Thursday, December 23, 2010
This is a sweater I got from the Gap a few years ago that I really like--except that it's just a wee bit too short. And now that I'm pregnant, it's way too short. Plus, it didn't gather at the waist or the cuffs at all.
So I raided the stash and found some worsted weight wool and knit on cuffs and a hem using a k1, p1 rib stitch and some small needles so that the stitches would be tight. It came out completely great. I seriously can't believe it. I wear the sweater all the time now. (Remember, bind off LOOSELY, esp. at the hem.)
To follow up from my last post, right now, my husband Michael is at the neurosurgeon's--he's probably going to have surgery tonight to fix the ruptured disc in his back that's impinging on a nerve.
In better news, my son Adrian is over his strep throat. The best decision we made was heading to Greensboro and letting my folks take care of us. We came here last week and we're just staying through Christmas.
Here's to hoping that January will be reeeeeaaaalll slow and unexciting...and snowy! We're supposed to get some southern snow around Christmas, even.
After Mary's funeral and before Mike hurt his back, we had a snow day in Durham. Adrian really loved the snow. Here we are as the snow is falling, the flakes as large as oak leaves.
I'm wearing my handspun Nimbostratus lace scarf (available in my new eBook) and a City Girl Cap by Celeste Young, my absolute favorite hat to wear in the snow, because the brim keeps the flakes off of my glasses. I made a whole slew of them one weekend, some for gifts, and some to keep for myself.
Adrian is wearing moon pants. (I mean, a metallic snow bib that my neighbors gave us as a hand-me-down.) He was completely psyched.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I'm 21 weeks pregnant. I just dropped my 19 month old off at preschool. My husband threw his back out at work this weekend. It's been three days and he's worse. A revision of my latest book manuscript is due on Friday. I have a ton of Christmas presents to finish making. Because Michael's been hurt, house looks like Pompeii: The Morning After. There is nothing, I mean nothing, to eat. And at 12:30 I have an OB appointment.
What's a Knitty Professor to do?
9 a.m. I give Michael a big drug and a muscle relaxant and lay him down on the floor in the den on my yoga mat and turn out the lights. (Don't tell him I took this picture.)
9:30 a.m. I clean then kitchen, and then I start cooking. (I'm a snob about pasta. That's chicken sausage browning in olive oil and garlic, with some sun-dried tomatoes. Later I'll add a chopped onion 2-3 chopped tomatoes, and whole-grain penne.)
10 a.m. Clean my room, Adrian's room, and every other stinking room in the house.
12 p.m. Head to OB. Check out the cutest leg I've ever seen:
3 p.m. Getting in car from OB, phone rings. It's Adrian's preschool. He's sick, and I have to go pick him up. Seriously?
4 p.m. Home now. Sick kid and husband. Strangely, though, eggnog and a fire in the fireplace seem to be making things better, as does the pasta I threw together this morning. We're hanging out around the train table Michael made (as in, from scratch. carpenter. awesome.):
5 p.m. Mike says he'll watch Adrian so I can sew. I make this pillow using an old Christmas sweater that used to belong to Mary. I'll be mailing it to my sister-in-law so that she and her kids can enjoy it for Christmas.
6 p.m. Adrian to bath, then to bed. Relaxation all around. Whew.
We're really sad to be having Christmas without GrandMary. It's like a whole new holiday paradigm that we need to learn.
I'll post instructions on how to make a Christmas Sweater Pillow shortly. It was super easy and fun.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
I’m back in the Carolina Mountains, this time with my BF and snow-loving poodle, Iva.
It snowed several inches last night, so we are glad to have plenty of oatmeal, egg nog, and hot chocolate to welcome us after a romp in the snow. And Iva is glad to have her new sweater.
This is based on the Side Button Greyhound Sweater pattern, which I chose because I thought Iva’s body type was similar to a greyhound’s deep chest and slim waist.
Since Iva is a bit smaller than a greyhound, I modified the pattern in order to make a small (not listed in the sizes). I can post detailed notes later, but basically I reduced each measurement or stitch count based on the numerical differences between the sizes listed.
