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I heart spring

Although I’ve been in New England for three years now, spring flowers never get old. Mostly, I think, because I am still learning things. Like, this. Anyone know what it is?

It lives outside my dining room window and has thus far survived the marauding herds of deer.

On the subject of bright colors, I have another FO. I haven’t taken pictures yet, it’s the last week of the semester and it’s possible I’m drowning. I have a progress photo, taken when I needed some encouragement to either frog or continue. I kept going, but still am not so very sure it was a great project. Take a look for yourself:

Very. Bright.

The point of the project wasn’t another pair of pants for the boy, rather it was an experiment to see how the striping yarn I’ve been dyeing works up in the project it’s intended for.* The colorway was an oopsie one, intended to be far closer to the pastel end of the spectrum. I didn’t think anyone would buy it, so I thought it would be a good example (knit in Em’s size, though, so not entirely a waste). I’m not sold on it, and if I’m not, then who would be?

*What a poor example of grammar. Excuse me.

The stripes are kinda cool though.

Maybe I should make it a black and white photo.

Advertisement

And we have a winner!

I know you want the winner. I was going to post my latest work in progress, but I’ll bet really you want to know if your name is there. Soooooo:

The winner is! Bea from Baa Baa BlackSheep!

Go check out her blog, it’s a good read. She has some cute little dogs for you puppy lovers, too. I am very much looking forward to shopping for her next weekend!

I was totally not expecting the response I got. 57 comments and 75 entries blows my old record out of the water. Kelli posted on her blog and sent over 15 people; Elaine sent over 5 (I have no blog for her) and I was listed on WiKnit, a knit contest blog. An unbelievable amount of traffic came from these people. I’m really glad y’all stopped by.

And here I thought it would just be you regular folks.

Two years!

Happy Blogiversary to me! Happy Blogiversary to me!

I honestly can’t believe it has been two years. Some days it feels like the blog has been around forever.

In the beginning I posted a ton, thinking about the blog constantly. Once pregnant, I couldn’t think of anything, much less string together interesting sentences for you guys. After all that time, I never thought I’d come back to it at all. I surprised myself at the beginning of this year with a commitment to blog every week. I’ve not totally achieved that yet, but I’m a lot closer than I was six months ago. Who knows what will happen when I finish my degree?

In honor of my 2 year blogiversary and the awesome friends I’ve made from it, in real life and virtual, I’m offering a contest. I know you’re flabbergasted, it’s likely been 18 months since I last had one. This one is easy, though. Just leave a comment by midnight on the 16th (Wednesday) to be entered to win. Send someone over and have them note your name and you get an extra entry!

What’s the prize? April is for the Connecticut Sheep and Wool festival, the first of the season. The winner gets the choice of fiber or yarn bought just for you at the festival. Sound good?

Hey, it’s the least I can do to say thanks for two great years.

Goodbye Swans

Change is good, blah blah blah. I get that. I do. I just hate to say goodbye to some things.

This was the view from our front yard for over two and a half years:

pond

Sometimes, this was our view: (you may have seen this somewhere before):

Mr. Swan going home

The first year we saw an awful lot of this:

swan at the door

That part wasn’t so fun.  Swans are on the mean side, and they make copious amounts of poo.

Although we were cramped into a 640 square foot cottage, we loved it.  Mr. Cygknit joked to the landlords that if they’d just build a second story we would stay.  Once Em got mobile there was no choice but to move, though.  A pond in your front yard and a dam/waterfall by the parking spaces + an almost-toddler is a bad mix.  We moved last weekend, into a converted barn on a good deal of well-kept land.  There’s no pond in the front yard, though there’s a good bit of wildlife.

It just isn’t the same without the swans.

One of the worst things about being a mother is the almost total memory loss. (You would think it would be the moment when, happy because you finally have clean hair, your child sneezes on it thus letting loose a tangly mass of snot. Really, the memory loss is worse.)

Last Spring, while largely pregnant, I purchased a pattern for wool shorts and/or pants from a woman I know. I had intended to knit the newborn size, but eventually realized that just wasn’t happening. At Rhinebeck 2007, while staring down the massive clearance bins at Morehouse Merino, I was fired up again to knit my boy some drawers. If you have been to Morehouse during Rhinebeck, these giant metal cages stacked three or more feet deep with inexpensive, underlabeled yarn are almost impossible to resist. What knitter doesn’t want to dive into (literally or figuratively) a bin of yarn that size? I knew from Lisa‘s experience that I needed to give these skeins a good look-over: some have what seems like a thousand knots in them, while others have enough straw in them to suggest they got up and rolled in the pasture themselves. Once I spotted a pretty perfect jewel-toned colorway with no discernible knots I was sold. They would make a perfect pair of longies (lanolinized wool pants to be used with cloth diapers) for my then-four-month-old son. A quick snatch of a skein of black for the ribbed trim and I was done.

