Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I started thinking about my goal to finish all the Christmas presents and the Sahara by the end of October and realized my sanity is just way too important. Now, I'm striving to finish Sahara by the end of the month, and I might just make it not miss the deadline by too much. I would love to wear it to a party this weekend and with some luck, I might just have it blocked and ready. This means that Christmas knitting at home has ceased, but it is continuing in small little bits during my lunch break.

I've had a decent amount of knitting time at home in the evenings. We've gotten into the groove with school for Little Clover and soccer season is now over, giving us a little more time. Plus, he has a short week this week which translates into less stressful evenings for us. With this additional time, I've managed to knit the entire body and finish the shirttail hem with the main yarn.

I opted to use Japanese shortrows instead of the more traditional wrap and turn method. I like the slight slanting of the stitches, but I'm not completely sure I did it correctly.

On a practice swatch, the stitches are pretty much invisible. (If I had found the practice swatch, you would have seen the picture here. The practice swatch is wherever I put it when I cleaned up. I should do less of that.) One big difference on the practice swatch is that there are five stitches between each shortrow section because the slope is more gradual. With the shirttail, the shortrows do not have any stitches between each row, resulting in a much steeper slope. I'll see how the stitches end up when I finally blog the sweater.

I'm still not sure how much I like the Tilli Thomas, but the knitting of it has gotten better. Maybe I had a really bad skein.

So, how did I manage to have all this time to knit? Well, the guys kept themselves busy reading Encyclopedia Brown and then playing Detective as they tried to reenact the cases in the book. Here they are with their "Detective" coats, analyzing the "crime scene."

Then, the next night, they had a pumpkin carving party. Xavier Guy even came over to join in the fun.

Little Clover took full ownership of his pumpkin and pretty much carved it all by himself (with supervision).

I must say, I'm pretty impressed.

Happy Halloween

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Happy Birthday

Today we celebrate Mrs. Soprano, and I'd like to send her a very happy birthday wish. She has been a wonderful mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother to our family. I hope she knows she is well loved, and may today be filled with many happy moments. Happy Birthday!

Knitting on the Christmas presents continue and I'm about halfway done. My goal is to finish the presents by the end of October (which is only a week away), so that I can enjoy November and December relatively holiday stress free. I finished another gift last night while we watched the Colts game (picture at the bottom).

Of course, I'm not content without stress, which is why I've decided to knit Little Clover's holiday sweater this year. I think this is borderline crazy, especially since I still haven't finished Sahara.

I am making progress though! The Tilli Tomas still disappoints me. I would not recommend purchasing this yarn. It may be soft and feel heavenly, but it looks dirty and is already starting to pill even though I'm only knitting it and haven't really put it to use yet. For the price of the silk, I think you could find better substitutes. The construction of the piece is very interesting. The sweater is knit flat for the V-neck section and then joined after the very low V is complete. I almost made a huge error in the pattern. The pattern tells you to knit flat until the piece reaches a certain measurement from a particular marker. I added this marker a couple of months ago when I started the sweater, so I was measuring from a different marker, placed much, much lower in the sweater. Fortunately, I caught my error before I had made a huge knitting blunder and am progressing merrily (despite the yarn) along.

I also want to finish this sweater before I start on Little Clover's holiday sweater, and since I can't seem to find a little boy pattern I like, I'm just going to make it up as I go. Yep, this is definitely crazy.

Warning! Christmas Knitting!

Pattern: Fetching
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Sport
Modifications: I made the overall gloves longer by adding an extra set of cables at the bottom and knitting more rib at the top before the seed stitch border I added. I also knitted more rows between the bottom of the cable cuff and the thumb. On my next pair, I think I may not knit those extra rows.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Are we having fun yet?

We have a great group of friends in our life. We have friends we see or talk to on a regular basis and we have friends we may not see for months. Fortunately, with the friends we don't see often, when we finally do get together, we seem to pick up right where we left off. This weekend, we had the chance to hang out with a family we haven't seen since January.

Our two boys have been buddies since they were infants. We all meet at daycare when our sons were in the same little daycare room. Since then, we've spent several birthdays and ballgames together with the occasional playdate thrown in here and there. Since the boys have been apart for several months, we worked out a time when our hectic schedules allowed us to get together.

We had a great time! Although we stayed clear of wearing lampshades, we did allow ourselves to get a little crazy.

The dad is a balloon artist, so he whipped up a couple of crazy hats for the grown-ups. We couldn't let the kids be the only ones having fun.

We also allowed ourselves to let loose a couple of weekends ago as well. We took a trip to Nashville to finally have a belated birthday celebration with my family. While there, we sneaked a peek at the Parthenon, and caught a Predators game. The game was fantastic! Nashville has the potential to become a true hockey town. The fans are very, very supportive of the team, evident by the number of jerseys and face paint we saw. We even got into the spirit with a little face paint ourselves.

