January. I'd been looking at yarn, but it was really bugging me to think of buying yarn for a baby blanket when I knew I had all that Breeze. I photographed a ball in each color to post to Ravelry, then grabbed the red and blue to start swatching.

I think. Somehow this gets messed up. I have a bag with 2 balls of blue and 7 of red. But I was SURE that I also had a bag with the other 8 of blue and a couple of loose balls of red in that tote as well. However. I CAN'T FIND THEM!!!!!! I've torn the closet mostly apart again, I've looked in all my other yarn's not pretty.


1. I've lost my mind and there was always only this bag of red/blue mix. Maybe I didn't order a full bag of each color. But if I was only going to order one blanket's worth - I would have ordered more than 2 balls of blue to 7 red....and why do I think I saw a bag of mostly blue just a week ago?????

2. I did take a big stack of empty boxes to the dumpster last week - did that bag get in one of them somehow? But the boxes were in the hallway, and I certainly didn't put any yarn in the hall. (This one keeps me up at night anyway. Yarn in the dumpster??? The horror...)

3. It's still in the house somewhere.

I don't know. But I need to get started on that blanket, and 2 balls of blue isn't enough. And blue/white is the color combo she'd like. Oy.

In other news, I'm on a bit of a hat jag. Amanda is having her 3rd child, scheduled for October 29th. When asked what she would like for me to knit for this baby, she requested hats. She had a hard time finding hats for Lydia, and would like several for this baby.

So far I have a "girl hat" from
Louisa Harding Kimono Angora that just needs a little flower detail. (I have enough yarn to make another of these, so that's a nice portable project to have in my "baby gift stash.)


Fetching Inspired Hat made from Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. This yarn is the leftover from Grace's Christening gown, so the new baby will have a matching hat. (I also still have enough yarn for another of these!)


A Bobble Hat that I made from some
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Rainbow. (Oh I had me some serious love for that colorway. I had several skeins of it in fingering, and hated everything I tried. I have maybe 5 or 6 skeins in Worsted - and it's truly ugly no matter what I do. I have a mitten and a half knitted plus an adult hat and 4 balls, plus this baby hat. This yarn will haunt me for the rest of my life!!!!!!!!!!) I got a little goofy with the pom-pom I-cord thing....


and now I'm working on a Cable Brim Hat (baby-hat-as-swatch, I'm making it up as I go!) out of
Cascade Cash Vero.


Whew. That's going to be it for now - there's plenty going on, but that's a brief recap. (Get it - hats - reCAP....oh, nevermind....)

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My life is one big chemistry quiz

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

First, knitting progress! YAY! I've finished the neckband of Sapporo. I made it a little shorter than the pattern calls for, and added a turning ridge. Here it is shown unfolded; when it is done, it will be a folded, double layer, encasing the top of the zipper along the front edge. Next step, though, I pick up stitches along the front edge to finish up the placket and prepare it for zipper insertion.

I also dug another project out of the WIP pile -- My Mad Money Bag (kit from Blackberry Ridge). I had the knitting done except for the I-cord, so I started the I-cord -- a five stitch I-cord on size 1 needles, roughly a yard and a half of it. It reminds me of watching grass grow. This is after hours of knitting, and I'm ashamed to show you, because it doesn't look like much. In any case, about another foot to knit and I can sew it to the other side of the bag and call this one done.

My chemistry teacher is very creative. For our first quiz, he gave each of us a chocolate kiss candy. Prior to that, he had written the symbol for an element on the bottom of each one. Then, we had to find others in our class having the same element, and these are the people we'd work with on the group part of the quiz. I really don't like working in random groups. I understand they are teaching us how to get along with others, and I "can" do this, but I do not enjoy it. The first time the three people in my group met together, one guy in the group turned to me and said, "I flunked this class at the UW, so I'm taking it here now." That's all history now, because my teacher has moved on to Starburst candy. On Monday, we each took a Starburst, noted the elemental symbol on the bottom of it, and met with our new quiz group for the first time. There are some extremely smart people in this class -- the woman having a masters in statistics comes immediately to mind. However, they are not in my group. I can't complain too much. Mostly it's the drain on time, trying to get together outside of class with other people to get the thing completed, which is most difficult for me.

Anyway, quiz due on Monday, lab due on Monday, going out of town on Saturday, so I think I'll spend this evening watching tv and knitting. Perhaps I'll get the front plackets on my Sapporo finished!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Okay for kids of all ages...

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I found this tool while reading BaxterKnits, so I thought I'd find out what our blog is rated:


Actually, that is exactly what I was going for (though I'm not sure what your thoughts on that might be...).

It did notice, however, that we have used the word "kill" three times... (I guess I've said, "If it doesn't kill me, it will make me stronger," three times by now...)

Anyway, more soon, because I've been working on clearing out some WIP's from months and months ago...

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Just an ordinary person.......

Greetings and Dear Laura:

Oh what cute slippers! Don't you just love quick little projects?? FO's are the best.

And welcome to Ravelry - isn't it grand? I'm DesignatedKntr, as I see you've already found! (I would have a user name that is too long!!) I haven't entered ALL of my stash by any means, but I do have most of the.....hmm, how to say....."readily visible" portion of the stash entered. There are still 3-4 large totes in my bedroom that I haven't even contemplated posting yet!

I've been busy with all manner of things - altho not nearly enough knitting to keep up with my current version of a plan!

Although, I've come to the conclusion that the plan is flawed. It always is. You see, I keep forgetting that I'm just an ordinary person. You would think that as often as my knitting slaps me down, this little fact would be imbedded in my brain, but it is not so.

Earlier this year, I took a class at
Knitting Today on using the Magic Loop method of circular knitting. We made a cute little baby hat. (My little baby slapped me down in public! I was the one in the class who wrapped my yarn wrong from when I changed needles and ended up adding 2 stitches to each round. So much for feeling like, "I teach knitting classes! I'll pick this up without even trying!" (See, I usually deserve it when I get slapped!))

One thing that Lea-Ann stressed was that we should always push or pull the needle end, and that we should NEVER pull the cable. If you pull the wrong side of the cable, you pull the needle right out of the stitches. (Go ahead, ask me if this is true....) Despite proving to myself that this is true, I confess that I continued to "pull the cable." You see, as I eventually explained to Lauren, deep down I was convinced that I'm superior to those people who would pull the wrong side. I am perfectly capable of paying attention to what I'm doing, and since I know what to be careful of, all will be well. Besides, trying to push the cable?? Not so much.

So we're knitting along at lunch and I'm working on the Ribbons Blanket, using the magic loop method, when for the SECOND TIME in less than an hour.....I pulled the needle out of the stitches. Lauren may have laughed at me. I was forced to face that fact that I am JUST AN ORDINARY PERSON.

Next post we will discuss how a pair of baby socks slapped me silly. (Yes, Magic Loop is involved, NO, I didn't pull the cable.....)


Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)