Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Melon Scarf

I've decided that all of my commute and bedtime knitting this week will be on the Melon Scarf. I've got a little while until I need to have another baby gift done, so my options are open to work on what I want to work on right now.

I started this lacy scarf quite a while ago, specifically to be a good travel project for work. All I have to take with me is the chart and the knitting attached to my one large ball of yarn. The needles are wood circular (always plane friendly, if anything is) and it provides enough interest for multiple hours of knitting in a row. It was pretty slow when I started, but now that I have the 6 row pattern in my brain, it moves along with more rhythm.

I'm nearing the halfway point on the main rectangle, and now that I can see how pretty it is going to be, my enthusiasm for the project is returning. Working on the same project all the time really leads to more immediate satisfaction and excitement about a project (duh). I don't expect that I'll turn into a one project at a time knitter, but there is some advantage to limiting the number of projects on the go to maintain excitement about them.

I think once I get to the 3/4 point on the rectangle I will be so excited about knitting the lace border that I won't be able to put the thing down. :-)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Finished Objects and In Progress

The results of my recent bout of knitting obsession. All of the projects are in ravelry, too.

A fair isle sweater
The black shrug in alpaca cloud. At some point I'll model it for a photo.

A bib. I adjusted it so I could do an i-cord instead of a button band. I'm very happy with the results. And I finished it about 90 minutes before the shower I was taking it to. :-)

The fishy toy from Knitted Toys by Zoe Moeller. The i-cord in between the fish was all me. I didn't want to do beads.The February Baby Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I found the adorable buttons at Knit One. The yarn is Baby Cashmerino.

The stripy ball, also from Knitted Toys, in progress. I'm using the intarsia techniques I used in Lucy Neatby's class. See my lovely yarn butterflies?! Yarn is Encore and Laines Du Nord from stash.

The swatch I made in my intarsia class. I haven't woven in my ends or done more rows than what I finished in class. And obviously it isn't blocked.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday thoughts

Just checking in with a list as a break during a busy day.

1 - I've been more motivated to knit than clean lately. (Shocker) So I should have some FOs to blog about this weekend. Including the February baby sweater that I bought buttons for on Tuesday.

2 - I took an intarsia class with Lucy Neatby on Tuesday. It was fabulous! I'm not a huge fan of many intarsia patterns - I don't want a sweater with pictures on it or bold geometry, but I do like argyle, baby things with pictures and pillows/toys/etc with graphic patterns. I learned a lot and am already practicing by modifying the stripy ball pattern to be knit as intarsia instead of six pieces that have to be sewn together. I ordered two of Lucy's DVDs and one of her patterns at the end of class.

Like Annie Modesitt, Lucy encourages knitters to be brave, to experiment, to be smart about reading patterns and not to be intimidated by new things. I really liked her discussion of breaking down patterns and figuring out what makes sense and when the pattern was written in a way to benefit the publisher or the yarn manufacturer instead of the knitter. I find it very valuable to hear in the opinions of those "in the industry" and my resolve to take local classes taught by national designers was bolstered by my experience on Tuesday. If only I could have taken Wednesday off too, to take her other class. :-)

3 - My respect for single parents has always been strong, but Heather and I are on our fourth day of being on our own and I'm pooped! It is partly because I'm not always smart about going to bed when I should. But it is also the fact that there is no down time for a single parent. The time before Heather wakes up is spent showering and dressing myself. And after she goes to bed, it is the time to clean up from dinner, do chores and (if I was smart) go to bed earlier.

The hardest thing to balance is trying to keep an eye on her while making dinner. She's relatively safe in the dining room and living room, but I have to check in on her if she wanders out of my line of sight. And there are times when she wants me to be with her instead of being in the kitchen.

4 - Work is busy. Less so than it was, but still very busy. Things might get lighter in August, although I don't know what's coming after my current projects wrap up.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Zoo Playdate

Heather and I met up with Amanda & Eleni, Jen & Finn, Annie & Marcus & William, and Cara & Max & Andrew (whew!) at the zoo on Friday. I wish I had more vacation days to take for play dates, but I suppose we have to spend some vacation time with daddy, too. :-)

It was hot, but the breeze was nice and we all survived. Lots of water, lots of sunscreen and the knowledge that we moms could shower as soon as the kids went down for a nap.

Not too many pictures of Heather with the animals since this was my view most of the day.