I used some khaki green Plymouth Encore yarn I found at a thrift store.
It worked out quite well, although you can see the sweater could be a bit longer.
You can also see that the sweater has a tendency to ride up in front, but mostly only after some serious romping, like this:
More details on Ravelry, here.
Friday, December 10, 2010
That Friday, after Mary died but before her funeral, Michael and I took our son Adrian to a local museum to sneak away just the three of us. We were sad, of course, and trying to find joy in small things. (That's my new thing, by the way.)
The local science museum has a small zoo of local animals--black bears, red wolves (my favorite), and lemurs. (Lemurs? Yes, they're local.) And every habitat we visited, it was like the animals knew we were coming, and put on the best show. It was incredible.
The black bears were snuggling right in front of us:
The lemurs were dancing around:
Two wolves ran all over their habitat, their red coats glimmering in the misty weather. Adrian loved watching:
He's wrapped in my version of the Lady Eleanor stole. I just made it wider and shorter, so it works as a stroller blanket. I used Noro Niji yarn, a crinkly yarn made of mostly silk and wool--so it is lightweight (fits under the stroller) and warm.
The morning we snuck away is such a precious memory for me. We didn't tell anyone we were going. Mike and I held hands the whole time. The museum was pretty empty because the morning started with rain and we got there early.
I've realized that sometimes happy memories don't just happen--you have to make them, on purpose.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
|From Knit Book Title Pages|
Click here to see thumbnails of all of the patterns included in the book.
The book is for sale via Ravelry for $16. The eBook includes Nella, Liliane, George Sand, Gamekeeper and a variety of other patterns that go for $6 regularly. There are 15 patterns in all, seven are brand new.
I guess I'm feeling the holiday spirit. I think we all (including me) should be knitting more and worrying less. I'll probably raise the price to $24 after New Year's, because my husband thinks I'm nuts for setting the price at $16.
Here's a list of the patterns included in the book:
1. Chartres Lace Stole
2. Chopin Cabled Mitts
3. Dalloway Eyelet Shrug
4. Gamekeeper Men's Pullover
5. George Sand Vest
6. Liliane Sweater Coat
7. Nella Cropped Cardigan
8. Nimbostratus Lace Shawl
9. Fairway Cable Jacket
10. Fuzz-Ball Bootees
11. Kudzu Shrug
12. Manava Baby Cardigan
13. Many-Worlds Cabled Blanket
14. Sediment Hat
15. Sediment Yoke Sweater
If you want to see all of the patterns, view the eBook's page on Ravelry by clicking here.
If you want to purchase the eBook, hit the button below.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
I love traveling with a shawl because it serves so many purposes, including emergency airport/airplane blanket. Plus, they look cool, like you are effortlessly fashionable even when living out of a suitcase half-way around the world. (And I am not effortlessly fashionable.)
Here's a picture of me (and the small thing that will hopefully be Edward come April) in the Place St. Michel where we stayed. There's some big church in the background:
See how good Oread is doing helping me look fashionable?
One other thing:
The reason why this trip was possible at all was because Mary took care of Adrian while we were gone. She invited some of her girlfriends to come stay some of the days, but mostly she just parented our son for us while we were away.
Readers: Appreciate the people in your life and all of the large and small things that they do for you every day. Please, please, appreciate them.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Of course, the first thing you'll need to get is the original pattern from one of Elizabeth Zimmerman's books, such as the Knitter's Almanac (the best eight bucks you'll ever spend). The Pi Shawl formula is the pattern for the month of July.
This Pi Shawl formula is a quick knit (for a Pi Shawl)--I think it took me 2 weeks.
Oread Pi Shawl Formula by Katie Rose Pryal
Lots of Mohair held with a strand of lace-weight yarn in a similar color. Like this:
One cone of Valley Yarns Alpaca-Silk in an olive green, held with:
A light green kidsilk haze,
A variegated green Fiesta Yarns Heaven (color: Catalina),
A gray GGH Soft Kid.
