Friday, June 29, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I'm in Minneapolis again this week for a few more hours, which means I've been up here for winter, spring, and summer, so far. The differences between the seasons have been rather amazing. For my winter trip, the thermometer dipped down into the negative digits, double digits. My spring visit brought temperatures in the 50s and 60s. This visit has included 90 degree weather and today, the high is 71. It is beautiful and my coworker and I have tried to take advantage of it as much as possible.

We decided to actually leave work at a decent time the other night and headed to a local spot for dinner. A local team member decided to come with us and act as a guide. The three of us drove out to Lake Calhoun, a beautiful part of town. The lake is surrounded with separate walking and biking pathways and the paths were heavily used. As we strolled around the lake to the Tin Fish restaurant, bikers zoomed across the biking path, bathers waded in the beach, and families strolled along the walking path. The lake was also filled with people sailing, kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboating. I was amazed with all the activity on a weeknight and loved that people were outside being active. We headed down to the Tin Fish and ate dinner sitting by the lake. If you are ever in Minneapolis, go to Lake Calhoun, walk down to the Tin Fish, and enjoy a glass of beer and the fantastic food.

While in Minneapolis, I found the knitters at my company. My company has a knitting charity group called Project Warm Hearts. They knit for three local charities and my company matches their donated items with a cash gift as well. Plus, there is a yarn closet at work, so if you are in need of yarn, you can just pop by the closet and pick up a few skeins. I picked up some Sugar and Cream cotton for dishcloths. I'm thinking a dishcloth would be a perfect way to try out some doubleknitting. I did finish a hat while knitting away with the Minneapolis knitters and left that in the capable hands of the Project Warm Hearts coordinator.

Pattern: none
Yarn: Mission Falls Superwash wool
Duration: Started the hat on Monday morning on the plane, finished it on Wednesday at lunch. It is a man sized hat. The yarn is worsted weight, so the hat knits up quickly.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

LA Sunshine

We just returned from a mini vacation, and the stress of being back is already getting to me. Work became more and more hectic in my absence, and I quickly felt the relaxation from the vacation slip away. In an effort to keep the stress from getting to me, I uploaded pictures from the vacation and sneak a peek every now and then during the day. Posting on the blog also seemed like a great way of keeping the trip fresh on my mind.

We arrived in LA (Lower Alabama) late Wednesday night, ready to storm the beach, which we did:

The boys played a rousing game of beach football as I soaked in the rays and enjoyed my beach knitting.

This is a tank top I began three years ago during my first beach trip as a knitter. It took two years for the tank to reach a length of 10 inches. Then, it took me just a few minutes to knit another two inches. Working on the large needles and the ribbon yarn took some getting used to after a year of sock knitting, but my hands slowly warmed up. Hopefully, I can move this knit from UFO status to WIP in August for the orange phase of Project Spectrum 2.0. Although having designated beach knitting is a bit fun, I'd much rather have a finished tank I can wear on my next beach trip.

When we got tired of the beach, we enjoyed the pool:

We also experienced the wildlife native to LA:

Little Clover found a few hermit crab during the day. Then, in honor of Big Papa Clover, we went hunting for crab one night. We found a crab that resembled a beetle and liked to bury itself in the sand. We also went in search of dolphins,

and found some. The pod consisted of approximately 6 dolphins, including one pup who stayed right by the mama.

Now, I'm ready for another vacation.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


World Wide Knit In Public day came and went, and I had a wonderful time. I knit with a diverse group of people at a local bookstore. We meet every other week and the bookstore is extremely wonderful to us. Not only do they let us take up space, but they also let us use a very comfy sofa. They hosted us for WWKIP and we had a decent crew show up. Not only did we have a group of regulars from our Thursday knit-ups, but we also had quite a few never before seen knitters. Hopefully, the knit-up group will expand.

During WWKIP, I did knit, then frogged, then knit, then frogged, then knit on a Lotus Blossom tank from Interweave Knits. I finally got the cast on just right and knitted away for a bit. Later that day, I pulled out the Lotus Blossom tank and frogged it again because I missed a stitch somewhere. I then began casting on again. Since the tank called for casting on 200 stitches, I had set aside stitches to segment the cast on into 50 stitche sections. I wrongly assumed counting to 50 would be much easier. I discovered I can count to 50 without a problem, but I can't count to 4. Instead I keep on counting to 8. Yep, I was casting on over 400 stitches. I casted on over 400 stitches 6 times! After a week, I completed exactly 5 rows of the Lotus Blossom tank. I hope I love this sweater when it's done.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Mama, does this look funny

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This is a husky, but it's not very husky looking. I admit I did a horrible job finishing it, but at least it is finished. All the pieces were knitted up in January, but they have been lingering in my knitting bag for the last few months. Oh, well. At least I can say the husky is complete.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Stars in the grass

Mama, what does dew look like?
Well, sweetie, it looks like that.
Yes, but what does it look like?
It looks like water droplets?
Yes, but what does it look like (hoping that by accenting a different word, I would get the point)?
I don't know. What does it look like?
It looks like stars in the grass.