Speaking of fun, I allowed myself to splurge a little and bought some fleece from the makers of Socks that Rock.
Yummy!! I can't wait to give it a go!

P.S. The balloon artist does do parties.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I really do knit

In case anyone is wondering, I really am knitting and I've got the FOs to prove it. Granted, these FOs are small, but the small things still count. The knitting is one of the few things keeping me calm and relatively stress free.

Fall is quickly approaching the southern United States and with the onset of Fall comes the onset of Holiday knitting. This Christmas is a knitting Christmas. If you feel you may be eligible to receive a knitted gift under the tree, then stop reading and do not scroll down. I repeat. Do not scroll down. This warning is in place until the holiday season has been lifted. For friends, the holiday season does not expire until gifts have been exchanged.

Mommy Russian, I mean it. Go. (PS, I do still love you).

I think everyone is gone. Let the pictures commence!

Two Christmases ago, I knitted scarves for the girls in my immediate family. This year, I'm knitting them somewhat matching fingerless mitts. Mommy Russian's mitts completely match her ribbed scarf.

I used the same Brown Sheep yarn to finish off her gloves. The pattern is from the front section of the Interweave Knits Fall 2005 issue. It's hard to believe this month marks my three year knitiversary. On one level, I feel that I have not accomplished a lot in three years. At the same time, I've done quite a bit in three years. I can now add "Spinning" to my list of fibre related hobbies.

For the Engineer, I tried by hand at Fetching.

Overall, I like the pattern, but I think it could be longer, both at the top and the bottom. I used GGH Sublime for the yarn and it is yummy! The picture shows off the cables well. I also added a seed stitch border to the bottom and top of the mitts to draw in the mitts. On the next pair, I'm going to try going down a needle size for the seed stitch at the tops of the mitt to make the fit a bit more snug.

I apologize for the rushed feel of the blog. I wanted to get this post out though so I can show that I really am still a knitter.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Life at Clover Field is stormy right now. Both Italian and I are adjusting to relatively new jobs and new projects and our work days are spilling into our personal evenings. In addition, we have had some rough times personally, as our families have experienced various hardships. We needed a change in scenery, so we packed up for a little fly fishing trip.

Now, for those who fly fish, you know the importance of the pause. It is the pause in the cast that allows the fly line to straighten and lengthen. When you cast, giving your fly line a slight tug as you raise the line out of the water gives the line enough resistance to pull out the slack and enough tension to extend and pull more line forward to cast further. The pause is when the line extends and straightens to its full potential. Without the pause, the line becomes a tangled unworkable mess.

I was rushing through the months without a pause and I was quickly becoming the tangled unworkable mess. The purpose of our little trip was not really to camp or to fish, those activities were an excuse for the trip. The purpose was to take a pause, to reconnect with family, and to find our center of peace. We spent the days standing in the middle of a large river watching the fish and the birds. We spent the evenings around a campfire as the sky darkened and then lightened with an infinite number of stars. We laughed as we told stories and running jokes. I even knitted and Little Clover caught his first fish on a fly rod. We paused and as a result, we straighten back out to our full potential.

We saw a very big walking stick bug right by our picnic table. Isn't it huge?

Friday, October 05, 2007


Radiohead is releasing a new album in the upcoming weeks and they are toppling the music distribution model on its head. Instead of releasing a CD through traditional venues, they are offering the album digitally on their website. The buyer determines the price. Yep, there is no set price for the digital album. Instead, the person buyer the record can determine how much he or she wants to pay.

If you are a reader of knitting blogs and a listener to Brenda Dayne's Cast-On, then you may have heard discussions on what a knitted item is worth. How much would a buyer want to pay for a handknitted good, and as an artist, how much should we ask for a handknitted item? Do we as knitters value what we produce or do we downplay it as a craft? Is knitting a craft or is it artform? Radiohead, by letting the buyer decide the price is asking the buyer to determine the worth of their output. Fortunately for Radiohead, they have established the worth of their music. Their fans value their music.

What I have noticed is I value knitted goods more now. Certain prices on handmade knitwear do not shock me anymore. I know the time and the effort required to make sweaters and hats and mittens. I am willing to pay for quality and time. I'm also pickier now about the knitwear I buy. Since becoming a knitter, I try to buy only things I cannot create due to time or desire, and I expect it to be well made.

Now, back to Radiohead, they accepting pre-orders for CDs and vinyls. Shockingly, CD sales are decreasing but vinyl sales are holding steady and increasing for some labels. Vinyl listeners tend to be music fanatics. Generally, they have an entire wall or library devoted to their collection and hardware. They notice the differences in sound quality between vinyl and digital and they view music as an experience. They see their hobby of listening to music as a time to slow down and reconnect to a different era. Sound familiar? When knitted good as easy to come by, the knitting movement is holding strong. It's a time to slow down and to block out some of the noise we hear in our fast pace world.