22 February, 2007

Ivy's Coming Along...

I just finished the first sleeve of Ivy tonight. I decided to do the sleeves first since I didn't really trust my gauge swatch, and a sleeve is a lot less to rip out than a sweater back...guess what? I don't think I'll be ripping anything out tonight!

Unblocked, but stretched, the sleeve is exactly as per pattern. It also is fitting into my "template sweater" measurements nicely, as you can see from the pic below. (The Ivy sleeve is stretched on one side, but rolled under at top, which is why it looks too skinny.) That black sweater is my favorite and best-fitting fine gauge sweater, and the sleeve cap is almost identical in size. The wrist length on Ivy is longer, but that's the bell sleeve and hitting below my watch, as opposed to above the watch. It may be a tad long, but I think it's about perfect.

One sleeve took just over two balls of Highland Silk. I'm a leeetle worried that I may not have enough to do the whole sweater (I have 15 balls) even though I have the amount I am supposed to have. But I'm only a bit worried, not angsty.

20 February, 2007

Just Funny, Not Knitting

It's Chad! He's back with Episode 6 and life is good. Ahh, I do love this saga...

A Short History of Susie Knitting

I was musing about all the different things one can knit, and the different styles of knitting, and I realized something interesting. I'm not a prolific knitter by any means, but I've taken a stab at all kinds of different knitting in my day.

I taught myself to knit from a book at 16, my mom showed me Continental knitting, or as I call it, FAST knitting, and I never looked back. The first thing I remember making was leg warmers, in bright pink acrylic. This WAS the 80s, you know. I wore them often during figure skating lessons at school. No pattern, just...hmm, ribbing....hmmm, maybe I should make them smaller here, and there you are. Perfectly fine leg warmers. Last year my sister, now living in Florida, sent me a pair of leg warmers I made for her, near the same time, although these were wool. A little felted, but I was impressed with myself - they looked good for over 20 years old!

The next project I tackled was a sweater. Fair Isle, knit in the round, seamless. I had no idea it was supposed to be hard! Thank you for Elizabeth Zimmerman, and her seminal book Knitting Without Tears. If I were on a desert island and could have only one knitting book, that would be the one. The sweater was made in a foggy blue lopi sort of wool, with brown and green and cream patterns, and it was lovely. I remember buying the wool with my Mom at a yarn shop long since closed on Calvert Street in Baltimore, MD.

The sweater? Wonderful! I still find it hard to believe I knit something to fit myself so quickly out of the knitting gate. I wish I had a picture of me in it, but it's long gone now. Sadly, my young knitting self couldn't be trusted to care for woolen garments and I shrank it pretty severely when I left home and did my own laundry.

After that, I didn't knit myself another sweater for ages, until I made a boxy but good rollneck in the mid-90s. No more sweaters for me; I didn't grasp the idea that fitted garments make you look less like a fireplug, so the huge or bulky sweaters I did start were less than successful. I did tackle socks, Turkish socks, color-patterned fair isle hats, cabling, and socks knit within socks. And of course scarves. A wonderful Aran vest that I never wore because of the above Bulky Issue. And the odd mitten. I made a few lovely, lacy baby sweaters and two baby blankets in complicated stitch patterns.

Despite all those pretty nifty achievements, I lost confidence in my Mad Knitting Skillz somewhere along the way. Then I had kids and lost my ability to carve out free time. In the past year, my wish to knit and time to knit have somehow met up again, and we're glad to be back in business.

Things I have found out: I knit VERY loosely and it's a challenge making socks that aren't floppy. A small project can teach you as much as a huge project, and you might actually finish it! Lace is tough. Until you can read a chart. Then it's just time- and attention-consuming. Fitting a sweater to your own personal measurements means you just might WANT to wear the sweater when you're done.

It's not rocket science, but it's knitting. And it makes me happy.

19 February, 2007

Three Guesses

Here's what I spent my knitting hours on this weekend.

I'll give you three guesses as to what this is.

Give up? See this post for details.

16 February, 2007

Wedgie Complete!!

One Wedgie, size 5 (US) needles, two and a half balls of Noro Kureyon, and total scarf happiness!! I decided not to do the differently-shaped final wedge and just cast off, but now I'm second-guessing my second guess. I think Vyvyan's scarf pictures show that the funny little last wedge is really THE way to go. I may spit-splice and add that wedge, or I may just live with my pointy one.

I really really like this scarf - I think it's a great way to show off Kureyon color shifts and it's skinny enough to wrap around while still being snuggly. GREAT pattern. I have some tan alpaca that would be really nice in this, but I think I am going to try Vyvyan's Argosy pattern for that. Am I ready for the challenge? We'll see! That is one chic scarf.

08 February, 2007

Some Knitting and Way Too Much Whining.

Hey, all you Gentle Readers! All three of ya :) I apologize for the lack of posts lately. Been feeling a little overwhelmed by life and underwhelmed by dealing with it. Plus DH had my laptop in his custody for a couple of days, studying for his promotion test.