I am know officially, the mother of a third grader, and I feel a bit old. Little Clover's report card came in the mail and he had an excellent year. I'm still amazed at times with the little gems he throws my way, like the one above. We had that conversation the other day as we were walking from the car to the door early one morning. The ground was heavy with dew and he told me what it looks like. I was taken aback by his little bit of poetry and I smiled. Maybe, just maybe, there is a little bit of an artist in him yet.

He then proceded to tell me about how he came to this conclusion one day at school while completing a review book, and how his answer was marked wrong. He also completed the sentence "The leaves in the tree look like" with the phrase "a million dollars," which was also marked wrong. I told him I thought those were brilliant answers and he agreed and didn't know what was wrong with his teacher for not thinking so as well. I was very relieved that he wasn't bothered by the wrong marks he received, and I was also indignant at the failure of his school to take the chance to promote his creativity. Often times, it seems, schools tend to focus too much on perfect test scores and the rote memorization of facts and they forget to teach children how to think. As a parent, I can do my bit, but it would be nice if free thinking was also encouraged at school. At least I now have a summer to mold him as I wish.

On the note about feeling old because I am now the mother of a third grader, Little Clover reinforced my feelings with a flippant comment. We were out and about and he took a look at the denim mini skirt, polo shirt, and Birkenstocks I was wearing and remarked, "You look like a college girl." I asked if that was a good thing or a bad thing, and he replied, "Kinda, in the middle." I'm not sure if a mom isn't expected to wear denim mini skirts or if a "woman of my age" isn't supposed to dress in such a manner. I'm really hoping it's the mom thing. His comment is especially funny to me because when I was pregnant with Little Clover, I remarked about how I didn't want to dress like a mom. Mrs. Soprano expressed her wisdom by telling me however I dress, I would be dressing like a mom to my child, and she was right. To Little Clover, a mom either wears business attire or pajamas, but not in a mini skirt. I'll make a note of that.

Fortunately, to Little Clover, a mother does spin and knit. Unfornutely, his mother has not been knitting or spinning well as of late. I've started and ripped out the Fancy Silk Sock about five times now. I think I've gotten over what ever bad mojo I had and have now knitted a whopping half inch. Hooray! Little things still make me happy.

Where are the pictures?
The pictures are missing for a couple of reasons. First, I really don't think the web wants to see pictures of me in a mini skirt. I may be wrong, but I doubt it. Secondly, a progress of half an inch on a sock is just not that exciting. Instead, I'll post some really wonderful pictures tomorrow. Hopefully, you'll be teased into visiting the blog again. I apologize for my miserable lack of involvement in eye candy Friday, but I think the story above is worth a thousand pictures.

Monday, June 04, 2007

I heart bamboo

(and not just because I'm Asian)

This is why I love my bamboo DPNs and why I hate my rosewoods:

My bamboos have lived through several pairs of socks, being shoved into a knitting bag, and being tossed about in my purse. Only one has ever left me to live in the great big yarn stash in the sky. I lost two rosewoods in the same day and I didn't even like them much to begin with!

The rosewood needles developed a slight split at the tip almost right away. Sure they are beautiful looking needles, but for the cost, I think they should make it through a few pairs of socks, let alone a single sock before they start to split. Then to add insult to injury, I broke a needle while trying on the sock just to make sure they fit. The situation only worsened when I reached into my purse to pull out the spare needle. Instead, I pulled out a shard of wood, then the longer splinter that was in actually, the other part of the broken spare. I would have cried a little if I wasn't at work.

I'd love to show you the sock, but unfortunately, they were a casualty of the Rosewood Break. A few yarnover stitches laddered down during the break and since I'd only made two inches of progress, I opted for frogging and reknitting. Hopefully, any negative rosewood karma was released with the frogging and the socks will be happier working with bamboo. They will be my first Nancy Bush socks, made from the pattern Fancy Silk Socks from the book Knitting Vintage Socks.

The second reason I love bamboo has to do with the lovely green yarn I pulled out of the stash. I was intending on making a purse in a basket stitch pattern, but Mrs. Soprano remarked that the yarn is too beautiful and should be a top of some sort. Now that I've casted on 250 stitches for a bag, I am wondering if she's right. Hmm, what tough choices a knitter must tackle. What do you think? A bag in the spirit of Bamboozle or a tank top of sort?

Finally, I love bamboo because I finally figured out how to spin it. The bamboo fiber has not been easy for me. It wants to grab and pull while I am trying to draft it. The yarn has quite a few slubs that I am hoping I cam tame when I ply it. Originally, I wanted to create a single ply yarn, but my spinning just isn't consistent enough yet.

Now, I need to wrap a wee little hat and ship it off to a brand new baby in Texas. Welcome to the world, Hannah! You put up a great fight this past month. Keep up the spirit.

The Pattern: My own. I think I will call it Elaine. It's a smaller version of the hat I sent to Italian's aunt in Illinois.
The Yarn: A cotton I had in my stash. I has long since lost it's ball band. I'll try to find the information on the yarn and update the post.
Duration: Three days. I casted on May 30 and weaved in the ends on June 1.
Pattern details to come.