US size 10.5 circular needles. (You'll need the needles EZ requires for her pattern to get the circle started, though--I used double-circulars, or 2 sets of 10.5 needles.)
Size 6.5mm crochet hook.
Simple. Every 6 rows, do a round of eyelets. If you are working an increase round, you just k1, yo, k1, etc. If you are not working an increase round (read the pattern, you'll know what I mean), then you just k1, k2tog, etc.
To get the stripes of dark color like I did with the gray, you change to the gray 2 rounds before the eyelet round, then do the eyelet row, then work 2 more rounds in gray.
The last few rounds I worked with extra eyelets and other things to make sure the edge ruffled up good. Here are the final rounds I worked:
1. Work an eyelet round as usual: yo, k2tog, etc.
2. Knit 1 round.
3. Work 1 round like this: k3, yo, k3, yo. This will increase your stitches by 1/3. (right? or is that by 1/4? whatever.)
4. Knit 1 round.
5. Work 1 increase round as usual: yo, k1, yo, k1. (This will double your stitches.)
6. Knit 1 round.
7. Purl 1 round.
8. Knit 1 round.
Now it's time to bind off.
Work a crochet bind-off like this: Use the size 6.5mm crochet hook. Stick the hook through one loop on the needles and work a single crochet, then chain one st, then work sc into the next loop, then chain 1 st, etc. etc. Very simple but effective. This puts an extra chain stitch between each knit stitch to make sure that the edge of the circle is plenty flexible and adds to the ruffle.
That's it. Super simple.
Thanks to all who have sent me your thoughts, prayers, and sympathies for Mary's death. I really appreciate it. The funeral is on Saturday. Today, Thanksgiving, my parents brought the entire meal to my house (they live 1 hour away) and all of Michael's family came over and partook. It was a sad but also wonderful day.
Enjoy the pattern. It's good holiday knitting.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Today, I did three very, very stupid things: I went (1) shopping while pregnant, (2) for a funeral dress, (3) alone.
Never, ever shop for a funeral dress alone.
Just as importantly, NEVER DO IT alone while pregnant. I need to send a bouquet of flowers to the dressing room attendant at Nordstrom Rack who listened to me bawl and told me I looked good in the dress that I finally found. She never batted an eye despite my semi-hysterics.
Here's the dress (with a tie I found for my husband in the background):
I really love this dress. The flower/ruffles at the neckline make it dressy, and the box pleats at the empire waist make it fit over my belly. It's just to my knees (not easy to find since I'm 5'11") and doesn't cling anywhere. Perfect 3/4 length sleeves. Stttrreeeetchy. In a word, perfect.
It's really important to me to dress up VERY nicely for the funeral of my husband's mother--out of respect for Mary and for him. I feel like I owe her so much and it's going to be really hard to live up to her for my kids. Plus it sucks that she's dying so damn young. I want to show the world how much I respect her.
I also bought a tie for my husband. Some stupid brand that had cost 150 bucks (for a tie?!?!) and was marked down to 20:
I also bought this mounted photograph for my husband. This is a picture I took of Mary holding Adrian (my son) when he was just a few days old:
I love the professional print processing site mpix.com. It is WAY better than the dumb consumer sites. This is where wedding photographers and other pros go for their online photo processing. And they're really fast.
I love how the mounted photo came out. I'm going to hang it over Adrian's crib and tell him all the time how much his GrandMary loved to hold him.
And later, I'm going to tell Edward that GrandMary is holding Adrian in her arms and Edward in her heart.
And finally, here's a better picture of my Ginevra--I'm calling it Hospice. According to the OED, the word "hospice" used to refer to a home where travelers could stop to rest on their journeys. I really like thinking about the word that way.
I cast on for this sweater at Duke Hospice yesterday and knit all of this until late last night. It was so soothing to knit a simple top-down raglan. The Duke Hospice home is beautiful, by the way, and we really appreciate everything they've done for Mary and for us.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Then yesterday she came to my house for a break from everything and I had my new issue of Interweave Knits on the kitchen table. She just loved Ginevra's Pullover [ravelry] by Amy Polcyn. So I'm going to make one.