Our promised "several inches of snow" fizzled out today, much to the disgust of young David, who says "I hate global warming."

In knitting, I picked up my lovely Wedgie a couple of evenings ago and am now into skein three of the Noro. I contemplated stopping at two skeins, which Vyvyan suggests, but I like to wrap a scarf around my neck a la Tom Baker's Doctor Who, so I'm going for crazy-long. It's looking great and I promise a pic on me soon. Camera is batteryless, and David has his camera at Cub Scouts tonight to photograph the small David's investiture (?). After Wedgie, I am going back to my Snowdrop Shawl to make a little progress, I think. So ends the knitting update. If you don't need to read a truckload of whining about how to make my child happy again, stop now!

Small David is ... not great. He's feeling angst-y, irritable, and gets upset very easily, and it seems to be a combination of all kinds of things.

Here's what I hate - when your kids are too old for you to be able to solve all their problems. Sigh. We've made some progress getting him to talk about his feelings, at least. All kinds of things are getting to him, and he's just not ever...happy. Not really for a couple of months now. I'm getting more and more concerned.

Tae Kwon Do was stressful - we found out that it is because he's gone up a belt and has a much more complex pattern that he can't memorize yet. Dadster talked to the instructor and he had a helper do lots more one-to-one work with him to get the pattern and moves down. I think that's going to be OK now.

Cubs has just started to become a "thing," too. David loved Beavers and the kids/leaders there. He's just moved up to the Cub pack and, frankly, it's more than a little Lord of the Flies. The leader is a very old woman, who's been doing it since her son, now in his forties, was a Cub Scout. She, and the other leaders, have no idea how to command the attention and respect of a group of little boys, and the kids in general make me REALLY happy David doesn't go to the school most of them attend. I attended a couple of sessions and found myself speaking up to say "Oi. Listen to the leader." DH is there tonight and will be watching, and talking to the District head who will be there, but I think the solution is to look for a better-run pack. There's only one little boy that David has bonded with there, anyhow, so we might be able to switch to a pack a bit further away if they have space. The other pack is more likely to have kids from David's school anyway, but they were oversubscribed when he joined Beavers last year.

School is now boring and a waste of time - he can't really articulate that one, but hasn't tried when he's not in the middle of being upset in the morning when it's time to get ready for school, so we'll have to chat again soon. I talked to his teachers this week to let them know he's feeling bored and frustrated and that I would try and find out more. They are watching him more closely. Because the classwork is too easy, he's not getting anything out of the day except his socializing, especially with his tablemate and buddy Sam, who is another really bright kid in his year.

However, I don't know what to suggest to enrich the work and add some interest to the topics. He likes the arty projects best. Those of you who know David have some idea just how bright he is, and his main teacher certainly knows his has stellar test scores, reads off the charts, and has an incredible vocabulary. However, he does what is expected of him and not more in school, and she doesn't push for anything different, since he was the youngest child in the room last year. The classroom is a combined Year 3/Year 4 room, with about 20 kids. That equates to second and third grades in the US. This year, at 8, he is in the middle of the age range so he's fitting in socially really well with both years. His slow and not-very-neat writing is the thing holding him back from really ripping with story writing, etc., and I keep trying to point this out to the teacher, but she's pleased enough with his writing in class, and I've seen samples. It's creative and funny, and very polished for a 7-8-year-old, etc., but he struggles to get it out on paper in time. Mathwise he does really well but if it were somehow more interesting, I think he'd leap far ahead. So school. That's an issue. I don't want to take him out and homeschool him, because he likes the kids so much and it's a great little school. But we need to find ways to challenge him within school before he hates it. I think homeschooling right here, right now, would be very isolating for him. But some days I wonder. 90% of what he knows he's taught himself through books, etc. That's what happens when you learn to read at 3. I'm struggling.

He doesn't like bedtime at all. We've tried several different ways of easing the transition or lengthening the awake time. In a nutshell, he doesn't like being alone in his room. It's a huge room, 15 by 15 feet, and he has a loft bed, and I think he feels lost and lonely in there. DH and I have been tossing around a couple of ideas to make the room more warm and fuzzy, among them turning the loft bed into a low bed (it's a bed that has three height settings; used to be highest height when he shared a bedroom with Lily in Nebraska, now it's middle height, and at low height you could put curtains or something around the bedposts and make it a hidey place.) The other idea is to swap rooms and put him in the Grandma room (guest room) which is much smaller, but there's really not room for all his bookshelves and toy shelves in there.

See? A very boring post, but it's all that's in my head right now. That, and all the stuff I need to do for Lily's preschool. Feeling overwhelmed by my To Do list, which I wouldn't be feeling if I weren't overwhelmed by David's general unhappiness.

Suggestions? Advice? Two cents' worth? Anyone?