A few weeks ago I was searching the for sale or trade cloth diapering boards and it seemed that every knitter and her grandmother had a pair of these up for sale. While I had a whack of PayPal money burning a hole in my virtual pocket, I just could not bring myself to buy someone else’s hand knits. Not when I could easily do it. With Em happily napping a long stretch I dug one of the yarn bins from under the bed, rescued the skeins from Morehouse, and cast on.

In all truth, I actually did start this pattern lat year but gave it up in frustration before the cuffs were done. Learning a new technique (magic loop) on too-short circs, while nauseously pregnant and sitting in a too-small front seat of a car jerking back and forth in the stop-and-go traffic of the Long Island Expressway headed to the Hamptons to spend the first night of Passover with a mother-in-law nothing nice can be said about was perhaps not the best choice.

I thought these problems were behind me. I’ve come so far in the last year (stop laughing!). I found my new–and longer–circs in the right size and cast on both cuffs again. And threw them against the wall. Obviously, I hadn’t grown enough in the magic loop department. So I cast on again, this time trying both cuffs in a two socks on two circs style. No growth in that department, either. Fine. I can do double points. I even like them.

And then the problems start.

  • Problem #1: (or three, depending on how you count) The black yarn sucks. There’s thick. There’s thin. There’s dangerously fragile thin. I keep going.
  • Problem #2: Since I’m almost totally ignoring Catie’s pattern at this point, I decide to get lazy. I switch to my main color, the pretty jeweled variegated, and instead of waiting to weave the ends in later I just carry them along, blithely disregarding the difference in gauge and the messy start to the stockinette leg. I pretend I can deal with that.
  • Problem #3: Both legs knit up quickly and I congratulate myself on being so clever as to “interpret” Catie’s pattern to my…[ahem]…skills. I don’t realize that my pretty main color is heavier than the worsted weight called for.
  • Problem #4: By the time I get to the joining for the crotch I’m thinking there may be a teeny gauge problem. Wide-leg pants are in, right?
  • Problem #5: I haven’t the foggiest clue what Catie’s instructions for the crotch mean. I tell myself it doesn’t apply to me. I’m not using magic loop.
  • Problem #6: My interpreted crotch looks like ass.
  • Problem #7: As I’m working the short rows I realize something terrible. There won’t be leftover yarn to maybe make a soaker. There may not even be enough of the yarn to finish the short rows.
  • Problem #8: Confusion. I remember buying enough yarn. What happened to my yarn? Then that memory thing I seem to have lost kicks in. Hey, Cyn. You bought enough yarn for your 4 month old’s size. Not your 9 month old’s.
  • [Insert panicky email to Catie]
  • Problem #9: Not enough yarn to knit the short rows. I cut the 2″ between the two sets down to 1″ and tell myself that suits the fit of the particular diapers we use.
  • Problem #10: That means I’ve started the ribbing three whole inches early. I pretend that won’t be a problem.
  • Problem #11: What’s with all these freakin’ problems? Did I forget how to knit?? And now I neglected to do a knit round after changing colors and now I have miscolored purl bumps? What next?
  • Problem #12: A little voice tells me this is starting to sound like those stories of knitters and sweaters three times too big while they fearlessly ignore all the evidence. I keep going. That won’t be me.

Don’t believe me?

https://i0.wp.com/farm4.static.flickr.com/3208/2301646926_76ee786db2.jpg

out of yarn

https://i0.wp.com/farm3.static.flickr.com/2176/2301649700_33f75ab3bb.jpg

too much ribbing

https://i0.wp.com/farm3.static.flickr.com/2253/2315323248_8b929e9134.jpg

the boy is cute. the pants? not so much.

At least a long shirt will cover it.

 

https://i0.wp.com/farm3.static.flickr.com/2001/2362165105_87998766be.jpg

 

Repurposing

I am not sure if blogged about these way back in Em’s newborn days. Have you seen these?

From the looks of the scrawny legs, Em was still very much a newborn here, maybe a few weeks old? Anyway, Kelli gifted me these three pairs of socks before he was born. Each pair was a different size so that he could be in hand knit socks for more than just a week (as baby feet grow quickly). We retired the last pair when he was a few months old, and I thought they were each packed away.