I reached into my stash for some blue heather Cascade 220:
and a cone of Jaggerspun merino laceweight in a solid royal blue that I found on Craigslist:
These pictures of my yarns suck. The photos are old ones that I took for my stash on Ravelry and were only meant to be seen by me. My Nikon is over at Hospice for taking pictures of Mary and her kids and grandkids.
So, crappy old stash photos for the blog today. Sorry.
I'll take more pictures as I go along with Ginevra. It's been a while since I knit someone else's pattern. I think the last one was Jordynn's Tenley Cowl [pattern page on Ravelry / my version]:
(Hey--I took that picture of Jordynn. It doesn't suck. Feeling less guilty now.)
Knitting from a pattern is just far more relaxing than designing, and so much better for when your (my) brain is occupied with other things. I'm packing up my knitting bag and heading over to hospice in a little while.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Prologue: At 10pm Sunday night, we had to rush my MIL to the ER because she was losing mental function. They scanned her brain and found cancer there, too.
7:30 am: My husband and I visit the OB for our ultrasound (I'm 17 weeks) and diagnostic screening. Everything looks great. It's a boy. We're calling him Edward. Here's a 3-D ultrasound, which is both cool and weird at the same time:
I made my next appointment with my favorite midwife; we are overjoyed that our son will have a baby brother. My husband goes to work.
11:00 am: I meet my sister-in-law at the hospital after she drove down from D.C. Things with my MIL are way worse than we thought. I give my MIL the print out of the ultrasound images and she shows them to everyone who comes in the room. So proud.
1:00 pm: We meet with my MIL's doctor and she tells us we're looking at "days to weeks."
3:30 pm: We meet with the hospice coordinator with my FIL and it's the saddest effing thing I've ever done.
6:00 pm: We move my MIL to the most beautiful hospice home in the world. The second saddest effing thing I've ever done.
8:00 pm: My husband and I go to visit my MIL at her new home. I leave him in the room alone with her and wait. Then I take him outside to the porch to sit in rocking chairs and cry.
And that's it. My impossible day. Such joy and sadness, all at the same time.
Thanks for listening, folks.
I promise I'll talk about knitting again, soon. I've already made a sweater for Edward. I made it blue (back when the baby was still Rose-Edward), because I just had a feeling. I'll show you next time.
Monday, November 15, 2010
It was a warm morning for November, so we wore sweaters instead of coats:
Perhaps, after all of this practicing, we'll get really good at appreciating things and will stop wallowing in stupid stuff.
Two years ago, I knit the Baby Surprise Jacket that Adrian is wearing (an Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern) when I was pregnant with Adrian. I knit a toddler size, hoping that he would get to wear it a lot. He was 1.5 years old on Sunday (Happy Birthday, Adrian!), and although the sleeves are a little long, he'll definitely wear it this winter. Next winter, we'll unroll the sleeves, and he'll wear it again.
To make this jacket, I used some store-bought worsted-weight wool (the cream color) and a skein of my own handspun--a dappled icelandic fleece that I dyed purple and then spun into a two-ply.
(One note on spinning Icelandic: I'm not a huge fan of the outer scratchy stuff. The inner fuzzy stuff is AMAZING. Think angel wings, kitten fur, and baby bottom all mixed together.)
Check out Baby Surprise on Ravelry.
For those of you familiar with the Baby Surprise pattern, adding stripes really emphasize the nifty construction. Here's the back view:
I made this one a little longer than usual by picking up and adding the band of cream stitches at the bottom of the coat.
Adrian took to wearing it right away, which allayed my concerns about babies and wool. He didn't care at all that it wasn't superwash or cotton blend or (urg) acrylic "baby yarn."
For those of you who've had more practice than me appreciating the small things in life and ignoring stupid $h!t, care to share how you got there? I've heard about yoga (daytime classes, anyone? Mom's can't go to yoga classes at 6pm, duh), acupuncture (love it!), and therapy (doing that, too). What else? In these rather desperate times I'm getting, well, desperate.