We got there a little early and the carousel wasn't open yet, but we waited patiently.

Max wasn't really sure about this play date idea.

Hanging out by the lion den.

Checking out the fish

A rare photo of two toddlers standing still...for just a moment... (when did Finn get so big?)

Plotting her escape

EJ stands up just like the toddlers. :-)

It was an exhausting day


We don't have air-conditioning in our house. We need a few more ceiling fans and an attic exhaust fan, but we get by. We each have our own ways of coping.

Reading on the porch in the nice breeze

Hanging out by the pool with a cool beverage (covered in sunscreen, of course)

Sleeping in the sink?

Sunday biking

R took Heather on her first bike ride on Sunday before brunch. It was short, but long enough to tell that she liked it.

After her nap she pointed to her bike helmet again. So we slathered on more sunscreen for another ride.
She made it clear that she was ready for "more" bike riding and less picture taking!

(For those non-parents and non-signers out there - Heather is demonstrating the ASL sign for "more" above)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Anniversaries and $10

1 year ago this week, Heather started at daycare.

9 years ago yesterday, I started at my current job.

2 weeks from now is our 5 year anniversary in our house. No big party this year, sorry.


At the neighborhood yard sale mentioned in my last post, I did very well. I walked around with only a little money in my pocket and was picky about what I was willing to get.

At the only yard I went to with Heather and R, we got a toy for Heather for $5.

On my own I spent $10 and had a pretty good haul. I could have gotten more, but limited myself with the money I had and with the fact that I traveled entirely on foot! (you might see a pattern here):

10 pairs of pants for Heather
1 pair of overalls for Heather
2 shirts for Heather
1 holiday dress for Heather
3 books for Heather
1 wooden stool for Heather
15 used acrylic paints for me (but hopefully to finish Heather's mural)
1 skein of gray wool for me
3 pictures frames for our somewhat empty walls

Toddlers in Public

This past weekend was very nice. Family is lovely, but after 4 weeks in a row of family visits (3 of those involving travel) it was really nice to have no plans and spend two days as just the three of us. R and Heather even got to start a day early since daycare was closed. They went to the Aviary, the pool and the playground. After a late nap, we went to a neighborhood restaurant for dinner. We went too close to bedtime and had to leave in an expedited fashion when Heather was "done".

On Saturday, Heather set a new record for sleeping in late. I woke up before she did and was amazed that she wasn't up by the time I was out of the shower. She did go to bed a little late on Friday night, but it was still amazing how late in the morning it was when I woke her up... While R went for a haircut, Heather and I went to Natural Stitches (where we saw Anna) and Whole Foods. Despite sleeping in late, Heather was so ready for a nap when we got home that she only ate about 4 raspberries and a little bread before she was done with lunch. She took a nice long nap while R and I got some things done around the house. When she got up we headed to a nearby urban retail development where we had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and did a little shopping at REI. (We would have done more, but some of what we wanted could only be gotten online.)

Sunday's only plans were to go get brunch at our usual place and explore the neighborhood yard sale. Heather only made it to one sale before it was nap time and mommy got some quality yard sale shopping time on her own!

The variety of restaurant and retail experiences this weekend were varied, but clearly tell me that taking Heather for these kinds of outings aren't as easy as they used to be. Yes, sometimes she can be distracted with crayons, a rocking chair or just the chance to walk away and pretend like we're chasing her. Truly, she is not a terror or especially difficult, but I also wouldn't say that it is easy to get shopping accomplished as a solo parent or to eat a leisurely meal as a family with her around. She is best when she is well-rested and well-fed (aren't we all?), but her mood can't always be predicted or easily calmed.

Anna can tell me whether I do a reasonable job keeping an eye on a toddler and trying to shop for yarn at the same time. On one hand it is freeing to be able to put her down since she is walking but on the other hand she isn't too shy to start pulling yarn off the shelves after 10 minutes in the store (once she stops staring at the "strangers" who work there). There are also the challenges of keeping an eye on her, letting her get out her pent up energy, letting her push the grocery cart without running people over, forcing her to sit in the grocery cart during check-out, and the difference between letting her move away from me in a little yarn shop versus a big store like REI.

I'm figuring it all out as we go. What are your parameters for parenting when you take your little one out? Balancing the desire to keep them calm and happy versus maintaining parental control versus the comfort of others around you versus their need to explore. :-)