Today, one of the mamas on one of my parenting boards mentioned that she knit a sock for her husband’s inhaler, so he wouldn’t keep losing it’s cap. I thought this was so clever! Em now has two inhalers, one of which needs to travel with us in the diaper bag. I have already lost it’s cap, as the inhaler plugs into an infant chamber and stays that way most of the time. As easy as that is around the house, it doesn’t work as well in the diaper bag. Enter a pair of outgrown socks and I have a pair of inhaler cozies! I think maybe 48 stitches and a 2×2 rib in a matching self-patterning yarn and I have a fully cozied breathing system.

My plan to cover the world in handknits continues apace.

dyeing, suddenly

Part of my slackerness as a blogger is due to my getting sucked into a parenting board (or three). I don’t often have to really think about what I want to write; most of my comments are just a few lines long. Over here I feel a need to be, well, clever. Intelligent. Witty, even. Much harder to do in a post instead of a few pithy sentences.

So while over at my favorite small, closed, board–blithely ignorning my bloggy duties here–one of the mamas posted a thread looking to see if any of us spun our own yarn or hand dyed…and calling me out by name. I posted back a hearty no, no. I haven’t dyed for two years and don’t spin well or fast enough really to sell it. Check out these lovely women‘s stores, please. I’ve met them all in real life and they are lovely.

No, she wanted ME to do it. She likes non-professional. She wants unique. She wants enough for 2 pairs of adult mittens and 2 pairs of child’s. I volunteer a colorway and to do self-striping.

Those of you that have done that before are laughing in the back, aren’t you?

I placed a Knit Picks order and waited with fluttery stomach. I dyed yarn. I made notes so I could blog about it. I started a post, then abandoned it.

So blog why now? I have been contacted by someone else, with an order for three large skeins and three small contrasting skeins. Also, my first customer has another order for me.

How did I get customers??

While I ponder that, here are some process pictures:

P1020415
warping board
dye bath
skeined

My photograhy skills are wretched, at best.  The colors are not as washed out as they appear and are more truly a vibrant turquoise and a rich brown.  The paler blue reminds me of Tiffany’s blue (purely an accident, I assure you).   I have orders for a pirate-themed colorway, a spring one, and a few to match my whims.

I’m even considering taking a dyeing class.

When did I fall down a rabbit hole?

Another drive-by post

I now have TWO large posts sitting in my drafts, just waiting for me to add pics or descriptions. Unfortunately, I’m feeling half-dead from strep throat* and can’t seem to string together much of a coherent thought. My only comfort right now is these, a much needed gift from Knitter Bunny:

socks

And a detail:

(Sorry about the bad color, it’s pretty grey here today)

Details and better pics in this post.  Thanks, Kelli!

*Em is better, thanks for the good thoughts!

Future blogger

I had a large post in mind today regarding some things that I’ve been up to the last week. Unfortunately, I have a sick baby on my hands and I won’t be on the computer enough to compose much of a post. The poor little guy is the kind of sick where all he wants to do is curl up on my chest and cuddle. Since he’s usually too busy for such things, I’m enjoying every moment of his mama-neediness (but not the sickness, so much), before he turns into a teenager and wants nothing to do with me.

I’ll leave you with some thing I caught him doing last week:

Like mother, like son.

From small to large

I’ve produced a few small knits the last six or so weeks, which have gone a long way to yanking me out of the non-knitting hole I found myself in. I had hoped I ‘d be one of those pregnant women that can’t stop knitting for their babe, but I turned out to be one of those that didn’t knit a thing for him. I would have (and possibly should have) been ashamed of this, but I was busy with other baby‘s sweaters at the time.

Once Em made it to six months, it was like some knitting weight was rolled off of me . I needed small projects to work on, though. Bibs, mitts, and small blankets seemed just my speed, mostly because they took me almost as long as large projects did pre-baby. I wondered out loud recently what I should knit next. The answer came with out hesitation from the man sitting next to me: a long-promised cardigan.

cambridgejacket.jpg

Cambridge Jacket, Interweave Summer 2006. The link shows it a bit better.

Mr. Cygknit picked out the yarn at the WEBS tent sale in 2006. Every now and then, he’d pipe up about it, but one look from me and he’d go back to perishing the thought. I think this time I was ready, though. When I was searching for a project to take to the Stitch N Bitch group I’m going to now, I realized it was time. Also, if I was going to swatch anywhere, it would be there. After swatching and going up a needle size, I’m about here. And here isn’t too scary of a place.

Cambridge rib