(Raptwithfiber, you could always come visit and let your chill rub off on me. That ALWAYS works.)
Still working on the knitting book, and still hoping to have it out before Christmas. We'll see.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Vera Rubin is one of mine and Jordynn's joint patterns. You can check it out on Ravelry by clicking this button:
If you are unfamiliar with Hoxton Handmade, they do this groovy podcast called "The Electric Sheep." You should check it out.
**One last note: Thanks to all of you who shared your well wishes with me. I'm overwhelmed.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Today, she's in a wheelchair, and the doctors tell us she has metastatic bone cancer all over her body.
This is my husband's mother, a woman born to be a grandmother. She bakes pies like it's nobody's business. She grew up on a farm in a small town in Texas, the youngest of five kids and the only girl. She's a health nut and tough as steel.
My husband and I want to see her hold our new baby in the spring. But now, nothing is certain.
Nothing is certain.
Conclusion: I need to stop complaining and bake my boys a pie.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Every semester I get a bunch of new students. My job is to train them to be good researchers and writers. Around this time every semester, I grade their "big" projects, and I'm usually very, very frustrated. Here's what I'm thinking: Why didn't they do the reading? Why didn't they follow the basic instructions on the assignment sheet?
Why was I so naive to think they would do the reading or follow the basic instructions on the assignment sheet?
By the end of the semester, they somehow get it together, but inevitably, in early November, I hit this nadir of grading doom.
And next semester, I get to do it all over again. When I think about that, I start to freak out.
I think I'm doing something wrong.
Here's a metaphor:
Imagine knitting a complicated lace scarf, with impossible-to-memorize charts, teeny-weeny needles, and spider-web yarn. You have your face buried in the pattern and close to your tiny needles, and it seems that the fabric that is coming off the needles way too slowly.
Then, imagine that someone rips out the whole scarf and you have to start over again.
Now imagine that this happens every four months for your entire career.
That's what grading papers feels like to me. At least it does today.
Boy am I in a bad mood.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Okay. This is probably wishful thinking.
It will have 15 or so patterns (maybe more). Including some that you've never seen before, and some of my readers' favorites (including Nella and Liliane).
Here's another taste:
Stay tuned for more previews and information on the launch.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
5:45am In the shower.
6:00am Getting dressed. Must be extra snazzy today because I'm helping host a lauded visitor to our department and taking him to dinner.
6:30am In Kitchen. Brew coffee for DH (still sleeping) and make Chai for pregnant me. Still no cries from Adrian. Make Adrian's lunch. Make my lunch. Eat breakfast.
7:15am The boys are still sleeping?!? Answer some emails!
7:30am Still sleeping? Seriously? Write a blog post!
And here I am.
The rest of the day goes like this: meet new TA, teach, break, teach, break, meet other new TA, teach. Meet with book company rep for afternoon coffee. Seminar taught by previously mentioned lauded visitor. Take lauded visitor to dinner. Eat yummy food. Take lauded visitor back to the Inn on campus. Home by 10pm.
And when do I knit? Good ****ing question.
Jordynn and I have mentioned in the past that as the semester winds to a close, schedules squeeze. But for some reason, this semester has been so busy from the get-go. I know that I was dealing with the first-trimester-coma, which is a tough one.
Perhaps I need to cut myself some slack.
I did have a book come out in September:
and I have another book under review by a press. That's not nothing.
Sometimes, though, I wish I were doing more of what I love and less of what I feel I should. Like when I read Ysolda's blog. <>envy<>.
I think this is a common feeling, though.
Is there anyone out there who can say she is doing exactly what she loves (at least most of the time)? And care to share how you got there?
Sunday, October 31, 2010
We don't know yet if it is a boy or a girl, so we're calling it Rose-Edward. We're not very secretive about names, obviously. My mom says the ultrasound looks like a boy. Seriously?
My son Adrian (who has appeared on this blog here, here, here, etc. and yes I'm probably violating child labor laws making him model so much) will be 23 months when this one arrives in April.
That's going to be a lot of diapers.
I'm currently angsting, though, that these vampire books came out recently with some dude named Edward as the romantic hero (and don't lie and say you haven't read them). And now, apparently, every teen mom has named her kid Edward (and Cullen, apparently, too). Edward is my DH's favorite and late uncle. A wonderful man by all accounts. I just want to be sure we all know that I'm not naming my kid after a teen-fiction hero. (BTW, I freaking love teen fiction. I've read it all. No snobbery here AT ALL.)
Moving on to the fibery front.
I haven't posted any patterns or projects lately because I've been building up to a surprise: a book. After doing some research, I've decided to self-publish this one. It will be available through Ravelry as an eBook, or as a perfect-bound softcover book via Amazon.com and other online book retailers. It will contain some of the patterns that have been readers' favorites (such as Nella) and also a group of new patterns that I've been writing these past few months. I hope to have it out on the shelves come January. Late December if I'm bizarrely lucky and efficient.
Here's a sneak-peak of a super easy, top-down, stash-bustin', one-piece beaut that will be included in the book:
As with all Knitty Professors patterns, the patterns in this new collection will have lots of sizes, lots of good background stories, and lots of options for knitting in a cost-saving and eco-friendly way.
Peace on Halloween to all.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
(She made the leggings too. LOVE them.)
Here is Adrian wearing the same sweater, one year later, even though he's twice as big as he used to be.
Handknit sweaters just work for babies, and babies get tons of wear out of them because they're so flexible.
(DH and I call him Dieter van Hooverstein when Adrian is dressed like that--tall socks, Euro boy-sandals, etc. You can just see him hiking in the Alps.)
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I've been knitting a lot and have a lot of new patterns in the works, but I've been a little bogged down with teaching and writing this semester. Not a lot of time for knitty-writing. Which makes me sad.
My spinning wheel is dusty. I have an entire gorgeous Icelandic fleece sitting unwashed and getting skanky. My yarn is actually giving me dirty looks.
Here's an interesting sweater, though. This jacket was crocheted by the mother of my husband's nanny in Holland--that's where he was born and lived the first part of his life. So--a Dutch nanny's mother made this for him 35 years ago. Here it is on our son, Adrian:
And here's another:
I wonder if the woman knew that we'd all grow up to be Tarheels when she picked those colors.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Jean Howarth (1917-2004) was a Canadian journalist known for publishing “The Waffle Manifesto” as an editorial in 1969. Her piece covered the values and beliefs of a new political party that espoused feminism, radicalism, and Canadian nationalism. They were called the “Waffle Party” due to an ironic comment by one of the members, Ed Broadbent, who said that “that if they had to choose between waffling to the left and waffling to the right, they waffle to the left.” Howarth was a co-signer of the Waffle Manifesto, but she was also known for her journalism, becoming the as the first woman to win a National Newspaper Award in Canada and a member of the Canadian News Hall of Fame.
This sweater takes its inspiration from Howarth. For one, the simple waffle stitch pattern subtly references the Waffle Party. And this warm, but not-too-bulky sweater would have served Howarth well on her reporting stints, which ranged from Regina, Saskatchewan, to Toronto, Ontario, to Vancouver, British Columbia.
Sizes: XS [S, M, L, 1X, 2X, 3X] (shown in size S)
Chest: # 30[34, 36, 40, 44, 50, 52] inches
Length: # 21.5[22, 22.5, 23, 23.5, 24] inches from shoulder
Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool Solids [100% wool; 242 yd/221 m per 100g skein]; color: Tree Bark (02); #5[5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7] skeins; or any type of DK or light worsted yarn (1210-1694 yards).
Howarth is knit from the top down, in the round, with minimal seaming. You will begin with the turtleneck, then set up for raglan increases to shape the shoulders. Next, you will slip the sleeve stitches onto scrap yarn, and continue working the body in one piece. The sleeves are then picked up and knit from the top down. Finally, you will pick up stitches along the split neck and the bottom side placket for the rib trim.
Howarth is available for $6.00 on Ravelry.